This is a continuation of the previous post (rant) about making your experience count. I realize that I made things sound very simple and happy in that post, and for many it may be. But for many others, college can be really hard, especially when you first get here and if you don’t know anyone. So I thought I’d give a bit more advice.
First off, don’t be too worried if you are an incoming freshman. All freshmen want to make friends, and the school does all kinds of things to help you do that. You are going to have to feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable to be able to talk to people you don’t know and build those friendships, but it works out in the end. I met my best college friend the first day of my orientation. We sat next to each other, introduced ourselves, and then awkwardly decided to get lunch together.
Second, if that doesn’t happen for you or you still don’t feel like you quite fit in, there’s lots of options for you. For me, I was fortunate enough to have been dragged to sorority recruitment- a decision I couldn’t be happier with. The other forty girls in my sorority would tell you the same. For others, it’s a group like the VOICE center focused on a specific cause. Or maybe a student organization like the Democrats of MSU. Or perhaps intermurals if you love sports. Whatever it is, there is something out there for you. But it won’t just fall into your lap- you need to do a little work too.
Hopefully that’s good advice to start you off!
…Of endless confusion about how to exist in the post-college real world. Or what the real world even means to me (see picture above to get an idea about my plans for the future…). If I had one piece of advice to incoming college freshmen, it would be this: Spend four years at college and do everything you can to fully experience those years. Do well in classes, of course, because you don’t want to waste all that money and time to come out of it with a really low GPA or to get suspended or something. More importantly, though, enjoy yourself. Make new friends, even if your high school friends are already there. Experience the town. Don’t turn down new opportunities just because they scare you or it’s out of your comfort zone (exception: incredibly dangerous things and things against your moral compass). Do all kinds of odd jobs, get passionate about a cause, join a bunch of clubs… whatever it is that will make your college experience the best it could be, do it.
Need suggestions? Feel free to comment and ask!
Spring Break 2015 is here… my last spring break of my undergraduate college career. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed! After a rocky first half of the semester trying to come to terms with my upcoming and unavoidable graduation and push into the real world, it feels good to have a break. Let me tell you what I’m doing:
Road Trip! To Salt Lake City!
On Thursday I hitched a ride with my friend to Salt Lake City to catch my flight out of there to Los Angeles. I had booked a flight out of Salt Lake City because it was around $200 round trip, where a flight out of bozeman was around $700. Ridiculous, I know. Spring Break didn’t technically start until the weekend, but most professors cancel their classes on Thursday and Friday because everybody just leaves anyways!
Landing in California as the sun sets
After a 6 hour car ride and a 1 hour and 20 minute flight, I had landed in LA where my older sister was waiting to pick me up. We drove the hour and a half back to her place in Ventura. It was night time so I couldn’t see the full awesomeness of California yet, but I was already happy because of how warm it was. As you can imagine, considerably warmer than Bozeman at night.
The next morning, I got up to seventy degree weather and we set out to seize the day. We went on a 6 mile hike (roundtrip) in Malibu that allowed me to really see the beauty of the california landscape. We checked out a couple of really cool beaches, one were we explored through some caves and another where we saw a whole lot of seals and a whale spouting water in the distance. It was a long, hot, awesome day. Now I’m on to 8:30am day two, looking forward to what the rest of the week has to bring.
I can’t believe it has taken me this long to go to California! Such a change of scenery and weather from Bozeman. The perfect Spring Break!
Care package from my mom…
I may be 22 and graduating college in May, but I still feel like I’m a kid just at summer camp or something. Like after this I’ll just go home and my parents will continue to support me forever while i hang out with friends and have fun. Unfortunately… this is the real world, where after you graduate from college you are expected to start contributing to society.
So, this post is to help you accept that homesickness is a natural part of college, and it’s okay. It’s okay to want to call your parents every night the first few weeks you are at school because you miss them. It’s okay (awesome, actually) to get care packages from your mom. It’s okay to go home for just a few days because you want someone to cook for you and do your laundry.
On the flip side, it is also okay to stop calling your parents after the first week because you are so busy having fun and being successful you don’t have the time. It’s okay to go to other friends houses over break because you want to travel to other places and spend time with them. It’s okay to do all these things and still want care packages because they are awesome.
Don’t fear homesickness, it is a natural and healthy part of leaving home. And don’t fear college, because you’ll love it more than you can imagine, and soon you’ll be at home during a break thinking about how much you want to be at college.
Last weekend, I took the day off of work and school on Friday and headed up to Big Sky to ski with my brother. He works at the resort and as a benefit he has coupons for half off of the lift ticket and rentals, which comes out to about 50-60 dollars all together. I only went up for half of the day to ski because he thought I would get tired if I tried to go all day. Jokes on him, though, because I shredded down that mountain (note: I don’t know how to stop, so that’s my only option).
We did a few runs at big sky and then skied over to moonlight (A resort owned by big sky) and skied there too. After the mountain closed at 4 we went and got some good food, hung out in the hot tub pool, and then I headed home. It was a good day. So good that I’m going back this Saturday to do a full day!
