How to Deal with Homesickness

14 Nov

If this is your first semester living in a college dorm, then chances are you will probably experience some homesickness at some point. It might not be as soon as you move away from home, but I think everyone gets homesick by the end of the first month. Moving to college is a huge change, and feeling homesick can make it ever harder, but I’m here to tell you that it will get better.

When I was little, I was that kid who always wanted to go home in the middle of a sleepover because I was so scared to stay away from home. I didn’t actually spend the night anywhere until sixth grade when my basketball coach had a sleepover at her house. I guess I was more afraid that my teammates would make fun of me than I was of actually spending the night. After that, it never bothered me to stay at a friend’s house or go on trips out of town with my school, but I felt a lot of anxiety about living on campus my freshman year.

New Student Survival Weekend

I really wanted to live on campus in college, but my parents really didn’t want me to leave. LMU is only about a 50 minute drive from my house, so I could have commuted, but after finding out that I was going to receive enough scholarship money to pay for a dorm on campus, there was really no reason to commute. It would have cost me more money in gas and taken almost two hours a day driving. I was extremely nervous about moving away from home, but I knew that it would be worth it in the end. I wanted to get the “full college experience”. In the end, my parents couldn’t refuse to let me move to LMU.

I moved into my dorm the weekend before classes started. Freshman students at LMU participate in “New Student Survival Weekend.” Basically, all the freshmen move in the weekend before classes start and participate in all kinds of presentations and activities to prepare them for life on campus. We got a chance to do the ropes course and climb the outdoor rock wall, as well as learning about campus safety tips and good study habits. This was great for me because I met a lot of people that I am still friends with today, and it helps make the transition into college life a little less scary.

My first night at LMU was really busy, but I became homesick really quickly. I just kept thinking, “What am I doing here?”  I lived in an apartment style dorm, so I had five roommates, but they all seemed to be so happy to be living away from home. I never heard them talking about how they missed being at home, so I thought that I was the only one who was homesick. I called my parents every night, but after classes started and I got myself settled into a routine, things got a lot better. I didn’t feel homesick anymore, and I started to enjoy myself.

My roommates freshman year

My roommates freshman year

The point of that story is that if you are feeling homesick, I promise you are not the only one. Everybody goes through it. Here are my suggestions for if you ever start feeling homesick:

~Pop in a funny movie. Laughter really is the best medicine!

~Find some friends to hang out with. Having fun will definitely take your mind off of it!

~Join a new club. Finding people who share the same interests or hobbies as you will make you happy AND keep you occupied. Plus, it looks great on a resume!

~Just call your parents, brother, sister, grandparents, etc. You might think that it will make you feel worse, but talking to someone that you love will make you feel better. They probably will have a lot of encouragement to give you because they want to see you succeed.

~Clean something. Okay, I know that’s really weird, but whenever I’m in a bad mood, I clean things. It works.

My current roommates and I out exploring

My current roommates and me out exploring

There are so many fun opportunities at LMU, and you should definitely try to enjoy your four years in college, because they will fly by. I don’t regret living on campus at all. In fact, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Commuting is a good option for those who live close, but I have met so many amazing people that I wouldn’t have met if I had decided to commute.

College is a great experience, and living on campus is fun. If you have any questions, feel free to email me! Follow my blog, and check back soon for my next post about my trip with the education department to Cherokee, North Carolina!

Keep it Balanced: Midterm Week

16 Oct

Life can get really stressful in college sometimes when you are trying to split yourself between school, work, teaching a unit of study, volunteering, and holding an office in a club. If I’m not careful, I can get really behind on things quickly. Right now, it is midterm week, and everyone is starting to feel the effects. Assignments, papers, exams, and projects are all weighing down, and it gets overwhelming. When you are as busy as I am, one of the most important things is to try to keep a good balance between everything. By that, I mean try not to spend too much time on one thing so that another area starts suffering. It all goes back to TIME MANAGEMENT! Continue reading

My Life in a Third Grade Science Class

2 Oct

I was so fortunate to be placed in a third grade science classroom in one of the local elementary schools this semester. For the past two weeks, I have been teaching my group of kids about life cycles and animal habitats. Although it has been challenging, I am sure now that teaching is the right path for me.

It has been challenging to keep up with all of my classwork and plan lessons at the same time, but the real reward is getting to be in the classroom teaching. I teach two classes every Monday and Wednesday morning, and it is so much fun. I was a little apprehensive about teaching science at first because it isn’t my favorite subject, but I have found that my students are very enthusiastic about learning science. Science also provides many opportunities for me to integrate other subjects like math, language arts, and social studies into my lessons. Science is also a great subject to connect the outside world to learning for students.

I am teaching a unit about animals, which makes it easy for me to use real life examples to teach my students. My very first lesson was about the life cycle of a frog. After reading my students a book about the life cycle and discussing the vocabulary in their textbook, I had my them do a writing activity about what it would be like to be a tadpole, and they also completed bar graphs that showed how many weeks it took for the frog to progress through its life cycle. Just in this one lesson, I was able to integrate reading, math, and writing into my lesson plan.

