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University of South Florida
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University of South Florida Info

University of South Florida 4202 E. Fowler Avenue, Tampa, FL 33620, USA 813-974-2011   Congratulations! If you are on this page, you probably have a USF student! Read on to find out the inside scoop! Pass on these great tips, tell your friends and like us on Facebook and Instagram. Sign up for other great tips at www.haveuheard.com.

Finding an Internship

Finding an Internship One of the best ways to learn about a prospective career is to do an internship.  Most colleges will require at least one, paid or unpaid. Regardless, it looks great on a resume.  I had multiple internships being an education major, and they were essential to my maturing skills as a teacher.  My internships also led the way to my first job teaching. Internships allow a student to decide if that is the actual career for them, as well as to make connections that are beyond valuable.  So, how do you get an internship? I’m not going to lie.  If you know someone, now might be the time to put a word out, that your student is looking.  We tell our girls over and over: “It’s who you know.” My daughter is currently waiting on a confirmation for a position with a major sports team because a friend works […]

Budget 101

Budget 101 I’m going to start with the dreaded comment starting “when I was in college, we didn’t have…” (insert teenager eye-roll here).  But, all of us at Have U Heard can say that we did not have computers, iPads, or cell phones to help us bank, and somehow, we managed to survive.  I did have a checking account where I had to actually write checks, and a credit card for emergencies. Everything regarding money took longer, and I know I did not budget correctly.  I made financial mistakes for sure, but when I got a part-time job, I seemed to manage it better. I guess if it was MY money, then I took better care of it, sadly. So, when we attended orientation with our daughter, we were inundated with information from FAFSA to meal plans, but no one addressed the best way to handle finances, or how to learn to […]

Hotels

A Nice Place to Stay Tampa is a big tourist destination, but it is also a college city. There are all different things to take into consideration when booking. Some may want a suite type of room, free breakfast, a gym, or a Starbucks in the lobby. Some families look for pet-friendly hotels (because what college kids doesn’t want a visit from their pet?), hotels where they can earn points or even hotels on the beach. That being said, you need to know that Busch Gardens is just 2 miles south of campus, so many hotels that advertise for their close proximity to the park, are also close to the school. Hotel Points Among the many options of places to stay, the most convenient to campus is probably the Embassy Suites on Spectrum Blvd. It’s directly on campus and is a Hilton property. As a Hilton Honors member, I love this place. […]

Care Packages

Care Packages So, your college student has been away and you and your family are getting used to your new normal.  Even though your student is busy with notes, lectures, getting enough sleep, finding their “tribe”, doing their own laundry (hopefully), and figuring out how to be an adult, they may still be missing home.  They quickly realize that they are on their own to be successful in college, and that can bring on the feeling of homesickness. I found that a great way to interrupt the stress of college is to send my daughter a care package.  And let’s face it, sending something to our kids helps us to still feel connected to them. Now, please know that I am no Martha Stewart, so I was not looking to spend a small fortune or to get the “best package” award, but I wanted to send something.   Where to start?  Pinterest […]

Computer and Phone Repair

Computer and Phone Repair One of my pet peeves with my kids is how frivolously they take care of their electronics, especially their phones.  As teenagers, they throw their phones in their backpacks, misplace them, or drop them. We have gone through a ton of cracked phone screens, and it is frustrating.  In college, a broken phone or computer can bring on a wealth of anxiety and panic. Plus, college students actually use their phones, tablets, or laptops to check-in to a class, take notes, and even to take tests and quizzes.  Since mom and dad are not there to rescue them, they must navigate the tech repair world alone, but be ready for the panicked call telling you they don’t know what to do. Firstly, I highly recommend that they have a habit of backing up all of their electronics.  I personally use a Passport for my mac, but some of […]

Dress for Success

Dress for Success As they get closer to graduation, one of the greatest changes our students are about to experience is abandoning their shorts, t-shirts and yoga pants, as they begin to dress for their new roles, or as my older daughter stated, for adulting. Dressing for success can be daunting in different ways, but the one that stands out most may very well be its cost. Starting with the career and internship fairs students are attending, students need to put look professional. For the young men, this may mean a suit and tie and for the young women, while they have more options, it may mean a suit, pantsuit, skirt, and blouse or dress. That’s not to mention shoes. For students who may not have the means to go and purchase a new outfit, USF has Suit-A-Bull, a free suit rental service for men and women. It is open to all USF […]

What is – FAFSA?

What is – FAFSA? First Applicants Find Substantial Assets, of course! FAFSA is the national Free Application for Federal Student Aid but, based on how aid is distributed. Because aid is distributed on a first come, first serve basis, every student that hopes to receive aid for college must fill out this form to even be considered. Every college has their own deadline. Beginning with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students were able to file the FAFSA using prior-prior year (PPY) tax data. As a result of this change, you could submit the FAFSA for the 2019-2020 academic year on October 1, 2018, using your 2017 tax and income information. (Summer applicants for 2019 need  to submit a 2018-2019 application using the 2016 tax and income information). If you have not done so already, you will also need to complete that year’s application as well.  In addition, if an amended return was filed, the […]

Fix it!

Fix it! You know you are having a cruddy day when your car, bike or motor scooter breaks down or gets a flat tire. Talk about being late for class, how will you get to class now? There is nothing worse than having your form of transportation break down on you.  And a college student may not even know where to start to get help to get it fixed. Whether it is a car or bike, your student is bound to need fix-it repair at some time. Here is how to set them up for success by having this info handy.    Bike Shops Throughout campus, there are bicycle repair stations and air pumps for a handy way to keep it rollin’.  These are free and provide heavy duty air pumps and tools for making small adjustments.  For a list of locations, check out this map. University Bicycle Center (UBC) 1220 E. […]

Graduation at USF

Graduation at USF I know what you are thinking.  Didn’t we just go through the angst of high school graduation, waiting for acceptance, moving out of the family home, and letting go even more?  It sure is crazy how fast four (or more) college years go by. And now your student is living in the adult world, about to receive their college diploma.  I’m not trying to scare you, and it sure is a time for celebration, but there is some planning involved if you are going to attend the Commencement ceremonies. USF holds Fall, Spring, and Summer Commencements at the Yeungling Center.  Doors open 90 minutes before each ceremony and seating is first come, first serve (no tickets required). They are held at different times/days for the different colleges.  For parking information and directions, click here. The first thing you should do is book your hotel if you are from out […]

Retail Therapy

Retail Therapy Shopping, one of my favorite things to do.  And in Tampa, there are plenty of great places to get your retail therapy in.  Yes, your student is at USF for school, but there will always be something they need, particularly at the start of the semester.  It is a good idea to order some things online and have them waiting for you at a store in Tampa, especially larger items that won’t travel well on an airplane or in a car.  Lots of stores offer this service these days, and it can be very helpful in the crazy world of college shopping. A few are Target, Walmart, Bed, Bath and Beyond, and Best Buy. Let’s not forget Amazon.  Last minute items can be ordered and delivered directly to your student’s dorm (and students get a FREE Amazon Prime account with their college email address). Like most other large cities, there […]

Rushing Her Way

Rushing Her Way Sorority Low-Down Why rush?  For parents of incoming freshman, you have probably started to hear whispers about sorority rush. The way rushing is handled for sororities are somewhat different than fraternities, but I am glad to give you the parent perspective on both (check out our blog on USF’s fraternities). Either way, you will not find too many who love the process.  But like it or not, Greek life does have its advantages, especially at a large college; and kids are probably not going to forgo the rumors about rush if it means not joining. So, buckle up; the ride can get a bit bumpy. My daughter decided to go through rush for a couple of reasons. She wanted a way to make friends quickly and to find her “tribe”. Also, we as her parents encouraged her to at least go through the process in order to “put herself […]

Tutoring

Tutoring Students who attend USF face the same challenging classes and professors that any other competitive school has.  Most are already used to balancing their academics with their social and civic lives. Others will find that the rigor of classes, along with time-management issues have caused them to either fall behind in class, or simply get lost.  Coasting along in high school does not work in college, so sometimes getting a little help can keep your student on the right path. If your student mentions that he/she is having difficulty, there are many places that he/she can turn; including speaking with his/her professor and/or teaching assistant.  There are peer academic study groups as well. But, if a tutor is needed, there are many options. The USF Academic Success Center offers to tutor on many subjects.  You can make an appointment or drop-in. Personally, making an appointment is better because they can get […]

Sports

Sports It’s undeniable that most students consider a college’s sports program, celebrations, and fan experience as a non-academic factor when choosing where to spend their next four years.  Watching the Bulls in action is exciting… you don’t have to know much about the sport, but you WILL get caught up in cheering them on. Take football for example; how many universities play in an NFL stadium? Only a handful and the perks are amazing! The Bulls call Raymond James their home field and you better know the Bull’s hand sign when cheering, or you’ll feel left out. (Think the “love” sign, but with your thumb tucked in.) Knowing when to cheer, chant, and stand is just as important as knowing when to go get hydrated (with water, of course. Game days can be extremely hot depending on game time.) Tickets Free??? Yes, please! Students get a free ticket to all USF games, […]

First Time Student Loan Borrower?

You’ll Need to Do This. What is Entrance Counseling? In July of 2016, the U.S. Department of Education made it a requirement that, in order to have student loans disbursed, all students must complete Direct Loan Entrance Counseling. This counseling includes information needed to successfully repay the federal student loans they will be receiving to help pay for college costs. You can get more information here. If you have not previously received a Direct Loan or Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), the federal government requires you to complete entrance counseling to ensure that you understand the responsibilities and obligations you are assuming. You must complete entrance counseling before you can receive the proceeds of your first Direct Loan. If you are completing entrance counseling to borrow as an undergraduate student, then the entrance counseling will fulfill counseling requirements for Direct Subsidized Loans and Direct Unsubsidized Loans. If you are completing entrance counseling […]

Send a Little Halloween Love…

Have Some Halloween Fun! When my daughter left for college, I sent her a Halloween care package.  It was nothing fancy; just some dollar store decorations, candy for her to share with her suitemates and some fun things that could be used for a makeshift costume. Remember that UPS shipping within the state of Florida is typically overnight at no additional cost; a perk I have often enjoyed. If you are creative,  Pinterest has some great Halloween themed care package suggestions.  Some sayings you can put inside include: I Miss you Boo (with a ghost next to it) No tricks just treats! Hey Pumpkin, you deserve this Going batty without you Well… you get the point. We’ve taken the guesswork out of what to send and went right to the source… our interns. They may be adults but they are still not too old for a good, old-fashioned Halloween gift. Here are the […]

