The semester is nearly over. With only a week of classes left and about two finals (both on a Saturday), I finally see my first year of college nearing an end. It seemed like just yesterday I was nervous to embark on this new journey of the unknown in college. Would I make friends? Would people like me? Was I even going to like my classes and teachers? I had so many questions and looking back now it almost seemed naïve of me to worry quite so much. College had its good and bad, things I loved and things I loathed. It was everything and nothing like high school and it was an experience I could never forget.
Looking back on some of my journal entries online I could see how much I had learned, not only school book wise but also through common sense learned of things go on a “university” level. I can only hope to continue recording things like this about college so when I graduate I will have seen just how far I’ve really come along now.
To all of you still deciding, graduating from high school, or even attending in the Fall 2011 semester, I wish you the best of luck. I can’t say your experience will be exactly like my own. I only hope that you do not make some of the mistakes I made, however, if making mistakes is how you learn then by all means. College is something that, if not careful, can overwhelm you in a negative way, or it can challenge you to become a more mature person in this fast-paced world. Being at Riddle has helped me grow as a person, and please believe this is not a script writing, this is an honest opinion. You cannot always depend on your parents, academic advisor, or even financial advisor to tell you when you need to get things done or fix every single problem. You have to stand up for yourself, this doesn’t always mean alone, but this done mean speaking up when you realize a problem or even something you just don’t understand. The only dumb question is the one you never ask, it’s your first year in college, and no one expects you to know everything, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know anything. The same pride you have on your day of graduation, the “I finally made it out” mentality; hold on to that as you enter college.
Work hard to obtain the goals and ambitions you have for yourself and never back down from them. I myself will be a Sophomore Fall semester (even though I’ll be attending this summer as well), and my dreams of graduating from ERAU with a Baccalaureate in Communications and minors in psychology and International Studies are only one step closer, that’s something no one can take from me. And as you walk across the stage and onto your college campus, just realize you are one step closer to your dreams, and that is something no one can ever take away from you. Good luck to you all and keep your head up no matter what.
Due to recent events, I have decided to revisit the topic of making sure you check your finances and, more specifically, requirements and guidelines of your scholarships, grants and/or loans. I’ll tell a little bit of my own experience and in doing so I hope you will not make the same mistake and become greater informed. I wanted to take Summer A classes this 2011 because the course I wanted to take was available for the summer and during Fall/Spring semesters they were much harder to get into. So I filled out the registration form and took a trip to my advisor’s office. After getting my approval and academic advisor hold lifted (yes that is a requirement, one you will learn more about, promise), I took my signed sheet to the Records and Registration building to have everything finalized. Unfortunately, things did not go as planned and I was told I had an “outstanding balance” on my account. Basically put, it meant I owed the school money for something and was an amount I didn’t have right on hand. I asked for the reasoning and was answered with something that shocked me more than having money to be paid. My own scholarship was charging me. Apparently my research was done incorrectly and in return presented me with a mighty dollar (more than a dollar) to be repaid.
So, why the charge you ask? It’s simple, I changed a class to auditing (before the school’s official drop/audit due date) but didn’t realize the scholarship’s requirements for auditing or dropping a class were different from that of the school’s dates. It’s important that if you have (or will) receive a scholarship, grant and/or loan that you find out the procedures for adding, dropping, auditing, or even failing a course. Unfortunately when given such academic awards you do not have a printed manual with every single circumstance that could happen and that results concerning your monetary state. This is something you have you find out for your own and if you don’t well you could end up like I did. Fortunately, mine did have a happy ending and after having paid back the scholarship promptly I was able to turn in my form and am now admitted into the Summer A term. It is sincerely my hope that from you reading this or sharing this information that it will prevent someone from making this same mistake.
I was even told by an advisor that when wanting to make any class changes go (such as dropping or auditing) go to financial aid prior to and find out if it will have any effect on the money you’re receiving. It is something that may make or break a final decision in your academic track and should always be taken seriously and with much consideration. I am happy that mine did not end up as badly as it could have but it’s is something I want to prevent from ever happening again.
Spring break has ended. I know I should be a little bit saddened, but I am not too sad. This break (even though I live in Daytona so I didn’t travel), I had the opportunity to rest and relax as much as I could throughout the day. I’ll admit it was ended a little early seeing as I had a take-home test to do. I decided I’d do it at the end in order to get myself back into the school mood. And because I was procrastinating till the last minute to actually do the test. It took me a long time to finish but in the end I feel more accomplished for better understanding the material. School let out on a Friday, I only had one class that day but stayed there pretty late. I stayed up late (like usual but a little longer than normal and enjoyed the benefits of not having to wake up early the next day. I normally don’t go to bed early at all but getting up early by the latest 7am I could definitely enjoy sleeping in till the time of my choosing. My parents were happy to have me home (or so I think). And I was more than happy to have the benefits of not having to “buy my meal” every day.