One of my activities for the life cycle of a frog.

Part of one of my activities for the life cycle of a frog.

Continue reading

Student Government: The Gateway for Change

18 Sep

I hope everyone is off to a great year so far! My junior year has started off awesome!

When I first came to LMU, I knew that I wanted to be really involved on campus, but I didn’t know what club or organization I wanted to join. I did lots of different clubs in high school, but my favorite was Student Council. Every year, some of the clubs here at LMU host a club fair where each club sets up a booth and gives out information about the activities. I found out about the Student Government Association (SGA), and I decided that it looked pretty interesting, so I went to a meeting because I knew the Student Body President at that time.

At my very first SGA meeting, I was elected president of the freshman class, and I quickly came to enjoy being able to help make a difference at LMU. At the end of my freshman year, I ran for a spot on the Executive Board, which is the group of major officers in SGA. Even though I lost in the election, I was nominated to another position on the Executive Board, Pro Tempore.

Our Executive Board is composed of 8 members: Student Body President, Student Body Vice President, Speaker of the Senate, Treasurer, Chief Justice, Attorney General, Secretary, and Pro Tempore. My job as Pro Tempore is to keep up with the attendance records for all of the meetings and determine if there are enough people present to vote on a bill. I am now serving my second term as Pro Tempore, and I have high hopes of serving on the Executive Board again next year. The Speaker of the Senate is responsible for being the mediator in all of the SGA meetings, and, as Pro Tempore, I serve almost as an assistant to her as well. If the Speaker cannot be present at the meetings for any reason, then it becomes my job to control the meeting, and I have gotten to do that before.

2012-2013 Executive Board

2012-2013 Executive Board

The Senate is composed of several different kinds of members: club representatives, senators, and class presidents. Club representatives are people who are there to vote on behalf on the club that they are a member of. Any club is welcome to attend SGA, but in order to obtain a vote in the Senate, the club must apply for a charter with SGA. To apply for a charter, a member of the club will make a short presentation about what the club will be doing, who the faculty advisor is, and how many members they have recruited so far. Then, the Senate members will vote on whether or not to grant that club a charter. If the Senate approves the club, then they are granted a temporary charter for a semester, which means that they are basically on a probationary period. After that semester is up, if the club has met the attendance requirements, the representative can present for a full charter. If the Senate grants the club a full charter, they are allowed to vote in the meetings. There are close to 30 different clubs who send representatives to SGA.

Class presidents and senators must be elected by the Senate. There is one class president and two senators for each class. There are also senators for each of the academic programs, residential halls, commuter students, and two students who represent the student body at large . One of the requirements for being a class president or senator is writing two bills. These bills propose changes that the students want to happen at the university. Class presidents and senators must also meet the attendance requirements.

This year's new Senators and Presidents being sworn in by our Chief Justice

This year’s new Senators and Presidents being sworn in by our Chief Justice

In the past three years, SGA has accomplished some big things here at LMU. Just last year, we passed a bill that placed new stop signs and crosswalks around the campus, which made LMU an even safer place for students. We also passed a bill that created a new meal plan for students. In the past, there were only two meal plan options-15 meals per week plus flex points or 19 meals per week with no flex, and now we have a meal plan option that consists of 10 meals per week plus flex points. We were also able to host an Open Forum for the students last year to voice their opinions about housing, and we held our very first Presidential Debate where students were able to hear from the candidates for Student Body President.

2013 Presidential Debate

2013 Presidential Debate

As part of the Executive Board, I have had the pleasure of meeting and collaborating with several of LMU’s administrators. It is so rewarding to be able to take part in the changes that are happening at LMU. I love seeing students getting involved, and it is an honor for me to help make student voices heard. Our Executive Board strives to create a bridge between the students and administration to foster communication so that everyone’s voices and opinions are heard. Being a member of SGA has helped me to see many different viewpoints and take part in solving issues as they arise at LMU.

If you are a student, I strongly encourage you to attend a meeting and check out some of the cool ideas that we will be discussing over the next semester. Our Senate is currently exploring ideas about new sidewalks and streetlights, among other things that I hope to be able to share very soon! Any ideas or issues that you have can be brought to SGA, and we will do everything that we can to help. You can follow @LMU_SGA on Twitter to keep up with all of the news about our Student Government and activities that are going on here on campus. I look forward to seeing you guys at SGA!

Education Majors: We Have Fun and Learn, Too!

4 Sep

Being an elementary education major is really fun, especially when you get into methods courses like the courses that I am taking this semester. These courses are about getting into the classroom and learning how to teach different subjects. Since it is so important to let children have fun while learning, education majors get to have fun in our classes, too!

