Today

This past month has tested my patience like no other. It was the last month of college classes and the start of finals, the last month of working 4 jobs and an internship while being a full time student, the first month being long distance with my girlfriend, a month full of crazy stuff going on back home, and the last month of what has been normal to me for the past four years. Everybody keeps asking if I am excited to graduate. I always answer, “well I am excited to be done with these classes”. The truth is, it hasn’t hit me at all that I am actually GRADUATING. You think about that moment for years, even your whole life. Graduating college. To think that I will be walking across that stage a few days from today is unbelievable.

Today I took my last undergraduate final. I studied for it. Ahead of time actually. But I could have studied more. I think I have said that about every single final exam I have ever taken. And just like that it is finished and over, so it doesn’t matter how much I studied anymore. The only thing standing between me and being finished is a stupid 2 page paper. So instead of writing that, I am writing this. I figured I might as well procrastinate the last assignment, just like way too many before it.

Today, 3 different bosses/professors told me to make sure that I see them before I leave. If there was one thing that would make graduating sink in, that was it. I have spent countless hours with these individuals over the past couple of years. I can’t imagine not seeing them on a weekly basis, some even daily. Not only them, but many others. My college has become a second home to me, and so many people there have became family. Recently my friends and I have been looking at old pictures and talking about all of these amazing memories we have made here. Graduating is so exciting and long awaited, but it is completely bittersweet.

Today, a professor told me that when I am working in the area next year (hopefully) that I have to come talk to her classes about working in a research laboratory setting. We talked about this previously, but it is here. I am not going to be a student anymore. I’ll be the guest lecturer that so many students struggle to sit through but really appreciate having there. I’ll be an adult or something.

 

Today I realized that tomorrow, my undergraduate career will be finished.

Senior Status?

Today I made the four hour trip from my college in Massachusetts to my hometown in Pennsylvania. Usually this trip is simple. I have done it over 20 times throughout the past three years. This trip wasn’t so great today considering I was in the hospital yesterday afternoon, getting fluids… Yay for being dehydrated at the end of finals week!

Anyways, I am home for summer. The last summer as a undergraduate student. My junior year is over. How does this happen? Where does time go?

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The Last Selfie as a College Junior

Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited for it to be summer. I could go on forever about the books I am going to read, how much time I am going to spend with my dog, being able to go to the gym every day, etc., but that is not what I want to talk about right now.

Junior Year Recap (as far as school stuff goes): My fall semester classes included Physics 1, Biochemistry, Environmental Science 1, and US History. Besides being a full time student, I worked as a Resident Assistant in a freshman house, peer tutor, and shuttle driver. I was apart of various clubs and rode for my college’s IHSA Equestrian team. This past semester my classes were Physics 2, Equine Nutrition, Equine Care, and Cell Biology. Also, I picked up a position as an office assistant in the campus activities office. This looks crazy after I see it all written down, but I survived somehow!

So, now that this year as come to an end, I would like to admit that I am scared. I am scared to be a senior because it means the end is coming. I have had an amazing three years at my college and I am not ready for it to end. I love all of the jobs I have had, the people I have met, and the friends I have made. Besides the fear of leaving my school, I also do not have a plan yet. I have a million ideas of things I want to do after I graduate college, but nothing is set in stone. I could apply for Master’s programs in Wildlife Conservation and Rehabilitation or Equine Nutrition, or I could move down south an work at a horse farm, or I could get a job in research. Literally, the possibilities are endless. Of course most undergraduate students have these worries, but when it is you, it really blows. I feel like I can’t shake this feeling. I am constantly thinking of scenarios that might happen after graduation, but I still haven’t determined a plan.

I guess for now all I can do is go with the flow, relax, and enjoy summer.

Goodbye Residence Life

Spring 2012 semester, the second semester of my college career, I did something crazy. I applied to be a resident assistant. Then something even crazier happened, they hired me! At this point I was almost done with my freshman, so I basically knew everything there is to know about college, life, and everything in between. I’m just going to throw it out there that I was completely WRONG.

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Welcoming Incoming Students 2012

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Halloween 2012

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My Campus’ Staff at the End of the Year Banquet 2013

The past two years have been absolutely crazy. I learned about life, people, networking, healthy relationships, conflict management, responsibility, etc. Honestly, the list is never ending. I learned things about things I didn’t know existed. This experience has helped me come out of my shell and grow as a person immensely.

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I touched a shoe for ResLife. BIG DEAL

My first year as a resident assistant, I was in a building with three other RAs and we had about 90 residents all together. We had an amazing supervisor who took time to get to know us personally. I learned that most Residence Life supervisors are like that. They care about you as a person, amazing, right? More importantly, one of my co-RAs and I clicked immediately. One of the first days we met during summer training, we talked for hours about everything imaginable. Since that day he has been one of my bestfriends and he will be apart of my life forever. Thank you ResLife for introducing us!