They’ve Been Accepted

They’ve Been Accepted Congratulations on Becoming a Bull! You made it! Accepted! I mean, they made it, but it sure feels like we, as parents did a lot of work to get our kids to college.  Becoming a USF Bull is very exciting, and now that decisions are over, there is still important work to be done.   First, it may sound silly, but check your admissions letter for accuracy regarding their name, entrance term, residency status, address and major.  If any changes need to be made, it needs to be done as soon as possible. Activate your NETID and obtain your USF email address. Then, you can log in to OASIS and verify/change any contact information. You will also need to complete any forms that USF requires of you and pay the $200 non-refundable deposit.  Deadlines for deposits are December 1 for students starting in the Spring, and May 1 for […]

Entertainment

Entertainment It seems a little silly writing about things to do when visiting your student at USF.  Based on the fact that central Florida is such a large tourist destination, you will find everything under the sun to do.  It doesn’t always have to be about amusement parks; although Busch Gardens and Adventure Island are a great time. If it’s football season, then, of course, you should plan on attending a Bulls game, or a Buccaneers football game, or even a Lightning hockey game.  There is no shortage of sports in Tampa. But if you’re looking for something easy around campus, why not take in the latest movie?  AMC Highwoods 20 is just a couple of miles from campus, on Highwood Preserve Pkwy, and has lots of options for dining near it as well.   For a family bowling match, try AMF University Lanes on N 56 St, or head downtown to […]

Graduation Reservations

Graduation Reservations Four years just flew by, your student who seemed to be a freshman yesterday has completed all those courses, gotten through all the tests and is now ready for the cap and gown. Its hard to believe that graduation is just around the corner, but it is, and it’s time to make reservations for your victory celebration.  After you’ve booked your hotel rooms (for suggestions, check out our Hotels blog), you’ll need to make restaurant plans ahead of time.  You know that USF holds Commencement three times per year, with May being the largest and busiest. So you’ll want to reserve a place for your graduate and family as soon as you can, as all restaurants will get extremely busy.  Get this done soon and the rest will be easy. You’ll have plenty more to organize with moving out, dealing with travel requests, and tears, etc… so be sure you get […]

Home Sweet Dorm

Home Sweet Dorm You may be surprised at how one can transition a mass-produced, industrial-looking dorm room into a warm and inviting room or suite.  And there is plenty of help out there to spur ideas and help you organize. Organization is the primary concern, because after all if your kids are like mine, they will feel the need to take almost all their stuff from home to settle them in as though there are no laundry facilities or stores nearby. Pinterest seems to be the holy grail for dorm ideas.  There are so many there, that you will feel pressured and anxious to make your students’ room look award-winning.  But fear not! Stick to the important subject of organization first. Of course, decorating a girl’s room can be very different from a boy, but the basics remain the same.  Either way, check the bed size of the dorm your child will be […]

Rushing His Way

Rushing His Way Going back to 1978 with the release of “Animal House”, which became one of the most successful comedies of all time, to 2014 with the release of “Neighbors”, fraternities have been portrayed as groups of Neanderthals that do nothing but party, drink alcohol and abuse drugs. Fraternities have been called out on national television for purported participation in horrific activities. Certainly, if a fraternity house is engaging in behavior that crosses the line, they should, and will, end up either on suspension or maybe even kicked off campus. You will find that several colleges across the country have suspended all Greek life due to hazing and the death of several fraternity members. It is horrifying as a parent to lose a child under these circumstances and colleges are taking a strong stance, as they should on rushing and frats. But talk with many of the young men in fraternities […]

Spring Break

Spring Break The words ‘Spring Break’ bring up visions of beaches, partying, and sunburn to many of us.  Why? Because we were once teenagers and we looked forward to letting loose with our friends as much as our kids do today.  I grew up in Miami, FL, so most of my Spring Breaks growing up were spent at many of the Miami area beaches or in the Keys.  With my own kids, we spent those breaks together on a trip or on a “staycation” at home. Your Bull’s first college Spring Break may be a little different.  This year, it is March 11-16. I know you have been dying to see your student, but get ready to hear about their plans, as they have been probably working on them for a while.  Now that they are adults, they may want to travel with a friend or a group. Some parents won’t allow […]

Tax Time

Tax Time April 15th is right around the corner. As you are preparing your return or having a CPA prepare your return, do not forget to take advantage of the Education Tax Credits available which can help offset the cost of your student’s education. Two Credits Available There are two tax credits available to take, The American Opportunity Tax Credit and Lifetime Learning Credit. The AOTC (American Opportunity Tax Credit) was made permanent by the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act signed in 2015. It now includes required course materials (think books, supplies, equipment) in addition to tuition and required fees (local, technology – you know, all those fees not included in tuition). The AOTC allows credit to be claimed for four post-secondary education years instead of two. Those eligible will qualify for the maximum annual credit of $2,500 per student for which $1,000 is refundable for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. […]

The Best Places to Study at USF

The Best Places to Study at USF Just when we get our high schoolers into a routine of studying, they now have to learn to adjust their habits to fit college life.  Finding the best places to study that fit the student is a challenge. Strange class times, social activities, and sports are just a few of the things that need to be worked around when finding the time and a place to study.  An obvious place would be their dorm rooms or bedrooms, but sometimes roommates, TVs, and friends can be distracting. Each dorm has a study room. But some students need background noise, while others need peace and quiet.  Depending on the time of day, my daughter used her room mostly. But when she needed an alternative place, she usually went somewhere close to her last class of the day. There are tons of on-campus spots that are great for […]

Thousands of Dining Options

Thousands of Dining Options Like any big city, there are literally thousands of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. You will find your burgers, pizza, Cuban, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean, Indian, Caribbean, basically a restaurant from every continent, for every palate and every price point. Just like with hotels, Tampa has many local and national chains that are super easy to find and are of great comfort when you do not know where to eat. I’m letting you know about the cool spots, the places the locals go to get their fix. Try a new restaurant! Tampa has many talented chefs!  Trust, me, if you enjoy dining out, you are going to eat some great meals while you are visiting here over the next four years! When coming to Tampa to visit your student or tour the campus with a prospective student, […]

Spring (FOOTBALL) is Here!

Spring (FOOTBALL) is Here! Yes, it’s spring, and yes we mean football. It’s crazy I know. But it is springtime Bulls football practice.  The fifth annual Spring Football Game will be on Saturday, April 14.  This at-capacity event is a great way to spend a beautiful Spring day.  It is held at the Corbett Stadium on the USF campus and is free to the public.  Bring your chairs, blankets, and sunscreen and set up camp on the grass berms surrounding the playing surface.   Kickoff is at 2 pm and caps off a day on campus filled with a street fest, music, games, and food trucks.  Pre-game tailgating can be held in the campus lots on Sycamore and around the Sun Dome. USF season football tickets are on sale now for renewals but if you are looking to buy season tickets for the first time, they are taking deposits. You can also […]

What You Should Do Before Heading to USF

What You Should Do Before Heading to USF Before you leave… Before you leave to take your kid to college, there are a few items you will want to take care of that are extremely important. Most college students are 18, although a few are younger, which means they are considered to be legal adults. With that comes a whole lot of independence from their parents, regardless of who is footing the bill for their education. Unless they give you permission or their login information, you will be unable to have access to their health records, grades, pretty much anything that has HPPA laws behind it. Talk to your student about signing over permission for the college to speak with you. Make certain they understand that without that signed permission, everything, and we mean everything, pertaining to the college. From medical records to financial aid, cannot be discussed with any other person […]

Shopping Guide for New Students

Top 7 Categories Of What They Need! Back to school-college is the second biggest consumer spending season right behind winter holiday season. Parents expect to spend an average of $1,347 on their soon-to-be college student. College shopping is big business. Is it too early to shop? No, definitely not. HaveUHeard how much there is to shop for? Look at the college checklist from the top retailers and you will see an average of 126 items. It is very easy to get caught up in the excitement of shopping with your student for college; the lists can get overwhelming so we tried to break it down for you. You may also want to read our blog on Dorm Décor. There are lots of good ideas there as well. The average traditional dorm size is only about 130 square feet and most likely, that is shared space. It is hard to think that all […]

What to Get Dad on a Limited Budget

Don’t Forget About Dear Old Dad!  My sister and I are daddy’s girls but not in the way you would think. We grew up playing sports and having him as our coach. He would bake cookies with us, rough house with us and talk to us in the same way he would talk to my brother. That was until we were teenagers wearing makeup, dressing in what he would consider too short dresses and skirts and showed an interest in boys. Then he became a protective dad. No matter the relationship, the one thing my brothers and I had in common is that we have a very limited budget when it comes to picking out a Father’s Day gift. Many college students are in the same position. So we pooled our money together to come up with one great gift. We’ve always managed to be as creative as possible when it comes […]

Volunteering Turns Your Compassion into Action

Volunteering with passion is key. When you first go off to college, you will find that there is no shortage of opportunities to participate in social activities, sports, the arts, and recreation.  It can be overwhelming trying to figure out where you fit as a Bull but have no fear; you will find your place and meet amazing people. That being said, please be sure to take advantage of the many volunteering possibilities that USF offers.  Volunteering truly changes a person. There is so much to gain from helping others and it speaks to your character as well. Giving back to the community is important!  Let’s face it, we all have had some form of help along the way in our journeys in life.  So, why not give back your time, effort, money, or just your listening ears to those who need a little help.  Plus, volunteering looks great when applying to […]

Gameday Outfits for USF Parents

Show Your Team Spirit! I love going to college football games- there is nothing like game days but, TBH, as a parent, I am not going to wear some of the outfits that I see my daughter wearing – been there, done that when I was a student. I’m all about the Green & Gold on game days and I am somewhat about the fashion. But I also want to be comfortable especially on those Florida humid days when you are packed in a stadium and it is more than 90° out and the humidity is stifling. You can wear officially licensed Bulls to wear or just dress in Green and Gold. Here are some great suggestions for us Moms and Dads from cotton tops and t-shirts to dresses for us moms and collared shirts, polos or jerseys for dads or just a super comfortable and breathable tee. Throw in some accessories including […]

Where to Pregame at USF

Get Ready For A Fun Day! I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of the term, pregame until I heard my daughter mention it before attending her first college game.  Now, it’s become a part of the game experience along with tailgating and celebrating the win (hopefully). Assuming that you are of the drinking age, there are some fun places that offer great deals for college students on game days.  Near USF, World of Beer on Fowler Ave. has great happy hour specials as well as daily specials for USF students. The Local Draught House on University Square Dr. has a chill atmosphere and lots of great choices. Since USF plays their home games in Raymond James Stadium, you do have the opportunity to buy alcoholic drinks right in the stadium.  Being an NFL stadium, be prepared to use your weekly allowance for one drink. So, many students like to go […]

Wakey, Wakey Eggs & Bakey

Our Favorite Meal of the Day! Tampa is a great city for eating, and “the most important meal of the day” can be had at a variety of great restaurants.  There is no shortage of fast food options and styles of breakfast, so take advantage of all our city has to offer. Your student will undoubtedly have their favorite, but I’m going to fill you in on places found all over the Tampa area. Some things to consider are price and time.  Some simple bagel shops can be fast and cheap, but a trendy, popular restaurant could have a long wait, or even suggest a reservation.  Keep that in mind especially around parents’ weekends, graduations, and holidays. Armature Works – A market-style, mixed-use venue in downtown Tampa with a bunch of different dining concepts. A very popular spot with students and families. Big Apple Bagels – Located on SR 54 in Lutz, […]

