Scholarship Spotlight: Frame My Future

Happy Valentine’s Day! And gosh, do I have the best treat for you!

As a college student, I’ve learned just what it means to need money, especially money to pay for my education. And that is why scholarships are so valuable …. like the Frame My Future Scholarship Contest from Church Hill Classics!

Frame My Future is a fun, easy, and creative way to express yourself and have a chance at earning some great money for college. To enter, all you need to do is create a original piece of art that shows what you want your professional life to be like in the future – hence the name, “Frame My Future.”

There are so many options for this scholarship contest it’s ridiculous. You can draw, paint a picture, write an essay or poem, take a photograph, design an artsy graphic, create a scrapbook page…. the list is endless! Basically, just pick your favorite hobby, frame your future, and create!

There are more details at the Frame My Future contest page, but I’ll go ahead and give you a few here:

This contest is open to college students who are officially enrolled for the 2013/2014 academic year, and that includes students in community college, undergrad or grad school. You will submit your art online through the contest entry form, as well as write a short description describing your project.

Also, the deadline is March 5th! So, you need to enter soon!

I know you’re still waiting for one little detail, though. The money.

Diploma Frame will award 5 students with $1000 each to use for college expenses. One of the those lucky winners will also earn a $1000 donation for their university/college that will go into the school’s general scholarship fund.

I told you I had a treat for you! You could win $1000 for just 2-3 hours of work.

(0r, maybe 6 minutes of work if you’re some prodigy poet who can write a Hamlet rival in 5.58 minutes)

If you’d like to know about some other great scholarships that you could be eligible for, read my previous post about pursuing scholarships for college funding.

So, you’re very welcome for the valentine’s love, now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m going to go Frame My Future.

New students begin packing for college

As the end of the semester draws near, I am amazed at how fast my first few months here have flown by. I remember last summer when I thought it would take forever for my college days to arrive. Now, here I am, shocked to think that I’ve almost completed an entire semester at Lipscomb University.

I hope this blog has helped you prepare for college and has answered any questions you may have had. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these posts and expressing myself through online communication. I love to write and this blog has allowed me to pursue my passion for the written word.

Before I end the semester and close out this blog, I want to give you a few tips on packing for college.

Packing for college was a huge ordeal for me. I was under the impression that I needed to take everything. Whatever I decided not to take, I felt like I needed to box it up and put it in my closet so it wasn’t cluttering up the bedroom. Silly me! I should have known I wouldn’t want to go home to a bare room!

Depending on how far away your school is will determine how much stuff you need to take with you. I moved nine hours away (which meant no weekend excursions homes) so I needed to take most of my clothes and everyday luxury items. If you are staying closer to home and plan on visiting over the weekends, it is more practical to just take what you’ll need for a month or so and then swap items later. This will mean more space in the car and a neater dorm room.

Check with your school to see what kind of appliances it allows in the dorm rooms (microwave, toaster oven, refrigerator, etc.). If you plan on taking a lot of appliances and electronics, it is helpful to coordinate with your future roommate so you don’t bring the same items.

Below is the list of items Lipscomb suggests students bring:

New Student Residence Life Information

College students, what are some things you brought to college that you decided you really didn’t need? What are some things you forgot that you really needed? Future students, what items do you think you cannot live without? What are some you would be willing to sacrifice?

Life with a roommate can be a good thing

Alyssa is one of my favorite girls on campus. She is funny, bright, energetic and very laid back. She stays pretty busy with homework and playing on Lipscomb’s tennis team. Aside from all this, she continues to have a good attitude and agrees to put up with me every day. She’s a great roommate!

The whole roommate idea was a bit intimidating for me. I don’t have any sisters, so I was used to having my own room and privacy. The idea of having to share that with someone else, whom I had never met, was not ideal.

There are several options when it comes to picking your roommate. I chose to go “potluck.” I filled out a questionnaire online about my likes and interests and then the school paired me up with a compatible match. Another option is to room with a friend or someone you met through the school (online, during a campus visit, etc.).

Check and see if your college or university offers any ways of getting to know other students. Through Lipscomb’s online Residence Life site, I was given access to other incoming students’ email addresses. I was able to email other students and talk to them about rooming together. Two of my friends did this and it has turned out to be a great experience for them! Lipscomb also put together the Facebook page “I’m Coming to Lipscomb in 2010” to help students meet one another.

With technology the way it is today, once you know who your roommate is it will be very easy to stay in contact with them. Services like Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and of course, the cell phone, enable students to learn more about the person they will be living with.

When you first start talking to your soon-to-be roommate, it will be very tempting to agree with everything they say and be really easy going. However, if you’re not honest up front, it can cause some issues later on down the road. It is okay if you and your roommate don’t agree about everything. That is what makes you unique!

