Students blog

Explore the latest trends, tips, and experiences in college life in this blog written by fellow students.

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    Technology has Alienated Humans with Humans

    Anuj Saxena

    The technological developments that have taken place over the past decade are colossal. With the use of social media and other networking tools, we have acquaintances all over the world…but are we becoming social robots? The reality is that we have connections but no genuine conversations. We are getting along but are often ‘alone together’. Instead of talking to people we prefer sending texts. The simple reason behind it is that in texts we get to edit, delete, retouch and in turn end up hiding our true selves and present only what we finesse. It has not only altered what we do but what we are. In a room, if five people are sitting together, each is busy exploring the world on their cell phones and laptops but nobody is interested in learning about the person sitting right next to him or her. We think too much but feel too little.

    As Charlie Chaplin correctly said, “we, humans, are meant to live by each other’s happiness and not by each other’s misery.” Each one of us forms an integral part of this society and it is our prerogative to actively work to form a community which benefits all of us. I feel we are letting technology take us to places where we don’t want to be.

    We have forgotten the essence of belonging to the mankind race. We are meant to stand by each other in good and bad times. People generally say that technology has made our lives better and easier. No doubt it has made our lives easier, but has it really made our lives better? Technology has given us cures for so many diseases but the bitter truth is that alongside these cures came numerous new diseases. Technology has drastically changed our lives both for good and bad.

    The optimum use of technology is certainly beneficial for us, but we need to stay away from is our over-dependency with technology. I encourage you to realize your technological usage, and evaluate if it is benefiting your relationships or hurting them. It’s essential that we maintain our balance in our society, whether that means with our electronics or without them.


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    Life Lessons: Relentless Actions and Random Acts of Kindness

    Cassandra Lawton

    Every month I try to make it a goal to perform a random act of kindness. Sometimes, seemingly small actions can make a big impact on another person’s life. This month my sister and I were at sibling’s weekend at my college. I go to Michigan State University and all of the events were in a building called the MSU Union. We had a good night: we made slime, watched a comedian, and got photo booth pictures. The last event was to get balloon animals. We talked about what animals we wanted and decided as we got in line. The person making the balloon animals came over and gave a lady behind us a sign saying she was the last one in line. He was running out of supplies and it was the end of the event, so everyone after the lady with the sign wouldn’t be able to get balloon animals. He gave everyone in line a card saying it was good for one animal, this way he could keep track of who was in line.

    While standing in line waiting for the man to make balloon animals, a woman came up with her two kids. The lady at the end of the line explained that she was the last one and he wasn’t going to make anymore. The woman who had come up to the line started to walk away with her kids, but my sister and I decided together to give the kids our two cards, so they could have the balloon animals instead of us.

    The woman and kids were happy and thankful, they got in line soon after we left.

    My sister and I always try to do things like this. Instead of getting balloon animals, we decided to paint picture frames. My sister was still just as happy as she would have been if we got balloon animals.

    Every time my sister and I perform an act of kindness, it’s an inspirational and educational experience. Considering this one specific example with the balloon animals, we realized those kids deserve the balloon animals just as much as we did, but they were probably even more thrilled to get them. I think that it is important for my sister and me to learn: how to give up something to make someone else better off. I encourage everyone to do one relentless action each month. My sister and I are thankful that we can make a positive impact in other people’s lives, just simply by being kind.


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    Tips for studying Asian languages: Video Blog

    Mai Chi Nguyen

    This mini video blog series will share tips to successfully study Asian languages. In this short video blog series, Mai will walk you through how to set a mindset, address common challenges, and point out useful tips to help successfully master Asian languages.


