Sophomore Year Wrap Up

Hello, World.

I finished my last final of sophomore year yesterday, which means today is officially the first day of summer, and I am now a junior in college. Kind of horrifying, but also super exciting. This year was amazing in so many ways, and I thought it would be fun to share my sophomore year of college.
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This year I lived in a residence hall with only ten people! It was really unique, and it felt, at times, like an enlarged apartment. I lived with my best friend, Holly! She is going to London for a semester in the fall, and I am so blessed to have had the opportunity to live with her before she goes across the ocean on a European adventure. It was such a great experience living with someone I love spending time with and who I had classes with! Also, the amount of funny stuff that happened in that room will be remembered forever. I may have to mention some of it when she gets married in a toast or something, but who knows.
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This year I was a Weekend of Welcome Leader for Saint Mary’s. It was honestly one of my absolute favorite experiences in my college career thus far. I met so many people, and I felt so connected to my college, and I learned so many things about myself. I also learned that I absolutely love working with first year students, and that led me to apply for and obtain a Resident Advisor position for my junior year. I wrote an in-depth summary/reflection about my WOWie experience here. I loved being a WOWie, and I think if your college has a weekend of welcome type event, you should apply to be a student leader because it is a GREAT way to get involved.
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I got involved with Academic Honor Council, and I loved it. We went on a super awesome retreat in the fall! I learned so much about the Council during those two days. It’s one of the things I love most. I’m so passionate about it, and I love every member of the Council because they care about what we do, they put a lot of thought into it, and we try to help people. I feel so blessed to be a part of this group of students. I was also named “Voting Member of the Year,” which means during Review Boards I’m good a weighing the facts, considering all sides, and making the best decision for all parties. But honestly, I wouldn’t be good at my job if it weren’t for the amazing individuals who serve on boards with me.
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I went to a pumpkin patch for the first time in years, which was SO much fun. I love pumpkins. For me, they just encompass all things fall. Also, watching little kiddos pick their first pumpkin is so cute. They get so excited. Sometimes I miss being so little that a pumpkin is one of the most exciting things.
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I was a raccoon for Halloween. Ironically, I’m actually deathly afraid of raccoons. My friends gave me crap for this costume weeks for months. Honestly, they still give me crap for it every once in a while (like when I run across campus because they scream “raccoon” while we’re walking back from the dining hall at night).
Image Image I went to a 90s night celebration with some friends, and a few weeks later had a bonfire at my friend, Sasha’s house. She lives 40 minutes from campus, so we went home with her for a night to enjoy s’mores and tea and good company.
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I went to the City with two of my best friends, and drove across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time. This was one of the funnest days of the year. So relaxed and so spontaneous at the same time.
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I enjoyed a great Thanksgiving at our family’s cabin: my dad discovered the art of photo bombing, and it was beautiful weather. Also, the food was amazing as usual.
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As December and Christmas break approached, my friends and I went to my friend, Holly’s house to help her family decorate their Christmas tree. I also enjoyed seeing the deer on campus signal it was time for classes to be done so they could reclaim their territory.
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I enjoyed time in the snow at my family’s cabin (though there was essentially no snow this year), and found an adorable Christmas sweater. I also enjoyed a great Christmas with my family. They are crazy and loud and caring and loving and I love them.
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One of my favorite people visited while I was on Christmas break. This is Charity, a woman who continually inspires me, reminds me I’m good enough whenever I see her, and has always encouraged me to keep writing fiction, even if it is just for me. She was my rock when I was younger and having family troubles, and she is someone who continually reminds me of the good in life. On a side note, I also love Christmas Eve, and I love it even more because I get a set of cute pajamas!
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I spent so much time with my friends! We had junk food movie nights, went to movies at our local theaters that are old fashioned. We went to the City and I saw the Painted Ladies, and we played Settlers of Catan. It was a fun year, and I’m thankful for all the adventures I went on with my friends.
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One of my friends from high school who goes to Cal Poly-SLO played Saint Mary’s in rugby, so I got to see him. It’s always a weird experience to see people from high school while I’m college. Sometimes the two feel like separate worlds, but it was great to see him, and he played an awesome game! This was the first rugby game I ever went to, which is probably pretty bad on my part since my college just won the national championship, but alas, it was fun!
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My college has a huge cross on the top of a hill behind our chapel. During fall semester finals, it fell over in a storm…after some 100 years of being there. To say superstitions were high, and every student felt as if it were a bad omen is an understatement. People were freaking out, and were super unhappy about the lack of cross. Catholics and non-Catholics alike were sad about the fallen cross. When it was replaced in the Spring, I hiked to it because I feel like it is an important symbol of my college, my future, and an important reminder that some things are fleeting so you better enjoy them while they are there.
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I got a Resident Advisor position for the 2014-15 school year, which means I get to work with first year college students for a year! I’m so excited for this opportunity, and I feel like all my hard work is paying off. I also got placed in the hall I lived in last year, which is so exciting and awesome!
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My sister bought a puppy named Molly. She’s a peach. I just love her so much. When my dog, Riley, passed away at the beginning of the year, I was really missing having a small dog. I’m so glad we got another dog in the family, and one that is so stinkin adorable.
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This year I forged new friendships, and watched our Lasallian Star Search competition, where my friends won as No Direction (a One Direction cover band). It’s a lip-syncing competition, and they, uh, how do you say, kicked ass? It’s funny how friendships develop, and how relationships change over the course of a year. I’m glad with how my friendships are, and I’m very thankful for the people I currently have in my life. The end of this year was really fun and stress free. I realized so many things about not only myself, but also about relationships I’ve had, and people who I severely misjudged. While I’m talking about this year, I should just say that once you let unhealthy relationships or toxic friendships go, your life is so much more drama free, easy, and just, well, better. While in college, remember to enjoy it, and avoid dramatic problems or events. It’ll make for a much more rewarding four years. Also, don’t judge a book by its cover. Make sure if you’re ever having troubles, go to the source, and it may change your perspective on things. Allow healthy friendships to flourish, enjoy every moment of college, and live the life you want to remember. I had an amazing sophomore year despite a horribly rough start, bumpy middle, and tiring ending. I’m glad to be done with my classes, but I already miss my friends. I love Saint Mary’s, and I’m so excited to return for Junior year, but I’m so sad that I’m already halfway through my undergraduate degree. But overall, I must say, sophomore year was gaelicious.