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Zombies Together, Halloween 2012

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“Most Likely to Be Seen With Each Other” Awards End of the Year Banquet 2013

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“The Matt Smile”

I was rehired as a resident assistant for this year in a house with all freshmen. Going into this I was so excited. I got my own little house to make a home for all of these incoming students. This year has been more than amazing. My house came together like a family right before my eyes. I have bonded so much with all of my residents and I can only hope that they appreciate that even half as much as I do.

Working as a resident assistant has opened up a number of doors for me. This position has helped me grow not only as a person, but also as a figure in my college community. I have obtained multiple positions working on campus, met many influential individuals,  joined various clubs and organizations, and even got hired as Senior Class President for next year. All of this started the day that I was hired as a resident assistant. I have said that sentence many times, but I never really understood that until recently. Obtaining such an important leadership position gave me confidence. I felt like I found a place in this small little piece of the world. I needed to keep that feeling, I loved it, it inspired me. So I became a peer tutor, first year course assistant, supplemental instructor, shuttle driver, campus activities office assistant, public relation chair for the gay-straight alliance club, and so on. Each and every one of these experiences has been life changing.

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Presenting an award to a faculty member I admire very much.

I credit much of this to Residence Life because it was my start. It was my foot in the door, my eye opener. Although these past two years have been amazing, I decided to not return to the position for my senior year. This was an extremely difficult decision, but I wanted to have the opportunity to make more time for other experiences my senior year.

Yesterday was the End of the Year Banquet for Residence Life. Another year has come to a close, and it hit me that it was my last and my days as a resident assistant are coming to an end.

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End of the Year Banquet 2014

Thank you Residence Life for two amazing years.

You have inspired me to follow my dreams and be myself and that, is irreplaceable.

 

 

May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

Every college student has their own way of surviving finals. Sometimes our ways may be not-so-healthy, but it is only for a week or two, right? I have survived college final exam week 5 times (ew) and I am now entering into my 6th time. I wanted to share some of the things I do, stupid or not, to help me get through all of the studying.

 

ONE// Rewriting Notes

In my opinion, this is the easiest and most effective way of studying. Repetition is key.

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TWO// Music

I have to listen to music, especially during those 6 hour cram sessions. Even if it is just low, background noise, it helps keep me “less bored”. Pandora is literally my bestfriend. If you don’t listen to Pandora while studying, you should. My favorite stations are ‘NSync Radio and Glee Cast Radio.

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THREE// Snacks, Drinks, and Gum

Again, this helps keep me “less bored”. My go-to studying snack is chips, I know, unhealthy, but at this point in the semester I don’t care. Coffee, water and Gatorade are my typical study drinks. I would drink coffee endlessly if I could, but I prefer to not be dehydrated while I’m trying to learn stuff. Last, gum. It is self-explanatory but I just love gum.

FOUR// Drawing on White Boards

I get really tired of writing notes in notebooks or on my computer. Being a Biology major, I always have a lot of pictures, graphs, and biological cycles to remember. I draw them really big on white boards, in different colors, to help me go over and remember them.

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FIVE// Push-up and Burpee Breaks

A few years ago my friend started doing push-ups in the middle of our study session and told me that it really wakes you up and helps you focus. I didn’t believe her at first, but ever since then I do this all the time. It is good to get up, stretch, walk around, and maybe do some push-ups or jumping jacks. It gets your blood racing and gives you a little adrenaline push.

SIX// Group Sessions

My friends and I always get together to study. Even if we don’t say a word to each other for hours, it is nice to have company.

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SEVEN// Color

I love making things colorful. I highlight everything in different colors, color in pictures, use colored notecards, etc. I can’t just look at white paper and black pen for hours on end. Eventually, it all meshes together and just no.

EIGHT// Goodbye Cell Phone

This is the hardest one, but I try to put my phone on silent. Even if I don’t touch it for a half an hour, that’s better than getting distracted every minute.

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 Hopefully this gave you some easy and maybe stupid ideas to make all of that studying just a little more bearable! Happy finals everyone!

Sunday’s Taste of Euphoria (#4)

Here is my recap of some of the things that made me happy last week!

ONE// Honestly, I am glad this week flew by. I spent the whole past weekend studying for a bunch of exams that I had to take throughout this week. It was stressful, but I survived! I think that is reason enough to be happy.

TWO// Wednesday was National Student Athlete Day at my school. All athletes who received above a 3.0 GPA were invited to a ceremony. At the ceremony, all junior and seniors who maintained a cumulative 3.4 GPA or higher were inducted into the Chi Alpha Sigma honors society. I was inducted and I got a nicely framed certificate! To end our season, my IHSA Equestrian Team had our team dinner after the ceremony was over.

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THREE// Friday was my school’s second annual Spring Ball. The theme this year was Moonlight Mascarade. My date was my bestfriend Emily, of course. Everybody had an amazing time!

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FOUR// Saturday was my second day of work at the canine rehabilitation center. I learned so many new things and met new dog friends. I got to do my first swim by myself and go in the water treadmill!

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FIVE// After having a long and tiring day at work on Saturday, it was still beautiful outside when we got back to campus. So what to do on a beautiful day? Lay down and read a book with your bestfriend.

