Don't Let Shame Factor Into Your College Decision

Don't Let Shame Factor Into Your College Decision

If others doubt your college decision, make it a point to prove them wrong.

If you had asked me as a freshman in high school what college I wanted to go to, I probably would have told you I wanted to go to the University of Alabama. Why? I honestly had no idea. I just knew that it was a larger state school and that it was considered to be a great college to go to while still paying in-state tuition. I also grew up with a family who loved Alabama football, despite never having attended any university at all, so my allegiance seemed as logical as theirs.

Now I’m a proud USA Jaguar, and I can’t tell you how glad I am that I changed my mind. I’m not saying Alabama isn’t a great university, but it just wasn’t the one for me. What I can tell you is that I was made to feel very ashamed for picking the university I did, and I want every student who is choosing a college right now to realize: you should never let anyone shame you for your college decision.

So why was I made to feel guilty for choosing USA? I grew up here in a Mobile, Alabama and I never really felt positive or negative about living here, because I had nothing to compare it to. I did know that people talked about college as a way to go on an adventure, visit and live in new places, and branch out from what I had always known. I had also experienced something amazing here in Mobile in high school by being chosen among many other applicants to attend the Alabama School of Math and Science. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a boarding school for students who excel academically, and it houses and educates students in grades 10 through 12 who are looking for a unique educational opportunity that provides them with the opportunity to learn responsibility and independence. It was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me.

Most students from ASMS took advantage of the educational opportunity it affords and applied to colleges near and far, most of which were considered to be academically advanced and well-known. It was especially expected of me, a Mobile native, to branch out and go somewhere my local high schools had not elevated me to the level of applying to. Ivy Leagues? Apply! They have great financial aid and you can take out loans! Schools in other states? Don’t worry about out-of-state tuition! You’ll get tons of scholarships! The one thing that no one ever seemed to advise me to do was to find the school that was right for me. Regardless of name recognition, location, or prestige, I wanted to find somewhere I would be comfortable, where I could pursue what I was interested in and advance as a result of that pursuit, and a place I truly felt like I was at home.

When the time came for my high school’s signing day, I had only applied to two colleges. I had toured them both and felt like I could make them my home, and if application costs had not been so prohibitive I may have applied some other places, but these two would always have been my top picks. One was my tried and true answer to where I wanted to go to college, The University of Alabama. Right here in my home state but not in my hometown, it seemed that it was the choice many others in my class were making, and it had a wide variety of majors, but it still seemed like something wasn’t quite right about the fit. I had also applied to USA, which most high school seniors from Mobile do, and although I wasn’t sure if it was the right place for me when I applied, the more I learned the more I fell in love with this college that was right here in my home town.

If I had only considered my three options from the perspective of the advantages it gave me, maybe I would have chosen another college. But when it came down to it, and I considered it from the standpoint of where I would call home for four years, I knew where I wanted to be. From that point on I heard so many reasons why I shouldn’t have chosen South.

“You’re going to stay in Mobile? Why didn’t you choose somewhere else and get out of here? Isn’t that what college is for?”

“Why didn’t you go to Alabama? They gave you a great scholarship and they have your major there!”

“I’ve heard that job applicants who went to USA have a hard time finding jobs because no one recognizes South Alabama’s name on their resume.”

“I can’t believe you didn’t apply to more schools! You could have gotten scholarships and gone anywhere you wanted!”

All of those statements were things I heard after choosing USA. Sometimes, I heard a congratulatory comment, but mostly it was statements that sought to question, negate and demean my choice. So I’m here to tell you: don’t listen to those people who only have negative things to say. Only you know what university is right for you.

So how did I benefit, and how can you? After being asked all of those questions and having all those negative statements thrown at me, I did all I could to learn about the benefits, resources, and opportunities South would provide me as a student. From then on every negative comment I received was met with a positive trait South has, with reasons I chose the school, and with my newfound love and pride for what will soon be my Alma Matter. When I look back now, I can’t help but wonder what it would have been like if I listened to them, and I can tell you with 100% certainty I made the right choice. I can’t imagine having spent the last three years at any other institution, and I can’t wait to be an alumnus of the University of South Alabama come May 6th, 2017. Go Jags!

Cover Image Credit: University of South Alabama

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When You Give A Girl A Dad

You give her everything

They say that any male can be a father, but it takes a special person to be a dad. That dads are just the people that created the child, so to speak, but rather, dads raise their children to be the best they can be. Further, when you give a little girl a dad, you give her much more than a father; you give her the world in one man.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a rock.