Several questions that are important to ask are:

  1. How important are your grades? If grades are important to you, then you want to know if they are important to your roommate. It will make for an uncomfortable rooming situation if you are always trying to study and she is blaring her music and watching television.
  2. Do you consider yourself neat or messy? I like my room to be neat and clean, so it was very important to me to find someone else who liked hers that way too.
  3. Are you a night owl or morning person? I can stay up really late and have fun, but I also like getting an early start to my day. I enjoy taking 8 a.m. classes because it gets me up and around in the morning. My roommate would rather sleep late and go to mid-morning classes. Make sure that whatever your preferred time schedule is, you are supportive of the other person in the room. Don’t let the alarm clock start a fight!
  4. Do you mind having people in your room late at night? This usually isn’t a big problem around here. Once you’re ready to go to bed just close your door. However, if you have a big group project due or are enjoying a late-night conversation with a friend, it’s always good to know where your roommate stands before inviting others into the room.
  5. What do you do for fun? Take the time to learn about what your roommate likes. Look for similarities between the two of you and build your relationship off of those. Do they play sports? Are they a “Glee” fan? What kind of music do they listen to?

For those of you in school right now, how did you meet your roommate? Do you have any words of wisdom when it comes to living with someone else?

College students pick their majors based on passion

Majors and minors and classes, oh my! While these are not necessarily the words Dorothy sang as she skipped down the yellow-brick road, they seem fitting for this post.

One of the three most commonly asked questions on Lipscomb’s campus is, “What is your major?” The answers are always different. Some students are majoring in the sciences (biology, chemistry, engineering) and others are taking a more liberal arts approach and pursuing an education in theater, communications or English. Even though the answers may vary, the reasoning behind the answer is usually the same.

College students across America pick their major based upon what they are passionate about. I am a journalism major because I love to write. There is something powerful about the written word. I am passionate about writing. A friend of mine is pursuing a degree in social work because she believes God is calling her to the mission field. She is passionate about helping other people. A guy in my math class is an accounting major simply because he loves math. But he’s passionate about it! Maybe passion isn’t the best thing to base your career off of, but then again, maybe it is.

One of my professors told his class that we should major in what we love. He asked us to picture our dream job. What do you want to do that you would be happy doing without being paid? Great question! I ask myself this every day now. As I started picking out my classes for next semester, I really had to figure out what I wanted to pursue. Am I willing to write and communicate news for free? Does my passion for writing coincide with the requirements that will be expected of me as a journalist? So far, my answer is yes.

At Lipscomb, you are required to have a major and a minor. Some people are not very happy about this, but it is actually a good thing. Your minor gives you the opportunity to pursue another interest that you may have, while still focusing on your main career goals. I am a physics minor. Yes, journalism and physics is the weirdest combination, I know. I hear that all the time. But I enjoy both of them. I took physics in high school and just loved it. My minor is a way for me to take classes that I enjoy and still have them count for something. A minor in physics can also help me with my journalism career if I choose to report science-related news. Most of the minors at Lipscomb require 18 credit hours.

So now I ask you, what do you want to do that you would be happy doing without being paid? If you’re like I was in high school, you’re probably not really sure what you want to do. Maybe you have some ideas about things you’d like to do, but you’re not really passionate about it. That is OK. You have some time to think about it and pray about it. I know the pressure is heavy on you to decide what you’re going to do, but don’t stress. Your passions will reveal themselves soon enough.

Below are some links to some fun and interesting careers. You can browse through the jobs and then come back and comment on this post and tell me what your favorite ones are.

Best Paying Jobs in 2010

Best Jobs in America

The 50 Weirdest Jobs in the World

For those of you in college now, what is your major? What made you decide to pursue a degree in that field?

Experiencing change is hard, but worth it!

The date is fast approaching. You have enrolled in classes, collected your scholarship award letters and started buying decorations for your dorm room. All you have left to do is pack. But then there is this feeling in the pit of your stomach. You’re not sure what to call it, but it makes you feel uneasy and a little fearful. A million thoughts run through your head. What if I made the wrong choice? What if I get there and I don’t like? Will I be homesick? Will I make any friends?

The coolest thing about college is that you get to live your life your way. You won’t have to call your parents when you’re leaving a friend’s house late at night. Your siblings, extra-curricular activities won’t ask you to be a chauffeur. No one is around to tell you when to go to bed (although I advise you do). College is the time every teenager dreams of – no parents, just freedom.

As I write this, I am mindful of the fact that my parents are going to be reading this. Of course, they do live nine hours away…

Although the thought of being an adult is fun and exciting, it can also be intimidating. The changes taking place are monumental. I remember the few weeks leading up to June Advance. I was getting ready to drive to Tennessee with my mom to register for classes, and I was not excited. My every thought was negative. Nashville was too far away. I wasn’t going to make any friends. My professors would be too hard. My mom was empathetic. She gently pushed me into the car and told me it would be OK. As we drove down U.S. Highway 70, we talked about what the future would hold and made our list of questions. Upon arriving in Nashville, we pulled into Lipscomb’s campus to began our weekend adventures, not really sure what the adventures would be.

Advance changed my attitude completely. By Friday night, I had already registered for classes, made lots of new friends and was ready to start school. I was super excited to start my next journey, and thrilled that it involved Lipscomb University. I rode this wave of excitement through the summer to the middle of August. Then I started packing. And the anxious feelings of June came back once again.

