Thursday, February 26, 2015

Time To Get It Together.

As you're probably already aware, there are many aspects of college life that are pretty different from life as a high schooler. In high school, you're at home with mom and dad who make sure you take a break to eat dinner, keep up with your classes, and go to bed (or at least get in bed) at a decent hour. In college, that all changes. Here you are the one who decides when it's time to eat, remembers to go to class and study, and chooses when you want to go to bed (or not). Basically, there are a LOT of new freedoms, and with those, there's a lot of new skills to learn as well.
For me, the most difficult aspect of attending college was learning how to manage my time. Not only manage it, but manage it wisely. When I came to South I quickly realized that I now had tons of free time since I only had about two or three classes a day. So now I had all the time in the world to hang out with friends, catch up on TV shows, go lay out by the pool plannerat the rec, do homework, or whatever else I wanted to do. But let's be honest, when you have the choice of hanging out with friends by the pool or doing homework in your room or at the library, who is really going to choose to do homework? Well, it certainly wasn't me, so I soon found myself struggling to stay up with everything I had to do for my classes. Then I found and bought this wonderful little book that changed my whole life and helped me out tremendously - my planner! I put everything in my planner like when tests were, when homework was due, when events were, when I planned to go home, everything. That may sound like I went a little crazy, but trust me, it helped me stay on task with everything I had to do and when I finished all of those tasks I knew I had time to hang out with my friends and do what I wanted because my schoolwork was done. Now, I've expanded my planner to include one planner book, one dry erase planner on my wall, and one planner on my phone just to make sure I have everything completed on time because grad school can get a little hectic and crazy sometimes.
Choosing a bright, fun planner helped me learn to use it more often.
So maybe, struggling with time management and having three planners is not a weak area for you, but whatever it is, don't let it consume and control your life. With a little simple trial and error and problem solving, you can survive the more difficult aspects of college.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why OT Was (and is) the Best Fit for 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.
As I've said before, 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 last year, I was honored by South's OT Department to be chosen and one of the few advanced undergraduate students accepted into the OT program for their Senior year. 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.
Love my crazy, sometimes dysfunctional OT fam jam!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Why I Chose the Best College!

"So, are you going to college? Oh, that's cool. Well, where are you going?" During your senior year of high school, I'm sure you've been asked those exact questions or some variation of them at some point; am I right? That seems to be the next logical question everyone has once they find out that you are a senior. But if you're like me, maybe you didn't know the answer to that until almost the end of fall semester.
So, since you already know the end of the story of where I chose to go to college, I'll start by telling you how I made the best decision for college! For starters, I looked at the kind of college I wanted to attend. For me, that was pretty simple since I did not want to go to a community college close to home; I wanted to get out of my hometown and see what else was out there. That decision led me to look at more of the university type schools. The next step - a big school or a smaller school. This was another easy decision for me. As I've told about in the past, I came from a really small private school (like "I graduated with 26 people" small) that I attended from pre-k to graduation. Since that was the kind of environment I came from, that was where I felt more at home, so it only seemed right to attend a university on the smaller end of the scale. By this point, I had narrowed my search down to two choices - one closer to home where everyone I knew was planning to go or one farther from home where no one I knew had even thought about going. Tough choice, huh? Then, it came down to what I tell everyone I love about South and the main reason why I chose South - where do I feel happiest and most at home? I had already visited both schools, seen both campuses,  and even been to football games for both teams. After adding all of these components together, the choice then was very clear, and I was very confident in it - South Alabama! After coming on a tour at South, I knew for certain this was the perfect school for me. No community bathrooms/showers (HUGE plus), a place I could wash my clothes each week for free, an amazing rec center with the most perfect pool I had ever seen, a beautiful campus, the field I wanted to major in, and the nicest people who seemed to see a friend everywhere they went - why would you choose to go anywhere else?! In the next couple of weeks, I sent in my application and all the paperwork, and a few weeks after that, I was officially a Jaguar!!! And now four years later (and three months from graduation), I am certain that I could not have chosen a better place to attend college, and I am still just as happy to be a Jag as the day I received my acceptance letter in the mail! GO JAGS!!!
Move-in weekend freshman year... The beginning of my journey as a Jaguar!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's the First Day in 13th Grade!

Ahh, the first day of school. You're all ready with your brand new binders/notebooks, your brand new pencils/pens/erasers, your brand new backpack, and you're off to school. How exciting is it that its your first day of COLLEGE?!?! I mean it doesn't get better than that, right? You have your class schedule in hand, start walking toward the academic buildings, but wait...which one are you supposed to be in? Uh-oh. Now, that's how my first day of college went with no clue where to go, and I definitely don't want yours to go the same way. The first day is stressful enough as is, so here's a few ideas to make sure your first day goes a little bit better.
  • Know when the first day is. As silly as that sounds, I had a friend who thought we moved in a week before classes started and ended up missing all of her classes the first day.
  • Take a walk around campus before school starts. Really, do it! If you're planning to walk to class, start off from your room with campus map in hand and find the building you're class is in.  By walking, you'll easily find the shortcuts you can take to make your walk a little easier. Oh, and make sure to check with your RA as well. Sometimes, they take their hall residents around campus to find their classes. Just be sure to pay attention and not just go with the flow of people (you'll appreciate that later!).
  • Stay calm. The first day brings a lot of jitters, but don't be nervous. Plenty of students have went before you and survived the first day of college, and you will to!
  • Have your class schedule with you. Whether it's a screenshot on your phone or a paper copy in your hand, make sure you have that...unless you plan on memorizing it before the first day. Whatever you do, definitely don't be this guy below.
Most importantly, enjoy your first day! And remember to have an interesting fact about yourself ready, that is every professors favorite way to have you introduce yourself.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Roomie Love!