Storage USF

Where Will They Put All Their Stuff? Now that the craze of prepping, shopping, and organizing the carloads of stuff that you send your college kid to school with are over, you’ll suddenly be needed to either bring everything back home or store it.  Yes, the year goes by super-fast and you will be thinking, “I just moved them in”, and “how will we get all of that back home?” With the thought of packing cars to the gills again, you may wonder why you just can’t bring home the essentials and store all of the rest.  If you are like me, I was not looking forward to cramming our guest room and garage with all of my daughter’s stuff and also deciding on what could be kept in the heat, and what really needed to come inside. We bared through all of this the first year, but got smart the second […]

Safety Tips For Using Rideshare

Important  Reminders I remember when I first heard about Uber and thought it was a brilliant concept for so many reasons; one of which was that it should cut down on people driving after drinking and provide a way that my college kids didn’t walk home late at night or alone. I still think the idea is great and encourage my kids to continue to use Uber, Lyft, Wahi Ride or whatever their choice may be; however, before more scary stories show up in the news, we have had to create some new rules to be sure that they remain safe. Of course, the first rules are that whenever possible ride with a friend and when you feel the slightest bit uneasy, do not hesitate to call for a campus police escort. Simple rules: Confirm the name of the driver, make of the car and license plate. In other words, make sure […]

Florida Prepaid

What Does It Pay For? Many of us who have lived in Florida, planned for our students’ education by taking advantage of the Florida Prepaid program. The program allows families to prepay for their child’s education at a guaranteed fixed rate. Many of us, also, were practically in shock when our last payment came due, possibly because that meant that college was right around the bend. If you are anything like me you made your payments habitually, but when it came time to actually register my kids for a university in the state of Florida, we weren’t completely sure what all those years of payments were going to cover. Now we know. We will admit we learned along the way. For instance, we did not pay for dorms for more than one year as we were advised not to since many students choose not to live in the dorms beyond freshman year. […]

Are U Ready For Some Football?

Are U Ready For Some Football? With most large universities, planning on attending the school’s football games starts in the summer.  The big rivalry games cause hotel rooms to be booked months in advance. Well, at USF that is not as much of a problem because “their” stadium is actually the Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  It is about 20 minutes from campus and where the Bulls call their field “home”.  The 2018 season starts at home on September 1. As a USF grad myself, I have been attending Bulls football games from the very first season (1997).  Because they are played in an NFL stadium, fans benefit from comfortable seating, great food options, and yes, beer.  Since the stadium is off campus, they do sell alcohol at games. Another plus is the areas to escape the sometimes, severe heat and even rain.  Speaking of weather, USF’s football […]

Dance Marathon aka Bulls For Kids

Dance Marathon aka Bulls For Kids One of the most popular fundraising events in colleges across the country is a dance marathon.  Dance marathons are student-run philanthropies benefiting children’s hospitals all over the country.  You may have even seen posts on Facebook or received emails asking you to check out a college students page. A popular tag is #FTK or #ForTheKids.  Children’s hospitals all over the country benefit from college kids getting involved, raising money, and volunteering their time to help children. USF has a program called Bulls For Kids and it’s the largest student-run philanthropy on campus, spanning over an entire school year.  All proceeds from #BFK benefit the Shriners Hospitals for Children – Tampa, which is located right on the USF campus. This Shriners hospital has serviced pediatric orthopedic conditions, as well as diseases and syndromes, since 1985 to kids from all over the world.  Services are completely free to […]

Eating Healthy

Eating Healthy For most, eating healthy is a challenge in college.  With priorities on being social, going out late, and needing quick meals, nutritious eating is sometimes the last thing on a student’s mind.  There will always be the easy-to-get burger or pizza, but today’s students are becoming more focused and demanding of higher quality foods. Today, many prefer protein bowls or sushi to fried foods.  There are several apps that students can download for the latest promotions and deals at some of their favorite spots. These include Hooked and Pocket Points. Here are some of USF’s favorite healthy eating locations. Sofresh North Tampa – on Fowler Avenue is a made fresh, casual restaurant.  They make great salads, bowls, and wraps at a great price. Their carry-out is popular too. Seasons Fresh Café – on Bearss is a small, cute café with yummy meals, smoothies, and an espresso bar.  When the weather’s […]

Move-In Day

Move-In Day Means – M.I.D USF’s move-in day is…well…a lot of work.  Be prepared for many trips to the car and possibly one or two to the store for the inevitable forgotten or overlooked item (ours was not enough Command hooks and power strips).  It is also super hot in August, so try to be as efficient as you can. A hand truck helps. I will not get into the emotional goodbyes at the end of the day, as I could not properly put that into words, but sunglasses to cover my watery, red eyes helped.  All of us at HaveUHeard have had different experiences at move in, so take advice, prepare, and have patience. M.I.D Spring is January 5th If you have a student starting Spring 2019, move-in is on Saturday, January 5th at 10 am. Click here for more information. For the main fall move in, USF holds a Grand Opening […]

Moving In, It Just Got Real

Moving In Once your student has been given their move-in date and dorm or residence assignment, the process of handling what can be a stressful, labor-intensive and often expensive process begins. The actual moving in! Traditionally, female students tend to take a full on decorating approach complete with wall décor, signs, pictures frames, string lights, desk accessories and many other decorative items. Male students do not quite go that full in and often just want a comfortable bed, maybe a poster or two and perhaps a rug. It is quite humorous after each drop-off, whether it is for summer or fall, to see my friend’s postings on Facebook and Instagram, (because that is the social media that parents are most comfortable with), and see the obvious difference between a completed dorm room. This may a sticker price shock moment. According to the National Retail Federation, back to college spending averaged $969.88 in […]

Nature vs Nurture

Nature vs Nurture Now that you have a USF Bull, I’m sure your recent trips to Tampa have been all about seeing the school, orientation, and move-in.  You already know that USF is a beautiful campus and the weather year-round in Tampa is amazing (minus the ridiculous summer humidity, but that is a great time to check out a water park or local lake).  The winters are wonderful and provide clear blue skies and welcomed chilly nights. One of the best things about central Florida is that there is plenty to do outside to keep you enjoying nature and the outdoors. Yes, there are sporting events and theme parks (see our Entertainment blog) to keep you busy, but make sure you find the time to check out some of these places too; you have four years to experience all of them, and more. I have been to these places myself as a […]

Sorority Girl

Sorority Girl Not being in a sorority myself, although I was a Little Sister for a fraternity at USF, having my daughter become a sorority girl was a new experience for me.  I was so excited for her to have a place to “call home.” We have found that being in a sorority has given her the opportunity to wonderful things at USF. Every sorority is a little different, with their own rules, expectations, academic requirements, and so on.   Girls are expected to attend chapter meetings (hers are once a week), attend and participate in events on campus, attend socials, and have study and volunteer hours.  Again, each sorority has their own requirements. Socials are where a sorority is paired up with a fraternity for an activity. It could be a party, an outing, or a philanthropic event.  Some sororities have dress codes; meaning they expect you to present yourself in […]

Trick or Treat

Trick or Treat Halloween is the first holiday that your student will encounter since leaving home.  With their new status as adults, the holiday takes on a different meaning. When I was at USF, it meant a night to go to a party and dress up.  So many organizations and fraternities/sororities hold parties and, as you can imagine, some are just good old fun, and others are pretty outrageous.   Many of us grew up in a household where Halloween was observed by carving pumpkins, putting up some decorations, making our own costumes, and trick or treating throughout our neighborhood.  We ran in packs, sometimes without parents, and came back when we were done. With our own children, we never left them alone, watched for cars, and checked their candy (and even snuck some too).  Now, they are on their own to have fun and start their own Halloween traditions. When my […]

Teaching Them to Budget

My Best Advice as a Parent Three times the charm. Well, I suppose that isn’t fair; all three of my kids are charming and adorable. The difference is that not all three are very good with money and frankly I blame myself a little for that. I am not one to preach, but since you asked, the best advice I would give to a parent of a new college student is to give them a budget and make them stick to it. With my first college student, there was no real budget. She called and said she needed more and I supplied. Her requests never seemed too unreasonable. I paid her rent, credit cards, car expenses, food and so on. It all seemed so logical. Why then, as a college graduate in the real world, did she have such a tough time navigating bill paying and budgeting? Because she never had to. […]

Namast’ay with Yoga at USF

Breathe….. Very few things have been continuously practiced for over 5000 years with continued success.  Yoga proves that mind, body, and spirit are healthier with good practices. Group classes wouldn’t be constantly full if it wasn’t as popular as it is, and there is no shortage of experiences at USF and Tampa, in general. The USF student Rec Center offers group yoga classes.  There is something for everyone so check out the Rec Center schedule for classes and times. Power Yoga: This class involves short bursts of cardio and muscle conditioning along with Vinyasa style.  It is great for strength training and you will sweat! Sport Yoga:  If you want to improve things like strength, balance, and flexibility, then this class will be great.  Different poses help with stretching, breathing, and relaxation. Vinyasa Yoga:  This class involves different postures in different orders to help you to master the moves.  Depending on the […]

Money, Money, Money

When Will Financial Aid Disburse? The time has come to pay for your college costs and panic sets in.  I remember receiving my tuition statement for my son when he attended USF and yet his student account showed no Prepaid Florida (which I was fortunate enough to have 4-year college and 1-year dorm) In addition, his bank account did not reflect his Bright Futures Scholarship funds. So when does this money get disbursed? Can you get a deferral for books, living accommodations, and student fees? For your student’s specific account details you should log into their OASIS account. Here are some specifics: Florida Prepaid For any enrolled student who has an active Florida Prepaid College Plan, the University of South Florida will post payment 3-4 weeks after the start of classes. The tuition differentials exemptions and expected tuition payment amounts should start showing in your students OASIS account the week of August […]

What Classes Students Wish They Took

You can still have some fun! Today, universities have students declare a major almost immediately. That is not to say they cannot change their major but once they are following their course track, it can become difficult to switch especially if you are too far into your major. For those students that love their major, they do not always look to explore all the different electives that are available by opting to take other classes within their college major.  But, sometimes students’ schedules are just so jam-packed that an easy, fun, and exciting elective is the perfect way to round out a schedule. If you’re looking for something to break up your mundane class schedule, USF has just the class for you! USF offers many classes that are out of the ordinary and guaranteed to add some fun to your week. You may even find a new passion or unknown talent along the way! […]

