Tag Archives: College

Tuesday’s Tidbit

Image source: Unknown

Reflecting on the things you’ve said and done is important to growing as a person. 

Unfortunately, in my opinion, we overdo it once we think about or actually go to college. There are so many questions: “Did I pick the right school?” “Is this the right major for me?” “What DO I want to do?” “Who am I?” “What’s next?” “Skip a shower today?” “Drop out, transfer, or stick it out?” “How safe is it to eat 2-week old pizza?”

It’s ridiculous the number of questions you’ll ask yourself. (Let’s not think about the questions that come from the family, our friends, professors, etc.)

So, do yourself a favor and keep it simple. 

“Did I do the right thing?” 


Okay, then re-evaluate your decision and work to never be in that situation, or prepare yourself to handle that situation differently in the future. 


Cool. Now, think about how it benefited you, and how you can build on this benefit. 

Keep it simple. 

Don’t let “overthinking” become a second job, or a second major. You won’t get extra class credit for it. 

You’ll just get extra stressed. 

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Tuesday’s Tidbit: Office Hours – The Land of Opportunity Awaits

Too many students are afraid to attend office hours because it seems like they are being sent to the Principal’s Office without actually being sent to the Principal’s Office. 

Of course there are other reasons: you don’t have the time, you don’t like the Prof., their office is far, they’re never in there when they say they will be.
…doesn’t matter!

Go to office hours. They are truly the land of opportunity. Here are just a few ways to capitalize on your Professor’s office hours:

– You get to know to know more about the class material. 

– You can learn more about their field of expertise. 

– You can ask questions that you were afraid to ask in front of the class. 

– You can share what you want to learn, earn, and discern (see what I did there?) from the class. 

– You can ask questions about opportunities in the field (for example, internships, independent studies, study abroad funding, scholarships, conferences, etc.).

The list goes on! But, the point remains the same, go to office hours at some point over the course of the semester. 

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Friday’s Feature: Ronnie E. Hampston, Jr.

Current Position(s): K-5 School Service Worker and Adjunct Professor

Degrees: University of Cincinnati, B.S. in Criminal Justice/Organizational Leadership; University of Phoenix, M.S. in Administration in Criminal Justice

1. Why did you decide to attend college? I always felt that it was expected of me. Also, it was something that my parents nor grandparents did, so I wanted to…dedicate it to them.

2. What were some of the challenges you faced as a first-generation college student, and how did you overcome them?
I faced several challenges in school, from academic issues, to problems with financial aid, [and] problems with time management. I overcame them by just working hard and seeking help from advisors, tutors, or whoever was willing to help. Two of the biggest challenges that are not often spoken about are time management and accountability. In college, you don’t have an adult telling you what to do; and when you get accustomed to that type of freedom, it can cause you to be lazy. I had many sink or swim moments, but I was fortunate to make it out of school successfully.

3. What have been some of the payoffs for attending college?
Meeting my wife. Meeting lifelong friends. Obtaining degrees that will allow me to advance in my field.

4. If you could go back in time and change anything about your college career, what would it be
and why?

I would have not taken out as many loans. I also would have considered going to a community college to start off in order to save money. Also, I should have been more involved on campus.

5. If you could give any advice to current and/or future first-generation college students, what
would it be?

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Use the resources that are available to you. Try to get a paid internship every summer. Only take out loans when you absolutely NEED them. Research scholarship opportunities because there are so many out there.

Party hard, but study even harder.

I can’t help but notice the themes about time management and asking for help. College is a new to Gen1s and we tend to not know how to manage the two. But, like Ronnie suggests, once you learn how to handle time and ask for help, you can really turn things around for the good!

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Friday’s Feature: Cathy Cordova


Cathy Cordova, Business Administrator I (Texas A&M University), Junior majoring in History with a minor in Sociology (Sam Houston State University)

After exiting high school in the 10th grade and later earning her GED, Cathy focused on raising her children and working. Below, she tells Gen1Grad why she decided to go back and how she is making it work.

What made you go back to school now? Working at a place of Higher Education (here at TAMU) resurfaced the need to further my education. Having a supervisor that related to my situation, and encouraging me to go back to school.

