State vs Private School

July 29, 2015 in Academics, Admissions, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges

So you’re ready to start applying to colleges, and you have no idea whether a state or private school is the best fit for you. Some will tell you state school for the variety, while others will swear by private for the more personal educational experience. Whatever your choice may be, there are always pros and cons that need to be considered for both. I personally went for the state school for various reasons, but I still made sure to apply to local private schools as well in case I changed my mind last minute. While each university or private college will always have slight differences, here are some general things to know about the two.

The first thing to consider is tuition. The costs of a state school will always generally be much cheaper than that of a private school, which is a huge plus. If the state school is equivalent academically to the private school, it’s always better to avoid being in complete debt post-graduation. Unfortunately, several students find themselves in this situation and later regret attending the private school simply for the monetary aspect.

State schools also have a much bigger population of students, while private schools do not. Some state schools can have up to 50,000 students, while private colleges may hold less than 5,000 students total. This can be a good or a bad thing depending on your personality. If you’re looking for a variety of students and larger classes, then opt for the state school. If you feel more comfortable in a personal setting where several of your classes will only hold 30 students or less, then private school is the better option. Oftentimes at private schools, you will have classes with the same people. The percentage of students that dorm will probably be higher at a state school also since the dorms are specifically cut out for people who are living away from home for most of the year. Private schools will generally have a higher percentage of commuters that choose not to live on campus. With that being said, the campuses will be more spread out and bigger at the universities as opposed to the compact layout that private schools offer. State universities are also usually located in college towns where the nightlife is more popular and bars surround the college.

The sports at state and private schools will also differ. The D1 sports teams come from the state universities for the most part. This doesn’t necessarily mean that private schools do not have exciting sporting events to attend. It simply means that if you want to attend a school with a big sports name, then a state school will have more to offer.

In the end, there are several factors that need to be considered when deciding between the two. I personally knew that I wanted to attend a large university with a variety of students, so an out-of-state university was the perfect option for me. Naturally, I’m biased towards state schools since I feel that they have more to offer, whether that’s simply in regards to classes, extracurriculars, etc. Some of my major classes are small and more personal, where I am able to meet people with similar interests as me, while the general elective classes hold about 300 students at a time.  I always appreciate having a variety of students to meet and communicate wit, while I have friends that could not imagine being in a class of 300 students.  It’s all a matter of preference.

FSU's large campus holds 40,000 students.

FSU’s large campus holds 40,000 students.

Decision Time: Choosing the Right College for You!

May 28, 2015 in Campus Life, Colleges

URI Field

URI Field

I’m sure almost every college student will agree with me when I say, deciding what college or university to attend is a nightmare. You’ve got mom thinking she knows everything about college applications (she wants to review your college essay before you send it out every time), dad who wants nothing more than to see you carry out his legacy of attending the same university he did and then there’s your sibling, offering useless advice that only pertains to the college scene he/she think is fitting for you (what do they know anyway?).

I’m here to tell you it’s okay to not agree with any of your family members throughout this process. At the end of the day this is your life and the next four years are going to reflect the decision you make of what college or university you will attend. Take the time to consider their advice, but ultimately it is up to you.

My plan was typical to that of an average high school senior. I applied to a few schools, some of which were academically out of my reach (that’s okay) and some of which my friends were all certain we would end up at, together (that rarely happens). The best thing I ever did was apply to multiple universities in different locations around the Northeast, including SUNY Binghamton, UCONN Storrs and others. I knew I didn’t want to go too far, which helped me narrow down my choices. It’s important to have an idea of where you want to end up geographically, but don’t worry if by the end of this process you have changed your mind.

I made the decision to attend the University of Rhode Island (rhody rhody rhody!) for a few different reasons. First off, if you haven’t met any Rhode Island natives, well then you’re just missing out on some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Friendly smiles everywhere you go to genuine conversations with people you know absolutely nothing about, the atmosphere in and around campus is infectious. Once spring rolls around, you’ll find most of the student body hanging out on the Quad throughout the day. This small park located in the heart of our campus brings students and faculty together, creating an energetic and welcoming environment.

