Life is busy and moves way too fast, and in our crazy lives we forget how precious and enjoyable life can be unless you slow down and actually experience it. For the next three and a half months, I will be in London, England taking time to grow as an individual and enjoy this beautiful life I live. My goal is to soak up every minute abroad by traveling, learning, exploring, creating lifelong memories and just loving life. Here is a brief overview of how my program works: St. Thomas sends 40 students who are typically juniors, along with 2 professors “across the pond” to London, England where they will take 4 business courses, stay with host families throughout London, and engage in British culture. Study abroad opportunities are a longstanding tradition of St. Thomas, and this famous program called the London Business Semester, or LBS for short, was a deciding factor for me choosing to attend St. Thomas initially. Study abroad is truly a unique experience that is both educational and cultural, and is proven to be one of the most enriching experiences of your life. As a Tommie Blogger, I am excited to share with all of you what life is like in London, so watch for more blog updates and TONS of pictures (check out the Tommie Blog’s Instagram and search our hashtag #tommiesabroad)!
As I’m about to begin my senior year of college, I can’t help but wonder what I’m going to do in less than 10 months when I graduate. I knew that the first thing I needed to do was to take the GRE. For those of you that are unaware, the GRE stands for Graduate Readiness Examination. The test is very similar to the ACT or SAT that we took a few years ago when we were preparing to go to college. The GRE isn’t necessary for all graduate school programs, but it is necessary for some; it just depends on the program and the school. The GRE is a four hour long computerized test that has three different sections. It starts out with two essays that you need to write, one is an issue, and the other is an analytical argument essay. There is also two verbal reasoning, or reading sections. In this section, there are reading comprehension questions, as well as fill in the blank, and sentence equivalence. Lastly, there are three math sections. The math section can include any number of topics from adding or subtracting fractions to geometry to standard deviation, and everything in between.
I spent almost my entire summer studying for the GRE, almost non-stop. Although on days when it was sunny and 85 degrees outside and the last thing I wanted to do was be in the library, I forced myself to go. In order to take the GRE, I had to pay over $200, and this may not seem like that much, but for a broke college student, it’s a lot. The cost of this test really motivated me to bust my butt and work really hard on studying so that I would only have to take the test once. And this paid off, of course I could have done better, but you can always do better on anything you do in life. I was so proud of how I did, and I know that I worked super hard, so that’s all that matters.
Here’s three tips I have for a successful GRE experience:
1.Buy the GRE book.
No, I wasn’t paid to say this, but honestly buying the GRE book was so helpful. The book came with every little tip and trick you could possibly imagine that could come in handy. It even had different practice tests and questions you could use. When you buy the book, it also comes with an online code, which has more practice problems and practice tests than you may feel necessary. But, those practice tests and problems were seriously so helpful for me!
2. Make a study schedule.
I am a very organized person, and I love to-do lists and calendars. When I first began studying for the GRE, I just kind of went for it and didn’t really have a plan. Of course, this didn’t work because I wasn’t being held accountable for anything that I was doing. About six weeks before the test, I decided that it was in my best interest to make a strict schedule so that I wouldn’t waste anymore time that I should be using to study. I had one copy of my schedule in my planner that I carried everywhere, and I had another copy tacked directly above my dresser on my wall in my bedroom, so I would see it everyday. At the end of each day, I received instant gratification by being able to put an ‘x’ through the day, which helped me to know what I accomplished for that day.
3.Give it your all, and really put forth the effort necessary for taking the test.
Having to do homework is never something anyone wants to have on their to-do list, especially during the summer. But, I took the GRE at the end of the summer because I knew that I would be much less busy during the summer than I normally am during the school year. Despite the fact that none of my friends had homework and they wanted to go to the beach or take a mini-vacation or go to happy hour, I knew that I needed to study. If I wanted to do well on this test, I needed to prepare to correct way and really give it my all. And, it really paid off, which produced a huge sign of relief when the test was done.
Sadly the summer is rapidly coming to a close. With just weeks of summer remaining, it’s the perfect opportunity to dedicate a couple of hours to ramping up your professional profile!
