Thursday, April 9, 2015

Do Over Please?

Growing up leaves room for mistakes and that is essentially what you are doing once you transition from high school to college. For the first time in your life (for most) you are leaving the bird's nest that we so often like to call home. Whether you are local or not you are getting the freedom that we have all been waiting for. With this freedom comes responsibilities. You have to determine what your dinner will consist of, when is the right time to do laundry, registering for classes, etc. Unfortunately, we are not always going to make the right choices, and that is perfectly fine. In my opinion, you can not grow as a person if you never make mistakes.

With that being said, I am in my final days of my third year at USA. Oh my how time flies by. Looking back over my year here there are a couple of things I would do differently. I won't tell you all of them because then I won't leave room for you to make mistakes of your own. However, if I had to choose one thing that I would most definitely do-over it would have to be to enjoy the social life USA has to offer.

If you ask anyone that knows me they will tell you that I can be a workaholic sometimes. Whether its with school work or actual work. My schedule during the week usually allows for work, school, and sleep. I have time after work and even on weekends to engage in social activities, previous years I chose not to simply because in my mind all I wanted was to sleep. When I am not sleeping, my free time tend to result in me laying around watching Netflix all day. Earth to Carla, Netflix will always be there get out and have fun! I have participated in so many social activities on campus this year. Joined several organizations, and have definitely broadened my horizon at USA.

It is important that you have a balance between Work and Play. Never work too much and definitely never play too much, they should both meet each other in the middle. In some cases, work can prove more important than play, but you get my point. Committing yourself to work all the time could have negative effects even if you think it would benefit you in the long run. Don't get me wrong school work should always come first, I mean you are paying thousands of dollars, but don't let it weigh you down. If this means you have to spread your classes out more when you register or take less hours at work. Do It! Being bogged down can increase unnecessary stress. Having that balance between work and play allows you to relieve the stress or just allow you to get away from all the duties your work or school may bring. Set yourself free sometimes, allow your mind to rest. I had the opportunity to do this, this semester but instead I chose to be a hermit crab and not do it.

Even though I take pride in the work that I do at USA (I mean without it you guys wouldn't be able to read this blog right now), and even though I am extremely proud of my 4.0 GPA, I do not have much to show for my social life. I have the work aspect down pack and with 3 years of experience I know the key to maintaining what I have accomplished. Now its time to balance that out and work on my social life. College is about creating memories, and starting next year I intend to create more than I did this semester. Engaging yourself in social life doesn't always mean partying, it could simply mean surrounding yourself with others sharing the joy of laughter and friendship. Balance is the key.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

One Word: Rewarding

If I had to choose one word to describe being a student at USA it would have to be REWARDING.

My experience as a USA Jaguar has definitely been a rewarding one. It has been rewarding in so many aspects of my life.

Academic; My educational experience has been a rewarding one. As a student I pushed myself to do great in all of my classes, whether it be for my major or a general education course. The professors are all different in their own way. I have been able to learn from professors that are experts in the field that I am pursuing. I have never at any moment felt that my education here at USA has been deprived. I feel that upon completing my degree I will be well-prepared to pursue my career of choice. What makes my education a rewarding experience is the 4.0 GPA I have been able to maintain since I have been here. I have worked hard and have had many restless nights, however, my GPA always reminds me and helps me reflect to see that all the hard work pays off.

My Job: My on-campus job has allowed me to immerse myself in so many different ways. Working for the New Student Recruitment office has given me the opportunity to cross paths and network with so many great people. Our office is truly one big family. I would not have met some of the coolest people if I have not been hired for this position back in 2012. On top of that, my job allows me to interact with prospective students that are preparing to embark on the same journey I began back in 20132. I remember how excited I was, and the many countdowns, and planning I did as a high school senior. Being able to assist those and share experiences to help ensure their transition is a smooth one, gives me so happy. Not only am I helping them, but they are also helping me allowing me to develop social and interaction skills I never knew I had.

