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October, 2010

Halloween Madness

jeremy-85Happy Halloween!  Halloweenas Beunas! Joyeux Halloween! Frohes Halloween!

Hey CSO Family!

Now that I’ve covered the universal greeting of “Happy Halloween”, let’s talk.

As you’re heading to higher learning, the last thing you want to hear is a lecture.  A lecture about proper behavior and appropriate actions of being a college student.  You figure, I’m going to be 18 and that makes me an adult.  I’ll be away at college and only accountable to myself.

Wrong!

In high school, you were given your schedule and required to show up at all assigned classes.  In college, it’s a whole new world.  You need to be disciplined and have integrity to do as you need to do to make the grade.  No one will call your mother or your father to find out why you didn’t show up for classes.

That’s the TREAT of college life.  You get the opportunity to grow up and mature without parental control!  SWEET!

Here’s where things can derail…

PEER PRESSURE!

Oh, you thought it would be a thing of the past?  You thought is was over after high school and everyone you meet from now on would be just so intelligent that you wouldn’t encounter people who try to talk you into doing STUPID STUFF!  You don’t think you’ll meet people who have CRAZY on the brain everyday?

Trust me.  Just because they’re here on a college campus doesn’t mean they’re here to learn and do the right things.  That’s my TRICK part of the message for this blog on Halloween.

You will meet people who feel like they have to be daring and stay up for three or four nights straight without sleep because they can.  Avoid those people like the plague.

You will meet people who won’t study and do their required homework, don’t make those people your friend.  Steer clear of them.

You will meet people who make fun of other people because of their race, sexual orientation and anything else which says they’re different.  These individuals are to be avoided at all cost.

As you can see, college life is like Halloween: 24/7/365.  It’s up to you to control your behavior, your reactions to actions around you and how you present yourself to the world.  College is not something you put on like a costume and take it off when you’re done.  College is real world and your attire should not mask who you are, but reveal how great and decent you are.  

College can be scary, too

jenny-85One of the questions that college essays ask you is “Why do you want to come to our school?” “What is it about our school interests you?” Or the one that seemed most intimidating to me: “What do you want to do after college?” As I was going over those questions during the application process, I thought, “Wait a minute…you want me to decide NOW what I will do for the rest of my LIFE?”

Calm yourself. You don’t have to stick with your first choice. As you go through college, you WILL experience new things and learn about them. You may encounter something new and learn to love it. And it’s okay to change your major. Don’t worry about sticking to one thing yet. In fact, most of your peers won’t know what major to pursue themselves. No need to get scared. Of course, everybody says that, but talk to your friends. I have friends that randomly show up as I eat dinner and slam their hands on the table and say “I don’t know what to do with my life!” You’re definitely not alone.

But once you get into college, one thing I was very worried about was making friends. It also affected my college choice. The size of the school really matters in this respect. I thought of it this way: in bigger schools, you can make a small group of friends that you can be really close with, but sometimes it’s hard to make friends because the school is so big it’s hard to look for people you know. In a small school, it’s easy to run into people, but it’s awkward if you accidently run into someone you might not want to see.

But don’t be worried about whether or not you’ll make friends. You will. If you don’t make many on orientation week, don’t worry! You’ll have plenty of chances. For example, a game of Humans vs. Zombies makes people band together and share socks in times of dire need. Especially when there are VERY few surviving humans that need help getting to the dining hall when almost everyone else in the dorm is a hungry zombie.

Scary Movies

leah-85Happy Halloween! Even though, I wasn’t allowed to celebrate Halloween as a child, I always admired the Halloween spirit. People were so cheerful and excited to dress up, act different and of course get free candy. Instead of trick-or-treating, my sisters and I would watch scary movies. Freddy Krueger, the Saw puppet and the Joker would haunt us for the night. We jumped, screamed, and went underneath the covers to avoid any scary moments. But, I realized those methods to avoid whatever scared me couldn’t be applied to the college process: my biggest fear.

The college process is scary, but don’t worry. Why? Well, think about it. In every scary movie there is always a survivor who tells his or her story as a mean to help others. So here is my story. Once upon a midnight dreary… I wondered about how I would pay for school. My parents were going through some trouble and I knew they couldn’t help me as much as they wanted to. So, I had to be independent and take things into my own hands and find a way to pay for school. I quickly sought out a paid internship, I called anyone who needed a babysitter, and I researched lots of scholarships. But, I still didn’t think that was enough. I was truly scared and I though I would have to wait to go to college. I would have to take a year off and just work in order to pay for school. But, with a lot of phone calls to the financial aid office, and licking of envelopes that would be mailed off to different scholarship committees, I made it and was able to pay for school. I survived!

Do you really have the money to pay for college? If not, that’s what scholarships are for! Apply to as many as possible. Even to the little ones! And, start as early as possible! Usually December is the hot month especially for students of color. *Hint start looking now!* Also, go over the financial aid policy with your school. Tell them about your issues and let them know what you can afford. Also, the financial aid office is a great resource because they can refer you to any other scholarships including those that alumni may offer. Paying for college and applying to scholarships is scary and dreadful, but you get a sweet reward: free money and a great education!

