How to Stay on Top of Syllabus Week

Spring semester is just days away, and it’s time to get back into college content (ugh). The break was great and I definitely needed it, but toward the end of it, I was missing school a lot. It felt like when I took a semester off and had nothing to do. Sure, I loved getting to relax and be with my family, but I also really love learning and taking notes.

For those who aren’t aware, “syllabus week” is the first week of classes every semester when professors pass out and discussing the class syllabus. It’s super nice and laid back. You normally get dismissed super early because unless your professor really sucks, they cannot stretch out a discussion about a syllabus for an hour and a half.

People like syllabus week because it eases you into the class routine after a long break, but you still have to stay on top of your shit. Here are my tips for staying on top of syllabus week this semester!

1. Go to class!

I really shouldn’t have to say this. There are so many people who skip the first class of the semester just because it’s not material you will be tested over and it’s just going over the same mundane information put into different words by different professors. But I promise you it’s a bad call. Some professors will take attendance on the first day. Whether they count that attendance for a grade or not, they’re still seeing that you made an effort which will benefit you later in the semester.

There are also times when professors will give out freebie tips and tricks to passing the semester that aren’t typed out on the syllabus. They could mention sites that will help you throughout the semester or particular things they are looking for on papers or other assignments.

2. Save the syllabi!

Never have I ever thrown away my syllabi, but I sure as hell know people who have. And to those people, I ask- why? You are handed a piece (or multiple pieces) of paper that literally has the class schedule, due dates, and contact information for your professor. You would be stupid not to cherish that thing. It’s like the roadmap to success. Just make sure you keep it in a safe place where it won’t get lost. If I use a binder, I put it in a sheet protector. If I use a folder, I put it in the left pocket where all my most important papers go.

3. Take note of important dates!

As soon as I get my syllabus, I highlight due dates for projects/homework in pink, exam dates in yellow, and any other important dates in green. I think color coding is really important because you can just glance at your syllabus and know what’s coming up.

Not only should you highlight the syllabus, but you should also write those important dates in your planner and put them in your phone. Last semester I used an app called myHomework to stay on top of my assignments so I suggest finding an app if you’re more of a tech person than a physical planner type. Or you can even use both to make sure you don’t slip up on anything.

These are just a few of my tips for taking advantage of syllabus week and staying on top of things your first week back to school! Good luck to everyone going back to get that dang degree. That’s what’s up.

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Advice to High School Seniors Looking into Colleges

I’m writing this with one week left of my first semester at University. As you all may know by now, I attended a semester of community college in Fall of 2017, but chose to take the next semester off to focus on a career path that I really enjoyed at the time. However, that career ended abruptly (by choice) and I decided to go back to school.

Picking the right school for me was extremely easy. I first visited CSU when I was a junior in high school and my school offered a field trip to tour the campus. I immediately fell in love with the area and everything the school had to offer. I knew right away that I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I was sold on Cleveland State. Looking back at it, I should have done a lot more research before committing to CSU. I don’t regret my decision, but I sometimes wonder if I would have been amazed by any other campus had I opened my mind to other schools.

My sister is a graduating senior in high school this year, and she has decided on following my lead in becoming a fellow Viking at CSU come Fall 2019. This was a decision that was urged by many financial and convenience matters. However, she did have many other options on the table.

I originally wanted to post this before she made her final decision, but I figure if I do it now, it may help someone else too. I compiled my best tips and tricks to finding the perfect college for you. These are all things I wish I knew before I chose CSU. I really love my school, but I could have done some things differently. So please, please, take these tips into account before you chose the school you will spend the next four (or more) years at.

1. Have a good idea of what majors you plan to study.

Yes, I said majors. Have backups and plenty of them. There is a good chance that you will want to change your major at some point. You will want to know that the college you are going to will offer great opportunities and educations for whatever you may change your major to.

