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The Gen Ed that Won Our Hearts

13 Nov

It was 5:45 AM as I turned off my alarm clock and greeted registration day with bleary eyes. I had been waking up at 4 AM to do my homework all semester, but this particular day, I had a case of the dreaded Mondays. My laptop had died at my bedside during the night, my roommate had taken the last Frappuccino and my favorite sweater was nowhere to be found. Things weren’t going my way, but I accepted my fate, plugged in my laptop and logged on to UAccess.

The wifi was crawling along like molasses, leaving me with nothing to see but a bright white page that made my eyes water. Refreshing the page, I looked over the handwritten list of classes my advisor had given me, my academic security blanket. The classes had been in my shopping cart for weeks, but my advisor warned me to be prepared for anything.

Sure enough, my student center looked like text-salad nightmare and the wifi crashed completely. By the time I logged in again 20 minutes later, a disheveled heap of stress at the café, all of my classes were full. Admittedly, I freaked right out.

If you find yourself in these shoes, it may seem like your academic sky is falling, but don’t panic! Make the schedule you can make with the course options you have left and talk to your academic advisor about it. There are still a few ways to get you on track and into the schedule you hoped for:

1. Get on the wait list, when available

Two of my classes gave me the option of being put on the waiting list. This may seem like a bleak land of limbo, but it’s not. So many students change, swap and drop their classes before registration ends. With the wait list, you’re already in line to take those spaces as they open.

2. Check on the class religiously

If there’s no wait list, keep checking on the class and accomplish the same thing manually. Keep your fingers crossed for the green circle to take the place of the angry blue square next to your class in the class search. As long as registration is still open, there’s still hope for an open seat.

3. Beg your way in

Showing up to your desired class on the first day with a Change of Schedule form is not a bad idea. Some classes are more rigorous than others about attendance, so you may even get lucky on your first day. In one class I wanted, anyone who didn’t show up for the first day was dropped from the roster so the wait-listed students could take their places.

4. Talk to your academic advisor

At the U of A, your advisors are the music makers and dreamers of dreams. They know what’s possible and they can help you see the glimmer of hope in any academic disaster. Ask them for ideas if you get stuck. They’ve seen degrees completed in the most unconventional of ways and can always help you navigate your obstacles to gain that academic success you so deserve.

My registration nightmare ended with a less-than-perfect schedule, but it resulted in the best set of classes I could have hoped for. It threw me off my 4-year plan a little bit, but overall, I still got all of my requirements knocked out without any extra semesters added onto my academic career.

If you find yourself in this position, keep calm, bear down and hang in there! That which doesn’t bend can break under pressure, so take it as an exercise in adaptability, jump the hurdles that are thrown at you and keep on keepin’ on. The commitment you’ve made to your education is a commitment to yourself, and that makes it worth the struggle. Use the resources all around you and don’t be discouraged. You may be forced to take a gen ed at an awkward time, it might shift a prerequisite over to a different semester, but overall, you’ve got this!

-Amanda

 

The Maze of Majors

16 Sep

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One of the scariest feelings coming into college is feeling like you chose the wrong path and don’t like your major. Then comes the fear of having to change majors and all that that entails. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened to me. All throughout my last two years of high school I thought I wanted to be an engineer. However, a month into my freshman year, I hated my major. My classes bored me and I wasn’t interested in the subject material at all. Even worse, I couldn’t see myself actually working as an engineer in the future at all. I didn’t know what to do and felt so alone because everyone else I knew loved their major. I felt like no one knew what I was going through.

If you’re feeling this way, believe it or not, you aren’t alone. Feeling out of place in your initial major is such a common feeling among freshman (and sophomores, and even upperclassmen!). In fact, between 50% and 70% of all college undergraduate students will end up changing their major. Most will actually change on average of three times. So what do you do when you feel this way?

The best thing to do if you feel lost in your major is to seek help! There are so many resources, both in person and online, that can help you navigate what to do next. For me, I talked to my parents, checked out my other options online through Degree Search, and reached out to my advisor in my current major as well as an advisor for a major that I was considering changing to. This was a great opportunity of self-discovery for me that I wasn’t expecting. I learned that what I thought I liked doing, math and science, wasn’t actually what I enjoyed. I realized that I hated the thought of working on one project for months on end and wanted something more dynamic.

