Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Perfecting your Portfolio

Hello everyone! Today I wanted to talk to you all about creating an admissions portfolio that will be a useful resource for yourself when it comes to college applications. These are most widely used for art majors (dance, painting, sculpture, graphic design ... etc.), but they may be useful in other programs as well! Here are my tips and suggestions for creating a great portfolio that represents your abilities well.

Depending on the selectivity of the institutions to which you are applying, you can create one physical copy of your portfolio to bring when you visit your colleges or do a portfolio review for final admission. You can create one in a binder with clear sheet protectors, or you can also print and bind a 'professional' copy at a print center like Staples. If you think you are going to want to switch its contents in and out, then a good-quality binder that is easy to edit would be a good choice!

You should include a cover page with all of your contact information, the program you are interested in studying, and a brief explanation of your career goals, short-term and long-term. This should be short so that the counselor or reviewer can read it in less than 30 seconds. This is to help connect your paper application to the contents of your portfolio which represents you as a great candidate.

Here are some suggestions for items, projects, and paperwork to include for different majors.

  • Education - If you did any tutoring assignments, if you went to BOCES for Early Childhood Education, or if you did any educational babysitting projects with students, include those materials in the portfolio. These could be worksheets you created, lesson plans you've written, letters of reference from any employers, or your personal philosophy of education.
  • Cosmetology/Beauty School - If you are interested in pursuing another degree that specializes more in becoming an aesthetician or a salon manager, take photos of the work you have done throughout your technical training. You could include pictures of hair-dos, edgy cuts or colors, nail designs you have created, or make-up looks you have designed. This should showcase your design skills, as well as your ability to innovate in terms of client's wishes.
  • Business - If you have worked on events in High School or for a part-time job, I would include those materials, such as the marketing pieces, any set-up materials, or proposals that you have written. Even if you only did assignments like this in your Business courses or in FBLA or Student Council, they can still help show your aptitude and your 'business mindset.' Even if you helped your mom with her Mary-Kay marketing campaign, include all of that material that you created!
  • Theatre/Dance - A theatre and dance portfolio can be difficult, since your product is your movement and your acting/dancing skill, so I would actually suggest making a digital portfolio, where you compile information like the performances you've had and any accolades or competition prizes you've won throughout the years. Universities will usually have you do an in-person audition, but if you want to create a digital portfolio, I would include some short compilations of your performances throughout your years. For theatre majors, you can include dramatic pieces, comedic pieces, and some musical theatre as well. For a dance major, I would include a short barre routine to show your extensions and general poise, as well as, some solo performances, like pointe work, jazz work, and a lyrical piece. Remember these should be shorter (30-45 seconds) pieces so that the reviewers don't get bored.
  • Art - A university will have specific guidelines for your art portfolio on what to include. They will usually have you bring in paintings or sketches, good quality pictures of your sculpture pieces or your photographs, as well as, printouts of your graphic designs. If you are genuinely interested in studying art, you should have a conversation with the University Art Department and your Admissions Counselor early on so that if you need to create a few pieces, you have time do so!
  • Autobody/Mechanics - While it would be rare, if you are looking to become a mechanic or gain experience and an education in autobody detailing or something more specific, you could also create a portfolio of things you've accomplished thus far. If you've detailed a few cars, add some good pictures; if you've overhauled a car or tractor, include pictures and a short explanation of the overhaul - time it took, engine style, what specifically you did. 
Overall, your portfolio should represent you and your abilities well. Throughout my career in my education major, we were constantly making portfolios and updating all of our materials to use in job interviews and in graduate school interviews. It is something that you can hang onto and pull out at a moment's notice when a job opportunity becomes available! 

If you want a suggestion about creating a portfolio for another program or major, comment below and I will be sure to respond and give you all my recommendations and suggestions! I hope you all have a great week!!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. I will be doing a Q&A session next month for you all to get to know me a little better. If you have a question you want to know about me or about my educational journey, please leave it in the comment, send your question in an e-mail or tweet me  @Chasing_College. :)

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Winter Break College Movie Marathon

Hi everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend and were able to spend some of your time relaxing with your family and friends! I've been absent from pretty much all of my social media the past few days so that I could celebrate Christmas with my boyfriend's and mine families! Because a lot of you have time off from school, whether its college or high school, I thought a movie marathon list of college-type movies would be interesting for you all to check out during your down time!

