I was sitting on the plane, wedged between two strangers, with the smell of uncertainty and my neighbor’s perfume in the air. I was 15, on my way to a foreign land, away from the vast majority of my family. I had spent many weeks of the summer of 2013 with my family, traveling through different parts of Spain. We eventually made our way to the island of Tenerife, where it often seems as though my extended family makes up half of the population. But I had parted ways with my parents and brother, and rather begrudgingly agreed to be sent to Paris, France for five weeks, to stay with an exchange family my mother and I had met the previous year. Little did I know that this experience would not only help me become fluent in French but also result in a meaningful connection with the French family which prompted me to spend four more summers in France.
I grew up traveling. My mother was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and when we were young, my brother and I spent many months in Caracas at our grandparents home. We learned Spanish first and quickly learned English through attending preschool. The first time I traveled without my family was when I was in fourth grade. At nine years old, I traveled to Tokyo, Japan with a fellow fourth-grader named Julian and my elementary school PE teacher. I had an incredible experience living with my exchange student Natsumi and her family, and attending a Japanese elementary school. I will always remember my confusion and awe when the time came for the young students to clean the entire school. I found myself with a broom in my hand, surrounded by nine-year-olds intensely scrubbing countertops and desks. I wish my roommates and I had that same motivation when cleaning our apartment, but alas, the first and last time we cleaned was when we moved out. I also participated in an exchange program in middle school, where a young German girl named Kathrin stayed with me for three weeks, and I stayed with her and her family in Gefrees, Germany in the summer.
Now that you have learned a bit about me, I’ll introduce myself. My name is Elena Price, and I am going to be a junior at NC State in the fall, studying communication with a public relations concentration, and a minor in French. As you may have guessed, I am passionate about traveling. I owe this passion to my parents for taking me out of the country for the first time at the ripe age of three weeks, and for pushing me to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone. One of my more recent travels was studying abroad in Gaborone, Botswana last summer. There, I earned six credits toward my communication major, learned about Botswana culture and how it affects public health, went on numerous safaris, and bungee jumped off one of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria Falls.
I have always loved to participate in activities besides simply attending class, and I am involved in many different organizations at NC State. Some of these activities include serving as the logistics department head for the 2018 Krispy Kreme Challenge, program coordinator for Musical Empowerment, and the event planner for Public Relations Student Society of America. I am also a new Parent Ally for the office of Parents & Families Services, a Chancellor’s Aide, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences Student Ambassador, and a member of Delta Gamma Fraternity, State Chorale, Club Tennis, and the Scholar’s Program.
My plans for the remainder of my years at NC State and after I graduate include studying abroad in the spring of 2019 in Brussels, Belgium, and taking graduate-level courses my senior year so I can graduate from NC State with a Masters degree in five years (I am still undecided about which graduate program to choose). When I do finally graduate, I want to work as a public relations practitioner for a non-profit organization focused on serving underprivileged populations. I am very adamant about working for a non-profit because I believe my main purpose in life is to help others, especially those that have not had the same opportunities as I have.
I am really looking forward to being a Parent Ally and sharing different aspects of being a student at NC State. For more about life at State this summer you are invited to follow @NCStatePFS on Instagram and Twitter and for updates and announcements feel free to like us on Facebook.
As always, GO PACK!
Since my first year in college, I have felt like I always had something big planned for summer. My first summer I was an Orientation Leader, and my second summer I studied abroad in London. At the beginning of this summer, I realized that I didn’t have any big plans for once. I had my job, but that was pretty much it. However, a summer in Raleigh is never boring! If your student is staying in Raleigh this summer and feels like they don’t have a whole lot to do, this blog post is for you…and them!
Concerts at Red Hat Amphitheatre, The Ritz, and more!
As the capital of North Carolina, Raleigh is always a great location for concerts. No matter the genre of music your student prefers, there is most likely a concert they would enjoy in Raleigh this summer. From Rascal Flatts to Khalid to Arctic Monkeys to Lynyrd Skynyrd to Imagine Dragons and everything in between; Raleigh concerts are always an easy opportunity to get a group of friends together to enjoy an evening full of music and fun. Check out the Visit Raleigh page to see more on concerts in Raleigh!
Supporting Local Theatre
There are many theaters in Raleigh doing shows this summer. I am assistant stage managing Theatre in the Park’s production of It Shoulda Been You, just off of NC State’s campus. Other shows going on in the area this summer are NRACT’s production of Spring Awakening in North Raleigh, TheatreFEST’s productions of Deathtrap, The 39 Steps, and Nunsense all at NC State, and many more. You can find more information on Raleigh performing arts centers and theatres here.
