Well I have about one week before I move back into the dorm for my last year as a RA.  I cannot believe I have been in college for almost six years and a RA for five of them.  I guess you could say that I have been around the Res Ed block a time or two.  I have some advice for incoming freshman as they start their journey in college.

 

1. Remember what you are here for

I have lost count on how many freshmen I meet that loose track as why they are at college.  They get caught up with their friends, trying to be popular, partying, drugs, and laziness. College is not like high school.  You are responsible for yourself.  Your RA will not wake you up for class, make sure you study, or get your prescriptions when you’re sick (I had this happen to me this past year).

Take control of your education and be responsible with your choices.  What you do on a Friday/Saturday night may come to haunt you the next day, week, month or years later.  The choices you make now will affect you’re the rest of your life.

Now you are probably thinking wow Kailynn you are getting super deep or why should I listen to this girl? Well let me tell you.  What I am telling you comes from personal experience. I have seen alcohol and drugs cause student to fail at classes, be arrested, drop or most likely fail out of school. I have seen the student who does not study or go to class and those students rarely make it to their sophomore year.

So please remember why you are at college.  Make smart choices.

 

2. Ask for help

I will tell you again college is not like high school.  Your classes will not be easier and you will have to study (gasp).  You may find out that you do not even know how to study since you never had to do it in high school.  Well then ask for help.  Talk to upper classmen, tutor, professors, or your RA.

Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. I had to learn this the hard way and you do not want to learn it the hard way.  Do you want to be the person who failed an exam or the class because you did not ask for help?  When you look back and think I could have passed that class if I went to my professors’ office hour.  Sounds crazy doesn’t it? Well because it is.

Asking for help does not always end in the classroom. In the dorm your RA is placed on your floor to HELP YOU.  So if you are having roommate issues do not wait till you are ready to murder each other. Bring your RA in.  I have been contacted by roommates who have been having issues since September and now it’s March and they cannot stand it any longer.  And I am always confused as why didn’t you tell me sooner? I could have helped.

So please ask for help. Whether if it is in your classes or dorm.  Talk to a friend, parent, professor, RA or iRA.  They are there to help you succeed in college.

 

3. Do your laundry/Take a shower

I think this point is self explanatory.  Your RA does not want to have the “You smell” conversation with you and neither do you.  It is very awkward for everyone.  Trust me everyone will appreciate you smelling good (and no frebreze does not count as a doing your laundry or showering).

 

4. Experience college life

Sometimes college can be really stressful. So take a break and breathe.  Experience college life. Make new friends, meet new people, join clubs, become passionate about something.  This is a time to grow and find out the real you.  Build yourself to become the person you want to be.

 

 

5. Don’t stress

Stress and college student really go hand and hand. If it is an assignment due tomorrow and you have yet to start, or your roommate’s music is driving you crazy, maybe your parents are hounding you about that grade you got on your biology test but the class average was a 52% and your were just below that average.  Annnd breathe….stress is there but it how you deal with it that makes all the difference.

Talk to a friend, RA, professor, or stranger on the bus.  Take time for yourself is important. Whether it is working out, spending time with friends, playing video games, reading a non-textbook, or just hiding out in your room.

That one class you got a C or D is really won’t make a huge impact on your life as a whole.  I remember when my advisor told me the “D’s” are for degrees.  I pretty much hated my life in one class and that statement really put things into perspective.  I didn’t settle for a D but it made me think that in 5 or 10 years this class will not matter.  I am not saying that you should make this your life motto (remember my first point?) but try not stress over the little things in life and enjoy the ride.

So here are a few points of advice and I hope that you listen and really take to heart what I have just said.  If you have any questions, comments, or would like to add more advice points please do so.  I would love to hear from you.  Oh and I wish all freshman and RAs a wonderful 2013-2014 school year an good luck!

 

-With much love

Kailynn, iRA

 

It is currently February. You have been back to school for about a month and you have probably already taken your first exam. If you are like me you are ready for a break, spring break. Spring break is known as a March/April mid-semester break. This maybe a time for you to catch up on homework, projects, and prepare for finals (Ha-I wish I could do this but it never happens). Common spring break destinations are: Mexico, Florida, Myrtle Beach, Cancun, Bahamas, and pretty much any place you can put your feet in the sand with a fancy drink in your hand.