Pitch Perfect

This is a great movie that I love to watch and it came out while I was in college, so that gave it another level! It is not only about a'capella singing and navigating the world of being a college DJ, but it also deals with the transition as you enter college and how to incorporate your interests into your college life!

Legally Blonde 

Hands down, this is one of my movies of all time. It has such an empowering message when it comes to going to college and to choosing a career. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do anything, and that includes going to college and getting your degree! 

College Road Trip

This movie is geared more towards the younger readers who may be just starting their college search process, as this is a Disney movie. It is about a high school student wanted to go off to one college, while her father has a different expectation that she will go to his choice university. So, this is a family-oriented movie, but if you and your parent or you and your child are having a difficult time on agreeing on the types of schools to apply to, then use this movie as an opportunity to discuss the students' needs and how to meet them in terms of a college education!

Sydney White

This is a collegiate spin on the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs story. Specifically, it handles a big concern for students on rushing Greek Life, but also on finding yourself on campus (especially if you're a legacy). Its also a cute and funny love story that also brings to the forefront the issue of student government on campus. 


I have yet to see this movie, but I got it as a Christmas gift and I am super excited to watch it! Tina Fey and Paul Rudd are hilarious actors and the movie is all about the 'unknown' world of college admissions, but is a great reminder that Admissions Counselors/Advisors are people too!

Larry Crowne 

I saw this movie in theaters when it first came out. It is about an adult who loses his job because of his lack of college education, so he goes back to college in hopes of regaining his position. This is a great movie if you are an adult learner who is heading to college and wants to see what to expect. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts star in it and it is a cute, semi-romantic comedy, that has a good message too! 

I hope this list gives you at least one idea for a movie to watch this winter to help you relax, rewind, and just reimagine your college expectations and get in that headspace! If you have any college movie suggestions, feel free to add them in the comments for others to check out! 

enjoy the chase,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Should I Transfer?

Hi everyone! As the first semester of this school year is now complete for almost all universities, I wanted to talk about something that is a very real concern for students once they return home after that first semester. Transferring out of a college after their first or third semester can be a true issue for students once they complete their finals. It is a decision that deserves a lot of conscious thought and research, so I wanted to talk about that with you today.

Now, sometimes a college that we choose just does not work out for many reasons: you decide to change majors, the student culture isn't what you thought, changing home dynamics cause you to be perpetually homesick, your physical or mental health deteriorates, and so many other reasons. What's important to remember here though is this: IT IS YOUR REASON. It does not need to be explained or rationalized to anyone but yourself! Before you make your final decision about transferring, you should have a conversation with those who you are closest to, as well as, an advocate on your campus to determine what other options you have.

Why should you talk to your family - These are the most supportive people in your life, your parents, siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, or another family member you trust. They know your personality best and should be able to help you decide what will be best for your new path. They can also help show you the pros and cons of transferring to another institution such as: academic quality, financial feasibility, and student life experience. Their support can also help you manage whatever your reasoning is for wanting to leave your current college, ie: depression/anxiety, lack of friends, or missing family members.

Why you should talk to a student advocate at college - These are Resident Directors, your RA, Counselors, Advisers, or any other administrator who you trust or respect. The reason you should speak with someone on your college campus too is so that if there is something on campus that can combat your reason for leaving, then they can help you find it! Oftentimes, students will choose to leave a college because they are having difficulty integrating into a social structure, so meeting with your RA or Adviser can help you find some clubs or organizations that you can join to make friends and start having a fulfilling college experience.

ABOVE ALL ELSE - Do not decide to transfer out of or into a university because of another person, ie: a boyfriend/girlfriend, crush, or best friend. You need to do what is best for you, not what is best for them. If your relationship/friendship is meant to last, then it will withstand the distance and the struggles of being apart. This is your chance to grow, learn, and become independent so don't let another person persuade you to transfer.

