When I first found my freshmen year roommate, I had the naïve perception that I would be rooming with her all four years. I thought we would be best friends, perhaps bicker a little at times, but overall get along fairly well.
Needless to say, I was wrong.
I’m still friendly with my freshmen year roommate. When we lived together, we had a lot of the same friends and hung out at the same places. But when sophomore year rolled around and I had decided I would rather not live with her again, I noticed I was also hanging out with a new group of people.
A family friend who went to the same university as me (who had actually graduated before I got there) told me that after her sophomore year she completely “threw out” her old friends and found new ones. I didn’t think that would happen to me. It sounded far too drastic.
Turns out, that’s exactly what happened.
After sophomore year, following some inner turmoil, I realized many of my friends were not the friends I thought they were. Almost simultaneously, a new group of girls reached out to me—ironically, they were to be my future sorority sisters. Since I was an unaffiliated sophomore, I simply hung out with them outside of Greek events, until I ended up joining.
Sometimes the best thing to do in college is try your friends on for size. You’ve probably heard this advice given with regard to dating around your campus, but I strongly believe it also applies to friendship circles. I know from a far off standpoint it seems like such a huge jump to make, but sometimes it’s a necessary one.
My freshmen year roommate is still great friends with our mutual friends from our first year—and I’m still friendly with all of them, but I don’t consider them my closest friends. Sometimes there isn’t a turnover rate with friendships, as in my former roommate’s case, and that’s perfectly fine, too.
As for me, I’m pretty glad it happened. If I had stuck around with the same group all four years, I never would have met these equally amazing girls. It’s always good to stray away from your core group of friends just to experiment, whether it’s through your extracurricular activities, classes, or sports—but that doesn’t mean you have to change anything permanently. I don’t consider my change of friends permanent, seeing as I still talk to my “old ones.” But they have become what is probably the most important element of my life on campus.
So don’t be afraid if you find yourself hanging out with new groups. As long as you make the effort to keep up contact, you can always still have a connection with the friends you’ve had for longer. The change doesn’t have to be a cold, hard shift from one group to the next. In fact, it’s a common college experience: healthy, helpful, and normal.
CollegiateACB is an online forum, with individual pages for multiple colleges and universities. The point of the website is to allow for anonymous feedback and insight into a particular school, usually given by its students. However, I have found the website to have been exploited and instead used to bash individual students, Greek organizations, as well as other aspects of campus.
If you log onto CollegiateACB, you will mostly see posts that refer to gossip. For example:
- Who is the best senior girl to hook up with?
- Rank the sororities! Which is the worst one to join?
- Why are there so many (“insert Ethnic group here”) on campus?
As you can see, not only is this website hurtful and embarrassing in itself, but it is also detrimental to the reputation of people and organizations on campus. If a sorority’s so-called “stereotype” is repeatedly broadcast online, their recruitment rate could fall drastically. This can, in the worst scenarios, result in their particular chapter dying off campus because no one wanted to join.
I also had a close friend who read something online about herself that was completely untrue and put a huge damper on her self confidence. The post referred to my friend “being easy” and “spreading her legs for anyone.” The worst part about knowing how false this accusation was fell into the fact that nothing could be done to take that post back. Numerous people replied to the post, asserting its falsehood in defense of my friend, but the damage was done.
Even after college, websites still exist that are meant to share insight and helpful information about particular aspects of certain cities. Various sites like these have popped up, and when you log on you will see adults posting threads that are not too dissimilar from the ones you would see on CollegiateACB. It’s an unfortunate realization that sometimes people never grow out of the temptation to gossip, even after leaving school.
I strongly believe that websites such as these should be shut down. But I know better than to think that’s a possibility this day in age. Websites will always have the ability to take on a new form. For example, our university had the original CollegeACB website shut down and blocked from its WiFi network, and that ban managed to last a year. Then early this summer I came across the new version because people had begun posting the URL to their Facebook statuses and advertising it on new freshmen Facebook groups.
It’s unfortunate that people rely so much on gossip to learn the “real deal” about their schools. The worst part is that it’s really not what they think it is. People are drawn to gossip whether it has validity or not—sometimes they’re even conscious that it doesn’t. It is a side effect of the technologies we have today. Until the creation of these websites is outlawed by national regulations, rather than by private institutions, I think we are stuck. Until then, it will be up to us to resist posting on these hurtful websites and to rely on our common sense when evaluating a group, organization, or fellow human being.
