Different Types of Colleges

December 19, 2014 in Alive Campus, Colleges

In state, state school:
  • Advantages- Cheaper.  It is cheaper to go in state if you have residency in that state.  Typically you or your family must have about 2 years residency in a state to receive in state tuition.  If you like to stay close to home, going in state is the perfect option for you to be close to home and not have as long of a commute home.  Also, in state, state schools are a lot bigger, so if you are interested in going to a big school (typically with a lot of sport teams) this is the right option for you.
  • Disadvantages-  If you want to get a way from your high school friends, than going to an in state school could possibly do that for you, but most likely will not.  Most people will decided to go to a school in state, and for most people, there are only a few to select from.  Just know, that there is a huge chance of running into the same people from high school in college, over and over again, if you choice this option.
Out of state, state school:
  • Advantages- More scholarship opportunities.  Because it is more expensive to go to school out of state, there are more opportunities to obtain scholarships to pay for you schooling.  Also, going out of state helps you broaden your horizons and take you some place new and exciting.  But, if you are out of state, some can be easier to get in to, which is a major plus!
  • Disadvantages-  Far away from home.  You will have to commute a lot if you want to go home for breaks and other short visits.  This will cost you a lot of money and time, that you might not have while in college.  The price is also higher when you go out of state versus in state.  Your tuition will probably cost more, so you will have to work harder for scholarships and other ways to pay for it, if your guardian(s) will not.
Private schools:
  • Advantages-  Private schools are a lot smaller.  If you are interested in going to a small school, where professors and students all around you know your face and your name, a private school is something you should consider.  Private schools are also very expensive, so they offer a lot of scholarships to students who want to attend.  Attending a private school, also gives you a better chance of playing a sport.  They typically will let students walk on, and most are not in high NCAA divisions, so they offer more walk on opportunities and scout more players for their teams.  They also give their athletes a lot of money in athletic scholarships..
  • Disadvantages-  Private schools are very, very, very expensive.  Also, they are typically, very, very small, so if you do not want a small school, this is not the type for you.  They also are more exclusive, and have more of a “type” of people who fit in there, which can make some of them more cliquey.  They can also be a little harder to get into because they are so exclusive.
private, state, in state, out of state?

private, state, in state, out of state?

The Best Classes at VMI (Virginia Military Institute)

December 19, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Reviews

VMI Classroom

VMI Classroom

As an English major at VMI, I have had the pleasure of taking quite a few interesting and sometimes fun classes. Unlike some of my friends in other majors, I have a lot more options when it comes to picking classes. I love being an English major and having the freedom to express myself through words. Here are a few of the classes I would recommend at VMI or if there is something similar at your university.

Genre Studies- Fiction: If you like to read and write stories, then this is the class for you. I absolutely love reading fiction and I have always wanted to write a book, but I had never tried until I took this class. It was definitely harder than I thought, but even though it was hard, I really enjoyed it. The class was structured around reading and writing fiction stories and you end up having to write one short story and one long story. It is hard coming up with topics for the stories, but it is definitely worth it in the end. Who knows, you may be the next famous author?

Visual Arts Studio-Photography: If you love to take pictures or are interested in taking pictures, then this is the class for you. I did not know a lot about taking pictures before this class, but I really wanted to get in to photography, so I decided to take the class. To my surprise, this was not a class on the specifics of how to take pictures. Rather it was a trial and error class on photography. The entire semester was pretty much centered on creating your final project, which was a photo book on a topic of your choice. Even though it may not seem like it is a lot of work, it definitely requires a lot more time than you would think. I absolutely loved the class and know I want to continue with photography.

Film and Performance Studies: If you are a movie buff then this is a class you might consider taking. However, I should warn you that this class is not easy and the movies you watch are older. So, if you are up for a challenge and like old movies, then I would recommend this class. You start off the semester learning the history of film. You then watch movies ranging from Chaplin’s City Lights to The Last Picture Show by Bogdanovich. You learn the techniques the directors used and put them to use for the final project if you so choose. At the end of the semester you can either make a film or write a research paper. Choose your poison wisely.

Arthurian Legend: If you love the stories of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, then this is the class for you. This class is literature based and you spend the semester reading stories of King Arthur and his knights ranging from Lancelot to Yvain. The stories are very enjoyable, especially if you are interested in the subject. However, there is a lot of writing that goes along with this class also, so fair warning.

Overall, these are just a few of the classes in the English department at VMI. If you plan on majoring in English, are already an English major, or need an elective for a different major, I highly recommend each of these classes.

