As the leaves turn from green to brown soon and August is now upon us, the only thing on my mind is returning to college for my junior year. After an incredible summer as a camp counselor in California, I am very excited to be reunited with my best friends in a few short weeks. I've missed my slushies from the gas station down the street. I've missed seeing the guy that rides around campus on two razor scooters the most.

As most people know, I love my school. I would take a bullet for the bears of Missouri State. I've recently been looking into getting a bear tattoo. There isn't any other institution I would rather pull for than that school. If I could go back one thousand times, I would make the same decision. From the beginning, it wasn't always this way.

Like most freshman, I was confused and 6 hours away from my parents and constantly on the verge of tears. Eventually though, through involvement and friendship, my love for my institution grew.

As school approaches, I wanted to be the first to let everyone know that having school spirit is one of the most helpful things you can do for your education. Freshman comes in believing that pep rallies, merchandise giveaways, and supporting athletics of school functions is a lame thing to do. Your education is what you make of it.

College is so much more than just the grades you make, but the people you meet and the experiences you have with them. If you love your school, it will love you back. With higher education at the going rate it is today, how could you choose an institution that you're not absolutely crazy about?

It's fun to be involved and active in the collegiate community. If you're enthused about your education, you will get so much more out of the experience than if you aren't.

Take a picture with the mascot. Try to be the mascot. Tweet your school. More and more institutions are beginning to have active social media platforms. Get some school spirit wear. Go to school functions and watch.

Try different things, like theatre or inter murals. You go to school with those people! Go to the pep rally. Plus, the more you get involved, the more free stuff you get! Cool on-campus institutions exist literally to get you involved and to give you free spirit wear, like Traditions Council for you, bears out there.

So before you roll your eyes at the thought of actually sitting through the football game, give it a shot. You might be surprised at what you get out of it. (oh and #gobears)