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Posts Tagged College Transition

Straight outta the South

seanna-85Straight outta the South

2011 is right around the corner.  A new year often brings hopes of new opportunities, fresh starts, and unforeseen possibilities.  For college students, it marks the beginning of another semester.  For high school seniors, the majority of applications have been sent in and the waiting process begins.  Before the clock hits midnight on January 1st, many of you may write out resolutions and goals for the upcoming year.  Maybe you want to get straight A’s that last semester in high school, help your parents around the house more, or exercise 3-5 times a week.  All of those are great, but as you prepare to make those changes, remember to keep one important thing in mind.  You’re amazing just as you are.

As you finish up the last semester & start hearing back from different colleges, you may start envisioning your freshman year…the classes you’ll take, friends you’ll meet, and fun you’ll have.  In many cases, there are attributes or habits that students had in high school that they want to leave in high school, eager to present a fresh & new persona to college peers and professors.  Although the new educational atmosphere will most likely deviate considerably from your high school experience, you don’t have to lose who you were back at home in the process, especially as you try to transition.

I remember being afraid that I’d be too out of place in the big state of California (never mind that I’m in the tiny town of Claremont) after coming from a state like Arkansas.  I didn’t want to be the naïve country gal fresh outta the boondocks, so I tried to smother my accent at times and know just as much about “big city things” as others.  Only after I established strong friendships and felt more at home within the college did I realize that I didn’t need to be anyone else, or reshape who I was.  Now, people back home tell me that they don’t hear the accent anymore, and newcomers at school are surprised when I tell them that I’m from the South.  The tables have turned, and I’m not sure if it was for the best after all.  I didn’t “become” smarter because I lost my Southern twang.  I wasn’t a better person because my vowel sounds shortened, and I stopped “fixin’” to do things.  I’m still myself, and still capable of succeeding at Pomona while being that happy, Southern-raised belle.

As you start thinking more and more about college, resolve to be firm in who you are and believe in your beliefs and values.  It’s great to transform and grow, but it’s also okay to retain a strong sense of self and pride in who you are.  When looking back after more than a year, I’ve realized that many changes are imperceptible as they occur; only receiving notice long afterwards.  Maybe this year, one of my resolutions will be to reassume my deeply imbedded habit of using “ma’am” and “sir”…nothing wrong with a little hint of Southern hospitality : )

Harvard on Ice!

jesse-85Spring Semester!! Catch up with me and hear about all the cool things college has to offer outside of the classroom! Talk about options!

Check out this video!

A Chicana Hero

jesse-85College is the BEST!! I’ve had days where I felt overwhelmed and thought that I might not be able to make it to the end of the week, but that comes along with the transition. It’s something new, it’s something challenging, but it’s something you can handle.

When I first got here, the workload seemed impossible but it just takes getting used to. I’m feeling WAY better now that I’ve learned to balance things out and really find ways to make time for the things that really matter. I’m sure I’m still going to have days where I want to crawl into a corner and assume the fetal position but I’ve got everybody back home counting on me! You gotta find that special something to give you strength.

The opportunities in college are endless and the experiences you have here are going to stay with you forever. For example, I met Dolores Huerta on Friday!! She was the co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW) along with Cesar Chavez; she is a major civil rights leader who pioneered the way for not only Chicanos, but for all oppressed people. It was truly an honor to meet her. My friend Jesus-Mario and I even got to drop her off at the airport!! It was pretty crazy.

These opportunities are out there; you just have to reach for them!!

Who are you going to meet? Who are you going to impact?

Well, that all depends on how much work you put in now, while you’re still in high school.

I’m still a little shook from the honor of meeting Dolores Huerta.

If you work hard enough now, people could say the same thing when they meet you one day.

Cooking this week in Cali

seanna-85Have you ever heard the saying―“Out of the frying pan, and into the fire…”?

That’s pretty much my motto for the week, since I’m gearing up for mid-terms this Thursday and Friday―one in math and the other in Latin―while also maintaining my other classes…work…exercise…etc.  A few nights ago, I was sitting at my desk conjugating A-stem verbs (unsuccessfully, I might add)…and I realized that I was still in my volleyball gear from class earlier that day, kneepads and all.