The Struggle of Having Student Loans

December 19, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Colleges

Since middle school, I have been told that I must go to college. I’ve been told that getting into college is the only way to have a better future and a better lifestyle. Yet, when I got into high school, I was completely confused and angry about college. I have been told that I must go to college, but when I wanted to apply to college, I had to take in consideration the costs it will bring. If it was not for financial aid, I would have never had the opportunity to go to college. Even though I receive financial aid, it did not save me from getting students loans. Oh those students loans, they have been haunting me since I signed the paper agreeing that I would pay them back after graduation. I will definitely pay them back, but no one likes having loans that can ruin your life if you do not get a job after graduation increasing in interests.


Student Loans

Student Loans!

College is expensive. Wheelock college costs are Tuition: $31,675 (12-20 credits), Room and Board: $13,600, Fees: $1155 and the Total is : $46,430. ( source, Wheelock.edu) This price is so close to 50,000 which some people struggle to earn in a year. If it was not for financial aid I would not be able to attend this school, but there are some students that do not get enough financial aid and have to pay the majority of their tuition from pocket. Which can be a struggle if the family does not have enough money to pay or the student has to work in ordered to pay for their own tuition because they might not get help from their family.

My Life: Since I took out loans every year for four year, I have at least $30,000 of students loans that I need to pay back and this does not count extra money that the loans that have accumulated in interests during those four years. It is really stressful because I am going to graduate in May 2015, so I need better have a job by graduation or find a job within the next 6 months before I need to start paying back the loans. Some people have a difficult time finding a job and therefore, will have a difficult struggle paying off their students loans.

My Generation: I feel that my generation may have a difficult time paying off students loans because there are not a lot of resources out there to inform us of ways to get help when we are having trouble paying of the loans. The most important part is that my generation do not seek help from others and restrict themselves from resources that may help them improve their lives and lessen stress. Each year, the school tuition and room and board are increasing by three percent or more, so future generations are going to have a tough time going to college if the rate of tuition keeps increasing.

Students loans can be scary and stressful, but as long as a person has a job to pay then back by graduation time the person should be okay. Don’t let students loans scare you! 

Not Your Average College Student

December 19, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

Lauren Pepi

Lauren Pepi

Meet Lauren Pepi, your typical college student at Assumption College – except she’s not. When she’s not doing homework or working at her part time job you can find her researching diseases in a lab or helping her fellow peers fight against cancer.
Why did you choose to come to Assumption?
I had zero intention of attending assumption and I applied to it as a safety school. I had never visited the campus before accepted students day, but the second I was there I knew it was the right choice for me. It just felt like home.
What is your major?
I’m and chemistry and biology major.
How did you choose this major?
I always enjoyed science throughout high school. I’ve always been a math oriented person and after taking my introductory science courses I knew the chemistry was my passion – as strange as that may sound.
What are your future aspirations or career plans?
I’m currently aspiring to go to grad school, God willing. If not, hopefully I can get a job working in a lab somewhere. All I want in life is to find a company to fund my research so I can develop new drugs and treatments for currently incurable diseases.
Are you involved in anything on campus? What do you do?
I’m the Mission and Advocacy chair for my schools Relay for Life committee and I’ve been attending relay all my years of college. I also volunteer through the Reach Out Center at the Nativity School of Worcester. Each semester I get a different middle school boy that I tutor and help with his homework.
What has been your most challenging part of your college experience?
The most challenging aspect of college has been balancing school with a social life. It’s college so you’re here to learn, but it’s college so you’re here to party. It can be difficult deciding if the memories are more important than the exam.
What has been your most memorable moment of senior year?
So far Id have to say my most memorable moment of senior year was probably senior’s night out. It was different. When you’re seniors it doesn’t matter that you weren’t friends before, it just matters that it’s senior year and everyone wants to have fun. It was nice to see everyone interacting in an environment where it was just the seniors.
Have you been involved in any internships?
This past summer I was awarded a research fellowship at assumption. I worked for 10 weeks analyzing the effect the cell cycle has on inhibiting BK virus infection of kidney cells. I’ll be continuing this research next semester as an independent study.
If you could would you change anything about your college experience?
I probably wouldn’t want to change anything. Maybe to have been more social and open to meeting new people in my earlier years. Looking back I feel like I was too worried about what people thought of me, and I forced myself to be shy. Now that I’ve opened myself up to meeting people I’m realizing that I’m a pretty nifty person.
There you have it folks, the ins and outs of Lauren Pepi, senior at Assumption College.

The boy who drowned: The perpetuation of heteronormative ideologies

December 14, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

The boy who drowned: A reflection on heteronormativity's negative ramifications

The boy who drowned: A reflection on heteronormativity’s negative ramifications

I’ll tell you a story. It’s about a little boy who could not swim. His name was Jonathan and his mother often joked that he was born with a fear of all things wet. Even as an infant, he loathed the idea of taking baths. Splashing and flopping around a bathtub full of water gave him anxiety. He hated having water pressed up against his skin because it overwhelmed him…made him feel consumed.

