Making Decisions Is Hard

emilymartin

It’s getting down to the wire — the last semester. You’re checking your virtual and physical mailboxes constantly, hoping for news of admission and scholarship decisions. Everyone keeps asking what you’re doing next year — and you’d love to give them a really specific, exciting answer, anything other than I don’t know yet

I know the above paragraph describes what plenty of you high school seniors are going through right now — but it also describes me a few months ago. I spent this year stressing about another search process for my next big academic adventure: graduate school.

And I was as ready to get it over with as you are.

Beginning the search process — for both college and graduate programs — is exciting. But after you’ve finished your applications, clicked all over every school’s website, contacted admissions staff, and made visits, sometimes there’s nothing left to do but wait. The excitement has been suspended by anxiousness as time starts feeling like it’s running out. You just want to know already, to start getting excited about your new home, to mentally design your new room, share your news on social media, and put a new school’s bumper sticker on your car.

I get it.

But the hardest thing about my second school search, at least at the beginning, was the leaving part. My standards were pretty high because I wanted to find somewhere that I loved as much as I love Transylvania. Maybe you feel that way about your high school (or maybe you’re ready to get out of there ASAP — that’s okay, too).

I have finally made a decision, but you know how it is — you want to keep every option open until you’re 1,000% sure. (Which is why I waited to make my deposit to Transylvania until a week or two before the May 1 deadline.) And of course, scholarship and financial aid offers were going to be critical to my decision, just as they were to my college choice.

But what made this second search easier was how much more prepared I feel. Of course, way back in 2011, I felt prepared for college, and I was. But nothing could match how much help Transy has been in helping me find my next home — from countless meetings with the Career Development Center, to advice from professors (even from some I’ve never had in class before!), and support and encouragement from all my friends, coworkers, and classmates.

Even though this next change will be scary, I know I’ll be fine. Because Transy has made sure of it. That’s why thinking about living and learning somewhere other than 300 North Broadway feels like leaving home all over again.

And you’ll be fine, too. When you find your college home — whether it’s this week or at the last minute, all that stress will be replaced with relief and excitement.

We can do this.

Here's me after my first-year orientation event! I can't believe I'm closer to the date of my graduation than I am to that orientation, but I couldn't be happier with how the past two years have gone.

Here’s a picture of me after I registered for my first college classes way back in 2011!

You Mean There’s More?

Lesley Goodaker

First things first, breathe. As I’m sure many of you have realized over the past few months, searching for a college to call home is not for the faint of heart however, all of those acceptance letters are certainly worth it. Even so, the work’s not over yet. Now, you get to turn the tables on the colleges you’ve applied to. You get to choose who gets your acceptance and who doesn’t—but you have a bit of time before you have to make a final decision. So, what happens if you choose to make Transylvania your home?

Well, after you have decided that Transy will be your home away from home in a few short months, you will have a few important things to do which include: sending in your deposit to reserve your spot on campus, accepting your scholarship and financial aid package, and filling out other important documents found on the Admitted Student page—one of which is a roommate selection form.

Ask about any student on campus, and one of their greatest fears coming into college was likely who they would room with. Luckily for Transy students, our Residence Life staff works tirelessly to match students accoding to the preferences they indicated in their roomate selection form.  The form asks about students’ preferences for bed time, cleaning the room, desired room temperature, and even if you sleep with the TV on or off. Ideally, this helps makes sure that someone who goes to bed at 9:00 PM and wakes up at 7:00 AM, will not get paired with someone who goes to bed at 3:00 AM and wakes up at noon. Another great thing about Transy’s roommate pairing process is that you will find out who your roommate is before arriving on campus. This means you are able to coordinate on things such as who will bring the mini-fridge and who will bring the microwave. In the even that you have a specific person in mind to room with, there is an alternative to “random” roommate selection.

If you aren’t comfortable with being paired with someone you don’t know, there is always the option of requesting a specific roommate; however, you both have to list each other on your roommate forms. If you don’t already know someone who you would like to room with or simply want to get to know more members of your class, check out the Class of 2019 Facebook group. Who knows, you just might meet your future roommate!

Sampling What Lexington has to Offer

J.T Henderson

If you’re considering Transy for your college destination, of course you should take a campus tour and have session with one our awesome Admissions Counselors (you can find your counselor here), but you should also get some facts about the city of Lexington! Yes, you will be taking your classes, participating in extracurriculars, and most likely living on Transy’s campus, but it’s impossible to spend all of your four years at Transy in your room, so what’s going on around in the Lexington?Lexington Skyline

Transy is located only three blocks away from downtown Lexington, making it very possible to walk, bike, or use other forms of sustainable transportation to get around this inner part of the city. There are several options for volunteering, entertainment, social outings, and eating. There are opportunities to do all of those things on campus – and you will – but Transy is committed to engaging its students in the world and the first step is in the immediate community and culture.TrianglePark

One of the things that potential students or their families frequently ask about is the food. Transy has four dining options on campus plus the restaurants that Lexington has to offer. On campus we have the main, buffet-style dining hall (the Caf), the fast food Rafskeller (the Raf), the 1780 (the ’80), and Jazzman’s, which is our campus café. The variety of eating-places allows you to eat something different everyday if you want, but sometimes you just want to go off campus to eat with your friends.

