Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Money, money, money, moneyyy... MONEY!"

Deciding to go to college is a big life decision!

Many people know without a doubt that they want to go to college (that was me), others come to college and after the first semester or two decide that college isn't for them, and some people know without a shout of a doubt that college is not right for them and that they don't want to go.

And guess what?

All of those decisions are PERFECTLY OKAY!

Deciding that you don't want to go to college isn't the end of the world.  College is very difficult, expensive, and is a huge commitment to make.  Unless you have got all of the money in the world you will probably come with student loans. And student loans means debt..and well no one wants to be in debt when they are 18 right?

Even though those are some scary aspects that come along with college, the risk is worth the reward!

College has been the best time of my life.  I've met wonderful people here at South and I have had incredible once in a lifetime experiences that I've experienced here that I couldn't at other schools. Coming to college has matured me and prepared me for what the real world has to offer.  While the experience of being a college student is one that I think no one should miss out on, the number one reason why I think students should go to college is for....the obvious.....


I'm sure a lot of you (if you read my blogs) already know that I am in nursing school.  Nursing school hands down has been the toughest obstacle I have EVER faced in my entire life.  Even though I complain about it everyday and I am always exhausted I know that in the long run this torture I am in now will be worth it.

I could have been a CNA (certified nursing assistant) or an LPN (licensed practical nurse) which don't require a college degree. But I chose to attend a 4 year college to get my BSN (Bachelors in Science of Nursing) and become an RN because of the rewards I will receive after working my butt off in this tough program!

CNA yearly salary: $30,000
LPN yearly salary:  $33,000
RN yearly salary:  $66,000

Even though college can be expensive just look at the difference a 4 year degree can make!  The beauty of a degree in nursing is job security.  So even though you may be acquiring student loans you can begin paying them back in no time once you have found a job after graduation!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Lets go to the beach- each, lets just get away!

My favorite thing to do when I'm not in school

My favorite way to spend my free time when I'm not in school is going to the beach.

Warm sand, nice breeze, and fresh salt water, the beach is my happy spot.  I loving laying out and reading or listening to music while spending time with my friends.

One of my most favorite things about going to school at South Alabama is that the beach is only an hour away from campus.  You can go to Gulf Shores or Dauphin Island.  You can even drive down to Orange Beach or Pensacola.  

In Gulf Shores there are so many things to go.  Go-karts, putt putting, and so many seafood restaurants to choose from. Not to mention The Hangout, which is the perfect place to listen to live music.

If you are looking for a more remote place to get some peace and quiet Dauphin Island is the place to be.  Dauphin Island is about 30 minutes away from campus and is more of a relaxed retirement home environment.  They have old Civil War forts to explore and also a sea lab that they are famous for.

If you are looking for a change in scenery, just take a trip over to Pensacola! Why not take a small trip to Florida? Try your luck at the lottery while you're there and enjoy the beaches!

We are so close to the beach that on a beautiful sunny Saturday or Sunday a trip to the beach is the perfect cure for school stress!

A day at the beach is a day well spent!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

With freedom, comes great responsibility

Freshman year of college can be tough, but it is so much fun!

A new school, new people and for those of you moving away to go to school a new town, and living with no parents!  For most students it can be very overwhelming and a hard adjustment to make, but not impossible!

I am going to share with you guys what I struggled with the most and the methods I used to overcome my obstacles.

The key to having a successful freshman year is to have fun, (but not too much!) 

What I struggled the most with my freshman year was my free time.  You don't live with your parents anymore so no one can tell you what to do or that it is too late to go out.  You wanna go to Taco Bell at 3 in the morning? You can just go do it without anyone telling you otherwise.  Freedom is a wonderful thing!

But with freedom, comes great responsibility

Lets be honest, going out with your friends, staying up as late as you want, deciding not go to go class just because you can are all things I'm sure most of you are looking forward to and I'm guilty of it too, but with the freedom to make those decisions, comes consequences.