His father, having been deaf since an ear infection took away his sense of hearing 15 years earlier, never quite understood why his son was so afraid of water. He would attempt to read his son’s lips as Jonathan pleaded to not be forced into Uncle Ronnie’s kiddie pool, but he never understood why his son refused to spend more than two minutes floating in the water.

The day before Jonathan started high school, he decided he would try to face his fear of water. So he got into his father’s sailing boat, and they sailed far into the ocean. It only took a few minutes for Jonathan to realize just how wobbly the boat was. It kept rocking, to the point where Jonathan felt uneasy. There he was, trying to conquer his fear, and this boat refused to let him do so. Growing more anxious by the heavy tides, Jonathan walked to the edge of the boat and closed his eyes.

And then he opened his mouth and breathed in the ocean.

And then he opened his mouth and breathed in the ocean.

He dreamt of being on dry, stable land. He dreamt of his boyfriend, the one who he hadn’t yet introduced to his parents. He dreamt of holding the other boy’s hand and resting his head on the other boy’s shoulder. He dreamt of his lips meeting the other boy’s. He dreamt of the other boy’s touch. He dreamt of taking another step towards the other boy.

Only he wasn’t dreaming. He took another step and fell off of the boat. He let out a cry that went unheard. The ocean swallowed him. Unable to swim, Jonathan thrashed around the water, kicking and waving his arms to no avail. He tried to get back to the surface, to get an arm above the water to get his father’s attention, but he simply could not swim. So he waited…waited to be rescued…by his deaf father…the one who didn’t hear his cries.

He waited…and waited…and waited. And then he opened his mouth and breathed in the ocean.

~ ~ ~

Heteronormativity: The belief that people fall into distinct and complementary genders (man and woman) with natural roles in life.

As a Gender Studies major, I spend my days deconstructing the ideologies associated with heteronormativity. As a gay-identifying male, I spend my days dismantling the notion that queer-identifying individuals are any less than our straight “counterparts” (counterparts being a stupid term to use here, but I’ll use it nonetheless). The reasons for my continuous battling against heteronormativity are copious, but I’ll stick to one simple idea: Heteronormativity kills and should be taken more seriously by institutions. The idea behind the drowning boy metaphor is that the boy does not feel like he has the capability to save himself from the obstacles forced upon him by a heteronormative society. His father, symbolic of the naïve heterosexual community, does not notice that the young boy needs to be rescued, leaving the young boy to drown. This is how I see heteronormativity in its simplest form.

Cornell, on the other hand, is subtler in its perpetuation of these absurd ideologies.

My experience:

I opened the roommate questionnaire and clicked on boxes pertaining to sleeping hours and whether or not I smoke or play an instrument. I scrolled through the questionnaire looking for anything related to “are you comfortable having a queer-identifying roommate” or “are you an ignorant homophobic/transphobic/sexist bigot?” I was hopeful for the latter question, and expectant of the former. Neither were present in the questionnaire.

Fast forward three months of educating my floor mates and roommate about the negative ramifications of making homophobic jokes and we have Transgender Remembrance Day: A day to remember the lives of non-cis people who suffered through social injustices AKA the day when my roommate invalidated they/them/their pronouns. Absolutely cognizant of my first amendment rights and the limitations impinged upon said rights when I’m nestled within the confines of an educational institution (I’m pre-law, so duh), I posted a name-nonspecific Facebook status along the lines of, “If you invalidate gender pronouns and are educated on social issues, then you are offensive and ignorant.”

Regardless of my intensive knowledge of my first amendment rights, my RA wrote me up. Regardless of the lack of names featured in the status, I was given an oral admonition about my behavior. Regardless of the fact that my roommate was able to mock gender pronouns and I was simply responding to his mockery, I was asked to remain silent.

Fast forward several weeks of filing bias reports, receiving restraining orders, and immense amounts of emotional distress during finals weeks, I am now living in a new dorm room/residence hall. I was asked to move out of my hall. I am now considered mentally unstable by the institution. My heterosexual, cis-gendered, white, able-bodied, male roommate was victimized in the situation, was given sympathy by the institution, and is now living a carefree life in a double-sized room.

So much for bias reports working to help those that are harassed…

Cornell prides itself on being a progressive institution. By progressive, it means to say that it hears about problems and simply shuffles students around as a means of “solving the problem.” Does it really solve the problem? A toxic roommate-ship? Yes. A heteronormative institution with students who perpetuate transphobia, homophobia, and sexism? Absolutely not.

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