Yes this Spring break was definitely something to remember and appreciate. I may not have gone all around where I wanted to go, but, I had the chance to be with the people I love and sleep a little more than I’m use to. Sure I returned back to school kind of early but I don’t regret it. Just know that tomorrow (Monday) when I wake up from having 4-5 hours of sleep around 6:45am-7am, I can breathe a sigh of relief because not only did I ave a beautiful spring break but I am one step closer to the summer break….that’s five weeks to be more specific.
Beautiful ending to a beautiful day! (Photo taken by me: Hannah Langhorn)
This weekend was definitely a good ending to a pretty hectic week and a good kick-off to another crazy week before spring break. Trust I have three papers due; one in Com 122 (English), HU143 (Intro to rhetoric), and one for SS110 (World History). On top of all those being due, a test for SP110 (Intro to Space Flight) and constant piling homework in MA140 (College Algebra) were added in.
I decided with all the things going on that Friday thru Sunday had to be something exciting and fun for me to relax amongst all the work and stressfulness these two weeks had and would bring. Friday night while attending the ODK (a Greek organization) charity event, I hung out with my friends and fellow DJs from WIKD (Eagles FM). I stood by for awhile and tried to learn how to spin for Mobile DJ-ing should I decide to do it later on. And then around 8 headed to a hilarious Friday Night Laughs featuring two hilarious comedians; John Bush and Kyle Dunnigans! Afterwards, I proceeded back to the DJ tent and sat there freezing until I just couldn’t take it anymore.
The next day was just as, or even more relaxing than the day before considering I basically lounged around with my friend, worked on an article for the Avion (our school newspaper) and then some other homework assignments. The night brought an experiment with night time photography and the use of shutter speed and flash techniques. Over all I couldn’t complain about my weekend. It was relaxing, not overly crazy or anything and, although today (Sunday I would be doing more homework so I can hopefully have a more peaceful week, I also will be doing fun things in between. I’ll be taking time to listen to some music or look over some of my photos from the previous night/morning and maybe even edit some. I am excited for the Spring break vacation and relaxing, but I am in no way saying I won’t still have work to do over the break because I will but I am more determined than ever to stay positive and open to a moment of free thought or even a nap. So when I’m finished here, I’ll help my friend flat iron her hair and share funny stories then later on do some homework while listening to some fun music…that’s something I can look forward to definitely.
Lately school has become busier than normal. I have classes five days a week and after school things to attend nearly every day (including a DJ show for WIKD-Eagles FM). But above all the managing of school work, activities, is taking out the time to rest or just breathe a little and relax finally.
It seems all my journals are having a common theme of relaxing, taking a breather, sleeping, money managing or something to the sort. Now don’t get me wrong, all those things are important, but when in college there is one thing you must remember no matter what happens: your first priority is school, an education. An obvious thing I’m sure, but sometimes you forget the fact that if you’re not careful you risk spending extra money to retake a class you failed, or find yourself under academic probation or even expulsion. It’s easy to get wrapped up in everything going on with your activities (though many require a certain GPA) or even the very freedom of college itself. But with much freedom comes responsibility.
No longer will you have mom or dad to wake you up for school each morning or the call of a friend (possibly) to remind you that you have a test or homework. The thing is you’re getting older and you have to get used to the idea of living a life that is no longer on your parent’s terms but based on your own choices that you make. Sure you can stay up till 4 a.m. but if you have a class at 8 a.m. will you be regretting your all-nighter, sleep-in and/or ultimately miss your class and regret it when you realize you missed out on vital information or an important assignment.
It’s the decisions you make today that will have a profound effect on your tomorrow. As long as you remember that you will never forget that your main goal in college is to walk across that stage with a diploma and big smile proclaiming your achievements for all to see.
Spring semester begins after an intermission of Christmas break and, once finally in, January will quickly run by. Looking back now, I’m not quite sure when February came and when January left but one thing I know is that classes are ending just as soon. It seems the second semester passes by much quicker than normal and by the end of it (during finals) you’re unsure when it snuck up so quickly. I am excited to have a Spring break vacation, or as some of us say a “catch up” period. With only a week of “vacation” time I’m not sure what I will do but I plan to take advantage of sleeping in everyday and spending the time to just be “bored” or relaxation.