2. Don’t follow friends.

Those of you who haven’t listened to the episode Meg on the Mic with Zach, I briefly discussed the backlash I received for “following” my boyfriend to college. I explained that I wanted to attend CSU before I dated Zach. I just planned on attending after another year at a community college. However, the idea of having a friend who was going through the same freshman experiences as me encouraged me to skip the second year at community college. It made things so much more exciting and it gave me strength since I’m such a scaredy-cat.

BUT I really encourage everyone to branch out if possible. If you and your best friend both happen to chose the same school, that’s great. But please don’t base your college decision on where your friends are going. College is your time to make new friends and make memories with new people. Sure, you can still do this with your old friends, but sometimes it’s easier to be thrown into a pool of strangers believe it or not. I’ve made a lot of friends in classes full of people who were in the same situation as me- alone.

3. Reach out to people who attend schools you’re interested in.

This helps a lot with getting the feel for a college. Campus tours are meant to really fluff up the campus, student life, and education programs. The only true way you will know what a school is like before attending yourself is to talk to someone who currently goes there. Even better- talk to someone majoring in the same thing as you. Remember, tour guides are often times students who are paid to say certain things to you while you’re on your tour. Talking to students who aren’t obligated to hype up the campus will be brutally honest and answer all your questions without holding anything back.

4. Consider location.

Are you planning on bringing a car? Are you allowed to bring a car? Do you want to be close to home? Far from home? Near certain resources? These are all important questions to answer. I live about an hour away from campus, and I’ve found that it’s the perfect distance for me. I don’t have a car (I don’t drive. I think we’ve been over this) so I can’t get home by myself in case of emergency. But I can always rely on a family member or friend coming to get me since it’s not too much of a trip. It’s a good distance to test my independence while still have my family a drive away if I need them. Maybe that’s not for you though. Maybe you want to be far away from home. If you think you can do it, go for it.

5. Don’t disregard schools because of the cost.

You most likely will not be paying full price for college. With scholarships, financial aid, and other sources of financial assistance, tuition will be much more manageable than it may seem at first.

I have so many more tips that I could share, but for the sake of this becoming a long read, I’ll cut it off at five tips for now. If you guys have any questions or tips of your own, let me know and I could do a follow up post.

Remember to follow megannlouise.com to be updated when posts are published! 12 Days of Blogmas is right around the corner and you’ll want to be in the know when the holiday posts are up and ready to read!

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My First Week of Classes at CSU

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This past week seemed to drag on unlike any other week has. It was my first week of school since December of last year. Going from a community college, to no schooling, to a large university was very intimidating for me. I didn’t know what to expected. Fortunately enough, I didn’t have too hard of a time adjusting.

Saturday 8/25

The Saturday before classes started, CSU hosted Magnus Fest (Magnus is the name of our mascot). It’s basically a piss poor welcome party for freshmen and transfer students. I could complain about everything that was so awful about it, but I’ll keep it to myself. Just know it was painful to watch pan out. Although the actual event was a disaster, I did meet new people and learn about what is offered around campus.

Monday 8/27

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t shaking to core on my first day. I had to ride the RTA for the first time, know where my stop was, know how to get to my building, and get to class before I was late. Spoiler alert: almost didn’t do that. But I made it to class with roughly 3 minutes to spare. And in my attempt to get to class, I met someone in my class trying just as hard to make it on time. Hey Andrew, if you’re reading this!

Day one wasn’t exactly how I expected it to be, but that’s no surprise. At least I survived. If I could do it once, I could do it a few hundred more times. To celebrate making it through our first day, Zach and I went out to dinner. But of course nothing can work out in our favor. My order made me sick to my stomach, and Zach’s order was served raw. What a way to end our first day.

Tuesday 8/28

Going into the second day, I went into things a lot more comfortably. I knew where my class was, when it was, and where the closest bus stops were to the building. However, nothing would’ve prepared me for a 3.5 hour class on the history of film. Let me tell you- total snooze fest. After about an hour and a half of lecture, I start to catch myself dozing off. Thank goodness for the ten minute break we get though.