Test weeks always feel like a blur to me…from one mode of studying to another.  And sometimes, I still have to remind myself to take a break and relax, whether that’s through volleyball, dancing, or even playing with my rats, Mike & Ike.

During my senior year of high school, I often forgot to let myself sit back and enjoy the year.  I was always working…or studying…or searching for scholarships.  And when I look back, I recall moments that I wish I’d simply had more fun…times that I wish I hadn’t been thinking of that upcoming History test over the Nazi Regime or the Psychology paper over chemicals correlated to addiction.

Those tests were one of many…but the movie nights and dances that I missed…were not.  Now I realize that this may sound like the old “live in the moment” and “smell the roses” lesson…but bearing those things in mind can help you create a balance that is necessary for good health and emotional well-being.

As you work on college essays, applications, high ACT and SAT test scores; keep in mind that many great schools also want to know that you’re involved in other activities…things that you enjoy.  Pomona was an especially good fit, because they weren’t interested in me as yet another high school test score, but rather, me as a person—with goals and passions and faults.

So…to sum this up…in the midst of all that senior-year perfection you’re constructing so that you bedazzle nationwide admission-ers, don’t forget to let loose every so often…shake your hair in the wind…smell the roses…dance & sing…have fun…just because…

“The best way to prepare for life is to begin to live.” Elbert Hubbard

Time Management 101

khadijah-85So, I’m at Harvard University. I have perfect time management skills, I’m some super-genius, and I got a 2600 on the SAT. Extra points for being awesome, of course. In my spare time, I rescue starving children in Africa. I wrote my first paper and got a A+ on it. I read Shakespeare in my sleep and spout rhetoric wisdom over lunch. I’m surrounded by super geniuses and us Hahvahd students, noses pointing towards the sky, relish in our superiority with the rest of the world. The lightbulb joke about Harvard sums it up: How many Harvard students does it take to screw in a lightbulb? One. One to hold the bulb and the world to revolve around it. 
If this were true, my life would be sooo much easier. 

So yeah, the truth is, I stayed up all night writing my comparative politics paper (I’ve subscribed to the college student’s words of wisdom- sleep no longer exists in college). I, of course, can never keep up with the thousands (ok exaggeration, but close) of pages of reading doled out every day. Time management is, to put it lightly, a bit of an issue for me (I can survive on 4-5 hours of sleep everyday, no problem)

So I’m freaking out, you would guess. Actually, I’m not. Ok, I am. That’s normal. But it’s not the end of the world. Because college isn’t just about things such as grades and tests and such. That’s part of it. You have all that, or you wouldn’t be reading this. What college is for us is the fact that we recognize that we don’t have perfect lives, or perfect SAT scores, but that we’ve put up with so much adversity and yet continue to thrive and succeed. That says more about your potential than a perfect SAT score ever will.

WHAT? College time already?

tereza-85Amazing.

That was one of my first impressions of college. College has been something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time and now that I’m here, I love it. I’m also very proud to be here since I’m the first one in my family to ever attend college.

I’ve had mainly good experiences at college and was able to get over one of my biggest worries, which was trying to meet people. I was worried that since I don’t live on campus that I was going to have a hard time making friends but I was wrong. Everyone here at Augsburg is very friendly.

Another thing that helped me meet people was that my school had what they call “Auggie Days” which are the 4 days before school starts and are packed with activities for the 1st year students so we can try to get to know each other in a fun environment. I made sure to attend everyday because I thought that that would be a great way to meet people. I made a lot of friends before school had even started. Those events really helped me meet people.

Besides meeting people I was also worried about time management. I knew that college was going to be a lot of work but I was prepared. I attended a “Time management” workshop so that I could learn how to use and plan my time wisely. I thought it was very beneficial.

There is also a great tutoring program and at anytime I can sign up to get tutored for free which I’m very glad to know that there will always be help if I need it.

My college experience so far has been great and I’m looking forward to see what the rest of this year brings!

