End of the Semester Reflection

I have almost successfully completed my first semester here at The University of South Carolina. It has been an absolutely amazing experience and I cannot believe how quickly I came to call Columbia home. My intense homesickness from the first week of college has entirely worn off. I am so grateful that I choose this school and so blessed to be a Carolinian. The feel of the campus is warm and inviting and not just because of the eighty degree weather. I love simply walking around the campus and more than anything I have really enjoyed showing off Greene Street and the clapping circle to my friends that visit. I wouldn’t say I am not looking forward to going home in a few short days, but I can at least say that I will be excited to come back to Columbia at the end of the break.

There have been many opportunities available to me here at USC. There are service opportunities readily available with Pet’s Inc and Greek associations as well as a wide variety of clubs for basically anyone with any interest. I haven’t quite taken full advantage of the clubs here, however I still have the remainder of my college years to spend getting more acquainted with the various associations such as the Surf Club and Culinary Club- both of which I do plan to join and become active in next year.

I feel like I have already met lifetime friends here at USC. Weather they are from the north or not, they still seem to quickly be sucked into the sweet tea, biscuit eating southerner that Carolina holds. The community feel of this university has, above all, been the greatest benefit I have received while being here for my first semester.

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Capstone Reflection

Being a Capstone Scholar has definitely come with a great deal of perks. It’s awesome feeling a part of this small community with so many activities as well as opportunities to help us succeed. I feel encouraged by my RM, mentors, ambassadors and faculty as a Capstone Scholar and I know there is quite  bit of support coming from them.

One of the perks for me is definitely having the dining hall so conveniently placed right below our feet. As lazy as it sounds, I have really loved not having to go walk in the cold for 15 minutes to get lunch and dinner. I also love the frequent Capstone Conversation. There is basically a Conversation available within the semester for any interest any scholar would have. It’s cool to go and see people who are interested in the same things you are, or to go and see people who are learning about something new, just like you.

Although I feel the idea of having required charity work defeats the purpose of giving selflessly a bit, I have had some awesome experiences because of my community service here in Columbia at Pets Inc. Giving back to the community is so important, and I wonder if I could have forgotten to do so in this new community I’m in. For my service, I wrote a letter to an American soldier to wish them a Happy Holiday. As for my Capstone personal challenge, I plan to get a GPA suitable to get me admitted into the International Business school.

I am proud that the University of South Carolina picked me to be a Capstone Scholar. It it definitely an honor and I will not waste this opportunity.

Going Home for Thanksgiving Break

It was definitely a treat to go home for Thanksgiving break. You seem to take for granted to time you have with your family when you come home from school to sit in the living room and eat dinner with your parents every day. My mom kept offering up different activities to my brother (who also is away at school and came home for the break) and I in order to prevent our boredom. I don’t think she recognized how much we really just missed laying on the couch with dad in the recliner next to us dozing off during the commercials of O’Reily Factor.

The strangest part for me was packing my bag in Columbia to go home. Pouring shampoo and conditioner into travel  size bottles and planning out the weather in Atlanta to decide weather or not to pack my scarves made me feel like I was going to be a guest in my own house. Of course, as soon as I entered the door, that faded quickly.

The whole family was together for the first time in what seemed to be quite a while. Thanksgiving day was spent at my uncles house with all my cousins as well as my grandparents. Although I do appreciate the food at Gibbes, it was nice to have some home-cooked meals again- especially followed by a nap on a couch instead of a futon. Black Friday shopping will follow the turkey induced slumber as tradition, rather than need of a new TV. For Thanksgiving, the first thing that pops into my mind that I am thankful for is my family… and their willingness to nap on the couch with me.

Money, Power & Wall Street

Power now a days can be defined by the amount of money one has. Humans crave power, and in turn are craving money. With the corruption on Wall Street, it’s evident that mankind will go to any lengths to quench this craving. From the Frontline video we watched, it seemed that insider trading has become quite an issue. However, the amount of money on Wall Street proves to be beneficial to the economy. The more money in the stock markets, the more money given to companies in order to expand. So, the argument that Wall Street has too much power, in my opinion is not true.

Money is also, in many cases, able to buy happiness- although contrary to the old saying. The small joy that comes with buying a new pair of heels is proof enough for me, however on a much larger scale, it’s also obvious. The comfort of living is only possible with money. To be able to pay taxes, afford the necessities of life, or even any luxuries only comes with money. Stress in households is for the most part caused by lack of income. Therefore, money is crucial to a happy lifestyle.

The currency system has given this economy something to run by. It’s most definitely a positive part of our nation, however I don’t see why it cannot be more simple. There has to be some way to protect the safety of our money and get rid of the corruption present. If only the world could go back to trading cows for grain and chickens for yeast.

Halfway There

It’s hard to believe that I am halfway done with my first college semester. When the word “midterm” was mentioned in class, I had to check my calendar to see if we really were midway into the semester. It seems like my parents just stopped sending me packages from home requested by calls home opening with “Mom, I forgot my…”

I never really thought that I would be able to call a dorm my home. When my brother went off to college while I was in my freshman year in high school and he would come home for summer and talk of going back “home” at OSU, I would get onto him for considering any other place than our family’s house home. Now, I catch myself doing the same thing. It’s easy to call USC my home because I’ve gotten involved with organizations around campus.

I think I’ve learned a lot of responsibility in the time that I’ve been on my own. Classes wise, I have nobody asking me what my grades are anymore, but I check Blackboard on a daily basis to make sure I’m keeping up. I’ve always been very dependent on my mom, but now I get to call home and tell her what I did all by myself that day. It’s a cool feeling to surprise them with my maturity. Granted, I have a long way to go before I consider myself an adult, I’m making steps in the right direction. I still wait a whole week before I pick my clothes up off the floor.