The final month countdown to school consists of many things: deciding what to pack, going through your belongings to size them down, and quite a few other routines. If this is your first time leaving for college, especially, you might feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to prepare.
Something I have found extremely valuable while away at college is a very simple item—but one that provides me with a lot of memories while I’m away. It’s a T-shirt quilt. I was going through some old clothes I wanted to get rid of before returning to school, and suddenly the idea popped into my head. I researched online to find companies that you could send your old T-shirts to, that would then make them into a quilt. It was a great way to preserve the shirts that were taking up space in my dressers because I never wore them anymore, but that I still wanted to hold onto for sentimental reasons.
After some very meticulous research, I came across The Quilt Loft. They charged you by the T-shirt, so you could control how expensive it would be to send everything off. They charged a deposit onto my credit card first and then took the rest of the money from the sale after they had already shipped the finished quilt to me. Compared to many other companies, The Quilt Loft was the least expensive and they did an amazing job! Check out the first photo of the professionally done quilt I received from them.
I eventually ended up finding more T-shirts and, instead of spending more money to have them made into another quilt, I made my own! I already had a black throw I wasn’t using at home, so I cut and sewed the shirts onto them. Then I bought another black throw and quilt batting from the local craft store and sewed it all together. The second photo is of my own homemade quilt!
Having these two quilts at school is a great way to remind me of home when I’m away. They’re also quite useful for taking naps when I’ve had a long day! Sometimes if you don’t want to use the quilt on your bedspread, you can even hang it on your wall as decoration.
Obviously, when you compare both of the quilts, the professionally made product is nicer, but I would say my handmade quilt is a close second, especially in terms of comfort. I really love both of my T-shirt quilts, and now I have loads of memories that have been converted into practical, everyday items.
Some things to consider when looking at quilting companies:
-How do they charge you? Is all of the payment upfront or is it in increments?
-How big do you want your quilt to be? If the company charges by the T-shirt, be sure to be reasonable with your own price range when deciding which shirts to send.
-What extras would you want? Sashing is when there is a type of “border” around each shirt, instead of having the shirts sewn right next to one another. This usually costs more.
As you can see from the first photo, my professional quilt has sashing and is 3×4 shirts in width and length. The total for my quilt was $159, compared to $300+ for the same thing from other companies. It was an investment in something I will definitely value for years to come.
Click the link below to experience The Quilt Loft for yourself!
Work-study, part time, internships…which job is the right job? Follow these five guidelines in order to become one step closer to securing the right job for you on campus.
1. Determine the Type of Job You Want or Need
The first thing I recommend doing when searching for an on-campus job is determining your financial aid package. Sometimes you have qualified for a work-study job that can be in any department at your university. Normally there is a deadline early in the fall term that you must be hired by, or you will lose that part of your package. If you do not qualify for work-study, this means you are ineligible to be hired by a department that is work-study only. In this case you need to be looking for part-time jobs on campus that are not designated as such. If you are interested in a fall semester internship, these must usually be applied for the summer prior, so be sure you have those deadlines straight.
2. Search and Network
Find out if your school has an online or print database that lists all of the jobs available, and job types at that. Normally in such an online database you can narrow down your results to only the type of job you are looking for, and enter a keyword that represents what type of work you wish to do. Also attend job fairs on campus. Usually there will be a work-study fair early in the fall semester, and sometimes part-time positions will be advertised there as well.
3. Narrow It Down
Do you want to work in a department related to your major? Have you lifeguarded in the past and wish to work at the rec center? These are all important things to consider when deciding what jobs to apply for. Many work-study positions require their students to perform a lot of administrative tasks—other positions give you plenty of time to do your own homework. Keep that in mind as well. Do you want to sit at the front desk at the rec center, swiping people in and doing homework simultaneously, or do you want office experience?
