Monthly Archives: April 2014

Mother’s Day

Apr 24, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

With Mother’s Day right around the corner, you may be asking yourself “what can I do for my mom to make her feel special?” I have a few ideas that may help you out :)

Okay, in my world, I think you should make your mom (or really, both of your parents) feel special every day, but hey, that’s just me. Anyway….


What can you do for your mom to let her know how much she means to you?

1) Give her something straight from the heart: I’m not talking about the generic coffee cups, flowers, perfume, jewelry, etc. Sure, those things are great, but seriously, put some time & thought into getting her something that shows true appreciation for everything she has done for you. After all, that woman has gone through a lot to give you a good life!

2) Dedicate something to her: Whether that is a song, or poem, whatever. My mom loves music & every year for her birthday and/or mother’s day, I typically put in a request and dedicate a song like this one below for her.


Mama’s Song – Carrie Underwood

It makes her happy, and that’s all that matters to me.

3) Spend time with her: I’m extremely blessed to not only have a good relationship with my mom, but I get to see her every day since I commute here; therefore, we spend a decent amount of quality time together. ( A lot of people don’t get it, but, that’s their problem) Anyway, for those that live on campus, the time you spend home is precious. It’s important to divide your time wisely between your friends and family, and give your mom the thing she’s been missing most: your love & attention.

Remember: our mom’s are our very first friends in life. They are the only ones that will always be here for us, supporting us, guiding us, and most importantly, loving us. So, do something nice for your mom; respect her. Show her that you truly care. No matter what anyone says, I am so thankful for mom, to be able to spend time with her, to ask her advice, and to go to her whenever I have a problem. She’s been my rock throughout my life, and chances are, your mom has been yours too.


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How Animals Can Help, Heal and De-Stress You

Apr 24, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

When thinking of ways to de-stress and unwind, what usually comes to mind is doing yoga, meditating, going out with friends, and so forth. But, have you ever thought about spending  time with some furry friends?

Research shows that people who have animals and love animals tend to be happier and less stressed in their lives. As an animal owner myself, I can definitely see why!


It is no secret to anyone that I love animals. They make me happy in so many ways and I could not imagine a life without them! So far, I’ve had 3 beautiful, little fur blessings that I thank God for every day. They fill my days with so much sunshine!

Here’s exactly how animals can reduce your stress and improve your health!

1) Pets Are Mood Lifters!

Have a bad day? Go cuddle with your pet. Some of my best memories are spent with my pets. It’s so amazing how intuitive they are. Whenever I’m sad or upset, my dog does the sweetest thing: he comes over to me, puts his paw on my lap & starts licking my face. It really is too adorable and lifts my spirits instantly!

2) Pets Remind Us to Live in the Present

What do I mean? Well, take dogs for example. They don’t live in the future or past with fear and regret. They take each moment as it comes & revel in it! Of course, it’s hard for us humans to do, but trying to stay grounded & focused on the here & now helps reduce our anxiety and stresses, which obviously improves our health!

3) Pets Can Get You Fit!

What better exercise is there than to play with your pet? I know my dog constantly keeps me active! One of his favorite activities is to play ball. He plays fetch so well & is relentless once he gets going! Pets (well, mainly pups) love to go for walks, & that is definitely not a bad thing! It keeps them in shape & us in shape!

4) Pets Give Unconditional Love

…And therefore, the fend off loneliness. It sounds ridiculous, but sometimes, pets are so much better company than people. For one, no matter what you do, or what your mood is, they will ALWAYS love you. Secondly, they will never EVER judge you, or turn their backs on you. They are the best little companions. Bonus!

5) Pets Make You Appreciate The Little Things 

Think about it, pets never take anything for granted. They totally depend on you to love them, take care of them, etc., all the while soaking up every ounce of life they possibly can. They (figuratively & literally) stop to smell the roses. I think that’s something we can all learn from, especially with our busy schedules.

Moral of the story: Stressed? Upset? Anxious? Go spend some time with your fur babies. And if you don’t have any, there’s nothing like a good trip to your local animal shelter….volunteer, give your time, allow yourselves to feel what they feel. I guarantee they will make your heart smile!

So much to do in so little time!

