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.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

We Got That Spirit!!

"We got that spirit! So come on let's here it! S-P-I-R-I-T!" School spirit - whether it's for football, basketball, soccer, baseball, whatever, everyone has it, and there are many ways to show it. You can scream for your favorite team on the tv or wear your school colors. You can even yell a quick "go team!". Other school's may have their favorite team sayings (like something about rolling or another something about war), but I can promise you that nothing will warm your heart more than a prideful "GO JAGS!!" (You can give it a try. I promise it's true!)
With this week being our homecoming week (Building our Legacy), it's only fitting that I tell you about what I feel best represents South Alabama school spirit - pre-game tailgating with all of your closest friends. Why is that my favorite you ask? Well, first off, there's food, and who doesn't like game day food?! Personally, my friends and I have mastered the art of making most foods either red or blue to fit with our tailgate theme, and then, there's the smell of grills and barbeque filling the air that simply cannot be matched. Next, there are games, and I don't know about you, but cornhole and game day go hand-in-hand in my book. Lastly, there's the comradery between the students and fans alike. Rest assured if you tailgate before a South game at Ladd, almost every single person (whether student, long-time fan, alumni, staff, or faculty) walking by will greet you with a good 'ole "Go Jags!" It literally just does not get any better! Then, all of Jag Nation walks over to Ladd and cheers our Jaguars on to another victory. Believe me, if it's something you have yet to be a part of, you are definitely missing out. Side note: if you are going to go to the homecoming game on Saturday, be sure to give a big shout out during half time to the homecoming maids; one of them is one of my best friends!! "We're number one! Second to none! N-U-M-B-E-R ONE!"

Thursday, October 29, 2015

...And You'll Never Work a Day In Your Life {Especially If You're a JagGuide}

You know that old saying that maybe your parents or grandparents have told you in the past, "Find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life." Well, being a JagGuide for going on 4 years has been just that for me. I'll be honest with y'all for a minute; when I started this job, I really more or less just wanted a job to fill up some of my free time (which used to be the vast majority of my life) and to make some extra cash. That's all I was really expecting to get out of this whole "being a JagGuide" business. But, boy, was I wrong about that...
Three years and a few months have passed since I first started working with New Student Recruitment, and I have been completely blessed with a job I enjoy more than I could have ever imagined. Being a JagGuide comes with many, many great things, but perhaps one of my favorites would be getting the chance to interact with the future Jaguars like all of you. I love sharing the love I have come to know for South Alabama with everyone who comes to visit our beautiful campus in hopes that they too will see how wonderful the #JaguarNation family truly is. From USA Days to speaking with you on the phone or social media, it is my goal to show that love of South to new and future Jaguars just as it was shown to me by my SouthGuide (in the days before there were JagGuides) when I first came to visit.
Another thing (and one that will last me a lifetime) I love about being a JagGuide would be all of the wonderful JagGuide friends I have made over the years! JagGuides have come and gone, but I consider each one of the present and past ones some of my dearest friends. The JagGuide crew offers such a variety of people from occupational therapy majors like me to criminal justice smarties to IT gurus. I've also been able to meet friends from all over the country from Mobile to Chicago to California to Illinois. If you ever get the chance to meet a JagGuide, I assure you with no doubt they will make you feel just like you are apart of the crew and one of the best friends they have. This group has made me laugh, smile, and even helped me celebrate my biggest accomplishment of getting into OT school (which I actually found out while I was working here one day), and I love them all. My JagGuide friends are some of my favorite people in the world, and I would not trade them for anything even when I'm long gone from South Alabama.
JagGuide memories present and past

Thursday, October 22, 2015

What To Do?!

