16 October 2009

Why I Chirp (Part II)

So yeah, after a ton of struggle, Ball State ended up being a perfect decision for me. I have perfect class sizes of less than 20 people; sometimes less than 10, which is really nice.  I was able to take a special honors course sequence my freshman year that really challenged me to examine my opinions and develop my thoughts.

One of the bigger reasons I'm glad I came to Ball State is the College of Architecture and Planning.  As a first-year student, CAP freshmen aren't allowed to declare a major-- they spend the first year learning design principles and getting a basic knowledge of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning.  Only after they have a foundation in all three disciplines can they then select a major.  As it turns out, I didn't want to be an architect!  What I really wanted was to be a landscape architect, which is a profession I had literally NEVER heard of before coming to college.  Had I gone to another school, I wouldn't have been exposed to my chosen profession (neither of the two other schools I looked at have landscape architecture). So that worked out quite well.

BUT, probably the biggest reason I'm glad I came to Ball State has been the MANY opportunities I've had to study abroad.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been to Italy, England, Tunisia, Germany, Mexico, and Egypt since coming to college.  All of these trips were academic.  And I'm not finished traveling yet.  This spring, I'm going to Brazil.  Next spring, I'm going on CAPAsia.  I went to Italy, England, Mexico, and (in the future) Brazil and Asia through programs offered through Ball State.  But Ball State helped me get to Tunisia and Egypt without directly offering the program that sent me. 

For all of my travels, I've relied heavily on scholarships and grants to help me finance my trips.  To get this funding, an applicant needs to "shine" in some way over his/her peers.  Ball State has helped me do that.  I'm frequently involved in "immersive learning" situations that give me unique experiences (quick note, "immersive learning" is a buzz-word around campus right now, but the programs are valuable to students, scholarship committees, and employers, not to mention more interesting than traditional classwork.  No matter where you decided to get educated, be sure to work on something "real" before you graduate).  I've had the opportunity in my small classes to really get to know my professors, who then can write me stellar letters of recommendation.  I get personalized, one-on-one attention from a scholarships adviser, who not only helps me find scholarships to apply for, but also proofreads and edits all of my applications.  I have fun leadership opportunities through the Honors College as a peer-mentor, and the MITS and SVS connect me to all kinds of volunteer opportunities around Muncie.  Then, I have highly involved faculty who are constantly creating programs for me to explore and grants to help me do it.  Really, Ball State has given me the resources to set out on any adventure I can come up with.  And my record proves I'm not exaggerating. 


 My 21st Birthday Party in Monterrey, MX

Bungee Jumping in Mexico! Sahara Desert in Tunisia

Climbing Mt. Sinai in Egypt

(Photo: Spencer James)

After watching "A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Globe Theatre; London

Frankfurt, Germany

Playing Frisbee in the Med. Sea; Sperlongia, Italy

Eating grasshoppers in Oaxaca, MX

Horseback Riding in the Med. Sea; Tunisia

Italian Burger King; Rome

Me with my Egyptian conversation partner, Leila; Alexandria, Egypt

Crocodile on your shoulder?; Egypt

(Photo: Spencer James)

Oxford, England

You're a wizzard, Jessi; King's Cross Station, London, England Semana Santa; Mexico City, Mexico

St. Peter's Cathedral; Vatican City

Tecnologico de Monterrey- My university in Monterrey, MX

Had to do it; Salsbury, England    Tunisian Bride at one of her wedding parties; Bizerte, Tunisia

The group in a Tunisian tourist's market; Kairowan, Tunisia

Watching the sun set on Mt. Sinai; Egypt 

(Photo: Spencer James)


See?  Best decision of my life. 

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