3 ways to transform your professional profile:
LinkedIn is now becoming one of the most widely used resources in the hiring process of new employees. Your LinkedIn profile is an online space that represents you and your professional skills, and it should be a space that you would actually want future employers to be viewing. Far too often students spend a minimal amount of time creating a basic LinkedIn profile that lacks depth. In spending just an hour of your time on LinkedIn, you can improve your profile and make it worthy of any employer taking a look. Good places to start updating your LinkedIn profile include job experiences and the summary sections. These sections should reflect your current job or internship positions, as well as skill sets or accomplishments. In addition, take a few minutes to add new connections on LinkedIn. These connections could be coworkers, past work connections, or people you have networked with in the past.
Having an updated resume is one of the most important tools in the professional world. It is a lot easier to keep your resume up-to-date rather than trying to reflect on what you did in the past. An easy way to keep an updated resume is to keep a running Word document of projects or tasks performed at work or in any of the activities you take part in. From this list you will be able create a description more effectively and efficiently.
3.) Elevator Speech and Cover Letter Templates-
With the school year just around the corner, job and internship fairs are bound to be in your near future. Save yourself preparation time later on and start to draft your elevator speech as well as a template cover letter in advance. An elevator speech is pretty simple and is just a couple sentences about yourself that introduces who you are and highlights a few of your skill sets. Cover letter templates are also useful to have on hand because you never know when you will need to have one drafted on short notice.
I know this was a lot of information, but trust me, by putting in a couple of hours of work dedicated to your professional profile, you will thank yourself later on. The Career Development Center on campus is also a great resource on campus to help you with professional skills. Stop by to seek LinkedIn advice, attend a seminar, edit your resume or even do a mock interview. The Career Development Center has great summer hours and also offer a variety of pop in appointments.
Who??? The Tommie Tour Guides are a group of enthusiastic students at the University of St. Thomas who love showing off their school and meeting lots of new prospective students and their families. Personally, I feel a strong sense of responsibility to represent my school in a positive and engaging manner and I’m passionate about sharing my Tommie experience with others.
What do they do? We give prospective students and their families an approximately 1 hour, 15 minute long tour of our beautiful St. Paul campus. You will find the Tour Guides pausing along the tour route to point out campus highlights, talk about classes, dorm life, campus activities, as well as share personal stories of why they love attending St. Thomas. Tommie Tour Guides also hold a plethora of knowledge and are able to answer any questions asked throughout the tour.
When? There is a lot of flexibility that comes along with our job. Some of the Tour Guides are only here for the summer and the rest are regulars. You can find us giving tours throughout the week and on a couple of Saturdays throughout the year. If you pass us along the tour route, be sure to say hi or offer a friendly smile!
The uniform? You’ll find the Tommie Tour Guides wearing PURPLE!
Why? I choose to become a Tommie Tour Guide because I am heavily involved at St. Thomas and love sharing my experience with others. I have always been the type of person who is a go getter and loves to juggle multiple jobs at once, especially during the summer when I have extra time on my hands. Being a Tommie Tour Guide fits perfectly into my schedule, and it’s also a fun way meeting our dynamic Admissions Team. The Admissions Office is always seeking additional students who are passionate about St. Thomas and want to share their stories of why they choose to attend school here with others.
Summer is my favorite time of the year, and like most people, I seize every opportunity I can to take full advantage of this beautiful Minnesota weather. It’s my first summer in the Twin Cities, and there were so many things on my summer bucket list that I wanted to check off!
My top 10 things I have done this summer in the Twin Cities:
1.) Let’s play ball! Cheering on the Twins!
2.) Lake Calhoun is hands down my favorite area of Minneapolis and Stella’s has the best fish tacos!
3.) I scream, you scream, we all scream for Nelson’s Ice Cream! (This was the child’s size and it was huge!)
4.) There is nothing like fresh flowers, vegetables and kettle corn! Exploring the St. Paul Farmer’s Market.