Truly,
Callie leigh

Why Getting to Know Professors in College Matters

Hello, World.

Today I wanted to share my thoughts about an aspect of college life that is often treated as… well, not a priority: Professors. A lot of students seem to forget that the person standing at the front of the room is not only a professor, but also a mentor, reference, advisor, and, most importantly, a person. Professors love when you take time to get to know them, and getting to know them is highly important while you’re in college. I go to a college where the faculty to student ratio is 13:1, so I have an easier time getting to know my professors than students at colleges or universities where the ratio is 25:1. (Admissions tip: while looking at colleges, make sure you look at this ratio and consider if you want to be a person or a number).

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I know it can be difficult to get to know professors when in school because you have extracurricular activities to go to, friends to hangout with, family members calling to talk, and sleep to catch up on, but know that college is ultimately about education. All of the things in your life are important, but a major part of succeeding in a class is the professor. If you know the professor well, you’re more likely to admit when you don’t understand something or when you need help studying for an exam or while writing a paper. In light of this, I wanted to offer some tips about how to get to know professors!

First, make a point to participate in class. By speaking up, your professor will know you care, that you are paying attention, and they will remember your name more easily.

Second, ask questions. While constantly spewing information is great, asking thoughtful or challenging questions will show your professor you are engaged, and have a desire to learn more about the subject material.

