When I was applying to colleges and considering where to go, a big school never really crossed my mind. If you read my post about applying and choosing my college, you’ll know that I ended up applying to some big schools like Indiana University, UMN, and Wisconsin. I never imagined myself going to Wisconsin, but now that I have a semester down, I can’t imagine going anywhere else.
A huge drawback of Wisconsin for me was how big it is. I thought I would be totally lost and overwhelmed with the number of students there. I also thought it would be more difficult to find help or let me voice be heard. Instead, Wisconsin proved my misconceptions wrong and taught me that a big school is the way to go.
Here’s a list of reasons why I personally think big schools are the best.
Even if you’re not a huge sports person, the spirit of game day is something you won’t get at a smaller school. Saturdays (aka game day) become your favorite days. The games are so fun no matter what because everyone around you is so excited. My first Wisconsin football game made me instantly fall in love with the school. I never realized how important college sports would be to my overall college experience.
There are so many ways to meet all kinds of people at a big school. Going to a school of about 40,000 students can be overwhelming and intimidating. From your dorm floor, to intramural sports, there are so many more opportunities to meet amazing people.
If you are interested in getting involved in Greek life, a big school is the place to do it. There is a much larger emphasis on Greek life at larger schools. Getting involved is a way to make the school seem smaller and gives you great opportunities to be social.
Since a lot of students go to big schools, it’s likely that there will be someone you know that’s there. Whether that’s a best friend or a friend of a friend, it can make the transition to college and the task of making friends much easier.
I was drawn away from Wisconsin because I knew so many people going there and I wanted to branch out. However, it’s a big enough campus where unless you actively seek them out, you most likely won’t run into the girl you used to have drama with.
Going to a big school makes switching majors and exploring different subject areas super easy. You may be drawn to a small school for a specific program, but if you end up not liking it your options may be limited.
There are SO many opportunities for involvement at a large campus. Any one of your interests most likely has some sort of club. There are also great opportunities for professional development, volunteering, and groups that pertain to what you’re studying. It’s a great way to build your resume, learn, and make friends!
Since the school has so many students, that means there are also tons of alumni all over the world. Chances are, they are still very passionate about their school. You never know, in the future this small connection may help you.
What do you like best about your big school? Or what do you like best about a small school? Let me know in the comments!
With finals week just around the corner, as well as my chemistry final exam (help), instead of studying, I figured I would give some advice on how to study for a hard exam. Before I start, I would just like to give a quick shoutout to AP Latin, whose difficulty truly taught me how to prepare for a hard exam, since every test I took for that class has been harder than any exam I’ve taken in college. Let’s just say it’s a blessing I’m done with Latin forever (and got 8 college credits from the AP)!!
Pay attention in class when your professor is going over the requirements or what is expected to know for the exam. Email your professor and/or your TA to ask what they suggest you study from (i.e. lecture slides, text book, practice problems). You can save yourself a lot of time by not wasting it on material that won’t be covered on the exam.
This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just jot down what you are going to study on what days. Spread it out and make sure you are giving yourself enough time to cover all of the material. Start as soon as possible! Now, I’m not someone who can say I study ahead all the time, but I know cramming leads to less retention!
Separate the information using different colors. Make use of charts and diagrams. Make a study guide that is so cute that it will make you WANT to study the information. Here’s a Pinterest board with some inspiration.
Teaching the information to someone else is proven to improve memory of the subject. Speaking the information out loud better solidifies it in your memory.
Once you get into a routine in a certain spot and study there repeatedly, its easier to get distracted. Scope out a new, clean study spot whether that is a busy coffee shop or a quiet room in the library. Change your surroundings!
This means drinking plenty of water, taking time to eat, walk around periodically, and getting plenty of sleep. Pulling an all-nighter the night before the exam has proven to do more harm than good. I’m not telling you to get 8 hours of sleep (because that’s just unrealistic), but as a college student, I would say get at least 5.
I learned in Psych 202 this year that the best way to study and remember material is to test yourself. Use practice problems from your textbook, re-do questions from the past exams, or re-do practice problems that your professor has given you.
This is easier said than done, but a 5 minute break can quickly turn into an hour if your phone is involved.
What other advice do you have for students preparing for a hard exam? Let me know in the comments!