Sunday’s Taste of Euphoria (#2)

Last week I wrote my first “Sunday’s Taste of Euphoria”. The objective of these weekly posts is to acknowledge some of the things that made me happy throughout the past week. It is easy to get lost in the craziness of college so it is important to do things that make you happy and recognize what they are. Even the little things.

ONE// I am currently running for Senior Class President at my college which is probably crazy for those of you who know me in real life. Politics aren’t really my thing, but I am going to try something new. On Sunday night I hungout with a good friend and worked on my campaign materials. We spent hours in front of my laptop on Photoshop with Moscoto in hand. It really made me appreciate the amazing people I am surrounded by (with unbelievable talent I must add).

TWO// Monday I rode my favorite horse Tango (you can read all about her here) and had a really rough lesson, but I had an amazing lesson on my coach’s horse Tahoe on Wednesday. I hadn’t ridden Tahoe in months, and he is a complete sweetheart. I forgot how much I enjoy riding him!

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THREE// Thursday night was girls night and we watched our new favorite movie, Frozen. Again… This is going to be a problem I think. For those of you who have seen the movie, my new favorite part is “YOO HOO summer blowout!”.

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Emily and I with our scrub swag

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My buddy Fergus

FOUR// Saturday I worked with my bestfriend Emily at a canine rehabilitation center learning about hydrotherapy with an underwater treadmill, massage therapy, chiropractic therapy, and laser therapy. Oh and we also swim with dogs in an indoor pool, that is made for dogs, to exercise them. It fills my heart to see so many dog owners care so much about their pets. I love the idea that Pets are Family, and I saw that through so many people yesterday.

14 Things for the Next 14 Months

Since spring break is coming to a close, I keep thinking about how I am almost a senior in college. I wanted to come up with my first list of things I want to do before I graduate in 14 months (bring on the nausea). Everybody has their own ways of staying organized, especially in college. Most college students get by with “organized disorganization”, but we tend to keep it all together somehow. My method of keeping track of my life is making lists daily, sometimes hourly honestly. I always feel comforted when I have a new list and more so, when I complete things on my list. So here it is.

14 Things

 

1. Summer 2014 Internship

A requirement for my undergraduate degree is to complete a certain amount of internship hours. Since I am a biology major, my internship must be related to biological sciences. I applied to 7 internships, all over the United States, within the field of wildlife conservation and rehabilitation because I am hoping to enter it post graduation (as of right now at least). Now I am playing the waiting game with hearing back from all of these places.

2. Sign a Lease

I have been a resident assistant for the past two years. For my senior year, I plan on getting an apartment with my two best friends and I cannot wait. Can you say relaxation?

3. Learn to Cook

Give me anything to bake and I can do it in a heartbeat, but cooking is not my thing. I feel like it is necessary to learn how to cook at least a few meals before graduating college.

4. Read More

I constantly talk about how much I miss reading books for fun. I keep buying books that I want to read, but they just get added to the pile. So, I want to get through that pile of books and maybe some more.

5. Write More

I made this blog about 5 months ago because I wanted to start expressing myself in a different way. So far, I am satisfied with how it is going so I plan to continue.

6. Win My First Election

I am running for Senior Class President, which is weird because I am not a political person. The position was suggested to me by one of my bosses and I figured, why not? I have done just about everything else so I might as well add it to the list!

7. Volunteer

I used to volunteer occasionally at various horse farms and animal shelters. Helping animals is the most rewarding experience (obviously considering that is what I plan to devote my life to). I want to make time to do this again.

8. Improve My Horseback Riding

Every athlete has something that they want to improve about their performance. Mine is not specific, I just always try to continue growing with my horseback riding. My goal is to look back after graduation and see that two years riding for my equestrian team helped me grow as a rider.

9. Continue Getting In Shape

Recently I have been obsessed with working out. I have been trying really hard to go to the gym four days a week and find new and improved workouts. I am doing everything to keep myself motivated and I want to keep it up. Hopefully in the near future I will be fit.

10. Pay Off My Car

This is self-explanatory. I traded in my first car, a 2004 Jeep Liberty, to get a 2012 Chevy Cruze. Being a semi-environmental freak, I wanted a car with better gas mileage, especially since I drive back and forth to school. I love my car, but I am over the payments so I want my loan to be paid off by graduation.

11. Save Money

Again, this is self-explanatory. Currently, all of my money goes to my car and basically useless stuff (food, gas, alcohol, etc.). I really want to start building up some savings again.

12. Stop Being Late to Everything

I am constantly running in every direction. As much as I try to be a “professional”, I am late for everything. Literally everything. This needs to change before I have to grow up and get a real job. What better time to improve on something than the present?

13. Graduate With Honors

I guess this is self-explanatory. I like getting good grades and having a good GPA so I want to maintain that and graduate with honors. *Nerd Alert*

14. Have Fun

Save the best for last. I consider myself a hard worker, others say too hard, and I really don’t leave enough “me time”. As cliché as it sounds, I want to have an unforgettable senior year surrounded by my bestfriends that have been by my side since the beginning of college.