URI Quad

URI Quad

Secondly, most students attending URI will tell you that what surrounds our university is what makes our time spent there most enjoyable and unforgettable. When I first applied, I had not realized there was a beach located fifteen minutes from my campus in the town of Narragansett. I also didn’t realize that you could find a restaurant that served fresh lobster rolls at about every street corner. Let me tell you something about the seafood in Rhode Island. Not only is it fresh, but I have seen lobster served in so many forms, I’ve lost count. From lobster rolls to lobster quesadillas and my all time favorite – lobster pizza.

For me, it was an easy decision. I was lucky enough to have made a connection with the university, the people and the community. I don’t think you can ask for more when looking to establish an educational path. My suggestions include keeping an open mind and taking into consideration the advice those around you offer. Sometimes mom is right when she tells you not to go too far because you’ll get home sick (believe me you’ll miss those home cooked meals). Dad may also know a thing or two about college because let’s face it, he was once in your shoes. With all that advice in mind, don’t forget to listen to your own intuition because your gut feeling will lead you in the right direction and who knows you may end up a fellow Rhody Ram!

Top 10 Signs You’re Still Doing College All Wrong

November 5, 2014 in Campus Life, Top 10 Lists

Top 10 Signs You're Still Doing College All Wrong

Top 10 Signs You’re Still Doing College All Wrong

I can’t pretend that I have all the answers when it comes to college life, but there are certain things that everyone should know. There’s simply no other way to put it. If you’re guilty of one or more things on this list, you’re doing this college thing all wrong.

1. You don’t even know your RA’s name. It’s on his or her door. There’s no excuse. They wear a name tag and they usually live in your building. You probably had to meet them, attend a floor meeting with them, get them to unlock your door, etc. If you need some type of assistance with your living situation, they are your go-to person. Know their name and know who they are.

2. You don’t have any friends in your classes. Study groups are super helpful and it helps to know at least a few people when group projects come up. Make the effort know at least one other person.

3. You don’t participate or ask questions in class. How do you expect to learn if you don’t seek clarification on things? Chances are, if you ask, your professors will at least attempt to help you.

4. You don’t even know where your professors’ offices are. It’s on the syllabus and they’ve probably mentioned it in class. If you don’t have it, find it. Your professors set aside office hours to help students out. If don’t know when and where these office hours are, you can’t benefit from them.

5. You’ve never eaten at the dining hall alone because it’s awkward. You may think people are judging you, but most people aren’t. You may think it’s uncool to sit alone, but it’s actually not. Sometimes class schedules don’t match up. It happens.

6. You make sure to let people know that your major is actually important. I don’t care if you know you’ll have a job lined up after college because people in your field are so in-demand right now. People will strongly dislike you if you talk down about their majors.

7. You’re not trying to make any new friends. Not everyone is a social butterfly and not everyone wants 20 million friends. But don’t decide to cut new people out of your life because you don’t think you need new friends. You never know who you’ll need.

8. You haven’t found you passion (and you’re not looking). It’s one think to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life; many other college students are in the same boat. But if you don’t care to find it, you might be wasting time and money in college.

9. You’re afraid to be yourself around your friends. This is all wrong. If you feel like you can’t be yourself in front of your friends, then you’ve found the wrong group of friends. Figure this out as soon as possible and move on it you have to.

10. You don’t know where the library is. Some people don’t like studying in the library, so they just don’t go. I study in my room because it’s convenient and not as busy as the library on campus. But if you don’t know where it is, a serious problem exists. The library has tons of resources and, even if you never end up needing them which is super unlikely, you should at least know where it is.

10 Signs You’ve Partied A Little Too Hard This Semester

October 29, 2014 in Academics, Campus Life, Health

Last Night Was Probably A Little Too Wild

Last Night Was Probably A Little Too Wild

You’re supposed to have fun and let loose at parties; that’s the goal. I can appreciate a good party as much as the next person, but some people really go overboard. Here are the Top Ten Signs You’ve Partied A Little Too Hard (hopefully you’ll keep some of these in mind while party-hopping during Halloweekend!):

1. You don’t remember what happened last night, or the night before, or the night before. This is a huge red flag! If you black out this often, you’re putting yourself in incredible danger. Not only are you making it easier for someone to take advantage of you (and this applies to guys AND girls), but it’s also harder for you to run away if something happens when you’re intoxicated.

2. You’re falling behind on your homework. You came to school to learn. No one likes homework. I feel your pain. But homework comes first. If drinking gets in the way of you fulfilling this responsibility, or any other responsibilities for that matter, you need to re-evaluate.