Roomies: can't live with them; can't live without them. Okay, so maybe that statement isn't entirely true. I can live with my roommates, but I definitely would not like living without them.
Over my four years at South, I have been fortunate enough to have some pretty great girls to room with. At first, rooming with a person I didn't know was pretty...different. I had never had to share a room, bathroom, or anything with anyone, so it was an eye-opening and learning experience for me. Here's a few of my quick tips for learning to live with a new roomie:
  1.  Learn what kind of person you live with. Is your roomie an early bird or a night owl? Do they cook all the time or eat out? Do they study a lot or just cram the night before? Figuring out these simple things can save you a lot of drama later on if something comes up.
  2. Communicate! I know that sounds super simple, but it's something that is so often forgotten. Keep the conversation open so if any problems were to arise, it won't be awkward to talk about.
  3. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. You will definitely be finding out what it means to you. If you respect your roomie (i.e. - their stuff, their food, their space, etc.), then, in return, they will be more inclined to respect you.
But it wouldn't be right to end this without bragging on my two fabulous roomies now! We have been roomies for almost two years, and I'm not sure how I lived without them before. Even though we are pretty much complete opposites in everything imaginable, I wouldn't trade them for anything. They have always been there to celebrate the good things, to laugh about everything, to cheer me up when I'm down, and to enjoy living life with! I am so blessed that we were all brought together last year and am so sad that we won't all be living together much longer.
Also, if you are a future Jaguar and you don't have a roommate yet, be sure to check out the Jaguar Roommate Connection page on Facebook to meet other future Jags who don't yet have roomies!

Monday, November 17, 2014

For This I Am Thankful.

Gobble, gobble, gobble!! Yes, indeed, it's that time of year again - Thanksgiving!! A time to set aside with the family and eat tons of yummy, delicious food like turkey, ham, rolls, dumplings, a casserole for everything, and much, much more. But during this time, we also have to be thankful for all of the wonderful things we have been blessed with throughout the year. So, in the spirit of the holiday season, these are a few of the many things I am thankful for here at South:
  1. Friends. You've heard me say this before will probably hear me say it again, I am so very blessed to have the best friends that South Alabama has to offer. From freshman year to senior year, I have met some of the best people who have helped me get through this crazy thing called college life. They are my second family when I'm away from home, and I could not have made it this far without them.
  2. My OT department and family. You would think after spending almost every waking moment with the same 30 people every single day during the week that I would get so tired of them. Well, you would be wrong. I am so thankful to be in the best OT department in the state (maybe a little bias there) with the best faculty and thankful for my 30 wonderful classmates that I would not trade for the world (even when things get hectic and people get crazy).
  3. My roomies. Talk about the perfect match, that would be us. Despite being completely different in taste in about everything possible, these two girls have laughed with me, cried with me, stressed with me, and celebrated with me. They are the best roommates I could have ever asked for, and for them, I am truly thankful.
  4. Graduation. In t-minus 173 day (or 5 months and 22 days), I will officially be a South Alabama graduate!! That may not sound crazy to you, but to me, it feels like I just stepped on South's campus as a freshman yesterday. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to attend such an awesome university and will be proud to forever be a South Alabama Jaguar!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Places To Go...

If you've never visited South Alabama's campus before, first off, you are missing out on one beautiful place and an awesome atmosphere to go to school. But if you have come to visit us, you may have realized that we have plenty of great spots to study, hang out with friends, have a picnic, or even just have a quiet moment for yourself.
My favorite spot on campus would have to be the Marx Library. I know, I sounds super nerdy, but hear me out here. The library is probably my favorite because I can get so much accomplished there. While at home trying to write a paper or study for an exam, I get so easily distracted by the tv, my iPad, my phone, whatever, but at the library, I can put all of that away and focus more easily on my task at hand. Plus, it's an easy, common place to meet with my other classmates to work on group projects. And wait there's more! My favorite spot is a favorite within a favorite! Within the library, there is every college kid's favorite place - Starbucks!! Starbucks is also one of my favorite places to go to meet friends, work on homework, study, or whatever else I need to do because there's that little bit of noise so it isn't too quiet and the smell of coffee is just heavenly to me. Plus, it's also pretty convenient if I need a quick snack or another coffee to help me stay awake. South students can also use their bonus bucks from their meal plan at the library Starbucks, so it's a win-win for everyone!