    Part 1


    Part 2


    Part 3

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    My Mentor, My Friend: Dr. Bonita Leavell

    Victoria Bankowski

    I sat in my first chemistry class and listened to my instructor talk about a former student she had given a letter of recommendation to. That student was accepted into all three of the Ivy League universities she applied to. From that point forward, I found myself dreaming of ways that I might land myself a spot in a classroom at one of the Ivy League schools. Whether it was a summer research program offered, or a transfer scholarship to complete my bachelor’s degree, I passed the time away trying to imagine ways I could turn this dream into reality. Dr. Leavell made me feel in my heart that I, too, could go to one of the top universities in the United States. I was inspired and set my sights on attending Johns Hopkins University (JHU).  It was because of the way Dr. Leavell spoke to me that I felt that I could transfer from my community college to an Ivy League school if I worked really hard.

    Dr. Leavell inspired and motivated me to reach for my dreams and apply to transfer to a top school. She helped me realize my capabilities. Dr. Leavell taught me the importance of learning in a way that is smart and effective. When Dr. Leavell talked about her previous students, she was so proud and it was so great to hear about other students who were successful. I feel that it’s important to have a professor and mentor who shares examples and inspires students to go for their dreams. Dr. Leavell is a gem and she is one of the finest professors who taught at my community college.

    Dr. Leavell is an inspiration. She encouraged me to succeed. She changed my mindset. I went from believing that I would never go to a top notch school to believing that I was as capable of attending an Ivy League. Especially when my professors gave examples of other students who were in my seat from years before. It was Dr. Leavell who turned my thinking around and inspired me.  She inspired me to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship to help me pay for an education that I knew that I could not afford.  I began applying to lots of different schools to transfer to.  In March, I received a letter stating I was selected as a semifinalist for the top ranked Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship.  I realized that even if I don’t get selected for this prestigious honor, I am still a winner. I did not get into Johns Hopkins University. However, I was so excited to get into the University of Michigan Ann Arbor on a full tuition scholarship and doing very well.

    I spent my life filled with self-doubt. It was Dr. Leavell’s belief in me that allowed me to understand and focus on the prize, along with helping me transform my insecurity into confidence and determination.

    It is very important that students recognize their mentors.  Especially educators who go to work every day for the students benefit. There is not a day that passes that I don’t think twice about the impact she made on me. It is equally important that I tell her how important she was in getting me to believe in myself. Dr. Leavell, I want to say thank you so very much for the lesson you have taught me.  I will never forget you.   I will cherish the thought of you, in my heart for the rest of my life. I hope not to disappoint you, for you are such a very important determining factor in my success. Thank you!


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    Speaking From Experience

    Alexis Phayakapong

    Writing this as I am finishing my Spring semester of my second year of my college career is incredibly euphoric. The person who I have grown into today has been through many ups and downs: academically, mentally, emotionally, socially, you name it! My experiences these last few years have opened my eyes and made me want to find a way to (hopefully) inspire someone to be a bit more aware about things you will encounter as a college student. Of course everyone is going down different paths with their respective majors but in all honesty, there is so much overlap with us all because college is a diverse playing field that you learn to navigate.

    My main piece of advice is to make sure that you are as open as possible your freshman year. Be open to new ideas, new food choices, new landscapes, and most importantly, seeing yourself and others differently. You have been surrounded by the same people for years and you feel like you might know who you are and what you are capable of – however, by being open to new ideas you might be surprised to find a new side of yourself! What college has taught me is that you can never be too sure of the future. Not everything is predictable or concrete. There will always be things that surprise you.

    Some of the greatest memories that I have made have been because I put my anxieties to the side for a moment and just tried something new. At first, I felt like I did not belong on my campus because I just could not seem to make friends with the right people and being that I am multi-racial, I felt like I was underrepresented. However, what kept me motivated at SDSU were the professors, and my hometown friends encouraging me to find the right people in which to surround myself.

    I continued to pursue what I love: fashion, brunch and marketing. I applied for the Marketing Committee and delightfully was accepted. I finally found a place to really expand my reach throughout the student body.

    I struggled with making sure I was investing my time at the right place. Who you decide to live with in the dorms is a big decision, and therefore it’s also important to keep an open mind about your potential roommate options.  There will be different people in your life –  classmates, people you hang out with, and true unconditional friendship that consist of meaningful conversations.  Having all three in one individual is rare so it’s important that you are able to differentiate between them all.