My biggest struggle was having too much fun.  Luckily I found my balance between the two my freshman year and I made good grades. I was on the President's List because of my good grades and was still able to have my fair share of fun.  But for some people they aren't that fortunate and unfortunately I know a lot of people who weren't even able to make it past their first semester because of too much freedom... Don't be that person!

My advice to you all who are reading this is take things slow.  Don't go buck wild because you are finally out of your parents house.  Do some fun things here and there but make sure you make enough time for studying and make sure you attend your classes.  

My happy medium was planning my entire week. I planned when I was going to study, when I had to go to work, and what time I had to go to classes.  After that was done, I was able to plan fun things with my friends for the weekends, or going out to eat during the week. I had fun, but I did it responsibly.

 So live it up! 
Have fun, 
freshman year was one of my favorites. But don't, don't, don't forget the importance of grades and attending classes! Making good grades is very important that is why we are all here after all right?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Keep Calm & Graduate Nursing School

If you read a lot of my blogs you probably already know by now that I am a nursing major! I am in my second semester of nursing school here at South.  It has definitely been a roller coaster of a ride since I started last fall.
This spring I am in my first round of clinicals.  So for those of you who aren't sure what clinicals are that just means that I am working in a hospital taking care of patients, administering meds, and writing (TONS AND TONS) of care plans.

I knew I wanted to be a nurse at a really young age.  When I was little I was absolutely fascinated with the Discovery Health Channel.  Every show on that channel I knew by heart.  I pretty much watched it just as much as any normal kid would watch Spongebob or The Rugrats.

When I was little I really admired working in a hospital setting. It wasn't until about 4 or 5 years ago that I had an encounter that really made me realize I wanted to be a nurse.

Back when I was in high school my youth pastor's wife became pregnant with their first child. We were all so excited and couldn't wait until their baby was born.  After their baby was born he had some very serious life threatening problems.  He ended up spending just about the entire first year of his life receiving medical procedures and living at the Children's hospital neonatal intensive care unit.  I went to visit him and there was just something about being in the hospital and seeing those families who just wanted their loved ones to get better that I just knew, I had to be there.  I wanted to be there and I wanted to be taking care of those people. I want to take care of others and I want to touch lives while I do it.

I've gone through so many ideas about where I want to take my RN degree and I still have no idea what I want to do.  And that is okay because I've still got 3 more semesters left of nursing school to decide where my heart desires to work (right now it's either the ER, cardiac floor, or flight care).  But that is the beauty of nursing, you can take a nursing degree anywhere.  There are endless options on what you can do as an RN and furthering your education is a major option too.

Nursing school has been a roller coaster so far.  It is hard.  Very, very hard.  There will be 8 hour lectures.  You will pull more all nighters than you could ever imagine possible. But here at the University of South Alabama we have got the BEST instructors helping us and guiding us along this journey.  They WANT you to succeed.  They are helpful, encouraging, and so good at what they do here. South Alabama makes the best nurses!
 Even though I knew what I wanted to do at a really young age, if you still don't know. THAT IS OKAY.  Try new things, take different types of classes. Shadow someone at their job if you are interested. Talk to people. Research things.  Get a feel for every major you think interest you. You have time to decide, and don't rush to make a commitment to a major.  Its much better to take your time when deciding and being sure that is what you want to do instead of rushing to pick something and then getting halfway through college and changing your mind. 

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First day of classes, my oh my!

As all of you are winding down your last semester of high school here is a little bit of advice I have to give to you as you prepare yourselves for what comes next.. College!

Before getting right down to the part where I give you advice, I want to share with you a pretty funny story about how my first day of classes went.

The weekend my parents moved me into my dorm freshman year I was a nervous wreck.  I was overwhelmed, scared, and most of all excited for this next step in my life.  Before my family left after moving me in and making sure I had everything I needed to get ready for my first week of class they walked me through my class schedule.

We walked to every building I had class in, we even found every classroom I would be sitting in.  I had everything prepared for Monday when I would be doing this on my own.  Before my parents left they sat me down and told me that come Monday, I should wake up pretty early to give myself extra time to get ready, eat breakfast and most likely prepare to get lost for my first day.  Well I figured my parents knew what they were talking about (since they are pretty much always right about everything) so when that Monday morning rolled around I was up at the crack of dawn preparing for my first day.

