Back to School Series: college misconceptions

In the next few weeks, 18-year-olds across the country will be road tripping to their new home and beginning the next four years of their lives. When my dad and I flew out to San Diego 2 years ago, I was terrified, excited, nervous, and every emotion in between. The only thing I could base college off were the movies, and that certainly wasn’t easing my mind. To prevent current and future freshman (or transfers) from having their share of mental breakdowns, I’ve decided to compile a post of some misconceptions my friends and I had about college our freshmen year.


  1. High school prepares you for college- In high school I barely studied, missed school once every other week (or more), and didn’t really care about high school in general. I still maintained a 4.2 GPA all 4 years of high school. However, when I got to college I was in for a major shock. In college, you can’t skip class, you have to study, and you HAVE TO care. These things are vital to succeeding, graduating, and getting a job.
  2. Getting classes out of the way early is a good idea- No. I had an 8 am second semester and 2 9ams my first semester. I am a morning person, however, having to sit in a room with words and facts being spewed into your face for an hour really takes the life out of you. On my days where classes didn’t start until 10 or 11, I had much more energy and was able to get little tasks done in the morning like eating breakfast, going to the gym, and organizing myself.
  3. Midterms and finals are hell- If I’m being honest, they do suck. I won’t lie. Having to know a semester worth of information for 5-6 classes isn’t easy, however, it’s not the end of the world. If you’ve been reading your books, attending classes, and studying regularly, finals will be over before you know it.
  4. Everyone parties- This was probably my biggest fear entering freshman year. I’m usually very introverted and I don’t like large crowds (unless it’s a concert) and I’m  more conservative when it comes to attire… college parties are not the place for me. I did go out a few times freshman year (first weekend, halloweekend, etc.) but most of my friends and I didn’t go out most weekends and that’s okay.
  5. You won’t make any friends- Join a club or make study groups with people in your classes and you are guaranteed friends. Freshmen (any year really) are always looking for new people to talk to with similar interests. Go out of your comfort zone and start up a conversation and you’ll be sure to have a few new friends.
  6. The food is bad- I don’t know where this rumor started but the food at San Diego (And Ohio from what I’ve had) is really freaking good. There are professional and student cooks who make such a variety of different foods daily to please everyone’s palette. If you can’t find something you like, you aren’t looking.
  7. Greek life is everything- Greek life is a good way to make friends and be social, but it’s not the end of the world if you don’t join a sorority. At my schools and most of my friends’ schools, Greek life is less than 10% of the student body. If you want to go Greek, do it!, But if not, don’t feel pressured.
  8. You’ll never leave the library- First semester, I went to the library twice and the only reason I was there was to print something because my printer broke. If your roommate is quiet enough and you don’t have a lot of group projects, you are given a really nice desk that can work just as well as the library.
  9. You have to know what you want to do as a freshman- Most people enter college with one idea of what they want to do and end up changing it one, two, or ten times before they really know what they want. Don’t fret if you enter undecided!
  10. People instantly mature when they get to college- Have you ever met a college boy?

To all the new college students, I hope this helps. What else are you nervous for or what were you nervous for before starting college?

Alicia

Back to School Series: college shopping list

Hi everyone, sorry it’s been a bit since I’ve posted last. I’ve been getting ready for college and sleeping on the couch with Poppy so I’ve been exhausted. But, here I am, 9  days until I leave for Ohio, excited as ever.

Since I’ve been doing this whole shopping thing, I’ve decided that since I scoured the internet compiling dorm shopping lists, that I would make my own shopping list for people in college or people getting ready to head off to college. I hope you enjoy and let me know if there’s anything you would add.

Alicia

Link

Back to school series: BTS playlist

Hi everyone, I’ve made a few playlists in the past, and I’ve decided that back to school deserves its own playlist. I made 2 playlists: 1 of some pump up songs to get excited for the next 9 months and the other is an ironic playlist… which you’ll see when you take a look at it.

 

What are some songs that get you pumped for back to school or other new endeavours?

Alicia

 

Back to school series: class schedule

Hi everyone. I’ve decided to do a little back to school series to get everyone just as pumped for the school year as I am. I figure I will kick this little series off with my class schedule for the fall semester. I am a Spanish Education and Spanish Language double major and I’m trying to minor in something but I’m not sure what that will be yet. So, until then, here are my classes for the semester.

For those of you wondering what all of the abbreviations and things mean.
MWF 1255-1:50 Intermediate Spanish 2
MTWF 200-2:55 Beginner Italian 1
MWF 305-4:00 Introduction to Psychology
M 515-8:20 Intoduction to Teacher Education
T 435-5:55 Transfer Learning Community Seminar
W 5:15-8:15 Technological Apps in Education

This class schedule isn’t ideal (unles I’m the biggest partier in the world… which I’m not), however, the 2 classes from 515-820 were mandatory and the only slots open so those had to stay. Also, in San Diego, I took 2 classes on Wednesday: one from 9-1140 and another from 4-640. I hardly ever went to the 4-640 class because after my 9am I would put my pajamas on, take a nap, go to the gym, and do everything I normally do after classes, and then when 330 would come, I would really really really not want to go to class, so half the time.. I didn’t. With this schedule I can wake up later, get lunch, breakfast, homework, and the gym in all before class starts. Then, on some days… I’ll have 7 hours of class, however it’s all in a rw so I have no excuse for missing a class.

Are you in school? What do your classes look like this semester?
Alicia

Best day of my life

Good afternoon everyone and welcome to the final post in my super late Peru series. This post is dedicated to one of the best days in my entire life: the day I visited Machu Picchu.