    Let people learn who they are as you learn who you are, and let that be enough. That goes with friendships, diets, relationships, and most of all, academics. I let issues in my dorm life take too much of a toll on me that it affected my learning in Business Calculus, which resulted in me retaking the course this past Fall. Although I had to retake the course, I am proud to say that I learned the material, went to office hours and retained it so much more this Fall than I would have had I just tried to pass the course.

    Failures and good experiences are just a few ingredients that are bound to be included for your Freshman year but I will leave you with a quote from my favorite Comm 101 professor, Master Rapp: “Be vulnerable. Allow yourself that much, without vulnerability, you will not allow love into your life and that is the biggest inconvenience you could do to yourself.”


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    Find a Mentor in Anyone - Including yourself!

    Amanda Smith

    A mentor is defined as “a trusted counselor or guide” (Merriam-Webster). Throughout my life, I have looked for a mentor in all that I do, and have always tried to reciprocate it. Mentors come in all kinds of forms, whether they are defined as a mentor or not. My first mentors were my parents and my grandparents. Family often shapes morals, values, actions, mentalities, and much more from a young age. My family enforced the idea of working hard while always finding time for the important parts of life. As I began school, teachers and friends became mentors. Seeing how my teachers cared for myself and my peers enforced the importance of compassion in my life. Throughout high school and now in college, my friends have become my mentors and my mentors have become my friends.

    As I have gotten older, I have realized that mentors are not always 20 years older who are assigned the role of guidance. My roommates have acted as mentors in classes that we are taking, or decisions about internships and the professional process, or even just building habits such as eating healthy and exercising. Besides being the same age, mentors can be younger as well. I have met various people this year at school who are younger than myself and have such a drive and passion for life that they have inspired me to continue to work towards my goals.

    With each day passing, I look for an opportunity to work in someone else’s life as a mentor, even if it is just in the smallest way.  This semester I have had the opportunity to be the Vice President of Pledge Education for my business fraternity as I have led 17 students through the pledging process preparing to be an active member. My goal for this role was to develop them professionally and personally as much as possible. At first, I found difficulty in this as I have not had as many experiences due to my young age. Throughout this whole process, I learned that there is nothing wrong in asking for help. I have greatly utilized older members of our chapter for various professional events that I planned, because the more well-rounded an event is, the more useful it is for the pledges. Even acting as a mentor this semester, I have had various mentors and learned more about leadership than what I ever could have imagined.

    Throughout the rest of my life, I will utilize the lessons I have learned from my mentors for the past, but always search for more mentors in all that I do. Everyone has a story, and each story has a lesson from it, good or bad. If you are in search of guidance, a mentor is always there to help, even if they do not come across as that right away.


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    Dealing with the Stress of Finals Week

    Brian Weaver

    Coping with stress may seem like a bearable task, but finals week offers a completely different scenario. We all know the struggles of late nights in the library, excessive amounts of coffee, and constant fear of failure, but there has to be an escape. To survive finals week, you need to take a break; find some way your mind can forget the numbers and vocabulary pressing on the overall health of your mind. Without a break, stress can overcome your whole life. With a few tips, you can fight the stress and go through finals week with ease and peace of mind.

    What is that one hobby, one activity that gives you the euphoric sense of no stress? For me, it’s a round of golf and just being in the sun on a nice South Carolina day. Outside, no amount of schoolwork can ruin my happiness. It is valuable to create the time to do the things that make you drop your worries, as forgetting about the stress is vital to protecting your mind. Oversaturation of information will not only create more stress, but it will make the information harder to retain.

    Lastly, do not be afraid to get some sleep or take a nap. Too many of my friends spend their nights in the library, get 4 hours of sleep, then do it all over again. No amount of caffeine will give you the focus you need to get through finals. Rather, it will slowly break down your ability to think critically, degrading your overall mental health. Find 20 minutes to close your eyes, clear your thoughts, and replenish your focus for the studying ahead.

