Thursday, February 11, 2016

So You're Almost a Jaguar....

So you're almost a South Alabama Jaguar... Isn't that crazy to think?! It seems like just yesterday we started the school year, yet here we are all the way in February! For all of us current Jaguars, it's almost time to welcome all of our new Jaguar students on campus!! Hopefully, at this point in the year, the infamous high school senioritis hasn't kicked in too much because there are still things to do for your next step in life. In just a few short (and I mean really short because it will fly by before you know it). But by now, I'm sure you've wondered what exactly should you be doing now as my final few steps to prepare for college in the fall. Well, have no fear; I have just a few ideas and tips to help you out...
  1. If you haven't already done so, make your final college decision!
    • Decide where you see yourself in the fall and, possibly, for the next four years. Whether you decide to start out at a community or junior college and transfer or you decide to start out at a university, just decide what's best for you and where you see yourself. It'll make the rest of this list SO much easier once you have a final school in mind!
  2. Make sure, if possible, you've visited the college of your choice!
    • When I say this is incredibly important, I definitely mean it. You will never get the full experience of how you will fit in at a school until you physically go there, so do it!!!! From my first visit to South's campus, I knew this was the school for me, and it really helped me be able to see myself as a student here once I saw what campus even looked like.

  3. Take your ACT/SAT one last time!
    • So maybe you didn't quite get the score you wanted to get to get that big scholarship. Have no fear! Just take the ACT/SAT again! At South, as long as we have scholarship money to give, we will, so that means send us your new scores as many times as you take it!
  4. Think about what career path you might like!
    • Whether its becoming an artist or becoming a doctor, at some point in life, everyone has thought of "what they want to be when they grow up." So what interest you in life? From saving lives to capturing the beauty life has to offer, find something that interests you and look into the different kinds of programs offered at each different school.

  5. Apply for everything!
    • Apply!! Apply for scholarships. Apply for  housing. Apply for clubs and/or organizations. Apply for everything! Applications are the only way you can get the acceptance or award. Make sure you look at your deadlines too! There is no worse feeling that completing an entire application only to realize that it was due last week (trust me). Looking for some to apply for now, click here!

Thursday, February 4, 2016

There's Always Something To Learn...

Being a student at South Alabama, I would say, has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I mean I first stepped foot here 4 years ago, and they haven't convinced me to leave yet. However, even though I have been here for a long while (sometimes it literally seems like it's been forever), South is always teaching me something new that can and will help me as a person in the future. So what are some of these things South has taught me, you ask? Well, without further ado, I give you...
10 Things South Alabama Has Taught Me As a Student
  1. Always have an umbrella or rain coat with you. Always. Coming in the ranks as the absolute rainiest city in the nation, welcome to Mobile, Alabama! But seriously, it rains all the time. When it's predicted, when it's not predicted, when it may or may not be predicted, there is always a chance that a random shower (or monsoon) out of no where will appear. So better to be safe than soaking wet and sorry, I always have my umbrella on me in my backpack that way I'm ready for whatever this crazy Mobile weather throws at me.

