Choosing a college can be stressful…
Either there are too many to choose from or just the two you really like.
So, how do you decide?
My vote, the best way to decide is to go visit.
You have received countless amounts of postcards, e-mails, and phone calls from colleges. You might have done your own research on the internet. In some cases, you might have been advised personally to go to an alma mater of your relative or you have gone to your school counselor for advice. No matter the amount of sources you go to, they all say the same thing!
College visits give you details that you can’t get anywhere else.
So, now that you’ve decided to go visit, here are some things you should keep in mind:
Ask questions…keep in mind that you are going to be spending the majority of your time on campus when you are a student. Even if the question is about a small matter such as “Is there free printing?” or “What is the weather like here?” It’s okay to ask broad questions as well, such as asking your tour guide “Do you like being here?” or “How did you meet your friends here?” Your tour guide will be happy to answer to any questions you have and if they don’t feel qualified to answer your questions honestly, they will direct you to someone who can. Now, what if you can’t think of any questions to ask?
Bring your parent/relative/guardian/someone older and wiser…I had no idea what to ask when I went to visit colleges. I had no inkling of what college life was like, so how could I? How could you ? By bringing someone older and wiser, you’ll be covered with the question scenario because they know the right things to ask. He or she will probably think of something you might not even consider questioning such as, “How is the food?” True story, my dad was the one to ask this question. I never even considered the food might not be to my liking because I’ve never had the problem before BUT my dad has. Life lesson learned. Take the advice from the people who have more experience than you.
Feel free to roam…don’t huddle in a group. If you’ve seen movies with tour guides or have been on a tour, then you know what I’m talking about. A group, of course, is acceptable. However, take the advantage of open space and walk around. When you go into the dorms, check out the bathrooms, the rooms, the hallways, the lounges. At the library? Peek into the computer labs. Look around the corner. The point is, the tour guide can only show you so much in that specified amount of time. Even at Benedictine University where you can see the whole campus in an hour, you will miss out on small idiosyncrasies that make the campus special (at least to me). You can make up for it by looking around and discovering the campus as much as you can. Go discover!
Prepare for the weather…while it would be a blessing to have a warm, sunny day for a tour, it is not always possible. The majority of the tour will be outside…and you will walking. Look up the weather and prepare for the cold, the heat, the rain or snow. Wear your walking shoes and prepare the hair for a windy day. Don’t let mother nature distract you from the tour.
PAY ATTENTION! The tour is not just for your parents. They are not the ones that will be attending this college. You will. Therefore, I advice you to take interest. Even if choosing a college is not necessarily your choice, you can get an idea of what the next couple years will be like for you. If the tour guide isn’t loud enough, then raise your hand, get his or her attention, and say that he or she needs to speak up. Not speaking up is an easy mistake a tour guide can make, and they won’t know unless you tell them.
So, come on by Benedictine University and check out our campus! Use these great new tips and get a feel for the Benedictine lifestyle. All of us hope to see you soon! 🙂
Benedictine has TONS of clubs and organizations for students to get involved in. There are clubs for every major, clubs dedicated to service and volunteering, and organizations for pre-professional programs. I am currently a part of AMSA (American Medical Student Association), Best Buddies, and ASAP (Adolescent Substance Abuse Prevention). I also help out sometimes with UNICEF and KIVA, and these are just a few of the clubs on campus.
However, you may find that you have a strong interest in something that Benedictine does not have a club for. Luckily for you, you can start your own club on campus! I actually just started a club called Care to Cure. We will focus on one illness or cancer each month. We will educate the group about this illness and have a fundraising event for that specific foundation. The cool thing about our club is that everyone involved can suggest which diseases we focus on each month. This gives everyone a way to advocate for a cause that is important to them. All of you should join! 🙂
Enough about my club though! What if you come to campus and are really serious about founding your own club? First, make sure you are really committed to starting this club, because it can be a lot of work! If you are really passionate about it, then follow these tips to get started:
- Contact our Student Involvement office and talk to Chris Smith. He’ll give you all of the information you need and help you start your organization. He’s also very honest about whether or not he thinks your club will get approved.
- Find at least 10 students who would be willing to join your club and get their signatures.
- You will need to find an executive board for your club, usually consisting of a president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. However, you may have different positions, depending on the type of club you have. Make sure that these people will be committed to your group, because you want a strong executive board to get your club started.
- You will have to find a faculty member on campus to be the advisor for your club. Make sure this person is willing to help and commit as well!
- Next, you will have to create a constitution for the club. This will consist of membership requirements, responsibilities of officers, a purpose for the club, etc. This is one of the most lengthy parts of the process, but once this is completed, you’re almost there.