These are great ideas but there are alternatives to spring break then a beach. Here are a few of my suggestions:
• Volunteer-You can volunteer at your college campus or at home. Look into Habitat for Humanity, and the United Way for local opportunities. You could also travel internationally for service opportunities. A big program at my university is Amazide which offers students a chance to travel aproad, earn course credit, and volunteer. They have service opportunities during spring break, summer, semester, or year long. Check out Amazide.org if you are interested or contact your universities Study Abroad office or Community Service Organization.
• Course Credit- You could also consider taking a class and earning some course credit towards graduation. The course credit you could earn will not be at your university but in Italy, Paris, Europe, etc. Check out your universities Study Abroad Office and look at your particular department and see if they are offering any trips. This is also a great alternative to not only spring break but studying abroad for a whole semester. A spring break trip would allow you to get your feet wet and see if a semester aboard would be your thing. The cost will also be a lot cheaper than a semester abroad and you may even be able to get financial aid to help cover the costs!
• Visit a Friend-For something that won’t hurt your budget visit a friend. You have met people from all over the country. Consider going home with them for a week or asking a friend to come home with you. You can show each other your hometown and fun stuff to do in your area.

These are just a few ideas. Most likely your university offers spring break alternatives. Read your schools newspaper, talk to professors, and study abroad office for spring break alternatives. Have fun!

Dear Class of 2016,

This is the time to explore yourself and figure out exactly who you are.  This is a time where you will be meeting all kinds of new people that look, act, and live a completely different life from you.  Do not shy away from these different people.  Open yourself up to new ideas and you may even make new friends.

College is going to be hard.  You will be pushed in ways you never thought possible.  Classes will be tough and people will be mean.  You may feel lonely, homesick, or that college is not the place for you.  This is normal.  You are not alone.  Talk to a friend, professor, your RA about what is bothering you.  Your life is in your hands now and ignoring your feelings will not make them to go away.  Seek help… absolutely nothing is wrong with that.

You are going to be tested these next four years.  Your faith, beliefs, and how you were raised may be questioned.  Stay strong. Stay safe.  Remember who you were, who you are, and who you want to be.  A phone call to a loved one can make all the difference.

My advice to you, as someone who has been in your shoes, is to use your head.  Think before you act.  Take a step outside yourself and look at what you are doing.  You are an adult now and what you do now could change your life forever.  Remember the reason why you came to college: to earn a degree and find a career. 

Now is the time to take your life and your future into your own hands.  Explore new ideas and meet new people.  Figure out what kind of person you want to be for the rest of your life. 

With much love

-iRA

In about a month you, a college freshman, will be leaving home and moving to college and living in the dorm. Dorm life can be the best experience of you college career or it can be a nightmare. Whether you live 5 minutes or 5 hours from home there is one thing you will be sharing with every other freshman on campus…duh duh duuuh: A roommate.
Now some of you may share a room with your siblings but others, like me, have never had to share a space let alone a 9-by-5 cell…oh I mean room with a stranger. Most of you have heard roommate horror stories that have left you extremely nervous about August. But I have a few tips to hopefully create long-lasting roomie love.
Tip 1: Communication-Like a good relationship communication is key; the same with having a roommate. I highly recommend that you talk to your roommate now. Yes I mean right now. Before you are thrown into the same room together and start class. After class starts chaos occurs and you may never get the chance to talk to your roommate unless you are waking her/him when you get back from a late night at the library.
Here is a list of what items you should discuss before you move-in (can’t you see I like lists 🙂 )
1. What are you going to bring?-Who is bring the t.v., refrigerator, xbox, movies, etc. Talk about who is bringing the large stuff that will take up space.
2. How clean a person are you?-You are definitely going to want to discuss if your method of hanging up clothes is just laying them on the floor so you can see every piece of your wardrobe at one time. Talk about when and how often you are going to clean your room. Are you going to clean together or just your space?
3. Morning Bird vs. Night owl– This is an epic battle that only the strong will win. This is a discussion that will save you a major headache. Make room rules about when lights go out, when they can be turned on, when you can play music, when is nap time (trust me this will happen). Basically be courteous to your roommate. If he or she is sleeping be as quiet as possible.
4. Food/Clothes use-Money can be a very touchy subject with some people and food can be even more of a touchy subject. Discuss if you are going to be sharing or not sharing food. Talk about whether you are going to share clothes and this does include underwear (trust me this does happen). Are you going to have an “ask before use policy”? How are you going to ask permission? In person? Text? Before? After the fact?
5. Boyfriend/Girlfriend/Guest-Tell you roommate if you have a gf, bf, or if you are super social. Set times and days when guests can come over. Tell your roommate when you would like some alone time with your guest and please never ever be have “alone time” with your gf/bf when your roommate is in the room. Three is a crowd. Remember that your room is also your roommate’s room and they have a right to be there. So if your roommate has a problem with your guests. Meet your guests elsewhere to hang out.
6. Leaving notes-Leaving a note for your roommate can be a good or a very bad idea. If the note is about when you’re coming back to the room or when is dinner that’s okay. But if the note is about an issue you have with your roommate please talk to your roommate in person not through a piece of paper.

