Monday, October 20, 2014

Favorite Class This Semester.

As a Junior at USA, I have completed all of my general education requirements, which means I am now into my major core classes for Criminal Justice, as my adviser will call it the "fun stuff". I could not have been happier to complete my General Education requirements and move on to the stuff that captured my interest. I am enrolled in a Criminal Investigations class and I must say it has been my favorite class this semester.

This class has its pros and cons. Lets get the bad stuff out the way. My only criticism of this class is that it is a night class. Bummer, right? However, the pros quickly allows me to get over that fact. Now lets introduce the pros:

It is a night class because my professor has a full time job at the Sherriff's office during the day. This lets me know one thing. That my professor is so passionate about what he does that he is willing to take a day out of his week to come share his passion with University students who are trying to get to the place he is in his career. Having a passionate professor definitely helps. He cares about your performance in the class and will take time out and work with you if you were having a difficult time. He also makes the class very interesting.

My professor has been in law enforcement for over 40 years. He has been places I have never heard of and seen things I have never dreamed of seeing. Having a teacher with these experiences makes the class worthwhile. Rather than learning and reading from a textbook we are exposed to real-life experiences. Sometimes text books will leave out what I like to call the "juicy details". However, my professor have worked on high profile cases and does not hesitate to share with us the real deal. One class we even got to see classified footage of a real life undercover sting that he overlooked as a DEA agent(Drug Enforcement Officer).

Overall, this class is so informative and interesting. If you are a sucker for Crime Television shows such as Law & Order SVU, Criminal Minds, Etc, you will definitely enjoy this class. However, I hate to crush your reality, you will quickly learn that those shows are complete fictitious and none of that stuff accounts for not even half of what happens in real life. However, on a brighter note this class allows you to see and learn the ropes of how a real criminal investigation is conducted. If you are into that kind of stuff it is definitely worth your while.

Criminal Investigations with Professor Joe Bettner will definitely fall on my list of favorite classes/professor this semester.  With that being all of my professors are great and has a passion for what they do. USA definitely makes all the years you spend in school to get your degree not as painful as it seems.





School Spirit!

So if you think that you have experienced what school spirit looks like when you're in high school just wait until you get to college. I always thought that I would never love another school like I loved my high school. However, that all changed once I got to USA. I still love my alma mater, but USA was definitely added to the list.

When I got to South Alabama the school spirit on campus was so alive and full of love for the university. School spirit was exhibited not only on campus but it can be seen at many of the local businesses as well.

School spirit can be seen the most when a big sporting event is coming up. For the Mississippi State game students camped out for parking passes, we have JagWear Wednesday every week, and there is always a sale in the bookstore on USA merchandise.

School spirit can be shown in so many different ways. In light of homecoming week, I will just tell you of the many different ways USA students will be showing school spirit.

First the theme of Homecoming Week is Clash of the Claws. We will be playing Georgia State University.

The following events this week are as follows:

"Jaguar Bash"- At this event students are able to showcase their school spirit by bashing in a car with Georgia State decals on it, meet the football player, participate in games for free giveways, and of course free food.

Jaguars Got Talent- will be a showcase to allow our fellow jags to compete and show off their many talents for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes.

Fun Fest Carnival Night- Allows everyone across campus to come out and mingle among one another, while enjoying great food, games, music, and entertainment.

Junk the Jungle- is a tradition that USA students participate in every year that gives us the opportunity to run rampant like animals and teepee our traffic circle with toilet tissue. What better way to express our school spirit.

The end of the week will be topped off with Homecoming Parade on Friday and Kick Off for the Football game Saturday where students and guest will fill the stands screaming GO JAGS!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Once In A LifeTime Opportunity.

When I was getting ready for college I was sure it would be the best four years of my life. However, best four years was/has been an understatement. I have had so many wonderful experiences during my time here at USA. Ones that I am for sure I wouldn't have had if I would have attended elsewhere. 

One experience in particular has been able to get connected and volunteer my time in the field I hope to one day have a career. My major is Criminal Justice. The advisers here at USA are great. They are there to help guide you through your four years here at USA. Well my adviser, which most of them will, took a step further and was able to connect me with our local Rape Crisis Center in which I now volunteer for weekly. This experience is life changing because not only does it give me hands on experience with different criminal justice agencies, but I am able to change other people's lives. My volunteer work is basically to support victims of sexual assault, and although a touchy subject, I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. It is very rewarding and it gives me a peek into my future career. Not only does it give me hands on experience but through my volunteer work I have met officials that are highly ranked in the criminal justice profession, which is great for networking and finding a job in the future. It is also a PLUS that it is located in my hometown, in contrast to me going off for school, where such opportunities may not have been presented, or may have been difficult to do during school breaks when I would be expected to return home. Having it here in Mobile allows me to do it year round, during the semester and during summer. 

Overall, the experience definitely gives me a different perspective on life. It opens my eyes to real life challenges people face everyday, rather than reading about it in a textbook. Also just knowing that  you played a part in creating a new found  hope in someone's life is the greatest reward. 

So Glad USA Gave Me This Experience!


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Preparation!

If you are a senior in high school the urgency to prepare for college starts now. Well actually it should have started your Junior year, however, if you are a little behind it is not too late to get on top of your game.

At this point it is important that, if you have yet to reach your desired ACT/SAT score, that you are definitely signing up to take the test on the next possible date that it is available, We are all well aware of the fact that test scores are one of the primary, if not most important, factors that colleges review when making a decision on your admission status. 

