When I Realized What College Meant to Me: Guest Post by Destenie Nock

When I Realized What College Meant to Me: Guest Post by Destenie Nock

Go to college, get good grades, get a good job. That’s the advice told to university students everywhere. The part that comes along as a given, but is often taken for granted is: make long-lasting friendships with people who you would want to know and talk with for the rest of your life.

I got an education in electrical engineering and applied mathematics. I have had internships at multiple companies, and I have studied abroad.  All of these components and more are why I know that I had a good college experience.

However, I don't think really I knew what my experience at North Carolina A&T State University truly meant to me until the summer of 2013... 

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The Benefits of an Honors College

The Benefits of an Honors College

Choosing a college is an incredibly exciting and (often) stressful process. For high-flying high school students, private schools and liberal arts colleges often seem like the logical choice. However, an Honors College at a large public university can offer incredible opportunities and benefits for academics, social life, and broader opportunities. 

I was a student at the University of Oregon's Honors College. Here's why that was a great fit for me (and why an Honors College could be a great fit for you, too). 

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Saying "Yes"

Saying "Yes"

If we’re lucky, all of us reach a moment when an opportunity is offered. Maybe that chance is something you planned and built toward for years—the outcome of calculation, investment, and initiative. It might also be that an astonishingly perfect opportunity arises basically out of the blue—that you are offered some position or experience that you never quite dared to dream you’d have.

When this happens, I hope you'll say 'yes.' 

I did. 

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Write Your Own Essays (No Excuses)

Write Your Own Essays (No Excuses)

It’s finals season. It’s stressful. Students are stressed about essays and exams and grades and all the studying they’ve put off for the semester. This makes it a good moment to write about something I’ve had on my mind for a long while now—something that has probably crossed the radar of most students and has hopefully never been utilized by readers here. I have a bit of a rant for you today—essay writing services.

Do not use them. Ever. 

Write your own essays. 

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Landing a STEM job with non-STEM credentials: Guest Post by Conor Walsh

Landing a STEM job with non-STEM credentials: Guest Post by Conor Walsh

By the end of the summer of 2013, with my degree wrapping up and no obvious next steps, I decided I needed to get a job. Like, a real one. I was unsure on pursuing further study, and I felt I needed a change of pace. So, I packed my bags and headed for Boston, my hometown.

I never expected a job to just appear or anything. However, after a few weeks of applying to jobs with no luck, I started to feel that gnawing desperation when you wake up and wonder if you’re in some sort of crazy depressing time warp where you actually never went to college and learned nothing of value during the last five years.

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Choosing an Engineering Major--An Unconventional Method (Guest Post by Destenie Nock)

Choosing an Engineering Major--An Unconventional Method (Guest Post by Destenie Nock)

Sometimes even the path to engineering isn't a straightforward one... 

I was 16 when it came time to apply to Universities. Like most teenagers I had no idea what I wanted to do. People love having choices in life, but at that point I felt like the infinite possibilities was almost paralyzing. I felt overwhelmed by the choices and the different outcomes that each outcome presented. Trying to make the right decision in terms of career, my future family, and everything all felt like it was riding on which college I chose to go to. That was a lot of pressure on a single decision for my 16-year old self.

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Knowing When It's Time To Go

Knowing When It's Time To Go

Most of us have felt that sinking discomfort from time to time: I’m not in the right place. This isn’t the right fit. What am I doing here?

For many college students, this is a cyclical question that comes and goes with the expected flow of the academic years and progress toward fulfilling a major. This can be particularly significant during sophomore year, when you’ve finished the “honeymoon” phase of your four years and you understand enough about your college life to really start to question it. Like the infamous “Freshman 15,” the “Sophomore Slump” is well known for a reason: it is a common occurrence and can have a major impact. For most, it is a phase to get through. For some, it leads to transferring to another school or to dropping out of college entirely.

I want to share a couple of my own stories about feeling like I had to move on, and what I decided to do about it.

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Celebrating 1 Year on My College Advice

Celebrating 1 Year on My College Advice

One year ago I had just recently graduated and I had already started to go a bit crazy. I missed writing essays. I missed having assigned readings. I missed classroom discussion and interactions with professors and peers. I missed the feel of being on campus and part of a student body: the easy camaraderie and energy, and the dynamic of walking familiar pathways each day in pursuit of deeper knowledge and the obtainable, defined goal of graduation.

In October 2013, I was deep in post-graduation nostalgia. I was asking myself, “What’s next? What will my life after college look like?” I was searching for patterns and projects that would bridge my student life to the “real world” life I was just starting to build.

