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Author Archives: Erich
Sitting here I can’t believe that I am half-way through my second semester of college. It felt like yesterday that I was researching and planning what colleges I was going to apply to. Looking back, I played it safe when applying to college. In reality, the time when you apply to colleges should be one of the times in your life when you don’t play it safe. During this time you are giving an opportunity to go practically anywhere, and because of this, you should definitely apply to multiple reach colleges.
I applied to quite a few schools, and the five that were at the top of the list, for a variety of reasons were; Rutgers University, Widener University, St. Joseph’s University, Drexel University, and Stockton College. I analyzed each of these schools an insane amount of times, and honestly stressed a lot about which was the best place for me to go. I believe that the best way to grow our own opinions is to listen to and dissect other people’s opinions; Because of this belief I am going to go through each college/university in my Top 5 list and state a couple of reasons why I liked or disliked them. The first university that I am going to discuss is St. Joe’s. For those of you who don’t. St. Joe’s is located in the Philadelphia area. Despite the common misconception about Philadelphia the area that St. Joe’s was located in was very safe. The thing that I liked about the university was the evident camaraderie among the students and faculty. Both groups were extremely welcoming and insisted on you feeling at home while on the campus. Additionally, the abundance of student facilities shattered across the campus was reassuring that the school contained everything a student needed to succeed. On the negative side, because St. Joe’s is on the smaller side it is extremely important that you feel and see yourself on the campus, and instinctively look forward to returning. Sadly, these feelings did not resonate with me.
Widener is the second university that I am going to discuss and also lies in the Philadelphia area. This university was very popular with me. From the moment I got my acceptance letter I felt welcome. Out of all the acceptances that I received, Widener University definitely seemed the most excited about each individual person admitted. When I visited the campus on accepted student day, the genuine welcome continued. The campus was very nice, however if you go over one wrong bridge you will find yourself in a tough neighborhood. The facilities were plentiful and up-to-date and the faculty was nice, knowledgeable and friendly. To this day I can’t think of anything majorly wrong with Widener, they offer very generous financial aid (based on my experience) and they offer a solid and exciting environment to build your professional career.
To wrap up our Philadelphia trio, Drexel University is another university I visited and really liked. Unlike the previous two, Drexel is huge university. During the application process I think Drexel was my first choice. Concerning what Drexel has to offer, there are no negatives. Drexel University has tons of dining, recreational and academic offerings for their students. Besides the superb academics that are offered at Drexel the thing that attracted me the most to the school was the, more or less mandatory, co-op program. Drexel is a leading participant in employing co-ops. Through these programs students are able to get hands on experience, as well as make good money along the way. No matter what school you choose to attend I urge you to look into co-op opportunities, internships, and study abroad. All three can provide life changing, life directing lessons that can help you become the person you are destined to become. There are two facts about Drexel that I feel are important to address. First, Drexel is very expensive, and prospective students need to weigh whether they are willing to make such an investment. If you are looking to get a degree further then undergrad, it is important to take into account two bills that can be very expensive. Second, all though not necessarily a deal-breaker Drexel does run on a trimester system in which the days and breaks are off-set compared to most colleges. The implications of this are purely social, as you may not be on break when your friends who are attending different colleges are.
The final two colleges I am going to discuss are both in New Jersey. The first one is Rutgers University in New Brunswick. It is my believe that my visit to Rutgers was the first college visit that showed me what type of college I couldn’t see myself in. These types of visits are important too, they help solidify what you are looking for in an ideal college and give you prospective on the variety of academic offerings. I am positive had I chosen to attend Rutgers I would do extremely well, however I could not see myself there. The main reason why is because the university is an extremely large university. It is spread across multiple campuses, which are connected by a shuttle system. Overall, I don’t have many opinions on the school. It is an obvious point that it is a great school. It is known and reputable and has the potential to provide every student a unique and exciting experience. During your application and acceptance process pay close attention to the size of the school and whether or not you are the type of person who enjoys that many people.
The final school on my Top 5 list is Richard Stockton College. This is the college I am currently attending; therefore it is obvious that it would be on my Top 5. Off the top of my head, Stockton is the smallest of the five schools I strongly considered, but to me it is the best. From the moment I step on the campus I felt at home. The faculty and students were both extremely friendly and encouraging. They answered every question we had, and even went above and beyond to make sure we were comfortable and taken care of. Stockton is a college that is growing continuously and is offering new and exciting opportunities and recognition for the school itself and also its students. Initially, I was worried that such a small school would limit the possibilities I had. This was quickly shown as a fallacy. Ever college has the facilities and staff who work each day to improve the lives and future of the students that pass-by. Don’t be put off by reputation. The performance you do in your classes and the activities you do in the spare time trump any hiccup a reputation problem would cause.