I’m not going to lie to you, sorority recruitment was on of the most exhausting and frustrating weeks of my life. Also, keep in mind I attend the University of Wisconsin, where Greek life is much more low-key compared to other schools like in the South. Despite the tough couple days, I ended up in Alpha Phi which I LOVE, and the whole process was totally worth it!
With spring recruitment coming up, I figured I would give some advice to the girls preparing to go through recruitment next semester or anytime in the future. Here are some do’s and do not’s of rush based on my experience.
In case you don’t know what these are, the 5 Bs include: Boys, Booze, Brands, Barack (politics), Beliefs (religion). This was emphasized SO MUCH while I was going through rush. The girls recruiting you don’t want to know about these things. In fact, many may drop you for making one of these topics one of the main parts of the conversation. It’s best to just stray away.
I was so nervous going into recruitment that my conversations would be awkward and we would run out of things to talk about. Don’t worry! The girls work for months preparing for recruitment. They are trained in what to say, what questions to ask, and how to keep a conversation going. You might get asked the same questions over and over again, but at least you’re not sitting in awkward silence.
At Wisconsin, two of the most important rules are 1.) do not reach out to chapter members outside of recruitment 2.) do not go to fraternity sponsored events. The rules are taken very seriously, and failure to follow them means you’ll most likely get dropped. Make sure to pay attention to and follow the rules at your school.
Forget what you’ve heard before or during rush. This is easier said than done, but the whole point of rush is to get a true feel of each chapter and what they are all about! Keep an open mind about each house and make your own judgements AFTER you’ve visited the chapter and have conversed with some of the girls.
Believe me, I know it can be tiring and frustrating when you keep getting dropped by houses. I almost dropped out of rush so many times. There was a time where I had the most amazing, genuine conversation with a girl, and then I got dropped from that chapter the next day. It seriously crushed me. The process is confusing and complex. The girls recruiting are feeling out your personality to see if you’ll be a good fit for their chapter. It’s easy to get frustrated but STICK WITH IT because it WILL be worth it.
I may have been guilty of this and I honestly think this is the reason I got dropped from one sorority. Don’t ask “Do you know _____? She’s in this sorority.” Of course they know them. Telling the girl recruiting you that you know someone in their house isn’t going to help you, only hurt you.
Some essentials I would suggest bringing with you to recruitment are: 1.) a pair of comfortable shoes (you’re going to want to change out of your heels after a couple hours) 2.) snacks (cannot emphasize this enough- getting hangry will not serve you well) 3.) deodorant and perfume to freshen up 4.) extra makeup if you wear some 5.) water
This means getting enough sleep between days and drinking plenty of water. In most houses you literally have to scream because there are so many girls trying to talk in the room. I got really sick after the first couple days lost my voice, so I kept having cough attacks right in the middle of a conversation with a chapter member! Rush takes a lot out of you physically. The days are long and tiring, so give yourself time to recover!
I can’t tell you how many times I heard these words during rush. But as cliché as it sounds, it’s true. Some houses that you dislike at first very well may become one of your favorites. Keep an open mind during every round of rush. 95% of the time, you will end up in the house that fits you best. The process is confusing, but it’s proven to work.
There is really no need to dress up like a sorority stereotype. Again, the whole point of rush is for the different houses to see if you would be a good fit for their chapter. Dress in what you think looks best. Wear as much makeup as you want, or none at all. Truthfully, you will stand out if you dress in a way true to you, rather than looking like 90% of the other PNMs.
If you truly want to become a 4-year member of a sorority, make sure to ask the right questions. Make sure to ask how much the time commitment is, the grade and live-in requirements, and about what everyone in the chapter is involved in. Find 30 more questions to ask here.
You are not going to want to come across as a negative and cynical person. Leave the big fight with your friend out of the conversation for now.
Yes, rush may get “cultish” at times. However, the ceremonies or presentations they are showing you are special to that sorority, so do not make a mockery of it. Also, if you get invited back to a house that you dislike, still be polite and gracious to the girl recruiting you. The girls can tell when you don’t want to be there and just because you may not want to join their chapter does not mean you can’t still be respectful and engaged!
I have already stressed this point, but don’t let the reputation of the house or what your friends are saying sway you. If a house feels right for you, THEN STICK WITH IT! The whole point is to find where you belong, and if you are connecting with the girls in a particular sorority, it’s likely that’s where you belong.
If you’ve gone through rush, what other advice do you have for girls preparing to go through the process? I’d love to hear what you have to say!
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