Helpful Tips To Choose The Perfect School For You

Helpful Tips To Choose The Perfect School For You

It doesn't matter so much where you go as what you do when you get there.

Congratulations, you crazy high schoolers!! You've made it to the home stretch of high school! Now, you have just one semester left of high school, and let me tell you, this was my favorite semester of high school without a doubt.

It's the best semester; there's graduation, senior prom, senior all-night parties, and best of all, picking your college.

Yes, that's right! You've just finished applying to colleges and you're ready to start hearing back. You'll get into your dream school and a few others. Celebrate each acceptance letter! You did it!

But then, that means you have to pick the college you'll ultimately be going to. It's a big decision and it's important. This is when you'll start going to campus days and college tours and every school is going to try to sell their campus to you.

Every school will sound absolutely perfect, but just remember that the people you're talking to are trained specifically to sell, sell, sell.

No, that doesn't mean that they'll lie to you about their campus, but they will try to spin everything as much as they can to a positive light. Afterall, they want you to choose their university over all the others if they admitted you.

In that case, there are a few things to keep in mind while you're searching for the perfect home. Take it from someone who just went through that process and is more than happy with her decision.

There's a lot to think about, but the most important thing to do is talk to as many current students as you possibly can during the tour.

Talk to not only the tour guides but also to the other people touring the school. This will help you get a feel for what the campus's student body is like. Because let me tell you, the people you surround yourself with are one of the most important pieces of the puzzle.

When you talk to these people, ask them about their classes. Ask them to tell you about their favorite class or professor at the University. Ask them to tell you about something they genuinely enjoyed learning about. Listen to how they answer; do they make you excited to take classes at the university? Do they sound passionate about their experiences in classes, even if the workload was difficult?

But even more importantly than that, ask them about what they do outside of class. What kinds of student organizations are they part of, what kinds of projects do they work on?

When they respond, listen for their passion. Do the students here sound like they're just doing these things for their resumes or do they actually care about the work they're doing? When they talk about their activities, do you feel like you want to be a part of that too?

And then, ask them about what they do for fun. No one drinks and parties all seven nights a week (at least I hope to dear god they don't), so what do they do for fun?

This answer gives you a lot of insight into the campus culture and whether it's a good fit for you.

If they struggle to come up with what they do for fun, or it sounds like they don't spend a lot of time on destressing activities, then the culture of the campus might be more rigid and academically focused. If it's the opposite, then you know they do take time to relax.

In that case, listen to the kinds of things they do and if it matches with what you love to do or might want to try.

Take a look at how big the campus is and how much walking you're actually going to have to do. Don't take that for granted, and make sure you ask about bus transportation if you're on a big campus.

I can't tell you how many times I've misjudged the amount of walking I have to do. A good gauge is to ask your tour guides how many pairs of shoes they burn through in a year. I'm up to about one right now, which isn't so bad, but's its only been half the year and winter has just begun.

Speaking of winter, pay attention to the weather. And yes, it is much, much more severe when you're walking everywhere. Ask them about road plowing conditions if you're somewhere where it snows a lot. Ask about air conditioning and heating in the housing and even classrooms.

Honestly, it seems insignificant, but these little details matter a lot.

It's all about whether or not you're going to be comfortable in this new place because when you have a thousand other more important things to be worrying about, simple things like whether or not you'll be comfortable while sitting in class or are even going to be able to make it to class in the weather outside should not be adding to your stress.

And of course, make sure you look at existing credit transfers. You don't want to take all those college classes and AP exams only to find out they don't even really count for anything except general credit. And, find out what kind of recruitment services or alumni networks or professional development opportunities they have on campus.

You won't be thinking about these things as a newly-admitted freshman, but a few years down the road, you will. Cover for yourself now.

Basically, the most important things for you to figure out while you're researching your future home is what the school's culture is like and whether you fit into it and whether the resources they have align with what you will need in the coming years.

But don't forget, it doesn't matter so much where you go as what you do when you get there.

You'll be fine either way. Go out there and chase the world down my dudes.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram | @uofmichigan

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Empowering Mantras That Soothe The Soul

Learn and repeat these mantras to center yourself.

