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aalfo5's blog

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10 Things to Remember When Going Away for College

aalfo5

By Aalfo53 Sep 2019

1. You have likely heard this time and time again, but these will be some of the best years of your life. Savor the moment. Appreciate every moment and take advantage of every opportunity. 2. Focus on school. Many freshmen can place less emphasis on their studies and more emphasis on a social life during their first year of college. Although a social life is important, freshman year classes tend to be the easiest courses. Take advantage of this and ensure you are putting forth maximum effort to guarantee a high GPA from the beginning. 3. Don’t forget about a social life. On the other hand, although academics are important so is establishing a healthy balance between work and play. Work to find that balance and enjoy your first years of freedom. 4. Don’t overpack. From personal experience, it can be very easy to think you need way more than you actually do. Pack lightly and schedule the majority of items for pick up at your school's local bed bath and beyond or target. If you’re missing anything after, there’s always amazon. 5. Join clubs! Clubs are a great and easy way to make friends who share the same interests as you. Before going on campus, look at the clubs your school offers and find out when they’re having meetings! They usually take place during the first few weeks of school. 6. Beware the dining halls. Living a healthy lifestyle in college can be incredibly challenging, especially when it comes to your food options. Try not to eat those pizza slices or cheeseburgers every day. Freshman 15 is real. Try opting for a salad or sandwich some days instead. 7. Don’t worry about your major. Your freshman year provides a lot of room to try new things, take different courses, and explore different interests. Don’t worry if you’re not entirely sure what you want to do in the future. There are plenty of opportunities to explore different majors or career paths. Just make sure you take advantage of those opportunities. 8. Study Abroad! If study abroad is something you’re interested in doing, start looking into it. Research the programs your school offers and when the best time for you to study abroad would be. For most people, this takes place during junior year. 9. Don’t forget to call your parents. Believe it or not, your parents are back home worrying about you every second you’re gone. Take the time to call them at least once a week and let them know how you’re doing. Let them live vicariously through your amazing college experiences and allow yourself to stay grounded and remember where you came from. 10. Finally, and most importantly, enjoy! These are the best 4 years of your life. Don’t stress the little things and enjoy every moment as much as possible. These 4 years pass by in the blink of an eye and before you know it you’ll be starting your first job. So, take it all in and reach for the stars!

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Getting back to work!

aalfo5

By Aalfo58 Jan 2018

Breaks are truly the best. They provide you with a short escape from the reality that is working hard and allow you to simply enjoy yourself. Sadly, at one point or another, breaks come to an end and you are once again subject to the harsh reality that is work or school or both. Getting back into your groove can be one of the hardest tasks ever and it takes a large amount of dedication to escape “vacation mode.” One of the main pieces of advice to anyone struggling in this hard time would be to start getting organized. Bring out that agenda, planner, phone, whatever it is, and make a to-do list with every single little task you have to accomplish in the near future. Afterwards, set goals for yourself to accomplish within that day, week, or month. Remember, diving straight into something is usually not the best idea. Rather, baby steps are the key to success. Hence, don’t immediately submerge yourself back into work. Always remember to give yourself those well-deserved breaks in between. I truly hope everyone is able to readjust to effectively and start this new year off right. Best of luck! If you’re in need of any more tips or just want someone to help you destress, feel free to connect with me! - Amanda Alfonso

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My QuestBridge Experience

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By Aalfo530 Nov 2017

My senior year of high school I was selected as a QuestBridge Finalist. I had been a QuestBridge Prep Scholar junior year, but I never really knew what it was or the opportunities it brought me. So, for anyone out there without a clue what QuestBridge is, keep reading! QuestBridge is a scholarship that gives low income students–with annual income of $50,000 or less– the opportunity to receive a full paid 4-year scholarship to their partner schools, which include incredibly well known and highly ranked institutions. In the beginning of senior year, students go through the first phase of the application process. Once those applications are completed, the results come in and you are informed whether or not you made it to the next stage. Those who continue on to the next stage are named “QuestBridge Finalists” and have the opportunity to apply to all QuestBridge college partners for free. It’s honestly a great opportunity that saves you a lot of money in the end. Quick Side Bar: For anyone who does make it to become a QuestBridge Finalist, don’t go crazy with the free applications perk. It’s always good to apply to more than one school but you should also limit yourself in the amount of schools you apply to. It’s better to have fewer well-written and high quality essays than a myriad of low quality, poorly thought out essays. When applying as a QuestBridge Finalist, you are applying early decisions to all the schools you’ve selected. Hence, if you receive an acceptance from a certain school, you are required to attend that institution. If you are selected by one of the schools of your choice, you are declared a National College Match, and you do receive a 4-year full-paid scholarship to that university. However, if you aren’t selected, you’re given the opportunity to apply to the same college partners again through the regular decision deadlines. Again, those applications are free. But, this time if you are selected you don’t receive a full-paid scholarship. However, you still receive a significant amount of financial aid so it’s definitely worth the try, don’t become discouraged if you don’t make it in the end. Well, that’s QuestBridge for you. It’s surely an opportunity to consider if you do fall within the income guidelines. It’s an experience that gives you a lot to talk about when writing your college applications and when going on to college in the future. I definitely encourage anyone interested to learn more about it or contact me with any questions! Best, Amanda Alfonso

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Being a High School Student in College

aalfo5

By Aalfo516 Aug 2017

Being in high school is stressful enough, adding college to the mix can throw one over the edge. My junior and senior years of high school were spent in a university where most people were much older than me. Although in the beginning it was an extremely frightening experience, I did learn a lot in the process. Here are some helpful tips I thought I'd share today. 1. Make Connections! You may not realize it now, but grades aren't everything. In order to achieve success, one must go out of their way to speak to individuals that can help you move forward. With a bit of confidence and great communication skills, one is able to make a lasting impression that will open up many doors. 2. Get Experienced! Yes, you're only in high school but that's no excuse for lack of experience. There are so many volunteer opportunities and extracurriculars that don't have an age requirement. If you know what you love to do, go do it! Get that experience! Interested in medicine? Volunteer at your local hospital. Interested in working with children? Volunteer at a nearby summer camp. Interested in music? Join the community orchestra or take private lessons. All of these opportunities are right at your doorstep and would look great on a college application. 3. Put yourself out there! Opportunities don't find you. You have to find them yourself. Even if you're not exactly sure what you want to do with your life, don't shy away from joining clubs and meeting new people. Join any club you're even slightly interested in. Clubs that devote themselves to a great cause or that give you community service experience are always great! Finding these opportunities allow you to figure out what it is you are and aren't interested in. 4. Manage your time! Netflix is not going anywhere. Spend a little less time on the computer and a little more time studying. Trust me, you'll thank yourself afterwards. Use something you'd rather be doing, as motivation to finish what you need to be doing. Keep a to-do list, on your phone or notebook, listing every single thing you'd like to accomplish that day, week, and month. Set goals and strive to accomplish them! 5. Relax! Perhaps the most important tip of all is to relax. I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. If you tried your hardest and gave it your all, then you will no doubt end up where you need to be. So do not feel discouraged if something doesn't go your way. Keep trying because hard work and perseverance always pay off in the end. Good luck in high school guys! Connect with me if you have any questions, concerns, or if you just want to vent about life. Amanda Alfonso Boston University Class of 2021
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