Advice From a Senior: How to Prep for College

This weekend I visited home and got to chat with my younger siblings and cousin about my best advice for college. As the oldest of all the cousins, I’m the first to go through the 4-year process and working in admissions means I have LOTS of advice about going to college! I decided to share some of my top tips here, too. I’ve learned a lot in four years and I hope some of this advice is of use.

  1. Take high school seriously!

Let me be clear – your GPA doesn’t define you. You are MUCH more than a grade, a score or a mark on a test. However, doing your best in school is really important. Chances are, if you give it your honest best shot, you’re going to come out with a pretty decent GPA. This is going to help when it comes time for scholarship money, and EVERYONE loves free money, right? So don’t give up after you get that first acceptance letter, because your grades matter all the way til’ the end and they could end up saving you some cash in the long run. Temple is really incredible about giving scholarships based on academic merit – you can check out the five different tiers of scholarship they offer here – and that’s JUST based on your academic performance. On top of federal aid or outside scholarships, this annual award could really help! So try your very best and turn in your best work. It’s worth the extra effort in the long run.

  1. Trust your gut.

Choosing a school is hard. It’s SO hard. When you first start looking around, you’ll feel like there are a million options with a million pros and cons. This is kind of true. There are many varied, diverse types of higher education institutions. Some colleges are urban, some are rural, others right in between. You might be one of 26,000 undergrads or one of 2,000. Your school might have tons of on campus housing, or maybe it is typical that every student lives off campus. This is just to name a few examples. My best advice here is to take a big deep breath, explore plenty of diverse options, and at the end – trust your gut reaction! I know it’s corny, but what they say is true: when you know, you know. Let me tell you a story.

When I first visited Temple’s campus, is was only because I had gotten into a school that I simply could not afford. I was interested in checking out Temple, but I was still really upset about not being able to go to the other school. Even still, when I walked down Liacouras Walk for the first time, I suddenly felt comfortable there. I looked around and saw students having lunch, chatting with friends, walking to class, and I thought…”Yeah, I can see myself in their shoes. I think I can really fit in here.” And boy, was I right. I trusted my gut and made the greatest choice I have made yet in my life. Temple opened every door for me, gave me lifelong friends, and showed me where my passions and talents truly lie. All because I went with my gut instinct! So trust yourself, and you’ll end up in the right spot.

  1. If you take an AP class, take the AP test!

This is something I didn’t do and I wish I had. If you’re already in the class anyhow, it’s definitely worth it to at least give the test a try! Those credits, if accepted at your future university, could help you graduate sooner or allow you to check off a gen-ed requirement from your list early on, which will open up room in your schedule for your major classes or other interesting electives. As long as you paid attention in class, the test should at least be something take give a shot at. Double check with your potential colleges if you’re a senior, and make sure they’ll accept the AP credits!

  1. Enjoy the process.

By the 10th college tour, you might feel a little burnt out. If you haven’t found “the one” yet, you might even feel a little discouraged. Just remember one thing – this time in your life never occurs again! Looking at schools and colleges is a unique, exploratory time in your life that you can never get back. I know this sounds silly, but you’ll look back on the process and miss it a little one day. That feeling of being right on the edge of your next big step in life, the unknown and excitement that is ahead of you – that is a beautiful thing! Even if your feet start to ache after one too many walking tours, try to smile and really take it all in. You’ll be glad you did.

Have specific questions? Let me know below! And don’t worry – college truly is the best years of your life. It’s all worth the process in the end.

Senior Year Blues: How to Combat Them

It’s September! I am beyond excited about the seasons changing, the chai tea intake increase, and the sweaters. Oh, the sweaters.

In fact, I’ve been so excited for the fall to arrive that I’ve been wishing away the summer days. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I wish it would just get cold already!” or “Can summer end yet? Is it October now or what?”

But in the process of this, I’ve been wishing away precious time of my senior year as well. In fact, my roommates and I figured it out today that we only have about 150 more school days left – OF COLLEGE. EVER. THATS IT.

This fact makes my whole world stop spinning momentarily – just like any change, the thought of college ending is just a big huge looming cloud of blues for me. How can I leave Temple? My best memories are here, my friends, my activities, my first big-girl apartment, my favorite bagel place in town (BAGEL HUT.)…  all of these things make up the best 4 years of my life. It’s hard to imagine that those days are coming to an end. And, it’s easy to get bogged down in the blues when you think of it like that. So if you are a fellow senior, be that high-school or college, here’s a quick fix list to cure that sadness and start making the most of your most exciting year yet.