Story Time - My Freshman year of college, I contemplated transferring out of my alma mater. I did not have many friends (other than my roommate), I was told by my Adviser that I would not graduate on time, I missed my family and boyfriend, and honestly just wanted to be closer to my comfort zone. So, I looked into transferring into a comparable college that was only about forty minutes from my house, however as soon as I looked into the financing options I knew it would not be feasible. Most often, and this was the case for this university, transfer students get extremely limited scholarship opportunities. Even though I graduated valedictorian in High School and I had a full tuition scholarship already, I would have only been eligible for a $7,000 merit scholarship. This completely changed my mind and option of transferring. --- Instead, I chose to find ways to make my time at my alma mater exactly what I wanted it to be. I joined a few clubs, signed up to be an Orientation Leader, looked into other academic opportunities to combat my Adviser's statement. This was the BEST thing I could have ever done. I stuck it out and made my college experience exactly what I wanted it to be ... I grew up and became way more independent and just started acting and thinking for myself so that I could succeed exactly how I wanted!

Deciding whether or not to transfer out of your university is a huge decision, so make sure you look at all of your options: finances, student life, academics, and family relationships. Ultimately, you need to make the decision that is best for your success in the future and your growth as an individual and whatever decision you make, stand up for it and make it work! If you have any questions or concerns about your experiences or about possibly transferring, feel free to comment below, send me an e-mail or direct message me on Twitter, I would be glad to help you or just be a sounding-board for your decision!

For those of you who celebrate Christmas, I hope you all have an incredibly Merry Christmas surrounded by your families and friends. Take joy in this time that you get to spend with each other!

enjoy the chase,

Monday, December 21, 2015

Making the Most of Winter Break

Hi everyone and Happy Winter Break for all of your who are off from college and from high school! When I was in high school, these were my favorite two weeks of the entire year because I could read a book and spend time with my family, and practice my dance routines in my down time without having the responsibility of a summer job or homework to do! Even now that I am on break from graduate school, I use this time to make new memories with all of my family and do projects I don't normally have time for! So, today I wanted to share some tips with you all on how to make the most of your time off from school this Winter!

READ A BOOK - This one is rather obvious, reading a book is important for growing your vocabulary and your general knowledge on a topic. Whether it be a self-help book, one about your career, or a magazine that you love to read cover-to-cover, then use this time to expand your mind and soak up new knowledge!

VOLUNTEER - We are in the season of giving now, so make sure you give up some of your time to help others. You can do something simple for a day like help at a soup kitchen or helping to organize the food pantry at a church in your area. You could also offer to read books to children at the local library! If it snows a lot where you live, shovel off your neighbor's driveway or walkway! It doesn't need to be some outland-ish Habitat for Humanity type of volunteering, but just giving a little bit of help and cheer to someone can go a long way for their happiness!

BUY YOUR TEXTBOOKS - If you are in college, buy your textbooks before Christmas, sometimes they offer pretty good shipping deals just because of the time of year. What's important though is to price compare your textbooks at different websites. I always price compare between my University Bookstore, Amazon, and Chegg to make sure I am not paying more than I need to for a specific book! BTW: Chegg is offering free shipping on orders over $85 until March 31st, so be sure to check that out to help save some money!! Also, if you buy your textbooks from your University Bookstore, don't pay the extra money to have them shipped home or to your off-campus apartment. Just go and pick them up on the first day of classes!

BINGE-WATCH TV - Take some time to relax and watch your favorite tv show while you can! Find a show or mini-series you've been waiting to see and lock yourself in your room with your puppy dog or kitty and watch it continuously! It will give your brain a break after final exams or large projects! I don't have NETFLIX (which is probably a good thing) but I usually will binge-watch Youtube videos or old tv shows that I have on DVD for a brain break!

WRITE YOUR RESUME - Use this time off to re-write and re-work your resume for on-campus jobs, possible internships, and if you're getting ready to graduate for your first big-kid job! You can find great pointers on the internet and if you are in college, use your Career Services Office to review it for any errors in writing or in presentation! You'll be happy to have one all ready to go when next semester gets busy and some leadership and internship opportunities come up!

SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY - This is also a no-brainer, but spend your time off with your family; your parents, siblings, grand-parents, aunts or uncles, or cousins. Try and see everyone at least once while you are home and you don't have to worry about projects, athletic events, or going out with friends. You will cherish this time, so make sure you spend it with the people you love!

MAKE STUDY CARDS - This is obviously the 'nerdy' option, but if you have a big exam that you will be taking in the spring or in the summer coming up, use this time to make some flash cards with key vocabulary that is needed for performing well on these exams. This is a rather brain-less task, its just copying words and their definition on a note card, so you could even do this while catching up on those tv shows. You can Google Search SAT Vocabulary or GRE Vocabulary or whatever exam you are taking to find words to make flash cards out of. While you're in the car riding to different family gatherings, you can take those twenty minutes and review some vocabulary with those flash cards!

Winter Break is a short break but that's what makes it great! You are able to rest and relax with your family, while doing productive tasks for the next semester! If you have some fun things you are doing this Winter Break to help you chase college, feel free to add them in the comments or tweet me @Chasing_College.

Later on this week, I will be posting about making the decision to transfer out of a college, if you're in those shoes, as well as, a movie or book marathon for all of the College Chasers out there! Have a great week everyone!

enjoy the chase,

Friday, December 18, 2015

Last Minute Shopping: College Apparel

Hello all!! While some of you may be finishing up some last minute shopping if you celebrate Christmas, I wanted to share with you all some great places where you can buy college apparel ... outside of the university bookstore. The university's bookstore is probably the best bet if you are planning ahead and you have some time to receive a package (if it is an out of market university), but here are some other ideas for stores and sites to visit!

Dick's Sporting Goods is an obvious choice if you need to go shopping. They normally have a variety of collegiate-wear in a variety of styles and sizes. A few weekends ago, I visited the Dick's Sporting Goods near my university and they actually only had Penn State apparel, which was a little disappointing, but they had a HUGE variety of sweatshirts and lounge pants, polo shirts, t-shirts, hats ... etc. Their website, though has a lot of the larger universities in stock for you to order. They also have cute stocking stuffer ideas or just small gifts you can give throughout the year to the fan!

Dick's Sporting Goods

PINK by Victoria's Secret has some cute apparel options for the fan who loves all things sparkly and snuggly.  They have some great sweatshirts and long sleeve shorts and even have leggings available. Now, I went into a PINK store to see if I could find some apparel in their store and I spoke to an associate and she said that their specific store does not carry them because it was smaller, but that the collegiate-wear was still available online, which it is. So, if you wanted to buy something in person, I would definitely check and see if the store near you has them in stock or if you'll need to buy them on the website.

Marshall's and TJ Maxx will have some apparel for whatever your large university is in your market area. I'm pretty sure that this also works for Burlington Coat Factory stores! For example, down where I go to school it is largely dominated by Penn State with some random universities thrown in there, whereas at home in Upstate New York, our TJ Maxx carries more Syracuse University items. So, if your fan loves the hometown team, you can find some really great buys for even better prices!!


Lauren James Co. is a smaller online clothing company that carry some shirts for the universities that primarily belong to the SEC. I have bought a few things from them and they were good quality and the customer service is incredibly helpful if there's any trouble. Their website is easy to use and also has a section for 'game-day' outfits for the fan that dresses up for the ball games! This is more geared for the woman in your life, who wants something cute to cheer their favorite team on!

Mall Collectible Shops usually have some great finds for gifts for the college fan! The one in the mall near me is called Sports Fever and I was really pleased by the selection of universities that they had there, ie: Temple University, Stanford University, University of Alabama, and lots of others! They also have a lot of collectibles from the NHL, NFL, and NBA, so no matter the fan in your life, these stores are a great stop to find something cool and unique!

Sports Fever

Sports Fever (I apologize for the poor quality,
stores don't have the best photographic lighting!)

Etsy is a really great place to shop to find something home-made and really unique that has your team's apparel on it. If you just search the university and home-made you can find a lot of neat things. You can also just search something like Southern Methodist University scarf or Northeastern University hair bow. These may take a little bit longer to ship, as they are home-made, so they wouldn't be really great for last-minute shopping, but you can always give it as a New Year, Valentine's or Birthday gift later on in the year!!

