Category Archives: Advice

Why Every College Student Should Blog

When you think “blog”, what do you think of? Some may think of Perez Hilton, some may think of angry computer nerds typing out their inner feelings from their parent’s basement, and some may even think of this RCC blog. Regardless of what comes to your mind, here are a few good reasons why college students ESPECIALLY should use the “art” of blogging.

1)The First Amendment

We all know we have a right to free speech, but how often do we use it to its full potential? Although we have the right to say whatever we want (in a public domain, of course), it’s not like all of us are parading through the streets proclaiming our beliefs and ideas for all to hear.

Consider your blog to be your virtual “street”- or open field, or mountain, or pedestal… or WHATEVER you want. Keeping a blog will give you the opportunity to express your ideas and opinions FULLY without worrying about what other people think.

For example, I’ve been keeping a blog for almost two and half years now, and it helped me to give my opinions about social, political, and other news-worthy issues. I enjoyed using the freedom of the internet and the informal atmosphere of a blog because I knew that, unlike a face-to-face conversation, no one could interrupt me or mock me while I spoke my mind. I felt like I had control over the virtual “floor,” and because of this, decided to name my blog “Shh! Heidi has the floor right now!”

2) Comments, Criticism, and Compliments

Wow, I didn’t even mean to do another “3 C’s,” but one major part of the blogging process is recieving feedback from people all over the world. For example, I’ve been able to connect with people in my town, people from BSC, and even people from as far away as Norway, Korea, and Israel. Getting feedback from such a wide variety of people will help you to see situations from another person’s point-of-view.

Just beware that not all feedback is nice, sensitive, constructive criticism. As a matter of fact, “nice” feedback is a very rare occasion. As we all know, the internet allows complete anonymity, meaning that ANYONE can pretend to be someone and write whatever they want while hiding behind a computer screen. Because of this, bloggers are often “flamed.” The act of “flaming” is when a person posts rude or vulgar feedback to a blog post and offers no constructive criticism.

Regardless of what you choose to write about in your blog, you will be subject to all these kinds of feedback which also gives you the right to go compliment or “flame” any one of the billions of internet blogs.

One of the best uses of feedback I’ve seen is actually right here on the RCC blog. Initially, this place is designed as a “discussion” board where students can share their ideas and try to relate to each other, so don’t forget to post a comment when you’re done reading!

3) You can get PAID for this stuff?

Why yes, yes you can. Sure, it’s not much (actually, it’s not anything unless you’re getting major traffic to your blog), but for a college student, anything helps.

Some blogging sites (such as Google’s Blogger) let users post sponsored ads on their blogs. Depending on how much traffic the site gets and how many times visitors click on the ad links, the owner of the blog will get paid. Unfortunately, unless you’re getting 20 million hits a day like Perez Hilton, your chances of making more than $1 every month are slim to none, but some bloggers (such as myself) independently sell advertising space on their blogs to local friends and businesses.

Starting a blog as a college student is a great idea. It gives you an opportunity to publish your thoughts in a free, public forum for anyone to read and give feedback on. And with possible financial gain (not to mention that internet fame is easier to achieve than it has ever been in history), what reason do people have NOT to blog?

Write about your home life, your job, your memories, your opinions, and even your experience here at Bridgewater State! Advertise it through Facebook and Twitter and encourage your friends to join in as well.

So how about you?  Do you have your own blog?  Why or why not?

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How to Succeed in College: A College Students How to Guide for Your Freshman Year and Then Some

So you just got accepted into college…now what?

After all of the goodbye hugs, congratulations, and prom festivities die down, you then turn your attention to a letter that promises you a world of possibilities.

This one letter has helped you choose a path that has begun your map of the next four years.  Within a couple of months you will be on your way to college with your car packed up and ready to move in.

There are two scary parts of this next step, making new friends…and the dreaded first day of school. Don’t worry about making new friends; everyone else is in the same boat, as long as your nice you are sure to make friends. Now the first day of school…your first class will of course be the most nerve wracking…this is your very first impression of college academics after all.

Now not to scare you off but there are some major differences between high school academics and college…here are a few:

  • In high school one of the things that is usually seen in classrooms is disruptive behavior, and then teachers obviously correcting it…in college you really don’t see any of that, you’re expected to take responsibility for your actions. If you don’t want to be there…then you don’t have to go
  • In high school, teachers give you detail steps of reading assignments and then go over every detail you should have noted…in college, professors hope that you’ve already gained the experience of knowing how to pick out the important facts while reading. They may go over it…but they won’t tell you directly what to write, you have to figure it out for yourself.
  • High school lessons are usually parroted back to the teacher in the way they were taught, while in college the skills you are taught are applied to new situations or to solve different problems.
  • Although in high school you do get grades based on your work, a good percentage of it is based on the effort and/or improvement you have made within the class, in college (for most professors) it is merely based on results.
  • In high school you have the limited ability to pick classes, they are lined out for you and the times you have to take them are pretty much set. In college you can take anything you want from pottery to psychology of personality. The sky is the limit.  And within college you can take a class at what ever time you want to…if you want your days to end at 11:30 they can, or if you are a late riser have them start at 12:00. Whatever time you thrive at, that’s when your classes can be.