1 – Change your perspective.
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This one is simple, and the groundwork for the rest of my suggested steps. Quite simply, just don’t think of the eminent end of your time in school as a sad thing. It’s not sad! Everyone has to graduate sometime. College and high-school aren’t meant to be forever (unless you’re reaaaaallly rich….) and they’re meant to come to an end. It isn’t a bad thing to be graduating – in fact, it’s completely a positive. You’ve reached a major milestone – so try not to get too down on yourself. Life is good! You are successful! Your future is at your doorstep! If we start to see this concept in a positive light, instead of a negative one, our whole demeanor is going to change from stormy to sunny. And the rest of your life will benefit as well. Better attitudes are always better in general.

2 –  Make every day count. 

imgresSo you’re right. Time is ticking. You’ve only got so many days left in this routine you call life – so why mope?! Make the most of every single day. Literally. My best suggestion is to always set intentions for yourself. When you go to sleep, reflect on your day to come in the morning. Find at least ONE fully positive thing to look forward to the next day. It can be your lunch, an hour of Netflix you’ll get to watch, a visit with a friend, or a personal achievement you’re about to complete. Find something every night and the next day, cherish it. I do this and I swear by it. When I don’t practice this, I always notice my mood slipping. Give it a shot. And each day, do something meaningful. Make it count.

3 – Journal.

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Sometimes I find that I get anxiety about change because I’m afraid of forgetting. I never want to let go of routines, because I always want to remember the positive things that come out of them every day. To combat this, keep a journal. Even if it’s just one or two lines every day, write down the positives and negatives of your day-to-day life as it is now. You’ll feel better in the process, and then you’ll have something tangible to look back on for memories sake. Plus, you’ll probably come to realize that every stage in life has it’s ups and downs – nothing is ever perfect, so change is always a good thing. Sometimes we just need some self-reflection to see that.

4 – Find excitement in your future. 

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Whether you’re getting read to apply to your future college, heading to a whole new state for Grad school, or preparing to start your professional career as this year ends, you’re headed to a new adventure. GET EXCITED! You deserve to be proud of yourself and be happy about the next path you’re headed down. Dwelling in the moment will only mean you’re missing chances to be happy for yourself. Read travel guides for your new city, plan adventures for your final summer before college, or just pat yourself on the back for making it through whatever stage of life you’re getting ready to end. You did it – relish that.

5 – Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. 

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Seriously. The age old saying, corny but true. Nothing that ever brought you joy once in your life should also bring you sadness. Only positivity should be harbored within you – it is good for your soul that way. Reflect on all of the great memories, personal growth, achievements, and new experiences you’ve gained through high school, college, or whatever phase of life you’re in. Appreciate every little piece of it. It has made you the person you are today. Be thankful for it, always. It will help you carry your amazing journey forward in life – and you’ll always get to look back and smile.

So there it is, folks. Don’t let the senior year blues get you down! See you on the flip side.

All the best,

Paige

9 Things No One Will Tell You About Working in New York City (Because You Learn Them Anyway)

New York has always represented the ultimate dream, at least to me. The bustle of city life, the way the whole place never really sleeps, and the absolutely incredible music market here is what makes New York the holy grail in terms of places I want to work. Somehow, with the support of my amazing family and friends, I managed to land myself an internship in the city this summer – an internship in music publicity, the field I absolutely love. I think it’s time we lay out the ground rules for working in NYC. Are you ready?

What Even IS My Life?!

Hello Friends! As I type this, I am taking a moment’s break from my work at my internship in London – something I haven’t yet mentioned but one of the coolest opportunities I have here.

My placement is with a music venue, which hosts club nights and live shows in all genres, ranging from very popular soul/jazz/funk shows all the way to Bhangra nights (I’m not sure what it is either, no worries.) My role is media marketing, social media coordination, and PR work for an album that was just released! Finally, I’m stepping into the world of music PR like I have always wanted to. It’s been one of the coolest, most useful experineces I’ve had being abroad so far, so I wanted to mention it! 🙂

After work today, I’ll hopefully go get some delicious ice cream with my roommate Tess, and then tonight at 11:30pm I’m hopping on a LONG bus with my boyfriend up to the North of England – to Newcastle! I will finally get to see the English countryside properly, and maybe….just MAAAYBE, we’re going to check out Alnwick Castle — AKA THE INSPIRATION FOR HOGWARTS:

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I’m geekin’ out, ya’ll.

