Thursday, November 19, 2015

Criminal Justice!

".......I know I want to work in this field, however, I do not know exactly what I want to do with my degree once I graduate. I know for sure I do not want to be a police officer or lawyer. I am interested in the administration part of the field, and I would like to work hands on with either suspects or victims, the irony.  My peers tell me that they can see me leaning towards either a counselor, social worker, or probation officer. I honestly do not have a clue....."

The above section was taken from a blog I wrote my sophomore year as to why I chose to major in Criminal Justice. Here I am in my senior year, and I have evolved so much since then.

I am confident in what I would like to do with my Criminal Justice degree, and I am ready to take whatever path needed to reach my goal. My ultimate goal is to work as a Federal Probation Officer. Being a criminal justice major and a sociology minor, you learn that nothing is black and white. The issues individuals and us as a society face are complex, and has a direct effect on people. As a Criminal Justice major, you learn that the goal for the CJ system is deterrence, incarceration, retribution, and rehabilitation, I firmly believe in the rehabilitation aspect of the system for offenders that have served their time for the crime they committed. who is now ready to be a productive citizen and move forward with their life. That is where the probation aspect falls into place. It is their job to supervise individuals for a set number of years once they are released from prison. We know that it is not going to be easy to get back on your feet, but we are there to provide resources to help along the way.

I generally care for the welfare of others, and feel that everyone deserves an equal opportunity to get their life together. One area where people struggle with such are those that have been through the CJ system. Being a criminal justice major, has sparked my interest to pursue a job where I can play an active role in that process.

Once you graduate college, you may or may not get your dream job right away. Do not get discouraged. Remember sometimes you have to start from the bottom before you can make it to the top. I am ready to take whatever path necessary to reach the goal. I would not be where I am now, without  my education the help I received from my peers, professors, and advisors.  When you come to USA, take advantage of all the resources available for you all. Get an internship, log some volunteer hours, speak with your advisor, visit career services, the list goes on...just never give up on your goal!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Becoming the Better You

High School Graduation

Entering college is a change in itself. You are now experiencing freedom that you may not have once had. You are embarking on a journey that would shape the rest of your life. There are a couple of changes that are taking place:

1. You have a new sense of independency
2. You are growing in knowledge. Learning in a field that interests you, that will one day be the foundation for what you will do as a career for the rest of your life.
3. You are surrounded by tons of old and new faces. Ranging from so many different races, ethnicities, personalities, demeanors, etc
4. You are learning things about your self you never knew existed.

That is what college is all about. If I had to sum it up into one sentence I would say: College is about growth, change, interactions and experiences.

I have grown as a person in so many different areas since my first semester at USA. Now upon completing my LAST semester I can genuinely say that my experiences and interactions during my time at the University of South Alabama has made me who I am today.

First: USA Has Given Me A Promising Future: This is what I have as a student at USA. My major is Criminal Justice, and even though it is not as high of a demand as Nursing or Engineering, the professors, faculty and staff in my department have really worked  hard to ensure that we have a smooth transition through out college and entering into the job market. The advisers take the time to sit and consult with you about your future plans and help you figure out the best path for reaching your goals. With the help of the CJ department I have had the opportunity to volunteer with our local Rape Crisis Center here in Mobile, and I am currently completing an internship at the VERY agency I hope to work for in my career, the US Federal Probation Office. I mean this is what College is all about. Setting a foundation to reach your next step in life, entering the job market.

Second: My JOB:  I know that you have already read about how awesome my job is being a JagGuide. It really has had such an impact on my character and professionalism. I started out my first semesterr as the shy timid freshman. However, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to take a leadership position as Senior JagGuide. I can not begin to express how many skills I have gained from being employed here. From it just being social skills, professional skills, and becoming a good leader. If you would have asked me 4 years ago if I was leadership material I more than likely would not have believed so, however, being at USA that has changed.

Third: Opportunities: I have had countless opportunities as a student here at USA. There are so many ways to get involved and make great connections. I am a member of Women of Excellence (WOX), Member of First Generation College Students (FGCS), a member of fashion organization House of Jags, served as a Statistics tutor for the Math Department for a semester, a member of the Gathering Campus Ministries, a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Every one of these opportunities have helped develop me into the person I am today. I have also had the opportunity to develop many friendships along the way. Also this Summer, I had the opportunity to Study Abroad in London., England. That experience alone has completely changed my perspective in life. Seeing and experiencing people and interactions in a foreign country was a one in a million experience, that also allowed me to form an unbreakable bond with five girls I would have otherwise not known.

London, England

Study Abroad Buddies (TEAM FUN)

Lastly: Friends: Lastly, I would just like to say that my experiences here as a student would not have been complete without the people I was/am able to share them with. I have made life-long friends here  and I am so glad that they are apart of my life and journey here at USA. There is nothing like always having someone  there for the good and bad, or just someone that can give you astounding advice and encouragement when you need it.

