Friday, April 26, 2013

Got the college is over for the year blues?

What you can do to make this summer great?

It seems like we all have had to write at one time or another on the topic: "What I did over my summer vacation?"  If you were asked to write an essay on that topic this coming Fall, what would yours say?  Now is the time to plan your summer activities to get a head start on your future. 

Here are some ideas to make your summer the most productive ever! 

Did you struggle in one of your classes this year and didn't get the grade you expected.  Colleges around the country offer classes during the summer. They are usually 5-6 weeks long, held either 4 or 5 days a week and fairly intense.  But the good thing is that you will only have that one topic to study on and you should get a better grade because all your energy will be focused.  Community colleges have the best rates when it comes to tuition and paying tuition means you can have access to other amenities on campus such as the library, gym, computer labs and summer activities. Visit your local community college and see what they are offering.

Work, work, work!  Get a job or better yet two jobs!  Work as much as you can and save for the upcoming class year.  I have seen too many students show up the day of classes with no money.  I recommend you come to campus with enough money to buy your books so you won't get behind and some spending money for the first couple of weeks.  Start a new business and put what you learned to the test.  Work any job, it’s not always what you earn, it’s what you learn.  An internship in many cases does not always pay very well but you can get valuable work experience in a field that you want to work.  This will give you a definite advantage when you start job searching after graduation.    

If the job market in your hometown is too competitive or just not enough jobs are offered, consider joining the National Guard / Army Reserves and get your basic training and advanced individual training completed over the summer.  Not only will you bank some money that you won't have time to spend but you'll get in great shape, meet new people and gain some valuable experiences and skills that employers love!   

But hold up, all work and no play does not a great summer vacation make!  Summer does mean better weather and you should try to make time for the great outdoors.  Visit a national park and do some hiking.  But first get educated on where to go and what to bring by researching it on-line.  There are a lot of great resources on the web to research the "how to" before you make your way outdoors.   

If you want an advantage for next year, find out what the books will be for your classes coming up and start reading them.  Take some time to read for fun.  Just reading will help you keep or increase your reading skills during the summer months.  For those of you that struggle with picking up a book, find some friends and start a book club.  When you read and discuss a book together, you are more likely to finish and better understand it. 

Your summer adventure is about to start.  Whether it’s great or a bust is up to you!  What will you likely talk about this Fall when you reflect back on how you spent your summer?  Take advantage of the time and make it work for you.  Investing in yourself and managing your summer vacation wisely now will mean more opportunities for you later on!  Hope to see you on campus!   

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why live on campus?

I often get asked why should I live on campus?  Well I think there are many reasons...

First of, extensive studies on living on campus indicate that students who live on campus have a higher rate of finishing college and graduating over students who live off campus. Data also suggests that students who live in the residence halls are more involved with extracurricular activities and therefore get more out or going to college.  They experience a higher rate of personal growth, are more connected to the college they are attending and seem to have a higher rate of quality interpersonal relationships (friends) than those that live off campus. Interaction with faculty is also higher for those that live on campus. (The Resident Assistant by Gregory Blimling 2003)

While the data speaks for itself in general, why live on campus in my own words:

1. Convenience: never have to find parking compared to commuter students. 

2. Never cook again. Living on campus, you get a meal plan and you will never have to cook for yourself.  Having a meal plan allows you more time to spend on your academics.  

3. Never worry about your roommate not having the money to pay the rent.

4. Save Money: Your utilities, cable and Internet are almost always included.

5. Easier to get involved in campus life and make a difference.

6. Support: the housing staff is there to help you succeed in college. The staff is trained to help you adjust to college life!

7. Fun: living on campus is a blast. You will know when all the events are happening and you will make friends that much easier!

Sure, the residence halls have rules that all must follow. Alcohol is banned on many campus and this is dictated by the state law at some institutions. Housing policies like visiting hours and quiet hours are there for the benefit of the entire residential community. Just because you like to be loud all the time doesn’t mean your neighbor likes it.

Living on campus is just easier. Students can and should focus on education and not living circumstances. Colleges should provide a clean, safe and educational environment that is geared towards your success as a student.

Hope to see you on campus.