There are physically no words to describe my time at Machu Picchu. My entire day was surreal and went by far too quickly; from waking up at 330 to returning home close to 24 hours later. I met so many people from all corners of the globe and while I would love to say something more about my time, no words can amount to the indescribable day I spent there. So, instead, please enjoy some of my favorite photos from one of the best days of my life.

The train station in Aguas Calientes

Rescue horses and rescue inhalers

Well with a title like this, what do you expect? Just this. Rainbow mountain was an experience like no other, for many reasons: the magnificent mountain itself, the amazing people I met along the way, and of course the title of this post.

Rainbow Mountain, or montaña vinicunca in Spanish, is a 3-4 hour hike from 4500m to 5200m in height to the top of a beautiful mountain of colors and many more in the distance.

To be on my way to la montaña de los colores, I had to be awake and ready to go by 330 am. At 315 I was ready and walked down to the Plaza de Armas where I waited for over an hour with another man (who waited longer as we weren’t in the same tour group) until a woman in patterned leggings yelled out my name. I shot up to meet up with her and another couple before boarding our bus to take us to Rainbow Mountain.

Catedral en Plaza de Armas at 330 AM

After stopping for breakfast, getting a talk about the history of the mountain, time limit, and random facts about the area, we were off on our hike. I met a few nice people at breakfast and the bus whom I talked and walked with for a bit. 1 was from San Francisco, 1 from London, 2 from Lima, and one from a small town in Chile. We discussed our travels and lives back home, before myself, and the ladies from Lima and Chile started not being able to breath too well. We trudged on (we were far too gone to turn around and get a horse) but all of a sudden none of could breathe at all, so we sat down. I took a few hits of my rescue inhaler as one of the guides ran to get us oxygen. The 2 guys from San Francisco and London had been all through South America and had done hikes like these frequently throughout the past 6 months. Us ladies, however, had not. Along with the oxygen came some rescue horses for our group and another group of people past the halfway mark.

 

We all mounted the horses, oxygen in hand, and continued up the mountain.

 

The horses can’t take you all the way up the mountain, so for final 200m or so we had to walk up to the top (which happens to be the steepest part of the way).

 

My new friends and I finally made it to the top and with the little breath I had left in my lungs, it had been taken away by the unbelievable sight I witnessed. The colors of the mountains were unlike anything I’d never seen. I know it’s just how the minerals formed, but it was absolutely surreal. I never had seen something so enchanting in my entire life.

 

I spent about 20 minutes up there, recovering from the rest of the hike up, taking pictures, taking other people’s photos, and just enjoying the earth’s creations.

 

I finally started my descent from the mountain and made it as far as I could with no horse until, oh yeah, I couldn’t breathe anymore, so I found a horse, and all of my other rescue horse friends, where we descended the rest of the mountain together.

When we made it back to the start of the hike, there were 10 of us in the bus. Our guide came and told us that we would be waiting a minimum of 2 hours for the rest of the people. We all figured that we would just nap until it was time to leave. Luckily, another guide said that he had an empty van ready for us if we wanted to go now. So, the 10 of us (each friend of mine I’d made that day was on the van with me which I thought was pretty ironic) and our guide started back to Cusco, stopping for lunch and then finally back on the road to Cusco, everyone napping on and off until we were each dropped off at our hostels where we had ample water, ample air, and a nice warm bed for the night.

Alicia

On to Cusco

Hi everyone, once I’d finished my time in Lima, I took a 22 hour bus ride to Cusco, Peru. Since I was there for about a week, I’ve decided to make 3 posts on my time there: 1 for Cusco in general, 1 for Rainbow Mountain, and 1 for Machu Picchu.

I would first and foremost like to say that Cusco is a magnificent city, oozing with culture and history alike. I wish I had more than one week in this magical city because my time was not nearly enough (even though I did spend an entire day in bed recovering from Rainbow Mountain and one day recovering from Machu Picchu).

My first full day in Cusco was a Sunday. I made the quick walk from my hostel to Plaza de Armas, where there was a parade. I wasn’t sure what the parade was for, since I arrived in the middle of it, but from what I saw it was very important and there were speeches and flag raising and marching.

After maneuvering past the parade and all of its viewers, I began walking the streets of Cusco. All through the streets of Cusco there are cafes, hostels, high end stores, and other smaller shops filled with homemade goodies and tourist items.

I weaved in and out of people, exploring cafes, statues, churches, and shops alike looking for gifts for my friends and family along with trips to Rainbow Mountain and Machu Picchu. I ended up finding a trip to Rainbow Mountain for 60 soles at an agency that had a cute cat who felt the need to sit on my lap the whole time I was there. My Machu Picchu trip ended up taking a bit longer to book. When you’re paying $20 USD for something (Rainbow Mountain) it’s a lot different than paying over $200 USD for something, so i knew I needed to compare prices.

After visiting over 12 different travel agencies, I finally booked my Machu Picchu trip. Initially I booked it for 2 days (leave on day 1, Machu Picchu and come home on Day 2) because I had already booked my hostel for the night. However, I accidentally booked my hostel in Aguas Calientes Mexico instead of Aguas Calientes Peru, so I had to do all of the traveling and Machu Picchu in 1 day. It did work out, but I was a little anxious bout it at first.

Once I booked my trips, I enjoyed a celebratory coffee and went back to bed, awaiting the next few days.

Also while in Peru, I was able to meet up with Martina (one of the girls I met while volunteering) and her boyfriend. I helped them book their tours and we explored Cusco and had a couple meals together. It was so much fun to be able to see her once more before returning home and to be able to see her being super cute with her boyfriend.

Alicia