So basically I get to travel…again. I’ve been so blessed with the trips I’ve taken while I’ve been here. The cool thing about Europe is that nearly everything is connected by a train or bus, and flights are short even if you do have to take to the sky. It makes it easy and quick to get away from London (a transportation hub, of course) and to see some really amazing places. Wondering where I’ve been?

I could rant for hours about each and every place and all the food, sights, smells, sounds and good times I’ve had, so I think I’ll just pick ONE picture from each place to show you how I best remember each city.

Let’s take a little Eurotrip, yeah?

Brussels, Belgium:

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Cardiff, Wales:

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Lisbon, Portugal:

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Belém, Portugal:

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Amsterdam, Netherlands:

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As the program carries on, I will be seeing Paris, Normandy, hopefully Ireland, Germany, maybe Poland, and I’m ending my trip with a beautiful, beautiful journey down the Italian coast with my best friend. What a beautiful world out there. If you ever get the chance to study abroad – please take it from me. IT IS WORTH IT. It is worth every long application, every penny saved, every hour spent sleeping on a bus. Do it. Follow the dream – it’s possible!

I’m scheduling some posts to be added automatically to this blog every other day. It will include a lot of food, some crazy stories, and more. Look out for them!

Wait…What’s a Beigel?

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Hello America!

I’m in London now. LONDON! Can you believe it? I still wake up every morning in what feels like a weird, heavily-accented dream. It’s been just about a month now that we’ve been living and studying here and I can’t even begin to describe to you my experience thus far. I’ve been trying to come up with a way to break this down for the blogosphere. I could ramble on about the British way of life, the fact that there are streets here older than my own home country, the food, and even the weather – but one of the craziest things I’ve noticed while I’ve been living and learning here is that there are so wild, random, hilarious quirks of London. They seem insignificant, but they are exactly the things that come together to make up whatever the idea of “being British” really is.

Some are silly, some are just plain odd, and others are really, really useful. Please carry on reading, for your viewing and consuming pleasure, my list of the Top Most Bizzare & Awesome Things about London.

1. Bagel is spelled wrong (Beigel) …but they taste so right.

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The first time I saw a sign for a ‘beigel’ I stopped dead in my tracks and pointed up at the sign, saying “Is that a typo?” Turns out no, it’s definitely not, and beigels, when you can find them, are absolutely NUTS here. NUTS!!!!!! If you read my blog you probably know how much I love Temple’s Bagel Hut. I would never be disloyal, but I have to say, the bagels here are incredible. They’re often baked Jewish traditional style, and you can even just eat them warm without cream cheese. THAT’s how great they taste. They’re 25 pence, (cents here) so you can literally just fish around in your pocket for some loose change and get to taste one of the most amazing things to ever happen to British society. You have. No. Idea. So maybe they spell it funky, but if a few extra letters equals that much delicious taste, I will personally change the official spelling in Webster’s. Beigels 4 EVER.

2. Outlets have off & on switches – read: SUSTAINABILITY IS HUGE!!!!!

Alright. Ya’ll might think that the USA is all about that going green thing – wrong. Not compared to England. They LOVE to save the environment. Which is awesome! Just living here makes me feel like I’m saving the world a little more every day. All of the outlets here have little power switches on them – which took me a while to get used to (“wait…this isn’t charging at all.”) but really does make an energy saving difference. The push for keeping London clean and friendly for the environment is everywhere you go – even in public. It’s an awesome, refreshing change and already has instilled within me better habits like turning the lights out when I’m not in the room, walking places when possible, and always recycling (its fool proof here! so many color coded bins!!!!)

