Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Making new friends

When  you come to a new university, you have a fresh start to meet new people and make new friends. The best way to do this is to join a club or organization that interests you, because you already have something in common (being the club) and therefore something to spark conversation. If you join a topic specific club, like video gaming, then you can talk about video games. If you join an organization like Greek life, you will be required to have social events with these people and therefore will get to know them very quickly. Greek life is a great way to meet people that you would not have normally met in interest clubs or in your major. Although meeting people in your major is a great way to study and make friends with common interests. Most of my friends have come from clubs and I still hang out with them outside of the club, so this was the best option for me. 

The only people that I have known to have a bad time at college were the people that stayed in their dorm rooms in their free time. My advice: step out and join two or three clubs. It may be weird at first but you will meet wonderful people and not regret it.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Free South Stuff

When you are visiting South, you receive a lot of free things like t-shirts, drink cozies, ect. that all have the USA logo stamped on them. These are nice and you continue to receive them throughout you college career, but my personal favorite free thing is not stamped with a logo. My favorite free thing is when you get invited to a banquet (sometimes you have to pay but not always) and you get a free meal. I know the engineering department feeds the students a lot and so do other student organizations. There are tailgating events, club recruitment events, award ceremonies, and many other opportunities to receive free food.

Now, this may not seem like a big deal to someone that is not in college just yet, but most students will jump at the chance for free food. The students on campus may get tired of the some thing from Chick-fil-a or tired of eating a salad at the dining hall, so a fresh grilled meal sounds amazing. The students living off of campus (such as myself) will jump on these opportunities because they may not want to spend more money on eating. I know that I have very little food in my apartment and so I seek out events with free food. So that would make food my favorite free thing from South.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Spring 2014 Do-Over

With this semester coming to an end, I look back and see a lot of poor decisions on my part. There is a lot of neglecting to study when I should have and a lot of procrastinating on large projects (especially my paper for my Greek and Roman Religion class), but there were also good decisions to level these things out. I have found this semester rather stressful compared to all of my other semesters and this can be tracked back to my class choices.

This semester I took intro to psychology (elective requirement), organic chemistry II with lab, differential equations, thermodynamics, Greek and Roman religion in art, and my sophomore honors seminar. I went into this semester expecting organic and differential equations to be my two hardest and most time consuming classes, so I devoted a lot of my early time to those two classes. When, in fact, my most time consuming classes have been Greek & Roman and thermodynamics. These two classes, which I expected to breeze through, have required more time than I anticipated which led to a lot of scrambling at the end to recover from some not so good grades in the beginning.

My Spring 2014 Do-Over would have been to focus a lot more of my time on my thermodynamics class and to get my Greek & Roman paper out of the way earlier in the semester. Thermodynamics would have been easier if had not underestimated it and all of my other classes would have been easier if I had completed my paper as soon as I chose the topic.

My suggestion to anyone starting out a new semester:
Give all of your classes, regardless of their level of difficulty, the same amount of attention in the beginning of the semester and then alter the time dispersion later into the semester. You may surprised what classes will be more of a challenge for you.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Staying Healthy in College

Staying healthy in college can be difficult for many reasons but the main two reasons come down to being on your own for the first time and stress.

Being alone for the first time offers a new set of challenges that you may have to face and overcome, but I will be focusing on the ones that are health related. Being alone means you make your own decisions. You will have to make the decision: Do I buy celery or ice cream? Should I order a pizza or make a salad? Do I go back for a second plate of bacon? Or even, do I go to the student health clinic? Should I study or work-out? Should I stay up all night and study or go to bed early? This is just a small set of example you may or may not face while living on your own for the first time. Some of the answers for those questions seem obvious like you should eat a salad on occasion, you should limit your food portions (even though the dining hall is ALL YOU CAN EAT), and you should go to the student health clinic if you have a concern. The first semester of college is the hardest for making the right decisions in these categories because you will more than likely choose what you WANT to do and not what you NEED to do. My personal opinion is that that is fine, make the decisions you want to for awhile but do not make a habit of it. Now, eating an entire pizza by yourself may not be the best choice and if you can't get out of bed due to back pain, go see the doctor. Be smart, but enjoy yourself too.

As for those two tricky questions. Do I keep studying or work out? Do I stay up all night and study or go to bed early? Those depend on you and whatever works best for you. As for me, I take a jogging break in the middle of a huge study session. I also prefer to do a light review before bed and get a good nights sleep. I do know people that binge study and they do very well in their classes, but I know of people you stayed up all night studying and failed an exam. It depends on the person, so learn yourself.

Now... stress.



