My Experience at Nova Southeastern University

fiu vs nova

A lot of people wonder why it is that I transferred from Nova to FIU to complete my master’s degree, particularly because people aren’t too thrilled about completing their graduate degree in the same university where they completed their undergraduate degree. I have to admit that I did not attend FIU by choice, but rather, because I had serious family issues occurring at the time. Thankfully, one of the people who was ill survived. However, I did undergo a terrible death in the family. It wasn’t an ideal time to leave my family. For many years, I resented the fact that I didn’t go somewhere different because I spent my young adulthood under the watchful supervision of an older generation. While my friends from high school were partying it up out of state until 3:00 in the morning, my grandmother was calling me by midnight to ask where I was and when I was coming home.

When the opportunity presented itself in graduate school to leave, I saw the heavens open up. It was like I was getting a second chance to live a time of my life that I never had the opportunity to live. For the first week, I was ecstatic. I was a little famished, because I hadn’t started working yet within my graduate assistantship. I lived off of Starbucks and a bag of candy that I kept under my bed. But, I felt a breath of fresh air because I had my own space. The high didn’t last very long… and it wasn’t because I didn’t like being alone. In fact, I sometimes appreciate my solitude. I was just incredibly unhappy with the environment and with the school, overall. So, if you are considering going to Nova, or considering moving to Rolling Hills, the objective of this article isn’t to discourage you, but rather, to enlighten you and help you make a decision that best suits you. I wish I would have had this information when I was in the process of making a choice. My decision to go to Nova was sporadic. The deadline to FIU had already passed and I already knew I didn’t want to go to the University of Miami because I would have been in the same predicament… living at home and spending money that I don’t have. I never had the opportunity to sit back and take a closer look at schools around the country. But, this time, I didn’t want to wait. I really just wanted to go. I hated my job at the time and my only way out, which ensured me a job, was graduate school. My program (higher education), often gives students the opportunity to work in graduate assistantships. I figured that if I didn’t get one of these, I could at least get a student job, even if it didn’t offer the same benefits. I was very fortunate to have gotten a graduate assistantship, which I really have no regrets about. I enjoyed my time working there as an employee. But, I can’t say the same about being a student at the university.

The living conditions in the dormitory were very poor. The air conditioning wouldn’t go past 73, and during summer in South Florida, I find that to be very cruel. I could barely sleep because I was drowning in a pool of sweat. The walls were paper thin, leaving me to hear everything that went on in other people’s rooms. Due to the fact that there was no circulation in the air vents, a potent smell was always present. Having worked in housing and done room checks, I can attest that this was a constant issue. As a college graduate in my early 20’s, the last place I imagined myself living was in an environment like this. I wasn’t even picky about size. The room I slept in was about the size of a jail cell with a small window. But, this barely bothered me. Rather, it was the quality of living that really ruined that experience for me. Coming from FIU, I was absolutely spoiled when it came to food. I always had a variety of options. But, at Nova, I had about three, and they were all usually not very good. The food often made me sick. I would think twice about eating the chicken from there. Just saying. Not a good experience.

I left the building in search for an apartment in the area. While the prices were skyrocketing, I didn’t care. I just didn’t want to live in a place that smelled like mold and I didn’t want to eat bad chicken. But, I was having second thoughts about paying for an apartment because the school, itself, was not a place I was sincerely happy at. I took 2 classes at FIU that summer to determine if transferring was actually something that I wanted to do. I fell in love with those courses because they actually took into consideration the profession that I was working toward. FIU’s higher education program trained practitioners, not researchers. I realized very quickly that this is what was missing. It even offered a special certificate in exactly what I wanted to do: academic advising. When I received my letter of acceptance, I cried of joy. I enjoyed writing my papers, conducting research, and reading theories of the profession. What Nova was missing was the component that appeals to a practitioner… and descent food.