Third, go to office hours! I can seriously not stress this enough. In my experience, professors are much more laid back in office hours, and are willing to really talk with your about the class or just about life if necessary. Also, by going to see your professor on your own time, instead of going on a coffee run with friends, they will see that you really want to learn from them. This is another way of getting them to remember not only your name, but also who you are as a person and a student.

Fourth, ask them about themselves. Find out where they went to school, what their experience in college was, or how they feel about the subject matter you are studying. Asking about them opens them up a little, and allows for a greater bond to grow than just “I’m your professor, and I will teach you about the literature produced during the Renaissance.”

Lastly, read some of their work. Almost all professors, unless they are new, have published something about what they teach. If you’re interested in the material they are teaching, and want to know what they think about it, read up on them. Reading their work will also show you how successful they are outside of the classroom. Also, a lot of professors write about things that may not be in the curriculum of the class, but is still super interesting!

So, get to know your professors! If you plan to go to graduate school or get a job after college, professors are great recommenders. You do not want to get to the final stage of college, and realize you aren’t close enough to any professor to ask him or her for a letter of recommendation. Also, the experience of college is simply superior if you have good relationships with professors because you will get way more out of your classes. Professors are seasoned veterans in whatever field of study you pursue, and they are at your disposal, so take full advantage!

How do you get to know your professors?

Truly,
Callie leigh

These Days.

Hello, World.

For the past two weeks, I’ve worked as a Weekend of Welcome leader at Saint Mary’s College, which is why I haven’t been posting as frequently. My schedule has been insane, but Weekend of Welcome (WOW) ends on Monday, and then I will be back posting almost daily. My hiatus was unintentional, and so I wanted to check in to let y’all know that I’m alive and better than ever!

Drinking: A soy chai latte over ice. I basically live off of this drink these days, and given that I’ve gotten up at 5:30am and worked until 11pm the past few days (with all day training for a week and a half before that) I’ve felt pretty tired lately. The caffeine helps get me through work and the day, and without it I’d probably be a zombie, blubbering mess.

Weather: Being back in the bay area, the weather is much more to my liking. There is always a breeze, but the sun offers a blanket of warmth that reminds me that summer hasn’t quite left us yet. I really need to remember sunscreen though, because my job requires being outdoors a lot, and my pale skin is beginning to get a rosy covering.

Reading: Considering I’m currently working as a weekend of welcome leader at Saint Mary’s, the only things I’ve read recently are college forms, schedules, and to-do lists. My days are blurring together, and I’ve tried to read when I get the chance, but my hours are pretty long, and at the end of the day the only thing that I can really think about is bedtime.

Thinking About: The beginning of classes, the end of weekend of welcome, and all the things that lie between. Being a weekend of welcome leader is a truly unparalleled experience. I have met so many amazing, sweet people, and I feel more involved in Saint Mary’s than ever. While I’m really excited for classes to start, I’m a little nervous about the end of WOW because I don’t want to stop seeing all my new friends everyday. I know that classes bring with them stress, homework, and conflicting schedules, and I just hope that I still get to hangout with all the people I’ve met. A lot of change has occurred in my life recently, but I am so content and happy and carefree that I just want to hold onto this feeling and never let it go. I’m utterly content with the people I have in my life right now, and the person I am in this moment, and I hope that the stress of classes and, well, reality, doesn’t change how I’m feeling.

Excited About: Classes, meeting even more first year students, being able to sleep in, and being able to do whatever I want whenever I want!

Missing: I’m content with everything I have and what I don’t have. Let me just say, if I don’t have it anymore, it wasn’t meant to be had.

Addicted to: I’m currently addicted to Saint Mary’s and the beautiful souls found on this campus. Being a WOW leader, I’ve really begun to understand what SMC is all about, and the people that compose its community, and I am addicted to the energy and happiness that permeates this college.

How’s life for you?

Truly,

Callie Coker