3. There is no right way to walk on the sidewalks.

You know the rule in America. Stay on the right, and so will everyone else. There is a definite traffic flow on the sidewalks. Not so much here. My roommate and I were convinced when we got here that it was proper to walk on the left of the sidewalk, just like the cars here drive on the left side of the road (which, side note, is the correct way to drive, according to history. America & other places just decided to change that up! You learn something new everyday folks). Turns out, walking on the left is not something everyone does. In fact, no one really does anything specific. People just sort of go where they want on the sidewalks – right, left, a little of both – and it makes for some serious people-dogding. At first, this was SO tricky for me. Now I’m pretty used to the back and forth shuffle of the streets. BUT! There is one guaranteed rule of thumb – if you are on an escalator coming out of the tube, you have to stand on the right so people can walk quickly up the moving stairs if they choose on your left hand side. This one is a huge no no to break – we have learned the hard way, folks.

4. Dogs. Don’t. Use. Leashes.

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MOM!!!!! DOGS JUST RUN FREELY HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!! (hey mom.) That’s right, even the animals are proper enough to be let loose around this place. I’m not sure if it’s just the way the culture is, or the training of their animals, but for whatever reason dogs know not to stray from their owners when they walk through parks and even sometimes on streets. Although I have seen this less on the sidewalks (cars and lots of people probably are a concern) in Hyde Park, home of my afternoon runs, the dogs just do their thing. Sometimes they stick close to mom & dad, other times they run ahead and check out the scenery while they wait for their human to catch up. As a dog lady, this warms my puppy loving heart. It also presents a real challenge, as all I want to do is run up and hug that dog until it can’t handle the love anymore.

5. There is no such thing as a 1 pound bill.

It’s a coin! Never in my life have I used so much change before, ever. Instead of having a wad of singles, my wallet is always crazy heavy from the weight of one and two-pound coins. Personally I think it’s way cool, because the coins are gold colored and I feel really regal. So that’s neat.

6. Pretty much everyone is friendly and the food really is quite good.

I say this because people warned be that the Brits are cold and the food is bland. I haven’t had any poor experiences here with either food or people! I’m happy to report the British folk eat really well, and they smile, too. Overall, I have had such an amazing experience thus far. For me, it’s all about immersing myself in what is really proving to be quite a different culture. I can’t wait to see what the next three months hold for me and the rest of the Temple crew while we’re here, but hopefully you learned a little from me so far.

Miss you, Philadelphia! (Especially miss you, co workers & bosses!!!!! xoxoxo)

Pip pip cheerio!

Paige

5 Weird Things I’ll Miss Like Crazy

I have a few crazy things to address right now –

1. Finals came and went already. Where did that time even go?! Don’t ask me. I spent more than one night not sleeping, working way, WAY hard on assignments. I don’t recommend too many all nighters, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, right? That was my schedule for the last two weeks of school – work hard during the day, work even harder at night. It really paid off, though! I had an extremely successful semester thanks to my classmates, my friends, and my coworkers. Finals week definitely kicked my butt, but in the best way possible.

2. Campus is so nice on the break! This is my first time ever staying here after classes have officially ended. On the 17th, I moved out of Elmira Jeffries for the final time. That residence hall is the place I called home for 3 consecutive semesters, along with my roommate, Tess. She’s going to London as well – as a result, we both moved out completely at the end of finals week. I don’t think it really hit us hard until we were left standing in the middle of our empty living room, getting ready to turn off the lights and lock up for the final time. For me, the experience sort of overwhelmed me. I wasn’t just saying goodbye to my apartment, I was leaving behind my junior year on main campus. That includes my friends, my job, and everything I know to be “normal”. When we shut the door and shouted a last goodbye to our friendly ghost roommate (that’s another story entirely – we just call her Elmira though) I was suddenly totally aware that this is real, and happening, and coming so soon. I am closing out a chapter of my life and starting a new one, and that is just insane to me. Thank you to all my pals – you make goodbyes so bittersweet, and that makes me happy, because I know I have wonderful people in my life too say “see you later”  to. You make it all worth it, buds!

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2. According to my countdown app, I’m looking at only 15 sleeps left until London, England!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT EVEN!!!!!!! I can’t wait, but I have noticed in the last few weeks, as everyone else left campus and left me here to work, I’ve spent more time thinking about the little things that I’m going to miss a million times over.

So for your reading pleasure, the 5 Weird Things I’ll Miss Like Crazy:

5. Those Water Bottle Filling Stations All Around Campus:

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I wasn’t kidding about this list being weird. I LOVE THIS LITTLE GADGET. They’re all over campus because we have a huge push for sustainability at Temple – and these are just one way we reduce carbon emissions (by eliminating waste created by plastic bottles that can be tossed out after 1 use). All I know is, they sure are convenient. Obsessed with them, honestly. Goodbye, water bottle fillers.