Foot Locker and Champs stores also have really great quality in universities that they carry. They try to cater to a large population so they carry larger universities. Also, if you live near Outlet Stores, you can always visit the Reebok, Under Armour, or Nike stores to see what they have there in terms of collegiate sportswear too!

Foot Locker

I hope these help you with any last minute shopping ideas or even if you are planning for next year! It is important to remember though that a lot of Department Stores like JC Penney, Kohl's or Macy's will carry collegiate apparel, however it will depend on what market you belong in. For example, in my search a few weeks ago, all I found was Penn State apparel because I work and attend a university in Pennsylvania! However, you can sometimes find some cool things like mugs, scarfs, ornaments, and hats at these places!

If you find some really great deals or odd/unique finds, feel free to add them in the comments! Happy Shopping everyone!!

enjoy the chase,

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Going to College in the City!

Hi everyone! I hope you all are having a great start to your week. Don't forget to finish up your college applications before the deadline and if you need help reminding your recommenders to send the evaluations, check out this post. Use the coming weeks and your Winter Break to finish up on your essays and to put the finishing touches on your applications.

So, this past weekend I went on a bus trip to New York City to see all of the Christmas decorations and to visit Rockefeller Center and that got me thinking of all of the great opportunities that going to college in a large city can offer you! Some of these large cities include NYC, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston, and Phoenix. Much like the college campuses that reside in these cities, the cities themselves each have personalities of their own that cater to different types of experiences students can have while studying there. Here are some of the great perks for going to college in a large city!

Cultural Events - Large cities generally have a diverse population, so the amount of cultural events such as festivals, meetings, banquets, art showcases ... etc. that revolve around different cultures is extremely high! If you celebrate different customs or are richly involved with your family's heritage, going to college in the city may be a positive experience for you. You can make new friends and even expand your horizons past the way you were raised to understand and learn about other cultures!

Artistic Expression - The amount of art that is present in large cities is unbelievable. Think about all of the museums, concerts, art shows, dance performances, theater showcases, and random street performances that you can attend throughout your 2 or 4 years in college in the city. If you are an artistic person or just like music, you can always find something to see or watch that involves an art-form. Additionally, most museums and concert halls provide discounts to students when you use your student ID, so make sure you take advantage of that!

No Need for a Car - A great thing about living in a large city is that you don't need to rely on your own vehicle to get to-and-from places. If you live close to that large city, you can usually get a train or a bus ticket at a fairly decent price for when you want to go home. If you have to fly home, you also have access to different airports that provide more opportunity to travel places (including if you want to just go on a vacation with your college friends.) Also, when you need to get around the city, public transportation is an affordable and easily accessible option. Taking a bus, trolley, or subway ride to your destination not only saves you money on parking fees and gas, it also saves you time in allowing you to read or study on your way to your destination!

Active Nightlife - City life is like none other! The restaurants, dance clubs, cafes, and events provide a unique experience for students. You don't just have to stay on campus to have fun, you can also go with your friends to the different events held around town. Go out to dinner at the Thai restaurant across town, or go to the new 18 and over dance club to have some fun after a stressful week! You'll never get bored of the food or entertaining options!

Shopping - Cities provide you with so many different stores to shop at for gifts or for your everyday items. I am a window shopper and that is how I de-stress, so thinking about all of the opportunities to shop in a big city excites me! You can find high-end stores, vintage shops, specialty stores, and even pop-up shops that only last for a season. You may find a store you really love shopping in and looking around so much that you get a job there (Hello, discounts!!).

Educational Opportunities - Another great thing about going to college in a large city is the number of other universities and college students that populate the area. You share your city with art schools, technical schools, large public universities, elite private colleges, and other specialty colleges that all offer a diverse student body! You can make new friends at area coffee joints or in the public libraries. Also, all of these colleges can offer additional opportunities to take classes and have them transfer into your college. (I'd always check with your adviser before paying for a class or enrolling.)  These courses can be public interest topics, something you need for your major, or just a class you find interesting that would fill a general education requirement.

