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The Typical Day of a Seminole

September 7, 2015 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

The typical day of a college student varies significantly. Some work, others are members of several clubs on campus, others intern, and some may just strictly focus on classes if they are in a difficult major. A typical day in college for me is certainly a busy one. With Tuesday/ Thursday classes only, I keep my schedule open to work my part-time job as a waitress at a popular local sports bar. I completed my required internship over the summer so classes, working, interning, and attending club meetings wouldn’t be too overwhelming all in one semester. My three classes, twice a week, go straight through from 9:30 to 1:45. I wake up around 8 to give myself time to have coffee and eat breakfast. Some days, I may even wake up earlier to do some homework or study before walking to class. Once I complete my classes for the day, I walk home to my apartment, eat lunch, and get ready for work, which usually starts sometime between 3:30 and 5. I usually work until about 10, depending on how busy the night is at the restaurant. I then drive home, eat dinner, and unwind at home by doing some homework if needed, or simply reading a book to fall asleep. I also take an online course, so I make time for that either at night or on my days off.

I organize my schedule so I can work and attend class all in the same day. By doing so, I can have a full day off to take care of homework, grocery shopping, seeing friends, etc. These are usually on Mondays and Wednesdays. On my free days, I’ll either go to the pool with friends or simply relax at home while doing work on and off. With a busy schedule, I sometimes cook all of my food in advance for the week ahead so I’m not constantly buying food out. I keep my evenings open for meetings, specifically for Her Campus- a known organization that has its own FSU chapter. If there is no meeting to attend, I catch up or get a headstart on my homework for the week, which usually consists of several pages of reading, papers, and blogging. I also make time on my days off to exercise, which totals about four times a week.

Time management is key in college!

Time management is key in college!

Finally, my weekends always vary. Since I work in a restaurant, it’s important that I’m available to work almost every Friday and Saturday night. However, depending on my shift, I sometimes will be done early enough to go out with friends afterwards. Unfortunately, that’s a commitment you have to make and plan your schedule around if you want to work as a server. If I have the mornings or afternoons off, I am always making sure to attend the football games- a fall tradition that makes you wish every day was Saturday throughout the semester.

It’s important to stay busy and productive throughout college to build your resume, but always find the time to relax no matter how crazy your schedule may be. Sometimes, there’s just not enough time in a day to get everything done. That’s what weekends are for. Days will always vary according to your agenda and how much work you have. Some weeks will be entirely exhausting, while others will be more relaxing. A great idea is to write yourself notes each day of the tasks you need to complete so it’s all planned out already. It’s all about time management and knowing how to balance free time with productivity.

Free Time in College: Is there anything to do?

September 12, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Events

college students

college students

A new change when it comes to college is that you will have a lot of time and not know what you will do with it.  Soon, you will realized that There are many ways to occupy that free time once you explore you college campus and community.

Get involved

You can get involved with many clubs and organizations that your college or university offers.  Go to an involvement fair or talk to members of organizations that you think you would be interested in being a part of, and then try your hardest to make it happen.  Attending club and organization meetings are a great way to add to your college experience, make friends, and also to occupy your time.

Work

Another way to occupy time in college is to get a job on or off campus.  Whether you work at a local restaurant, as a resident assistant, a desk aide, or as an intern, this is a great way to put your free time into something worthwhile.  Getting a job or internship (when you are ready), will help add to your resume, as well as prepare you or the real world and make you a better leader.  Jobs and internships open doors, and being proactive in finding them and while working, can be one of the most benificial thing you can do for yourself.

Volunteer

If working is not your thing, you an always volunteer.  I volunteer for multiple organizations at multiple places around the Longwood University community. Whether it is a volunteer fair, asking a friend, or joining an organization that requires you to give back, this is a great way to spend you free time, and do something rewarding.  For students who do not know where to volunteering in there college community, you can approach places like your local SPCA, art museum, local schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, nursing homes, Habitat for Humanity, or local sports recreation programs.  The best part about what I just mentioned, is that when it comes to volunteering, the possibilities are endless!

Play Sports

One of the most fun things to do when you are bored, is to play a sport.  It does not matter if it is just on your own, a pick up game at the gym, or an intramural, sports are fun, especially when you are bored.  Most schools have big fields available to students, so that they can gather and play sports outside.  Also, many schools will have recreation centers that are available for student use.