Hillsborough College First

Then Transfer to USF For many different reasons, some students prefer to start their college career at a local community college and then transfer to USF.  Smaller environments, smaller class sizes, lower costs, and a more relaxed atmosphere can be beneficial to a student’s successful transition from high school to college. If you are set on becoming a Bull, taking classes at Hillsborough College can help to make that a reality.  HCC’s 2 + 2 Program lets you take two years of classes and then finish your degree at a four-year university.  In the 2 + 2 program, you will meet with advisors that will help you plan and complete any and all courses required to transfer to USF.  They also work to help you meet with USF advisors to ensure that you are on the right path to enter USF successfully. HCC has articulation agreements with many institutions.  Click here to […]

Flu Season Ahead

The Flu ends with “U” It’s that season again – and I don’t mean hurricanes. Flu season is generally from October through May; peaking in December. Given that the flu is easily spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact – and what gets closer than dorm life and classrooms – your student may want to consider getting vaccinated. USF makes it incredibly easy and it is free too. USF Student Health Services are administering free flu shots by appointment Monday through Friday, 8 am to 12 pm and 2 pm to 3 pm. Call 813-974-2331 to schedule. USF will be having their Vax With Me Free Flu Shot Drive on Friday, October 19 from 8 am – 4 p.m. place at the College of Public Health lobby (3010 USF Banyan Circle in Tampa). Shots are administered on a first-come, first served basis. Another option to get a flu shot is at: CVS Minute […]

Interning in New York City

Who doesn’t want to live in New York City? Ok, I am a little partial. I am a born and bred New Yorker, living in S. Florida for 25 plus years, and I still love it. And so do many of our students, which is why New York is so popular for summer internships. They will need a place to live. Where to look for housing? There are many options. Most interning students live in dorms in various colleges throughout the city. New York University – is most popular and fills quickly. My daughter lived downtown on the border of Little Italy in an NYU dorm one summer. The dorm wasn’t very fancy, but the security was tight and the living space was huge, well for NYC. NYU has multiple dorms in a few parts of the city. To save money living in the NYU dorms students can share a room. Depending […]

Get on the Bus

A Guide to USF’s Bus System Getting to and from campus can be stressful-worrying about arriving to class on time with morning and evening traffic is tough. For those students who live off campus without a vehicle or do not want to purchase a decal, the bus system is the best option. Students with a valid USF 1 ID card receive fare-free access to bus service.  All students may ride any bus anywhere in Tampa including campus, fare-free, by simply presenting their valid USF ID card to the driver. As a fourth year student, I know how difficult it can be to find parking on campus as well as get around in general. Luckily, USF makes it easy for students to get around with their BullRunner bus program. USF students and faculty with a valid USF ID card are afforded free fare access and visitors must be accompanied by someone with a […]

Credit Cards for College Students

What Every Student Should Know Recently I told my daughter to go pay something with a check. She responded by asking me if she had those somewhere. She literally had never written one. In a day of Venmo, Zelle, debit and credit cards, people, students included, just don’t seem to carry cash anymore and checks are becoming more and more archaic. Credit cards, though, can be scary for students; particularly when they see the word “limit” and somehow skip over the fact that those balances have to get paid. Given that we made some serious errors with our oldest regarding money management, we decided to approach things differently with young adult #3. As she entered her sophomore year, we actually encouraged her to get a credit card. We began by explaining the reasons why: Establish credit Learn to manage money Provide ease and convenience when paying for things Take advantage of offers […]

Radio & TV

USF Radio & TV Yes, your student is at USF to learn, but they will also need some downtime.  My daughter watched her shows mostly on her laptop, but most will also have a TV in their rooms. And while many students tend to watch tv or listen to the radio a little differently than we did what with Netflix, Streaming on Demand, Satellite, when visiting, sometimes it is nice to know where to find a radio station that plays the music you like or watch a show when back at the hotel. Here is some information on TV and Radio at USF. TV Every student resident has unlimited access to HBO and Cinemax for free.  HBO GO is also accessible anytime, anywhere. Any device connected to the campus network has access to watchESPN.com as well.  The mobile app is also available. Philo allows resident students to watch and record their favorite […]

The Next Four Years

The Next Four Years So you have a student ready to spend the next four years as a USF Bull? That means that you will be spending some time in the Tampa Bay area, one of Florida’s favorite vacation spots. In the heart of central Florida, the Tampa Bay area is home to nationally awarded sports teams, theme parks, pristine nature preserves, award-winning beaches, and first-class arts. Tampa is a big city offering much to do with its own traditions. Ever heard of Gasparilla? Get ready for a season of parades, races, art shows, concerts, and a pirate invasion! You can enjoy just about every outdoor sport all year round, swim with manatees, experience world class fishing, as well as take in a Broadway show. Going to school in Tampa offers experiences, unlike other cities. Your student will get a cultural education as well as an academic one. The University of South […]

Bright Futures – Shining Bright

Bright Futures – Shining Bright On Friday, March 9th, Governor Rick Scott signed the SB4 bill, which amongst other items encourages universities to graduate students within four years and increases funds for Bright Futures scholarships and scholarships for low-income students. Academic scholars in Bright Futures can now receive 100% of tuition, Medallion scholars will get 75% of tuition and recipients will be able to use the money for summer credit hours beginning in the 2018 Summer term for the Florida Academic Scholars award, and Summer 2019 for the Florida Medallion Scholars award. A Florida Academic Scholar who is enrolled in a certificate, diploma, associate, or baccalaureate degree program at a public or nonpublic postsecondary education institution is  eligible, beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, for an award equal to the amount necessary to pay 100 percent of tuition and fees and is eligible for an additional $300 each fall and spring academic […]

Safety Matters

Safety Matters At this time in our world, we all worry about the safety of our new adults. For me, a self-proclaimed worrier, I wanted to know everything about the safety of my child’s new home, as well as them learning the ins and outs of campus safety.  Knowing they are safe is a forever thing. Therefore, it may be helpful to know that USF has a few very supportive resources available. The University of South Florida takes safety very seriously.  Technology has changed the landscape of how they impart information to students through texts and emails, and social media platforms. The SAFE Team is a group of screened students that can escort anyone from one point to another.  They use golf carts and also walk with students to ensure their safety to their destination.  Their hours are 6:30 pm – 2:30 am seven days a week. Their phone number is 813-974-7233. […]

Study Abroad

Study Abroad The world is your classroom. I am a big believer in this adage. Apparently, many students agree as Study Abroad programs have become increasingly popular. When researching this topic, I was amused to read not only a plethora of information about the various things to look for in a program but also some amusing blogs written by students about how to convince one’s parents to allow them to study abroad. Well, this parent is sold. I never studied abroad but had friends that did, or who did a semester at sea program.  Their stories and pictures always fascinated me. My daughter has yet to study abroad but is in the process of researching trips that work with her major.  It is a daunting thought of having your child halfway across the world, but the programs offered today are hard to pass up. USF makes it pretty easy to find just […]

They’re Back… Home for Thanksgiving

They’re Back… Home for Thanksgiving Thanksgiving break is the first long official break when students come home after move-in.  That being said, there are years, like last year, when hurricanes change that schedule, and you may see your student earlier than expected.  Those lovely summer storms create new breaks when classes get canceled, your kid comes home or at least stays with a friend. If the weather is easy in Florida, then Thanksgiving will be your time to reunite with your Bull.  As parents, it’s an exciting time. We’ve been living on texts, phone calls, and hopefully some face time sessions, and now we get the chance to see how they have grown when they come home for the first time. As excited as you may be, I am warning you to be prepared.  Your child has become an independent person with their own ways of doing things, living, and taking care […]

Searching for Scholarships

Congratulations on Your Child Being Accepted! Now that that’s settled, the idea of actually paying for college looms.  Hopefully, you have prepared in some way but fear not. Finding a scholarship can help with the cost of college. If you live in Florida and have purchased a Florida Prepaid plan, then that will start working for you immediately.  Bright Futures Scholarships have also been a goal while in high school, and if earned, they will apply once your student has started. Every year, I hear stories about thousands of dollars in scholarship money that are never applied for.  It does take a lot of work and time to research scholarships, apply for them, and to validate the authenticity of them.  But, that work can pay off at a reduced cost to you. Some are quite competitive, some last for four years, and some are downright silly, but pay for something.  Some scholarships […]

Career Showcase – A Student Perspective

How To Align Your Studies With Your Future Career Plans.  When I attended USF, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to study.  I was so excited to start learning about something that I really didn’t know anything about.  As the classes started, I realized that maybe I wasn’t so sure. After my first year, I wondered if I should be looking into other options.  It’s a scary thought, but in reality, about 80% of college students change their major while in college. And that’s ok! Most kids graduating high school aren’t sure about “what they want to be when they grow up”. USF provides so many wonderful colleges and majors.  With 14 colleges and offering over 180 majors, sometimes it’s hard to commit.  USF’s Career Services is a wonderful place to get advice and help in planning a future career path.  They have tools to help narrow down searches and […]

More Veggies Please – Vegan/Vegetarian Dining

Eating Healthy is Possible at College. With our country’s focus on health and healthy eating, college students are growing up used to “making better choices” and being aware of responsible farming and food preparations. It’s not surprising that colleges are having to provide choices for all types of eaters on their campuses, so more veggies, please!. My oldest daughter decided to be a vegetarian for a year in high school and, although she has reentered the meat-eating society, she still looks for healthy alternatives when she can. That being said, there will never be a shortage of late-night pizza eaters on campuses. But for those sticking to a vegetarian or vegan diet, there are some choices for you to check out. The Loving Hut on Fowler Ave. offers vegan counter service. It’s a popular place with easy choices and a nice atmosphere. Some of their locations offer Asian-accented menus as well. SoFresh […]

Student Accessibility Services

Consideration for Providing Access for Everyone For students with a disability, the Students with Disability Services office can help.  Whether it’s ADHD or a physical impairment, USF provides great care and consideration for providing access to all. Once accepted to USF, students may apply for accommodations online.  Supporting medical documentation is needed and can be turned into the office via email, fax, in person, or by mail.  The SDS office is located in Student Services 1133. They can be reached at 813-974-4309 and their fax is 813-974-7337.  They are open in fall/spring/summer from 8 am to 5 pm Monday through Friday. For the staff contact information, click here. Meeting with the SDS office can help to eliminate fears and unanswered questions pertaining to everything from safety to specific accommodations.  At USF, accommodations are available for classrooms, course loads, exams, as well as hearing impaired accommodations. Assistive technology services offered include: – Alternative Text […]

21 and Oh So Fun

Becoming an official adult.  It seems to be another rite of passage; turning 21.  And if you are turning 21 during your college year, then you are probably going to want to celebrate.  College students choose so many different ways to celebrate these days, from taking a trip with friends to a night out in town.  But it usually involves your friends donning you with “21 and legal” party garb to announce to the world that you are finally legal.  It also means that you can finally get into places that you were not allowed into before. So, here are some of the ways 21 & over students are celebrating. In Tampa, a popular place to have some 21-fun is Ybor City.  This historic area is home to cigar factories, nightclubs, and restaurants.  It is adjacent to downtown and about a 13-minute drive. There are clubs that are more for the gothic/eclectic […]