Wednesday 8/29

Wednesday I have the same schedule as Monday so I knew where everything was, and I was finally out of the “syllabus” classes (you know, when the teachers all read the same classroom rules and go over every little thing they expect from you this semester). So Wednesday was officially the first day of learning and all that. I enjoyed it. I missed taking notes and listening to lectures when I took my mini hiatus from school. It felt really good getting back into school. I know it won’t last long, but I love it so far.

Thursday 8/30

Thursday was yet another 3.5 hour class. It was in the same room as my Tuesday lecture, but I had a different professor. I liked this one a lot more just because he swore a lot and had a really bubbly personality. As much as I hate what the class is about (Analysis of Film Language), I know it’ll be easier to get through with such a charismatic professor.

Friday 8/31

Luckily, Friday wasn’t bad. I only have two classes that day, so I get done at 2:20. For me, that’s a blessing since every other day I end at around 5. I was able to get home at a good time and unwind. I originally had plans to go home and see my family over the long weekend, but I slipped and hit my head, making it difficult to see/walk/think. Pretty sure I have a concussion, but that’s up in the air. Since I was so out of it, I decided to stay at my place for the weekend. And as strange as it may sound, I was glad I didn’t go home. I’m starting to really love living on my own.

In just one week, I’ve made some really cool friends and met some other interesting people that keep my day exciting. I’m still trying to find a way to beat the heat… especially when I have to walk almost ten minutes from one building to another. Tomorrow starts week two and I’m anxious to see what else gets thrown my way.

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1 Week to Move In Day!

There’s just one week until I move into my first apartment! I’m finally feeling all of the feelings-nerves, excitement, eagerness. I’m ready to move but I know it will be a long process of getting things moved in and get acclimated to the area.

Since my last post updating everyone, a lot more has gotten done. My family and I have made several purchases for my new place. We’ve gotten a lot of the necessities out of the way and even knocked out a few decorations for my living room. I’ve also received a bunch of gifts from family that has helped immensely. There’s a gigantic load of things piling up in my living room ready to go.

I’ve gotten all of my school supplies with the exception of a planner, and my book bag is packed for the move. I haven’t decided what clothes I’m taking yet because I’m terrible at commitment when it comes to these things. You should see how much I pack for vacations!

I’ve spoken with my parents about how often I’ll be coming home, which will be quite frequently. This is only because I want to support my sister as she goes into her senior year of high school. I’d like to be at her marching band performances and sporting events as the school year progresses. Of course I won’t make it to every single one, but I’ll definitely make it a priority of mine to make it to important games.

It seems like Rianna (my sister) has already been making plans to take over my bedroom when I leave. I was a little irritated at first, but it might as well be put to good use while I’m gone. As long as I have a bed to sleep in when I visit, I’m ok with whatever she does.

I’ll wrap it up since my move-in updates are always all over the place and I can’t seem to get them under control. I have a lot of things to get done still, and not much time to do it. I’m sure I won’t write more about the apartment until I’ve officially moved in, so be looking out for posts like that which will most likely be out in two to three weeks.

Thanks for reading and keeping updated on my move-in journey!

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Shopping for My First Apartment

Yet another apartment update post. Not a real long one, but it still counts for something, right?

On Wednesday my sister and I went out to buy some things for my apartment. We went to Target and Walmart in hopes to find good deals for some of the things I needed. I tried my hardest to stick to the checklist I made, but sometimes I got a little distracted. It’s nice shopping with her because she speaks up when I’m about to buy something I don’t need.

While she was doing a lot of that, she also convinced me to think outside of the box and make some purchases that I normally wouldn’t consider. For example- I had no idea what theme I wanted for my bathroom. After having a mental break down in the aisles of Target, I was going to give up and wait until another day. That’s when my sister noticed a pretty pink shower curtain that was on sale.

If you know me, you know I don’t really like color. I usually stick to neutrals. But she threw the curtain in my cart so quick that I didn’t have time to second guess it. We made our way down another aisle and found hand towels that perfectly matched the shower curtain. Then we found bath mats that matched the hand towels. It’s crazy how one little decision can start a chain reaction! Thank goodness my sister was with me!