 Stress is my biggest issue when it came to college and I did not know it until my very first finals week. I have a tendency to not eat when I am stress and THAT is just as bad as eating a whole pizza by yourself. If you are like me and stress out too much, learn some releases that work for you. That plays a huge role into my jogging in the middle of a huge study session because it gets me away and also physically releases my stress. It make me more productive and more relaxed. Some people will just take some time to go for a walk around campus to decompress and others may lay in their dorm and listen to music. This is something that you need to try new things and see what works. But keep in mind, you cannot keep planting apple seeds and hope for oranges to grow. So if it is not working, change.

South Alabama does offer free counseling for all students and if you get to the point where everything seem too much, give them a call a251-460-7051. They will be able to help you.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A Good College Guide

When I first arrived at South, I had a very loose understanding of college and how college works. I wasn't even sure how to be a college student and how to do college things. This left me feeling stranded in a crowd of people and not sure where to begin, but my older brother (who was a junior at the time) sent me a book. This book, weird tittle or not, provided me with the information about college that admissions did not tell me. The book is called "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run into in College."

Yes, the book did cover the topic of dealing with your roommate and the inevitability of them being nude in your dorm room. It also covered some touchy topics like dating, alcohol, and drugs. It covered these topics in a realistic, mature manner, but also in a very engaging way. I am not suggesting you read every single page because every single issue does not apply to everyone, but it is a good reference to have around. It shared real college student's stories and provides you with unbiased information on serious issues. My entire freshmen year, I kept the book handy and would occasionally reference it when the time came.

So the first time you have to confront your roommate on cleaning the bathroom or the first time you are invited to a party, it would be wise to read the suggestions and take them into consideration. This book does not tell you what you can or cannot do, but more of what can and will happen in those situations. The book can be found on Amazon for fairly cheap ( Click Here ) and also for your kindle.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Why even go to college?

Why even go to college?

This questions is a question that has plagued my mind many times while I have been up late working on a paper or walking to class in a downpour. I have heard peers ask this rhetorical question a loud in study group or when they are waiting for an exam. It seems that this question should be  bronzed and placed in front of all classrooms, because every student MUST ask themselves this.

Am I going to college for money?

I have been told from elementary school that the only way to get a good job is to go to college and get a degree, but we all know that this isn't true. There are unemployed college graduates and high paid technical school graduates, so why would I not go to welding school? Well... this is subjective and you need to address this on your own with the most brutal of honesty. For me, I like chemistry, math, and physics and so college seemed logical to me at the time. Although I could be using my interest in piping of fluids to become a plumber and I know that we will always need plumbers. I could get a college degree like everyone else and risk being unemployed or I could go to a technical school and start my own business. Those both sound like very risky options. Well clearly I chose to go to college, but I did not do it for the money because money is not guaranteed.

Then why am I at college?

The answer, for me, is simple and very clear cut. Experience. I wanted to force myself to mature by leaving home and living on my own. What would be a good place designed for young adults to get started on living on their own? College. Anything that is not academia is geared towards forcing you to learn how to live and forcing you to grow up. I had to learn how to get out of bed on my own. I had to learn how to manage money. I had to learn how to take care of myself. All with the tools provided by the University. College has become a place for, not only getting a degree, but also for modern young adults to learn how to be adults. The best way for a bird to learn how to fly is to push them out of the nest. If you stay at home after high school, you will eventually learn how to fly but you won't do it as well as those that were pushed out of their nest.

If I am at college to mature, how to a lead a successful career?

Determination and doing what you love. THIS is why there are unemployed college graduates and rich welders. If a person does what they like to do, then they will be inclined to keep improving at it and mastering it. This is the stepping stone to success, because if you stay in the same job that you hate, then you will not be motivated to work hard and improve your situation. Determination is the way to continue making the steps to success because YOU must be the driving force behind your career. If you push yourself then you will move forward, but you won't want to do that unless you like what you do.

So why even go to college?

Because you want to. If you do not want to, don't. But earning that degree is not for the job you may or may not get, but it is for you and only you.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Student Health Services

The University of South Alabama has an on-campus health clinic for you to go to when you are sick. The Student Health Center (SHC) is staffed with nurses and physicians, and they are all very helpful and kind. They have the ability to write prescriptions, order lab work, order X-rays (on campus), and do referrals. You can see what insurances they accept at http://www.southalabama.edu/studenthealth/geninfo.html and schedule an appoint online at https://jaghealth.usouthal.edu/login_login.aspx or you can give them a call at (251) 460-7151.

I have been to the SHC a few times and each time was a pleasant (even while sick) experience with little to no issues. They are always ready to answer any health related questions and very concerned about you. The wait is never too long, but do not forget to pay your balance or else you will have holds on registration. It is extremely convenient to have a health center on campus. Although, if you have an emergency, you should go to the USA Medical Center right down the road (directions are found here:  http://www.southalabama.edu/studenthealth/crisis.html). So the next time you catch the flu, can't stop coughing, or just have some concerns, take a visit to the other side of the marsh.