So for Halloween, I don’t think I’m going to dress up. Probably because I put it off to the last minute. And, I don’t think I want to watch Saw 3D. But, I am going to enjoy myself by hanging out with my friends and going wherever the wind blows. I mean isn’t that’s the Halloween spirit: to have fun and be the kid that you are. So, go trick-or-treating, eat lots of candy, and enjoy a night of pure silliness!

Putting in WORK!

jeremy-85What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger! For real, for real!

Hey CSO family!

It’s your boy, Jeremy, and I’ve got to tell you… I’m still in the honeymoon phase with Mizzou.  This school is really growing on me.  It could be a good match and a harmonious four years.  I love it when a plan comes together!

Now, here’s the good part.  I finally received my work-study position.  I’ve got to tell you, I procrastinated on checking the job boards.  *NOTE TO SELF* He who hesitates, loses!  Don’t sleep on the job boards, folks!  If you do, you’ll end up with the leftover positions.  Granted, all jobs have their good points and bad points, but some jobs… I’m just saying!

Well, after an attitude adjustment, I’m learning to like the cafeteria support assistant position I’ve been assigned to under the Federal Work-Study Program.  It’s all good!

At first, I said “Why me?”  I remember my mom telling me about her experience working KP duty in the Air Force and I thought surely she was being punished for some crime.  She assured me it was a mandatory experience for all new recruits.  So, I geeked myself up as a “new recruit” and decided to go with the flow.  I’m glad I had a shift in my attitude because my supervisor is awesome and spends time giving me great college tips.  The other students I’m working with are really experienced and display professionalism at all times.  That’s important to me because it’s my first real job and I’m experiencing a great working environment which will add to my wow factor big time!

As a business major, I do not plan on working in the cafeteria for long.  I’ve contacted my department and will be applying for internships in my major as soon as possible.  So, this is a temporary stop, but one I’m going to make the most of!  Besides, the food is just off the chain!

Moral of the story: I’ve learned to treat every experience as a worthwhile one and to act sooner rather than later.  Real talk!

What’s scarier than that many dollar signs?

shaun-85Just in time for the scariest holiday, I thought I would share a few of the fears that I had while trudging through the seemingly endless college process and provide a few choice words of encouragement and wisdom for you high school seniors!

When I began applying to colleges, I had already done most of the grunt work, just as I’m sure many of you have: established a strong GPA, received high standardized test scores, done well on my junior year APs, and secured those important letters of recommendation. My biggest fear was that, despite all of the work I had done, I would not be able to afford the college that I wanted to go to.

In order to make sure that you have the costs covered, I would recommend doing several things. First of all, apply to any and all scholarships available to you. Yes, this is time consuming, and you might be tempted to not apply for the “little” five hundred dollar scholarships, but you never know what you might get, and that $500 will pay for a semester of textbooks. Also, do not rule schools out that have awesome scholarship programs just because you do not initially think that it is one of your top choices. I never thought I would end up at Washington and Lee, but I saw that they gave out a high number of scholarships every year, and I applied. During the application process, which included visiting campus and meeting students, I found that W&L was not only a perfect match for me financially but the perfect place for me as a person, too! Always give a school a chance, because you never know where you might end up. Don’t rule anything out too soon.

One scholarship in particular I wish more people knew about is the Questbridge Scholarship Program, which provides amazing financial support for low-income families. I am not a Questbridge Scholar myself, but I have several friends who are, so if anyone has questions about the program, let me know and they would be more than happy to help. Additionally, Wells Fargo, Best Buy, and Lowes all have very general scholarships that they give out monthly or annually to college applicants. Every dollar helps!

In terms of financial aid, if you have a special situation, be sure to tell the school about it. If you have a parent that is out of the picture or an added expense that isn’t represented on the financial aid forms, you and your college advisor (or parent) can work together to write a letter to a school’s financial aid program explaining your situation more in detail (this is particularly helpful in the case that a non-custodial parent has a significant income but refuses to contribute). Never be afraid to actively petition for the aid you need, because you have nothing to lose, but possibly quite a bit to gain.

The application process for financial aid and scholarships is long and often tiresome, but the important thing to keep in mind is that, if you keep at it, you will get the support that you need! There are many great scholarships out there, just for you, and if you try for them, you are more than likely going to be successful.

The Scary, The Sweet, & The Spicy… Of College!

jesse-85Happy Halloween! You know, this is definitely one of my favorite times of the year. I have so many fond memories of Power Ranger costumes, $1 ninja swords from the swap meet, and making trades with my brother, “I’ll give you two butterfingers for those M&M’s, C’mooooon.” Yup, those were the days!