 

 

Since you have discussed all of these points before moving in you now have an expectation for your room and living together.

 

 

Tip 2: The honeymoon period will end- The first few weeks of class is a great time. You love your roommate and you love living together. Then the time the first exam rolls around and you are ready to tear each other’s hair out. The hair-tearing-out time is a good time to sit down a make a roommate contract. You can do this on your own or with your RA *wink* if you need a mediator. Put in the roommate contract all the answers to my communication tips.

 

Tip 3: Gossip- Never talk about your roommate behind his or her back. Do not complain to other people on your floor or your friends (you most likely share friends). Your roommate will hear about it because people love gossip. If you have to complain to someone talk to your very very close friends, parents, siblings, or even your RA *wink*. Your RA is living on the floor with you for a reason. Use them for advice on how to deal with or talk to your roommate.

 

Tip 4: CLEAN- Please please clean your room. Do your laundry, take your trash out, use a well placed air freshener is an excellent idea. Your roommate will thank you. Your floor-mates will thank you. Your RA will thank you. Your stank will travel though walls and closed doors. It is a mysterious phenomenon.

 

Living with someone, especially a stranger can be a very stressful time. Talk to each other and don’t let problems build up. You are adults now discuss your feelings. Living with someone can also be extremely fun and I have seen tons of freshman roommate go on to be best friends and even live together their sophomore year.

 

If any other RAs out there have any more tips on dealing with roommate please comment below. I am also asking anyone who has ever lived with someone to comment and share your story. Share how you dealt with the situation and if you could go back and change the situation what would you do different?

It is the start of a new year and if you live anywhere north
then it is pretty darn cold outside; this is also the time when people are
feeling a bit blue and may need some cheering up.  So here are a few pointers for battling the
Winter Blues:

  1. Exercise-
    Getting to the gym, popping a yoga video, or going for a run can lighten
    the mood. Also you could be working towards your New Year’s resolution…
    Exercising with a friend can also help you battle your blues.
  2. Soak
    up some Vitamin D- Spend some time outside. You lucky people who live in
    the South can do this without freezing your butt off but those Northerners
    like me have to resort to keeping my curtains open, sitting by a window
    during class, or at a restaurant.
  3. Avoid
    Binge Drinking- It may seem that since days are shorter and nights longer
    that you must get your drink on.
    Remember back to High School Health that Alcohol is a depressant
    and will lower your energy and cause your mood to worsen.
  4. Relax-
    Spend time with friends, take a break from school, deep breathing always
    helps me.  Read a book, watch a
    movie, or start a new TV series on Hulu. If you need any suggestions ask
    away! I am full of them J
  5. Embrace
    the Winter- Turn winter into something fun.  Build a snowman, go sledding, skiing,
    ice skating, etc!  Have fun!

If you have any more suggestions
for battling those winter blues please post. I would love to see your
suggestions!

Halloween as a college student is no longer the cute and sweet holiday you remember has a kid.  Now it is about raunchy costumes and partying.  So as a college senior and RA I am making a few suggustions on how to deal with this new aspect to a favorite holiday. 