  2. Don't be afraid to be "that girl" (or guy, whichever) that talks to random people in your classes. You make some of your best friends that way. I'd be lying to y'all if I didn't say this is how I made like 80% of my friends here at South and nearly 100% of my friends my Freshman year. I didn't know a single person when I came here, so I had to figure out some way to make friends, and, well, this is how I did it! You'd be surprised what you may find out about that person beside you in Pre-Cal or Psych... They may even be from your hometown!
  3. Be the best you that you can be! It's always important to be yourself. It's the best way to make friends, and the best way to be a friend!
  4. Join clubs/organizations, make friends, and have fun! My Freshman year I was so hesitant to join clubs because, like I said, I didn't know anyone. So finally one of my new friends dragged me to one of her club meetings, and I loved it and all of the people I was able to meet and get to know! Then I started joining a lot of clubs that were about something I was interested in. I even became vice president of 2 of them later on down the road.
  5. Don't forget about your studies - they are, after all, what got us here in the first place. I know this one is probably part of the unpopular opinion, but school is pretty important. It's what keeps you here, and it's likely what got you here! So, I'll just leave this one at, don't get so busy with everything else that you forget about your studies. Trust me, from personal experience, it is not fun having to catch up on nearly everything at the last minute.
  6. Don't forget about the family! They've always got your back! Family is always there for you, so don't forget about them!
  7. Get a planner and stay (or at least do your best to try to be) organized! Before I came to college, I never used a planner. Now that I am in college, I have never went a semester without one. Planners are so important to the college student because they keep all of your different classes organized and keep you on top of things which is good so you don't feel stressed.
  8. Chase your dreams! If it's something you want bad enough, you'll likely find it! South Alabama introduced me to my dream of becoming an OT and then helped me out in the biggest way in becoming an OT by choosing me to join their program. If there's something you want or a dream you have, go after it, and use the immense amount of resources available for you everywhere at South.
  9. Never be late for something important. Never. "I'm late! I'm late! For a very important date! No time to say "Hello", goodbye! I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" No one wants to be singing that tune everyday! It may not seem super important now to be on time to class, but, after you walk into class one time late and every single person turns and stares at you while you walk to your seat, you will never ever do it again. So, word to the wise, try your absolute best to be on time always!
  10. Emails are your friend! Check them!!! Class may be canceled. Class may be moved. You may have just won a million dollars. You never know what kind of emails you may receive, so always be sure to check your emails!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Fun Times in the Neighborhood (aka Mobile)!!

Just because I'm in Mobile because of school doesn't mean that is all my life revolves around while I'm here; I mean come on we are all college kids here! And like ant other college kid out there, sometimes I need to de-stress and have a little fun! While it is super convenient that Mobile is located SO close to some great beaches (which I love), sometimes I don't have the time (or the money) or, like now, when it is waaaaaaay too cold for this Southern girl to go all the way to the beach, or even sometimes when I just want to stay around Mobile for a fun day close to home.
So, of course, the next thing to wonder would be - what is there to do in Mobile this time of the year? Well, I'm glad you asked! Mobile has plenty of entertainment to fit about any personality. You have the Mobile Art Walk, downtown life, amazing restaurants, wonderful shopping, and the list goes on! Personally, my favorite things to do in Mobile would be going out to eat and then a nice shopping trip. The first thing I knew when I moved down to Mobile was that it was certain to have some fantastic seafood fresh off the boat, and it has yet to disappoint me! I have plenty of places I love to go eat here (La Cocina, Foosackley's, San Miguel, Carrabba's, Bonefish, Lapp's, Tacky Jack's, and many more), but just to introduce one for great seafood, my all-time favorite Mobile restaurant is Felix's Fish Camp!
Inside Felix's is a really neat little place with all mismatched chairs; then, the food is amazing; and to tie it altogether, it's right by the bay, and you can see out while you eat! Simply the best!! After eating some wonderful Felix's food, it's time to go shopping! Mobile has some awesome little boutiques where you can find your unique items, and it even has your favorite stores from back home at the mall. It's like the best of both worlds! I know it might sound kind of typical for a girl to like eating and shopping, but don't knock it until you try it on your next visit to Mobile.
As an extra note of things I like to do in Mobile that just so happens to be going on right now, one of my favorite times of the year in Mobile is Mardi Gras!! Where I'm from, we don't really celebrate the Mardi Gras season; however, when I moved to Mobile and went to my very first parade, I was changed forever, and now it's one of my all time favorite things about living in Mobile. While Mardi Gras does only come around once a year, it's a great time to get together with all of your friends to go downtown for the parades! While you're on your Mobile visit, if you want to experience true Mobile style, you MUST check out at least one Mardi Gras parade! It definitely will be the highlight of any visit!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Happy, Healthy New Year!!

