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!


Monday, February 9, 2015

First Day of Class!

I do not know about anyone else, but ever since Elementary school the first day of classes has always been a big deal. I always had a "night before class" routine each year. That routine consisted of me always declaring that this year I will be organized so I would spend hours fixing my book bag and binder up for the first day. Then I will bathe super early, when on any other day as a young child my mother will have to ask me 5 times before I got in. Then I would iron my first day outfit or back then uniform down to the very last crease (I never iron on any other day so this meant it was a big deal). Then I will try to go to sleep early to make time past by faster (but we probably all know how that turned out, excitement = no sleep).

Some of you may be thinking College is another story.Well it is, there are a few extra steps I had to add to my routine before starting my first day of classes at USA.

The first difference and addition I had to make is getting over nerves before feeling excited. I was always nervous about first day of classes in grade school but not nearly as nervous as I was before starting college. Partly because in high school and middle school you were already familiar with the student population. However, at USA it was a different story. Here I was about to embark on my adventure at a 4 year University that had as student population of 15,000  from over 200 countries, expecting the unknown.

I found a couple of steps helpful when starting my first day of classes that made my experience a lot less stressful than what I expected.

1. Make sure to make a schedule that best suits you at Orientation. If you are not an 8:00 a.m. person do not sign up for 8:00 a.m. classes and vice versa for afternoon or night classes. Having the perfect schedule places you more at ease before the first day of classes and a benefit of college you get to make your own schedule! You will have help from advisers at orientation however, to make sure you are picking an appropriate schedule for your major as a first time freshman. That way you are not biting off more than you can chew.

2. Having move in day the weekend before classes helps those that are travelling away from home. That way it gives you time to get settled in before you have to deal with the unexpected. Also it gives you a chance to get familiar with the campus on your own to avoid getting lost of the first day as well. Whether you live on or off campus take it upon yourself to take your schedule and find all of your buildings and classes before the first day come around. Many on campus organizations will actually get together to show incoming freshman where there classes will be located the Sunday before they begin. They are here to help you, show up and take advantage of it.

3. Get a good night of sleep! Nothing makes you more prepared than waking up rested.

First day of College does not have to be as stressful as it seems. Make it one to remember! GoJags


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving!

So by the looks of my title, you probably think I am about to ramble on and on about the delicious food I will be eating on Thanksgiving. As exciting as that would be, I probably would not make it through my blog with out drooling on myself. So to avoid that instead I would like to share with you some of the many reasons I have to be thankful.

I would like to start by saying that I am so thankful to be a student at the University of South Alabama! I have so many reason to be thankful, but just to name a few:

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 really work 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 next Fall I hope to land a great internship within my field. One thing I know for sure, is my adviser and other faculty will be a great resource when trying to make that step.

My Job: 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. 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 also engage with prospective students looking to begin there college career at South. Being able to share my experiences with them and also make their visits to campus worth their while is always a great feeling.

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), Vice President 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 will have the opportunity to study abroad in London, England which I know will be beyond exhilarating.

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.

I can just go on and on about how thankful I am to be at South Alabama Jaguar. I am for sure that I would not have experienced even half of what I have experienced if I would have chosen somewhere else to attend school. So grateful for everyone who pushed me in this direction. I wouldn't have it any other way!

GoJags










Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Favorite Spot on Campus!

So this week I will be sharing with you all my favorite spot on campus.

So this is a no-brainer, my favorite spot on campus, and the place where I spend most of my time when I am not in class is..... drum roll..... STARBUCKS! :)

I have hour breaks in between my classes during the day and our on campus Starbucks that is located in our Main Library is the best place to go to pass time. It is very cozy and is the perfect set up for studying, catching up with friends, and even Netflix.

My co-workers have come to the conclusion that I may have developed an obsession with Starbucks and I am starting to agree with them. Not because I spend to much time in there but because while I am in there it is so hard to turn down the delicious beverages and pastries that they serve. I even have a favorite every week. This week it is their new holiday beverage Chestnut Praline Latte (doesn't that sound delish). I have even resorted to asking my family and friends for Starbucks gift cards for Christmas.

We just got Starbucks on campus in October 2013 and it was the best decision yet. There are other great spots on campus fit for different activities. However, I must say Starbucks is the best fit for me. I love it!





Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jag Swag!

Jag Swag is a term we use quite often here at USA. Jag swag is basically any merchandise that you can own that expresses your love and school spirit for South. The first piece of jag swag I purchased was a pair of South Alabama Nike Shorts. Over the three years I've been here I have accumulated my fair share of Jag Swag. However, I do have some pieces that I consider my favorites.

The first piece is this thin casual pull over.


I like this piece for several reasons. First it only cost me $7.00. We all love sales right? Well the bookstore always has different sales on JagSwag items and its definitely the best time to rack up on them. Another reason is that it can be worn as a shirt/sweater or even a pull over. The versatility allows me to wear it year round. Its not too thick and not too thin. Lastly, compared to other jag swag pieces that are usually red, white, and blue, this color scheme is different, which makes it unique to me.

My second piece that has become my absolute fave is this sweatshirt.





I love this sweatshirt again because it was on sale for $10.00 WooHoo! But most importantly it is great for the winter. The fabric is so soft and it does a great job keeping you warm. The color is so vibrant and it makes the sweatshirt stand out. Every time  I wear it someone asks where they can purchase them one.  I'm always excited to see someone that does not even attend South go and get them some Jag Swag. It is so comfortable to wear and it will go with just about anything.

I love my Jag Swag Pieces and plan to purchase more the years to come! Go get you some!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Kickoff Cookout!

One thing that I really love about USA, that will always reassure me that I made the right choice for College is that even though it is located in my home town, the campus atmosphere makes USA feel like a home away from home.

Most seniors in high school, feel as if going to college means going OFF to college, hence moving away. However, I did the opposite, I enrolled in a University that is 15-20 minutes away from my home. With that being said, my first year as a freshman at USA, I literally only went home maybe twice a semester. I lived in a residence hall on campus, and  South has everything that I need here so there was really no use to make a trip home so often.

Different organizations at USA host so many different events on campus to keep students entertained when they have down time from school or work. They make sure that students do not have to go off- campus just for fun. My favorite on campus event that I attended and will still attend for the duration of my time here is our annual cookout that we have at the beginning of each semester.

This is my favorite event cause it sets the tone for the rest of the semester. After a long summer break, you return to school, and nothing is better than an event where you and your friends can reunite and discuss all of the things that you have done over the summer. Not only will you reunite with your friends, but this is also an event to meet all the new faces on campus, and could be a start of a very long friendship you never know!It is a great time to mingle, play games, eat great food, and it is all for FREE. Despite all the moving you have done the past few days after returning to campus. And despite the busy class schedules you all are facing for the semester ahead, at this event you can let all of that go and just enjoy the moment.

I have really enjoyed this event over the past years. It is a great on campus activity that you don't want to miss!