5.) 4th of July spent on the lake with fellow Tommies. We love America!
6.) I had been dying to see the inside of U.S. Bank Stadium ever since construction began. The Viking Stadium Open House saw over 160,000 fans in a single day.
7.) Rollerblading along Grand Avenue in St. Paul, and stopping to get a cool treat along the way!
8.) Stand up paddle boarding. (I made her do all the work!)
9.) The Mississippi River is gorgeous, and hiking is the best way to see it all!
10.) Summer is the perfect time for grill outs and BBQs with friends.
I hope all of you are having a great summer and experiencing all the Twin Cities has to offer! Keep your eyes peeled, there are always activities popping up and a ton of free events too!
Although this might be an extremely biased opinion since I’ve been very actively involved in the St. Thomas admissions department over the course of my time here at St. Thomas, but I think that it is one of the best, yet most underrated departments on campus.
I think that since the Admissions department helps students out prior to attending the university, they are often forgotten, but they are honestly so important. The admissions department is completely in charge of getting students to come to St. Thomas. Whether that be through visit days, individual tours and appointments or recruitment at high schools and college fairs across the country. It takes a very skilled person to work in the admissions department, and I know people always say it, but it really is not a job for everyone. If you don’t like to be around people, or don’t like to talk–then admissions is definitely not for you.
Within the admissions department, there are so many different people that go into every single aspect of the department to make it the huge success that it is. There are students that are hired to give tours around campus, there are admissions counselors who tell the students and families about the school, there are people that organize all of the tours and answer the phones, there are people that oversee all of the different aspects of the department, there are people who volunteer to help host students in their own dorm rooms; you probably get it, there’s a lot to admissions.
Once a student goes to school, the admissions department is often forgotten, but honestly if it weren’t for them, you wouldn’t be at St. Thomas or any other school for that matter.
Being part of the admissions department has been one of my favorite things that I have been involved in here at St. Thomas. I have had so many different roles within the department, ranging from blogging for the university, to giving campus tours, to being an ambassador for accepted seniors, to stuffing and addressing envelopes that will be sent to prospective students. If I could do more within the department, I honestly would.
Being part of the admissions department has changed my life since I starting at St. Thomas almost four years ago. I know that sounds super cliche, and super extreme, but I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it weren’t for this department. Admissions has given me some of my absolute best friends, they aren’t kidding when they say you’ll find your bridesmaids in college, and I found them within the admissions department. (Lol so cheesy,yet so true) Admissions has taught me how to do so many things that I will be able to use the rest of my life. I have learned how to speak in front of large groups of people and be comfortable with it, I’ve learned how to interact with many different types of people and how to meet everyone’s needs all at the same time. Admission has helped me to remember that although I may have done something 10,000 times, that doesn’t mean that everyone has and that what seems so normal to me, may be new for someone else, which has helped me to become more patient with those around me. I’ve also learned how to walk backwards, almost better than I can walk forwards, which is sure to be a resume booster! (;
Through being part of the admission department, I’ve been able to see how much goes on “behind the scenes” of an event or an organization. When we have our visit days and everything looks so easy and put together, I know that that is because so many people worked many long days with more sleepless nights than they can count so that everything would be perfect. Every little thing, for the visit days especially requires a little extra effort from everyone on the team, because if it weren’t for all that hard work, the events wouldn’t be as successful as they are.
With that being said, thank you to all those I’ve gotten to meet, learn with, interact with, work with, learn from and so much more within the admissions department here at St. Thomas, I have really cherished every moment with you all over these past few years. If it wasn’t for all of you, this department wouldn’t be the way that it is today. Special thank you to Mary Pat and Bryan for all that they do for the admissions department. I know that it is no easy task to make the program the success that it is. Of course all of the success wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for everyone else in the department, but you both have a huge role in that, and I think it goes unrecognized too frequently. So thank you for all that you have done not only for me, but for this entire department as a whole.
I’m so sad that I only have one year left working in the admissions department here at St. Thomas, but I can’t wait to make this last year the best one yet!
Thank you study abroad for more than I could have ever imagined.