4. Apply, Apply, Apply
Send out as many applications as you see fit. Bring your resume to those job fairs, and be prepared to answer any questions that are directed toward you. Dress appropriately when attending such fairs, or whenever you anticipate you will be interacting with a potential employer. Go to as many interviews as you are able, get to know the atmosphere surrounding the position, and don’t accept an offer unless you’re absolutely sure it’s what you want and can handle.
5. Accept the Job and Stay
Many people switch on-campus jobs frequently throughout their four years at school, and they have good reason. I recommend, however, whenever possible, that you stay with your position as long as you can. This builds up a great reference pool for when you apply for full-time jobs, having known your on-campus employer for multiple years. I have kept the same work-study job since my freshmen year, and will be continuing with it into my senior semesters. But at the same time, it is always understandable if you have a valid reason for wanting to leave (poor work environment, something more suited to you is offered the next year, etc.).
Following these five steps is a great way to find the right job for you and keep it for as long as you need. As always, start early and be prepared to sell yourself to those on-campus employers. After all, it’s students like you that they’re looking for. Best of luck!
In reality, it is pretty common amongst first year college students—myself being one of them. Another common phrase, “you live and you learn,” applies quite appropriately to dealing with sudden weight gain. Let’s take a look at some of the causes of gaining more weight than normal in a given school year, and then how to address them.
- Stress: When you make the transition from high school to college, the workload increases, as does your involvement on campus, most likely. And how do many people deal with stress? They stress eat. We’re all guilty of it at some point.
- Availability of Food: My university required all freshmen to have an unlimited meal plan, so I could swipe myself into the dining hall as often as I wanted, or needed. It was easy to lose track of how much food I was consuming every week, let alone each day. You need to be careful because, even though food is readily available on campus, you need to monitor how much you actually eat. Chances are, it’s more than you think.
- Idleness: Sometimes with our schedules at school we’re too busy to exercise. I’m a dance minor at school and I still managed to gain 12 pounds my first year. It just turns out that I took in more calories than I burned. Try to take a PE class every couple of semesters. As a supplement to that, or an alternative, you can make good use of your rec center on campus. It’s there for you!
Ways to Deal with the Above
- Monitor What You Eat: Simply put, just watch what you’re consuming. If you realize you’ve been stopping by the local café and getting a doughnut three times a week, it might be time to cut back. If you’ve been relying on sugary or caffeinated beverages to keep up your energy and stay awake, try to get more sleep and/or decrease your sugar intake so you become less reliant on it. It’s easier said than done to sleep more at school, but good time management skills can buy you at least a couple more hours a night. And finally, remember that alcoholic drinks have tons of calories, too.
- Have an Active Summer: I was quite surprised by the middle of the summer following my freshmen year. I had been working at a retail shop since I got home in June, standing and moving for four or five hours at a time without a break. When I decided to weigh myself toward the middle of July, I realized that I had lost all 12 pounds I gained at school, and was back to where I was before I started college. It was a pleasant surprise that being on my feet for longer periods of time (and earning good money simultaneously!) was enough to get me back to where I wanted to be. If you find that you’ve gained more weight than you would have liked to, I highly recommend a retail or similar fast-paced environment for the summer.
Remember this: in spite of your stress, comfort foods can only take you so far. You can still feel sluggish after a sugar high, and it’s much better to balance those types of foods with healthier alternatives. It’s okay to consume fats and high-calorie foods at times (in fact, it’s recommended!). Just make sure you also have foods and drinks that will sustain you. I’ve kept this in mind ever since my freshmen year, and I’ve managed to stay within my target weight range through to my upcoming final semesters.
Believe me, being at a healthy weight during school, and one that you’re comfortable with, will propel you academically as well. When you feel your best, your energy level reflects that. And we all know that energy is one of our best friends at school!
Our closets grow, our desks overflow, and to put it simply, our belongings expand from the time we move in to the time we move out. Summer storage is something to think about early on. You’ll want to be aware of locations of storage units by your campus, the rates, the quality, and experiences of prior customers. Below are a few possibilities you can consider, both for higher price options and plans that don’t break the bank.
For the Frugal Student
You’ve got friends who probably have a similar problem. Go into a storage unit together. My freshmen year I rented a 5×10 ft. storage unit and split it three ways. The price was great, and our belongings stayed safe throughout the entire summer. You’ll also need a lock that has been approved by the storage facility, which ranges from around $7 to $10. In addition, be sure to coordinate getting your things out the following fall term, if you’re not planning to come together. Perhaps the person who returns to campus first should put their things at the very front of the storage unit, so that they don’t have to climb over everyone else’s and risk damaging anything.
