How A Pre-Orientation Program Changed My College Life

How A Pre-Orientation Program Changed My College Life

A letter of advice to all incoming freshmen.
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Opening my acceptance letter to my current university was one of the greatest moments of my life… but it was also one of the most terrifying.

Up until that moment, I had lived my life in a bubble of security. I knew my small hometown like the back of my hand, and I had gone to the same school with the same kids since kindergarten. The idea of heading off to a huge school made me so scared; scared that I would never fit in, scared that I would hate my major, scared that I would flunk all of my classes and become a huge failure.

While that may sound slightly ridiculous and majorly cliche, it’s true. I found out that almost every incoming freshman feels the same way. I had dreamt of going to this school for so long but I was also beginning to dread it.

My mom received an email about Pre-Orientation Programs; programs that cater to freshman and incoming transfers to help ease the transition to college life, and she pestered me to do one until I caved and signed up, and I will never be able to thank her enough.

There were numerous programs offered to first year students; whether they were based on religious beliefs, military training, community service, or hiking trips to the area around the school. Regardless on what you picked, the concept was pretty much the same; hang out with a bunch of people in the exact same boat as you, while also hanging out with upperclassmen who can answer every single one of your 100,000 questions.

I walked in on the first day of the program knowing no one, and I walked out knowing 60 new first-year students and a dozen upperclassmen. The entire week we stayed up into the early hours of the night talking about classes we were taking, our high schools and life in general, ignoring the fact that we had to wake up early for a day full of activities. I had begun to understand that being thrust out of my bubble meant that I could get to know so many amazing people whom I would have never gotten to know otherwise and that I constantly wanted to mingle and get to know them before the week was over.

I realized that I wasn’t supposed to have all the answers, or even act like I did because the fact of the matter is that no one has the answers, or can even come close. I realized that college is about finding the answers through experience, guessing and even failing. The people that I met during my Pre-Orientation Program have become my best friends to this day, and I am almost two years into my college life.

Coming into college after a week of nothing but amazing experiences and amazing people made everything so much easier. I had people to support me, and the upperclassmen had helped me understand the ridiculously complicated Orientation week to come.

Having 60 new friends on campus to grab dinner with, explore campus with, come to events with, and talk to when I felt overwhelmed made my entire first semester amazing.

If I could say anything to an incoming college student, it’s this, see if pre-orientation programs are offered at your school. It will start your college life with more treasured memories than just laying at home an extra week, I promise.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.inspiremore.com/16-things-i-wish-i-knew-as-a-college-freshman/

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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The Truth About Motivation, And What It Really Means

Only you can make it happen.

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Everyone has goals. Small goals, big goals. Personal goals, team goals. Coming up with goals is easy; decide on one thing you would like to change or improve, and voila! You have yourself a goal.

People over-think goals. It really isn't that deep. Not all goals have to be ground-breaking or life-changing.

Ok, so you get it. Now I'll move onto the main topic: motivation.

I feel like the most common thing that comes to mind about motivation is this constant drive that only select people are lucky enough to have. This is not the case.

Ever heard the phrase "mind over matter"? Not one person on this Earth is motivated every single day. Even Donald Trump doesn't feel like doing the most important job sometimes.

When the motivation lacks, it is up to you to decide mentally that you are determined. It's kind of a mind game, but no one ever did anything great outside of their comfort zone.

Goals are achieved when you surpass what you think you are capable of. Take advantage of the opportunities that stand before you. And if things seem impossible, remind yourself that you're fully capable.

However, there is a difference between motivation and over-doing it. It is important to differentiate.

Feeling unmotivated is completely different than feeling tired and disinterested. Consistency is key, as they say, but it is also important to rest and give your attention to other aspects of your life. Too much of anything is bad.

Overall, my point is that the word "motivation" is commonly misinterpreted. Motivation is an important factor in achieving goals, but not always present. It is up to you to remind yourself of the end goal, but also remember that it not only about the end but the journey, too.

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