2. Roaming Data aka 3G

This is a lame one, but I’m definitely going to miss the internet access on my phone. REALLY lame. I know. In all reality, I know I won’t actually miss this at all! Because I’ll be way way busy living a rad life abroad. But, it will definitely be an adjustment. Although I know its absolutely for the better, I will miss bothering Siri on a regular basis without wifi. 😉

3. The Owl Loop

If you’re unaware, the Owl Loop is a shuttle that runs on campus after dark, and leaves from the Tech Center. Like I said, I’ve been the queen of all nighters lately. Basically, the Owl Loop has saved me from SO many cold walks home to EJ. Living in the city means I am used to walking, and commuting, and taking the train. So the luxury of just being able to sit down and let someone else get me home for a change is literally game changing. LOVE it. I’ll miss it quite a bit, but at least I’ll be able to explore London on foot.

2. Having a Job

If you know me, you’ll know I love routine and familiarity almost as much as I simultaneously love adventures. Having a regular schedule, the same work shifts each week, and familiar faces in the office are major factors to my daily happiness. I’m going to miss that, so so much. The good news is, I’m taking classes and interning while I’m abroad – which means, in some respects, I’ll eventually have a routine just like home. So it’ll all work out! But nothing will replace my owls. I’ll miss you all!!

1. BAGEL. HUT.

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WHY YES, I DID SAVE THE BEST FOR LAST, THANK YOU. Listen up. Bagel Hut is my place. I eat there too much. Way too much. Anyone that knows me knows my infinite, undying love for “B-Hut”. I joked a few times that the first place I’ll have my parents bring me when I land in May is Bagel Hut, but I really don’t think I’m kidding. That’s how much this place means to me in my heart and soul. Oh Bagel Hut. I’ll be back for a toasted dark Sesame with cream cheese really, really soon.

Owlting: The Ben Franklin Bridge

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Around the office, we joke that whenever a bunch of us Owl Ambassadors go out, it’s an “Owl-ting”! I love a good owl pun so this really tickles my fancy.

Some of the best Owl-tings are the unexpected ones. Last weekend, after having a really great weekend with a wildly successful Open House (3,800 attendees! Come visit us!), Billy B, a fellow owl and I wanted to unwind.

We started by getting a late brunch at Morgan’s buffet style dining hall, which I have yet to eat at this year. Not having a meal plan means I usually cook or just grab food on the go, but Billy happens to be my favorite person ever and gave me a meal swipe to join him for unlimited breakfast.

I really love breakfast.

Paige

Told you. Look at that face.

As we were chatting, Billy asked me if I wanted to go down to Old City to walk the pedestrian path along the Ben Franklin Bridge. If you aren’t aware, that’s the bridge that connects us directly to New Jersey. I had no idea you could walk along it, and I also sort of hate bridges. Ask any of my friends from home about how I used to put my feet up if we drove over one! Either way, I NEVER say no to a trip to the city, so of course I went!

I feel like these pictures really speak for themselves. I’ve never seen so much of Philadelphia’s skyline all at once… absolutely. insane. I almost teared up actually, because I was just so impressed by seeing all of the city at once. I totally owe Billy, because I had no idea this view was even an option as far as getting to walk the bridge. It’s one of his favorite spots in the city and I’m so happy he let me see it too. 🙂

Because when it boils down to it, I am as much apart of Philadelphia as every building on the skyline and every person on the sidewalks and every car that drove past us while we walked the bridge up and down. That feeling was so rad – after three years of school here, and as I get ready to depart for London in 53 days, nothing was more peaceful than to know that I really do have a home here to come back to.

Sorry about the sap! Please enjoy the photos. I’ve also included a panorama of the view from the Race Street Pier, which sits just next to the bridge itself. We walked to the end, sat and talked, and watched the Duck Tour boat/cars come into the water. I waved to them all – I’m sure those duck tourists absolutely loved it.

Later today is my pre-departure meeting for London Spring 2015! It’s getting so much closer, I can’t believe it. Can’t wait.

Have an amazing Friday, world!

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