I’m glad that I had that experience because it showed me that I didn’t really miss anything by not attending a different school during my years as an undergraduate. I had fun, I went to fraternity parties, I drank beer, I joined clubs, and I excelled academically. Had I gone to any other state school, I would have had the same experience… just in a different bedroom and most likely not on a temperpedic mattress with beautiful animals. For years, I hated myself for not having made the choice to leave. But, after my experience at Nova, I really don’t see my experience in college as different from anyone else’s. In reality, my grandmother would have been calling me either way, whether I was in Gainesville, Tallahassee, or Miami. That experience also made me appreciate my grandmother even more because I realized that she’s honestly the best person in the entire world.

If you take anything out of this article, I hope it is the following:

  • There’s nothing wrong with leaving your hometown if the opportunity for something better comes along. But, don’t feel that you need to do it to prove anything to anybody. Do it because you want to and because the pros outweigh the cons.
  • Parents: you have to realize that the role of an adult child changes if he/she is still living in the home as a college student. You have to respect his/her privacy and ensure that they have a quiet space to study.
  • Dorm life is really not all that it is hyped up to be. It is an experience that I don’t discourage you from trying. But, don’t be disappointed if it’s not what you think it is. It’s really just living in a jail cell. It’s a bridge between living with your parents and living on your own.
  • FIU has way better food than Nova (lol)
  • Examine graduate programs before making any hasty decisions
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When being tired is ruining your life

tiredness

I promise myself continuously that next week is going to be different. That I’m going to wake up at 6:00am to look glamorous for work. I’m going to finish everything on my to-do list for the day. I will finish all of my school-work before Sunday and most importantly… that my hair and make up will be absolutely flawless every day of the week (hence the reason for waking up 30 minutes earlier). But, each and every week, I break this promise to myself and can’t help but to feel angry and frustrated.

But, why does this happen? Well, I can give you a plethora of reasons and excuses… but it all comes down to one specific reason that encompasses all the reasons: I’M TIRED. Yes, extremely tired. Yesterday, I felt like I was coming undone. I wasn’t able to attend my Wednesday night yoga class because I came home early from work and fell asleep through the class. I had high hopes of waking up and going to the gym at night to complete my own routine. But, I woke up with a terrible headache and raging hunger. I realized that yesterday, I passed the point of tired and entered the realm of exhaustion. With exhaustion, a plethora of symptoms appear. According to helpguide.org, a burnout may produce the following:

– blunted expressions
– loss of motivation
– feeling extremely tired and drained
– feeling sick
– frequent headaches
– lack of appetite
– inability to sleep
– loss of memory

I was exhibiting all of the above symptoms before one appeared, that caused me to take action: feeling sick. I think it was my body’s attempt and getting me to stop doing whatever I was doing. I felt sick to my stomach, nauseous, and just overall tired. The type of tired where you have not one bit of strength in your body. I sincerely felt like I was coming undone. Kind of like when your trying to sow a broken pillow, but you somehow can’t. It’s bursting at the seams. I was bursting at the seams. I was cranky and crabby. my hair looked like I put my finger in the electrical socket, I looked straight out of a horror movie with the bags under my eyes… and then, around 12pm, my body just gave out and I started feeling sick.

I share this experience with you so that you won’t find yourself in my shoes. I plan on taking my own advice on this one. But, I attributed the burnout to the following factors

