Studying Abroad – The Process

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By Ariana

I think studying abroad is something almost every college student, if asked or surveyed, would say they would be interested in. Actually partaking in studying abroad is something only about 10 percent of college students do, depending on where you search on the web.

It is important to be active in your plans to study abroad.

In my case I knew I wanted to do it, I figured out a time when I could go (with my academics, and how long I wanted to go for) and then did some research on where to go. It doesn’t have to be as extensive as you would think, as along as you’ve narrowed down some countries, and chosen a time frame (year, semester, summer or winter program) it becomes possible to sit down and compare the ins and outs of programs.

My college has a study abroad website with a list of all the programs offered, as well as some affiliated programs, which is where I found my programs. As far as choosing the time frame, I worked with my academic counselor to formulate a plan for going abroad and still graduating on time.

I had a tough time deciding between two programs – one in Greece and another in Spain. I have always wanted to go to Greece, but the Greek programs that I looked at were more expensive and offered less within the program. When I looked at Spain they offered so many more excursions and it had a better price tag!

So now I am here!

The next step after deciding where you want to go is going through the application process. I would recommend applying early.

Learn from my experience – I waited till the last minute to apply,  even though I was well aware of the deadline, I just had a little self-doubt. In the end it worked out, but it added stress to the process.

I think having doubts or fear is a normal part of the process, traveling to new country by yourself and then living there for three months or maybe even longer is a scary thought, but I knew I was going to do it, even if it was the last day I could apply.

Side Note: You can’t ever let fear take over your life and it’s important to be aware of it, and not let it stand in your way of opportunity, knowledge and growth. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to take your life somewhere else for a bit, take advantage of it!

The reason why I also think you should apply early is because getting a visa is not exactly easy and the process can be long.

I would advise you to try to be as proactive as you can with filling out all your paper work or anything that’s needed from your program, getting letters of recommendation, filing out financial forms, getting your passport (if you don’t have one already, or getting an old one renewed) and getting classes reviewed by your college to ensure the credits will transfer (if they aren’t already in the system).

But I promise, all this work will pay off, because the world is waiting for you!

Until next time!

-Ariana

Sophomore Year Update: The Good and the Bad

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by Ariana

It’s my third semester of college and let me tell you: It does not always get easier.

Unfortunately this reality has been tough to face. The initial weeks of school were pretty calm, but after those manageable weeks I began to get bombarded with papers, group projects, exams. School started to feel like a never-ending uphill battle.

Although this fall has been tough, I keep myself motivated by telling myself that I am almost half way to graduation. I have been setting weekly goals and writing positive notes on my board – and this is something I would highly recommend. I wake up extremely early and seeing those positive words and weekly goals helps me start the day, which now starts at 5:30 a.m. five days a week!

My roommate and I go to the gym every day at 6 a.m., which is the best time for me to go because of my schedule and because starting my day with my workout means more energy for the rest of my day.

But though school has definitely been more work this semester, it has also gotten better in other ways.

I am now living in an apartment instead of the dorms, which also was a bit of a transition, but now I have a kitchen, and with a kitchen comes learning how to cook, which has been more fun than I ever thought it would be. Plus no more gross dining hall food, and no more repeat of the freshman 15! My roommates and I also have a nice big living room, which is a great place to study and invite some of our friends over to as well.

Coming back to school I have also felt a stronger sense of comfort while walking in the halls. I not only know where I am going in life, but also where my next class is. I also feel more confident in my ability to handle change within my different classes and in talking to my professors and asking questions in lecture halls.

So maybe this is something that comes with time, or maybe I am behind in feeling this way?

Either way, I know this feeling is a good one. One thing that I do know is that sophomore year has been a whirlwind. My advice to you is to be ready and stay positive!

Until next time!

-Ariana

Opportunities = Endless

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by Ariana

First and foremost, the most important thing I have learned from college, is that going to school provides endless opportunities.

No doubt, this is the best aspect of college. There is so much you can do, it is honestly mind-blowing. Before I started college I made a promise to myself that I would be a part of anything that spiked my interest and to get out of my comfort zone.