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Study Abroad for History Majors--Guest Post from Abroad by James Hinton

Study Abroad for History Majors--Guest Post from Abroad by James Hinton

Considering a future as a history professor? Wondering how world wars or shifts in culture and technology are viewed from different viewpoints? This guest post by James Hinton recommends that you get on the road to study abroad--that it will deepen your passions and improve your career options. For all you history buffs out there... get abroad! 

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College Logistics: How Do I...

College Logistics: How Do I...

At every stage in the college journey, there is a plethora of shifting logistical and practical questions. Early college questions (How do I register for classes? How do I use the gym? How do I use the online homework website?) give way to mid-college questions (How do I prepare to go abroad? How do I decide if this is the right major for me? How do I move off-campus and deal with all the accompanying real-life logistics?) and finally to the questions that plague soon-to-be graduates (How do I turn in my thesis? How do I get transcripts? How am I going to make it in the real world…)

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An Average American Studying in Australia: Experiences and Lessons You Can Apply to Your Own Travels--Guest Post by Danny Conway

An Average American Studying in Australia: Experiences and Lessons You Can Apply to Your Own Travels--Guest Post by Danny Conway

I always love it when I get the opportunity to feature writing from people whose student experiences are very different from mine. Danny Conway is a student from Columbus, OH who is currently studying chemistry at the University of Melbourne. Although he characterizes himself as an "average" American, I would argue that the decision to pursue a full undergraduate education abroad is anything but "average." I hope you enjoy!

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Finalist for the Irish Blog Awards

Finalist for the Irish Blog Awards

I'm chuffed to bits to announce that I am a finalist in the Education category of the Irish Blog Awards, 2014! Although my primary audience for this blog is in the United States, I am currently living in Ireland (which qualifies me for the Blog Awards), and I hope that many of my topics--from study tips to volunteer/internship advice--are applicable to students anywhere. 

I'm thrilled to be a finalist! I'll let you know if I win on October 4th. 

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Choosing a Second Language

Choosing a Second Language

There are a seemingly infinite number of studies and reports out there on the value of a second language—everything from increased business opportunities to an enhanced ability to empathize or to think creatively. Mastery of a second language is supposed to increase potential lifetime earnings, and possibly stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s. It's also part of every Bachelor of Arts degree, and therefore a graduation requirement for many college undergraduates. So if learning a second language is part of your college future, how do you choose which one to study? 

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Sunday Dinners: Croque-Monsier (AKA the Grown-Up Ham and Cheese Sandwich)

Sunday Dinners: Croque-Monsier (AKA the Grown-Up Ham and Cheese Sandwich)

My good friend Stephanie has brought us some of the most popular Sunday Dinner recipes over the past months--Pepper Jack Butternut Squash RisottoMac and Cheese Quinoa, and a Hearty Pumpkin Polenta. She has a flare for making simple, filling food just a touch fancier than the average recipe, with extra-delicious results. 

Call it by its "grown up" name and this ham and cheese sandwich becomes something to brag about. Enjoy! 

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Success: Planning the Next Year for Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

Success: Planning the Next Year for Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

The first week back at school is a really good time to think through what you hope for and need for the coming year, and to examine how your decisions now will impact your long-term goals and successes. I’m suspicious of New Year’s Resolutions—the middle of winter is a dreadful time to launch significant life changes and a disruptive point in the calendar to make decisions, particularly when you’re living on the school calendar. However, the start of a new school year is a great time to make some decisions about this coming academic year… and about what comes next.

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A Campus Without Sexual Violence: Guest Post by Warren Light

A Campus Without Sexual Violence: Guest Post by Warren Light

The start of a school year is a critical time to discuss sexual violence prevention and appropriate response. The starting point is to remind ourselves that Sexual Violence can be prevented.  It is made possible by inequities and unhealthy power dynamics in our culture.  Those who perpetrate it are responsible for their actions, but we are all responsible to creating a world without sexual violence.

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Roommates: Early Conversations for a Better Freshman Year

Roommates: Early Conversations for a Better Freshman Year

One of the hardest things about living with someone new is realizing that everyone is truly different. It’s like going abroad in some ways—things you’ve always taken for granted about how “everyone is” turns out to not be as universal as you thought…and this can easily drive you absolutely crazy when confined to a tiny shared bedroom.

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Study Tips: Co-Writing An Essay

Study Tips: Co-Writing An Essay

Co-writing, if done right, means that both parties play to their strengths and ultimately do less work. It's also something that is a common exercise in the non-academic "real world." Most group projects in school do not resemble a work setting in the slightest—you will rarely be called upon to join a group of four colleagues in presenting on something you know very little about. However, you will often have to turn in a final product, written or otherwise, resulting from collaboration and compromise. In fact, many jobs rely almost completely on this model.

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