Go to the Gym

Bored?  Why not exercise?  Going to the gym is proven to make you happier and healthier.  So, when you are bored, make the gym an outlet for success and it is also a great place to meet people.

Attend a Sporting Event

School sporting events are some of the most exciting things you will encounter during college.  Students who do not go to sporting events, miss out on a fun and exciting aspect that adds to a college expereience.  Grab a schedule from your athletics department or anywhere else on campus, and remember that these games happen frequently, and are a great to spend time with friends and support your school.

Get a Job Near Campus!

September 6, 2014 in Campus Life, Career

It’s always great to have extra cash while you’re in school! That way you can do fun activities, fund your school supplies, and make sure that you aren’t worrying over an empty wallet every time your friends want to go out to eat instead of heading for the dining hall for the millionth time. Even if you want that ease of mind or to start saving up, you can’t overload yourself with hours. Schoolwork is still the most important part of your college experience! Getting a job on or around campus can guarantee that your employer will be a little more sympathetic to your class schedule or your needing a break for midterms.

At The College of New Jersey, I work in our bookstore. Even though we typically only hire new booksellers toward the end of each semester, you can check out the bookstore’s facebook page to see when applications are being accepted and if the store needs more employees at any time of the year! It’s great because you’ll only get a certain number of hours per week and you can take over for other people if you want to get a little more work in. Plus, the atmosphere is relaxed and all of the workers are very friendly!

Some local businesses also have signs out stating that they’re looking for more help. Taking a little drive around will give you a wide variety of places to choose from, if you act quickly in bringing along your resume and speaking to someone who is in charge about getting a position. A store I noticed a few minutes off campus looking for work is Target, about a ten minute drive from campus. You’ll need to have a car to get to that location, unfortunately, as well as the multitude of stores and restaurants that line the streets around that store. If you’re looking to get a job in a restaurant, Olive Garden is hiring.

If you live on campus, particularly if you’re a freshman or simply do not bring a car to school, you’re going to want something a little closer to home. Unfortunately a lot of the jobs on campus are assigned in the summer, usually August. If you’re looking to work in the library or as a secretary for one of the departments, you’re going to have to apply for those positions before the school year even begins!

Fortunately, some of the dining options at TCNJ hire during the school year. You can check out Dining Services for more information but most students, if they do end up with a job in food, work at the Rat on campus. It seems like coming construction might take that restaurant out of the lineup; hopefully TCNJ will come up with other places students can be employed. Campus Town, featuring a new strip of restaurants and stores, is set to open next year, but that leaves students scrambling this year to compete for a lack of job positions. Hopefully all of the construction and worries will be worthwhile and any incoming as well as returning students will have no problems getting jobs in the coming year.

Several stores including Target are now hiring.

Several stores including Target are now hiring.

A Week in the Life: College Student Edition

August 27, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life

calendar

Every college student’s schedule is going to be completely different from another’s–we all have weird, hectic rosters with strange class times and part-time jobs. College is different from high school in that classes will almost never be all back-to-back. Classes tend to be longer, and you will likely have a break between some of your classes. Plus, you’ll almost never encounter a class that you go to every day of the week– you might attend any given class anywhere from 1-4 days per week.

This upcoming Fall semester, my schedule is definitely a bit weird. I opted to load my Tuesdays and Thursdays with most of my classes (3 classes/day) and have one long 3-hour class on Mondays. With this schedule, I have Wednesday and Friday completely open, as well as Monday mornings. I created my schedule like this so that I would have time for a second job. Check out what my weeks will be like this semester to get a taste of what college life can be like!

Monday:

10:00-2:00: Schoolwork and free time

Unless I am asked to work at my second job, I will probably let myself sleep in and then either get work done, head to the gym, or work on my hobbies (sewing and knitting projects)

2:00-5:00: Class – “Fundamentals of Journalism”

This 3-hour long (ugh!) class is a required writing class for all journalism majors and minors. Since I have declared journalism as my minor, I have to take this class before I graduate. Here’s to hoping that my professor lets us out early some days!

5:00-8:30: Work

Both last year and this year, I received Work-study funding in my financial aid package. Work-study is a fantastic opportunity, as it is guaranteed part-time work where all the bosses understand and sympathize with your busy schedule. Work-study jobs tend to be between 5-20 hours per week, with most clocking in at 10 or 12. My job is a position as a tutor at the Intergenerational Literacy Program, a program at a school in Chelsea, MA that provides ESOL classes to adults and children.