3. You’ve gone home with random strangers on multiple occasions. Words can’t even describe how dangerous this is. If your drinking causes you to trust strangers who could quite possibly take advantage of you, you have a serious problem.

4. You’re friends are genuinely worried about you. It says a lot if the first thing that your friends say when they talk about you is how worried they are about your habits. They know something that you don’t seem to understand and you might want to head the concern. They only say it because they care.

5. You find that, every time something bad happens to you, you turn to partying. This is a really bad idea. Drunkenness is not the answer to all of your problems. Here’s my advice: If ever you feel the need to turn to alcohol to numb the pain, don’t. My recommendation: Talk to someone and see how you feel afterward. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel.

6. Your friends have to carry you home after every party. This isn’t fair to you because you’re putting yourself in danger of being taken advantage of. This isn’t fair to your friends because they have to carry you night after night. And guess what: They’re fed up with it whether they tell you that or not.

7. It’s Monday night, and somehow you’ve found a party. First of all, what? Who does this? No one has time to party on Monday night! Second, stop. Just stop.

8. Every Monday, you skip your early classes because you’re too hungover to get to class. This is incredibly irresponsible and how do you expect to learn if you don’t go to class. Also, if you’re a few decimal points away from the next letter grade up, your professor might not be as apt to help you out if they haven’t seen your face in class since the first day, assuming you went to that.

9. Or, you’ve schedule only late classes on Monday to give your hangover some time to go away. This is a little more responsible than the last point, but still not good. If you’ve done this, you’ve subconsciously admitted that you have a problem and this is your answer to it. Please find another solution.

10. Your GPA is on a strong downward trend. As mentioned above, you are in school to learn. If your grade is dropping sharply, you’re putting yourself at risk for academic probation, loss of a merit scholarship, and possibly getting kicked out of school. If you are at risk for any of these, it’s time to seek help.

Whatever the case, drinking is serious. If any of these resonate with you, it’s definitely time to seek help. Don’t let this get more out of control than it already is.

Handling Stress In College

October 22, 2014 in Campus Life, Health

The Problem With Stress? All Those Side-Effects!

The Problem With Stress? All Those Side-Effects!

There’s no doubt about it: college is a stressful time! The course work picks up and the teachers expect more from you. And, as if homework wasn’t enough of a struggle, you have to maintain your social life while keeping on top of all of the other things that come with being independent. With all of your new responsibilities, it can be easy to get overwhelmed. But stressing yourself out leads to all sorts of health issues like insomnia and increased appetite (Did someone say freshman 15?), just to name a few. Don’t let the stress consume you. Here are some tips to help you handle stress in college:

  • Make a checklist of all the things you have to do. After you make the list, you may become overwhelmed just looking at it. But, once you start to tackle things, you’ll feel so good when you start to check things off. Making a checklist and schedule make life so much easier because everything is laid out right before your eyes. And when you’re able to check off everything on your list, you feel that much more empowered and accomplished.
  • Take a nap. When you’re too stressed out to function, bad things happen. You can’t do your homework because nothing is making sense anymore. You’re not acting like yourself anymore. You’re lethargic and boring. At this point, you must take a nap to recharge yourself. Trying to push through any assignment or situation while exhausted can be downright painful.
  • Make sure you have a quiet space to work. One of the biggest stressors I faced this past year was the overwhelming feeling that I wasn’t getting as much work done as I should have been. And then I realized that doing homework with my friends was the problem. Yes, working on things in groups definitely helps because everyone has something new to bring to the table. But when the people you’re doing homework with aren’t in your major or in your classes, you might just end up goofing off and singing off key to the songs on your friend’s newest playlist. Take a break from the group and get down to business. The more productive you are, the less likely that your work will pile up. Less work= less stress.
  • Socialize. Sometimes, the only escape from stress is to be surrounded by people who make you smile. When you do have time and your workload is manageable, schedule in some socializing time. If you spend every waking moment in the library, you will go crazy. If you spend every waking moment with your face crammed in a textbook, you will go crazy.
  • Get some exercise. Working out makes you sharper mentally and it just makes you feel good. Hit the gym, listen to some music, and lose yourself in the workout. I find that the most relaxed I feel during the day is when I work out. It really is a great escape from the struggles of the real world and it keeps you in shape.

Stress is unavoidable. But I find that just taking time out to re-focus and re-energize does a great deal for the mind and the body.