Apr 24, 2014 | Author: Tessa Lamper

stressedI am sure since finals are right around the corner, many of you are looking like the person in the cartoon right now! Finals can be a very stressful time, between worrying about final grades, GPA’s, projects, papers and even the stress of packing for home! Just remember, although you are very busy, you need to be able to have some sort of relaxation period at the end of the day or it could lead to serious problems that you don’t need!

Stress can cause:

Over/under eating

Anxiety and irritability

Lack of sleep



So just remember to take time to relax, some ideas are…

Watch a movie with friends (Disney movies are a great pick-me-up!)

Treat yourself to a nice dinner

Go to the zoo with friends

Play video games or read a book for fun

Go outside and play or go to the gym and work out your anxiety!

Go to the various end of the year events the campus is having!

As long as you remember to do things that make you happy in this busy time, you will have no problem getting through finals and enjoying your summer!


UC Rewards Students

Apr 24, 2014 | Author: Cody Plasterer
Awards I won this year at the 2014 Student Recognition Brunch

Awards I won this year at the 2014 Student Recognition Brunch

Being at a small private institution like Utica College gives the students a unique experience that most other schools do not offer. At Utica College, you are not just a number, you are an individual, you have a name, and your professors make an effort to learn your name. Along with this, your class sizes are small which allows you to get that true one-on-one attention you will need to succeed.

One thing that Utica College does very well is recognize students for all of their hard work and accomplishments.

Every year Utica College holds a Student Recognition Brunch where officials of the college come present awards to students.

The awards range from a national student recognition award called Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges to the Dean Robert Woods Student Life Award.

The criteria is rigorous and shows that Utica College is able to appreciate the hard work of its students. Most of the awards require a nomination via faculty or staff member but a few awards can be self-nominated, so if you think you deserve an award, go and apply!

The award I got in 2013 at the Student Recognition Brunch



Forensic Anthropology Field School!

Apr 23, 2014 | Author: Ryan Kelly

Hi! My name is Ryan Kelly. I am a graduate student at Utica College. In a few weeks, I will be traveling to Albania, Greece and Romania for our Forensic Anthropology Field School! I am beyond excited for the opportunity to be able to go on this trip, as well as the opportunity to be able to blog my experiences while I am there!

A little bit of background about myself, I grew up in Verona, NY (about 25 minutes from UC). As a young girl I developed a passion for horses; so naturally, I did my undergraduate work at SUNY Cobleskill studying Equine Science/Animal Science. After graduation, I worked at various equine facilities, but I wasn’t quite satisfied with a career in the equine industry. Throughout middle school, high school, college and beyond I have participated in cross country and track. My wonderful aunt informed me that a graduate assistant position as a track and field coach was open at Utica. I immediately applied and was soon hired in August 2012.

When I was first looking into the Masters of Liberal Arts program, I was immediately drawn to the social sciences track. This gave me the opportunity to take classes in an area that I found fascinating. As soon as I looked through the classes, I knew that I wanted to take the Forensic Anthropology, Historical Archaeology, and Forensic Anthropology Field School. I have completed both the Forensic Anthropology and Historical Archaeology classes with Dr. Crist! I am so excited to be able to embark on this one of a kind adventure! Our trip will include unique and exciting learning experiences. Not only will we have the chance to explore and learn about other cultures but also we will get to spend time with hands on learning about forensic anthropology, bio-archaeology, handling and recovery of human remains, paleopathology, mass fatality and disaster planning, medical anthropology, heritage tourism, museum exhibits, and Bulkan culture! I have a feeling that this 26 day adventure will be one of the most exciting and educational experiences I’ve ever had! I am so happy to be able to blog my experiences while on this trip. I hope you all enjoy reading this blog! Once I am out in Albania, I will try to post a few times a week with as many pictures as possible! We leave in 26 days, 21 hours and 18 mins!

10 Things To Remember The Next Time You Feel Discouraged From a Mistake

Apr 22, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Everyone makes mistakes; things that discourage them, and ultimately end up weighing on their minds. I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve made mistakes and just kept re-playing them over and over and over again. It gets so frustrating & it leaves you feeling stressed and upset. So, here’s 10 things to remember the next time you feel discouraged, or feel like you’ve messed up!