Although not in Raleigh, there are two stadiums within a short distance for baseball fans. The Carolina Mudcats, located in Zebulon (a suburb in SE Wake County), and Durham Bulls baseball games, obviously in Durham, are always fun to attend! They both offer family nights, fireworks during the week and group tickets. I have already been to one game this summer in Durham and had a blast! Encourage your student to get a group of friends together or if you aren’t too far, make a family night outing and head to the ballpark for a minor league game. There are still plenty of games left this season!
Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos
The Downtown Raleigh Food Truck Rodeos are an experience not to be missed! These are rain or shine events on Fayetteville Street with free admission and over 50 food trucks from all over North Carolina. There are still three more Food Truck Rodeos – Sunday June 10th 12-6pm, Sunday August 5th 3-9pm, and Sunday October 14th 12-6pm.
Explore Downtown Raleigh
Downtown Raleigh is full of good restaurants, fascinating (and free) museums, and even some great picture-taking locations if your student is interested in photography. My friends and I love to do mini photo shoots downtown and then grab a bite to eat at one of our local restaurants.
Rose Garden & JC Raulston Arboretum
If your student enjoys beautiful scenery, I would definitely recommend them checking out NC State’s JC Raulston Arboretum and the Raleigh Rose Garden, on the Raleigh Little Theatre campus. They are two of the most beautiful locations in Raleigh, in my opinion, and both are really close to campus.
Picnic at Pullen Park
Pullen Park is a great park that is right off of NC State’s campus. Get some friends together, everyone bring something to share, grab a blanket or two, and have an afternoon picnic that you’ll never forget! Here is more information on Pullen Park‘s amenities.
On the first Friday of every month, downtown Raleigh showcases it’s art and creative community from 6-9pm with their event, First Friday. These are all free, public events featuring local art galleries, studios, museums, etc. that stay open late for our enjoyment.
Independence Day Celebration
Is your student in Raleigh for Independence Day? The City of Raleigh will be launching fireworks at the fairgrounds-area right by PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. Other events for Independence Day will take place in Downtown Raleigh, including a concert at Red Hat Amphitheater.
Spend the day at Lake Johnson
Does your student like to paddle boat, kayak, canoe, or paddle board? Lake Johnson Park is the place for them! Spending a day at Lake Johnson is almost a summer necessity. After spending a day on the lake, you can even walk some of the trails located at the park.
Day Trip to the Beach
Raleigh is only a couple short hours to the coast making it perfect for a day trip. Pick a sunny day and get a group of friends together and take a beach day trip and make some memories that you will never forget. This is definitely one of my favorite things to do on a warm, sunny, North Carolina day.
No matter how your student spends their summer in Raleigh, make sure that they get out and do something fun – there are tons of opportunities for any interest or activity. Remind them to be sure to take tons of pictures along the way, too. These are memories they’ll have for years to come!
I am going to be graduating from NC State in a few short weeks. This is absolutely crazy as I feel that I just started here. Even though I knew it was coming eventually, I never thought it would be now or this soon even though my parents and parents’ friends keep telling me that time flies.
One thing I keep doing to myself is thinking about all of the things I wish I had done that I no longer have time for. One of those things is study abroad. I really really wish I could have studied abroad. The way education program works is most of my classes have to be taken here, especially the education ones, and I lost time to actually study abroad. That is one of my biggest regrets.
Another thing I wish I had done is go to more games. I am just not that into athletics, so (at the time) it never made sense to go to games. But looking back I just wish I had gone to at least one game/meet per athletic event. Then I would have seen it, experienced it. My sister, currently a sophomore, keeps telling me of all the things that I did not do or take advantage of as a students (i.e. free game tickets) and she is definitely right!
Another thing that I wish I had done is minor in dance and/or theatre. Every class that I have taken in either dance or theatre, I ask myself, “Why did I not maximize my classes and gain a minor?” If I minored in either, I would have taken more classes in both and I have loved every single class. Even though these minors have nothing to do with my major, they are interests that I have had since middle school and taking these classes showed that I was not ready to give them up yet. Regardless, they all lend to my academic success and are great talking points in an interview. You never know what experiences might resonate with potential employers or how you can make yourself stand out in an interview.
Even though I have all of these “should haves” I am still grateful for my experience at NC State; and the one piece of advice that I will encourage you to share with your student student(s) is- treat every year like it’s your last school year and have lots of experiences that are not only fun, but educational. It doesn’t have to be educational in the sense that you learned something academic, but it can be educational in the sense that you learned something about yourself in the process. College is a way for you to learn about yourself so that you can go off and do great things after college, but if you don’t have any new experiences or adventures, you will never learn and you will never grow into the person you were meant to be.