Life is tough, and life is constantly changing directions and route. In a world that's never not moving, a girl needs something stable. She needs something that won't let her be alone; someone that's going to be there when life is going great, and someone who is going to be there for her when life is everything but ideal. Dads don't give up on this daughters, they never will.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a role model.

If we never had someone to look up to, we would never have someone to strive to be. When you give a little girl someone to look up to, you give her someone to be. We copy their mannerisms, we copy their habits, and we copy their work ethic. Little girls need someone to show them the world, so that they can create their own.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her the first boy she will ever love.

And I'm not really sure someone will ever be better than him either. He's the first guy to take your heart, and every person you love after him is just a comparison to his endless, unmatchable love. He shows you your worth, and he shows you what your should be treated like: a princess.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her someone to make proud.

After every softball game, soccer tournament, cheerleading competition, etc., you can find every little girl looking up to their dads for their approval. Later in life, they look to their dad with their grades, internships, and little accomplishments. Dads are the reason we try so hard to be the best we can be. Dads raised us to be the very best at whatever we chose to do, and they were there to support you through everything. They are the hardest critics, but they are always your biggest fans.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a credit card.

It's completely true. Dads are the reason we have the things we have, thank the Lord. He's the best to shop with too, since he usually remains outside the store the entire time till he is summoned in to forge the bill. All seriousness, they always give their little girls more than they give themselves, and that's something we love so much about you.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a shoulder to cry on.

When you fell down and cut yourself, your mom looked at you and told you to suck it up. But your dad, on the other hand, got down on the ground with you, and he let you cry. Then later on, when you made a mistake, or broke up with a boy, or just got sad, he was there to dry your tears and tell you everything was going to be okay, especially when you thought the world was crashing down. He will always be there to tell you everything is going to be okay, even when they don't know if everything is going to be okay. That's his job.

When you give a girl a dad, you give her a lifelong best friend.

My dad was my first best friend, and he will be my last. He's stood by me when times got tough, he carried me when I just couldn't do it anymore, and he yelled at me when I deserved it; but the one thing he has never done was give up on me. He will always be the first person I tell good news to, and the last person I ever want to disappoint. He's everything I could ever want in a best friend and more.

Dads are something out of a fairytale. They are your prince charming, your knight in shinny amour, and your fairy godfather. Dads are the reasons we are the people we are today; something that a million "thank you"' will never be enough for.

Cover Image Credit: tristen duhon

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Things I Miss Now That I'm Home From College Again

There are so many reasons to be glad that the school year is over, but if you've done it right... there are a lot of reasons to miss it too.


So, school is over now and I've come home. As expected I was so relieved at first. No more showering with flip-flops, no more listening to screaming girls running up and down the hall, and a space that is mine and mine alone. But after a week or so of being back, there are a few things I've already started to miss.

I know that not every single person has the ideal roommate but I got really lucky with mine. Coming home I was excited to have my own space, but now when I'm doing my midnight scrolling, I'm realizing that I miss being able to talk to her about the funny things I see in that very moment. Tagging, DMing, and texting her doesn't feel the same as a long night of giggles spent together.

Also, while seeing old friends when you get home is amazing, and there is always a lot to catch up on, you do start to miss your other friends too. Being in college means that your friends are going through similar things as you are all the time. You have tests together, clubs together, and sometimes you spend way too much time procrastinating together. The bond you begin to form is one you definitely begin to miss - especially when you guys don't live close off of campus.

Coming home also means you don't have a set schedule or at least not immediately. You may come back to a previous job and that puts something on your calendar, but the free time you still have during the week can be a little too much. I know I've spent way too much time obsessing over the Tati/James drama than I ever would have at school. The routine I had at school kept me busy and entertained, and I'm honestly missing it a lot right now.

There are a lot of other things to miss too - even things you thought you wouldn't. You miss the classes, the teachers, and sometimes the food. I know I miss the environment. It isn't a perfect one, but it's full of people just trying to find their way. We are all working through the roller coaster of life and we are all stuck on one beautiful campus together while we figure it all out. I miss meeting new people at the bus stops or running into old classmates and catching up.

I guess the bonus for me is that I just finished sophomore year which means I have more time to spend at school. Come senior year, I guess I'll have to learn quickly how to deal without the things I miss - and also create a schedule so I can travel to see all of my friends, but those are all problems for future me.

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