I had plenty of time to get ready, change my outfit a few times, eat breakfast, try to calm down my nerves and walk to the Humanities building where I had class.  When I got to my classroom building I was an hour early for class. I decided to find my classroom one more time to make sure I knew where it was and then I was going to go hangout in the student center before class started.

WELL, when I walked past my classroom I noticed all of these freshman sitting in the classroom, and more freshman filing in.  So without thinking I immediately panicked.


Y'all I swear my brain just stopped working on me at this point.  NOT ONCE did I think that this was the 8 o'clock class and mine was the class to meet right afterwards.

So without fail, I walked in as fast as I could and sat down.  The professor started calling roll and my name was never called. She asked if anyone in the class didn't hear their name so I nervously raised my hand in front of all the unfamiliar faces.  She asked me what my name was, and I told her and thats when she told me, "Honey, you're in the wrong class, your class meets after this"

I have never been so embarrassed, but all I could do was laugh!

Looking back on it now all I can think was "wow I was such a freshman" so I want to give you guys some advice so you won't have people whispering "they are such a freshman" your first day!

I was an hour early for class, that is not necessary. Now of course my parents didn't mean for me to be THAT early, I just didn't think it through.  30 minutes early is a good amount of time. You could forget to print something off, you could forget your book, you could want to grab some coffee with a friend before class and if you are 30 minutes ahead of schedule you will have no problem going back to get that book or printing off that paper you forgot or meeting up with some friends before you tough out that 45 minute english class. Plus, if a professor sees that you care about their class and want to be on time that can help you out in the long run.

2. Walk through your schedule.
Earlier reading my story you may have thought I was totally lame or nerdy for having my parents walk me through my schedule. But I am telling you, that was the most beneficial thing you can do to prepare for your first day.  Walking through where everything is prevents you from being late, getting lost and ending up halfway across campus when your class starts in 5 minutes, and stops you from having to ask for directions (and we all know we don't want to have to do that).

It is all going to be okay. We have all been there before.  There is no need to stress yourself out over your first day. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it, especially from professors.  The professors want you to succeed. On the first day make sure you know their office ours and email address because most likely you will need it later on in the semester. Know their policies for their class and what they expect from you throughout the semester.

4. Make friends!
My friends I made freshman year have been my best friends since day one. I know that they are lifelong friends and I couldn't have made it this far without them!

5. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!
College is so much fun.  My first day of class was fun (despite being painfully early and walking into the wrong class). You have so much to look forward to for your first year, and really all of your years you will spend at South.  I'm a junior right now and it makes me sad knowing that I will be graduating next year because I've had the best time in college. Enjoy it every chance you get because these 4 years go by so quickly!

3 years being best friends & still kicking


           Freshman Year

       Sophomore Year


               Junior Year

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gotta love your roomies!

Roommates, roommates, roommates! 

The word alone could send anyone into distress.  

"Who am I going to live with in college? What if I don't know them? What if we don't get along?"

Well there is no need to fret! If you're anything like myself after I decided attend South, my next biggest question was "Who am I going to live with?!"

I am from the Birmingham area so it's a pretty long drive to get to Mobile. Moving 4 hours away from home is a big deal in itself, but living without your parents or with living with someone you don't know can make or break your college experience.

Like I said earlier, don't fret! On Facebook South Alabama has a page that you can join called "Jaguar Roommate Connection". This page allows you to post a short bio about yourself and also allows you to read other students post to find a room mate you would like to live with.

Back when I was a freshman (I know that sounds like I'm really old, but I'm not) we didn't have that Facebook page.  Only a few people from my school decided to attend South and I knew that I didn't want to room with any of them, so my only option was a random roommate.

We just recently celebrated Candace and I's 21st birthday!
My freshman year I was paired with a random roommate without having filled out a compatibility form and I can honestly say it was the best thing to happen, and I totally lucked out!