Overall, attending college in a city can provide you with some great cultural, artistic, social, and educational opportunities. You can grow in your personal independence while still learning more about yourself and about the world that surrounds you! While moving from home into a large city can be scary, don't rule it out until you truly examine the positives of the universities and of the city you would be living in ... figure it all out before you make your final decision!

enjoy the chase,

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Some Thoughts ...

Hi everyone! I apologize for the absence lately ... I finished up my last week of work and my internship on Friday and am working on packing up my room so that I can move into a new apartment in a few weeks. I've been pretty busy lately, but I am excited to take some time off from school and work with the Winter Break and rest! I have some great blog posts coming up so stay tuned for those!

So, this past semester I completed a 300 hour internship experience within my university's Office of Disability Services. This is a requirement for my Master's Degree, but where we complete it and when we complete it is really up to the individual student. I finished my hours and had my 'final' meeting with my mentor on Friday to go over my evaluation and while I was walking to my car after the meeting, I had these thoughts:

Higher education, a college degree, is about finding a way to learn what you want! Yes, there are degree requirements and liberal arts credits that need to be met, but you can and should do everything in a way that gives you the experiences and the knowledge that you desire. In my opinion, there is no other place in the world where you have the opportunity to create an internship, work options, study abroad experiences, community service opportunities, and take classes that you enjoy and want than in higher education. You shape what you want to learn and you get to create your knowledge! Where else can you have that opportunity! I think that's awesome!

I usually give examples from my life, but tonight I want to give you an example from my boyfriend's experience earning his Associate's Degree in Diesel Technology. He is someone who has a lot of goals with many different jobs and experiences that he wants to have, which is great! (No matter who you are, you should always have goals, expectations, and things you are working towards.) So, in his two and a half years, he was able to complete an internship with Caterpillar engines, gain leadership experience through the Agricultural Engineering club, work on overhauling tractor engines in his coursework, and continue his own lawn care business.

Much like he took advantage of his coursework and experiences outside of the classroom, college is meshing all of your experiences to give you the best possibilities for the future. Find those internships that make you excited about your field. Apply for leadership positions that would help you in the long run. Volunteer with an organization that holds the same values as you or that endorses the businesses you hope to work for in the future. Surround yourself with people who are going to lift you up personally and professionally. And finally, Work towards your goals; as long as you can explain it to yourself, then that's all that matters.

enjoy the chase,

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wish I Knew Wednesday

"Don't sweat the small stuff ... You have to make the most of each experience because once you are on your own, you don't get the same opportunities." 
Sara K., 22, Johnson City, New York

Whether you're still in high school, in college, in your graduate school, or in your last year of medical school, it is so important to take advantage of all the opportunities afforded to you. But before you do that, you have to relax and enjoy the moment. While it may not feel like these moments are wonderful or everlasting, by the time you are out of them, you will miss the ease and carefree-ness of that stage of your life.  Here are some tips that will help you enjoy your moments and not sweat the small stuff!

Check out your local college to see if they offer
workshops to high school students

A high GPA won't get you into Heaven, but being there for a friend will! So, this is true. Yes, getting a good grade is important, especially if a high GPA is necessary for your next step in life, but if you've worked hard and performed well up to this point, then skipping three hours of studying to help a friend through a crisis, won't be too detrimental to your overall performance. Plus, that friend will be incredibly grateful for your help and support! True Story: My Senior year of college, I skipped an entire day of studying to spend the day with a resident who was having an incredibly difficult few days (I was her RA). She was incredibly grateful that I was there for her and my skipping that day of studying did make me do poorly on the Final Exam for the course, but it barely dropped my GPA.

Take time to go to Denny's or the mall with your group of friends! After you've graduated, you are going to miss spending time with your group of friends and you'll do anything to be with them. Because of this, soak up that extra fun time to be with them. I'm not saying completely blowing off your studying or flaking on a group project. I just mean, if the opportunity arises, spend time with your friends and create those memories which will keep you positive and upbeat! Besides, a break with your friends could help you refocus to get back to your schoolwork, college applications, or a job you need to do at home.