There are several chain restaurants around the city, but to really appreciate the uniqueness, you should try the local restaurants. Recently, I’ve eaten at a few local restaurants just a few blocks away called Stella’s Kentucky Deli and Grey Goose, which were both great. Plus, Transy often buys food from local farmers and restaurants to serve at events like Mad Mushroom Pizza and North Limestone Coffee and Donuts, making it easy to become addicted but also more aware of what the surrounding community has to offer. Lexington has so many opportunities, not only for food and fun, but also for jobs, internships, etc. So make sure to check out all that Lexington has to offer here and how going to Transy can allow you to take advantage of all of them!

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Learning from The Best

J.T Henderson

I’m sure everyone has had a high school teacher tell them how much more difficult college professors would be than they were used to in high school. I know I had a teacher that was adamant about being stern toward us during our senior year because she wanted to simulate how professors are in college. Although there are college professors who fit this stereotype, the professors at Transy have a reputation of being extremely helpful and personal, so I want to share some examples of how a handful of the professors I have interacted with have broken down this stereotype.

Most recently, one of my Spanish professors was shopping for groceries and found some “English-Spanish educational cookies,” which she thought would be a nice gift to bring us for our Friday class. The cookies said things like “coffee” on one side and “el café” on the other with a picture of a coffee cup. The gesture was very kind and light-hearted. However, the cookies were completely tasteless and the professor felt bad about giving them to us, so the next time class met, she brought us chocolate covered espresso beans to make up for the bland cookies. She had no reason to bring us these snacks other than her immense kindness.

Educational Cookies

Educational cookies from professors! 

Transy professors also care about each of their students. Often professors will ask how you’re doing and take the time to connect what the students’ plans or involvement to what they’re discussing in class. They also really encourage students to come speak to them outside of class during their office hours, because they want to get to know you and they want to help you do what you want to do by whatever means possible; it doesn’t matter if it’s career related or campus related. In turn, the professors also want to make sure that students get to know their personal lives as well. One day after class was over, one of my professors began telling us how she adopted a kitten and how it’s the first pet she has had in a long time. She told us everything about her kitten and even how it got sick recently. By telling students about themselves, Transy professors eliminate the intimidation factor that students – especially first-year students – may feel.

Transy professors are focused on their students and love working with them everyday. Whether it’s being willing to participate in a pie-throwing event where they’re having pies thrown at them, or emailing you when you miss class or are sick to check up on you, the professors truly care about your success. They’re very willing to write recommendation letters and almost all of our professors have opportunities like research that they will ask students to help them with.

All professors will treat you like an adult and expect you to meet their expectations, but Transy professors will also treat you like a person and not just a number, which is just another reason why I chose to dedicate four years, prepare for my future, and make unforgettable memories here at Transy.

“It’s Never Too Late For Cocoa Beach”

emilymartin

This weekend, I had the exciting opportunity to attend the Southern States Communication Association‘s Undergraduate Honors Conference! As a part of the Senior Seminar course of my WRC major, several of us submitted our work to this conference, and three of our papers were accepted! So we, along with a sophomore student who also got a paper accepted (even more impressive!), got to spend the last several days with one of our professors and an alum in Tampa, Florida presenting our work and learning from other students and professors from across the country.

But that’s not even the coolest part.

I was excited to present my project, but I was a little anxious about the trip in general. I knew the other students attending, but wasn’t super close with any of them. We all work in the writing center, and I’ve had a couple classes with them, but I wasn’t sure what we’d have to talk about for five whole days together. Plus, the conference fell on the last week of classes for the semester, so I was nervous about catching up before Finals Week began.

It wasn’t long before those worries disappeared. I talked with my professors before I left, and they were so helpful in telling me what to do to catch up for class. So that concern was taken care of!

We hadn’t even arrived in Tampa before I knew this trip would be so much more fun than I’d originally thought, and it was all thanks to some bad travel luck. On the long drive down, every little thing seemed to go wrong — from missing turns and ending up back on the interstate, to awkward waiters at every restaurant we visited.

We’d been commenting on our bad luck along the way. At some point, we started seeing billboards for Cocoa Beach, a supposedly fabulous tourist destination. As we continued casually complaining about our bad luck, missing class, and being nervous to present, someone jokingly asked the driver if it was too late to go to Cocoa Beach instead. They responded, “It is never too late for Cocoa Beach!”

