What college has taught me (semomorgan)

I started school at Southeast last fall with mixed emotions. I was nervous about living on my own, I was scared that I wouldn’t make friends and I would regret going away from where all my friends were at. There was a lot of uncertainty when it came to leaving home, but the biggest fear I had was could I handle college? Would my grades be good enough to keep my scholarship, or would I have to drop out and come home and work in the fast food industry, or something equally as dramatic.
What really happened this year was I found out who I am without anyone else influencing my decisions. At times this had meant that I was going to do some crazy things, I tested my comfort zone. I joined leadership groups, and RHA. There is a lot of self discovery when your are in groups that require you to talk to strangers your freshman year and to work together. You learn that you are not alone, that everyone is going through the same thing you are, some people adjust better and some adjust worse.
Overall my first year at Southeast Missouri State University only confirmed that I had found the right college for me. I can’t wait to come back and sit on Exec board for RHA, and to get more involved in the Psychology department. To anyone who is coming here next year, don’t forget to branch out. To try new things. But more than that, don’t be afraid that you might change, embrace it, because it is all a part of growing up.
If you ever see me around campus, be sure to say hi. I love meeting new people. I will be in the RHA office located in towers.
Best Wishes to any future Redhawks!

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The Joys of Having a Roommate (Morgan)

Last semester I didn’t have a roommate, and this semester when I found out I was assigned one, I was kind of scared that we would not get along at all. But I lucked out and got the Grinch as a roommate. Just kidding. I told her I would put that in my next blog.

So since things have gone so much better for me this semester with having a roommate, I thought I would share some of the things I’ve learned about making things work with a stranger.

First thing that I think is essential is respect. Just overall be respectful to your roommate.

The next thing is to find things you have in common–that way you have something you can talk about.

And finally, realize that your roommate does not have to be your best friend for you to get along.
Even if you do all of those things, you might still have a bad relationship with your roommate, or you might not know where you stand, so here is a real quick test to see if you and your roommate are getting along well: simply notice how much or how little you talk.

You’re sharing a room, not a prison cell. You shouldn’t feel depressed to come back to your room. Also, one great indicator is if you go to bed at the same time, but end up staying up way later because you’re talking about everything that pops into your head. I’ve asked around, and this even applies to guys.

That’s all that I have about roommates, Elena and I are getting along great. And the rest of school is going really good this semester. I am still super busy now that I work for Telefund on campus some nights. Tonight, however, I am going to the River Campus to see Peter Pan. It should be a great show. I will, as always, post pictures on Instagram @semomorgan so you can follow along.

Until then, I have a top secret mission for all of you, I want you to google search for the underground tunnels at SEMO. It’s one of the biggest mysteries on campus (at least it is for freshman).

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Snowapocalypse (Lauren)

 

As some of you may have known, SEMO went through the weirdest bit of weather ever the week of February 3rd through the 7th.

We got snow, but that was not the exciting bit-we also got ice. It was not  just a normal amount of ice, however, it was ice of epic proportions! So much so that Cape Girardeau ran out of salt (who has ever heard of that!?). In response to this pandemic, SEMO closed its campus for three days straight–something that almost never happens!

At first, everyone was running through the halls when we heard the news about the three days added to our weekend. Then, reality and cabin fever set in.

Since there was quite a bit of ice, it was impossible to get cars unfrozen and out of the parking lot or to really walk anywhere in a decent time (plus it was so cold out!). So we amused ourselves in the dorms, playing board games, apples to apples, HALO; watching movies; oh and doing the occasional homework of course!

It soon got pretty boring being stuck in the halls. I ended up walking across campus every day to the North Rec Center to work out and play racquetball; that definitely helped a lot! I got to move my limbs around and get a change in scenery. Plus, I think I got a tad better at racquetball!

The RAs in the dorm halls also tried to make our extended free time more fun as well. In Merick Hall, the RAs put on something every night, like a dance party, board game night and even free hot chocolate! I know all of my friends enjoyed our sleep schedule of staying up ‘til 4 am and then waking up around noon; hey, we are college kids, we take sleep whenever it is offered!