In conclusion, enjoy the application and investigation step of college. It is an exciting and special time and everyone’s life. By taking time and weighing what you are looking for in a college, as well as, what colleges offer the major that you are planning to study, you will make the final decision a thousand times easier.
On a side note, I commute to Stockton each day and drive a 1998 Chevy Cavalier. She’s not the newest and fastest car, but she is reliable.
Excerpt from A Choice At An Intersection, posted August 23, 2011
So, how do you go about making this decision? Its quite easy, and I’ll explain it to you, based on my opinion, in a 17 part thesis….not really. Actually, its easy as 1…2…3.
1. Finding yourself-
Let say you don’t know who you are… after checking the name on your lunchbox and answering that question your mind is free to find out who you want to become.
To find this out you need to first ask your three questions; how do I see the future, what are the values I follow, and what do I enjoy doing. Despite the misconception for the need to have a lot of money, you need to be happy, and finding a major, finding a career that gives you happiness is more important than money.
2. Visit the Dean-
Knock on his/her door and tell him/her that you are interested in the school. More times than not, I hear my classmates say, “It’s a popular school, I’ll probably like it.” Although your close friend likes the school doesn’t mean that it is a match for you.
Think of school as a Christmas sweater sure, your aunt likes and your mom thinks its cute, however you hate it. Don’t make college a Christmas sweater. Research it and visit, before it starts to itch.
3.Try the food…
You’ll be eating for a good majority of your college career and the food really is the deciding factor for most inbound college students. In all seriousness, realize that this is a start of a whole new beginning and you need to enjoy yourself. Often times I worry that if I don’t do everything perfect I won’t be able to reach my goals. College is more than just the academic, it is also about the social and personal development of each student, and the creation of a brighter future for the world.
The years leading up to college are often stressful and scary, but if you take your time, wishing on shooting stars and do your best, college and your future will be bright and exciting.
Forty-two days. Christmas, New Years, and Forty-two days passed and it felt like I never left. It’s funny how our mind interprets time. While we are sitting in class or waiting in line time can pass by excruciatingly slow. Afterwards, it feels like a snap of a finger. Life is like that too. I remember vividly orientation just before freshman year of high school. I was standing in the hallway outside of the auditorium in a group waiting to go on a tour of where everything was. Before we left a senior, who was leading the tour, made a point to tell us a piece of guidance everyone hears as they grow up, “Get Involved, enjoy the next four years, they will go by before you know it.” I remember at that moment thinking I wouldn’t let that happen. I wouldn’t let four years slip by so fast. Simply put it did. The year that went by the fastest was definitely senior year. Combining applications, scholarships, and enjoying the dwindling moments left with the people who I grew up with my whole life, time disappeared.
Advice is funny. Throughout our whole life we are given random tidbits of advice, and more times than not we don’t listen to it. It is only human nature to want to figure things out ourselves. However, I have come to a position in life where I am given the opportunity to pass on wisdom I learned through my very inexperienced life span. The advice that I want to pass on is directed to those who are at the time in there flash of four years in which they are taking the SAT/ACT. In an earlier blog I wrote that my preparation was not full. I did extremely well in school with out studying. Because of this success I was under a false impression that I didn’t need to study for the SAT. This mask covering my view on school and test taking, quickly changed when I got to college. What I learned is that there is a difference between being smart and being intelligent. A lot of people are smart. They can get the right answers, do the work and get decent grades. Being intelligent is different. To be intelligent one needs to understand that to reach real success you need to apply your ‘smarts’. In applying yourself you will be able to reach your real potential. Your full potential is what you need when preparing for and taking the SAT/ACT. If you plan out time to study, understand what your weaknesses and strengths are and work hard, the effort put in will be reflected with the results you receive.
I am not an authority on how to prepare for college, what to expect, or how to do well on the SAT. What I am is honest, and I will tell you what I experienced and what the reality of the world is. A lot of kids grow up with the notion that they just want to have fun. Their kids, and have plenty of time to worry about college. The moment they think like this they have run out of time. The only way to succeed in life is to work harder than all the other people. If someone is given 100%, to be successful you need to work 150%. If you start living this philosophy in high school, given your full potential and investing in your future early on you will be better off then most other students.