Officially Chirping

seanna-85Glancing at the familiar faces in the dining hall, a peaceful emotion settled in my heart.  This was becoming my home, and I was okay with that.  More than okay really…I was thankful to be here.  Each day, realization hits me that I am in college, successfully participating.  For weeks, the idea of being the first in my family to attend college terrified me.  What if I was not as smart as everyone thought?  What if my writing made the literature teacher cringe, and what if I was unable to find derivatives in calculus?  I remember panicking during move-in day.  Stepping on the campus seemed surreal.  I felt that at any second, someone would tap me on my shoulder and tell me that I was in the wrong place, confirming my deepest fear.  However, this never happened, and soon, I was zipping from place to place, collecting keys, finding my room, and moving belongings into the dorm.  On the down side, the room was covered in ants, a persistent pest problem that still wakes me up every so often.  But on the plus side, my roommate was great, and our easy-going sarcasm broke the ice in minutes.  Hours later, with clothes neatly arranged in the closet and posters adorning every conceivable inch, our dorm looked more like home rather than four white walls and a ceiling.  Every day since has been filled with a new adventure, even if it’s as simple as waking up and heading to Advanced Problem Solving-my only class on Fridays.  I am growing confident that my college experience will help mold my influence within society.  After starting school this year, I believe that you mustn’t fear that you are unready for the impact of college, but instead, believe that college is not ready for what you’re destined to achieve!

100 Miles & Runnin

duylam-85I tried to think of what to say to the readers of this blog at first I was going to be specific and target the seniors, but after a draft I figured my message can be applied to everyone.

I remember October senior year, and now it’s a year later and I’m in college chasing these dreams of mine. It all seems so long ago, but when I look back it wasn’t, it just moved so fast – so fast it slipped out of my hands. Looking back on my high school career and much of my life, I honestly mean it when I say I regret some of it. As I step and move further away from my past, I understand what people mean when they say youth is wasted on the young. I don’t mean to make myself sound any wiser than I am, but the grass isn’t greener on the other side. The grass you’re standing is pretty much Kelly green. The problem is we never notice. We enjoy the things around us, but we don’t appreciate it.

You might read this now and think I’m completely bonkers, but you’ll know what I mean one day. So, my friend, stop yourself as you step forward to create wealth and success within your family. Don’t forget how sweet it is to be with your family or how fun it is to just kick it with your friends. As much as you want to be 18 or 21, you can only travel through time in one direction – forward – and with one speed – normal. Why not enjoy it?

Something Different…Life

dalonn-85Fresh air, a new environment, and the future awaited me. I arrived at school several days before classes actually started.  The adjustment wasn’t too hard. Everything was just how I imagined. The people were friendly, full of activities, and most of all I fit in. This is the life I said. Arriving early to school had many advantages. I was able to learn the buildings and areas around class. Also I had time to scope out the scenery. When I first arrived I worked a week for the event management staff and got involved in the flag football organization. My time was limited and everything seemed rush. I had too much going on at one time. Both my father and I thought it would be best for me to not work until second semester. I didn’t want to rush my studies. Football was good because it not only allowed me to stay in shape but also gave me a break from studies and relaxed me. Within a few days before school started, I already formed a group of friends. We played basketball, football, we walked the city, and we all were welcoming.

My roommates moved in and it was exciting. I live in a suite so there were many faces to get accustomed to. In my room I have two roomies, Nate and Steve. All together there are eight guys living in the suite. Most of them are from the New York and New Jersey area. My closest relationship was with Justin. He is a student manager of the basketball team. We had an instant connection. Already he felt like a brother to me.  On weekends we went to Brooklyn, his home town, many times. He showed me around the city and introduced me to the family. Already, I had a family away from home.

Classes started and it was pretty laid back. I take Philosophy, Theology- Intro to Christianity, Geo-Science, Western History, and Discover New York, which is my favorite class. We are required to do six hours of community service. The objective of the class is to learn the history of New York and to explore it. The hard part was getting all my books. Some of my books weren’t in our school bookstore so it required me to travel outside of school to get them. However, that only helped me explore my surroundings.

TIPS to Success

  • Remember to always keep the syllabus your professor gives you.
  • Sit up front and introduce yourself.
  • Be early.
  • Bring all necessary materials.
  • Ask questions even if you think it’s silly, no question is too silly.
  • Remember this is your education. Get the most out of it.
  • Email your professors.
  • If possible read more than assigned, therefore you are a step ahead of the game.