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January, 2011

My Metamorphosis

lot-85I am constantly amazed at how the Miami culture has transformed my perceptions and changed the course of my actions since arriving on campus. In my previous blogs I shared how campus life has altered my thoughts on service to the community, academics and people in general. It is only during the reflective stage do I fully realize and appreciate the impact Miami has had upon me. I have come to realize that the shifts in perceptions, principles and values is the essence of the college experience. Taking into account where I was at the start of this journey to where I am now, one semester seems like a life time of growth. However, my metamorphosis is in constant cycles and is continuing even as you read this post. My most recent manifestation comes from an unlikely source that is already leading me down a path towards another self revelation.

When I arrived on Miami’s campus I came in with a set perception of how college life would be. I had forethoughts on all aspects of college life and one of those foregone conclusions centered around greek life. From pop culture I held Miami’s greek life on par with movies like Animal House or Revenge of the Nerds. I perceived it to embody the gross aspects of drunken debauchery and was a vehicle for the derailment of my aim for college. It wasn’t until I became close friends with those in the greek community did I begin to appreciate the qualities they could bring to me.

Now that I am in the pledging process I find the myself surrounded with individuals who are my equals in terms of intelligence and morality. We come from all walks of life but the idea of brotherhood draws us to each other. The idea that our interaction today will propel us into better men tomorrow is exciting and requires much more inquiry. I proudly hail BETA THETA PI and those affiliated because it is those men I call brothers who will take me to the upper echelons in wherever I want to go.

Raise the bar, raise the effort.

irvin-85I have not blogged in a really long time. The reason for this has been the incessant amount of work that this term has brought. Although to high schoolers three classes do not sound like a lot, believe me, three classes are more than enough in a place like this one. Never in my life had I felt as if I was drowning under the pressure, under the work. This was the first time ever when I wanted school to simply end or to take a break. I think it is a mixture of both the brutal New England winter and the extra fast pace of a nine week quarter.

Yet, despite the pressure, despite the desire for the quarter to end, I have to say that I am enjoying the academic and psychological challenge. It is a test of character and a test of how strong my ambition is. How bad do I want to get a degree from here and stand out from all these amazingly talented students? How bad do I want to learn as much as I can?

Every night, before I go to bed, I tell myself that I really want all of this. And I want it really bad.

A bit of advice for those in high school; be prepared to come to college and have your foundation shook. Part of the college experience is being broken down to see what you are truly made of. Despite the fact that this might hurt your pride and might change the image of who you are, it is a necessary part of your life. We cannot grow if we are not challenged, and part of that challenge is falling down and being able to get back up again and again.

Also, one more thing; when expectations get a lot higher, you have to place a lot more effort. It might be hard for some of us who were used to being able to put forth say 80% of our effort and still manage to stand out. I have to admit that it is a bit strange for me to put so much more effort that I am used to. Doing physics for six hours? I would have never imagined that I would be doing such a thing! But, like the saying goes, you got to do what you got to do!

Juniors

leah-85ATTENTION: High school juniors get your act together. Sure you have all the time in the world right? Wrong. Time goes by fast and you don’t want to rush through one of the most important forms of your life.

Start early please! Make a solid list of the schools that interest you and be sure to have a realistic but personal list. You have to decide what’s best for you. I’m talking about location, academic challenge, lifestyle and prestige. Go to collegeboard; make an account if you haven’t yet and look up schools. Everything you need is there. Start off with about 15 and then slowly cut off any school that doesn’t seem right. It’s the only time where you get to be picky so use it to your advantage.

Also, there are scholarships out right now for you juniors. And, they are really cool. Some offer to pay for your college years on top of giving you the opportunity to take classes over the summer. Go to fastweb and make it a homework assignment to find free money. Because I am sure you can afford free! Or better yet, register to become an Opportunity Scholar on CSO College Center! What’s really amazing is that you have access to receive everything you need to know and so much more. Not only do you have the chance to connect to people who know exactly what it means to live your life, but you also get guidance and what to do. So after reading this create a personal profile. And, if you are looking for scholarships then you should know that you can receive the CSO four year renewable Opportunity Scholarship. So you can do what I try do: vent and be wise! It is really exciting to blog and let other read about all the great things you have to say while being the first in your family to go to college!

On top of all that homework, now is the best time to pair up with a senior and ask them for tips as well. They just went through the entire process and are probably feeling relieved and wise. I bet they could eat lunch with you and tell you the scoop. Use your seniors as a resource; they are more likely to be in the same situation as you and can be beyond helpful.