Our happiness ended quickly however. Around Friday, teachers started waking up as well and giving out homework via email and the Internet…sigh. Which meant my weekend was full of reading assignments, worksheets and studying. The week of school after was going to be full of tests, and I needed to prepare-heavily.

Even though the fun was short-lived, the Snowapocalypse was a nice and very welcomed surprise. Yes, it did get boring at times, but I know that while I am back to my normal and hectic schedule now, I will be looking back at those days and wishing for another freak ice storm to come around.:)

 

The start of our snow break!!

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Winter Break 2.0 (Morgan)

I was just thinking how I had nothing left to do, just as anyone would be thinking if they finished all their work on the first of three snow days.  Then I recalled I needed to have tons of fun, so I can write great stories and tell everyone about it.  And so my five-day weekend began.  I got all my schoolwork done on Wednesday, which was difficult since everyone else was going wild since classes had been cancelled.  But I knew that I would have less stress if I got it all done sooner. 

That first night I went to the front desk and rented pool sticks with my friend Sarah from across the hall, and we played pool for a couple hours, and by that I mean she made fun of how bad I am at pool for a couple hours.  But that definitely started a trend because the next day I dragged everyone I knew downstairs at some point to play pool with me. I took pictures of them all dealing with it.  I even won a few rounds. 

Friday turned into a bit of a bum-around day, because I mostly just chilled in my room.  But Saturday came and I made up for it.  I was up at 6am to go to the regional RHA conference “No Frills”.  I agreed ages ago to volunteer and the day had finally come.  So I got dressed and trudged across campus in the snow to go sit at a table and make sure people weren’t walking away with all the food at once.  It was actually a really fun day, more fun than what it sounds.

 I would have gladly sat there all day, but I got to leave at noon and continue on with my life.  I got back to my room and my roommate, Elena, was heading out to go shopping, so I tagged along.  We hit up Smoothie King (MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE PLACE IN THE WORLD and SEMO students get a discount) on our way to Wal-Mart. 

That night we went out to a restaurant called Bagger Dave’s in town where you can create your own kind of burger. 

And let me just say, it was the best food I’ve had in a long time.   It’s definitely on the list of places I would recommend visiting in Cape. 

Check out SEMO’s website in your free time to see when the next Show Me Day is!  The spring is the best time to come check out the school (after the ice melts that is).

To see pics of the ice storm and pool games, check me out on instagram! @semomorgan

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Second semester; back at it (Morgan)

My break was pretty uneventful, it was nice to see my family and to have some time to relax, but all in all I was ready, more than ready, I was excited to be coming back to SEMO.

And I was right, coming back brought with it tons of stuff to do. I have a new roommate this semester, and so far it is a great experience. I had the room to myself last semester, and that was cool, too, but I like having someone to talk to all the time! It makes the time go by faster.

My classes this far into the semester are nothing short of chaotic, but the same could be said of my time outside classes. Between training for a new job, starting Emerging Leaders and all the stuff I do for RHA, I hardly have a spare moment.

Yet somehow tonight I managed to have so much free time that I thought it’d be super fun to try and build a fort with all the bed pieces, but then I didn’t like it up there, so I went to take it down, and they all collapsed on top of me, and I’m alive to tell the story. And that’s an example of what a bored college student might end up doing from time to time.

Unfortunately, I am also really sore, so I will be retiring early tonight, I will talk more about the new semester in my next post, until then here is your task:
Design a room layout for when you get here. Just start with a simple square box and find a home for two beds, two desks, two wardrobes and two dressers. That way, when you move in, you can have people help you move all the furniture around, and it will go a lot quicker!

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Winter Break! – Lauren

Boy, it was so amazing to go back home after killing myself over finals! Though I knew I would be missing my SEMO friends, going back home to home-made meals and my family and friends just sounded too good to not be excited about. However, it did not come without work.