Thank you for giving me a sense of adventure that I never knew I had within myself.
Thank you for showing me how I should never take advantage of anything, even the little things like being able to drive a car to the grocery store.
Thank you for helping to realize that it’s the little things that are the most important in life.
Thank you for giving me a new sense of who I am, and helping me to realize that I don’t need to change who I am for anyone because those around me will love me no matter how I act or dress.
Thank you for showing me that sometimes its okay to go out of your comfort zone because the true joys of life I experienced started at the end of my comfort zone.
Thank you for showing me that it is okay to ask for help and that it is okay to rely on others.
Thank you for showing me that it’s okay to be wrong sometimes.
Thank you for allowing me to figure out who I am and what’s important in life, and what’s not.
Thank you for giving me memories that will last a lifetime.
Thank you for allowing me to meet some of the most amazing people I will probably ever encounter. Thank you to my fellow American friends for being being a little piece of home while being so far away. Thank you to my Irish friends for helping me feel welcome within your country, even though I sounded funny and didn’t know how to pronounce your name. Thank you to everyone else that I met from all over the world.
Thank you Ryanair for allowing me to travel to 12 different countries in four months and really allowing me to take advantage of living in Europe. Thank you to those that traveled the world with me. Those trips wouldn’t have been the same if you weren’t there.
Thank you to my professors for allowing me to have freedom and allowing me to figure things out for myself.
Thank you to the city of Limerick for welcoming me into your campus, your city, and your country with open arms.
Thank you to all my friends from home for believing in me and encouraging me to go on this trip. And then thank you for answering my texts and FaceTime calls when I was upset and just wanted to be home.
Thank you to my parents for making all of this possible.
Thank you study abroad.
1.) Happy Summer Tommies!
School has officially been done for just over a week now, and it seems that a lot has changed. For one, the campus has completely emptied out! I continue to work on campus one day a week, and live nearby, so I am still around a lot, but it seems that just about everyone else has flooded to the suburbs. Now that classes are done, students are eagerly awaiting the results of their final grades. It’s also a time to enjoy the beautiful Minnesota summer weather and start those new internships or jobs! Tommies Blogs would love to hear what you are up to this summer! You can write in to our blogging team at firstname.lastname@example.org!
2.) Success Runs in the Family
Congratulations to both our men’s and women’s lacrosse teams! Both teams have ended their season on remarkable high notes, and the Tommies continue to prove that success runs in the family. The men’s team finished the season undefeated and won its fifth national championship in the past eight years, and the women’s team won its regional tournament for the first time in program history and made it to the national tournament for the second straight year.
3.) Ready for Some Changes
There are some major construction projects that will be happening over the summer at St. Thomas. We are constantly changing, improving and innovating, so it is only fitting that our campus reflects that. Check out the full list of projects!
4.) Our Neighborhood is Changing Too
Cleveland Avenue is undergoing some major changings as well, and a bike lane is being added. Cleveland Avenue runs along the Chapel side of St. Thomas, and Cleveland Avenue intersects Summit and Grand Avenues. The bike lane will stretch from Highland Parkway to University Avenue, going both north and southbound. The project has been in the works for awhile, but constructions is anticipated to begin soon. This means that parking along Cleveland will also be changing, so be mindful of changing street and parking regulations. Project details can be found here.
5.) St. Thomas Shuttle Bus
Public Transportation saves you both time and money, but the St. Thomas shuttle bus between the St. Paul and Minneapolis campuses, is even better because it’s FREE with your student ID card! With internships downtown, the traffic and parking can be absolutely terrible, so the shuttle is a great alternative because the Minneapolis campus stop is just a few blocks from the heart of downtown. There is a modified summer schedule that can be found here.
As I sit here at the London-Heathrow airport heading home, I can’t help but reflect on this amazing semester. I still feels like a dream. I mean how often do people get to just pick everything up and move to Europe for four months?! That doesn’t happen very often, but wow am I fortunate that I was able to do that.