 First ladies put some clothes on.  Wearing your underware out in public is not a costume.  You may put on fairy wings, cat ears, or devil horns and your best panties and call it your costume.  You are incorrect.  Dressing up is a time for creativity so do just that.  Also, its probably going to be cold and underwear is not very warm.  Before you go out ask your self WWGD, “What Would Grandma Do?”.

Secondly, guys leave the provacative costume in your closet.  I know you just love that YouTube video about your male anatomy in a box but please try to think outside the box.  Just because you are in college does not mean you can go out and do whatever you want with no consequences.  What you do now could affect your future outside of college. So make smart decisions now. 

Basically what I am trying to say is that dressing up for Halloween can be really fun.  Anyone can dress up in a raunchy costume but not everyone has creative/clever one.  And let me tell you those clever ones are the costumes people remember.  Here are some really cute/cool costumes I have seen and didn’t want to burn my eyes after I have saw them:

smurfs-white pants, white hat, blue body paint

holidays-little black dress, heals, and accessories that relate to Valentines day, Christmas, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc.

toga/greek-bed sheet

Gods gift to men/women-dress classy and tie a ribbon around your shoulders/hips with a tag that says “To: men/women, From: God”

gangsta-oversize shirt, baggy jeans, lots of jewelry, and some swag

So before going out on Halloween please remember these next four points: 1. Wear a coat, 2. ask “What would grandma do?”, 3. be creative, and 4. have fun!

Hello Everyone! So I hope your first few weeks of college are going well.  By this time you have figured out where your classes are located, know whats good to eat in the dining hall, and maybe even had your first exam.  So a very important part of college is how you are going to pay for it.  Well, I have a few tips regarding financial aid and work study.

1. What is Work Study? Well Work Study is a form of financial aid that is given through your university.  You are given a specific amount of money and that money is automatically taken off your college bill.  You then will work for your university someway and get paid for working there. So you will get a weekly paycheck until your alotted money runs out.

2. Sign up for a work study job your interested in.  I worked in the chemistry department and passed out lab equipment. You could work at your school gym, or even in the residence hall.  But work somewhere you like. If you dread going to work you will never go. Which leads to….

3. Go to your work study job! You are getting paid and you most likely will have a chance to do homework. What is better then getting paid to study?

4. Sign up early for your work study job.  The good jobs get taken early and then your left with a job you hate (see tip 2).  Also, your only have that semester to earn the money you are alotted. So if you don’t earn all of the money you may be given a smaller amount next time you apply for financial aid. So use it or lose it.

5. Don’t be afraid to talk to the people at financial aid! The people who work in financial aid are use to answering questions from students.  So stop on in if you have any problems please ask 😉

6. Know when next years FASFA is due. March 14th is the magic number.  Its early to think about it now but mark it in your calendar now so you don’t forget to submit your FASFA.  Early is always better for FASFA and January 1st is the first day you can submit it. 

So that is a few tips on financial aid and work study. If you have any questions about your finacial aid office at your university please go see them. Or if you have any other general question please

As you go away to college in the next few weeks saying
goodbye to your family friends can be the hardest part of leaving.   These are the people who made you who you
are today and it’s important not to forget that.

 

A fun way to say goodbye is having a going away dinner/party
for the college bound student.  My family
does this every time I go back to school in the fall and over winter
break.  I love to see my family get
together and I can spend some time with all of them before I go back.

Some of you have made lifelong friends in high school and
keeping in touch is really important to keep the friendship alive.  Have a last get together with just your friends
and celebrate all of you going to college, obtaining a job, or just celebrate
being adults.  Make memories.

In this day in age there is really no reason not to say in
touch with family and friends.  You can
facebook, skype, text, facetime, and phone your love ones back home.  By staying in touch with your friends and
family this will help with homesickness and make the semester seem so much
faster.

College is a busy time in your life and staying in touch
with your loved ones with become harder but makes the effort, it’s worth
it.  My boss likes to call the check in
phone call with the family the “I haven’t fallen in the river I’m alive” phone
call.  So stay in touch with your friends
and family and saying goodbye will just seem like “See ya later”.