January is the month of change. We can decide to change at any time during the year, but the start of the new year pushes us to be our best self. If you have something you want to stop, or start doing, now is the time. As I sit in Spain far away from my family, friends, and peanut butter (which is shockingly impossible to find in Spain), I’m confronted with a new challenge and a new opportunity to grow. Although studying abroad is an incredible opportunity and I am more than grateful, I would be lying if I said there aren’t moments of crying in the shower and longing for my body pillow at home (his name is Maxwell and he is pink, and no, I’m not pregnant).

Whenever I get overwhelmed I find it extremely helpful to stop, take a deep breath (or sixty) and repeat calming mantras to myself until the feeling passes. Mantras can be words or sentences and phrases that you can repeat to yourself anytime, although traditionally they have been used during meditation. The goal is to help focus the mind internally and block out any external distractions. It helps to center you and mentally decongest. Scientifically, the benefits are incredible.

The repetition of mantras have been linked to a decrease in heart rate, brain waves and the ability to slow down breathing.

“I am enough”

Fake it till you make it. Believe it or not, say it over and over again. We are what we think, so think positive.

“This too shall pass”

Life goes on even when you think it can’t. We have to experience the peaks and valleys to live a full life. Remember that in a bad moment, it will pass and a new feeling will replace it. And treasure and revel in the good moments because you know what you have overcome and what you may face in the future.

“I am grateful”

Your nail breaks, you spill your coffee, you tumble down a flight of stairs. Plenty of things happen throughout our days that may cloud our overall perception. Challenge yourself in those negative moments to list three events or people you may have overlooked that made your day brighter. Gratitude literally alters the way our brains process our emotions and thoughts and the best part is that we are in control of making our thoughts positive.

“Let it Be”

Time and time again we learn this lesson. It is what it is, what will be will be. That’s not to say it’s always a graceful moment of acceptance, but there’s a certain freedom in knowing that so many things are out of our control.

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5 Must Things To Do During Second Semester

Looking for things to do during this winter season? This list has got you covered.

For many of us who have just started our second semester, or are about to, the stress of college is about to come at you full force and smack you in the face. Personally, I find second semester to be much more difficult compared to first semester.

First semester is filled with tailgates, football games, hayrides, pumpkin patches, Thanksgiving, Halloween, the list can go on and on. Due to the fact that there's so many more activities to do first semester than second, that can lead to a semi-dull second semester. With that being said however, here's a list of things you can do to prevent all that boredom.

1. Go to other sporting events that your college offers you

College sports are one of the best parts of living in America so you might as well take full advantage of them. Even though football season may be over, hockey and basketball season are in full swing right now. Also, by end of March and beginning of April, baseball will start as well. Going to games as a student is a great way to have fun with your friends while not having to bust open the piggy bank.

2. Pajama and movie nights

A simple enough idea, but has the potential to have tons of fun if you decide to give it your all. During the winter, especially up north, it can be brutally cold so staying inside is priority majority of the time. But that doesn't mean there's not a way to enjoy all that cold.

Curl up with your best friends whether it be in your dorm room or apartment while showing off the funniest or best pajamas you own. Pick out your favorite movies and settle down for a night full of laughter, gossip, and memories.

3. Enjoy the outdoors

Even though I just said that winters up north can be brutally, there's still plenty to offer when it comes to enjoying the great outdoors. Go ice skating and watch all of your friends struggle to stay upright and fall down, or go skiing/snowboarding and enjoy the beauty of the snow while getting a great workout in.

Or, you could be like my friends and steal dining hall food trays and use those to sled down some hills. Having these options can help you look forward to the winter and enjoy activities other than staying inside.

4. Go to a museum

Learning about different cultures or parts of history can be a lot more fascinating than people would like to admit. Go to your local college museum and check out cool facts there or drive to a city around you to check out other museums as well. If you're close to a moderate to large city, you will usually be able to find a history museum, aquarium, or some type of science museums. These are fun ways to learn new facts about the past, present, and future of our world.

5. Day trip

Spontaneous (or not spontaneous) day trips can be a blast with your friends or significant other. Choose a random place to go and drive there. Find something to do wherever you go. You'll make some great memories that'll last you a lifetime. It doesn't even have to be far, it can be only 30 minutes away and still be just as fun. Where the destination is doesn't matter, it's who you're going with that matters.

I hope these 5 ideas of what to do in the winter will help you enjoy your second semester of college while still having as much as first semester. After all, you're only in college for four years, so take advantage of everything you can do while you can!

Cover Image Credit: Maddie Blank

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