Chasing the Dream

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Going after something that means a lot to you isn’t always the easiest fight. But then again nothing that’s worth it comes easy. Thankfully I had a mom who knew that the career I’m chasing was something that I’ve been wanting since middle school, so she never let me stop. And you shouldn’t either!0

Yes, there’s going to be times when you have mental breakdowns because you are so stressed out. Yes, there will be times you’re going to silently cry yourself to sleep in hopes your roommate doesn’t hear but that’s okay. Yes, there’s going to come times when all you want to do is give up.

But no, these feelings are only temporary. there’s no need to drop out of school. As my mom told me time after time, there are going to be a lot of days when you feel like complete crap but there are also going to be those days when you feel on top of the world.

I know it’s going to be struggle, I get it, I’ve been through it and i still deal with it as a grad student. But my advice to you is to keep going to class no matter how bad things get, there’s always a better tomorrow. Your dreams are worth going after, it’s not impossible and it’s not easy, but you can do it. ❤️

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First Day of Classes

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Starting classes was the most exciting thing for me when I first went to college. I tried to sleep before midnight but I don't know if you guys feel this way to, but I can never sleep when I know the next days when I start school. Maybe because of the excitement? Idk I just can never sleep.
I did a little bit of research on where the classrooms were by using the Physical Plants website at FLC (building maps, so helpful). Also, my RA was kind enough to give us a little tour of the campus the evening before! Finding my classes was easy enough for me to navigate but the getting to know people in class was the worst. I'm an introvert and being forced to talk to people, telling them your favorite foods or hobbies, why you're taking the classes or whatever wasn't my thing. I always struggled with answering things but when I found an answer I stuck to it the rest of the day.
I believe I took 15 credits my first semester at FLC, my classes weren't horrible at all! My professors were pretty nice and the classmates were okay. I was taking my prerequisites at the time so I knew I'd most likely never see these people ever again (which was partly true).
Each year my first day was always exciting, when I got into my junior/senior year I was taking my core classes so I knew just about everyone in my classes. The only scary thing was meeting the professors but again some professors were repeats from the semester before.
My first day of grad school was interesting, I was extremely nervous because I honestly didn't know what to expect. I knew undergrad was filled with young students who were just as nervous as me but going into a masters program made me think everyone was going to be confident and professional. Nope. It was like undergrad all over again, but this time we were greeted by the program director!
First day of classes are always fun and exciting especially if it's your first day being a freshmen in high school or college, here are some tips on how to get through the first day!

  1. Get a good nights rest – I know if you're like me it's hard to sleep BUT you gotta try. Nothing worse than showing up to a morning class tired as ever.
  2. Eat breakfast – nothing better than getting a good meal in before classes!
  3. Look up where your classes are – nothing worse than running around 15 minutes before your classes start not knowing where they are. Check your class schedule, they have building and room numbers on there! (Try to leave early, I always try to be at least 15 minutes early to my classes)
  4. Engage with your classmates – I'm still learning this tip, but don't be scared to talk with them. Most people are pretty cool and want to talk to you!
  5. Read your syllabus – I know most professors go over them but reread when you get a chance, highlight deadlines or questions you have. Look out for contact info and office hours!

The Awkward Love Life of Tjae

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When I started college I wasn't into the whole being in a relationship thing. I just wanted to be with my friend group, do good in school and get a job. I did just that! All four years of college I worked on the side while doing school and slowly my friend group diminished but that was fine with me. But there were a few times when I let my guard down….
My freshman year, things happened will I guess more of awkward encounters lol. One time I was walking back to my residential hall all by my lonesome jamming to music and this random football player came up to me. He asked for my number and all, I didn't know what to do. I was 19 years old and never had some stranger come up to me demanding my phone number, so I gave it to him and luckily I did because he called me right then and there (ACAAWKWARD).
From there I never texted him until he sent me a shirtless picture and I was like "WHAT THE FUCK." 😂 thankfully I was with my group of friends and we just made a joke and our only guy friend sent an awkward picture back to him and that was the last I heard of the football player.
Next came Valentine's Day, I was taking Algebra for Calculus or some wacky class like that. One of my classmates had messaged me on vday and asked me to dinner. And omg, I responded with, "I'm sorry I'm busy." When in all honesty I was in my pajamas watching cheesy love movies eating by myself. And I swear, this guy cursed my love life from that day on because I haven't been able to meet a decent guy since (& this guy is now happily married, missed my chance I guess, jk).
After that my best friend tried to play match maker when we were sophomores with some guy who I can't even remember because she was never exactly clear with who he was. Then my aunt tried to play matchmaker again when I was a senior in college. And if he wasn't related to me (yes, I'm Navajo so everyone in Gods name is related to me) he would've been a pretty good catch. Unfortunately, firefighters are bad luck for me (don't ask me why).
So now here I am 3 years later, 22 years old, a grad student and I still haven't met anyone who's been decent enough for me. I'm also the kind of person who gets annoyed with someone pretty easily and I'll cut communication off randomly (you'll never hear from me again randomly). But in all honesty, I TRUST NO ONE. Okay, I lied. I trusted one person this past year but that's a story I'm still handling. Sadly, the curse of the Valentines date rejection still haunts me, who knows when it will end? I'm not sure. Even with the help of my matchmakers (more like matchbreakers) we haven't broken the curse. 😂😂
But you don't need a boyfriend or girlfriend to enjoy college. A few good friends and your classes and perhaps a job will be enough to keep you on your toes! Few people do find their person in college, so don't go in thinking you will. (Sorry)

