Pro-Tip: Using Campus Advantages to Your… Well… Advantage

I came to Alma for a number of reasons. My first time on campus was when I was 5 for a homecoming game with my mother, who proudly represents the distinguished class of 1983, back when Saga was actually run by a company called Saga and there was field hockey. My brother represents our last class, 2013, and we went on all of our college trips together. Which means that I went to my first official Alma College Admissions Visit when I was a freshman in high school.

Every time I came on campus, this pretty much happened.

“ALMA HAS THIS! ALMA HAS THAT! IT’S ALL SO WONDERFUL! TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT!”

Most of it was big stuff, like our fantastic Model UN Team, studying abroad, our deep connection with Scotland, and really cool Spring Terms, which my brother and I both took advantage of when he spent a month in Peru and I spent a month in England, Scotland, and Wales.

But there are other little things that Alma has that we should be taking advantage of, too. Smaller things that maybe we don’t think about. So this past week, I spent some time taking advantage of them.

SECURITY ESCORTS, ANYONE?

When I think of security, I think of them in relation to my RA position, which is to call them after hours when something is wrong, like the time my sophomore year that my toilet flooded into my room and soaked my carpet in sewage water. But security does a lot of other cool things besides calling facilities at night when I need them. They offer security escorts.

Last Wednesday I found myself in Mitchell helping a friend at midnight. I ran across campus as quickly as I could with security dialed into my phone in case I ran into trouble, and I didn’t end up leaving Mitchell until 1:30 a.m. I really didn’t want to walk back to South Complex alone at one thirty in the morning, so I dialed security’s easy-to-remember extension, x7777 (or 989-463-7777 from a cell phone), and I asked for a security escort.

Within 10 minutes, a security officer pulled up in what looked like a big bruiser ATV and he told me to climb inside. While we tromped across campus in the ATV, he told me all about his cute grandkids and I told him about my big plans after college that will, hopefully, involve my English major.

So here’s my question: would you rather run across campus alone at night or would you rather ride in a cool ATV type thing with a nice security guard that has cute grandkids to tell you about?

I’d definitely choose the latter.

WHEN YOU NEED A GOOD CRY

Your RA probably pushes Counseling & Wellness on you a lot. Having a bad day? Go to Counseling & Wellness! Miss your cat? Go to Counseling & Wellness! It’s probably drilled into your head by now.

But your RA has a point. Counseling & Wellness is pretty much the bomb. And believe me when I say that there is absolutely no shame in going there whatsoever.

Since I’m allergic to fur, I don’t have a cat that I miss, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t bend my rules and pet the cat in there (and sneeze for three hours later). There’s a Rubik’s cube in the waiting area that I try valiantly to solve, there are magazines, there are all kinds of toys to play with, and best of all, there are trained counselors there equipped to deal with anything and everything.

I go to Counseling & Wellness once a week to supplement the therapist that I have at home. That doesn’t mean that you need to go once a week. You can go once, pet the cat, and talk to any of the counselors about ANYTHING and you’re pretty much guaranteed to feel better. Even if you don’t have anything to talk about, go see the cat. Sit in the Light Room when it’s not sunny outside and get some Vitamin D. Actually solve the Rubik’s cube, which I am incapable of doing.

The best part about the Counseling & Wellness services is that they’re free. You have three counselors at your disposal. For free. Tell me that’s not awesome.

MY FUTURE PLANS HAVE CHANGED

I’m very familiar with plans changing unexpectedly. I used to be in the Teacher Education Program and I no longer am. I no longer want to be a teacher, I’m no longer student teaching, and I have an extra semester of classes to take this winter and a whole host of options that I can pursue. Grad school? Gap year? Fulbright Scholarship? AmeriCorps? SOMETHING?

Luckily enough for me AND for you, there’s a place where you can go to figure out what on earth you want to do with your life, and that place is the Center for Student Opportunity, or the CSO.

I’ll be honest. I haven’t spent much time there yet, but I will definitely be camping out in there making appointments about hunting for grad schools. And that&rsuqo;s not all they do. They help with internships and résumé writing and mock interviews and studying abroad and pretty much any life/professional skill you could want to be considered a Real Adult out in the Adult World. Plus they have free candy.

I went last week for a new program they’re doing called Great Scot where they bring in recent alumni that have done cool stuff. I met with a woman who graduated in 2011 who is currently writing for a high-end magazine and lives in New York City. I networked with her. The CSO is going to be bringing in alumni from all kinds of backgrounds, so no matter what major you have, you’ll have someone you can talk to and network with. They’re even hosting the CareerEXPLO on Friday, Oct. 4, from 3-5 p.m. in the Rec Center where all sorts of amazing Alma alumni will be available to meet, chat, and network.

The CSO isn’t scary. It’s full of awesome people that want to help awesome you do awesome stuff. And as I said, there’s free candy. So get down there, talk to someone, and see what the future holds for you.

NOW WHAT? YOU DECIDE.

Alma has huge resources, but it also has smaller ones that can lead to big things.

What will you do with those resources?

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