Freshman Year

Junior Year

Senior Year

Senior Year ITS BEEN REAL USA :)


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Jags Got Spirit Yes We Do, Jags Got Spirit How About You?


No matter where you are near or far the word homecoming always means a good time. Here at South Alabama, homecoming week is what students look forward to all semester long. It brings the campus together better than anything else, because we all have something in common and something to be proud of, WE ARE JAGUARS!

Homecoming week is the week you show your school spirit the most. There is literally something planned for the students every day of the week. Our theme this year is one I could not be more proud to be apart of: Building Our Legacy.

The way I show school spirit is by attending and participating in most if not all of the events scheduled. This is where I put aside all the stress that comes with classes and take some time to enjoy being a South Alabama Jaguar. If I do not participate in anything else, homecoming is always an exception. So far the events I have enjoyed most this week is the "Let's get Fired Up" bonfire on our intramural field. It was a nice relaxing laid back setting that gave you a chance to mingle with class mates or neighbors you haven't been able to see this semester. It also gave you the opportunity to meet new people. Another event I have enjoyed was the Battle of the DJs, hosted by an organization I am a member of, Women Of Excellence, and the Collegiate 100. This added a little more amp to the week of events.

And finally what I am looking forward to that would put the icing on the cake for our Homecoming Week is of course our Homecoming football game this Saturday against the Idaho Vandals. There's no doubt that the game will be tons of fun. I can not wait to get dressed up and hang with friends. 


Thursday, October 29, 2015

JagGuides Rock!

When you joined this group, I'm sure a lot of you were wondering who are these people that keep posting in our group calling themselves JagGuides. It is okay to wonder lol. In the past someone even thought we were spam, NO, we are real people. In fact, we are students at the University of South Alabama. All of us were once in your position, which probably lead us to take on the role and accept the job of being a JagGuide.

So why am I a JagGuide?

Well, three years ago there was an email that was sent out to all of the students of USA. It was a job announcement informing us of a work opportunity in the new New Student Recruitment Communication Center, yes we have only been around for three years, shocker right? Well anyways at that time I only had a small idea as to what type of jobs we would be doing. I initially applied only because the pay sounded good, and I was a freshman in college that felt like an on-campus job would the perfect way to make money and get involved. I was so blessed to have been hired at the New Student Recruitment Communication Center on campus my freshman year. The Recruitment Communication Center was just opening and there was a poole of 200 applicants who were hoping to be chosen for the job. I was one of the 27 students chosen in 2012 and I have been an employee ever since.

After some time on the job, my reasoning for being a JagGuide has changed. I had discovered a new found love, and that was helping high school seniors in the same position I was in just years before, make a smooth transition from high school to college. This job reminded me how great I felt when friendly people who loved their job would help me, when I had no clue what I was doing when it came to preparing for college. It reminded me how I felt when I attended USA DAY for the first time and all the friendly faces greeted me and made me feel at home. It reminded me how easy it was or would've been when making my final college decision by knowing that there will be someone there to answer my questions and help me every step of the way.

Throughout my time here I have met some amazing people. Between my boss and my co-workers I for sure know that I have established life-long relationships. With my job, I have the opportunity to engage prospective students looking to begin there college career at South. Being able to share my experiences with you all and also make your visits to campus worth while is always a great feeling.

Now I am in my senior year preparing for my graduation only 43 DAYS AWAY. This is a bittersweet feeling. I will be embarking on a new journey to start my career which is exciting, but at the same time I will no longer work as a JagGuide at USA. I have loved working here and will always one of my best experiences as a USA student. JagGuides ROCK!

I will always be a JagGuide at heart <3

Some of the JagGuides

Being Silly at USA DAY

JagGuides 2013

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ready Set Go!

As high-school seniors you all are in a race to make it to the finish line of what we call high school graduation ! However, on the course of this race it is important that you do not pass the check points needed to prepare you for your next big step, COLLEGE!

These check points, as I call it, are essential to making sure that you have done all that you have completed all necessary steps to make completing high school and entering college all worth while.

If you haven't noticed of if you are unaware, test scores (ACT or SAT), are one of the prime deciding factors on whether or not you will be accepted into your school of choice.  The ACT can be tiring and expensive depending on the number of times you take it. Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with retaking the ACT as many times as you want, however, if you are not getting the score that you want you should definitely look into ACT prep classes, or even getting an ACT prep book. These can all help improve your score. Not only is it a key factor in getting accepted but it can also play a huge role in receiving scholarships!

That brings me to my next check point....