Around this time last year I was just as swamped with work but this work was for my exodus of high school, something I had looked forward to for so long and since it had finally come, I was very excited for another experience to begin (that being college). It’s funny, you reach your senior year as the “big dogs” on campus and when you start college you are a “freshy” once again, irony much? However, being at this point of my college career I see that it is a complete difference from high school. No longer is anyone holding your hand and making sure you do your homework or neither is their effort to make sure you do all your work on time or show up to your classes. I understand that for some people college can be too much freedom but for some (like me) it’s a place when you begin to grow up. Do I think I am fully mature yet? Of course not, there is always room for growth and, quite honestly, I kind of like keeping a little kid part of me still and not taking EVERYTHING overly serious (there is a time and place for everything). I can’t say how your college experience will be, for each of us it is different and unique to our own lives. What matters really is what we get out of the whole experience and choose to grow from or not.
To begin this journal, I will start with a brief story of what the moral of this entry is. I arrived at school shortly before 8 am, tired and warn out from the day before and lacking efficient sleep but regardless ready for the day to begin, but I had checked my schedule for that day and knew I didn’t have class until about 10:30 am. Or, at least I thought I didn’t. I went to the back of the library where the comfy chairs were for students to relax on and set my phone alarm to go off around 9:30 am and closed my eyes feeling the heaviness of my eyes overcome me and fell fast asleep. I awoke at 9:30 and put my phone on snooze and proceeded to sleep until about 10:10 am and headed off to my class. It’s then that I realized I had made a terrible mistake as I looked through the window thinking another class was in session, but seeing as I recognized some of the people as pupils in my class. If you haven’t figured it out yet, I had missed my class a common error by misreading my schedule. I knew showing up to class for the last 30 minutes wouldn’t be the most intelligent thing to do (it was history and I needed notes) so instead I left the class and sat outside the building and waited for the class to let out and had a talk with my teacher. Thankfully she was nice about it and allowed me to go into one of her later classes in order to get the notes and lecture part from her but I did one valuable lesson, which is what I want to share with all of you. Make sure you are reading your schedule correctly. I had one written up that had the classes separated into Monday, Wednesday, and Friday classes and then Tuesday and Thursday classes separated from each other so I could tell them apart and avoid incidents like the one I had just experienced.
Once it did happen though I did know I had a good topic for my journal and pass on the advice to all the readers. Upon receiving your schedule from ERAU, write it down somewhere and separate your classes according to days and in order of first to last classes and hopefully you can avoid a situation like mine.
Now I must admit, sometimes mistakes happen and if so don’t be afraid to talk to your professor and explain to them what happen and see if you can sit in on one of their other courses to make up on your missed time, avoiding the teacher really is not your best bet and being honest and upfront with them may give you some leniency in the situation and allow you to make-up any missed assignment in class from that day, and also get a chance to show your teacher the un-intentions of your errors. Emails can also be sent but they can be taken as somewhat impersonal as well, so do take it with caution. I hope from this entry you have learned a lesson from my mistake and try to avoid if possible and if at all cost remember after your first semester you can set up your schedule in a way that is manageable for you and at your own time availabilities (yes including evening classes if you see fit). College is a place with decisions to make and that includes your schedule, so be sure your choice is one you can uphold to and stay committed to.
The beginning of spring semester, changing of classes and schedules, old faces to see again and new to behold. The start of a new semester in college is a lot different than would it be for your return to high school where you’re returning to your same classes and proceeding to learn the material. In fact, the whole concept is different, where normally you would return in college you take the test for the class right before break and it determines if you move on with other courses or maybe have to remediate the course. Of course though there is always a lesson in it all such as buying books for college, and this time I learned the lesson. Upon registering for classes and being “squared away” I neglected one important thing to do, look for my books. Looking for books in my opinion should involve a little bit of your own research in order to save yourself money, time and headaches (trust you will have time for that in the future but that shouldn’t be the case).
So I thought I’d share with you all of the mistakes I made and urge everyone to look earlier at book prices in the bookstore and online (like amazon, half.com, ebay, collegetextbooks.com, and mycollegetextbooks.com) these sites can be great resources for not only buying books but comparing the prices and seeing how much you are willing to spend on the books. Though there is always a chance that the teacher doesn’t use a particular book or is using a newer edition, try to ask previous students and/or the professor (via email) to find out what materials are needed for the class. In all honesty, this is why checking the bookstore is the best move to make first so you can see the books and ask for any assistance you may need from a worker. Also you can get information on what options you have when purchasing you can; buy new, used books, e-books (online), or even rent a book for the semester. With so many options it is also a way that you can find to get the books you need for your course.