In the dorms, they spray the rooms for bugs over break. So that means that you take everything of value home and move all the furniture 6 inches away from the walls. It was a lot of work! My roommate and I packed basically everything in our room, including clothes, shoes, hair dryers, books, electronics, beauty and personal care products, you name it! It was almost like we were moving out. My boyfriend helped my roommate and I move some of our furniture away from the walls, and we were ready to go!

Going home was so great; I missed my little sister and my parents. I even got to see one of my older brothers because he stayed in town for the holidays! It was also amazing to have homemade cookies and fudge and other sweets. I cannot tell you enough how invaluable a homemade meal is to a college student; when you first leave for school you say you aren’t going to miss it, but in reality it is the thing you miss the most!

I even got to take a trip down to Dallas during my break. The Newman Center and Catholic Campus Ministry sponsored 15 kids and leaders to go down for a conference for a week. It was a long bus ride, but that didn’t matter because I got to see some of my friends again! The conference taught me how to be a better leader of my faith on campus and how to be confident when showing it. It was a great learning experience, and I cant thank the Newman Center enough for sending me!

Also, I worked at my job back home during break. Having a little bit more spending money is always a great thing; it is also very nice to have a job that will take you back after being gone for a couple months and when you are back, let you work for 3 weeks and then leave again.

Seeing my old friends from back home was definitely the highlight of my break-I never realized how much I missed them! My friends and I are so spread out college-wise that the only time we see each other is breaks, and even then maybe our breaks don’t match up. So spending New Year’s Eve and other days with them was such a plus; we also got together for mine and my friend’s birthday!

I even got to see some of my sorority sisters right before we went back to Cape. Some of those who are from the St. Louis area went to a Blues game together and ate at Fitz’s on the Loop in Delmar beforehand. The Blues lost, but that didn’t keep us from having a good time together!

Now even though all this happened over break and it was a happy time, near the end I was starting to miss SEMO and my friends back at school. I was itching to get back to school, believe it or not (trust me, I could not believe it either!). So, at the end of the month-long break, I packed all my stuff back up-I ended up having a tad more coming back because of Christmas and my birthday-and drove back down to my second home: SEMO and Cape Girardeau!!!

A few of my friends and I from back home-man did I miss them!

My roommate(right) and I with another girl at SLS conference. This was right after the Matt Maher concert they had at the event!!

The whole group that went to Dallas for conference

Some of my Gamma Sigma Sigma sisters and I at the game!

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Study Abroad for You! (Jessie)

  

Many people have been asking me how I get to study in so many places and how this wonderful expedition came to be. So here ya go:

Let me start this by saying that my plan of action isn’t for everyone. Not going to college in the “traditional sense” means that you miss out on roommates, building relationships with professors, school clubs, school spirt, etc. If it’s something you would normally relate to college- chances are you won’t get the same experience abroad. (Not to say you don’t experience things ;)).
I wish everyone studied abroad even just for a time period that fit them. There are week, summer, trimester, semester and year exchanges, so you can study abroad as short or long as you wish. Pursue the option that fits you best. If I was rich, I’d sponsor students from all over the nation to study abroad. It will change your life. That’s a promise.
You want to study abroad?! You want your kids to experience the world?! DO IT!!! Your first step depends on where you currently are. So I’m going to separate the following sections.
If you are in high school: keep your grades up. And if you have the option, take AP courses and dual credit classes. Giving yourself an extra cushion for any time abroad in college will be very beneficial. Most programs encourage you to only take 12 credits while you are overseas, so you’ll be glad you have the extra classes. Study a foreign language. And try to coordinate that with where you would like to study. If your language doesn’t match the country it’s okay, but it really does help. And finally, possibly the biggest step you can take to help make your dream come true: when you’re looking for colleges, look into their study abroad opportunities. Some schools barely offer anything, and if they do, they may be programs you have to pay extra for. Some schools offer wonderful programs, but you still have to pay extra for them. If you aren’t doing a direct exchange through a program for a semester, overseas experiences can cost you an extra $8,000-$15,000 on top of your school tuition. Be aware of your options!
If you’re already at SEMO: You’re in luck! SEMO has INCREDIBLE study abroad opportunities. Get in contact with Suzzane McKinney or Dr. Peter Gordon AND your academic adviser. Both will be able to help recommend the best time period for you to go, schools that offer the courses you need and many other logistics. Explore the internet. Let google be your passport and continue to turn the pages. Read blogs, scroll through pictures, investigate the countries: doing your homework, and research will be such a blessing in the end.
Let me take a step back and explain exactly what I’m doing and how… I’m currently a sophomore in college, and I’ll be studying abroad for the rest of my time in school. So that equates to three years around the world. My first semester sophomore year was in Costa Rica, and I’m currently spending the year in France and exploring the option of doing online school for a semester while working in Rwanda. Of course, this is tentative. My other top choices include Spain, Denmark, Finland and Germany. The whole world is my campus. Pretty sick, eh? I am doing my exchanges through a program called the Magellan Exchange that allows me to travel to their partner schools while only paying SEMO’s tuition. (Jordan and South Africa are not included in this program; I will have to use another program that involves a fee.) All of the countries that I’ll be living in are through semester or year-long exchanges. I’m just tying them all together to make my crazy plan a reality.
The logistics:
Finances: Suck. Hands down, studying abroad is expensive. Especially if you are paying for an extra program fee. Luckily, SEMO allows you to use your scholarships even if you’re abroad… It helps! That’s how I can afford to do this. All of my tuition is paid for- so I’m paying for housing, living expenses and flights. I worked all through high school and my first year of being at the university, saving for the next three years when I wouldn’t be working. Know that it is expensive. But very doable. And VERY worth it.
Credits: This is where your advisors come in. Certain schools offer classes for different majors, and the course offerings usually change semester to semester. Start exploring right away- you’ll want to make sure you pick the best time frame for you and your degree. Not all of your credits will transfer back, and if they do, some may come back as electives. This all depends on your degree and the university you go to.
Your next step: take a step. Begin your search for your experience. Studying abroad usually doesn’t happen overnight. My mom and I have spent hours with Excel spreadsheets mapping out schools, the courses they offer and when, and what courses I need for my degrees. Honestly- hours upon hours upon hours. But I promise it’s worth it.
I have invested so much time exploring options and researching study abroad programs. If you have any questions or would like help looking into your opportunities, PLEASE ask. My dream is that everyone gets to experience living abroad to some extent.
Studying abroad is fantastic. It opens your mind to a whole world that is gosh darn beautiful. Other languages, unique cultures, different people- goodness gracious, we have so much to learn. By time I’ve finished my program, I’ll have studied high school and university classes in seven different countries. I can guarantee you that my education outside of the classroom will be more valuable than a Harvard degree. On my Facebook newsfeed I can find 3-6 languages within 20 posts, and my most-visited website is Google Translate. I have an international friend base for the rest of my life and an exposure to a whole new world- and that, my friends, is worth all the money in the world.
Programs to check out (even if it’s just to use as a base for research):
-ISEP: International Student Exchange Programs
-Global Links Learning Abroad
-CCIS: College Consortium for International Studies
-Global Learning Semesters
-ISA: International Studies Abroad
-Athena Study Abroad
-CEA Study Abroad: Cultural Experiences Abroad

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Home Is… (Jessie)

After being gone for three and a half months, being home for two and a half weeks and leaving for another four and a half months, it’s safe to say I’ve experienced a whirlwind of emotions.
I am so blessed to have the short time at home that I did. Here’s a glimpse of what home is. What home is for me.
Home is date nights with my brothers (to the zoo and Dave and Busters)
 
Home is church family that sticks together for years.
Home is my dedicated father picking me up in Chicago for a visa appointment.
Home is kisses. Lots of kisses.
Home is McDonald’s breakfast with my mom.
Home is my birthday with my best friends.
Home is Hamilton airlines flying around the world.
Home is COLD.
Home is laughter and tears.
Home is ice cream play-doe dates.