8:30-midnight: Dinner and homework

After I get home from work, I will definitely be making myself dinner in my new apartment and getting to work on papers and readings that are due that week.

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

9:30-11:00: Class – “Topics in Film and Literature”

My first class of the day is an hour and twenty minutes long (professors at Boston University let students out 10 minutes before class is scheduled to end, to give students time to get to their next class if they have back-to-back classes. This class is an English elective that counts towards my English major. We’ll be assigned various novels to read and movies to watch, which we will then discuss in class.

11:00-12:30: Class – “History and Principles of Journalism”

Immediately after my English class, I will head to my second journalism class. This one is a large lecture-style class that is another requirement for my journalism minor. I have been told that is a basic history class that mostly requires memorization of facts, dates, and names.

12:30-2:00: Lunch

Tuesdays and Thursdays are my busy days, so after two classes, I’ll want to take a break to eat a good meal and relax for a bit before my third and final class of the day.

2:00-3:30: Class – “British Literature I”

Brit. Lit. is a mandatory course for English majors that is broken into two parts–in the Fall, you take Part 1 and in the Spring you take Part 2. Part 1 is Medieval and 16th-17th century texts–not the most exciting topic, but I’ll manage!

5:00-8:30: Work or Rehearsal

On Tuesdays, I will go to my work-study job again, but on Thursdays, I don’t work–instead, I will use the time to do homework, eat a good dinner, or attend a play rehearsal/work on costumes for my theatre group.

Wednesday:

No classes on Wednesdays! I plan to use this day to work at my second job at a retail clothing store.

7:15-8:30: Work seminar

On Wednesday nights, I will attend a mandatory meeting for my work-study job. This meeting is for all the tutors to catch up and get mini lessons in how to best tutor our students.

Thursday:

Thursday is almost exactly the same as Tuesday — see above!

Friday:

Another day without classes! Fridays will also be devoted to my second job. Friday nights will be filled with attending club meetings or seeing friends.

Saturday:

After such a crazy week, I’m going to want some time off! I’ll likely use Saturday afternoons to do some homework, but then use the rest of the evening and night to go out and see friends.

Sunday:

Sunday tends to be homework/catch-up day for most college students. After Friday and Saturday nights out, we all need a day to relax at home and get work done.

The Finances of College

August 15, 2014 in Colleges

College is terrifying, yet no college experience would be complete without some financial worries for most of us. Unless you’re lucky enough not to need to worry about paying those bills or perhaps you landed yourself an awesome scholarship, you’re going to be forced into making decisions about your future that you might not even fully understand yet. Loans, monthly payments, and other methods used to fully fund your college years will need to be figured out as soon as possible. You’ll probably need to apply for several different loans to cover the costs you accrue over time and this is all adding up. Where will you be at the end of it? Not in a good position to pay back what you owe.

Don’t get me wrong; I wouldn’t chose not to get a degree. It seems like the best option in today’s world and something that will get me one step ahead of the rest. Except when everyone else is getting the same education, applying for the jobs that I am, and we’re all competing so we can fight back massive debt, things begin to look very depressing. At times it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the financial struggles; it’s also easy to ignore it all and know that it will work itself out, eventually. That strategy can work, yet it can also make you think that you never need to properly deal with your finances.

Something certainly needs to change to positively affect the college experience and lift it from the rut it has been stuck in. It’s frankly ridiculous, the amount of money that students are expected to pay, when we cannot even get jobs for ourselves. At least, not ones that will pay above the minimum wage. I don’t even want to think about how long I’d have to work to break even if I continued to receive the same paycheck that I do right now. This is especially troubling for people like me who have specific career goals that may not be realized for a certain amount of time, if at all. While I know and have already acknowledged that no one is guaranteed a job, it’s well-known that some majors are more likely to be successful than others. People give me strange, sympathetic looks at times when I let them know that I am an English major.

I realize that I have no power to exact any change on the current state of school affairs; I can only hope that the tide will turn before it is too late. Prosperity can never come when the next generation is crippled with scholarly debt. Without help, anyone is sure to fail, and while there has been much talk about the state of college students, little has been done to actually aid them, in my personal experience. I realize that different states or universities may have different methods of handling this madness. Until it is universally sorted and under control, I’d say to keep mindful of your expenses.

If you're having financial trouble, you're not alone.

If you’re having financial trouble, you’re not alone.