Now, I know that exchange isn’t particularly funny, but after you’ve been in a van for eleven hours, your sense of humor changes. Suddenly, the trip wasn’t awkward anymore. We were all cracking up at the thought of taking a vacation instead. That comment would be the first in a long list of lines that grew into inside jokes we’d reference throughout the trip.

We never made it to the beach, but we did have a wonderful time at the conference. Our presentations went well, we ate at great local restaurants, and met people from across the country.

But what I will remember the most is sharing the experience with acquaintances who became great friends. Looking back, I should have known not to be nervous about that. I am so grateful that Transy, WRC, and most importantly, Cocoa Beach, brought us all together.

May Term, Play Term

Lesley Goodaker

It’s that time of year again! Spring has (finally) sprung, finals are near, and the end of the regular semester has come. In between rigorous study sessions and time spent enjoying the sunshine, whispers of May term can be heard throughout campus. But, what exactly is May term? Only the greatest thing ever (next to August term of course)!

Transylvania’s academic calendar operates on a 4-4-1 schedule. This means that from September to December and January to mid-April, students are enrolled in four courses of their choosing. As for the 1, well, that’s the best part. May term is a four week period beginning at the end of April and running to the middle of May when students concentrate on one class Monday through Friday, generally for two hours a day.  While this might sound pretty daunting, I assure you it’s quite the opposite.

Photo by Joseph Rey Au

Many May Term classes take advantage of the great spring weather and hold classes outdoors on Transy’s gorgeous campus.

A lot May term courses are team-taught by professors of differing disciplines which makes for a great opportunity to get to know professors outside of your area of study who you might otherwise never meet. However, one of the most notable things about  May term classes is that many take place on campus for only a week or so at the beginning of the term, and then move to destinations in the U.S. and all over the world. Course offerings change from year to year, but recent travel courses have included trips across the Western United States, New York City, Peru, Ireland, and Cost Rica. For many students, semester-long study abroad may not be feasible. In this way, May term is a great way to get a “mini-study abroad” experience that is relatively affordable and just as enriching.

May Term - study abroad

Where will you travel during May Term?

For students opting to enroll on a course taught at Transylvania, the options are just as vast (with many being Special Topics courses). This May term, I am taking a co-taught Writing, Rhetoric, and Communication course called Writing for Non-Profits. This is especially exciting because our class will be working with a community non-profit partner from the Lexington area to write grants. This is not only a course which counts towards my major but also will provide me with great practical experience which I can put on my resume.

Another great things about being on campus during May term is the social time. During the regular semester, Transy students are pretty booked with classes, internships, sports, and other co-curriculars. During May term, with only one class to focus on, students tend to have a lot more leisure time to hang out with friends or get off campus; however, regardless of whether you’re on campus for May term or off, you’re guaranteed to have the time of your life!

Shake Off the End of Semester Blues

Rachel Morgan

Getting back into school after spring break is hard. Believe me, we get it – many of my friends are hitting that lull, like right after lunch; we just want to sleep and call it a day, or in this case, a semester. Most people do, but this is not the time of the year to take a break! Whether you’re in high school or college, finals are coming, and we are not over the final hurdle yet. But how do you finish out the school strong when all you want to do is curl up and watch Netflix for hours on end? Here are some tips to help you get over the end-of-break blues.

1. Treat yourself with breaks

Don’t be afraid to take that 30 minute break, or go get some food, or watch the newest Bates Motel. Taking a breather during studying will not only let you relax, it will give your focus a chance to reformat and catch up. This will help you retain more information as you study. My guilty pleasure is Tumblr for 15 minutes or a 10-15 minute video by one of my favorite YouTube artists. Just be sure to time yourself so you don’t find yourself still surfing the net an hour later!

2. Find your study space

For me, I study best surrounded by people yet not interacting. Being alone tempts me to space out and start doodling or goof off; when I’m in public, it helps me keep my thoughts on what I need to study. I normally sit out in the lobby of my building, reading with my headphones in. Instrumental music is also key to studying or writing papers for me; I can’t become distracted by singing along. How do you study best? Is it your room while sprawled out on your bed? Is it on the living room couch? How about perched on your kitchen floor, all your material spread out around you? What works best for you is the best way to study, and while it may take some trial and error to find your preferred study space, it will be amazingly helpful in retaining focus.

Blog - Dory

3. Do not procrastinate!

Procrastination is the enemy of every student, even more so now that the weather has finally taken a turn for the better (knock on wood!). It causes people to forget their cares until suddenly that 10 page paper is due tomorrow and you have maybe an intro paragraph. While some people work better under stress, this sort of stress does not help your focus. Pace your work out and focus on getting it done in a timely matter. This will also allow you more relaxation time – without the threat of an assignment hanging over your head.

4. Motivate yourself!

You’re almost there! Just a little more! Finish strong! You are your own best cheerleader, and in the end, it’s you that has to make the effort to finish out strong. Don’t be afraid to cheer yourself on. The year is coming to an end, and it’s time to make your mark.