For Those Who Wish to Get Their Money’s Worth
There are two options: the first is to rent out a storage unit yourself (usually a 5×5 ft. locker will work well; I have also done this option and was able to fit most of my things inside). This means all of the payment is on you, but at the same time all you need to worry about is you.
The second option is to use a service, such as UPS or an on-campus company. Usually they will supply you with boxes, or sell them for a small fee, and you can pack them up yourself. Then the carrier will pick up the boxes from your dorm/apartment and store them all summer for you. In the fall, they bring your boxes to your new location. While extremely convenient, the prices can climb fairly high.
Other Things to Consider
I recommend renting a climate-controlled unit, so that your belongings don’t get overheated during the summer. Most rental places also require renters to have insurance—either bought through the company and paid per month (in addition to your rent), or through your homeowner’s insurance. Be sure to investigate that before you book.
Location is also very important, especially if you don’t have guaranteed transportation when moving your things. Sometimes the best option is to share a unit with a friend who does have transportation, or to simply use the pickup option.
Planning early and asking around your friend circles is the most efficient way to guarantee that you find the best choice for summer storage, and the best value!
Towards the conclusion of freshmen year especially, it’s an exciting time to select your housing for the upcoming school year. You might be inundated with offers to live with some friends on or off campus—or you might be struggling to find the right housing situation for you. Either way, it’s recommended that you consider these five points when picking your housing for any year:
1. Living with Friends
At face value, it seems obvious that living with your closest friends is the best option. However, this is not always the case. In fact, it might be a poor choice more than it’s a good one. When you live with someone you’re extremely close to, you might find that your living habits are drastically different. This can lead to constant bickering and arguments about how you want your dorm room or apartment to be. Unfortunately, sometimes this results in losing a close friendship. This won’t always happen, of course, but if you’re planning to live with a close friend, make sure your living habits are compatible to some extent.
2. Do You Have a Car?
This wasn’t an issue my freshmen year because all underclassmen at my university are required to live on campus and freshmen are not allowed to have cars. However, when you have a choice to live on or off campus, it’s important to consider your transportation options. Is there a shuttle service from off campus areas to your university? Is it within walking distance? Will you have to commute far via car or bus to get to class each day? These are always good questions to ask yourself before making the decision to live off campus.
3. Pricing: On Campus versus Off
Sometimes living in an apartment with a monthly lease, rather than an on-campus residence, is less expensive. Do the math. If your school offers a dorm or on-campus apartment for $3500 a semester, how much cheaper or more expensive would a lease be at, let’s say, $500 a month? When looking at rents you should also estimate utilities, cable, Internet, and trash pickup, as those are not always included in the base rent. In addition, if you sign a year lease but won’t be around for the summer, you might also want to consider subletting.
4. Furnished or Not?
Most dorms and on-campus apartments are fully furnished, which is why those housing options are usually more expensive. When you move off campus, you will likely be responsible for furnishing much, if not all, of your place. You need to decide what type of furniture (i.e.: a bed and desk) is necessary and what isn’t (i.e.: a flat-screen television). Then you need to factor in the cost, and estimate how close the price will be to the price of living on campus, if the money is of concern. Finally, you need to plan out when and how to move everything in.
5. Available Resources
Various resources are usually available on your school’s housing website, which should list the housing options available for various students, the rates, and the amenities. There might also be a link to certified off-campus housing finders. Do a quick Google search or sweep of your school’s website to fund such resources.
It’s always important to consider these points in order to avoid housing hell. Having personally dealt with some roadblocks when trying to get the housing I needed at school, I recommend that you have a primary plan and a few backups. Just remember the resources you have if your housing situation doesn’t work out, or if you run into some other problems along the way or during the school year. Remember, housing only lasts a year (or semester if you really need to move somewhere else), and having a good environment to come home to after class or your extracurricular activities is one of the best sources of alleviating stress!
