Posts Tagged Illinois Wesleyan University

Calm and Quiet Summer

ashley-85This summer has been anything but exciting. Coming home later than I did last year has made it quite difficult in finding a job. While most kids would think this is an awesome way getting to spend their summer, I can assure you that it is not. One thing that I have done this summer was get back into reading for pleasure. With so much free time on my hands I have been passing the time with reading.

It started with me first reading to my nephew, who turned one last month, to having the desire to read for myself. This is something that I haven’t really done since the summer before my senior year of high school. I got so busy with getting ready for college and then going to college and working and all of these super grown up things that I let go of the one thing I enjoy the most.

While I still really wish I had a job this summer I am thankful that I have been reminded just how nice it is to read something that is not academic for a change. While you are getting ready to go to college and spending all that time becoming an adult, just remember to keep the things you enjoy near and dear to your heart as you never know when you will need them. Always make time to do something that makes you smile. You never know when you will have the time to do some of these things, but when you do you will remember just how special they are.

Play Term

ashley-85This year, I took a class during what my school calls May term. This is one class that is 3 hours every day for 3.5 weeks. That sounds like way too much right? At first I was a little worried too. 15 hours of class a week, with the same professor! As I just started my final week, I am here to say it wasn’t that bad. You might think that having only one class means there is a lot more work, but with me it was not that way (that doesn’t mean, unfortunately, that there was less either.) Only having one class did give the professors more time to be creative with the material and the class. The class I am taking is Social Work in Action and for the class we have taken field trips all around the community and even one to Chicago to learn about all of the Human Services agencies in the community. It has really opened my eyes to what is out there! After semesters and a May term, I can say that this class is the class that I have gotten the most out of. It was well worth the extra month of school.

If you are already in college, then I would suggest to look and see if your school offers something like this. If they do then I would definitely suggest taking it. I know that means giving up a little bit of your summer, but it is definitely worth it.

If you are in high school and looking at colleges, then look out for programs like these and talk to the schools and their students about their programs. It is definitely a unique opportunity and something that I think is definitely worth looking into. You never know what you could learn, it might be something that could change your life!

If you do consider doing something like this, or even a summer school option, then pick something you are interested in. It will make giving up that time a lot easier and you will have a lot more fun with it than you think.

Money isn’t Everything

ashley-85The biggest problem I have had with college is the cost of it, especially since I could have gone to an in-state community college for almost free. Instead I chose to follow my dream and I have been struggling ever since. I have had many people criticize me on my choice and there have been many times that I have wanted to quit, to move back home where it would definitely be less expensive and in turn less stressful, but I wake up every morning happy that I am still here. There are many kids at my school who do not understand what it is like to barely be able to pay tuition, but, unlike I originally thought, I am not the only one in my position on my campus.

While I don’t want to tell you to not pay attention to cost, I also do not want that to be the only thing you think of. College is a place for many of us to reach the dreams we never thought we could and to find new ones; and if you are not happy with where you are at, then that won’t happen. Here are some tips so that you are not desperate at the end of the semester to pay off your semester’s tuition:

-Make payments on time. My school has payment plans and although you only get a small fee if you do not make payments on time it is much more manageable and less stressful to make the payments then coming up with it all at one time.

-Use meal plans. We all know that cafeteria food sucks, but if you are paying for it then use it and don’t order pizza every night.

-Sales and coupons. If you are shopping, no matter what it is for, find sales and use coupons. See if you get student discounts or frequent shopper discounts at the places you go.

-Needs over wants. If you don’t need it then it can wait.

-Laundry. If you can take your laundry home. If not, try cost effective options like hang drying your clothes. It may take twice as long but it is free and better for the environment.

-Shop around for books. If you can, shop around online for your books. Most places you can find them cheaper than at school and there are also places that you can sell your books back to. It’s a great way to get some extra cash.

-Work Study. If you are eligible, get a work study job. They have a maximum number of hours and every penny counts.

Giving Thanks: Past and Present

ashley-85As Thanksgiving is upon us, it is once again time to give thanks, and I want to give thanks to those in my past and in my future who have helped me get to where I am today.

I am very thankful for those teachers who were always there to help me, two specifically. A teacher in high school was probably the first person that made me feel like I truly belonged and had faith in me and in my future.  This year I have a sociology professor that has helped me find the right path for me and my future.

An obvious group to thank are always friends, who are always there to support and help me when I am down, and family, although there are some who have made this a difficult process, there are others who have made it worth it. Especially my brother, who I pretty much would be at a lost if it weren’t for him.

Of course I want to thank CSO. Not only do they give me help with paying for school, but they also give me the opportunity to help others like me, which is what I want to devote my life to doing.