    As much as these steps are important, there may not be feasible time to get away from school. So how do you relieve the stress without getting away from the problem? Studying for finals is stressful by nature, but there are a few ways to ease your mind during the prep work for this dreaded week. Though it may seem less productive, study with peers. Not only is it helpful to bounce questions off those who are in the same classes, but getting off topic can be a great method to clear your head. For me, studying usually takes a back seat to Gamecock football for at least a few minutes. There is no harm in spending a few minutes away from the debits and credits or the calculus formulas that are filling your thoughts!

    No matter how you deal with stress, make time for yourself during this difficult week. Finals may seem like the time you have drop everything, but there are plenty of ways to clear your head. If you solely dive into your notes, your stress levels may not be healthy. Your mental health depends on finding some “me” time to fit into your schedule!


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    Networking with Social Media

    Jessie Flamming

    Social media has become a part of our everyday lives and only continues to grow in the amount of times we depend on it throughout the day.  Sharing pictures, memories, and opinions with thousands of people at the touch of your fingertips has changed the way we think and live. Although older generations will debate that it is ruining our communication skills and face-to-face interactions they may need to look at it from a new perspective.

    Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all have different objectives, but at the end of the day, they all are used to reach large numbers of people with simple and instantaneous access. Using these social media platforms can expand your personal network and help increase your knowledge from numerous perspectives. You can share your achievements and passions with anyone  – even outside your close friend circle! By using social media for personal networking, you can almost effortlessly get new insights and build relationships with one post.

    From my personal experience the best advice I can give any college student is to use your social media for a deeper, more productive, result. By creating a virtual brand for yourself you can show your accomplishments, goals, and future plans to endless amounts of followers. You never know which of these followers can potentially help or encourage you to reach the accomplishments and goals you want to attain.  People can only see what you allow them to on the internet so you might as well make it the best version of yourself and influence others to do the same.

    Social Media is a powerful tool, so I encourage you to use it wisely! Posting about your goals and aspirations is much more insightful than what you were wearing to the last party you went to! Keep in mind who your audience is with each post. With a limitless ocean of viewers, your public profile is not only exposed to your classmates and friends, but also future employers who will be looking at your social media platforms to make judgments for your candidacy.


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    My Mother, a Mentor

    Cassandra Lawton

    I think that everyone has someone they can call a role model in their life. Whether it is someone you know personally or a famous person you look up to, I feel that everyone can feel inspired by at least one other person in the world.

    One of my many role models is my mother. She has always inspired me through her actions and her lessons she has taught me. My mother had me when she was eighteen and she wasn’t ready for a child at all. She quickly turned her life around and worked hard to graduate adult education and receive a high school diploma before I was born. When I was born, she saved all her money for a trailer that I called home for a couple years. My grandmother allowed my mother to buy some land from her and we transported a home onto the land, this home still continues to be my home. My mother has provided a stable life for me even though she was never able to fully experience everything she could have.

    After we obtained stability and my mother was hired into a more constant job, she decided to have my little sister. During the last couple months of her pregnancy, both of my cousins had family situations happen. My oldest cousins mother had died many years ago, but now her grandmother was going to give up her rights and put her into foster care. My mother didn’t hesitate to become my eldest cousin’s guardian and then not much longer my other cousins mother died of cancer leaving four siblings out of a home.

    My mother became the guardian of one of the siblings from the family and the rest went to live with my grandmother. Within one year my mother went from having one child to four children. Our household’s money was tight for a while, and my mother tried her best to give us an amazing childhood experience. My father built the second half of our house all by himself to give us each our own bedroom. My mother also gave us an allowance for cleaning the house that we had the option of putting together in order to go out to dinner, bowing, or the movies. Finally, she always tries to help us learn from our experiences.

    Currently, my oldest sister and I am the first ones ever to go to college in our family. Our mother has been there for both of us every step of the way, even though she never was able to go to college herself. My mother and I are very close and I consider her one of my best friends. I hope to help her and repay all the kindness she gave me and my siblings, but for now I still look up to her as my mother and my biggest role model.

    Who is your biggest role model? What impact did they have on your life?