- Chris Smith will review all of your materials and approve of them. He may give you tips on what to change or add to your constitution.
- Once all of that is done, you will have to go before Student Senate and present your club. They will vote on your club and you will either get approved or denied.
If you get denied, do not get discouraged! You can appeal the decision and Student Involvement will help you make changes that will help your club to get approved.
Once you get approved, you can start hosting events, having meetings and getting people involved in what’s important to you!
Back in October I can remember the unique experience of being in Student Senate and partaking in all of the events that went along with the Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. The scholar that we hosted, Representive Morella, a Bipartisan Republican who served the 8th district in Maryland. As a member of the student goverment, I was able to attend many unique events and workshops with Representive Morella. Events like a question and answer session and a dinner that she had attended with our student government. I had many oppertunities to learn from her vast wisdom in topics ranging from politics to leadership. I had enjoyed having the oppertunity to engage in these conversation with her and listen to her thoughts and insight. There were many things that I had learned from her. Being that she was a Bipartisan leader she had lessons for everyone, expecially in this political climate.
While the semester is coming to an end, it may be important to look back and reflect on why you chose to attend Benedictine University to begin with. About half way through, students seem to have checked out and lost all motivation to finish the semester strong. This happens to me all the time. I get bored with the classes I am currently taking and wish that they would just end. It is incredible to think of how fast the semester flew by, so what should the final weeks mean to you?
Find motivation somehow. As the holiday season approach, all one may want to do is go home and finally be done with school. It is unfortunate that the most important time of the semester comes between those two breaks. Think of Christmas break, and all those presents, as being an award for all the hard work and time that you have put into your school work. Between studying for final exams and finishing last minute assignments, go have some “me” time. Whether it is hanging out with friends, going downtown Naperville, or running off stress at the Rice Fitness Center. Taking your mind off of what you still need to do may trigger more motivation to conquer the next tasks.
Kindlon Library, Krasa Basement. These two places on campus may be one’s best bet for some quiet studying time. Kindlon’s third floor of the library is the “quiet zone,” where staff members are actually patrolling the area to make sure it is quiet. There is no need to worry if someone will be doing a group project because there is a specific floor for that kind of work! Also Krasa Basement is another quiet zone. Personally, I have gotten told to quiet down when once down there. Although when finals time comes, every person is for themselves. All other previous assignments should be done at that point. Remember, as an award for finishing off the semester strong, all students receive an entire month off from school!
Don’t Procrastinate. I saved the best for last. There are less than 3 weeks of school left, so it is crucial to not fall behind and make your grade suffer because of it. Chances are that you will probably regret it. Use Thanksgiving break wisely for the little amount of days that you are off. Finals take place so closely after, so it’s important to stay on track with where one should be in regards to the course syllabus. Also, work to your individual strength. There are some people that do their best work the night before, then do that! It may not be the smartest thing to do, but do what’s best for you. Time management and equal distribution of all classes is key. Juggling at least four classes, work, and other extra-curricular activities will have to be balanced. Think ahead and do not fall behind!
Temptations, temptations, temptations. Fries, pop and juice, desserts, an ice cream machine, and pizza always available at the cafeteria, in addition to the fried foods, frappuccinos, and giant cupcakes offered at the CoalBen; it is no wonder that so many freshmen fall a victim to the freshmen 15. However, I am going to share with you how you can avoid it.
First, let’s consider the healthy options always available in the cafeteria that can often be overlooked. There is always a salad and soup bar, a sub and sandwich section (you pick what you want on your sandwich), a fruit section with apples, oranges, and bananas, a pasta section, and an area that offers the typical home-style dinner: usually vegetables and meat of some sort, as well as a vegan or vegetarian option. These are great areas to get your meal because they address the fruit, veggie, protein, and grain servings that are so important in a well-balanced diet. Drink-wise, there is a large selection to choose from. If you want to avoid excess sugar and calories, however, you should limit the amount pop and juices and stick to milk and water (you should drink about 64 ounces of water a day).
To be clear, though, I’m am not saying to deprive yourself! Let’s be realistic, we all enjoy some of those foods that are delicious but not all so nutritious. Go ahead and have those fries occasionally or that bowl of ice cream. The key is moderation. It’s making those foods a habit is what will gradually pack on the weight.
Poor eating is not the only cause of the freshmen 15, though. Keep yourself active! We are fortunate to have the newly renovated Rice Center, open 7 days a week, full of great workout equipment to use at your leisure with no expense to you. Take advantage of it! If that doesn’t appeal to you, maybe try to get involved in some type of group that will keep your fitness up while doing something you love or are interested in. Some great options are yoga club, zumba, and dance club. I highly recommend this because not only will it help keep you in shape, it will also be a great opportunity to meet new people!