Advice to My Freshman Self

What Every Freshman Should Know As my time as an undergraduate college student is coming to an end, there are so many things I wish my freshman self-knew before embarking on my college journey. Though my trials and tribulations have made for some unforgettable memories, I hope to save some freshman from the not-so-fun lessons I had to learn along the way. Your first choice may not always be the best choice: As a transfer student, this is by for one of the toughest lessons I had to learn. Do as much research as possible before deciding on your home for the next 4 years. Get out of your comfort zone: the greatest memories I have had so far have come from experiences where I have done something I never thought I’d do. Join a sorority or fraternity or some type of organization: Although I always knew that I would join a […]

Dinner, Early or Late

Well, what are you hungry for? Like any college town, there are literally hundreds of dining options from fast food to fast casual, from family style to fine dining. Whether you are eating dinner early or late, you will find your burgers, pizza, Mexican, Chinese, barbecue, sushi, salads, Mediterranean; a restaurant for every palate and every price point. Depending on whether you are touring with a prospective student or visiting your student in Tampa, who will undoubtedly be clamoring for a good meal, the options are plentiful. Some things to consider beforehand are price and time. It is not unusual for there to be a considerable wait, even with a reservation, on a game weekend or graduation, at some of the more popular selections. So, because the Tampa Bay area is so large, I will share with you some great dining options all over the area. Prost Kitchen & Bar – This […]

Midterm Blues Care Package

Surprise Them With a Box of Love! Midterm and final exams can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it […]

Staying at USF for Thanksgiving

Make it a Friendsgiving Although USF is officially closed from November 22-25, 2018, not all students will be going home for the holiday.  Flights can be very expensive around this time. Some students may have to work and others may go home with a local friend to share the holiday.  Perhaps, instead, you’ve decided to switch things around a bit and this year go to Tampa for Thanksgiving. Whichever way it works out, there is plenty to do if you are going to be at USF for Thanksgiving this year. Let Someone Else Do the Cooking- Many restaurants put together a great traditional meal for Thanksgiving.  Some are less traditional but sound delicious. Check out some of these: Seasons 52 – In the Westshore Mall area, they are offering a traditional menu and are not accepting reservations. Mitchell’s Fish Market – also in the Westshore Mall area; offering their regular menu as […]

Books, Books, Books

Books, Books, Books Now that our sons and daughters have moved in, begun exploring, meeting friends, the reality begins.  This means that they are now students again and the real reason they have been sent off to college surfaces.  Get your wallets ready, because now they need books. Books today come in many different forms and likewise can be purchased in a variety of ways – including rentals. Deciding which is the most cost-efficient and the easiest way for your student to use it are important factors. Textbooks can cost as much as a few hundred dollars each. (Please note that some professors will insist on the newest edition of a textbook simply because it is how they make money; therefore, last year’s edition may not be considered sufficient; regardless of the fact that the changes in its material may be minuscule and a used edition may be far cheaper.) Some students […]

Get Involved

Get Involved USF is huge! With over 37,000 undergraduates across over 1500 acres, it can sometimes be hard to not feel overwhelmed by the size of the school.  To make it feel a bit smaller and more personal, one must get involved. Some students will choose to rush a sorority or fraternity (see sorority blog here and fraternity blog here), but others will not find Greek life is their cup of tea. No worries, there are many other possible ways to get involved on campus. School comes first, obviously, but we at HaveUHeard feel that being involved in some way is equally as important.  Remember that your child is still a teenager and will want to find people with the same interests as them. Leaving home, family and friends can be hard, but feeling a part of a community can make their transition easier.  Joining clubs and organizations allows students to discover their […]

Grocery Stores

Grocery Stores A Kids Gotta Eat On campus or off, meal plan or not, your child will need to get groceries at some point and time.  USF has many shopping options right around campus. Our first choice would be Publix. There are two nearby.  One on N 53 St at the Terrace Ridge Plaza, and one on 16041 Terrace Palms Blvd in the City Plaza of Tampa Palms.  If you are new to Florida, Publix is a Florida-based supermarket with every department found in most grocery stores including produce, deli, meats, canned goods, seafood, frozen foods, flowers, bread, soda, and stationery, candy, dairy and so on.  It is undoubtedly the most popular grocer in Florida. Make sure your student downloads their app, as it is wonderful for digital coupons and recipe ideas. The extra minute it takes to check off items in the app can save you some money. My friend gave […]

Homecoming

Homecoming October 14th – 21st, 2018 If this is your first college Homecoming as a parent, get ready for your Bull to be super busy.  USF’s Homecoming is packed with fun events for both students, and parents and alumni. Homecoming also coincides with Friends & Family Weekend (see our blog about Friends & Family Weekend here).  USF’s special week has become an event not to be missed. There are so many activities scheduled, that you are bound to find something to do almost every day. It happens every Fall and this year’s theme was SuperBull! USF’s Homecoming site is here.  I am listing some of the bigger, more popular events to attend.   Kickoff: This is at the Marshall Center Stage Fountain and Rocky the Bull will be there, along with the HOT band, cheerleaders, free food, and spirit items. Stampede Comedy Show: 2017’s featured comedians were Judah Friedlander and The Lucas […]

Sick at School

Sick at School Get ready…it’s bound to happen.  At some point, the phone will buzz and your independent college student with a cry, “I don’t feel well.”  Hopefully, their illness will be a result of their new-found independence that includes lack of sleep, exercise, stress, an unhealthy diet and hygiene habits that don’t embrace enough hand-washing and can be cured quickly and easily. When packing my daughter for college, I added a shoe-sized box that I filled with “just in case you get sick and don’t know what to do” things.  Inside was a thermometer, vitamins, cough syrup, headache medicine, sinus/cold medicine, and first aid items. Just FYI, she depleted the box in her first semester; so be prepared to refill it again.  There will be times when they will need care beyond the box, and the USF Student Health Services is there to help.  Located next to the Marshall Center and […]

Working While in College

Working While in College To Work or Not to Work? Each family will decide on the needs of their student, but about half of all college students have at least a part-time job.  Most freshmen start without a job but then acquire one in later years, once they know how to manage their time. Some students must work to pay for their college, while others know that their school work is their only job.  And some, work to supplement their spending, housing, or even their Spring Break trip (see our Spring Break blog for more information on that). USF has resources to help their Bulls find jobs both on and off campus.  The Career Services department has a great system called Handshake.  It helps to power the Employ-A-Bull program and is an online career management system for all registered USF students. Accounts are created for students at the start of the first […]

Spring Sports

Let’s Face It! Fall is about football.  At least, at most schools, and USF is no different.  But when the season is over, and students are back from winter break, Spring sports kick in.  And the best part? Tickets are free for students, and who doesn’t like free? Students need to register on their mobile devices so that they can have access to all sporting events. At USF, it’s not only students that enjoy going to the games or meets.  You will see the general public at events like basketball, baseball, softball games, and even at track meets.  Let’s start with basketball. Games are played in the Sun Dome, which is a state of the art multipurpose arena that sits 10,000.  Basketball actually starts in November and runs into March. These games are fun and between the band, students, cheerleaders, and dancers, you are bound to get into the spirit.  The Sun […]

Technology Needs for USF Students

Check Out The Freebies First! HaveUHeard that Microsoft Office 365 is free for all enrolled USF students? And it’s free for up to five devices. That is a huge cost saving for a college student.  Click here for information about downloading this great technology. Office 365 is a cloud-based suite of tools from Microsoft. With it, you also have Microsoft OneDrive which provides cloud storage and sharing files. It can also be accessed from your mobile device. Other information on Class Prep technology can be found here. While most college students choose to have Macbooks, don’t run out and buy something just yet. Be sure that if your classes or major require compatible software or hardware, you look into that first. Individual college and degree programs may have requirements that you may find better with a Dell, IBM, or HP computer. Most are listed on the various sites, so check before you […]

What NOT to Bring to College

Do You Really Need It? Ok, I have only sent one child to college, but it really only takes one send off to learn the ins and outs of what a freshman college student really needs. What to bring and what not to bring.  I spent months searching for packing lists, shopping, organizing, and running myself ragged to find the “perfect” items that would make my daughter feel great in her new home away from home.  I will admit: I was a little obsessed. Now that my daughter is entering her third year, I can provide sound advice on what to leave at home. For girls rushing a sorority, leave your t-shirts at home.  Ok, so bring a couple maybe. Trust me when I say that you will get so many t-shirts from your sorority, events, free Bulls shirts from around campus, and many more, that your drawer or storage bin won’t […]

Parking at USF

Get ready, get set, GO! I have yet to hear about a university in the state of Florida where parking is easy-peasy.  There are just never enough spaces for the number of students on campus every day. There are always “tricks” to finding a convenient space, but really, it’s all about planning.  And if you are someone who has a hard time getting up in the morning, you will learn that finding a space at the last minute may cause you to miss your class completely. If you do have a car with you on campus, you will find that you really won’t move it much, unless venturing off campus.  On campus, you should take advantage of the shuttles that can take you almost anywhere on campus, and even off campus to some locations.  The Bull Runner shuttle system is free to anyone with a USFCard. The type of permit you will […]

Food for Thought

No Student Hungry Much like the national campaign No Kid Hungry®, there are many students at colleges throughout the United States that are barely getting by, some putting their nourishment behind paying for college and all of the expenses that go along with college; tuition, books, rent, utilities, to name a few. The USDA average monthly cost of food for a college-age student for a moderate-cost food plan, following the recommended Food plans, is $223.55. Many students who are struggling just to keep up with the cost of college even while working and getting loans, often feel uncomfortable saying anything about struggling to maintain a balanced diet. As a college student who relied on school loans, I would often make light of this, kidding around and saying my meals consisted of ramen noodles. But knowing the importance a healthy diet plays on one’s health, sleep patterns, stress, capacity to think and be […]

Sorting Out College Life- A Guide to Laundry, Dry Cleaning & Alterations

Laundry Never Ends! Every mom has thought or said this a million times, and now our college kids are (hopefully) learning the tedious task of doing their own laundry.  I taught my daughters how to do theirs during their senior years of high school and then helped to refine their skills during the summer before they left for college.  I’m not going to lie and say that they have perfected the skill of taking care of themselves, but at least they can run a load of dirty clothes if needed. I think a parents’ biggest wish is that they just wash their sheets and towels weekly, but then pray for at least a few times a semester. Luckily my oldest daughter found that a little peer pressure in the “doing laundry” department helped keep her on her toes.  The kids are so busy that they sometimes forget that they have two pairs […]