From that trip alone we got a wheeled storage cart, shower curtain, bath mat, sink mat, hand towels, desk lamp, huge mirror, and so much more! I was really proud of us for making that mini shopping spree such a success.

On Thursday I went out again, this time with with my parents. There was so much left to buy, and they helped make sense of all the craziness running through my head as we did it. We went to another Walmart that was little bigger so we had more options than I did the day before. Luckily for us, they had all the things I couldn’t find before.  It helped get a lot of stress off of my mind.

After what seemed like hours, I picked out sheets for my bed and pull-out couch. Then I was able to build the rest of my purchases off of them. We got beige sheets for my couch, so that meant we should get beige blankets to drape over my chairs and cream pillows for the loveseat. It started to feel like a puzzle and an easy one at that.

I had a lot of fun picking the ins and outs of my apartment. The reality of it all set in and I’ve realized that I only have 20 days until I finally move! That being said, it’s going to be very hectic in my home until that day comes so please forgive me if I don’t get around to writing for a while!

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Returning to University After Gap Semester

It’s no secret that I took a semester off of college this past spring. I’ve written about it briefly but never really addressed it beyond that. A lot went into making that decision, and I still believe it was the right one for me.

In the time I took off, I was able to clear my head. I finally relieved myself from the stress that had been eating me alive since my junior year of high school. It gave me time to relax and not feel like my GPA was awaiting me in the dark abyss. For anyone else who feels this way, I highly recommend taking a gap year or semester to find yourself and figure out what you want to do.

This fall, I’m returning to school. However, instead of going back to community college in a rural area, I will be going to an urban university with roughly 13,000 undergrads. It’s a bit of a step up from what I’m used to but I’m excited for new experiences and resources that I will have come fall.

As the day draw nearer, I become more worried about adjusting back into the school setting after my time off. I haven’t taken any classes for eight months, so it’s going to be challenging for me to get back into the swing of things. But with the right discipline and friends/family who encourage me, I’m sure I’ll get through it with no problem.

Sometimes I wonder if the stress of preparing for college is worse than the stress I’ll endure during the semester. For me, that might just be the case. I have 22 days until my big move up to my apartment and 32 days until school starts. With so little time left, I’ve been busting my butt trying to get everything I need in time for the big days.

Yesterday my little sister and I went out to get some things for my apartment and it started to finally hit me- I’m moving out and finally doing what I’ve dreamt of since I was young. I know all my old high school friends who went through this last year had the same emotions when they left for their freshman year. I’m just a year behind but better late than never I guess.

Although the return from my semester off is causing a bit more stress for me, I’m definitely super happy that I chose that route back in December. Of course it feels weird being a 20 year old freshman, but it was what had to happen for me to be happy and comfortable. I may be nervous to return to a school lifestyle, but I feel a lot more prepared than I was last spring.

For anyone who feels severely overwhelmed by school, a short break isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a pit stop on the way to where you’re going.

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One Month Countdown to Move In Day

Happy July 17th guys!

Yeah, it’s not a holiday, but it’s officially one month until I move out on my own! As you’ve probably read before, I’m super excited to be leaving my small hometown for a bigger city. I’m going to meet so many new people and explore new places. The memories will (hopefully) last a lifetime. Sure, I’m a little nervous for the day to come, but we all have to take the big leap at some point!

With only a month left, I have so much to do! Firstly, I have to sign papers for the apartment (it’s already mine, so no rush), buy all the necessities, and explore my new town!

I haven’t bought much at all for my apartment. I have a few small things like placemats, towels, and washcloths, but none of the big important things. Leave it to me to wait until the last minute to start checking things off my list! I assume that I’ll being doing a lot of shopping soon and can’t wait to see everything come together.

Not much for an update blog, but I figured I’d let everyone know that in one month, I’ll be heading north and marking a huge step in my life! So exciting!

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