Seoul Search: Gangnam

In the Ewha International Exchange Program, there are student volunteers called the PEACE buddies who are assigned a group of International Students to look after during their stay in Korea. There are 4 International Students in my buddy group (including … Continue reading

Around the world with T6

After our accelerated term ended and before we leave for the term abroad (which my Seoul sisters and I will blog about here), our block immediately planned a getaway in the far and green lands of Bataan. The place where we stayed … Continue reading

Dorm Essentials – Part 1

This year will be my third year as a dormer yet from time to time I still find myself struggling to make my dorm as close to home as possible. I badly wish I stumbled upon a guide that says what and what not to bring into my dorm just before moving in. Too bad I didn’t and you could guess that my first weeks have not been quite as smooth as I wanted. This post is for everyone else who might find his/herself faced with the same situation and is totally clueless about the dormer life. It will be divided into two parts where part I will include a personal list while part II will focus more on the appliances and furniture.

The following includes the things that people usually miss on their what-to-pack list. My experience, however, tells me that they proved themselves worthy to be included in your luggage.

  1. Pitcher/Ice cube tray

My dorm didn’t provide us with a water dispenser so the water we have is just room temperature. For those of you who prefers to drink cold water like me, don’t forget to bring a pitcher so you can store water in the fridge! Meanwhile, an ice cube tray can be used to cool other beverages.

  1. Kitchen towel

This is to wipe the plates and utensils dry. I would also recommend that you bring a separate towel to wipe your hands after washing them.

  1. Small mirror

You might have a full-body mirror in your dorm, but small mirrors are more handy and simply serve a different purpose. I personally recommend the one with a stand, besides the compact mirror you put inside your make-up pouch. You can use this while you put on your pair of contact lenses, if you have one.

  1. Printer

You might find yourself cursing since the nearest printing shop is closed and you don’t have enough time to hop into another one. I still find it most convenient to have your own printer in your dorm since you don’t have to go to the nearest printing shop every time you have to print your paper.

  1. Pesticides

Yup, your dorm lady told you that there are absolutely no roaches in your dorm. Truth is, roaches appear out of nowhere and you might just get the shock of your life when you see one of them in your room – flying. Better safe than sorry, right?

  1. Pot holder

Since you’re a dormer, expect to eat microwave-heated food every so often.

  1. Plastic bags

For the trash bin, for leftover food, etcetera etcetera.

  1. Butter knife

Speaks for itself.

  1. Scissors

Life is so much easier with a pair of scissors, trust me. If you don’t bring one in your dorm, I can only imagine how annoyed your dorm mates will be when you borrow their pair from time to time. I also suggest that you get a separate pair of/as kitchen scissors.

  1. Hangers

You just ironed your dress but realized that you have to fold it back into your closet because you don’t have hangers. Such a waste, isn’t it?

  1. Basin
    This can used for either the kitchen or the bathroom. I have two for both. It can be used for a lot of things that involves washing and cleaning.
  2. Lampshade

If you’re sharing the room with someone else, it is only polite to turn off the lights when the other is about to sleep. Although most of the time one of you will find her self staying up all night reviewing for the exams for the following day. In that case, this will be your best friend.

  1. Extension cord

Two reasons. 1. So that you can bring the plug closer to you and 2. Since the plugs just never seem to be enough, especially when you share a space with other people. Who knows, your extension cord might just save everyone else’s day.

I’m sure I missed a lot of stuff in this list. I’ll add them when I remember.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Xxx Tricia

UPDATE: Read Part II here.

College 101: What to consider when choosing the right college

It’s that time of the year again when CET results are released online and plastered on huge blackboards that are displayed in campus halls for applicants to know whether or not they have been accepted into the colleges they applied to.  Posts with screenshots of either a P or F (but mostly a P) get hundreds of likes and congratulatory comments that flood up our facebook and twitter timelines.

There certainly are a lot of good colleges to choose from and the number can be too overwhelming. After all the celebrating and grieving comes the harder part: that is.. choosing from among all the options. This decision will basically define the next 4-5 years of your life: the people you will journey with and the opportunities you will encounter.

The list of deciding factors goes a long way so let me highlight the few which I personally believe should be the top considerations when choosing the right college for you:

  1. Your College Major

We are all aware that not all colleges offer the same list of majors which is probably why we take entrance tests to different universities. Often, when we wrote our choices on our college applications, the decision-making process was not as difficult as it is now since the tendency is to choose the course that the colleges claim to be excellent in. Now that you found out that you have been accepted into different colleges in probably different majors (e.g. Journalism in College X and Dentistry in College Y), you probably got even more confused since the question of where to go to is strongly tied to which college major to take.