Birthright Israel – Hillel

Birthright Israel – Hillel What is Birthright Israel? Birthright Israel is the gift of a free, 10-day trip to Israel designed for young adults of Jewish heritage, aged 18–32. This is the trip you go on with your friends from college or to meet new people from your campus. Ten extraordinary days experiencing the enriching, inspiring and exhilarating sights, sounds, and soul of Israel. Hang out with Israelis your age, hike beautiful trails, and catch breathtaking views. When you get back, you’ll have an awesome community back on campus that you formed on the trip. You’re not a tourist you’re an adventure-seeker! Tour highlights: Camel Rides, Rafting down Jordan River, Visit the Western Wall, Float in the Dead Sea, Waterfalls of the Golan Heights, Taste Mediterranean food, Connect with Israelis your own age. Many students that have experienced this trip say it is a life-changing event that helped form their own unique […]

Eating on a Budget

Eating on a Budget One of the not-so-fun things parents do is to teach their children about money and how to handle it.  We’ve all heard it; teach them about money young, and they will be more responsible as adults. For me, I can say that I tried, but we truly started when my children were in high school.  They each had their own bank accounts with their own debit cards. They did their best, but if there was money in their account, they spent it. Turning 18 does not mean that they don’t need guidance in this area because they do.  So, the summer before my oldest went to college, we had a “meeting” explaining how her money situation was going to be handled. We explained the amount per month she would have, what we were willing to pay for, and that if she was running low, then she better plan […]

Health Insurance

Health Insurance Students at many colleges today must have a health insurance plan that meets their university’s minimum requirement.  The University of South Florida does not sponsor a voluntary insurance plan for the general student body. However, every fall Student Health partners with the USF Health Care Navigators to offer enrollment assistance in the Federal Marketplace. That being said, it is wise that your student is covered.  Deciding on which insurance plan your student should be on may require a degree in economics.  There are many variables to consider when choosing: 1. Does your current health insurance cover your student? If so, consider what your cost is to keep them on your plan. 2. Is the monthly premium you pay for your child pre-tax or after-tax? Will you save money by purchasing a separate plan for perhaps the USF health fee is as much coverage as you feel your student will need? […]

Mother-Daughter Time

Mother-Daughter Time Although I had visited my daughter a couple of times at school, my first weekend alone with her was in the Spring for her sorority Mother-Daughter Weekend.  It was different to have her alone. Conversations were different, and it was so nice to spend time one on one. To see your child as the true, independent adult that they are becoming is inspiring.   Spending time with my daughter at school always involves a few things.  A trip to the bookstore, so I can buy that wanted new shirt or a sweatshirt that she has been eyeing; as well as picking up something for myself.  A nice lunch or dinner out, just the two of us. I especially like this as we get to just chat and catch up over a meal she usually doesn’t get.  And, there’s always a trip to Target to resupply and stock up on needed things. […]

Favorite Apartment Rentals

Favorite Apartment Rentals Not Your Momma’s Apartment Just when you think you have your student all settled in the dorms, chances are that you will be hit with the “wanting to move to an apartment” talk. Students quickly learn that the hunt and race to get a good apartment are fierce and one must start early. They are not kidding. I hadn’t even memorized my daughter’s dorm address when she told me that she and some friends were going to start looking for apartments for the NEXT school year!   Yes, dorms are convenient, but when you see what apartments offer today, you won’t be shocked at the yearning to live off campus.  They are nothing like when I lived in an apartment one mile from campus. My roommate and I scoured the Salvation Army for cheap but clean furniture and we split everything down the middle.  Today, some apartments come furnished, […]

The Best Apps for USF Students

The Best Apps for USF Students I always feel old when I say, ‘back in my day’, but the truth is that back in my day, we lived in a world without cell phones, tablets, and computers.  To get information at school, you had to visit the information boards, get printed schedules, and visit office after office just to get school business done.  Today, our kids have everything at their fingertips. Information is instant, convenient, and plentiful. Apps provide no need to walk miles around campus to set up tutoring appointments, pay bills, or even to eat.  There are a lot of useful apps that USF students use, and here are a few of them: USF and College Studying Apps MyUSF – This is the first app a new student will download because it provides access to courses, schedules, instructors, accounts, maps, events, and so much more.  It also gives access to […]

Preparing for Grad School Exams

Just keep going! Whenever you hear someone say, “four years fly by” believe it!  Preparing for graduation comes as a shock to some, but then there is the decision of continuing on to Grad school.  Most people today feel that Grad school is necessary. It seems that in a lot of professions, a Master’s Degree is the standard. If you are going for it, then you need to start researching all of the degrees and programs out there, as they can be different from undergraduate programs.  Contact the Office of Graduate Studies to see if any informational events are scheduled.  Meeting with the office can help you see the paths offered and clarify your prerequisites and other required things needed.  It can feel overwhelming, but this office can help to prepare you for the required tests and application items needed. To apply to the graduate school, you must fill out the online […]

GAP Year

Should Your Student Take a Year Off Before Graduate School? I remember when I started graduate school and on the first day of class, we were assigned to read over 300 pages and write a paper before the next class. My jaw dropped and I wondered if the professor was serious. Not every class is like this, but after four years in college, some students may choose to take a break before jumping into graduate school; whether it’s medical school, law school, an MBA or just about any other advanced degree. Graduate school can be a grind. There are other reasons students choose to take a break; or gap year, before going on to pursue an advanced degree. Many graduate programs prefer students to have some time out in the working world before grad school. It is not uncommon for students to partake in internships that will provide them with experience in […]

Away for the High Holidays

Celebrate with a New Community Generally, our kids get to come home for Thanksgiving and Christmas, but for those who celebrate the upcoming Jewish High Holidays, it may be your first one without your students at your holiday table. While it may feel strange having that empty seat, it can feel better to know that they are celebrating the holidays with a new community of their peers. There are options for Jewish students at USF. You may want to let them know they exist and then hope that they will choose to participate. Time Off Not all colleges give days off for every holiday and it doesn’t look like USF is any different. Students can certainly inform their professors, in advance, of their absence for the holiday, but chances are class will go on and they will be responsible for any work. Even if they do get a day or two off, […]

Care Packages for when they get sick

Show You Care for Them Get ready, because at around one month in, you may get that dreaded call that your child is sick.  It’s hard because suddenly, you feel even farther from your child than you actually are. It doesn’t matter how well you packed their first aid kit, or how many times you went over where to go to the health services, your child will probably need some extra love to get them on the healing path.   When it is beyond a cold, and they find themselves really sick, try to keep in touch with your child’s roommates, as they will be able to give you updates on your child’s condition.  Sometimes a care package can provide much-needed help as well. Things ship fast these days, and simple things like cough drops, tissues, teas, cozy socks, and maybe something homemade can lift spirits immensely.   For those of you that […]

Family Weekend

Family Weekend Every school has Parents Weekend, and for USF the tradition continues.  This is a great time to see your student in their “natural habitat” on campus.  You will see them in their new independent role and have the chance to meet some of their friends.  There is some debate on whether Parents Weekend is worth the travel and expenses vs. coming on another, less-crowded weekend.  But, I can tell you that we have done both. Parents Weekend is geared towards families and there are some fun things to do. The weekend is set for October 19-21, 2018 with registration open on August 1st.  As soon as they do announce it, I advise you to make your hotel reservations immediately, as they book up fast.  Some will offer a slight discount if you reserve far in advance and tell them why you are coming. Our blog on hotels will help with […]

Meal Plans

Meal Plans To Buy or Not To Buy One of the biggest worries parents have when sending their child off to college, is how will they eat? Let’s face it, we have been buying, prepping, and cooking for our “babies” since they were actually babies! Here’s where meal plans come in. Yes, some of our kids have learned to cook and prepare their own meals, but it’s nice to know that there is a good option for no worry eating. When I was a student, the options were slim for on-campus eating, and I remember ordering lots of pizza and making fast food runs. But today, there are three main dining halls included in over 25 dining locations on campus. The options are truly great and even offer vegan and vegetarian dishes, as well as sushi made daily. For the freshman, the meal plans range from unlimited access to the three dining […]

Roommates and Residential Life

Roommates and Residential Life   For many students entering college, this may be their first time away from home for an extended period of time. While dorm living can be an enriching and wonderful part of the college experience, it can also be a source of great stress and discomfort if the roommates are not a good match. Granted, the fit does not have to be perfect; as a matter of fact, my kids all did well with random roommates as opposed to handpicked ones. We had previously set a precedence that they couldn’t live with friends from home for the first year because we wanted them to meet new people; all part of the college experience. Students do, however, need to be able to comfortably and safely co-exist in their shared living space. Teach your student before leaving home what it means to be a good roommate. Students can often find […]

Dropping A Class

Dropping A Class October 23, 2018 – CANVAS closes for Fall midterm eGrade submissions. October 27, 2018 – Last day to drop a class with a “W” (withdrawn). I clearly remember my days at USF and having to make a hard decision about dropping a class.  Back then, it seemed as if the world was crashing in, to admit that I was not going to be successful in a class.  In reality, it is a great learning experience on self-evaluation. For me, it was a science class that was filled with chemistry and math that I had never seen before.  The teacher went fast, and after a couple of failed quizzes, I knew that I was either going to fail the class or have to withdraw. Students today are coming to college after immense pressures to score as high as they can, complete as much as they can, and with lots of […]

Finding a Roommate

What To Look For In An Ideal Roommate.  One of the biggest fears of any new college student is “the roommate”.   Finding the ideal roommate can be stressful but thinking about a few important things can help make it easier.  Whether you will be sharing a room, or have your own room but sharing a suite, living with someone brings new challenges of personal space, respect, and flexibility.   Being an only child, going to college was the first time that I had to share a room with someone.  I was actually excited about it but had to get used to a lot of things. At orientation, I met a girl and we got along great.  We decided to request each other as a roommate so that we didn’t have to get a complete stranger. That was well and good until we really lived day to day with each other.  It wasn’t […]

An Insider’s Guide to Living on Campus

Learn the Best Way to Manage Your Housing. One of the first decisions you need to make after being accepted to USF is housing. You need to put in your housing application/request immediately, as it fills up fast. Now, deciding on what on-campus housing you want can be confusing. There are a lot of choices, depending on price and the living lifestyle that you want. You can find out all of the specifics, including floor plans at the Housing & Residential Education page but here is a basic break down of the dorms: “Back in the day”, I lived in Delta. It is no longer there, soon to be part of the Village, USF’s newest housing options. Phase One is complete and has or will soon have a satellite fitness center called the Fit, a dining hall called the Hub, a pool, and other retail spaces. This is also where Publix is […]

Happy Birthday Care Packages

If You Can’t Be there This is Best.  My daughter has a summer birthday, which meant that we were almost always able to spend it with her.  But for those students with birthdays during the school year, it can be a painful reminder for you as a parent, that your child isn’t at home anymore.  Traditions of decorating their room, filling it with balloons, or giving that birthday hug and kiss when they wake up that morning will change. It’s just another part of letting go a little.  Roommates and suitemates love to shower each other with birthday surprises too, so rest assured that they will have some fun that day. So, if you can’t celebrate with them on their special day, there are some things that you can do to celebrate with them from afar. A care package can be made by you with fun treats and presents for them to […]