Here is a complete chart of some more differences.

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Another thing a lot of freshmen have to deal with is adjusting to the difference in academics as well as the life style of college. I really didn’t have a problem adjusting to the difference between high school and college; I took a lot of honors courses and never relied on teachers to give me every bit of detail. I think the toughest part for me was knowing how to manage my time between classes.My first semester I ended up with a lot of breaks before and after classes, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with them; I slowly learned the advantage bigger breaks give you, such as having more time to get that essay that is due by 4 finished before your second class.

Here are some tips to get you out the door:

I was fortunate enough to have befriended upperclassmen my first year, they taught me which professors to avoid, how I should be spending my critical down time and helped me wipe that newbie look right off my face. Hopefully I will be able to do the same for you:

  • Never buy your books before your first class, unless your professor insists on it.
  • Be the one to always raise your hand, sit in the front, and ask questions…you will get the A’s
  • Don’t go too fast, you may burn out before the year is done
  • Don’t be afraid to withdraw from a class…it may help you in the end
  • Take two weeks before you dive into other activities, it’s important you can handle your classes before you start saving the world
  • Take fun classes ex. Piano, Ballroom, Aerobics, Bad mitten. Etc They will help you to wind down after a stressful day.
  • Don’t be afraid to talk to your professor, it will benefit you.
  • Be friendly with the people in your dorm, these will be your peers for the next four years
  • There are many places to study, make sure to find a nice quiet one, disconnect from the Internet (Facebook will distract you more than you think), and start to study. All of the hours you put in will pay off when you have a nice 4.0 at the end of the semester.
  • A planner, or online event calendar will help you schedule all your essays, test and quizzes…and of course social life activities too!
  • Don’t forget to enjoy college, live it up…the next four years will be some of the best years of your life.

Every college experience is different; I just hope I’ve provided you with some information to help make your first day less scary.

photo credit 1, photo credit 2, photo credit 3

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5 Reasons Why Twitter is Perfect for the Busy College Student

I’ll admit it, like a lot of college students, I probably spend a lot more time than I should on the Internet.  Between Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, blogs, and e-mail, surfing the web takes up a lot of my time.  These things have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other, and I think that’s what the appeal is.  However, the service I love the most on the internet is Twitter.  A lot of people don’t give it the credit it deserves, but I think that it is the perfect way to send and receive information quickly and efficiently.  Some dismiss it as a glorified place to post Facebook-style status updates, but it’s a great way to stay connected to the rest of the world.

I also have my own blog, but I only update it sporadically or when I think of it.  Short updates like on Twitter are way easier for me to keep up with.  Now that I’m writing for the Campus Center Blog, I hope that it will help me in my own bad updating habits.  But for now, I think Twitter is the perfect social media agent for the lazy college student, like me. Here’s five reasons why:

1. It helps my family know what I’m up to. Especially now that I’ve gone away to college, my family likes to know what I’m up to.  I try to update my twitter at least once a day about something I’m doing or have been thinking about.  This way, it helps my mom know what I’m up to without having to call her every day.  The great thing is, people don’t have to create accounts to see my tweets; so, all my techno-phobe relatives have to do is google me, and they get my last few Twitter updates.

2. It’s a great news source! When I’m here at BSC, I feel like I live in a college “bubble”.  I never wake up early enough to watch the news in the morning, and when it’s on in the evening I’m always either doing homework, at a meeting, or hanging out with my friends.  This means that I have to put in serious effort if I want to keep up with what’s going on in the outside world.  Twitter makes following the news beyond easy.  Right in my stream of accounts I follow, I get updates from CNN, The Boston Globe, and Perez Hilton.  Because Twitter only allows you to post a maximum of 140 characters, all I have to do is read the headlines they post, and if I’m interested, I click on the links they provide and skim through the news articles.  It’s that easy.

3. Ever wonder what your favorite celebrities are up to? I do.  So, I follow people like John Mayer, Taylor Swift, Ashton Kutcher, and Ben Stiller.  It’s a more personal way to find out what your favorite celebs are up to than hearing it from the sleazy gossip magazines.  And sometimes if you’re lucky, they reply to fan’s tweets and answer questions!