And so I did.

I joined 6 clubs and 2 organizations. I soon found out that it was a bit too much for me to handle, I had spent all my time going to meetings, talking to different people, learning about new things, discovering so much about U of M – Duluth. But it was great. College was in the palm of my hands and I couldn’t wait to get a taste of it.

Every school year, during the 3rd week of school, UMD has an activities fair, all of the clubs and organizations present themselves so that you can join their force. Here at UMD we have over 300 clubs and organizations.

I’ll sum it up like this: I went to that fair twice to make sure I went through them all. I was definitely eager to become a part of this college community. I became an Intern for the General election this past November, I was a part of Student Ambassadors where I gave tours and spoke to all the high school students that would come to visit our campus and I was a Student Advisor helping incoming transfer students register for classes.

As far as clubs, I am a part of Psychology Club; UMD Serve (community service club); Students Today, Leaders Forever, “STLF,” (Community service trips across the country); and I was a part of International club and Latino/Chicana Student Association, “LCSA,” (Hispanic club). I almost did it all, while also maintaining a job on campus at the Box Office.

All of these organization have taught me a lot.

When I was working on the election, I got to meet a lot of really awesome candidates, including the governor of Minnesota. Student Ambassadors is something I am also passionate about, because I want students to learn about UMD through our experiences or to even just ask questions about life here at UMD, because I was once in their shoes, and I knew what it was like.

Other opportunities are Internships and volunteering – this semester I am becoming a Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault, “PAVSA,” advocate. PAVSA is a state wide organization that is a program aid for victims of sexual assault. I will be starting training in February and then I will be working with the organization through UMD’s office. The reason why I am pursuing this opportunity is because my ultimate goal is to be a mental health counselor and doing this will give me good experience with counseling and helping people in need. I am very excited to take this step and it is a great example of how you can do anything on a college campus.

Also recently, the career and internship services came into my class to talk about how they can help you find a job or an internship and that they have connections all over the state. I strongly encourage all of the college-bound students that are reading this to make sure to take advantage of every opportunity presented, trust me you will not regret it and you’ll have more fun than you’ve ever imagined.

Until next time

-Ariana

Signing Up for College Classes

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by Ariana

If you are undeclared I would highly recommend choosing a variety of classes for your first year of college. I am currently undeclared and I was able to choose many different classes that spiked my interest.

I chose to do public speaking because it is a Liberal Education requirement (classes that everyone must take before graduating) and I am interested in becoming a good public speaker, I also am taking Education in Modern Society. It is a very interesting class and it has taught me a lot. General Psychology is also a class that I was looking forward to taking to see if I wanted to go into that field. It has made me realize that I do want to major in Psychology and I have discovered the many of the different aspects of the field.

Overall taking different classes has really given me more perspective on different areas I would like to either explore more about or never take again. The classes that you take will be beneficial in some way, it will most likely be filling your degree requirements, plus you will learn some interesting things along the way!

The time frame that you choose your classes should also be realistic. Figure out (or you should know by now) if you are a morning or night person, essentially when you think you can be the most alert and productive while in class. I am not a morning person but I had to sign up for an 8 am class because it was the last available time slot for that class.

This leads to another point I want to emphasize; register for fall classes EARLY.

This is so important if you want to have options for different time slots. If you can register at the beginning of the summer then I would suggest taking advantage of that opportunity.

The last thing I would like to suggest to you all is to ASK your advisor questions about classes. Advisors do this all the time, ask them what they have heard from other students and if they might have prior knowledge about a given teacher.

Checking ratemyprofessors.com is also a good resource while reviewing your schedule, to see if your professor is compatible with you. Students go on this website and write reviews about their experiences with the teacher and the class. They usually are very helpful with advice or suggestions on how to go about doing well in the class as well.

I hope you have fun with this process and consider my advice when your time comes to register for your college classes!

Until next time!

-Ariana

Tours. Tours. Tours.

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This is a picture of me in California at the UCLA Bruin statue – the school mascot – my sophomore year of high school!

by Ariana

College tours; this is something I highly, highly recommend for all you college bound students!