Digital Nation

The fact that this world is becoming more and more technologically inclined is undeniable. Weather we are crawling towards a new invention or blowing the world away with a sudden new advancement, this world is only moving closer and closer towards becoming a digital nation. It’s almost impossible to avoid the technological world. It’s the basis of communication, medicine, and entertainment. It’s present in every persons personal social life and professional business life. To keep up in this world, you must succumb and rely on technology. But is this really healthy for us as a society? Is it truly a step in the right direction to become dependent on computers or engrossed in our phones?

I personally view this as an issue. Seeing families out to dinner with their noses in their blackberries or emailing work from their iPhone shows how much technology is coming between peoples’ relationships. Spending quality time with the people you are physically surrounded by has gone out the window and comes second to cyber socializing. Also, it’s impossible to read someone’s sincerity through a text and so much easier to feign feelings through a Facebook post. The honesty that is more present in face to face conversations is gone.

Although phone calls from home are what keep me from getting homesick on a daily basis, it is simply what I resort to when I can’t see my parents face to face. I completely understand the perks of technology when it comes to keeping in touch with people far away, however society needs to be aware of how important it is to focus on the people who are right in front of you.

Druggies & Drinkers

Often times, graduates are warned about drinking in unsafe environments, as if drinking in a “safe” environment somehow makes it less illegal. Being in a new city and living on your own can be a bit shaking at times. This alone stands as proof that new college students are not fully aware of their surroundings and in turn not capable of making the judgment that a certain location is suitable for drinking without repercussions. It takes time, as well, to get to know the people with whom you are going out with and it is probably not a good idea to trust a next-to-stranger with your safety or security.

As a college student, it is generally assumed that drugs and alcohol are part of the weekend routine. Drinking comes with the territory of being in college and drugs are taken lightly in a social arena. It seems at times that a college student is surrounded by these activities and it is easy to get sucked into them yourself. For fear of spending weekends alone or frankly, not having any clean parties to attend, it is common for students to mold into this stereotypical smoking, drinking pupil. However, what tends to be overlooked is the percentage of students not participating in these activities. Statistics show that the majority of students here at USC are opposed to drugs and alcohol. These people do exist and I would assume have great taste in movies and extra butter and a passion for popcorn and movie nights.

So Much to Do and Plenty of Time to Do it

I’m without a doubt a visual learner. In class, I watch the lecture notes and on the test, I try to conjure them up in my head to remember them. It’s easiest to organize my notes using different colors and labels for categories and I’ve found that flash cards help me remember vocabulary words more than any other method. Generally, when reading through a text book I’ll gravitate towards the captions under pictures or the random entries in the margins. 

I have my weekly schedule written out every week. My calendar is full of pink, purple, orange, blue and green. Five colors, five classes. I find it easier to spend 15 minutes before bed on sunday nights going through each class’ syllabus and writing down all the assignments or tests/ quizzes I have that week than checking nightly. This also helps me see the upcoming days and plan ahead for a busy day. Meetings are always in red because I tend to come back from class and believe my day is done and forget about club meetings or speakers. Hopefully the red will spark attention in my head…

The hardest struggle in college, study wise, I believe is going to be time management. I’ve always been told it’s very important to not put things off until the last minute, but procrastinating has always worked for me in high school. It already appears that college is going to be a different story. I’ve done well so far, but I’ve made it a goal to continue rationing as well as not wasting my time. 

Starting with the End in Mind

Although the journey to reach a goal is greatly significant and influential on ones life, it can be said that “starting with the end in mind” can help one work harder towards said goal. Starting with the end sounded like a rather pessimistic take on life when I first glanced over it. However, after digging deeper into the meaning of this theory, I can see how this mindset can be helpful when trying to achieve a goal. After all, a goal is basically what you work towards in the end, isn’t it? 

Here in my new life at USC, I suppose you could say that I’m starting as a freshman with graduation in mind. Each class and each grade all adds up towards my diploma and ultimately my degree. A personal goal I have set to help me along my path towards graduation would to be get straight A’s one semester during my four years here. Although I have always tried hard in school and made fairly good grades, I have never been able to bring home a report card with only the letter A stamped on it. I feel I have much more free time here ( or have so far ) and with this time, I could go the extra mile to become a straight A student for at least one semester. It seems to be a little late in my education career to start worrying about grade marks, but being able to say I achieved this goal is a great end to keep in mind. 

Socially, I think it would be great to get involved with a few clubs at USC. Even though I may not be the surfer girl material and even though I may burn every cake I make, joining Cocky’s Culinary Club and USC Surf Club could expand my social horizons. Meeting different people has always been one of the things I looked forward to about going off to college. It’s one of the reasons I found it beneficial to go out of state. I can’t wait to connect with people of different passions and learn a thing or two from them. Who knows? They may even be interested in something I have a skill in and I could share something with them as well. 

I’m am Starting now with the End in Mind.

 

First Two Weeks

It’s safe to say that after only two weeks at the University of South Carolina, I have officially fallen in love with this Columbia campus. First Night Carolina was a great way to start off the school year and dancing in a crowd of strangers was never something I thought I’d do. Scanning the Russell House book store, I’m constantly buying gear to show my school spirit; I’m proud to be a USC Gamecock. I visited the student organization fair today and never expected the school to have a Scuba Club but I’m looking forward to becoming certified. The USC Dance Marathon is also something I’m interested in as well as joining a team for Relay for Life. I can’t wait to get involved and call Cola my home!