4. Twitter is an easy way for you to voice your opinions! I know that I, like a lot of other students at Bridgewater, have a lot of strong opinions and ideas about a lot of things.  Maybe it’s just something you thought of on your walk to class, maybe it’s your reaction to the president’s State of the Union address.  Twitter is a great way to put your thoughts out there and get them heard!

5. It’s convenient. Like I said before, I prefer the short, to the point format of Twitter.  But another way it’s easy to use is that it can be updated from almost anywhere, not just a computer.  All I have to do is shoot a text with my tweet inside it to Twitter, and it updates it for me!  It’s the easiest way to share what you want, whenever you want!

How about you?  Do you use Twitter? Do you get it yet?  Or are you married to Facebook forever?

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Time for an Upgrade

This past September, I entered my freshman year at Bridgewater State College. Like all first time freshman, I entered school one giant ball of nerves and excitement. However, in just one semester at BSC, I learned more about myself than ever before. If I knew what I know now, I probably would have dealt with several situations much differently. The three most important lessons I learned are as follows:

Let go of the things you can’t control: As the proud driver of a 16-year-old vehicle, I realize the odds are against me in regards to car trouble….now. In the beginning of the semester, I thought my car would be just as reliable as it was for my junior and senior years of high school, but I forgot to take into account the fact I would driving 45 minutes to school, not 5. To my dismay, I had several weeks of car trouble in the beginning of the semester. I’ll spare the details, but it was an incredibly long ordeal full of arguing with AAA and my mechanic, crying, and money disappearing from my bank account. The reason my car troubles seemed so awful to me is because I am the type of person who must micro-manage and control every little aspect of their life. I had a hard time giving complete control of my car (and my money) over to the mechanic.. My car troubles taught me to let go of what I cannot control and deal with whatever happens. Throughout the ordeal, my mom kept reminding me that I was an adult, who was going to deal with adult problems. Now, I know the my mother’s advice is real; I AM an adult and I will have to face “adult problems” and deal with them without the help of others.

Quit planning so far ahead: I spent my high school years planning my college years. This may sound crazy, but it’s what I did. I knew (or thought I knew) what I wanted to be in my sophomore year. I started going on college visits in September of my junior year. I took my SATs and ACTs that June. Lastly, I applied early action to every college I applied to, and knew all of my acceptances by December. My academics and preparing college consumed me. The only time I socialized was either at crew practice or National Honor Society meetings (side note: I did have friends, I was just “too focused” to hang out with them outside of school). So going into the fall semester, I was ready to take all of my anthropology classes, graduate and go to grad school…or so I thought. I went into to first semester a public archaeology major, and I hated every minute of my archaeology class. Granted, I did what I had to do well in the class, but I realized that, in reality, archaeology is not as adventurous as Harrison Ford’s in Indiana Jones. I did not want to spent the rest of my life picking at plant remains. After heavy reflecting over break and looking into my real interests, I changed my major to political science. So, all of my planning and prematurely looking a grad schools in September was all for nothing. I learned to not plan so far ahead because in the end things don’t always go according to your big plan. I’m excited to see what possibilities open up with my new major in public administration and my minor in community leadership take me.

Stop over-analyzing every decision you make: I did involve myself in campus life this past semester, but it did not come easy for me. For example, in September, I noticed on BSC’s Involvement Network page a link to apply to be in OSIL’s (Office of Student Involvement and Leadership) Fall Leadership Institute. I applied and was accepted into the program. Part of the program required us to attend an open house to fill out a form and a get a better understanding of the program. I learned that there are  3 levels to the program: Level 1 entails listening to podcasts and filling out the guidebook, Level 2 entails both level 1 and being matched with a mentor, and lastly, Level 3 which entails both levels 1 and 2 along with completing a civic engagement project. I decided to sign up for level 3. For days, I agonized if it was the “right  thing” to do all three levels. Finally, I chose to do my project on suicide awareness and prevention because it was something I was truly passionate about. Of course, all things worked out in the end for me. I completed my project on time, people seemed to like it, I met a really great mentor, and learned a little about leadership. If I had let my over-analyzing get in the way as it has in the past, I would not have been able to carry out the things I did. As I enter the spring semester, I am more involved with the Social Justice League, work two jobs on campus, and applied to be a summer orientation leader. From this point forward, I am not going to let my doubts get in the way of  the things I want to do.

For any first time freshman, it is difficult trying to adjust to your new surroundings and find your place on campus. My first semester taught me that to carry out anything in life, I need to go with flow. I need to forget the things I cannot control, don’t plan to far ahead so I can enjoy my years here, and never over-analyze most of the decisions I make. I’m sure many freshman were in the same boat the “Old” Kayla. I grew to realize that my college will be some of the best times I have in life, so why not make the most of it.

How about you?  What would you tell your September 2009 self?

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