The SAT is an investment in your future. Like AP classes you are already paying for it. Don’t take this chance to better your outlook lightly. College is expensive and difficult, and whether the system wants to admit it or not, where you go to college, who you know, is vital in securing a better chance of getting a job. When I took the SAT, I got flashcards and books. What I did wrong was that I reviewed and did not practice. That is the final words of wisdom I have for you. The SAT is a test of endurance. To do well you need to condition your mind to endure the rigor of such a thing. Practice, understand your weakness, and Practice some more. Time is not forgiving, and it quickly passes, however it never runs out, and there is always more when you need it.
Excerpt from SAT: In My Eyes | January 27, 2012
1. Do the practice test- those practice test are good gauges on what type of questions will be on the actual test. Most importantly however is that you do these test timed. The hardest part of the test is comprehending the material as well as answering the question in the allotted time.
2. Schedule- Our body responds positively to repetition. Therefore, it would be smart to write out a schedule of when you will study everyday. This time should be close to the same time every day so when that time rolls around your body will be conditioned to sit down and practice the material. Additionally, I think that it would be smart to focus on a certain part of the test each day instead of combining everything together.
3. Vocab, Vocab, Vocab- Review vocab when ever you have down time. Not only will the vocab help during the Critical reading portion it will also help during the writing portion. It is important to both recognize and be able to deduct what each word means. If you are able to eliminate two of the choice then you are in good shape.
I don’t consider myself an expert, but if I was able to go through the process again, the above tips would be the ones I would try to follow. I hope each and everyone of you does well on the SAT and everything you do.
By Erich Guetzlaff
I have always liked going out and experiencing nature.
Not for the nostalgic reasons of childhood memories or the fact that
I proposed to my wife under the tall sycamore tree.
But because, when I am in nature, I am free.
I am free to run around and scream.
I am free to swim undisturbed in the ocean.
I am free to climb the trees.
I am free to chase rabbits.
Nature is such a wonderful thing.
There are no rules, no regulations.
When I am in nature, I am free.
I am free to pretend.
I am free to look at the clouds.
I am free to drink lemonade and listen to the wind.
I am free to smell the roses.
I have always liked going out and experiencing nature.
Not for the nostalgic reasons.
No, I enjoy nature because I am far away from society.
I am my own governing body.
I am my own law and order.
Society and their cities cannot fence me in.
I am free.
I Am free.
I Am Free.
I respect Life. As simple of statement as it may seem, it took me a while to sum up my thoughts in just three words. I respect Life, not because of the live or let die definition of it. Not because I’m the wealthiest or most attractive person. I respect Life because it isn’t fair, it isn’t planned. Life takes no prisoners.
It has been little over a month since Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast. Living in South Jersey I experienced first hand the effect the storm had on the region. Luckily, my town was minimally damaged. Just twenty minutes away, homes were severely flooded, destroyed. Lives were forever changed. It’s funny, even though those who lived in the path of the hurricane were warned repeatedly to leave, get supplies, and make smart decision. The storm gave no mercy. That day Life took no prisoners.
Maybe I should of started with this but I’m a man of hindsight. Maybe everyone is, but if an election was held today but the Office of Hindsight Operations, I’d probably win. I plan everything, I’m not organized, but I have hundreds list and journals and mental notes that keep me sane while making be crazy. I’m crazy, there’s nothing wrong with it, instead of trying to move away from it, I embrace it. Crazy, to me, is not just a classification to the clinically insane, to me, it is an appreciation of each of our individual uniqueness. In hindsight, planning has done nothing for me. In hindsight, Life has reaped the freshest crops because of spontaneity and adaptation. Life isn’t planned and neither should it’s players.
I’m spiritual but not religious. I believe that Life is Living. Redundant? Let me explain. Living organism are, naturally, living, definitions, simple. Life as a thought, as a feeling, as an aura, is living too. I believe everything in life is connected by a ‘mathematical’ string. Like Chaos Theory, like the Butterfly Effect, Life will happen no matter what, there is no way to prepare for it, alter it. What can be done, is altering your reaction to it. That is what life is about, reactions to actions, recovery from disaster. In hindsight I should of made different choices. In anticipation, I will make those choices.
As a kid, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to do. My favorite person in the world was Steve Irwin, and his drive and passion for animals connected with me. Because of this connection the only thing I wanted to do was go to college, study zoology, then move to Australia. When I learned that he passed away after being pierced by a stingy ray I was devastated. That was the first time I faced a death of someone who I could say I really cared about. More than devastated though I was mad. I was mad that he died the way he did, that after all the work he did, he was gone, and that his vision, his teachings, would never be presented the same way. Not soon after Steve Irwin’s death, I began to distance myself from the thought of working with animals; it wasn’t the same to me anymore.