My Move-in Day

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The day of my move-in was probably the most fun and the most worst day ever. I had a Native American Student Orientation in the morning like at 8 so that was already horrible. To make things more horrible, I never visited to the campus (well I did, but that was when I was in like 6th grade, oops) so I had no idea where the Native American Center was and my mom was so upset lol. We were supposed to stay throughout the entire thing but my mom wasn’t about it, so instead we just picked up a free planner and scadaddled to my new residential hall, Crofton.

This is when things got more interesting, we were unpacking the car and moving me in. It was hot and we were both tired, after we finished unpacking things, my mom wanted to get lunch and again I KNEW NOTHING ABOUT DURANGO, COLORADO because I had no interest in going to school there and I hadn’t been there since I was like 10. SO MY BAD again. My mom then got mad at me again because I didn’t know what to eat and we finally decided on the most basic place, Applebee’s. I didn’t know where this place was AND MY PHONE DIDN’T WORK AT THIS PLACE so I had no idea where Applebee’s was and my mom was on the phone even more upset lol.

When we finally arrived, we didn’t talk, we just ate because we were so mad at each other for how the day was going. But once we got back to the room and had to say goodbye? We were a mess. I didn’t want my mom to leave and I had offered she stay the night because it was already late and my roommate wasn’t going to be moving in until the next day. However, she couldn’t because there was no one to watch my sisters and she had to leave.

The bad day didn’t end when she left, to make things worse, I lost my debit card somewhere in that mess and my mom was upset with me once again lol. Thankfully my friend Gwen was going to school with me and she had a Wells Fargo accout so I just transferred money to her to check out for me. My move-in day wasn’t the best but now that I reflect on it, I can’t help but laugh about how crazy my mom and I were.

 

The Letter…

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So at least every week from the months of February to May, I forced my mom to drive me to the post office in hopes that my admissions decision was in the mail. I had learned that good things came in the big envelopes and bad things came in the regular small envelopes. Fortunately, all my admission letters came in the big envelopes and it was the best feeling for me and my mom. The one letter that stuck out to me was my admissions letter from Texas Christian University.

It stuck out to me because when I applied I had a 4.0 GPA but an ACT score of a 18 and a 21. I thought I had no chance of getting in because at the time TCU’s “average student upon admission” had GPA’s of 4.5’s (or some ridiculous number) and an ACT score above a 29. I told my mom I had no chance but I wanted to try and of course she got mad at me because she paid the $40 application fee.

Anyway, when I got my letter, it came in a envelope sleeve thing with my acceptance letter, and more letters telling me how much the enrollment and housing deposits were, as well as, more mumbo jumbo about how great their school was with thousands of different flyers that I didn’t even read once I say the deposit amounts I HAD to pay.

That brings us to the purpose of this posts, admissions letters to me (I can’t tell you about other schools but I’m pretty sure this is how they come…) come in big and small envelopes. Big envelopes mean you’ve been accepted and that they sent you a bunch of pamphlets (you probably won’t read), and the deposits you need to make. Small envelopes mean you’ve been rejected and that they sent you some type of letter saying how great you were but they still didn’t want you based on xyz.

It’s important to read any of these letters thoroughly because if accepted you’ll need to figure out how much the enrollment and housing deposits are. These can be a deal breaker (like my case with TCU), some of the big universities (especially private schools) want some ridiculous amount of money like $1,500 just to claim your spot in your program and $2,000 just to ensure you have housing. Smaller schools are definitely more affordable when it comes to both of these, I think for FLC I paid an enrollment deposit of $150 and a housing deposit of $150. (Don’t quote me on that because I don’t remember). Next thing to look for is the deadlines for these deposits, yes, there are more deadlines YOU NEED TO CHECK FOR. These are important because schools aren’t flexible with this, take it from me, I missed NAU’s housing deposit deadline and I was screwed for on-campus housing!

So please, when you receive your acceptance letters check for these!