But, if not, you always have me and the other bloggers.

I’ll write to you soon.

Back From My Internship!

jesse-85School has started! I’m definitely excited for this new semester and ready for another fresh start. I am definitely grateful for such an amazing winter break that has helped me learn so much.

Whenever you’re on break, it’s very important to rest, relax and be with friends and family. This is one of my favorite parts about breaks from school- you get time to catch up on sleep and also time to catch up with the ones you love. Another thing I really enjoy about breaks is that you have a chance to take part in something that you may not have the time to while school is in session.

While I was on winter break, I was lucky enough to take part in an internship in Denver, Colorado at a network of public charter schools whose student body was 90% Latino and 94% Free/Reduced Lunch. I enjoyed my time at the internship very much because I was able to connect with the students and show them that I too come from a similar background and that I was able to make it to college. I learned a lot from the students and I also learned a lot about the administrative aspects of the schools I was working with which definitely helped me understand what it takes to keep a school running smoothly.

Overall, my experience at West Denver Prep was amazing! It was time very well spent. I encourage you to find ways to make the best of your breaks too. Breaks are a time for rest and also a time for growth! Make the most of your time. Find something to get involved in! Make an impact!

If you want to see how the first week of my time in Denver went, check out this video! There will be more videos to come so be ready!

From my Dorm at USC

jordan-85Please enjoy my first video blog, talking about the college admission process, the new year and new classes, and showing what a typical college dorm/residence hall looks like.

Check it out here.

Changing majors

seanna-85CSO Opportunity Scholarship blogger and Pomona College sophomore Seanna Leath discusses how changing majors in college is normal.

Check out her video here!

Finding the perfect college fit

joseph-85CSO Opportunity Scholarship blogger and Occidental College sophomore Joe Dingman talks about how he knew Occidental was the perfect college home for him.

Check out his video here!

2011

abigail-85Happy New Year!

I hope you were all able to celebrate the holidays with your loved ones and are ready to tackle on the second phase of the college admission process: acceptance letters. Some people consider this part even more nerve-racking than writing a good essay, filling out paperwork, or just completing the application, but for me, I found that this is the part that can make or break a student.

Dartmouth College was not my first or second choice school. In fact, I never even knew about it until my senior year when I received a pamphlet from the College. The school I did know a lot about was the University of Southern California (USC). I dreamt of becoming a Trojan and cheering the football team at every game. So much was my devotion to USC that I didn’t even bother to research many other schools because I couldn’t imagine going anywhere else. So, when I received the rejection letter, my reaction was…well, let’s just say it wasn’t cute. I applied to nine other schools but I didn’t pay attention to the schools I actually got into, not even Dartmouth. All I could do was question myself; why had this school rejected me? Was I not competent enough? Was I not involved enough? These questions swirled in my head and tormented me until I realized this:

I was still breathing. I hadn’t died because a school rejected me nor was my life completely shattered because of rejection; it happens. I’m not saying it’ll happen to all of you (I pray that you all get into the schools you’ve worked so hard for) but the reality is that along with many of the exciting opportunities you will be offered in the upcoming weeks, you may also have some disappointing mishaps. If one of your friends gets into a school and you didn’t, be happy for them and support them. A rejection letter is no reason to get angry or sad with others or yourself, it just means that you’ll be able to share your talents and ideas at another institution. And who knows? You may find that you were meant for that other school you never saw yourself attending.

New Year, New Semester!!!!

angelica-85A new year, a new me!!! Oh no, I’m not going to sit here and tell that lie. It’s a new year, that’s true, but I am still the same old Angelica. Of course I plan on improving my self, maybe find a new job, and study a bit harder. This year I plan on obtaining my dream GPA, which is a 4.00. Last semester, I was just two points away from a 3.00, and I tell you that was a blessing.

I had very rocky fall semester because I changed my Major from Mass Communications to English. I had a lot of catching up to do and that was a lot of hard work. I took on 15 credit hrs and worked two part-time jobs. Yes, last semester was horrendous and I am looking forward to spring semester being just as crazy.

Now that I am a second semester Sophomore, I’ve learned to manage my time so that things won’t overwhelm me. In college managing time is pertinent. I’m looking forward to spring semester being enlightening and a lot of hard work. I’m also looking forward to snatching up my dream GPA, 4.00 all the way, but if not, a 3.00 will be just as good. When things get rough, I  always keep in mind that those things are temporary; temporary discomfort in order to gain long term success!!!

Peace, love, enjoy your journey…