Why Attending Youngstown University Was One Of My Smartest Decisions

Why Attending Youngstown University Was One Of My Smartest Decisions

You didn't screw up.
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When I was a senior in high school, I ran into a classmate’s dad at the grocery store. We talked for a few minutes before he asked the typical “Where are you heading for school?” question that plagues a person’s senior year. After telling him I was going to YSU, he smirked and said, “Ah, yes, the old ‘You Screwed Up,’ of course.” I felt my eyebrows furrow and my smile fade from my face as I hurried to end the encounter. As I look back on that situation, I again feel a twinge of anger; sure, it would’ve been nice to go away to school and “see the world,” but I have never felt dissatisfied with my decision to attend YSU.

I was born in Youngstown and grew up on the outskirts of the city, so I’ve always been familiar with the area. Throughout my high school career, I applied to a couple of colleges, but I always knew that I’d end up going to Youngstown State. Originally, when people asked me where I planned to go to school, I’d shrug and say “Just YSU,” but someone pointed out to me once that I always said “just YSU,” and I suddenly become conscious of the fact that I took having a wonderful institution within minutes of my home for granted.

Youngstown State has one of the highest acceptance rates in the state, which a lot of people see as a bad thing. I don’t. I think it’s great that those who don’t necessarily test well or who have had a rough past can come to college and earn a degree to better themselves. Nursing and criminal justice are two of the most popular programs at the university, which means that some of the most caring and brave people are earning their degrees at YSU and then going on to literally save people’s lives. In addition to that, the school of business is booming, the liberal arts are as dominant as ever, and even general studies students are going on to make a huge difference in our community and others.

Having a close relationship with my educators has always been super important to me, and that is something that YSU encourages. My advisor is an angel and has helped me so much, and my professors have gone out of their way to make sure that I succeed, no matter what it takes. Some of the classes that I’ve been in have had a lot of students, but for the most part, the student to teacher ratio is roughly 17:1, which is wonderful for the students who take advantage of what their professors have to offer. I owe a lot of my professors. Everything, and it’s because of them that I’ve fallen more in love with my field of study.

Not only have I had the chance to learn from some of the most wonderful professors, I get to sleep in my bed every night. Sometimes, commuting is hard. If the roads are bad or if traffic is horrendous, I get a little snippy. But I’ve been able to live at home and still attend all of my classes without too much difficulty. I get to eat at the restaurants that I’ve grown up with, I often see people I went to school with, and I didn’t have any awkward homesick stages to fight through (which was a huge relief.) I’m in a familiar setting, and that has made all the difference for myself when it comes to learning.

Most importantly (in the long run, I guess), I’ve been able to save so much money by attending YSU. Since I live at home, I don’t pay room and board. Since I live at home, my grandma can still cook me dinner or I can find something for lunch in the fridge without having to spend all of my money on groceries. And my tuition isn’t outrageously priced. At the end of my college career, I will owe approximately $30,000 in debt. To me, that sounds like a lot, but I know people who pay that much money for one year of tuition at other schools.

When it comes down to it, attending Youngstown State has been one of the best decisions of my life.

P.S. The classmate whose dad I mentioned at the beginning of the story? He failed out of a big name school because he partied too much. So, excuse me, sir, who’s the one who screwed up?

Cover Image Credit: Marriott

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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Coping With The Loss Of A Passion

It's hard to get it back once you lose it.

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In college, time to focus on passions seems limited. The homework, essays, group projects, and exams are never-ending.

In high school, I took my free time for granted. I was dancing four hours four nights a week, but I wasn't constantly stressed. I had time to focus on my passion, which is dance.

In college, I am a part of an amazing dance club. But I don't get to compete, take technique classes, or be with the team I was with since I was 8 years old. Now, I receive videos of my team from home's amazing performances, and it aches a bit. I am so proud and happy for their growth but jealous that they have more years than I do. It is nearly impossible to find technique classes at college to take with no car, little free time, and barely any money. I miss my team, I miss my dance teachers and choreographers, and I miss competitions, but most of all, I miss the person I was when I had the opportunity to pursue my passion several hours a week.

My passion will always be there, and I do get to pursue dance on a smaller scale with some amazing dancers in college, but I am coping with the fact that I will never do another competition with my team again, I will never be able to dance with them again, and I will never be able to learn from my dance teachers again. It's a hard loss, one that I think about every day.

To anyone who still has the opportunities to pursue their passions to the fullest extent, you are lucky. Not everyone gets the chance to keep up with their sport, passion, or activity that they dedicated all of their time to in high school. Don't take a single second of it for granted, and remember why you are doing what you are doing. Take time to reflect on why you love it so much, how it makes you feel, and how you can express yourself during it. Whatever this passion or activity is, make every second count.

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