Campus Life: I am apart of many student organizations here on campus, that have changed my life for the better. First being the first organization I joined which was the Gathering Campus Ministry. This organization and coming in contact with this group of people will forever have a mark on my life. It has allowed my faith and spiritual life to grow tremendously. All of the other organizations, Women of Excellence, First Generation College Students, House of Jags, Rape Crisis and more! Once thing about being apart of all of these organizations is that you are always surrounded by individuals that have the same interest and goals as yourself. This could be very uplifting and inspirational during your time in College. I have definitely gained lifelong friendships in the midst of it all.

I am just so proud that I chose USA as my college choice. Looking back over the years I have had some of the best experiences and I am sure that I could not have possibly had them if I had chose any where else. This experience as a USA Jaguar has definitely been a rewarding one.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Spring Time!

The first official day of Spring was March 20th! There are so many things to love about Spring here at USA and in Mobile.

First BEST thing about Spring is my birthday which is on March 22nd. :)

There are so many things to do in the spring here in Mobile and at South.

One of my favorites is  the taking a trip to the beach because the weather is finally about to warm up. The beach is just about 45 min to an hour away from USA. So many of my spring weekends are spent there.

Another favorite is the Color Me Rad 5K event that is held in the spring. What better vibrant, colorful event can do a better job of welcoming Spring to Mobile. This is always an event to look forward.

Bellingrath Gardens which is very close to Mobile also hosts a huge Easter Egg hunt event that is great to attend to celebrate Spring and the holiday.

Spring is my favorite season for so many reasons, especially since it is my season of birth. I turned 21 this year and cant wait to see what this year's Spring at USA in Mobile has to offer!

Me on my 21st Birthday!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

My Favorite Thing To Do Outside of Class!

Being from Mobile, AL, and have lived here the majority of my life, I have a list of things that I enjoy doing outside of class.

However, if I had to choose my most favorite thing to do outside of class it would have to be going downtown Mobile. Some people only experience the night life of downtown Mobile, but I have grown to appreciate it during the day as well. There is always something going on downtown. Some of our most popular events are the Art Walk, Chili Cookoff, Crawfish Broil, the infamous MARDI GRAS,  museums and more. On a regular day there are great restaurants to visit such as Spot of Tea as well as several boutiques to shop.  This weekend they are having a Tour of Mobile showcasing some of Mobile's finest historical homes.

Downtown Mobile has beautiful landmarks, houses, and scenery. To just take a stroll downtown is a day well spent. Between school. work, and campus events, I do not experience much free time. However, when I do going downtown Mobile, is definitely one of the many things I enjoy doing.

Why I Chose To Study Criminal Justice

Picking a major can be very difficult. Not only will picking your major lay the path to your career, but it will also determine what classes you will take/pay for in college. Therefore it is important to take careful consideration when choosing your major to avoid wasting time and money. The good thing is, if you are a senior in high school you have time to decide. Even though it is good to know what your future plans are, if you are not sure, don't feel rushed or compelled to settle. Some student enroll as an undecided major. The majority of your first and second year of college will be spent taking general education courses such as English, History, Math, etc, you will have time to figure out what courses interest you most and it can help narrow down your choices for your major.

However, I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to major in upon enrolling at South. This allowed me to start taking some of the courses that were required for my major my first and second years here at South. I knew I was very interested in the law field, so I chose to major in Criminal Justice. I thought it would be a good fit. I chose Criminal Justice because I knew receiving a degree in that field would allow me to explore different career paths. It gave me options and I liked having options given that I was not 100% sure as to what I wanted to do exactly.

Being a Criminal Justice Major allowed me to take several different CJ electives such as criminal investigations, sexual violence, juvenile justice, etc. Taking these electives allows you to discover different areas in the CJ field, and helped me narrow down what it was I wanted to do with my degree.

I have chosen to pursue being a Probation Officer, and I am confident that my major has done nothing less than prepare me for my career.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

My College Struggle

What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. This is the motto for most college students I assume. Transitioning from high school college comes with many challenges. You have this new defined freedom you once didn't  have in high school. Some's transition was smoother than others, but college definitely takes some getting used  to once the journey begins.

All of sudden what used to be an 8:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m school day suddenly turns into a personalized scheduled day of your own. What do I mean by this? Well in college you are in charge of what classes you will take and better yet in charge of what times you will take them. At orientation, you are given the opportunity to register for classes and make your own schedule that best suits you. Most students will sign up for 4-5 classes per semester to give them a reasonable workload.