While all of this might seem daunting, it’s worth exploring if it will lead to a major perfectly fit for you. All of these resources were so helpful and made me feel so much better about my situation. I realized that it was ok to feel lost and out of place and that I had so many options out there. I also realized that it was ok that I didn’t like my major and that there was no reason to feel bad about it. It was ok that I felt like I didn’t belong because it helped lead me to where I did belong and to a major that makes me excited about my future education and career. For those of you who were wondering, I ended up selecting pre-business. However, I again wasn’t interested in that and but changed again over the summer to animal science with the goal of becoming a vet. Now I love what I’m doing and am so excited for the future.

So if you, too are feeling lost and uninterested in your major, that’s ok! Seek help, be willing to do the work required to either change majors or find solutions to feel better in your current major, and you might just find out what you were meant to do all along!

-Jessica

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The Big Switch

9 Sep

“What’s your major?” It’s basically the first question that you get asked when you meet someone on a college campus. When I graduated high school I was so sure of the major I’d selected when I applied and my career path after graduation. But when I got to orientation, something didn’t feel quite right. I had absolutely no passion for the major I’d chosen. Looking at the 4-year curriculum ahead of me just wasn’t thrilling. For me, that wasn’t what I came to college for. So I changed my major for the first time about a week later. Over the summer I added a second degree focused on my favorite subject in high school.

Throughout the course of my freshman year, I was really unsure of what I wanted to do with myself. I knew the sciences were a strong fit for me, but I couldn’t find anything that sparked something in me. I’ve always believed that you can truly see when someone has found the perfect thing for them because they will absolutely light up when they talk about it. I wanted that feeling more than anything. Instead, I was dragging myself from class to class to clubs every day. Truthfully I was so busy that I didn’t have much time to feel bored.

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Life is all about growing and changing

I started out as a pre-med student, but I wanted to be sure that I was choosing the right career path because pre-rec classes are different for different professional schools. So I signed up for a 1 unit health careers exploration colloquium, and it was one of the best decisions I made that year. I knew one of my club advisors was a graduate student in public health, but I never thought to ask her more about the field itself. Early on in the colloquium, we had a group of panelists from a variety of career paths including a doctor, nurse, pharmacist, and public health professional. I was immediately drawn to public health because of its big-picture perspective on health. From there I talked to my advisor about what she was studying and then it clicked. I’d finally found that spark. That summer I changed my major for the fifth and final time.

I felt some pressure throughout the process of finding the right major to just stay the course for a year and see how it went. But deep down inside I knew that wasn’t going to help me enjoy my freshman year. I had already lost interest, so I didn’t want to waste my time. In the end, the process helped me to know myself better and ultimately led me to the perfect path.

-Gabriela

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What’s One More Language?

8 Jul

To the eyes of a child, summer is the epitome of freedom. There’s no school or homework, they can sleep in and not have a care in the world. Unfortunately, the older a person gets,the more they wish they would’ve done during those long glorious summers. I am not going to sit here and say that I have utilized my summer to the max and not wasted a single minute, because let’s face it, I have spent a good amount of time vegging out in front of my T.V., but I have also begun something I vowed to do three years ago: I am teaching myself German!

Some might ask why I don’t just take German as my second language in school, but as it stands I am already taking both Greek and Latin and adding anything else onto that would be too much (trust me, I tried it).

Why German you ask? Originally it was because I really liked the way it sounds. I also figured it might be easier to learn since English is based off of it, I was wrong in this aspect. It did not hurt that I was informed I would have to learn it in grad school, and so learning it now would provide me with a leg up!

Actually learning the language was interesting. I found a surprising amount of similarities between it and Greek and Latin, this was a relief since I know those languages. As with all languages, the hard part was the vocabulary. I am an audio learner, and so not having an instructor was hard. This was more of a problem because unlike my other two languages, this one is not dead! While I feel like I am starting to understand the language, there is quite a bit more I need to do before I am proficient, none the less, I am proud of the progress I have made and I think I will keep casually learning the language!