My roommate Candace was from Montgomery and was in the same boat I was. No one from her school came to South except her boyfriend, Michael.  And after we met for the first time we instantly became best friends. 

We shared all the same interests, we had the same hobbies, we enjoyed doing the same things, and we even wore the same size clothes (including shoes, which is awesome!)

My freshman year I also met to of my other best friends Jacqueline and Rose.  Together Candace, Jacqueline, Rose and I were inseparable.
Jag tran rides are fun...sometimes
My sophomore year Candace got an apartment and I lived on campus again but my roommate was Rose.

Living with Rose was just as much fun as living with Candace!  Once again we enjoyed the same hobbies, we had the same group of best friends, and we were able to share clothes (which is every girl's dream when finding a roommate right?)

Three peas in a pod.. or something like that
And now that brings me to where I am now. Junior Year.  This year I got an apartment with Candace and Rose, (although Jacqueline isn't living with us, she is still our best friend of course!).  But with that being said, I love living with Candace and Rose.  We all get along so well together!

Sometimes living with other people can be difficult, but the key to having a healthy roommate relationship
 is communication.

I'm so grateful that my best friends are my roommates.  We go on vacations with each others families, we go on vacations together, and we have each others backs no matter what the circumstance.

For my senior year I plan on living with Candace and Rose again.

Roommates are a huge part of your college experience so choose wisely!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Count your blessings, name them one by one

I don't know about you but I LOVE Thanksgiving.  Stuffing, turkey, and cranberry sauce, my mouth is watering just thinking about it!  

But Thanksgiving isn't just a time were we sit down with our families and shove our faces full of good home cooked meals, it's a time were we take a second to sit and think about all the things we have been blessed with and all the things that we are thankful for.

First I just want to say that I am thankful that I am a South student.  There is no doubt in my mind about my decision to attend South Alabama. It is the perfect college for me. Just being a student here at South has blessed me and help me grow as an individual.  It has prepared me and continues to prepare me every day for my future.

1. Friends
I am without a doubt blessed with the best friends I could ever imagine having.  My close nit group of friends have been through thick and thin together since freshman year and I know without a doubt if I ever need them they are just a phone call away.  We have shared many many laughs, shed many tears, and there isn't a single memory I would change with them. We are always there to lift one another up.  Whether we are sitting around having our "family dinners", watching sports on tv (cause that's all we can get the guys to sit down and watch), or we are just goofing off going who knows where we always have a good time.  I couldn't imagine my life without a single one of them! 

 That also goes to say that I am extremely thankful for my wonderful boyfriend that I met here at South my sophomore year.  I'm thankful for his continuous encouragement he gives me everyday, buttttt I'll do everyone a favor and refrain from getting all sappy in my blog ;)

 2. Nursing School
I know, I know, I know, every blog you read from me has something about nursing school in it. Sorry... but I'm not sorry.  (I eat, sleep, and breath nursing school) and I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity I have been given to learn here.  We have a state of the art Allied Health building we learn in everyday and incredible instructors to teach us.  I am thankful for each and every one of my classmates and how we are there for each other to help make it to the finish line.  I couldn't imagine being a nursing student anywhere else but here at South.

3. My roomies & my apartment
Living 4 hours away from home I love having my own apartment and what makes it even sweeter is my best friends I share it with.  I'm thankful for our beach themed apartment (living on the gulf coast why wouldn't you want to feel like you're living in a beach I right?)

 Every day I'm here at South I am constantly reminded of the many things I have been blessed with.  So many that I could sit here and go on and on and on and get the picture!

One last thing that I am extremely thankful for that has just recently happened here at our campus is our newest addition to the South Alabama football team, 11 year old Colby Sawyer.  After reading article after article I can't help but tear up as our football team welcomed Colby with arms wide open.  Although I have not met Colby personally he has touched my life with his story as he is fighting against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Check out the link below to read about how Colby was named player of the week by the Sunbelt Conference and his experiences he has had since joining the football team!