Home is these men (boys) who are always by my side.

Home is a blessing.
Home is more than where my wi-fi connects. It’s more than the address on my passport. Home is where I call from around the world. Home is where my parents hope and pray for my dreams. Home is where my heart is (although it’s been scattered around the world). Home is my family and friends.Home is home. And goodness gracious, do I love home.

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Warning! (Morgan)

Getting to see my friends from back home again is the best Christmas present ever!

Getting to see my friends from back home again is the best Christmas present ever!

 

Warning: Coming to SEMO is more than just going to a school, and when it comes time to leave for break, it’s like returning home from summer camp. Sure you miss your family; of course you are exhausted and need some rest, but your first thought when you get home: I can’t wait to go back next summer! Or in the case of leaving campus: I can’t wait for next semester.
My first week of break was filled with many surprises; I got hired for another on campus job with the alumni telefund. It’s a job that is going to pay me to talk… just like this one! Except with Telefunding, it is through the phone, and I talk with alumni instead of prospective students (and my mom).

There is so much to look forward to next semester from hosting campus-wide events for RHA, to participating in Emerging Leaders, applying for the RA position and working both jobs. Then add the actual school part to the equation. Let’s just say I will definitely be busy. That’s not a bad thing,though; it gives me more to write about.

Okay, I won’t keep you wondering any longer. Yes, SANTA came to see me, I was on the nice list this year, and he brought me some very nice presents, and he did so because I wrote him a letter and mailed it to the North Pole (via Macy’s). No big deal, but I feel like next year is going to be Familythe year I finally get a pony. I ask for one every year.

So now that I’m back home some people might be wondering what I do with my life in a small town where the nearest mall is an hour away, and the population of my town is 850. The answer is that I work. Isn’t that crazy? I also have made time to visit all of my friends and family while I am home, which is where I am now–my grandparent’s house in Northern Missouri, where I was for Thanksgiving. We are having a family Christmas–see the picture below! (Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @semomorgan to see more pictures!)

Since the New Year is about to begin, I thought I would take this time to change up the way my blog is set up. Next semester instead of things I’ve learned or neat places or advice, at the end of the blog I will leave you with a challenge. It may require an online search or something to remember so when you arrive on campus, you can do it. So keep an eye out for that.

I need to get back to the living room and visit some more with family. I hope everyone had a GREAT Christmas and an even better New Year!

Challenge #1: Before January 19th, look online and find an article from the Arrow; it’s our campus newspaper.

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Finals week (Juan)

As I write this, I am in the midst of finals week. I don’t know about you guys, but in the next three days, I have two papers due and four exams to complete. And that’s on top of packing to go home for winter break, attempting to have some resemblance of a social life, and still keeping my sanity in tact. I feel like I’m mentally and physically prepared for any final; I just feel like everything gets piled up all at once, and you feel like you don’t have any time for anything, and you go into this “psycho mode,” and you don’t know what to do Although it might seem like it’s a lot, it most certainly is possible to finish. One thing I love about finals week is that you don’t have to go to all of your class for that day, you just show up to the certain finals you have that day.

The University tries to do little things that can make our exam days better and give us a little relaxing moment where we can just stop for a minute; last night at the University Center there was a huge late night breakfast, and it was absolutely free: it was great and delicious.

Every final is very important, and it can hurtor help your GPA, so I suggest you all study, study, study. It’s okay to stress over it, but learn to be able to get back up and give it your all. Remember, we want to make the dean’s list :)

Don’t…ask your professor for extra credit.

Don’t…blame your professor for your crappy grade.

Don’t…skip a final thinking a professor will just allow you to make it up.

Do…study.

Do…put forth your best effort.

Do…seek help.

Do…dress nicely.

FinalsWeekBeauty

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