Happy 2016, everyone!!! It seems like its been forever since we've been in the Jaguar swing of things, but, now, its time to get back and make this new year better than ever before! So, I'm sure we all have made our new year's resolutions already (and may have even broken them already...which may or may not be me once or twice). For this year, I decided to finish out my last year at South by trying to be a healthier and happier me! Of course, we all have heard those dreaded, awful stories about gaining too much weight when you head on off to college and even while you're in college. It's no lie that, at times, college can be super stressful with everything going on a one time, and that's the time that we all start reaching for the Cheetos, Ben & Jerry's, Chips Ahoy, Oreos, and all that other stuff that isn't the best for us. But thankfully, for those of us trying to stay on the healthier side of life, there are plenty of fun activities at and around South!

If your looking to just stay on campus and stay active and exercise, South has an amazing recreation center (otherwise known to the Jaguar family as "the rec")! At only about 5 years old, the rec is a huge hotspot for students because there is so much you can do. The rec has an indoor track for those hot Southern days, weight rooms, multi-purpose courts, a cardio theatre, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa, a sauna, racquetball courts, rock-climbing wall, and even multi-purpose aerobic rooms were South offers classes for students like cycling, Zumba, cardioboxing, hip-hop dance, belly dancing, and so many more (plus most of these classes are FREE to attend). The rec is a great place to keep yourself in shape while at South, and the best part is you probably will never be bored with so many different activities offered!
However, if you're like me and like to stay active but not always inside, there are plenty of outdoor activities you can do. On campus, there are trails that are always very pretty and fun to walk or run on. There are also a few parks near campus that have walking trails. But if you want something a little more out of the box and don't mind driving a little way, there are places nearby where you can rent paddleboards, kayaks, and other fun things to do out on the water. Recently, one of my friends introduced me to kayaking on a lake in Moss Point, MS (only about 30 minutes from campus), and it looks like tons of fun. Sadly, I couldn't make it on their last trip of the year for 2015, but no worries, we already have another trip planned before school gets out for summer, and I can't wait for it to get here!
So if you plan on joining our Jaguar family and are worried about staying healthy and happy, have no fear because there are plenty of options open for you to get out there and stay active like the ones I mentioned! Just find something that appeals to you and make a point to stick to it, and you will have no problems sticking to a resolution of a happy, healthy new year!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

It's the Final{s} Countdown!

We’re in the home stretch! We’ve almost made it! We can see the finish line! The clock is almost out! Whatever way you want to say it, we’re almost done with school, y’all!!! YAY!!! I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t be much happier to finally see winter break. Not that school can’t be fun and all (because it can be, occasionally), but I just need a break and especially some time for some fun with friends and family to celebrate the holidays (and finally decorate my house since I'm possibly the only family member that cares about that kind of stuff)!!
But wait… There’s one little thing standing in our way – finals! Ugh, the dreaded end of the semester finals! Yeah finals aren’t all that fun (or, you know, not fun at all), but when I think of finals, the first thing that comes to mind, and something that has never failed me yet, is study early! In my four years at South, if I have learned anything about studying that would be number 1. You know those people who can just glance over the material and are okay for finals? Yeah, that’s not me! Personally, I get distracted and take lots of study breaks, so I end up needing way longer to study. I also don’t like to cram for finals either because then I end up forgetting so much. I'm more of your study three days to a week in advanced kind of humans. Another important thing for me is remembering to go to sleep! Getting caught up in studying the night before and completely losing track of time until suddenly its 1 AM and I’m still awake. Not a good idea! To help me feel refreshed and ready to conquer finals I always try to make sure I get plenty of sleep the night before and eat a good breakfast (or lunch, depending on what time my final is).
Lastly, (and what I’m sure is on your mind as well) when I think of finals this semester, I think of Christmas and New Years!!! Just a few short days after I take my last final, it will finally be the holidays! This time of year is certainly one of the highlights of my year because it is such a cheerful and joy-filled time to spend with all the wonderful people I love dearly. And no matter what holiday you prefer to celebrate, all holidays make this time a happy way to wrap up 2015.
So, Merry Holidays, and good luck on finals everyone! And just think, after it’s all over, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a Jaguar!!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Did I Choose You, OT? Or Did You Choose Me?