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), you will be starting a brand new chapter as a member of the class of 2020. By now, I'm sure you've wondered what exactly should you be doing now to prepare for college in the fall. Well, have no fear; I have just a few ideas and tips to help you out...
  1. Make a list of colleges that interest you.
    • What do you want in a college? One that has a great program for what you want to major in? One that has an awesome sports team that you love? One that's close to home so you won't have to be far from family? Whatever it is that you want, there are a lot of schools out there, so find some schools that meet that criteria and look into what they have to offer you as a student.
  2. 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.
  3. Go visit colleges.
    • 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 could be your deciding factor as well.
  4. Take your ACT/SAT.
    • If you haven't already done so, this is another crucial step. Your ACT/SAT not only helps you get into college, but that's what scholarship committees look at as well. So study hard, get a good night's sleep, eat breakfast, and ace that ACT/SAT!!
  5. Apply for everything!
    • Apply!! Apply for colleges. 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).
While all of these tips are super important, my most important advice is to have fun!! Your senior year is one of the most fun times of your life, so make the most of it!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

This Would Be My Favorite!

Here at South, there are literally activities to do almost every single night like just a few weeks ago we had a 90's Skate Night hosted at a local skating rink by Jaguar Productions, and, in the next few months, two of our sororities on campus have their annual events of Songfest and Alpha Male. With everything going on, there is almost no reason to be bored on this campus; all you have to do is just get involved with it!
But with everything going on here, there are always those favorite events that you love participating in each year. For me, my favorite event is homecoming week. During homecoming week, we have the parade, Junk the Jungle, the homecoming carnival, and, of course to wrap up the week, the homecoming game. It's so fun to be involved with your organization and help build the homecoming float. I actually was able to do this my sophomore year with the Pre-OT Club on campus, and it was so much fun to paint and pomp with all of my friends. Later that week, some other JagGuides and I got together and went to the carnival - the most fun part of homecoming next to the game. There are fun games, free food, fun photo opportunities, and, this particular year, there was a magician that ended the night with his crazy but amazing show. Plus if you sign in to the carnival under your club or organization, it gives you points toward your club's homecoming score.

My friend and I had our silhouettes made at the carnival. How cool is that?! 
No matter what activity you choose on campus, the most important part is to get involved! You'll make some awesome memories, and maybe even have a favorite one you are sure to attend each year.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Happy Fall, Y'all!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!! And I'm not talking about Christmas, y'all! It's FALL! One of my all time favorite seasons because it hold one of my all time favorite months - which happens to be this one - October! You know, ole Anne (of Green Gables, that is) really knew a thing or two because I know my world would not be complete without Octobers. Fall, for me, contains some of the most fun activities of the whole year, so, to get us in the fall spirit, I'll share with you some of my favorite fall things.
  1. Football Season. Saturdays down South during the fall can only mean one thing - football. Whether you're just a go to the tailgate and eat-er or your a die hard fan of the South Alabama Jaguars, there's always a place for everyone during football season. Plus, to kick off a fabulous October, we beat Troy last night in the "Battle for the Belt." It's a great month to be a Jaguar!
  2. Pumpkin Carving. One of my favorites of the whole month. Scary faces, silly animals, superheroes, or whatever, I like all types of pumpkin carving. Plus then you get yummy pumpkin seeds! And I'll let you in on a little secret, I already picked what I'm carving on my pumpkin. Don't tell me friends, but its definitely going to be a "hoot" (hint, hint).
  3. Pumpkin Spice Everything. Don't judge me, y'all, but fall brings out my #totalwhitegirl. Pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin spice candles, pumpkin spice coffee creamer, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING. I love it all! Never judge a pumpkin spice until you try it.
  4. Cooler weather. While it gets super hot down here in the deep south, it finally cools off when we get to the fall months. It's time to bring out the cute scarves, plaid, jackets, boots, and all. And everyone knows that fall clothing is the cutest and best clothing.
While I could sit here all day and tell y'all everything I love about fall and all it's goodness, those are my top picks. Hopefully the rest of our fall (and October) will be as wonderful as it started.
P.S.- Campus during the fall is beautiful, and, if you don't believe me, come check it out for yourself!