Auf Wiedersehen zur Zeit! (Goodbye for now!)

-Christine

#AdventurousApril: Archaeology Adventures

18 Apr

April is one of the hardest months in the school year. Everyone is ready for school to be over and yet there is still a ton to do! Added on top of all this is registration for classes, which inexplicably comes with thinking about the future.

Personally, I have always known what I wanted to do both for my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree, but suddenly out of almost no where, I was not so sure. Essentially it started with my school tour last month. It got me thinking about things, always dangerous, I know. What it really came down to was that I did not think I could be happy being a Professor for the rest of my life, not that I did not want to teach, but I did not want to do research (a big part of being a professor).

Equipped with this new-found information, I had a decision to make: what the heck was I going to do now? I had come into college with a sure-fire plan of what I wanted to do, and now here I was at the end of my JUNIOR year with no idea about what I want to do?! So, I did what anyone would do: I stayed up all night watching Ted-Talk videos trying to come up with a semblance of a plan.The videos actually ended up helping because during one of the videos, I heard someone talking about classical preservationists, who preserve ancient artifacts. I started researching the requirements for this job, and it turned out that all my hard work in my undergrad would not go to waste! I would need the exact same classes that I had already taken, so I was not as hopeless as I thought I was.

The truth of the matter is that most students will change their minds about what they want to do sometime during their undergraduate career, it is just a fact of college. As we grow as people, we find out more about our interests and limits and have to adjust for that. If you find yourself in my shoes, with no idea about what you want to do with your life, don’t fret. Start researching, do some personal digging and figure out what interests you. Take a class that sounds interesting, you never know… maybe Psychology is your thing, maybe you were born to be a Criminologist!  Whatever excites you, go for it!

Christine Ellis

#MiddlingMarch: Chrissy Gets Her Groove Back

29 Mar

Of all the breaks and days off we have, Spring Break is the worst. It is just long enough that we delude ourselves that we can put off doing school work for a few days, but not long enough for that to actually be the case. Please, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love Spring Break, I cherish the fact that I don’t have to be at school at 7:30 in the morning everyday, but coming back from break is always the hardest thing to do.

Personally, to avoid the awkward phase of getting back into the swing of school, I do school-type things over the break. This break, I visited the University of Washington to check out their graduate program. I was able to talk to the Professors I could potentially be working with to get my PhD. Doing this helped me refocus my vision. Throughout your school years, you might forget why you came to college in the first place, and it is a good idea to remind yourself. If graduate school is not in the books for you, spend some time talking to people in your field. Sometimes you have to focus on the end goals a bit to stay motivated.

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Of course, I did not visit Seattle without visiting the sites! I was there for three days, and while one was spent at the University, the other two were spent touring around Seattle. I visited the Chihuly Glass Museum, the Seattle Aquarium, Pike-Market Place (where we saw them throw fish at customers) and of course the Space Needle. It was the right amount of school and relaxing.

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It’s not always easy to flit off to schools you’re interested in, but looking up programs is a great way to focus your mind on the future and to remind yourself what you are working toward. It is never too early to start planning your future!