Things have changed a little bit now… Instead of screaming alongside my cousins as we watched scary movies in our apartment, I now find myself afraid of something a lot more intimidating than a possessed doll or some dude with really sharp finger-claws. I’m talking about College.

Especially when midterms and papers start to pile up, College can be a very scary place. Not only do you have a bunch of other things you have to worry about (practice, meetings, work, etc), you have to make sure to stay on top of those studies! That is, after all, why you went to college in the first place.

Despite how scary things can get, if you work hard and put in the time, you WILL make it through. I promise. Besides, you’ve had to go through so much to make it to college as a first-generation college student already, a little homework itsn’t going to stop you!

Check out this video to see how I was holding up during a rough patch (The Scary), how I made it through (The Sweet), and how I did on my first Salsa Performance of the semester (The Spicy)!

Ahh…Trick or Treat

dalonn-85Ahh…Trick or Treat?

Halloween is approaching and for many this is the time to party it up, if so just be safe.  Hickerson Hall, my dorm, threw a nice little get together Tuesday night. There were a lot of give-a-ways including all sorts of candy, chips, and Halloween apparel. This was a fun time for the residents to mingle and take a quick break away from work. To spice things up a bit there was a costume contest which somehow led to a dance contest. Before you knew it, everyone was dancing, laughing, and most importantly, having a good time the safe way. Now I don’t want to sound like a parent or anything, but I think it is important to get out and have fun, the way you want to, not how everyone else wants you to.

Friday I am taking my three year old niece to a Halloween party for the youth. She is going to be a little princess, so I’m thinking I should escort her as her bodyguard or knight, how cute would that be?:) I never was that creative when it came to Halloween costumes. I was a mummy one year, a vampire, a football player, and ninja, all pretty common. Let me know what you guys plan on being.

dalonn and moniyah

My Sparty Roomie

jeremy-85I’m here and I’m free!  At Mizzou, determined to be the best me I can be!!

Hey CSO family.  I’m checking in on the blog to let you know how it’s going with your boy: Jeremy, a rising Sophomore, at University of Missouri.  See?  I’m already thinking future forward.  It’s all in the mind people.

As a brand new student at Mizzou, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of EVERYONE!  I mean professors, college employees, other students, etc… It’s like “kumbaya” on this campus EVERYDAY. 

Now here’s the good part.  My roommate, Dre Thompson, is about the best roommate anyone could hope for.  He hails from Michigan (Spartan Country) and he’s super smart and super neat.  What do you expect from an engineering major?  Unfortunately, my roommate is not so happy with the college experience.  We are like polar opposites of each other.  I’m in love with Mizzou and Dre is not feeling the school at all.  Do I squelch my enthusiasm or do I commiserate with my roomie?  For better or worse, right?

Well, I think this is a good topic to discuss with you guys because we will encounter people in our lives who may feel differently than we do about a situation, place, person or event.  We should not project our feelings onto someone, but learn to respect them for how they feel and allow them to feel that way.  We can agree to disagree peacefully.

What I can encourage you to do is be supportive when your friend or close acquaintance is going through a rough patch.  After all, leaving home is a big deal and some people may miss family more than others will.  There will be some students you’ll meet who will not let themselves enjoy a new situation because of fear or just an unwillingness to try something new and be open about it. 

My roomie, Dre is a great guy and I’ve done my level best to cheer him up and hang out with him as much as possible.  When he gets too down, I know how to pep him up.  I am proud of my new found people skills.  This college experience is working out!  I’ll keep you posted on my roomie and let’s hope he hangs in there together.  In closing, I want you to remember to be you, do you, and help others as you pass along the way!

Beware of All-Nighters!!

darius-85Wow, it’s hard to believe that two months have gone by so quickly! Before I got here, all I could think about was how hard college was going to be. I had it made up in my mind that I was going to be pulling all nighters and that all my classes would be super hard… well, I was half right. The past week I’ve been staying up all night studying for midterms. I’ve had on average about 4 hours of sleep a night, I haven’t been eating all too well, and I’ve been feeling down about the recent loss of an old friend. All of this caused my body to shut down last night and I was rushed to the hospital. I think I’ve learned my lesson:

All nighters + No food = no bueno

I guess I was afraid of not fitting in. All of my friends here are really smart, and got the best grades in high-school. I’m not like that. I have to work extra hard to keep with everyone around me, and my grades in high school weren’t all that great. I probably should have spoken to a school psychologist about my friend, but I was so busy studying.

Don’t follow my example. College should be fun! Don’t let your fears get the best of you. I’ve realized that I fit in just fine, and that I didn’t need to over-work myself. If you have a problem, even a small one, go talk to someone. Most schools have on-campus counseling for students, and if yours doesn’t, talk to a friend. Sleep and food are important, without them you can’t function properly.

So what have we learned? 1) All nighters are NOT worth the stress. 2) Food is good. 3) Depression is serious, TALK to someone. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

until next time guyz!!

No bueno!!

No bueno!!