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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To My Boyfriend As He Graduates

 

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Zachary,

Today’s the day! All that hard work and dedication that you’ve applied throughout the years is finally paying off today as you graduate high school! I know that you’re extremely excited, and I am too. This moment is a huge one. Today as you move your tassel from the right to the left, your life will be changing immensely. Walking across the stage will be one of your last moments as a high school student. Then it’s time for the real world. I know you have already “adulted” more than many of your fellow graduates, but there’s much more to come. And I know you’re ready for it.

It’s fairly strange to me when I think about what is actually going to happen only hours from now. You’re leaving the high school as I did the year prior. We will lose our immediate connection to the place that introduced us to each other last year. I know it won’t actually change anything for us, but deep down, it feels like an important mark. We met in that building. We grew to love each other in that building. And now, as the last attending of the duo, you are receiving your diploma and becoming an alumni of that very building. It’s bittersweet, but I’m so ready for us both to head north for our next big adventure- college!

In the past year and five-ish months that we’ve known each other, I’ve watched you excel in so many ways. You’ve gotten straight A’s while working at a steady job, and gotten accepted into the college you wanted. Every smile and excited scream you let out (you know exactly what I’m talking about) got me more stoked to see all the things that you could accomplish in the future. And now with all the things you have gotten done so far, I believe that the sky is the limit for you!

I am very proud of you for working so hard in school (in-between your naps in Mr. Perry’s class). You’re leaving behind a great legacy for yourself. And although high school is already designed to be hard enough on students, you had your fair share of difficult moments this year as well. The way that you managed yourself throughout those times of trouble really tell a lot about your character. You are brilliant, dedicated, and very mature. At this rate, nothing will get in your way.

You’ve not only made it through high school alive, but also done it so outstandingly. You are really inspirational to me and many others. I hope that when you toss your cap today, you truly feel all the hard work that you put forth these past years, and feel proud of yourself for all that you’ve done.

I love you so very much, and I am excited to see what all the future holds for you and  your bright mind.

Congrats, grad.

 

 

 

 

One Last Dance

 

This past weekend, I “went back to high school” and attended one last prom with my boyfriend. It was an amazing night, and definitely one that I’ll remember.

Now, before I hear all the negativity about how “people who graduated high school should stay out of high school”, let me just clarify something- my boyfriend is a senior, and he asked me to go. At first, I almost refused to go because I wanted to stay clear of high school events (other than sporting events because I had to cheer my man on). But after a lot of thinking, I realized that it was his last prom and he asked me to come because I’m his girlfriend and he wanted the night to be special. So, I decided that one more prom wouldn’t hurt anyone.

Something different about this year was that I didn’t mind how I looked. Previous years, I was so stressed about my dress, heels, makeup, and hair that I made prom almost unenjoyable. This year, I didn’t think it mattered. I just put whatever makeup on that I felt the most comfortable in, wore some old heels of my sisters, and was on my way. As long as I was comfortable and able to have fun, I was ready to go.

My boyfriend picked me up and dang was he looking good. Last year we rode together along with another mutual friend, and when we looked back at it this year, it was so crazy thinking about how much things had changed. This year, I was riding shotgun with his hand in mine- a much different experience than last year. Before, I was in the backseat and the only thing in my hand was my phone that was also the designated “aux phone.”

We took some pictures with his classmates, as well as other returning students from my graduating class- my cousin being one of them. Everyone looked amazing! They were also so friendly towards me, which I did not expect. I never had any negative feelings towards returning grads coming to prom while I was in high school, but I didn’t know how others felt about it. Seeing people happy to see me calmed a lot of my pre-prom jitters.

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Once we arrived at the venue, I almost forgot how nervous I was before. I don’t want to say that I felt like I was back in high school because I was self aware and didn’t do anything to jeopardize my comfort and warm welcome. However, I did not feel too out of place, and I wasn’t as self conscious as I had expected myself to be. Honestly, I think that knowing I wouldn’t see a lot of those people again made me feel more comfortable and ultimately gave me the courage to go out and dance with my friends.

The music wasn’t too terrible at points, and the great company on the dance floor helped make the bad songs a little less excruciating. We danced for hours and only took a few short breaks to take a quick sip before heading back out to dance like idiots again. Overall, prom wasn’t so bad.

After the dance was nearly over, Zach and I went with a couple friends from our table to the Wendy’s drive thru. I had been craving it all night and I was fairly vocal about it. We wanted to hang out together, but at 11 at night, not much is open and easily accessible for girls in gowns. So after thinking long and hard about the next move, we decided to part ways and go home to sleep.

Zach and I went back to my house so I could get out of the unbearably itchy dress I had forced myself into earlier. That’s when he gave me a surprise gift that meant the world to me. He handed me a book. On the inside it said “Why I Love You,” and contained pages full of pictures and (you guessed it) reasons he loved me. He had told me before I saw it that it was not perfect, but he was dead wrong. I had never received anything so beautiful before. Just thinking about it makes my heart melt all over again.

We finished the night with a nap and the remainder of the Wendy’s that we had brought home. Zach eventually went back to his house at around 2:30 a.m., and thus concluded our night.

Playing dress up can be fun for sure, but getting to do it along side the man you love makes it even more special. I’m grateful that Zach brought me back for one last dance. He made my last prom even better than the one I originally thought would be my last.