Oh, Valentines Day. What a weird and useless holiday. Couples make reservations all over the town (mostly on main street), go to the movies, buy each other gifts… basically, a lot of money is spent. I’ve done it before, so I understand, but this year for me has been all about pinching pennies.
So, I spent around $5 on food and a movie. How, you may ask? I went to the procrastinator theatre! It is a student run theatre on campus that plays popular movies, new and old. I have been wanting to see “The Theory of Everything” for a while, and it was playing at 6:30 last night. I paid my $2 to get in and brought my $3 worth of candy and my water with me… boom, perfect valentines day. It was a low money and low stress option that myself and my movie date enjoyed.
If you’re looking for something to do thats cheap, check out what’s playing at the procrastinator. Alone, with a friend… whatever. Take some time out of your day to enjoy a good movie without all the spending.
Check it out here.
Singer Jason DeShaw
This past Wednesday, I attended a free community event called “The Experience and Science of Mental Illness” out of interest and to take notes for my interest. It was an incredibly interesting event. The first speaker, Jason DeShaw, is a country singer from Montana who has Bipolar I disorder. He discussed his experience with Bipolar Disorder, weaving songs into his story. A line from one of his songs regarding being diagnosed that stuck out: “I carried a different toon”. Jason walked the community through what it felt like to be on the Manic and Depressive ends of Bipolar disorder, talked about suicide in our community, and what it means to give people options and hope. He ended his discussion by saying that mental illness is not just a matter of health, it is a matter of humanity.
Dr. Matt Byerly
The second speaker was Dr. Matt Byerly, who discussed what to expect in the next five and ten years in the science of mental illness. He has done some amazing work regarding schizophrenia and adherence to medication, Down Syndrome, and Fragile X among many other research project. I look forward to keeping tabs on what he discovers.
This was an important community event because 1 in 4 individuals struggles with mental illness. When you come to college, you yourself or someone you know may be struggling. It is important to try and understand what is happening and how to help. We are fortunate to have a number of resources on campus, from the Counseling Center to the VOICE Center to Student Health. Know how to get the help that you need.
Last week began my final semester of undergraduate college, which is terrifying. Let me put the anxiety about graduating to the side for now, though, and let you know what my schedule looks like:
- 9:00-9:50: Introduction to American Government
- 12:00-12:50: Professional Issues (Senior Seminar Class, Wednesdays Only)
- 1:10-2:00: Managing Work and Family
- 3:10-6:00: Parenting (Monday’s only)
- 10:50-12:05: Gender, Race, Class and Family Diversity
When I’m not in class, I am working in the Dean of Students Office or interning for Associate Dean Aaron Grusonik (Director of Safety and Welfare). I also take the VOICE Center crisis phone home on Monday nights. And, of course, I get my exercise in my attending cycling class on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 6:15 for 75 minutes.
I’m pretty busy, but not as busy as I’ve been in the past, which is going to be interesting for me (Free time… what? I don’t even know what that is).
What kinds of classes are you looking forward to taking?
This past month was winter break, meaning I went home to New Hampshire for a bit. While home it finally hit me… I’m graduating. I’m graduating, and I have no idea what I’m going to do.
When I went to Montana, graduation seemed so far away that it wasn’t even on my radar. I was nervous, but I was blanketed in the secure college-kid world where everyone wants to make friends and getting a job is kind of a breeze and I could go home for all my breaks and know I still had time to figure life out.
Now? I have to figure out what my next step is, and I’m terrified. My reality is that I chose to go far away to college, and now I have a home in two places, and I have no idea what to do. Realistically, I have choices. Grad school, work, internships… It doesn’t make me feel any better though. Do I go somewhere else and make a third home? Go back to New Hampshire and figure out what’s next? Stay in Montana and further make it my home? Also, what do I do about the massive amounts of debt I already have? It’s making me dizzy trying to figure it all out…
I just can’t even believe how fast time flies. I still remember the feeling when my Mom finally left me at MSU four years ago. Don’t take it for granted, folks. The security of four years of college is a wonderful thing.
I asked for nothing for Christmas this year, which bothered my mother to no end (“you’re no fun!!”), but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t happy to receive things… plus, I said nothing about birthday presents (my birthday is the 29th).
It actually worked to my advantage to ask for nothing, because I have ended up with all the things that I wanted to continue on my quest to become an outdoors woman.
First and foremost, I got the most AWESOME early birthday presents (see picture below). I have wanted trekking poles for a really long time to take backpacking with me, and I now am the proud owner of some! I had also wanted a backpacking tent for a really long time, so I now have a 3 person tent to bring on my next trip.. yay!! And, lastly, I got 60 spiced ciders, just because I love them.
For christmas, I got some hiking socks- which I really needed- another nalgene- which I also really needed because I have been using my one water bottle forever, and gift cards to american eagle and barnes and noble. Plus money, best gift a girl can ask for.
I have about another week and a half of break before I head back to bozeman. Cheers to a fantastic break so far…