Any time you are not in classes is called free time, and what you do with this free time is up to you. My advice, plan wisely. My biggest challenge in college is time- management. I know it seems trivial but, when you get to college you will find the  best thing you can do is keep a planner and use your free time wisely, because you will soon realize that there is not enough free time in the day.

I remember when I was a freshman at USA, I had all these wonderful ideas of what I would do in between classes and after classes. Maybe explore the campus more, hang out with friends, take a dip in the pool at the rec, etc. Well that did not go as planned. This free time, and freedom was so new to me, I found myself biting off more than I could chew. Between having 2-3 classes each day, visiting the cafeteria, my part time job, and homework right after, I found that I spent most of my free time trying to catch a nap any chance I could get. I would be exhausted after a days of work and school and I felt like the days were just passing me by.

This does not mean that it is impossible for you to enjoy and take advantage of all the wonderful events and things USA has to offer, this just means you MUST manage your time wisely. Keep a planner to keep up with important dates. Plan your campus meetings with different organizations accordingly so that it doesn't run into work time. Its all about careful planning and not taking on more than you can handle. You have 4 years to explore all areas at South you do not have to try to do it all at once. Some recommend freshman use their first semester to focus on their studies, then once you get the hang of it you can start diving into work and organizations your second semester.Or you can do it your first, it is up to you! It is possible, it is just all about time management. Start early!

Go Jags

Monday, February 16, 2015

What Led Me To Choose USA !

So in your junior year of high school or if you're like me senior year of high school, you begin to start contemplating on one of the biggest decisions of your life, which college you will attend. This decision will lay the foundation for your future, so it's important that what ever decision you make, you make it for the right reasons. Transferring is always an option if you realize that your first choice was not for you, but there is nothing like getting it right on your first try!

So what led me to choose USA as the university to spend my next four years?

Well, if we are being honest here, USA was not my top choice it wasn't even on my list of options for that matter. I had ruled USA out from the beginning because being a native from Mobile, AL , in my eyes, going off to college was the only way to go. I wanted a change, a different atmosphere than what I was used to. I wanted to meet new people, and become independent. Little did I know, USA would offer me all of those things and more.

My top choices were the University of Alabama, University of Southern Mississippi, and Southern University. While these were my choices my family urged on and on for me to consider South. The more they wanted me to go to South the more I went against it. I was accepted to all three of my choices, and was beginning to narrow them down based on my own personal pro and con list. Then, my grandmother asked me to consider at least attending an USA Day to South, and who can turn down a request from their precious grandmother. I attended a USA Day and shockingly enough the next day I was sending in my application for South Alabama.

I had not made my final decision yet, however, visiting campus peaked my interest for several different reasons.First, being from Mobile I just assumed I knew everything that the campus physically had to offer. Mobile County public high schools have their graduations at the Mitchell Center, and I suggested since I had attended my fair share of graduations that I knew what the rest of the campus looked like. I was wrong. It was like there was this entire unknown world beyond the Mitchell Center that I never knew existed. The atmosphere was amazing.

Second, at USA Day, I met people that had traveled from all over to come see the school. Some people from as far as New York, there was even a girl there from Hawaii. Seeing all of them made me wonder, if a girl from Hawaii is interested in South, I must be missing something. I realized that going here would not hinder my opportunity to miss out on meeting a diverse group of students, another plus on my list.

Third, seeing a residence hall on campus, I realized that, that could definitely be an option rather than living at home. Going to a local school does not mean you should be deprived from living on campus (unless that's a personal decision, for like saving money etc, which is understandable). However, I chose the living on campus option. and that was one of my best decision, because it indeed allow me to become independent, all the while still having that option to visit family if I wanted to.

I became increasingly aware that USA actually offered all that wished to have for my college choice. I also mentioned earlier that it offered more as well. Such as amazing academics (which is most important because you are going to college to have a successful career after all). It also offered me a scholarship that aided me when paying for tuition (USA is known to have one of the lowest tuition rates in the state of Alabama, and along the Gulf Coast.)

These last factors helped me seal the deal, and before you know it I had become a USA Jaguar. I have never been more proud of my college decision. I wish you all the best of luck when making yours.

Go Jags!