What is it about change that unsettles us? Why does change leave us feeling void, or the idea of change leave us grappling for stability? Over the next few weeks I struggled with these questions. I had been so excited and so ready to begin my life at Lipscomb, and yet, when I was finally there, all I wanted was to go home. The night my dad drove off campus was shattering. I felt completely alone.

I tell you this story, not to scare you away from going to college, but to let you know that these feelings are normal. I remember feeling like I was the only one experiencing the sadness and homesickness. How silly of me! I now know that my friends were experiencing the same emotions too.

As you get ready to embark on this next stage of life, don’t be afraid of change. The homesickness and tears are all a part of growing up and branching out. I am so blessed to be here at Lipscomb! I love it! I am thankful every day that my mom made me get in the car in June, and that my dad drove away from campus. Sure, I still get homesick sometimes and I miss my family, but the college experience is worth it. Don’t let fear and anxiety hold you back. Look forward to what your future holds, and get excited!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:6-7

The pursuit of scholarships will help with college funding

Yes, I can hear your comments now. “I’ve applied for college.” That’s great! “I did the research and visited the school.” Was the experience enjoyable? “I took the ACT five times!” Wow! “But I have a problem?” Yeah…wait, what? “Yeah. College. It’s, um, expensive.” Oh.

If you happen to be the person in my narrative, don’t fret. College is one of the most expensive things you will pay for. Tuition costs, room and board and textbooks all amount to enormous charges. And more than likely your Academic Award does not cover everything. But however large the sum, college is an investment worth paying for.

Many scholarships are available to college-bound youth. My favorite scholarship sites are Fastweb and Cappex. When you visit these sites, go ahead and create an account and start setting up your profile. Add as much information to your profile as possible. The more detailed you are, the more scholarships you will have access to. Also, be sure and check local venues in your area and ask about scholarships. Some smaller businesses will give out awards, but they do not advertise them.

A lot of the scholarships you apply for will ask for detailed lists. They want to know what honors/awards you have received, what leadership positions you have held, what volunteer jobs you have had and many other things. I suggest that you start compiling these lists now. It can take a while to gather all of the information, and, hopefully, you will continue to add to it. If you are a sophomore or junior in high school, start keeping track of your volunteer service hours so they are easier to locate in the future. At the beginning of my senior year, I sat down and complied several lists to help me get started on scholarships. When I started applying, it was easy to go find my lists and start filling out the information.

The number of available scholarships are numerous. Some scholarships require you to read a book and write a short response essay. Other scholarships ask you to fill out a survey and write a paragraph about your proposed major. Make sure you have a parent or friend read your essays before you send them off. You want your grammar and spelling to be correct and Spellcheck doesn’t catch everything. Also, read the directions! I cannot stress this enough. Applicants who do not follow the scholarship directions can be discarded immediately.

I have compiled a small list below of well-known scholarships. The award amounts on these are substantial and a lot of students apply for them. Take some time to look at the requirements so you have an idea of what they are looking for. Many scholarships can be applied for repeatedly throughout all four years of college.

Coca-Cola Scholarship,  Best Buy Scholarship, Annual Signet Classic Scholarship, The Ron Brown Scholarship, Our Voice Our Country Scholarship, Frame My Future Scholarship

Do you have a scholarship suggestion? Do you have an award-winning scholarship essay that you would like to share? I would love to hear from you!

Happy scholarship hunting!

Every student needs to budget

In my last post, I talked about preparing for the ACT and gave some suggestions on how to study for the test. Today, I want to take the time to talk about money management.

Money management is a big issue in today’s economic climate. Credit card companies and banks are constantly sending us flashy gold cards and pamphlets about how to keep a good credit report. As teenagers and young adults, we are bombarded with media images. Images that tell us how we should look, what we should wear, what we should drive… The one thing they fail to mention, however, is how much it all costs.

I had the great opportunity to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University three years ago. One of the most important things I learned was about making a budget. Ramsey stresses the need to write everything on paper. If you have your budget written out, it will be harder not to follow it. Ramsey also suggests using cash instead of a debit card or check. As you swipe the plastic, you tend to forget how much money you’ve spent. However, when the cash is leaving our hands, it makes an impact on our memory and we tend to spend less.

It is important that you make a budget before school. College is full of fun, new, exciting things and money management will be the last priority on your list. I would suggest making a budget now and getting used to using it. It will take some time before you get the hang of budgeting. It is not easy, but it is well worth the effort. Dave Ramsey has several great tools at his website to help you get started.

Good money management skills will reward you greatly at school. You will have more play money to hang out with friends, buy clothes and eat at Sweet Cece’s, but you will also have money to buy essential items for the dorm and extra school supplies.

Below is a sample of the budget I used at the beginning of 2010.

My Sample Budget

Do you have any special ways of tracking what you spend? Maybe you already keep a budget and you have some helpful insight for new college students. Please comment on this post and let us know!