If you have a college that spikes your interest but you aren’t sure, go on a tour! I made sure that I toured every college that was on my list of possibilities. I took advantage of Project Success, which is an organization in Minneapolis high schools that motivates and inspires young people to pursue higher education.

The organization offers free college tours, including transportation. It also provides free tickets to shows at local performing arts centers, such as the Guthrie and Ordway. I went on a lot of the tours they offered and wish I had been able to do more. They offer a big trip all around the Midwest, including Wisconsin, North Dakota and Iowa. I would advise you to take full advantage of every opportunity they provide to visit colleges.

When you tour colleges you really get a feel for what the campus is like. It can be a completely different environment than you’ve experienced before. It can be a positive or negative experience. I have experienced both.

Be sure to ask all the questions you have while on tour, whether it is about sports or dorm life or studying abroad. Ask away because it’s your tour guide’s job to answer questions! I was always the one who asked a dozen questions, but it is better to ask than to leave with uncertainty or regrets about not asking.

I also have a personal story about tours: a college tour is the reason I am at college right now.! During my freshman year of high school my AVID teacher invited us to go on a tour to the University of California at Irvine (I was living in California at the time). AVID is a college preparatory program that gives students the study skills tools they need to be successful in high school and college.

I was just about to drop out of the AVID class because I didn’t really want to go to college. But then I decided I would go on this tour just to experience college life. So I went on that tour and I loved it! The environment was beautiful. The people there were all making a difference in their students’ lives, and one day the world, because all the students were seeking higher education.

I honestly have never felt more excitement in my life than I did on that day, because that day I decided that I would make it my goal to go to college and join that force.

And that is exactly what I did. Today I’m a student at the University of Minnesota – Duluth!

Until next time!

College is WOW!

UMD freshman students

This is our Class of 2018!

by Ariana

I don’t even know where to begin. It all started with Welcome Week at my school, which is the University of Minnesota – Duluth. I checked in, met my roommate and said goodbye to my family. A LOT was headed my way!

Welcome Week consisted of many events. We were all assigned a room to go to, and then we met our Rockstar, an upperclassman who led a group of about ten of us freshmen. The purpose of the group is to help make new friends right away on campus with our fellow classmates.

I have never experienced such a friendly environment. It really was shocking because I was not expecting to interact with so many people in such a short amount of time. At South High School it was very clique-oriented. People were just so used to staying in their own little bubble of friends and judging you by which category you fit into.

But when you get to college they really push you to get out and meet new people, to get out of that comfort zone that we are all in, which is a lot to take in. But after a while I got used to meeting new people and reaching out to them as well. I remember people spontaneously introducing themselves to me. Even during the pep rally the people I sat next started talking to me.

Dorm life is also really fun! When you leave the door open your floor-mates walk into your room and you chit chat and get to know your neighbors. Even eating in our dining center you can just sit down with new people and maybe make some new friends.

I also found that participating in events and joining clubs helps you meet new people, and the events are really fun and entertaining. This past weekend our “RA” — which is the Resident Adviser for my dorm floor — had us all go play volleyball on Friday night together. It was a lot of fun and I met lots of other new people on the floor that I hadn’t even seen before.

Anyways, the college culture is definitely something you should look forward to experiencing. That is all for now. Thanks for reading!

Introducing Ariana – UMD Duluth

ArianaHi, my name is Ariana. I’m now a sophomore at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, and I have just decided to double major in psychology and communication.

I am also a relatively new resident to Minnesota. I moved to Minneapolis for my senior year of high school and I ended up really liking it here, and I liked Minnesota even more when I went to visit Duluth. I plan on continuing to be very involved on campus and in this great community. I love the outdoors and I love to travel. I believe that trying new things is an important part of learning and growing. I hope to embrace all that college has to offer and I am very excited to share my journey with you.

  • High School: South High
  • College: University of Minnesota – Duluth
  • Intended Major: Psychology and Communication
  • Dream Career: Therapist
  • Dream Pet: Husky
  • Celebrity Crush: Zac Efron
  • Favorite Food: Sushi