-Chrissy

Your Guide to Summer Internships

9 Apr

It’s easy for students to fall into the idea of having a completely work-free three months of summer. Of course you want to relax, but sometimes it hits the third week of summer and you’re already bored. What are you possibly going to do for three months? tom2 Summer break is the perfect opportunity for college students to get an internship. We’re not distracted by a full schedule of classes, club meetings, exams, etc. If the realm of internships is an entirely new world for you, here are some things to know: 1. Résumé If you haven’t yet, this is a good time to start cleaning up that résumé. You’re about to finish another school year, so add the clubs you’ve been involved in and show off your GPA! Finalizing your résumé is the first step to finding an internship. 2. Keep an Open Mind tom6 Think about your future career. Is it in an office? Is it outdoors? The purpose of an internship is to get “real world” experience in the field you want to go into. Remember to keep an open mind. If your dream is to be a lawyer, your first internship probably won’t have you pulling an Elle Woods anytime soon. My first internship in a law office had me shredding paper and filing, but it was still awesome to see day-to-day operations. 3. Consider Your Location – Tucson, Home, or Abroad? If you’re sure that you’ll be spending your summer back home, then look for internships in that city or town. If you happen to find an internship in Tucson and you’re scrambling for summer housing, many students who are leaving for the summer are subleasing their apartments. Residence Life also offers summer housing in certain residence halls. There are also options to have an internship abroad. Although I’m sure you may be able to independently find an internship abroad, many students go through the Study Abroad department on campus. It is probably too late to apply for this upcoming summer, but remember that this is an option next summer! Keep in mind that internships abroad typically cost money. 4. You Might Not Get Paid, But It’s Surprisingly Worth It tom3 My first internship wasn’t a paid position. Actually, my first paid internship is happening this summer. Don’t let that bring you down, though. That internship where I was shredding papers and filing all day? They’re the ones who led me to this paid position! I cannot stress enough how invaluable the connections are worth. You may be graduating some time soon and you never know who will be hiring when you graduate! 5. Finding an Internship tom5 There are many companies and organizations that specifically have internship programs. If you’re interested in public health, you can simply google “public health internships in Tucson”. Ask your friends who have been through internship programs. They’ll be able to tell you about their experience and give you tips. You can also ask your academic advisors. When companies are hiring interns, many of them reach out to academic advisors for majors that coincide with that career field. If all else fails, approach them! When I wasn’t able to find an internship program, I found a company that I wanted to work for and sent in my cover letter and résumé. They hired me! The hiring manager commended me for being proactive and going for what I wanted. 6. Internships Are Awesome. Have Fun With It. Even if you’re not being paid or you’re doing simple tasks, always observe what’s around you. I always loved looking at the work the lawyers in the office were doing and realizing that it was only a matter of years until I was as cool as they were. I don’t even care how uncool that sounded. Seeing how your career field operates every day just makes you that much more motivated to work your hardest because, believe it or not, that’s you in a few years. tom1 Happy Internship Hunting!

-Briana

Major Changes With Major Changes

30 Jan

I’ve always seen myself as a determined student. Someone who knows what to do and how to do it.

THEN I CAME TO COLLEGE.

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I came into college with one goal in mind: to become a lawyer. I thought being a lawyer was my destiny, my calling, my life. I knew becoming a lawyer was going to make my family extremely proud of me, which frankly is a serious and big goal in my life. Having a proud family is a big deal for me.

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Being a first generation student in his freshman year, I childishly thought I had my entire life figured out. I remember letting everyone in my freshman year dorm know of my goals, constantly repeating the phrase “I’m going to be a lawyer.”

And I believed it too.

Things started to change during the first semester of my sophomore year, once I started to take courses required for my major. I was not doing so great in them and even thinking about my major would stress me out.

I felt as if I were an alien in a foreign land, unaware of what to do next.

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I realized that I was feeling all of this because I wasn’t truly passionate about the subjects I had to focus on to succeed in my major.

I felt like a coffee aficionado being forced to drink water for the rest of his life.coffee animated GIF

I began to wonder if I truly wanted to be a lawyer. I felt scared, ashamed, and clueless.

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I wanted out.

I knew I wasn’t meant to go through college with doubt and dissatisfaction. I knew I had to make this experience my own, I had to formulate a plan that would get me where I need to be, where I truly want to be.

I forced myself to focus on MY goals and dreams, not anyone else’s. I realized college is a place for students to advance their knowledge on the things that they truly want to learn about, not what they think will make their parents proud. Although this is a big goal for many students, as it is for me, it is not all that students should focus on. At the end of the day, if you are passionate about something, you will always be eager to learn about it, which only guarantees your success.

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If you truly set your mind on the things you love, you can accomplish them.

And THAT will definitely make people proud.

I encourage students to reflect on their educational and professional goals throughout their college experience. Think of all of the high stake decisions you’ve had to make, and the many you know you’ll have to make. Focus on what your goals are, memorize the steps you need to take in order achieve them, and succeed. Remember, sometimes change is good.

Good luck, wildcats.

– Julian

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