First, decide on what do you want to major in. Is it Literature? Biology? Engineering? Business? When you finally have one in mind, go through the list of colleges that offer this particular course. With what’s remaining, research on which colleges produced successful graduates in their fields (topnotchers if the course has a board exam). Although some people would argue that the number of topnotchers does not define a college’s excellence in the field, we would somehow get an idea of the rigor of training that the colleges actually provide their students. Also include in your research whether the college is accredited as a center of excellence in the field you want to major in. Being a center of excellence in a particular field indicates that the college has the necessary tools to equip their students with the best training possible.

  1. Location

Okay, this college offers the course you want. The only problem is….it’s a thousand miles away from where you live. Location is another deciding factor since there are students who are not willing to be away from home. It is very important that you discuss the matter with your parents since they will be the ones (I assume) who will shoulder all your housing finances.

Another thing you should consider about the location is security. The college campus may be safe, but since you will not be staying in-campus 24/7, you also have to consider what’s outside. This is all the more important if you will be staying in a dormitory or a boarding house. Consider the distance from the residential area to the campus if the dormitory is outside of school. Consider the pollution. Consider the crime rate. Consider the number of printing and food establishments. Consider the calamity control (i.e. flooding, earthquake faults). All of this will be a matter of concern especially if you will be living on your own.

  1. Extra-curricular opportunities

We all know that building up your resume will not be based entirely on your college degree. Moreover, what you will need in your workplace is far more than just the subjects you took back in school. After-all, college is not just a place where you learn math and research. It is place where you are taught to be more responsible, open-minded, and mature. You are a debater back in high school? Level-up your skills in college. You were cheerleader in highschool? Join the college pep squad!

College should not be seen as a place where whoever you are in high school gets completely wiped out. It should be seen as a place where you discover your skills and/or further enhance them. Research on which colleges give good opportunities for sports, organizations, internships, and the like.

  1. International Relations

Some colleges have strong relations with partner universities and companies outside of the country. This is something to research on if you are looking forward to participating in exchange programs or getting an internship/OJT abroad. In that case, it is important that your college curriculum is acknowledged internationally. This is also very important if you have plans on working abroad in the future.

  1. Finances

Let’s get practical here. You’ve considered everything mentioned above and you’ve finally decided to go to this particular school. But wait, how much money will you need to go to this school?

My dad always tells me that although financing is an important consideration it shouldn’t be the first on the list, otherwise you just might be missing a whole lot of other important information. Take the time to sit your parents down and discuss your plans with them. If they say they can (and are willing to) handle all the finances, then congratulations and welcome to college! If not, don’t fret. Some colleges generously offer scholarships to deserving students. Some types of scholarship cover dorm and book expenses, while others give a stipend or food allowance. Research on how to apply for the scholarship you need and send in all the documents that you think will support your application. Also, check the likelihood of getting one. We all know that scholarships are very limited but some schools give more (or less) grants than others. It is also important to note that there are a variety of scholarships being offered apart from academic scholarship such as the athletic scholarship for example. Most of the time, the college websites include a statistics of their scholarship grants. For instance, 10% of the student populations. However, it is still best to be conservative. That not expect a grant right after submitting your application. Look for other ways you can do to support your finances. Ask help from your relatives or consider a part-time job. Research on government and other community scholarships. Persist and you might just get yourself that precious scholarship grant in the college of your interest.

College is indeed very different from high school. It is like being thrown out in the open, free to make either the best or the most reckless of decisions. It is the time to explore, to discover your own skills and strengths as well as your weaknesses and limitations. You will encounter different types of people from different backgrounds, the most motherly and terror of professors, the smartest kid in the block and the hottest jock in the varsity team. You will surely make a lot of friends who will be part of your wildest and craziest college adventures. You will also encounter sleepless nights, drink endless cups of coffee, and face piles and piles and piles of never-ending work. There might also be a time where you felt that you’ve worked your ass off for that test and still get an average mark. The rest is for you to find out.

One thing I learned from my own personal experience though, is that you are not alone in this journey. Just look around you and realize that all these people are also going through something just about the same. Never be afraid to ask for help and don’t be hesitant to offer help as well. College will be a hell of an experience and I cannot wait to know how yours will turn out to be.

Think I missed something important in the list? I’d love to hear them.

Xxx Tricia