Let me start by saying, don't be lazy when it comes to applying for scholarships. I say that because I was definitely lazy when it came to applying for scholarships. There are sooooo many scholarships available. However, many students fall short in this area because they do not feel like taking the time to fill out the application or write the essay required. I understand, trust me, I've been there. But there is nothing more that I wish I did differently than taking advantages of all the scholarship opportunities available. Pay attention to deadlines when applying for scholarships, many deadlines for the upcoming year are approaching fast.

Most students tend to feel like they have their mind made up on what school they will like to attend. In the second semester of my senior year I had only applied to 2 colleges, and guess what USA was not one of them. Being from Mobile, I had limited my self to applying for colleges out of the area. However, when I came to USA Day, I gained a total different perspective on the University and I was sold. However, by the time I had made this decision, a lot of deadlines had passed and all of a sudden something that should have been a smooth process now became a rushed one. I was rushing to secure a spot in housing, orientation, and hoping that the school still had funds available to award me an academic scholarship. Thankfully it all worked out. However, I say all of that to say this. Get out and visit as many colleges as you can. Researching them online is not enough. Visiting them can really give you a feel on whether or not it is the best place for you! Don't wait til the last minute like I did.

Another thing that slips students minds while they dive into college preparation is maintaining good standing in high school. Yes, I know yall are all ready to get out of there, and once you get accepted to college it seems like high school is already centuries behind you it is still very important to finish the end of your senior year off strong. Yes it can & and it will hurt you if you do not do well on those end of the year exams. Lastly, most importantly, enjoy your last days of high school and do not be in such a hurry to get out of there. As exciting as college WILL be, you WILL miss your high school days after all you are going to be Freshman all over again. :)

Of course we all want you to join the jaguar family. We hope and can't wait to have you on campus!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Are You Smarter Than A Professor?

There is always something brewing on the University of South Alabama's campus! So many organizations work together to host events for students to get involved in. Some organizations host events to get their organization's name out there. South Alabama likes to make it where students don't have to go off campus just to have fun, and so far during my time here I have attended so many great events.

One of my favorite events that I have attended and participated in was hosted by the First Generation College Student Organization. The organization was in its first year of establishment and I had the honor of serving as Vice President its first year.

Because we were new on campus we were always thinking of new ways to get students involved and to get our name out there.

So we came up with an event titled Are You Smarter Than A Professor. We were so excited about all of our ideas we had for the event, yet so nervous about its turnout. Our idea was to have it modeled after the popular game show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader. We asked several different professors to participate (some were hesitant because they didn't want to be embarrassed in front of students) but nevertheless they agreed to attend. We then got several student volunteers to compete against the professors

To make it fun, we constructed questions that were fair and catered to everyone. We had some pop culture questions we expected students to know and then we had more sophisticated questions that the professor would know. Then we threw some random questions, riddles, and sports questions that were fair game to everyone. Above all else we were there to just enjoy each others company.

We invited the entire campus to come out and have some fun with us, We had so much to offer for the contestants and audience as well. We had free refreshments afterwards, catered by Olive Garden and over 20 gift cards to give out ranging from Foosacklys, Hooters, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mirkos Pasta. Smoothie King and More. Everyone had the opportunity to win something.

It was great seeing the campus come out and support our event, even greater to have the support from professors and faculty. It showed that no matter what young or old everyone can have fun and enjoy themselves and that was the goal we were trying to reach.

There are so many events like this one that South has throughout the year. Check your email, pay attention to social media and don't miss out!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Fall is Here!

I have mixed feelings about the Fall for several reasons. The weather gets cooler, and the wind blows a little harder. Some people enjoy cooler weather however, I am more of spring/summer person.

However, besides the uncontrollable weather, the Fall in Mobile and at USA has a lot to offer.

The Fall at USA means that homecoming is right around the corner. Homecoming is a week full of events to give students a chance to express themselves, socialize, and most of all root on our Jaguar Football team in their homecoming game. This year  for homecoming we are playing the Idaho Vandals .

Another excited reason for the Fall at South Alabama is after exhausting weeks in school, Fall break is here! Fall break allows USA students to take off some time from classes. This year Fall break is Oct 08- Oct 09. Since that is a Thursday and Friday students usually treat it as a 4 day weekend. Some students plan to go home for that weekend others may stay on campus to use this time to catch up on school and/or hang out with friends on campus.

One reason to be excited for the Fall in Mobile, is the Greater Gulf State Fair. The fair is always fun, and gives you something different to do in Mobile, it is always a blast. I can taste the sweet savory sugar of a funnel cake as I type. Love Love Love the Fair, definitely on my to-do list this Fall.

In addition to that we can not forget about all the pumpkin pies, bonfires, pumpkin spice lattes, thanksgiving and everything else this season stands for, the list goes on.

There are tons of reasons to be excited for Fall. USA as well as Mobile in general ensures that everyone has a great fall season.

Go Jags