Last year when I went to Rome during the month of January, the end of the month came and I was more than ready to go home. I thought there was never any way that I would be able to do an entire semester, that was just too long. Last September came around and something came across me and I decided that I wanted to go abroad for an entire semester (AKA sometimes last minute decisions are the best!). Little did I know that this decision would be one of the greatest things I’ve done thus far in my life, where I would make friends that will last a lifetime, and memories that I’ll remember forever.
Going to Ireland this semester still feels like a dream. Going into the semester, I thought that it was going to be so long and that I was going to be so homesick the entire time, but lucky for me that wasn’t the case at all.
I remember before I was leaving that everyone would ask me if I knew anyone going, and when I told them I didn’t, they thought I was crazy. But that was actually one of the best parts of the trip. I went into this trip only knowing about people through their Facebook profiles, and I leave today just over four months later with 40 strangers that turned into friends that turned into family. It’s honestly so crazy how close people can get in such a short period of time. The worst part about getting so close to everyone was the last 24 hours where we had to say goodbye, everyone was a wreck: at the bar, on the lawn, at 3:00 AM, the entire time. But in reality, I know that God put all of these amazing people into my life for a reason. If he didn’t want our paths to cross later in life, he wouldn’t have had us become so close and then never let us see each other again. I can’t wait to see how God has our paths cross later in life. ☺
This semester has not only brought me so many new friends, I have also created memories that will be stories I tell to my grandchildren one day! This semester, I was able to go to 12 different countries and two continents!! In addition to all of that, I was also able to visit many different places within Ireland as well. I’m going to do my best to remember all of it, but there are somethings that definitely stick out more than others. For example, riding a camel in Morocco, spray painting the John Lennon wall, caving in Budapest, and going to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. It still blows my mind that I was able to do so much in such a short amount of time.
This semester has also been full of growth for me as well. I have grown so much in who I am and I can see it in all aspects of my life. This semester has really taught me to be confident in myself and my abilities. Before this semester, I would always second guess who I was and all that I am capable of. Now, of course that still happens sometimes, but not nearly as much. I think this change is due to many factors, one of which was going abroad not knowing anyone. Although I am a super outgoing person, I had to step out of my comfort zone and really put myself out there to meet these people and make this semester what I wanted it to be or else I would end up hating it. Some of the people that I met this semester really helped to push my out of my comfort zone as well because they knew I could do it, I just didn’t believe in myself. I think going abroad, meeting new people and all of the traveling you get to do is amazing. And although some of the experiences were life changing, it is the little things that pushed me to become a better person and break out of my shell that will really make the difference in my life.
It still feels so unreal not only that I studied abroad this semester in one of the most beautiful countries in the world, but that it is already over. I will remember this trip and these people forever. I can’t wait to have a little reunion in a few years down the road. Or when I go back to Ireland one day, I know that I’ll be able to see my Irish friends again. Crazy how life works out that way.
A super special thank you goes out to my parents for always allowing me to adventure (no matter how much my mom doesn’t want me to ) and for giving me the chance of a lifetime of going on this trip. Also, thank you to my friends from home who were there for me and answering my texts and FaceTime calls throughout this semester, no matter what time of day it was. Lastly, thank you to all those that I met and encountered this semester; thank you for making this semester absolutely incredible. I love you guys so much and it’s not a goodbye, it’s just a see you later.
It’s the last Monday of the spring semester, and it is also a very important day- it’s Study Monday. Today, there are no classes held, instead this is a day allotted purely to studying for final exams. With summer just around the corner, and the semester coming to a close, try to put forth you last surge of effort, remain positive and focus on finishing your classes strong. There are a couple things going on today around campus to help out with your studying.
Study Monday Mass
There is a special Study Monday Mass being held in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas tonight at 8:30 p.m. This is a nice opportunity to take a break from studying and a chance to open your heart to God before taking your final exams.
The Late Night Breakfast
The Late Night Breakfast is being held tonight from 9:30-11:00 p.m. in the View. It is FREE for all St. Thomas students with your student ID.
Good luck on your finals Tommies!!