Make the Call to Admissions

Should I, or Shouldn’t I? Call admissions or not? After the excitement to finally deciding on what colleges to apply to, there comes the time-consuming process of filling out applications, writing essays, getting school records together, and paying the application fees.  I clearly remember when my daughter hit her last keystroke on her last application. She was so relieved, but that soon turned into anxious waiting. For someone who rarely checked her email, she became obsessed with checking it every day, as well as checking the house mail, “just in case.” USF has rolling admissions, which means that acceptances are posted at multiple times, usually depending on the time that your application was received.  There are three types of Admission Decision Letters that you could get. You may receive a Deferred Admission Letter which means that they haven’t quite decided on you yet and are waiting on more information.  A Denied Admission […]

How to Transition as A Transfer Student

Becoming a BULL We all know that there are many ways for a student to end up at their final college institution.  Maybe you have attended the college of your dreams and have realized that it is not the place for you.  Or maybe you decided to attend your local community college with the intention of transferring to a university later.  Then there are those that have completed so many college courses successfully while in high school, that they are actually considered a transfer student when they actually arrive at their university. Either way, USF is a very popular school to transfer to.  Let’s face it, everyone wants to be a Bull! Their process is pretty easy to follow, so make sure that you get all of your documentation ready. Admissions to transfer students varies depending on successful credits that you currently have.  If you have 12-59 credits, then you are considered […]

Gameday Attire

Get Your Team Look Ready! USF’s colors are green and gold, and a true fan has a section in their closets filled with all things USF.  Don’t just assume that the colors are the same as the crayon box green and gold. Like all schools, their colors are very specific and you can find exact hues here. Luckily, all things USF are easily available, so if you aren’t ready for game day, this is the time to start getting your game attire ready.  The most important thing to remember is that game day is HOT! Even evening games are muggy and there’s always a chance of rain. So, the trick is how to look super cute with an outfit that lasts through tailgating and the game. The bookstore has tons of great gear, but many students like creating their outfits using more trendy, unique items.  Believe it or not, cheerleading skirts are […]

It’s All About the Delivery

It Is So Easy! When I was in college, the only delivery available was pizza delivery.  Getting a five-dollar pizza delivered right to my dorm was so satisfying and easy.  Today, you really don’t ever have to leave your dorm or apartment to get a good meal.  Food delivery has become a huge business and for college students, it couldn’t be easier.  Here are some of the delivery services that we have found and what they deliver and how they work. Mobile Meals – Deliver from many USF area restaurants.  Their mobile app makes things easy and most deliveries are $3.99.  Simply pick a restaurant from their list, tell them where you are, order, and wait for your food to be delivered.  They have a chat option if you would like help with suggestions and clarification of your order as well. GrubHub – Simply browse menus, pick what you want, and submit […]

Finals Are A Bear – Send A Care Package!

Send Help Now! Final exams can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it takes to make sure they are […]

The Stress of College

The Stress of College It happens to all of us, even our kids.  You probably saw this when they were studying for their AP exams or writing the dreaded college application essays.  Well, balancing a full college schedule, football season, sorority or fraternity rush, trying to maintain a social life, and learning to adult can bring on a stress that your student may not have experienced before.  And as if all of that is not enough, 2017 brought Florida schools, Hurricane Irma. Learning how to cope and handle lots of independent work, as well as dealing with a natural disaster made it hard for many students to know how to deal with that stress.   Fortunately, USF has wonderful resources to help students get through many types of stressful situations.  The Counseling Center, which is a department of Student Affairs & Student Success, offers many programs, training, workshops, and therapy sessions to […]

After the Hurricane

After the Hurricane – Getting Back to “Normal” Prior to Hurricane Irma, our blog talked about hurricanes that had impacted Florida.  It had been twelve years since a major hurricane in the state. Hurricane Irma will be remembered not only for its strength but for its impact on the entire state of Florida, causing damage and destruction on both the east and west coasts.  Being a Florida native, I am very used to the threats of bad storms. But when forecasters throw out words like “catastrophic”, and you see that their expressions have changed, it is easy to feel panic and anxious. The best part of a hurricane is that there is plenty of warning.  And with Irma, USF had time to prepare their students and families to keep everyone safe.  A lot of students decided to leave their dorms or apartments, and some students from out of town went home with friends […]

I’m Not Your Maid: Cleaning Services

Maybe It’s Not A Luxury, But A Necessity? Ok, let me start by saying that yes, my children know how to clean their rooms and bathrooms.  Do they like to? No. But, boy did my oldest learn quickly that there really is no other way to be when living in a tiny dorm room and sharing a bathroom.  It was actually a great life lesson because when she moved into an apartment, she kept up her clean ways. That being said, there are actually times where hiring a cleaning service may not be such a bad idea.   First off, if your child is in an apartment and a roommate comes down with the flu or something else contagious, having a one-time cleaning to disinfect everything is not a bad idea. For some reason, germs spread like wildfire around college kids. This could help keep everything from spreading. The only other reason […]

The David Project

Israel, however, is not just for Jews It’s true that Birthright is a fabulous (and free) program for Jewish individuals from 18 to 28 to visit Israel. Israel, however, is not just for Jews though. So, we did a little digging and found The David Project, a pro- Israel campus advocacy group. The program promotes building diverse pro-Israel support on campuses and is for students of all religions, having reached 10,000 Jewish and non-Jewish students this past academic year on 45 campuses, cultivating student leaders and organizations as allies for Hillel and the pro-Israel community. There are three main components to The David Project: Israel Uncovered – 10-day Israel mission for The David Project’s Core Schools. Each school sends one Israel advocate and two to three non-Jewish campus leaders. The campus leaders represent many mainstream campus groups, including student government, College Democrats and Republicans, fraternities and sororities, black, Indian, Latino and Asian […]

Types of Student Loans

What are your options? When I attended school back in 1979, my Dad had four of us in college at the same time. It was through student loans that my parents were able to manage the costs of all four of us attending school along with some parental financial support. Unfortunately, as far back as I can remember, many students including myself, have used their student loans for entertainment, shopping, vacations, etc. The Department of Education loans money for school and it is imperative for your student to understand that student loans should not be used for frivolous spending. Trust me, I learned the hard way. The loans and interest (depending on the type of loan you have) add up very quickly. Repayment of said loans can be a huge monthly cost; therefore, understanding all the terms of student loans is, in my opinion, essential. In all cases, you must begin with […]

The First Few Weeks

We completed the drop. We unloaded the car in the treacherous Florida heat and we set up their rooms. The bed was made, everything had been put away and it only took two trips to Target for things we didn’t realize we would need. We said our see-ya-laters and shed the appropriate amount of tears. It was when I got into the car without our new college freshman, all the advice we meant to give them about those first few weeks lay dormant somewhere between the big lump in my throat and my empty heart. Forgive me if I sound dramatic, but the truth is there is a great deal to be said at that time. Whether or not they take to heart is another story. Perhaps starting the conversation a few weeks before drop-off is a better idea. Getting Started Those first few weeks of college are a crucial time for […]

Gasparilla

Gasparilla Aaarg! It’s An Invasion! Being that we live in the same city as our college kid, there is one part of Tampa life that I must tell you about.  Since 1904, Tampa’s annual Gasparilla celebration is a time just as exciting as any other holiday. As soon as holiday decorations are taken down, Gasparilla decorations go up.  It all starts in January and events run through March. It is likely that your USF student will take part in at least one event, so I will fill you in on the main ones. It all started when Jose Gaspar and his crew of pirates terrorized the coastal waters of West Florida.  There is great debate as to whether he was even real or a made-up character in historical writings. A “krewe” of men dressed as pirates staged a mock invasion of the city in the early 1930’s, based on the lore and […]

Just Desserts

Just Desserts Did you know that that the word desserts is stressed spelled backward?  Well, there will come a time when all a college kid wants is something sweet.  Whether it’s a late-night run or celebrating a test or a project getting done, the need for satisfying ice cream, cupcakes, or yogurt is real.  Let’s face it, there really doesn’t have to be a specific reason for dessert, right? Here are some of our favorites: Cold Stone Creamery – on Fowler Ave. Here you can design your own creation of hand mixed toppings and add-ins. Icesmile – in the Fowler Shopping Center.  They offer crazy concoctions and fun ways to display your frozen yogurt dessert. Twistee Treat – You can’t miss the ice cream cone shaped building on New Tampa Blvd.  They have scoops, sundaes, and shakes. Nothing Bundt Cakes – on N. Dale Mabry.  They have yummy bite-sized cakes to larger […]

Moving Out

Moving Out There is so much anticipation and prep involved with moving our kids INTO college, but not as much thought about moving them OUT.  Moving them in has a feeling of excitement, but no one wants to get excited about packing all of that stuff up and moving it again. I know for me, when it was time to move our daughter out of the dorms for the summer, we dreaded it.  Plus, where was all of that dorm stuff going to go? So, I definitely recommend a thought-out plan. Ask yourself: do we have somewhere to put everything? Do we want to move it all again in a couple of months? Is there a place in our budget for storing it all somewhere?   Some parents don’t mind that round trip, packing up the car, or cars, and bringing it all home to store for the summer.  An unused bedroom, […]

Orient Yourself

Orient Yourself Your child has been accepted to USF!  Congrats! The first thing you need to do is to sign up for Orientation.  Both you and your student will have two days of taking notes, filling out paperwork, and getting yourselves familiar with the campus.  Orientation can be an overwhelming event because lots of information is being thrown at you in a short amount of time. So, remember to breathe.  Don’t panic, like I did, about remembering every phone number, code, and the piece of advice that the school gives you. It will all be there on their website if you need them.  I did make notes and highlighted things that I especially wanted to go over with my child in detail (like health care, tutoring, safety…) It’s also a good idea to take pictures of the many slides you will be shown. To orient yourself best, sit towards the front to […]

Trouble in Paradise

Trouble in Paradise Your student got in trouble. Or they are having trouble. Now what? It’s not uncommon.  Sometimes even “the best kids” end up getting in trouble in some fashion in college. It could be as simple as a parking ticket, or as big as a charge of plagiarism.  Problems with a roommate, an apartment lease, getting caught underage drinking, are just a few of the issues that can play havoc with a college student and their parents.  No matter how well we’ve warned them to be safe, and follow school rules, it is important to also know what to do if trouble arises. Firstly, breathe.  Your student is probably freaking out and is terrified to talk to you.  Remain calm and get all of the facts. Remind your child to obtain and keep all paperwork and information.  Go over the dates and processes that they have been given. HaveUHeard about […]

Lost and Found

Lost and Found Oh No….It Happened! We’ve all done it, lost something.  It’s not surprising that a college student may lose their keys, book, wallet, phone, etc.  They have so many things occupying their minds and are learning to “adult” for the first time.  As parents, the frustration is usually about the security of things (i.e. losing a debit card).  Things can be replaced, but with so many cases of identity theft, your student is just as vulnerable.  And with students being far from home, fixing the problem can be challenging. It’s gone… My daughter lost her beloved debit card her freshman year.  She swears she put it on her desk and it just disappeared. Since her banking was tied with ours, she could not just go to the credit union on campus and get a new one.  We decided to track all activity on the card and not to cancel it […]

Places of Worship

Places of Worship – Continuing Traditions Religion and worship are a big part of many of our lives, and college students and families may wonder how that will continue at school.  It is important you all know that there are always options for continuing their faith at USF. Having a place to worship on or near campus allows students to meet others of their faith, as well as to have a Rabbi, Minister, or Priest to turn to should they need that guidance.  USF is a very diverse school and also offers many religious/spiritual organizations with some listed here. Baptist Collegiate Ministries meets weekly and also has intramurals groups and travel experiences offered to students.   Catholic Student Center offers education, sacramental life, and is home in the Catholic Student Union. Chabad on Campus Jewish Student Center Located at 4506 Sweetwater Lake Dr., this home away from home for Jewish students offers free […]

Are Your Student’s Valuables Protected? Are they safe?