Thanks NC State for all of the memories I have had and the chances you have given me to grow into (hopefully) the best me I can be and (hopefully) the best teacher I can be!
With the end of semester near most students are finalizing their summer plans. All are busy with everything from prepping for summer classes to starting internships, planning summer adventures and for those living on-campus, getting ready to move out. For many, this also means moving into their first apartment or independent living arrangement. I admit living in a Residence Hall was great, for a while, but I was so excited when I moved into my first off-campus apartment. I got to say goodbye to tiny wardrobe closets, to sharing a bathroom and bedroom, and to not having a kitchen and a living room. I also gained, very quickly, a lot of useful knowledge about navigating this experience.
Here are some tips that I found useful when I moved into my first apartment:
Ask around. Don’t strictly base your opinion of the apartment complex on the model or the brief visit that you get from touring the complex. I found it more helpful to ask people who have lived in that complex how they liked it. Getting insight from people who have previously lived there was very helpful because they were able to tell me a lot more about the complex and the community and tend to know more of the “ins” than the property manager was able to provide on a quick tour.
Take pictures when you first move in. Document with photos and take note of anything wrong with the apartment so that when it is time to move out, you won’t be charged with property damage. For example, the front door of my first apartment was beat up and had white scratches all down the front so we made sure to photograph and let them complex know, so that they wouldn’t think it was from us.
Communicate with your future roommates!!! I can’t stress this enough because you don’t want to end up moving into an apartment and then realizing that everyone brought a blender, plates, and kitchen furniture. Talk and decide who is bringing what to make it easier because there is not enough room in a kitchen for four different blenders and four of another kitchen appliance. Strong communication strategies early on also help establish trust and a good foundation if conflict does arise. Sure those dishes sitting in the sink may not seem like a big deal the first week, but if they’ve been there a while and start to smell someone should say something without fear of it turning into an ordeal. Communication is key.
Grocery shop and meal prep. A lot of the times I get so busy that I don’t have time to cook and I have to eat on the go. This could mean more money and sometimes less nutrition. Make meals a priority and plan ahead. Making time to cook or run to the grocery store and adding it to my to-do list helps me plan ahead. Then, having food prepped and ready-to-go on the fly makes life much easier and for students living in off-campus apartments, convenience + money savers = big win!
Maintenance forms. The maintenance request forms are there for a reason and whenever you need someone to fix something in your apartment, you’ll want to be familiar with the process. Remember that a paper trail is important for everyone, so don’t rely on text messages or voicemails to fix the drain in the shower. This is precisely what I had to fill out a form for them and they fixed it promptly and without issue. It was a quick and simple process, have no fear and fill out the form.
Utilize your kitchen! Now that you have a full fledged kitchen and kitchen appliances use them!! I loved being able to cook and eat food that I have cooked in my apartment versus having to eat on campus.
Hope this helps for all of those who are moving off campus or are thinking about it!
This past week, I had three tests, I had a test in Geology 101, I had one of my two big Teacher exams, and I had a test in my Environmental Science Class. I’m happy to share that I passed or got a B in all of them, so I’m proof that it is possible, but it wasn’t easy. Thankfully I started studying for my Teacher Test a month ago, so that made it easier to review and prepare. Starting early is one of the many ways I prepare for tests. It may not work for everyone but it does for me. Here are a few other tips to share with your student as we approach exams in just a few short weeks.
The first tip I have is to strategize. Plan which test you are going to study for first and make a plan of action for the remaining tests. Since my geology test was first, that was the one that I studied for first. The math one I had already started reviewing for, but after I took my geology test, I took some practice tests for that. My environmental science test was after both, so I was not going to even look at the material until after my other two tests were finished.
The second tip would be to make an outline of how to study. For geology and environmental science, I knew that I had to study the notes and power-points for the real information and then the clicker and homework questions for similar problems that the test could cover. For my teacher test, I reviewed math material that either I struggled with growing up or I knew I would forget how to do it. After that review, I would do practice tests that the company offers for the test to really see what kinds of test questions they would have.
My final tip to share is (try) not to stress. The moment stress becomes a factor, there goes your grade on any of the tests. Having multiple tests in a week is definitely not the best week ever, especially one that will impact your future, but the thing I’ve learned is to power through, have good self care and try to relax just enough to avoid all that additional stress but focus enough to stay on your game.