Years passed and life went on. It wasn’t until high school that I again began thinking about what I wanted to major in. I was sitting in my Chemistry class and my friends were talking about how they wanted to major in Biology, Chemistry or some type of Engineering. As they discussed why, I sat there wondering why I had absolutely no idea what I planned to do after high school. Sure I liked a lot of things but did I really want to go and do that type of job everyday? I couldn’t come up with an answer. So, I began exploring. Exploring is what lead me to MyMajors, and instinctively I took their majors quiz. I’m not certain on what results I got, but they definitely opened my eyes to fields that I would have never thought about.
Despite having an analyzes of majors that I might enjoy, I still wasn’t satisfied with a certain one or a certain career. Maybe it’s a Steve thing, or maybe I’m drawn to those with passion and vision, because I can’t find mine, but for a good year or so I was certain I wanted to be a Computer Science major. Steve Jobs, was a genius, is vision of technology and his understanding of people is unmatched by anyone. He found what he loved and but everything he had into it. I couldn’t tell you how many times I watched his commencement address to Stanford. He really did change the way the world viewed computers and technology.
Now that college has started, I’m once again uncertain on what I want to do. MyMajors has asked me to retake the majors quiz this month and see what has changed. The results that I got are interesting but also strange. The top five majors I got in this evaluation were Accounting, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Forensic Science, and Physics. This is strange to me because Accounting continues to be my top major on all major evaluations, however the next majors are completely different then Accounting. After some filtering of majors I’m least interested in, Biochemistry, Statistics and Actuarial Science, Aerospace Engineering are also some of my top majors. I am also relieved with the fact that the majors that I got are once that I am currently interested.
My Major Journey as reached present day and I can’t honestly say I am anymore set on a major or career than I was a year ago. What I can say is that after seeing that those Steves, who I admire for their passion, just lived, and in living enjoyed what came to them. More times than not we tend to look for those keys, those choices, that one major, that will unlock the door to our future. In reality, the door is already unlocked, and with a pinch of faith and a spoonful of courage, we have to open that door, go through and believe that in going through that door, twenty more doors are ready to be opened and explored. Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Life is a journey, not a destination,” and it is time for me, more than anyone, to realize that there is no perfect major, but many options that will open up even greater opportunities.
For anyone heading off to college, one of the most important things to do during the process is to stop by the Dean’s house and shake his/her hand. Now, doing so may make you seem like a stalker, therefore, I offer a second suggestion; Visit any college you have an interest in. Even if it isn’t your first choice, visiting safety or match schools are just as important because they allow you to verify what type of college/university fits you best.
One of my favorite parts of visiting colleges was getting to eat at their cafeterias. The quality of food in college is very important. Not, only is food awesome, it is also what will be there when you are studying late, or need some comfort food when you are feeling home sick. But more importantly than how the food tasted, was how happy the students looked who were eating it. Food can only go so far until the quality of the college comes into play. I like to think food relaxes us. It opens us up and shows how we are really feeling. If we are happy and calm and enjoying the meal then the overall environment where we are spending our time most be enjoyable too. There is much more to pay attention to while visiting the campus. Additionally, you should pay attention to the atmosphere. Each college has its own mojo. The flow of it is unique to any other place and while walking around campus you need to pick up on this. Is the college laid back, or is it career orientated? How open is the campus, is there a lot of areas to sit and study outside, or is it city-like, with more buildings? Each college is different to other colleges but the atmosphere of an individual college is also different during different time periods. I found it more informative to visit a college during a semester. This way you will be able to see the college running at full force, with more students, and it will be easier to pick up on the flow.
Before a college visit or even instead of if one of your choices is to far to visit, it is important to spend some time on the college’s website. Anything you could possibly need to know is usually on the website and if it isn’t then you could always call the school and they would be more than happy to help. I personally always visited the website the night before my visit so I would have a refreshed background of the school and would be able to pinpoint things that interested me that I could look for during my visit.
In the end, college visits are very important because they will give you information and exposure other venues of information about the school can not. I loved visiting colleges and the environment and mojo of each college allowed me to have a better understanding of whether or not I fit at the school. I urge all of you to do the same, visit colleges that interest you, pay attention and get as much information as you can, maybe you’ll fall in love with one and make it your new home.
Earlier this year I watched A TED talk presented by the performance artist Carvens Lissaint (watch below). No simple explanation can do Carvens justice, however, in short his performance touches upon the current state of colleges and university and the financial burdens they toss upon young naive adults.
Carvens’ performance may seem over the top, but if you think about it, is it really that extreme? Like every other high school senior I was given a choice; Do I go to a large, known school where they gave me little to no money or do I go to a smaller school where they gave me quite a lot of money? None the less, this blog isn’t about which school to choose, but rather how to pay for the school once you do decide.