  • Diet and Exercise: Although I exercise quite a lot, I need to make better food choices. I don’t necessarily eat very unhealthy. I really try to make the best choices. But, I need to take into consideration that I am up for many, many hours at a time. I typically wake up at 6:30 and I won’t see my bed again till at least 12. That’s 17 1/2 hours of being awake. If you do the math, you’ll quickly realize I’m only getting 6 1/2 hours of sleep. I don’t eat frequently enough for the amount of time I am awake. I stick with 3 square meals, which needs to change effective immediately. It is much healthier to be eating 5 times a day in order to keep myself energized for the next portion of the day. Don’t forget to incorporate fruits and vegetables. I usually take lunch at 1:30 (not by choice) and what happens is that I’m SO SO hungry that I am unwilling to make those healthier choices because my migraine headache and empty stomach are begging me to take the most filling options. That leads me to the following advice: take lunch to work or plan ahead. It’ll be worth it. Even if you exercise regularly, if your food choices don’t compliment your exercise routine, it’s really a lost battle. And it’s really not a battle I’m willing to lose after spending time and money on a fitness membership.
  • GET ENOUGH SLEEP! I can’t stress this enough. As mentioned above, I calculated that I was getting 6 1/2 hours of sleep daily. While one day may not effect you, you will start feeling the effects of lack of sleep by the second or third day. As the days go by, you will start think you are going crazy. Lack of sleep produces hallucinations and inability to make rational decisions. It’s the equivalent of being on drugs. A recent study showed that people get in more accidents who are suffering from exhaustion, as compared with those who are INTOXICATED! You wouldn’t show up drunk to work. Lack of sleep pretty much makes you look and act the same. Drunk and hung-over at the same time! If you think 6 1/2 hours of sleep is enough, think again! At least for me, it makes sense that it wouldn’t be. I don’t take any naps during the day. I work pretty much 9 hours a day, I engage in strenuous physical activity, and complete school work late into the evening hours. I also maintain a house, 3 dogs and 3 cats. I should be attempting to get the full 8 and once I do, I imagine that I will see big changes in energy cycles!
  • HAVE YOU EVER TRIED ACUPUNCTURE? I haven’t! But, I would like to start! Many people have ranted and raved about the effects of acupuncture, helping them with a variety of issues all the way from exhaustion, to illness, to fertility. It really can’t hurt to try.
  • VITAMINS: I am not a fan of vitamins. I really don’t like them. I’ve suffered with several gastric issues as a child, and thus, I’m of weary of swallowing any pills. But, gummy vitamins might do the job well. Maybe you need that extra kick. If you’re still weary about vitamins (as I completely understand if you are), try mixing a vitamin powder into your juice or coffee in the morning. It just might give you the extra kick you need. It’s a much better alternative than resorting to energy drinks.

Today is the day I started making changes to my life. So, if you’d like to join me, I hope you don’t hold back!!!

Happy Travels!

Young happy woman with backpack standing on a rock with raised hands and looking to a valley below
 

Thus far, my year has been filled with many, many changes. I transferred to a different school to complete my master’s program, I started a new job, and I moved into a new house. And of course… I started this blog. I use to be terrified of change. I loved the simplicity and comfort that came with things staying the same. But, after adjusting to many of the life-changes I have already made this year, I find that I have  grown more as a person than I ever thought possible.

Those around me are stunned at how fast this year is going. After all, we are already in March. For me, however, the effect has been quite the opposite. How can it only be March when so much has happened since January? So much at work, at school. and my personal life. Time has actually traveled by slow, which I am grateful for because I have a lot more things to accomplish this year.

One of my accomplishments is actually following through in two weeks. I am traveling alone and visiting a city I have never been to. I hope to share about this experience in respect to what I’ve learned while being in a different city and interacting with different people, other than those in my home city. I hope that I can come back with a fresh perspective on life. I also hope to be inspired to write more short stories. As of right now, the whole story of Stephan-George is on hold because I have been extraordinarily busy. But, I am really happy that there are fans to that story, lol. I was really surprised when people messaged me asking me what happened to Stephan-George and Arnold LOL. As of right now, Stephan-George is still missing and Arnold is still pursuing her… I haven’t even written a draft of the second part of the chapter.

But, anyway… yes. I look forward to traveling. I have already made plans to travel in June, if all goes well. However, the second time, I will be traveling much further. I had planned to take the “far trip” this time around, but several factors did not permit it. I was having an anxious feeling about traveling to those two cities alone (it was a 2 part trip). Interestingly enough, when I tried to book the flight on jetblue, it just didn’t work. The computer froze. The website froze. And I was not charged a penny. I figured that G-d was trying to tell me something and I decided to fly somewhere closer instead. I dodged a bullet there. But, I’m willing to try again in June. I feel such a thrill when I think of traveling to these new places. I would love to see how people live, how homes look like, the culture of the city. It’s a beautiful world… it’s not worth being so confined.