When it comes time to find a summer internship, or a full-time job when you’re fresh out of college, it takes a lot to stand out from the pool of applicants who have the exact same goals as you. So make yourself unique, and try these five steps in order to significantly increase your chances of getting hired:
1. Update your Resume
Make sure your resume includes all relevant information that pertains to where you are applying. Sometimes you might need to make multiple versions in order to suit various applications. Instead of labeling your previous employment “Work Experience,” try calling it “Professional Experience,” especially if it is in your field (perhaps from a previous internship, a work study position, etc.). If you have worked in retail or food service, sometimes it’s better to leave that out to save space, unless the skills you gained are relevant to the position you are seeking. Remember, try to keep your resume down to one or two pages; the employers are looking at many at a time, and if you have more information on yours than necessary, it could be too overwhelming for them to really focus on.
2. Create a Personal Website
This is a great option, especially if you have a portfolio. Rather than turning in just a resume and cover letter that lists your achievements, provide a link to your website where the employer can view your actual work. That way, if they are truly interested, they can better familiarize themselves with what you do. This will also increase your chances of being contacted, based on the professional presentation you have given them to work with.
3. Show Demonstrated Interest
Don’t be so persistent to the brink of becoming an annoyance, but if you have a genuine interest in a specific company, try to meet up with recruiting representatives at job fairs or campus visits. That way, you’re able to get your name on the table and show that you would really like to work there. Give them a reason to think you would be a great addition to the company.
Whether it’s after a job fair conversation or a formal interview, you should always follow up (an email is best) and thank the person/people you spoke with. For example, let them know you enjoyed talking with them and learning about the company, and that you look forward to hearing from them soon. After that, however, you need to leave it up to them for a while. It is unprofessional to inquire about a position if you are still within the decision period that they specified.
5. Stay Interested
Even if you don’t end up getting hired for that specific position, you can inform the company that you would be open to having them keep your resume on file (especially if you are very set on working with that company). This is not a guarantee, but having already interacted with them at this level can push you ahead of other applicants for newer positions.
In these five ways you can put yourself out there, showcase your abilities in a unique way, and make those companies remember you. As always, nothing is guaranteed in today’s job market, but repeating these steps as many times as it takes can certainly project you further. Good luck!
If you decide that you would like to apply for your department’s honors program, it almost becomes like applying for college all over again. You’ve been accepted to the school, chosen or applied for a departmental major, and taken many (or all) of the courses required to complete your degree. However, if you’re like me and want to give that extra boost to your resume, while simultaneously exploring your area of study in your own way, take these guidelines into account.
I came into my university knowing I wanted to major in Creative Writing, and that I wanted to write an Honors thesis my senior year. However, that’s not the case for everyone. Some students are double or triple-majors (depending on what your school allows) and might not have decided which program they would like to pursue a thesis in, if any. Sometimes the programs that accept or reject your thesis proposal end up making the decision for you.
However, once you know you might be considering an honors project in at least one of your majors, you should make an appointment with your adviser and/or other faculty members in that department to discuss the application process. If there is anything you can do as an underclassman to prepare and increase your chances when you apply, this will give you the ability to do so. Sometimes departments have students begin their theses prior to senior year, so it’s a good idea to make sure you know when the deadlines to apply are.
Have a Good Idea of Your Project
When you meet with faculty members, show them that you’ve been thinking about possible projects. This will demonstrate your seriousness in actually taking part in their program. Most of the time the department’s faculty members are the ones who review all of the applications and make the final decision. Make sure they know you’re serious.
Once You’re in the Program
Stay focused. When you’ve been accepted into one or more honors program, you can only choose one. Also, while you may get class credit for your project, you might not always be sitting in a physical classroom. Much of your work and research will be done on your own. It’s important not to forget that you need to be working consistently on your own time. This way, the bulk of your work won’t culminate at the end of the year.
Check in with Your Thesis Adviser
Again, don’t wait until March or April when your defense is only weeks away to really get into the guts of your project. Your thesis supervisor is your number one resource and you should be checking in with them at a consistent pace throughout the year (and the summer before, if applicable). If you need assistance or have questions, ask them.