Soon high school seniors from all walks of life; jocks, thespians, fellow geeks, cyborgs, as well as others who heard the call of higher education, will be joining as one. One group, one pool, one ocean, in the sea of prospective students. Application deadlines are quickly approaching and it is important to be vigilant during this time.
When I was applying to colleges I made a list of everywhere I wanted to apply to and then prioritized them by their deadlines. This helped a lot because it gave me a time table of when I had to get applications in. It is also important to keep an eye out on whether or not you would like to apply during the early deadline periods, which may or may not benefit you later on. This period is also a critical time for applying to scholarships. As mentioned above, one of the greatest obstacles for many college students is finding a way to pay for it. I used two services to find scholarships. The first and primary source of scholarship information was from the website, www.fastweb.com. After setup this website offered an easy to use interface that finds and suggest scholarships that meet your interest and eligibility. During my application process I would compile a list of every scholarship I was interested in and then applied to a few of them each day. The second place I found scholarships was from my Guidance counselors. Don’t over look the value of your guidance counselor, they are there to help you and want to see you succeed. I visited my guidance counselor very often and she led me to local, as well as, national scholarships.
Are you a Redditor? tl;dr? Here is a summary? Don’t take the easy way out, find time, it’s there, and apply for scholarships, no matter how small, who knows you may even be able to afford overpriced textbooks.
If you have a break from applying to colleges and scholarships take a look at Carvens Lissaint’s Ted talk:
*Fun fact: My college’s mascot is the Osprey. Osprey’s can be found on every continent except Antarctica. That means were cool…
This month’s blog marks the start of a very exciting opportunity. Early this summer I was given a great opportunity by MyMajors.com to write for them as an Intern-Blogger. Simply put, I once again get a unique opportunity to write for a fun and informative website. When I was writing last year as a featured blogger I wasn’t sure what to do. I had little to no experience writing for a website and I only hoped that what I wrote was entertaining enough. To ease the stress of putting my thoughts out publicly I tried my best to add humor where I could. In the end, the year long experience I had with MyMajors.com was like a bag of chips… I couldn’t have just one. Therefore, as I previously mentioned I will be writing for another year with MyMajors.com.
This month, I have been asked to write about my summer adventures, as well as, my preparations for college. I am going with the former, and I am going to do so not because it is more entertaining which will keep your attention and help you read this blog in its entirety. No, I am writing about my summer first because it is short and uneventful. Going into the summer I imagined that I would relive scenes from Euro Trip or experience my own Road Trip. Sadly, the closest thing I got to either was watching both. But it is O.K. because my summer was all filled with quiet weeping. Throughout the summer I continued a weekly get together with my friends. As a group we went to Buffalo Wild Wings for their wing night special. Afterwards, we would stop at a little shanty building on the side of the road, for some of the best ice cream I ever had. Now, I bet your thinking my life is extremely boring if something like getting wings was the high point. Well, you right… Besides the occasional get together with friends or days/evenings at the beach/boardwalk, I haven’t done much. None the less, college is quickly approaching. For college I will be attending, The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. I had various other great opportunities for college, but I chose to attend Stockton for three reasons. One, I was given a great offer from the school. Two, it is very close so I am able to save money by commuting, and three, while visiting the campus I felt that I would fit best attending college there.
The classes you take in college hold a great importance. They act as rungs on your ladder to success, and even if one of your rungs break or one of your rungs isn’t as strong as the other, it is still a part of who you are and who you will become. The classes that I am taking this upcoming semester contain a story by themselves. I went into my orientation as a Duel Degree Physics/Engineering major. However during orientation I wasn’t feeling that this track was right for me. After speaking with an academic advisor I changed my major to Computational Science, in turn I changed a few of classes and my schedule contained Calculus 1, A Freshman Seminar consisting of the relationship of Math and Sports, Intro to Computational Science and lastly an Introductory level Programming class. All seemed fine, however my mind was still undecided. I learned during this college process that I am intellectually curious. I have interest in everything and it makes it difficult for me to settle on one major. So, once again I talked to an advisor and we switched my Programming class with an Intro to Macro class. However, afterwards I still wasn’t content. So I changed my schedule for a final time and switched my Intro to Macro class with a writing class. After all those change I believe I am content with what I have, for now… My mind shoots in a million directions, filled with dreams and ideas, and want to experience all that I can. As the waves of words trickle to the beach, and this blog entry comes to an end. I leave you with a group of words that may or may not ring true to you. “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.” – Thomas Jefferson