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
Choosing a major is a pretty difficult task! I mean how are you supposed to know at 18 what you want to do until your 68? Though it is a very tough decision, once you finally find the field you enjoy so much that you could see yourself there for the rest of your life, it's almost like a huge revelation, and, finally, you know you're exactly where you're supposed to be. For me, this took me a little longer than I actually expected.
I came to South Alabama certain that I was going to be a Physical Therapist - like no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I got my track and started on my basics then I went to shadow one day, and I realized that PT wasn't exactly what I thought it was. Because of this, I soon decided that I was not in the right field for me. But what was I going to do now since I had never looked at any other majors? I scheduled a meeting with my advisor and voiced my concerns to her, and she told me I should look at occupational therapy. Like what even is that?! I mean I had two friends who were going into OT, but it wasn't like I had ever talked to them about what it was; after all, I knew PT was for me before now. So with that, I went back to my room and started doing a little research...which turned into a lot of research...which turned into me looking for hours at OT stuff. I had fallen in love with the field of OT. The next day I went to the advising office and had my official change of major filled out and signed, and that's where it all started. For the next two-ish years, I worked on all of my pre-requisite courses and joined the Pre-OT Club (and became the Vice President my Junior year). Then on April 1st of 2014, I was incredibly honored by South's OT Department to be chosen as one of the few advanced undergraduate students accepted into the OT program for their Senior year - which I still to this day consider one of my biggest accomplishments. Now you can fast forward to Fall 2015 and my second year of OT school, and I will still tell you that, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I am more than certain that I chose the best career for me, and I absolutely cannot wait to graduate from OT school and begin the career I love next December. To say it hasn't been crazy and busy would be a lie, but when you're completely loving what you're doing, it makes it hard to think on the occasional negatives.
my crazy, sometimes dysfunctional OT family

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Growing On Up...

When I first arrived at South Alabama, I was your typical little college freshman girl who was so excited to go off to college that she could barely stand it. So excited to move into my residence hall room. So excited to get a roommate. So excited to meet new friends. So excited to be in a new city. But quickly that all faded away when my family left me here, and I soon realized that I did not know the first human being down here, had no friends, and was about to lose all of the excitement I previously had. Luckily, in the process of my quickly fading excitement for college, I met some of my dearest friends who, after four years, I am still lucky enough to call my friends. From that time on, I have grown so much as a person, and I credit it all to my time and experiences at South. They have definitely shaped me into who I am today.

Attending South has helped me grow into a better person in so many ways. One big way is to help me get out of my shy shell and get out there. In high school and before (and sometimes now too), I was a pretty shy person. I talked to no one I didn't know unless I had to but was the best of friends to everyone I already had gotten to know. When I came to South, I realized pretty fast that being shy was not going to help me add to my current friends list of zero, so I simply started trying to talk to people in my classes. And what do you know, that's where I met one of my dearest friends and all the people she had already met who also became some of my dearest friends.

Then, here comes the cliché one. Another huge area South Alabama helped me grow in was in achieving my dreams. I know it sounds so boring, but here me out on this. Without the advisors (good and bad) that I encountered, without the teachers (amazing and not so much) that I took classes under, without the wonderful OT program (22nd in the nation might I add), without all of that and so much more, I would not be in my Master's program working toward a degree in an amazingly wonderful field which I am exceedingly passionate about. South Alabama took a chance on me when they allowed me a seat in the OT program which only hold 30 students, and ever since the day I was offered that (April 1st, 2014 - best day EVER!), I have never taken that chance for granted.

South Alabama has helped me grow in my own life - professional and personal - in so many ways. I am so thankful to attend a university that is not afraid to take chances on and pour much needed knowledge into its students. South Alabama has been a piece of my life for going on five years, and my experiences here will continue to shape me even long after I move on.