Understand the Possible Outcomes
Cum Laude – Graduation with Honors
Magna Cum Laude – Graduation with High Honors
Summa Cum Laude – Graduation with Highest Honors
Depending on the institution, maintaining a certain GPA will allow you to graduate with honors as well. However, sometimes for the higher levels, you must complete and successfully defend your thesis. If you feel that you can take on the responsibility of completing an honors project, I highly recommend it. It allows you to experiment with the skills you have attained and the subjects you have studied, taking it all to the next level. Not to mention, it adds a punch to your graduate school and/or job applications.
The most important element of pursuing an honors project is that it is something that interests you, and something that you think will be beneficial to you and others in the long run.
When I joined my sorority, I understood that I hadn’t “bought” my friends, nor had I suddenly committed myself to becoming part of one prototype. At many schools this may not always be the case—stereotypes can exist, but you should still never assume that they apply to everyone in a given chapter. Even chapters within the same Greek organization sometimes vary by school.
Typically when you accept a bid from a fraternity or sorority, you have officially begun the pledging process (however, some chapters choose not to use the term “pledging,” especially for sororities, and instead just refer to the process as the education of their new members). You learn about the history of your chapter, the national organization itself, and prepare for your own initiation.
A Few Common Concerns During the Pledging/Educating Process
Hazing: My school has an anti-hazing policy, as do many universities, and will issue discipline as necessary. This does not always deter chapters from engaging in such activities, which is why I turned to my recruitment counselors for insight on which chapters would be a better match for me in that regard—just in case. However, most chapter activities should be all in good fun. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, it is all right to say no to doing something. This is usually a good time to step back and evaluate the chapter you’ve chosen based on how they respect your decisions.
Time Commitment: It is common to feel overwhelmed when you need to attend new member meetings, events, or other activities in such a small period of time. Don’t fret! If you feel you have scheduling issues, talk to your brothers or sisters, especially those in charge of new members, and you can usually work out a way to fit everything in.
Uncertainty: Again, if you still have reservations on being initiated, I would recommend spending as much time as possible with your new chapter. See how you fit in at the house, and how easy it is to speak up and simply be yourself. There is always that period of time when you can pull out with minimal consequences, if any.
Things to Look Forward To
Chapter Meetings: These are weekly meetings, usually in the evening, where both fraternities and sororities meet as a chapter to touch base and discuss their goals for the week, month, semester, etc. Events can be announced during this time, elections held, and so on.
Social Events: Sororities and fraternities frequently hold mixers at a specified location, either at one of the houses or a venue off campus. If you’re in a sorority, you can get to know members of other fraternities that you mix with, and visa versa. Date parties, crush parties (where sorority women can bring more than one date to an event and everyone just mingles), fall semi formals, and spring formals are also events to look forward to.
Events on Campus: During Homecoming week and other events around campus that promote school spirit, Greek organizations will usually have a float in a parade, a table at a fair, or take some other initiative to promote their presence on campus. This is a great way to establish good relations with other chapters and clubs on your campus.
Philanthropy and Other Community Involvement: Most chapters, if not all, are partnered with a philanthropy and will volunteer or fundraise for that, as well as for other charities. Being involved in Greek life can give you the opportunity to volunteer on multiple occasions with your chapter and with other people—this is great if you are already interested in volunteering but unsure of how to get involved with those types of organizations at your school.
Officer Positions: If you want to have more say in the directions your chapter is steered toward, you can run for general board or executive board positions. This is an excellent way to become more involved in the sorority itself, get to know how everything is run, and have your ideas working at the forefront.
Just Keep in Mind!
I still remember the most helpful piece of information that was given to me when I went through recruitment: at every house I went to, I was told that I could be as involved or uninvolved as I wanted (as I mentioned in a previous post). You don’t have to run for an officer position if you feel like the time commitment is too much. You don’t have to attend every philanthropic event. However, try to attend as many events as you can, of all types, simply because they’re fun. They’re a great way to network, get to know other people on campus, people in your chapter, and people in the greater community.
I can’t stress enough how important it is to make the most of your time in college. However, joining a Greek organization is only one way to do so, and it is certainly never a requirement. For me, it ended up being a viable option that I have thoroughly enjoyed. For you, it may not be so. But for these reasons, I think anything that sparks your interest – any club, group, sport, class, honor society, etc. – deserves a chance, even if it takes a while for that spark to ignite.