Just recently in my Methods of Teaching Elementary Math course, we were learning about Common Core Math Practices. There are 8 of these, and basically, they are the 8 things that teachers are expected to incorporate into their math lessons every year under the new Common Core Standards. Instead of just making us memorize them and then moving on, our professor let us work in pairs and make a graphic organizer, putting them into our own words. Then, we had to explain them to the rest of the class. Personally, activities like this help me learn more than listening to a lecture the entire class period. I’ve found that I learn more when I’m actively engaged in the lesson than when I am just taking notes from a PowerPoint presentation. The same is true for elementary school students. I don’t like to be bored in my classes, and they definitely don’t either. In my opinion, the best lessons are those that are so much fun for the kids that they forget they are learning. Continue reading

Those Who Teach…CAN

21 Aug

those who can doI’m sure you’ve probably heard the expression, “Those who can, do, and those who can’t, teach.” We’ll, I’m going to tell you that is not exactly true. For some reason, that expression never really made sense to me. It’s like saying teachers aren’t capable of actually doing anything productive with their own lives, so they teach others. Maybe I just look at it differently than I’m supposed to. Teachers not only have to know how to do things but also how to teach them to others. How can you teach something if you don’t know how to do it? Aristotle once said, “The one exclusive sign of thorough knowledge is the power of teaching.” I’ve learned that this is incredibly true throughout my time at LMU so far, and I’ve become increasingly aware that I will never totally stop being a student, even after I become a teacher.

I’ve known since I first started school that I wanted to become a teacher, but I never really realized why I was so drawn to the profession until I started in the program at LMU. As a freshman, everyone starts out in some general education classes. These are basic classes that everyone is required to take like math, science, history, and English– the basics. Sometimes, I thought that some of the classes weren’t particularly benefiting me, or they weren’t exactly my favorite subjects. At the time, I didn’t really understand why I had to take chemistry when I wanted to be an elementary school teacher, even though it did turn out to be a really fun class. I would keep saying to myself, “Why am I here? I’m never going to use this stuff. When do I actually get to start teaching?” Continue reading

Procrastination: A College Student’s Worst Nightmare

7 Aug

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a procrastinator at times. Usually on Sunday nights, I tell myself that I am going to get all of my homework done early in the week so that I don’t have to worry about rushing to get it finished on time. Then, Monday comes, and I decide to play tennis instead of working on that paper that is due the next week. When Tuesday rolls around, I simply cannot do homework because Student Government Association (SGA) meetings are at 8:00, and then I HAVE TO watch Dance Moms afterwards. Wednesday usually consists of a night class for me, and I’m so tired that I just have to go to bed, so I usually end up doing everything on Thursday and Friday night instead of going out with friends because I have procrastinated.

procrastination

Please take my advice. DO NOT PROCRASTINATE REGULARLY! It’s really not worth it. I cannot stress enough how important using your time wisely is in college. It took me basically my whole freshman year to figure this out, and I think I got worse during the middle of my sophomore year as I became more involved on campus. It’s so easy to just say that you will do your homework later, but, honestly, you probably won’t feel like doing it later anymore than you do at that moment. The only thing that procrastinating really does is add stress to your life, and you don’t want that in college.

Continue reading

A Dorm Decorating Crash Course

24 Jul

Searching for dorm decorations is definitely one of the most fun things about going to college. The most important thing to keep in mind when buying decorations for your dorm room is that you will be living there for a whole year, so it is important to choose things that you are really comfortable with. However, you will have to change dorms after a year, so don’t bring too much stuff. A well decorated dorm is a good thing, but a cluttered dorm is a bad thing.

Rule #1: Make sure that you really like your bedding. You will most likely be using it for the next four years. Pick something that will be comfortable and can easily be washed. LMU dorm rooms have Twin XL beds, so you will need to buy Twin XL sheets. I use a regular Twin sized comforter for my bed, and it works just fine. I also have a foam mattress topper as well.

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERA

I got this rainbow leopard print comforter from Walmart.com for about $50. It is reversible, so I have a little freedom to switch things up if I get bored.

Rule #2: Make your walls a reflection of your life. I filled my walls with pictures of friends and family and posters of my favorite things. I have everything from Audrey Hepburn to Paris to The Notebook. The key is to choose images that make you happy or inspire you. Posters and pictures can be changed as often as you like, but keep in mind that changing too much could become expensive. A dry erase calendar is also a good thing to hang on your wall to help you remember important days and tasks. You can keep them simple or decorate them however you like.walls

  Continue reading

The Real Deal with the Freshman 15

10 Jul

Most of you have probably heard that when you go to college, you put on “the freshman 15.” Statistics show that at least 50% of college students gain at least ten pounds during their freshman year of college. In a country like America where obesity is a big concern, that’s not a good statistic.

When I started college, I weighed about 100 pounds. I’m only 5’1″, and I played on almost every sports team that my middle school and high school offered. I played basketball, softball, danced, and I volunteered as a soccer referee for a youth soccer organization. It’s safe to say that I was in shape! I was always able to eat whatever I wanted, and I never worried about gaining weight or counting calories. I thought I would be able to continue the same routine when I got to college without gaining any weight. Boy was I VERY WRONG!

I’m still a tiny person, but I’ll just be honest. I gained 25 pounds by the end of my sophomore year! I couldn’t believe it! I was devastated, even though it was my own fault. I felt horrible about myself, but I didn’t put forth any effort to try to do something about it. Whenever my roommates would ask me to go running with them, I would say no because I knew that I was out of shape and wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. I had no desire to exercise or be healthy at all. Continue reading

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