Advice from an Upperclassman

The Truth about Signing a Lease

We have a little over one month left of the semester and our friends are putting the pressure on us to sign that lease. Any upperclassman will tell you how stressful it is to find where you are going to live. You have to balance the cost, location, bedroom size, and everyone’s opinion that’s involved (plus their mom’s opinions).  And while we are excited to be leaving the residence halls, and experience that sweet taste of independence, we often make decisions ~maybe~ too rash. 

I was told, like many of you, that you MUST sign a year in advance. Otherwise, there will be no houses left, you won’t be able to live with your friends, and the closest location will be near Walmart. Trust me, this is not the case. In fact, in my case, it was the exact opposite. So many students sign for their Junior year house in their freshman year. Then they later grow apart from these friends or realize that $4,500 might not have been as good of a “deal” as the realtor promised it was.

I personally didn’t sign for my Junior year housing until April of my Sophomore year. At that point in the semester, landlords started dropping prices dramatically to fill up empty spots. I got to live in a phenomenal location, with all my friends, for only $3,600 a semester (a $600 discount). They also – and this is a MAJOR bonus – let me only sign a half lease because I was studying abroad. 

Now, I don’t recommend everyone wait until nearly the end of your sophomore year to sign a lease, but I would recommend waiting at least until you are a sophomore, and preferably – the spring semester of that year. There will not only be houses available on the North and South sides of campus, but apartments scattered around town too. Additionally, take the time to truly think over who and where you’re living. Don’t rush into any decisions – because, really, you don’t have to! 

Advice from Souls

If you’re looking for the ultimate summer job, SOUL might be the right fit for you. SOUL stands for Student Orientation Undergraduate Leader and our job is to help new students gain a sense of belonging and comfort when it comes to life at Miami. When we were both applying for the SOUL position last spring, we had so many preconceived ideas of what the SOUL application process would be like and why we simply weren’t meant for the position. So we decided to write this article to share 5 myths we heard and lay out the facts.

#1 I am way too quiet to be SOUL (Maura)

I remember seeing the posters for the SOUL position around campus and thought it would be a really cool way to spend my summer, but immediately dismissed the possibility when I thought of my SOUL- cool, confident, put-together, outgoing… everything I wanted to be but I just knew I wasn’t there yet. I decided in that moment the SOUL position wasn’t for me. I am an introvert by nature; I could never do what she did. However, I later decided to apply with some encouragement from friends, and I got it! I was selected to be a SOUL. Let this go to show that there is no “mold” of who a SOUL is or should be. On your application, focus on authenticity and let your unique experiences shine through. This will set you apart.

#2 I’ll never get a break (Denisse).

This was a big worry of mine when applying to be a SOUL. I heard that they worked all day from 8:00am-11:00pm. This was definitely a myth I am glad to debunk. You spend most of your summer facilitating small groups, and on these days you have a long afternoon break. I would use this time to catch up with teammates, grab food, shower, take a nap, etc. The time is yours. 

#3 I don’t know anyone, and it will be awkward. (Maura)

Although the first part of this myth may be true, I promise it will not be awkward. You are working with 24 people who want to create community and belonging on campus, and they will do this with you too. There will always be someone around to support you, laugh with you, and help make your day a little bit brighter. Plus, the Orientation and Transition Programs staff will facilitate opportunities to learn about our personal and leadership styles.

#4 I want to be a [insert career] and this has nothing to do with my career. (Maura)

It may be true that the SOUL position did not give me specific technical experience in the field I want to go into, but it did give me skills that will benefit me in my future classes and my career. As a SOUL, you will havea mentor who works on the Orientation and Transition Programs staff, and together you will set goals to work on during your time in the position. I decided I wanted to become more confident, clear, and concise in my communication. My mentor and I would grab coffee or dinner and just chat about how my progress was coming and how she could support me. Strengthening these skills will benefit me as I continue my academic career and all my future endeavors.

#5 All I’ll do is work and I won’t get to enjoy my summer. (Denisse)

Unlike other summer internships, SOUL has a unique timeline. Once the spring semester ends you will jump right into training, followed by orientation. Then you will have all of July and most of August to be home with your friends and family and just enjoy your summer. This was an aspect of the job I really enjoyed. I was able to get the experience of a summer job, but also had time to visit my first-year roommate in Columbus and see Khalid in concert. It allowed me to make the most of my summer while gaining professional experience.

Learn More and Apply!

SOUL was an experience that truly allowed each of us to grow and get more involved with campus life. If you think SOUL may be right for you, or even if you aren’t sure, I encourage you to apply today at! 

Advice from a Senior

I have less than three weeks left of being a student in Oxford and I’ve been feeling very reflective lately. In the spring, I will be participating in the IMS Digital Innovation program in San Francisco. While I’ll still be a Miami student, my days of walking the brick streets and studying in King Library are coming to an end. 

In all of the reflection I’ve been doing, something I’ve been thinking a lot about is balance. Since my sophomore year, I have worked two jobs, held a leadership position in my student organization, and been a full time student. While I love to be busy, trying to juggle all of these responsibilities can be overwhelming at times. It took me a long time to understand why balance is so important to being successful, so hopefully you can learn from my experiences.


Being a college student means school should be your first priority. Emphasis on the word should. I know better than anyone that it can be hard to put school first when jobs and friends also require your attention. However, when I succeed academically, I feel successful. That should be obvious, but I get it. We are all busy! Other things can take priority, but I promise if you give school the time it deserves, you will feel more fulfilled overall. 


Let me say something I wish someone said to me freshman year: everyone struggles to make friends in college at some point. I didn’t meet some of my closest friends until sophomore year. Everyone’s journey is different. Another piece of advice I have is to put time and effort into your friendships. Unlike high school, you may not see your friends every day if you aren’t intentional about it. Schedule time to take breaks from school and work and spend time with your friends. 


Here’s the thing. A lot of people work in college. It doesn’t always feel that way, especially when your friends are getting dinner and you have to stay in and study because you have an early morning shift. I got my first job on campus sophomore year of college working in an office. While I have learned a lot professionally, I also became friends with the other students in my office and having a consistent source of income is nice too! The key to balancing work and school life? Time management. Try using Google calendar for a few days and I promise your life will be changed. Reserving time for each of your obligations ensures you are prioritizing the right things at the right time. 

As you can hopefully tell from this article, I love Miami and I will miss Oxford dearly when I am in California. I have learned so much here and I am truly jealous of the students who don’t even know what is ahead of them. There will be ups and downs throughout your time here, but you will get through it and probably make some pretty great friends along the way.

Advice from a Freshman (coming soon!)