Lastly, I want to thank my uncle, who passed away. He was the father that I never had. I am eternally grateful for what he did for me and I am not sure I would be here if it wasn’t for him. I never got to thank him but I am more and more thankful everyday and I wish I would have told him that.

So my advice to you: thank the people you are grateful for. We take so many people and things for granted. I know at times it might feel like it is you against the world, but you will find that some of the people you least expect to be helpful are sometimes the most helpful.

Back for Round Two

ashley-85After a summer of working and playing with me new nephew, it is time to go back to college. As I return to campus I think of all the fun that this year will bring. I am looking forward to all my classes and my new roommate. I cannot wait to see my friends! I think of all the ways I am going to be a better student this year. For all the incoming freshman here are a few tips for you:

Get yourself set on a good schedule early on.

Take classes you’ll enjoy. You don’t want to be miserable.

Join clubs!

Make a ton of friends

Most importantly have fun!

Is it here yet??

ashley-85As I have previously mentioned, I applied late and that only made the waiting game worse. I had to hear all about my friends getting their letters in while I still hadn’t heard anything. I tried to hide my anxiety by working more, but it didn’t help. Everyday before work, I would come home and the first thing I would do is check the mail. If the mail wasn’t there yet, I would search for it when I would get home from work. More and more I kept hearing about friends and classmates getting their letters and mine hadn’t come yet. When my first letter came, like usual I was looking for this big envelope… and it wasn’t there. As I was flipping through the rest of the mail, I came across a small envelope from one of the schools which I had applied to. My heart dropped, I thought if I didn’t get in there how was I going to get into the school I really wanted?! I didn’t even notice the Congratulations that was printed on the front of the envelope. I slowly teared open the envelope and read the words, You have been accepted! My heart soared. Even though that wasn’t the school I really wanted to go to, the feeling was unbelievable! After that the other two, big envelopes came in within a few weeks of each other, but I will never forget that first letter.

Try not to stress out about when the letters are coming, because no matter how long it takes it will be worth it in the end.

Apply early. The earlier you apply, the earlier they may respond.

And remember, if you don’t get in where you wanted. Everything happens for a reason. :]

Big Brother

ashley-85Growing up there was always that one person who was with me through everything and that was my big brother. When it came to me growing up and going to college that did not change.  My brother was there every step of the way. He helped me sort through all the information, he took two weeks in a row off of work to drive to me to my college visits, he gave me his input on each school as well as others we did not visit, he drove me to my school on move-in day, he set up all my electronics, and as my freshman year is quickly coming to an end he will be there to take me back home.

Going to college was not just a big step for me, but it was for my brother too, and we were learning together. My brother did not go to college and stayed close to home so that he was close to me.  Although he would never admit it, he was sad that I had grown up and was leaving like we always talked about doing. I would have never made it anywhere without my brother, and although I am now in college and on my own, I know he is always there whenever I need him.

The Big V — The College Visit

ashley-85College visits can be exciting, nervewracking , scary, and crazy all at the same time, and it is not one of those things that gets easier with time.

Before your visit, contact your admissions counselor and discuss what you specifically want to see and ask about other unique features the campus offers. You can do either visit days or do an individual visit. I did both and personally prefer the individual visit, but I think it is good to experience both. Your admissions counselor can provide you with dates for visit days.

While you are there: ask questions, talk to students, visit the library, and, if you can, visit a class. Some schools also provide overnight stays, which I never did but would also suggest. If you play a sport or instrument I would also suggest visiting a game or concert. 

I would also suggest exploring the town or city in which the school resides – that way you know what you will and will not have if you go there.

Remember, this is just as much a first impression for the school as it is for you, but enjoy your tour. You will know when you find the perfect school for you.

THE Interview

ashley-85I didn’t have any in-person interviews.. all the schools I applied to were too far away. But I did have some over the phone interviews and here are a few tips:

Don’t Stress: I know how important an interview is, but if you start to get stressed and worried, not only will it show in your interview, but it will also have a negative effect on your interview.  So don’t worry- it will go fantastic. Just believe in yourself.

Be honest: No matter what you might think the interviewer wants to hear, be honest. You will gain respect for that. And truthfully the interviewer just wants you to be you.

Don’t try to figure out what the questions will be: When you start trying to figure it out you think of the hardest questions possible and that was never the case, at least for me. The questions will always be different and sometimes there will be questions that surprise you. There is no reason to be psyching yourself out.

No answer is a wrong answer: Normally in an interview they are trying to get a better sense of who you are, it is not a quiz of the knowledge you have.

When you send out your applications, whether it is in the mail or online you will feel relieved, but shortly after you will most likely start to get anxious. Some of your friends might get their response back before you do. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do but wait. A tip: send everything off as early as you can, that way you may get the response earlier. :]