On the flip side, if you were rejected from the school(s) you applied for, it’s totally fine. Make sure that you read your letter entirely as much as you don’t want to because you’re probably feeling pretty salty about it (tbh, I’ve been this way with scholarship letters, once I saw the I regret to inform you sentence, I ripped my letters and threw them away). But it’s a good thing to read through because they’ll tell you why they didn’t accept you. Sometimes you may be put on a different type of admissions (I forget what it’s called) but if some students don’t go there, they’ll take you (kind of like a last resort kind of thing, but if you want it, it’ll be worth the wait).

So all-in-all please read the letters you receive no matter what the decision may be!

Big School vs Small School

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So during my week off from blogging I was thinking about how people like to go to big schools over small schools because a majority of the time big schools have sports teams that are pretty good at what they do. I mean, that’s cool and all, but you’re not just going there for the student discounted games, you’re going for the education!

So before you make a decision, please make sure that you compare and contrast programs at each schools! Personally, I chose a small school because I wanted to be more than just a number (student to teacher ratio, look it up). I wanted to be someone my professors knew. I wanted to be in a small classroom with maybe 20 students instead of being in a auditorium with 200+ students. (Okay, that may have been an exaggeration but I think it’s still true, idk).

Small schools are maybe Division 2 or 3 schools in the NCAA, but there’s nothing wrong with that. These schools still have some pretty good teams, for FLC, as long as we brought our student ID we were let in for free to games (which wasn’t too bad, considering our teams). It may not be a Division 1 school, but at least you still get to go to sporting events!

Being at a small school opened a lot of opportunities for me, I was able to work with student organizations, with student housing, awhile at the student life center and met a few great people. I’m sure you can do this all at a big school too. But I think it’s just the class size that always gets me. I also feel that if I were in a class with over 200 students, professors really wouldn’t have time for office hours but who knows but those of you in big schools! Another thing that bugged me was the cost of going to a big school vs a small school, like I talked about in my cost post, sometimes smaller schools are more affordable especially if you’re paying out of pocket.

Big schools could possibly offer more student ran organizations too! Which I’m all for, because coming from a small school, there were limited options and if you wanted to start a new organization you still need people to fill in open slots (which was HARD because it seemed like no one was interested!!!). However, at a big school, there’s a bigger chance of finding people who share the same passion as you do.

All-in-all each school size has different pros and cons, but I’m still a sucker for a small school. Right now, I’m at a university which is kind of a big school but I’m a graduate student and my class size at my campus is 15. However, there are students at the main campus but there’s only 7 of them.

Here’s some things to look out for when deciding between the two:

  1. Student to teacher ratio! – Do you want to have a lot of one on one time with your professors or does that not matter to you (just as long as you’re learning something)?
  2. Student organizations – Check out the Student Life tabs on your school websites to see what you might enjoy. I’m sure that bigger schools have more options, but maybe you could start one up at a small school (who knows).
  3. Cost – An IMPORTANT thing to look at is the cost of the school! Make sure it’s affordable for you and your family!
  4. Aid – Next important thing is the financial aid, check out the financial aid page of your schools website to see if they have opportunities for you!
  5. Entertainment – Big schools seem to have the win on this one, but again check out Student Life to see what the school has to offer. This could include: sporting events, concerts, theatre, etc.

What are your opinions on big vs smalls schools? I’d like to know!

Tip: You can always start at a small school then transfer to a big school!

“Burning the Midnight Oil”

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I'm not sure why this popped into my head maybe because it's exactly 12:00AM where I'm at in this world. My professor Charlie always told us to not burn the midnight oil because that will often lead to burnout. 4 years later I still haven't followed that rule exactly.
In college (& for those high school students taking AP courses) you might be experiencing this quite often. It's not the best thing to do, especially if it's because you procrastinated! I get it homework can be time consuming and it's okay to go into the late hours of the night but just be sure that you're still getting some sleep and that this isn't going to become a habit.
Here's so tips on how not to burn the midnight oil!

  1. DONT PROCRASTINATEEEE! – professors will know, especially if you have a paper to do the next day at say 8AM. They know that you rushed it even though you may think it's great. Also, procrastinating tends to lead to you being extremely overwhelmed!
  2. Time management – hey, I went through 4 years of college and worked part time through most of it so if I can get homework done at a decent hour so can you! Managing your time is super important. Our professor Charlie made us make these weekly time management sheets in Excel that set aside time for our class schedule, when we were going to study for a certain class, when we were going to eat, work out, hang out with friends and most importantly sleep! This is a great way to avoid procrastinating and burning the midnight oil!
  3. Save it for later – if you've been working on something but still have time to work on it the next day. Just call it a night and get some sleep. I know it's upsetting to have to put work aside but your wellbeing is important too!