What have been some challenges in going back to school? Time management is the biggest challenge. I returned with three small children, ranging from toddler to early elementary. Trying to balance full time employment, parenting responsibilities and school work is difficult. My grades are not what they could or should be but parenting responsibilities and work take priority.

What have been some of the highlights of going back? Learning. I enjoy Sociology the most, and love learning new ways of thinking about society or cultures. I like sharing some of what I am studying with my family.

Why was it so important for you to go back to school? It was so important because higher education was never really important or achievable to anyone in my family. 1 of 6 kids, and NONE of us graduated from high school, neither did our parents. You go to school until you can legally quit, then you get a job. That was the expectation and very common among Hispanic, low income families.

What advice would you give to someone else he was going back to school a little later in life? I would advise them to really invest in a time management tool, whether it be electronic or hard copy like a planner. Plan ahead as much as you can and prepare for life’s interruption because they happen frequently. Make the decision to not stop, no matter what comes your way. Take advantage of the student resources offered at school, like advising, counseling, and meeting with professors if you find yourself struggling in a class.

Is there anything you would like to add? I’m currently a Junior, just taking 6 hours a semester but, the older the kids have gotten, the harder it seems to devote time to school work. It really is difficult but they know how important it is to me and just including them by opening discussion at home when it’s affecting my grades seems to help. They become more aware of my “study time” and seem to be more helpful around the house during finals.

Wow! Great job Cathy. We are rooting for you and wish you nothing but success. You are an inspiration to people who are contemplating going back to school.


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Don’t Let Stress Become Normal


Photo credit: access.ewu.edu

It’s about that time when stress joins the class like it’s a student that was added late.

So, here are 10 tips for handling stress:

1. NEVER accept stress as normal. Please don’t buy into the idea that because you are in college, you must be stressed out. That is so not true! Stress is a choice.

2. Get your rest. That may mean sneaking in naps throughout the day (NOT IN CLASS). Try to get as much sleep as possible at night. Turn off the TV. Get off your phone. Focus on getting some rest. Give your mind, body, and soul a break.

3. Exercise. I don’t have to explain this one. Walk. Run. Bicycle. Lift weights. Get your yoga own. Do something that you enjoy that will allow you to relieve some stress.

4. Meditate. You can find some basic tips in this article by Revitalize entitled “Everything You Need to Know About Meditation.”

5. Enjoy a meal. So often we multi-task when eating without actually enjoying the food. Take some time to actual taste your food.

6. Listen to music. Put on your favorite song(s) or album. Or, listen to something new via a new Pandora station.

7. Laugh. A lot. If you need a little assistance, check out a YouTube video of laughing babies, pets doing tricks , anything. Just laugh.

8. Get some fresh air. Go outside, even if for just a few minutes. Let the Sun shine on your face. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Be present in this space for a few moments.

9. Talk. Yes, like, actually talk to someone. Vent. Tell them a good story. Pray with them. Introduce yourself. Interacting with others can take our minds off of the things that bother us the most – even if it is just for a few moments.

10. Do something mindless (for a short period of time). We cannot (and should not) “be on” all the time. Watch crappy TV. Read a magazine. Play Trivia Crack. Take your mind off of all of the things that you have to get done.

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Our Friday Feature

Keinda West,
Litigation Paralegal

BA Sociology-Criminology (2006, Ohio University) and an ABA approved Paralegal Certificate (2014, Long Island University – Brooklyn)

1. Why did you decide to attend college?

College was always something that was expected of me, but I went because I knew it was the next step in life. At the time I wanted to become a forensic scientist. That just was not going to happen without a college degree.

2. What were some of the challenges you faced as a first-generation college student, and how did
you overcome them?

I had a lot of fear because I have older siblings and I watched two of them attend college, but not finish. I always had it in the back of my mind that I wouldn’t finish as well. As expected, after my first year, I was on academic probation with a 1.7 GPA. The classes weren’t actually hard, I was just overwhelmed, depressed, and couldn’t find my footing. I didn’t turn things around until I realized that I wasn’t in this by myself and swallowed my pride to ask for help. In my sophomore year I talked with academic advisors, my profs, even my RA. All were glad to assist me with resources on campus. I also had to take my mind off who I didn’t want to become, a college failure, and focus on who I was striving to be, a college graduate.