Are Your Student’s Valuables Protected? As we were preparing my daughter for college, one of the most popular subjects discussed on my parent Facebook page was safety.  I’m talking about how to keep all of their “stuff” safe. There were opinions and suggestions flying around weekly. No matter how many suggestions, opinions, and items you buy, they only work if your student actually heeds the advice, and uses said items. That being said, do not be surprised when your child calls you to tell you that they lost their ID, phone, keys, etc.  It’s bound to happen. But worse than that is when they call you to tell you that something was actually stolen from them.  When I was in college, the biggest thing to be stolen was a bike or a meal plan card (back then it was a flimsy laminated punch card).  Today, students come to school with computers, tablets, […]

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast Beauty may be in the eyes of the beholder, but sometimes it is in the eyes staring back at you in the mirror.  Being the mother of two girls, haircuts and coloring, nails being done, and eyebrows needing waxing is nothing new to me.  At home, we have our tried and true places to go, but when your girl or boy is needing some touching up while away at school, it is nice to know where to go.  I know, I know, beauty isn’t everything, but the reality is that most want/need hair trims or some services to help them get ready for Greek formals, banquets, or even job interviews. There are places mentioned a lot on some of the parent Facebook pages, but students will find their favorites.  Here are some of the recommended places: Hair Salons Badar’s Hair & All Beauty Salon – 2321 E. Fowler […]

Where the Wind Blows

Where the Wind Blows As a Florida Native: Been there, done that. Wind blowing, we get that a lot. I was born in Florida and have never lived outside of Florida.  I know all about sunny days, tourists, love bug season, humidity, and yes, hurricanes.  I know nothing about preparing for snow, but I have had my fair share of hurricane preparations and parties.   The quote, “it’s all in the preparations” is true when it comes to Florida storms.  It is so easy to become complacent when you’ve been through so many storms, preparing for the worst, and then having a storm turn the other way at the last minute.  You’ll hear, “it won’t hit here” a lot. 24-hour broadcasts and weather forecasters getting excited can create a sense of panic and second-guessing. And if your student is from another state, panic can become elevated, especially for the parents at home. […]

The Loss of a Pet

The Loss of a Pet More than half of our population owns at least one pet.  For many college students, the family pet was acquired when they were a child, and it has grown along with them.  Unfortunately, that means an aging pet sometimes passes away while the student is in college. This can be devastating, and there are many emotions a student goes through when finding out the bad news.   Some students feel shocked, because, like us, it’s hard to imagine life without our beloved pet.  It doesn’t matter if the pet was a 15-year-old dog or a hamster; the loss a kid feels is real.  Then, so many students will want to drop everything and come home. Obviously, that’s not rational, especially if they live far from the school.   So, how do we help our students get through the loss of their pet?  I believe in the power […]

Staying Fit

Staying Fit There is so much to gain in college; new friends, experiences, knowledge, and yes, sometimes even weight.  I remember hearing about the “Freshman 15” when I was in college, and I thought, surely that would never happen to me.  Well, after eating horribly and very late at night, not getting enough sleep, and wanting to sleep more than I wanted to exercise, I managed to put on about 10 pounds my first year.  We did not have a student gym on campus and I truly believe that eating right and exercise was not at the forefront of most people’s minds “back in the day.” Fast forward to today, and students are still facing the same challenges that we did.   On top of poor choices, the stress and expectations of today can make students gain unhealthy weight.  But, I do see more students taking advantage of all that colleges offer towards […]

Transportation -Getting There

Getting There – Transportation To and From Tampa The first time you drop your student off at college can be both stressful and exciting.  Planning is the key. You will probably go the first time to move them in and get them settled.  Many of you will drive and some will fly into town. There are many transportation options when it comes to getting to Tampa.  Since you probably won’t be delivering and picking your student up very often, here are some ways to get them to and from USF. Air Transportation   Tampa International Airport is just 25 minutes from USF. Some students fly to and from campus using the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport which is about 35 minutes away. All the major airlines frequent these airports, along with many smaller airlines as well.  If you are traveling within the state of Florida, there are various commuter flights with very reasonable […]

Exam Care Packages

Surprise Them With a Box of Love! Midterm and final exams can be some of the biggest stressors for your student. I typically do not get to speak to my daughter during exam weeks. My calls usually get a “sorry I cannot talk right now” text response followed by an “I’m at the library mom” text. I also know that she is not going to eat healthily and probably going to consume any form of caffeine she can get whether it is coffee or energy drinks and late-night snacks most likely consisting of pizza and junk. Everything from eating habits to sleep habits, from study skills to exercise changes during exam time. I hate to say it but I had my share of all-nighters when I went to UF and, no matter how good a student you may have, when there is a grade on the line, students will do whatever it […]

Honor Roll

Honor Roll It is that time of year when students receive notifications that they have made a collegiate scholar society. The cream-colored linen envelope arrives with its gold embossed logo of said scholar society organization makes me smile just thinking about it. As a parent, you do a mental cartwheel as you see the invitation; as you should. Then take a breath and read the fine print carefully. There are many Honor Societies and it is important to be aware of what stands behind each of the various invitations to join. Educate yourself as to what they provide in exchange for this membership. Honestly, there are many organizations on campus that your student can get involved with that will be far more beneficial to their resume and postgraduate application than membership in a society that profit from the fees they collect. Read their annual report to see how much of their revenue […]

Choosing or Changing Your Major

Choosing or Changing Your Major You’ve graduated from high school and have chosen to go to USF.  The most popular question asked to you will be, “what are planning on studying?” or “what are you going to major in?”  This can be very intimidating to some because not everyone knows what they want to be when they grow up. And that is ok!  If you know you want to be a nurse/doctor, a teacher, or a business person, you will start taking some of your first major-related classes along with those required ones.  If you are not exactly sure what you what you want to study, USF will help you to plan. My daughter started college wanting to major in Psychology.  Although she still likes it, she decided to change her major to Marketing with a concentration in Sports and Entertainment Management.  It is a much better fit for her, and with […]

Off-Campus Living

The Next Step! Prepare yourself as you read this: just breathe.  Just when you think your student has figured out how to navigate the campus, be successful in their classes, and do their laundry, they will start talking about where they want to live off campus in the next year.  Believe it or not, this will start in about October or November of your student’s freshman year. This is no joke, and unfortunately, the good apartments go fast, so they will be talking and planning early. If your child decides to go this route, keep in mind that leases are signed as early as February and some places can be sold out by the end of March.  They will probably have roommates in mind, and will also have places that they already know about or are interested in. So, at least they will have done most of the legwork. Prices can be a […]

Transferring to USF

Transferring to USF Some students leave for college unsure of what to find and realize when they get there it is not the place for them. Perhaps too they never actually went away, but had been living at home for college and are now ready to go away.  If transferring to USF is something your student is considering, they can start by checking out the requirements here. For those with less than 60 credit (college) hours, you must turn in your high school diploma and transcripts, have a minimum GPA of 2.5, turn in SAT/ACT scores, and turn in any AP/IB classes and scores. There may be additional requirements based on the major/program they are applying to.  The application deadline to start for the Fall 2018 semester is June 1, 2018. For those with more than 60 credit hours, a minimum GPA of 2.3 is required. (It is a 2.0 if transferring […]

Calendar of Events for USF

Important Dates For Students.  Here are upcoming important events for students and parents of the University of South Florida.  We can’t list everything so here is the official USF calendar of events. December 2018 December 1-6, 2018 – Finals December 7-8, 2018 – Commencement Friday, December 7, 2018 – Residence halls close at noon Thursday, December 20, 2018 – USF vs Marshall, Gasparilla Bowl January 2019 Tuesday, January 4, 2019 – Last day to register for spring classes without late registration fee penalty Saturday, January 5, 2019 – Residence halls open Monday, January 7, 2019 – Spring classes start Friday, January 11, 2019 – Last day to drop/add/withdraw a class and receive a full refund Monday, January 14, 2019 – Senior Audit Program Spring 2019 registration Thursday, January 17 – Monday, January 21st – Stampede of Service Weekend Monday, January 21, 2019 – MLK holiday, no school February 2019 Friday, February 1, 2019 […]

So, your student wants to be a BULL?

So, your student wants to be a BULL? Of course, they do!  USF is a great university and a beautiful campus with award-winning architecture.  The traditions and opportunities that USF offers, makes it a very competitive school in the south.  So how does your son or daughter get to be a bull? The Truth Each Florida university seems to raise their admission requirements yearly, adding to the growing competition to get in.  USF’s popularity shows in their high standards for admissions and number of applicants. The truth is that for every 1000 applicants, only 45 are admitted.  With over 30,000 applicants each year, that competition grows. The average high school GPA of applicants is 3.94- mid 4.4.  Students accepted have an average of 1220-1350 on the SAT and a 27-30 on the ACT. USF super scores both tests. Your student should take the essay portion of all tests.  They will be read […]

Pets

Pets If you are a pet-friendly family, like we are, then you understand the struggle of your kid leaving, not only home, but also their pet.  It can be very emotional and stressful. But fear not; facetime does wonders. And hey, what better way to “see” your child while using the dog or cat as an excuse to communicate (yes, we’ve all done it).  I have also texted pictures and videos of our dog doing silly things just to brighten my daughter’s day. That being said, I was not keen on the idea of my daughter adding to the family with a new furry friend.  Firstly, because it would be on our dime, truly, and college expenses are enough. Plus, they so easily forget that a pet also includes vet bills, food, medicine, toys…I could go on forever! This idea was all good her freshman year, as she was in the dorms, […]

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