Another thing to remember in cutting your price is to start saving now. Yes, I know the money may be burning an invisible hole in your pocket and you just saw the game you have been wanting since release go on sale, but trust it is a very wise thing to save the money you receive for Christmas (if even half) and/or graduation funds to pay towards your books (unless you have a scholarship, grant, and/or loans to cover it), managing your money is the key, trust when the weekend comes and you’re wanting to go out for the night maybe to eat and a movie you will be so happy that you had some money saved so you can relax and enjoy, besides college shouldn’t be so stressful especially if you’re having to worry about funds the entire time you’re in school. Planning ahead and managing your money in a smart way is a great way to limit your stress.
In case you are lucky enough to receive a scholarship for school you should still look up your book prices and shop around. It’s not unusual for a math book to be priced around two-hundred dollars (give or take) and if you shop around you can find one and save almost half on the book which means more money coming back to you. I really hope that you all will not make the mistake of waiting to the last minute to get the books you need because during fall my book did run out in the bookstore and I had to wait for them to get in more books; or as with my spring semester I spent the night going through a page of sites to find a book at an affordable price, and though I hope you save, I hope even more you’re saving and having the books out the way and worry free once you enter into the school term. I wish the best of luck to all of you.
The littlest things mean a lot when you are away from them for awhile. The way your mom says good morning or your dad gives you a bear hug. The petty arguments with your friends, and realizing the one you never argue with. This Christmas season as students return home we realize what we missed the most, what we have been homesick for and the things that never left nor changed. Even though I live at home and am a local this Christmas I don’t want to take anything for granted. I know it seems melodramatic but you never do know what you got till it’s gone or absent from awhile. Not only are some of my friends leaving to go home to their families for the holidays but I have some friends (who I haven’t seen or talked to for months) returning home too. I think many times we see things only as they are in front of us until given the time to step back and see something else. As you spend time with your family (especially if this is your last year in high school and you’re ready to move for college) remember to cherish it as much as you can. Even though you may not see it now you will realize how much you miss and appreciate your family once you are away and can’t always go home and say hi or call up your friend just to talk for a little bit. It’s the little things we sometimes take for granted but it’s times like these where we can realize what we have always had in front of us or what we have been ignoring all alone. As you enjoy your Christmas breaks have a good time with your family and friends and hold each memory close because school is going to go by fast and then you will be into the “real world” and growing up, becoming an adult. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and to you and your families and friends many, many memories for you to cherish for a lifetime.
Spring Semester is almost here, and with many of you reading this it is nearing the end of your senior year. Why yes I do remember it so clearly all the seniors of the years warned me of the same things, after Christmas break it all goes by so fast. And you know what, they were absolutely right. If you haven’t already applied for a college (you need to stop reading this and go apply), also look in to scholarships and grants they are free money for students like me and you who can’t exactly pick money off the tree for our every desire. So what can you expect after you return to classes in January? Work, work, and more work. Teachers are putting together your grades trying to finish up lesson plans and everyone is in the mad rush to make sure that they will graduate on time and with the grades, money and direction they need to keep making it in life. Admittedly, it was one of the most stressful times of my life but also taught me a lot about myself and how I truly work when the clock is on the last few seconds and counting down. I am promising to keep this one short in hopes that afterwards you will evaluate everything and make sure that you are ready and in order to graduate and start your new life in college (hey maybe that place is Embry-Riddle). So here are a few tips and tricks to help you along the way:
- Check online to look for “senior checklist” many sites have prepared nifty little checklist that help you to organize and trust it is never too late for that.
- Ask your teachers about your grade where it stands, if you have any missing work, and is there any available extra credit. It may seem tedious but in the end it is worth it and you will be happy to know you got the grade you deserved.
- Find a way to relax on the weekends or between study times, not too much but some relaxation will save you a lot of headaches in the end.
- Eat healthy. Your diet should never lack in stressful time your body is already burning a lot of energy as is.
- Ask questions. As the saying goes there is no such thing as a stupid question (except the one you don’t ask). If you are having difficulty or not completely grasping something in class or for your proud walk across stage, ask about it.
There are plenty of tips I could go on about but there are just a few that I failed to grasp my senior year and now regret. Remember this is your final year you want to go out stronger than what you came in. Don’t slack and become lazy, because the next step is college and the real world. It’s all hard work and perseverance from here on out.