3. What have been some of the payoffs for attending college?

Outside of earning credentials for the job market and a lifetime network, my whole worldview changed from attending college. I learned there was so much more in the world than the environment in which I grew up. Most important, I learned who I was. It’s where I developed my inner strength! One doesn’t necessarily have to attend college for those things, but that’s where I made my discoveries.

4. If you could go back in time and change anything about your college career, what would it be
and why?

I would have used my scholarship to attend a local community college for free! I chose not to attend because the school didn’t offer my major. However, I realized later that I could have used those two years to take my general education requirements and transferred to a 4-year school with my major to complete my degree…with less debt!

5. If you could give any advice to current and/or future first-generation college students, what
would it be?

Don’t borrow more money than you need. I didn’t discover that I could decline a portion of my loans until my senior year. The damage was already done. Each quarter I would receive and overage check of about $1500. Sure I used maybe $500-$700 of that for books, but the rest of that was not the free money I naively thought it to be. Of course, I knew I would have to pay it back, but who’s thinking that far in advance? So don’t spend all of your salary before you get the job you’ve been studying so hard for! Student loan payments are very real and all the hell that everyone says they are.

Additional info:
Since graduating in 2006, my mom has completed an associate degree in business administration and two of my older sisters have gone back to school and completed bachelor degrees in healthcare administration and electrical engineering. It’s truly been a blessing to watch them succeed as well.


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Visit Campus – Now!

If you are a junior or senior in high school, RIGHT NOW is the time to get on campus!

What do I mean?

You should visit (if you can) any Colleges or Universities you are/will/will consider applying to.

Open Houses are a great opportunity to see the campus and get a feel for the culture of the place.

What should you ask yourself?

Are the people friendly? Are they helpful? Can you see yourself living, studying, volunteering, being challenges, and getting involved there? Are your questions answered?

In sum:
Visit the campus.
Get a feel for it.
Think about whether or not that is the place for you!

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Interesting Read – Families lose with college tuition lawsuits

A lawsuit filed by a teen against her parents to force them to pay for her college tuition may soon be settled according to CNN on Wednesday but if not, a judge will decide this issue. Either way, the family has already lost.

This case

An 18-year-old high school senior left her New Jersey home. Parents and student disagreed as to the circumstances but both agreed there was plenty of family disharmony. “The lawsuit asked that her parents pay the remaining tuition for her last semester at her private high school, pay her current living and transportation expenses, commit to paying her college tuition and reimburse her friend’s parents for legal fees,” CNN reported.

Last week the judge denied the teen’s request that her parents pay for her private high school tuition and current living expenses with a friend’s family. The court set a date in April to address the remaining issues.

The judge may never get a chance to rule if the case is settled. On Wednesday, the teenager returned home to her family.

Other cases

Although parents are expected to support their children and see to their education, the responsibility after secondary school varies by state law.

Parents may decide to assume a further obligation for higher education on their own. In cases of divorce, this may become part of the divorce settlement. Parents reneging may be forced by court order to pay for their child’s college tuition.

“A New Jersey father has been ordered to pay half the cost of his daughter’s law school education at Cornell Law School, with his portion to be about $112,500, a New Jersey appeals court has ruled,” according to Monday’s article in FindLaw…

Continue reading at http://www.Examiner.com

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Work Ethic

work ethic
1. a belief in the moral benefit and importance of work and its inherent ability to strengthen character.


Source for definition: dictionary.com
Source for image: sd.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

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Turn Up (in School)

What if turn up was applied to school? No, I don’t mean turn up at a party or disrupt a classroom trying to become Vine famous. I am talking about turning up your efforts. I am talking about turning up those grades. I am talking about turning up your standards.

What if you actually spent more time with your head in a book than on a screen watching how other people live? What I’d “passing” a class wasn’t good enough? What if you got involved with student council, not aTwitter beef? What if you became a leader, not a follower?

What if you really got turnt up?

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