If it is meant to be it will be! I had to throw this cliche in here, but it is true! If something is meant to be, no matter how much worrying you put behind your application or your proposals, if it is supposed to happen it will! Any psychologist will tell you that worrying is the most useless emotion in the world because it does nothing positive for you! Now, I'm the definition of a worry-wart, but it was through my college experience that I learned with personal relationships, with school work, with leadership opportunities, and with jobs that all I could do was prepare and then once everything was submitted it was out of my hands. Now I'm spiritual, so I prayed about it, but other than that I didn't worry or extend too much of my time after my job was complete! That energy can be put to better use such as applying to another position/job or working on a different project or studying!

Take advantage of free/discounted experiences! Go on that high school field trip, go to Costa Rica with the Spanish Club, sing at Carnegie Hall, take that free writing workshop on Saturdays, and go with your family on vacation! These experiences are not lame if they are truly want you want to do! I said it before and I will say it again, this is your journey, no one else's. Don't be afraid to do something by yourself because no one else wants to go, especially if it is a free opportunity. My last two years of high school, I was granted with a lot of great opportunities and I took full advantage of them because I knew I'd never have that opportunity to do them again (especially at those prices). In my junior and senior years, I traveled to Canada and France with my high school and to North Carolina with my family, I attended Girls State and a Leadership Conference Series at a local college, I went to the zoo both years for two different classes, and I acted in the Senior Play! Not all of my friends wanted to do these events and I made friends at each opportunity, but because of this I have some great memories and experiences that have influenced me still today!

You are entering some of the greatest years of your life with some of the most influential people you'll meet! It's an exciting time so take advantage of the opportunities that are given to you! Do what's right for your personal growth and do things that make you proud of your achievements!

enjoy the chase,

P.S. Are you a college student who has a piece of advice to share, feel free to contact me through the Contact Page and I'll add it to a Wish I Knew Wednesday post in the future!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Monday Motivation - Finals Week

Hello everyone!! Happy Finals Week to all of the college students out there and Happy *almost* Winter Break to all of you high school students! While looking forward to time at home in your pjs, watching Netflix is its own form of inspiration, I also wanted to provide you with some extra motivation to finish out the next couple of weeks strong before you get a few weeks off from school!

** Once you're done with Finals make sure you take some time with your friends to de-stress before you go home for the holidays. Meet for coffee or lunch and spend time together not talking about studying, exams, or any reading you have to do! These are the moments you'll cherish and you can even make it a tradition for each semester after Finals. If you're in High School, go to a Sports game with your group of friends! Cheer on your home time in a tournament or travel to see them play against a local school!

This is just funny ... and we can all relate!

** Stock up on these items as you begin your final preparations for your classes this semester!
Highlighters, pens, and pencils
note cards and post-it notes
blank paper (to draw graphs/flow charts)
markers and crayons (for last minute projects)
any notes on lectures or readings
chocolate and iced cold water to keep you awake
a visual of why you're working so hard

** If you need a break from studying or you need some background noise while you're putting a portfolio together, then throw in your favorite movie, whether it be a holiday movie or just an everyday movie that you love! My suggestion is Legally Blonde or pick out some comedy videos from Youtube! (Dane Cook was my favorite my Freshmen year of college.)

** Buzzfeed (the Holy Grail Procrastination Station) has published a list of "31 Clever Tips To Make Life Feel A Little Easier," and you can find it here. If you're feeling overwhelmed or just feel like you need a break to collect your thoughts, that is okay! You're supposed to work up to Finals Week, so make sure you plan in some down time to relax yourself. 

I hope you all have a really great week filled with awesome accomplishments and thoughtful answers on your Final Exams. If you don't have Finals or Midterms for another couple weeks, then use this time to ask your professors and teachers about any concepts you don't understand or even tell you what may or may not be on the exam so that you can start preparing note cards! Don't wait until the last minute to start your studying ... its a marathon not a sprint! HAVE A GREAT WEEK EVERYONE!!!

enjoy the chase,

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide!

Hello all! So last night I presented this blog and my research on parental involvement for the capstone project for my Master's Degree and got a great response for it. So, in honor of my personal journey of chasing college, tonight I am really excited to share with you all the Chasing College Holiday Gift Guide! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the New Year, or just want a good reason to give someone a gift, I tried to come up with some unique and thoughtful ideas that would be perfect for anyone 'Chasing College.' Some gifts are geared more towards High School students, while some may be better for those already in college, but you can use your best judgement!!