If you are burnt out on taking the ACT/SAT and you are satisfied with your score, you should be submitting your college applications. Some people are confident on which school they will like to attend, HOWEVER, do not limit your choices, even if a school is at the bottom of your list, in my opinion it is good to go ahead and submit an application to keep your options open. It never hurts to have a Plan B, Plan C, Plan D, E, F,G...Z. A college can surprise you an offer you a deal that you couldn't imagine saying no to, you do not want to take a chance of missing out on it. 

Speaking of deals the next thing that seniors should definitely turn their attention to are scholarships. We all know that another BIG deciding factor when determining where you will spend the next 4 years of your life is MONEY. We are all trying to some how reduce the cost of our dreams. Search high and low for all the scholarships you can possibly find. There are so many out there. If it is one thing that I would do different my senior year is utilizing all the scholarship venues I had, There are local, national, institutional, regional, all types of scholarship opportunities. It will probably require a lot of essay writing and dedication but it will all pay off in the end.

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. :)



Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Free Time!

Everybody loves things that are free. Whether its a free t shirt, free meal, free anything. One thing that you didn't get a lot of in high school that you will become familiar with in college that is completely free is....wait for it....FREE TIME. Yes. That is correct. I know we have all heard the phrase time is money, but this time here doesn't cost you anything. & for the first time its up to you to settle in and enjoy this free time because it does not last long, as you become more involved in school and class. 

When I first started my freshman year at USA. I managed to settle in to my free time several different ways.

First, I took advantage of my free time by napping. In high school we had a full day with class after class then lunch then more class. After lunch time in high school, sleep haunted me. All I wanted to do was sleep. Well in college, depending on how you schedule your classes(yes you are in control of that) you may have some time in between your classes. Or if you are like me and want to schedule your classes back to back you can be done with class by 12:00 and have the rest of the day ahead of you. Either way, once I had my free time, you can almost bet the first thing I would do would nap. I am a power-nap type of person, so a 30 minute-1 hour nap would definitely rejuvenate me.

After I took advantage of napping the next thing I would do would eat. Living on campus was great because the Dining Hall was right next to the residence halls. That way no matter what time of day between 7:00 a.m-9:00 p.m I can go enjoy a buffet style meal at the caf as we called it. Because the dining hall presented our meals buffet style, you can imagine a trip there would definitely take up some time. 

I know you are all wondering why I didn't say I use my free time to study. Well because I don't. I am a night owl when it comes to studying or doing school work. I have a standard where I will not come home after a full day of school and do school work. I have had this standard since high school. Instead for my school work to be effectively get done I have to do it in the late hours of the night whether its midnight, 2:00 a.m., etc. It really depends on how much I have to get done. I do not know why I do this, it is simply just what works for me. Keep in mind what works for me may not work for you.

As I mentioned earlier, free time is something you can expect at the BEGINNING of your college career and I guess throughout as well if you manage your time wisely. However, I am now a Junior at USA and my free time that I had before set aside for napping and eating now consists of a working 20 hours a week, volunteer service, participation in clubs and organizations, etc. Even though my free time is limited, I wouldn't change it one bit. 

How will you settle in to your free time once you get to college? 





Thursday, September 11, 2014

Go Jags!

So this week on campus when I say everyone, I mean everyone is excited for the weekend. Why? Well we are playing our first home game against our first SEC opponent this year, Mississippi State on Saturday. To describe how excited we are lets just say that this is the first time in history USA has SOLD OUT the stadium. Not only has USA sold out but Mississippi State has sold out of their's as well. With that being said Ladd-Peebles Stadium is the place to be in Mobile, AL this weekend.

Our football program is fairly new and has grown tremendously for only having it for 6 years. The environment is awesome when you have the entire student body supporting you. Students camped out for parking passes, and everyone is getting their grills ready to enjoy the fellowship of tailgating before the game with their classmates. Students get free admission to all home athletic events so that is a plus.

The stadium will be bleeding red as we all scream to the top of our lungs Go Jags! I cannot wait!.





Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Transitioning

Seniors don't get too comfortable because soon you will be making a big change. The transition from high school to college can definitely be a bit challenging. The world as you know it will change. Starting college is a new beginning. Once again you are at the bottom of the barrel, a freshman. There are lots of things that make the transition challenging whether its leaving friends behind,  making new friends, budgeting, getting involved, I can go on and on.

For me, I will have to say the most challenging part would have to be Time Management. In high school, you basically stuck to the same schedule every single day. In college, your classes are now spread out, some you may attend three times, twice, or even once a week. All of  a sudden there are over 200 organizations to get involved in. You ARE a college student so more than likely you will be interested in getting a part time job. You WILL want to attend different events on campus and most importantly you will value your sleep.

In high school, I literally went home every day after school and took a nap, and did my homework the morning before school. In college with all of these different things going on if you do not have experience with time management, your life could turn to chaos. Participating in all of these things as well as keeping good grades is possible. It is all about how you manage your time.

With that being said the first thing you must do is prioritize, and not procrastinate. The quicker you get your school work done (because that ALWAYS comes first) the more time you have to participate in organizations, events and work. Getting a planner definitely helps. Staying focus, using your weekends wisely, and having a good support system, will help you keep things in order.

All of you are rushing to graduate as I was too, but definitely make sure you cherish the time and leisure you have now. Soon, you will embark on a different chapter in your life that will entail lots of fun, but also a little more dedication to work and time on your behalf. Learning how to manage your time can make your college career stress-free and a great experience.