  1. An XL Twin comforter and sheet set is a great gift during the holiday season. There are some really great sales at department stores this time of year, so might as well take advantage of the bedding sales! This specific comforter set is from JC Penney and you can find it here. My suggestion is to get your student an XL (extra long) Twin set because those will fit best with the beds in college residence halls. **Note: I got my bedding set for college the Christmas before I graduated from High School. I was able to pick out the colors I wanted and my parents were also able to get a good deal on them!
  2. If your student is a Junior in High School or they are a Senior and will be needing to take the SAT/ACT over again, I definitely suggest buying them a Review Book. While this may not be something on their list, it will be put to good use and is a functional gift! You can find these review books at every bookstore, on Amazon, and even possibly at Walmart. The price can range from $20.00 to about $45.00 depending on the type of book and what else it includes. My suggestion though is to buy a review book that is published by the company which owns/administers the specific test.
  3. This is a great time of year to gift your student, your friend, your roommate, whomever a new set of gloves, or a hat/scarf. These are invaluable in the winter months for walking to and from class, the Dining Hall, or the Library! You can also usually find some good deals on outerwear accessories during the holiday season, which is fabulous for the college students looking to give gifts on a budget!
  4. Lanyards and ID wallets are a great small gift you can get a friend or a family member. For the guys, I would suggest a lanyard from their favorite store or from a sports team they like. An ID wallet is a good idea for girls, as they can hold their keys, their IDs and anything small. These are essential for college students for keeping track of their room keys and their IDs (ie: their meal cards, access to dining facilities, and ability to print).
  5. For the people in your life who are constantly on their phones, I would suggest a portable phone charger as a great gift! You can find them almost anywhere, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon .. etc. Especially for college students who are away from their rooms from sun-up until sun-down, this would be a great electronic for them. **Parents: Your child would no longer have the excuse of  "My phone was dead," when they didn't call you back!
  6. While they are on sale, I definitely suggest buying snow/winter boots and giving those as a gift to your college chasing student! You have to walk everywhere when on a college campus, so it is necessary that you have a good, solid snow boot during the winter months. (Now, if you live in an area that doesn't see snow, I would suggest a good rainboot!) They should have treads on the bottom to help combat icy sidewalks, but also be warm enough for those jaunts across campus. Also, warm socks are a good "Stocking Stuffer" idea!
  7. In general, I feel like the holidays are when we give and receive more extravagant gifts than we would for any other holiday, so I would suggest giving a really high-quality winter or rain coat to someone in your life. (Again, this depends on the area you are going to college.) You'll want to gift a warm and water-resistant coat that the student would love. You can find these coats everywhere, JC Penney's, Dick's Sporting Goods, Marshall's, Macy's ... etc. **Note: I bought a Columbia-brand coat on clearance during the holiday season for college and I still have it and wear it today! It is so warm and if you buy the jackets with the inner and outer shell, then you can have two jackets in one - a fleece for the Fall, a rain jacket for the Spring, and a winter coat for the winter!
  8. I'm a firm believer that you should always give someone a book as a holiday gift, so this one is entitled The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College. It is a great resource for students who are going into college or who have just had a rough first semester. It offers interesting anecdotes about college life and tips on how to solve your problems! **There are a lot of these resource books out there, so do your research and find one that best fits the student you are gifting for.
  9. An electronic picture frame is a great idea for college students and those who are planning to go away ... actually, I think this is a good gift for pretty much anyone. But, you're able to upload your pictures as you want onto the USB or SD disc that comes with it and then it shows a slideshow of all the photos on the disc. If the gift receiver has limited room or has a lot of pictures they want to show, this is a great way to showcase them. You can find these at office supply stores and electronic stores like Staples or Best Buy!
I hope you all have enjoyed the 2015 Chasing College Gift Guide! I hope it provides you all with inspiration for your gift giving this month and even possible ideas for future graduation gifts for your loved ones! Do you have an great gift idea for someone who is 'Chasing College,' feel free to comment below!

enjoy the chase,