1) Everyone makes mistakes: Yep, it’s true. You’re not the only one. It’s hard to remember, but when you finally realize that you’re not the only one that has made a mess of a situation, you’ll find that comforting.

2) Let it go: Move on, stop beating yourself up about a mistake. For instance, you got a bad mark on a test you studied really hard for. Don’t sweat it. Let it go. Focus on doing better the next time. You can’t change it, so why stress?

3) Learn from your mistakes: Remember you don’t know it all. No one expects you to. Mistakes are stepping stones into a much greater learning experience. Sometimes we need mistakes in order to figure out who we are, and who we are to become.

4) Remember things could be worse: There’s always a silver lining in any situation. We may not see it at first, but we soon realize that what we think is so bad, really isn’t. It’s all about perspective.

5) Overreacting is normal: In fact it’s a habit. The first thing we do whenever we feel discouraged or embarrassed is to jump to conclusions, freak out and allow negative thoughts to consume our mind. Not cool.

6) Forgive yourself: The first step in the healing process is to forgive. Beating yourself up over things that didn’t go right, is exhausting and pathetic. Do you want to be pathetic? No you don’t. Kick that attitude out & realize that accidents happen….just deal.

7) Don’t sweat the small stuff: Okay, so ever hear that saying “Don’t sweat the petty things, and don’t pet the sweaty things”? No? Well now you have thanks to Steven Tyler from Aerosmith 😀 But, really, do not make a fuss over the little things. It’s just not worth it. Plus, if you can’t handle the little things, how are you going to be when the really big stuff comes?

8) Laugh: Laughter really is the best medicine. When I’m feeling blue, I put on one of my favorite shows & get my humor back! You should always go through life with three things: A wishbone, backbone & funny bone. (Thanks Reba McIntyre for that tidbit of wisdom)

9) If you can fix it, fix it: Sometimes our mistakes can’t be undone. That’s where the whole letting go & moving on thing comes in. However; on those rare occasions that they can be changed, do it. Don’t ignore it. If you can fix it, it will set you free…trust me. For example: said something wrong to a friend? Apologize. Fix it, don’t let that go & ruin something over nothing.

10) Never make the same mistake twice: Why? Because the next time you make it, it’s no longer a mistake…it’s a choice.

Embrace Your Inner Nerd: Do Research!

Apr 20, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

I think the term “nerd” has a negative connotation for absolutely no reason. I take pride when someone calls me a nerd, and so should you! Nerds are typically people who are super interested in a certain topic (or several topics!) and I don’t see how that could possibly be seen as a bad thing. In fact, I want people to think that I’m super interested in almost everything I do! What’s the point in doing something you’re not interested in?

I think, by far, the nerdiest thing that people associate with me is my major; I’m a biology major. But I love my major. It is so interesting to learn about so many different things, and, plus, my major affords me the opportunity to take an active part in my learning…I can do research.

(Disclaimer! Sooo many majors give people the opportunities to do research, not just biology. My friend is a psychology major who is doing research on sexual kinks and habits, so it doesn’t have to be all super “sciencey” stuff.)

So, my botany class this semester requires a research project. Some of my friends and I decided to do something related to tree cores, or dendrochronology, and the rest is…history. We did a load of work, and then went a bit further; we were given the opportunity to present our research at the Northeast Natural History Conference, which was located in Springfield Massachusetts this year.

(Mary Brockett and I discussing our research with a fellow conference attendee.)

(We explored Springfield, Massachusetts which is where our conference was held. …It was super windy.)

So here’s some tips for how to maybe start (and eventually present!) your own research.

1.) Choose something that interests you.

Pick a thing you “nerd” out about! I’m a huge environmental person, and once my group decided to look into tree cores being influenced by climate change, I was “hooked.” Make sure you want to do something because you want to, not just because your professor wants you to. You’re going to be spending a ton of time looking further into your selected subject matter, so it should definitely be something you’re at least a little bit interested in.

(Farwa Dalawar and I are clearly super interested in tree cores, and snowfall records.)

2.) Don’t get discouraged.

Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you expected. …But, in all honesty, when do things ever go exactly as planned? If your research goes exactly as you expected, then I envy you. There are always going to be little bumps along the way, just assess the bump, work through it, and move on.

3.) Be proud of your work.

Research takes ages, and when you’re done with it you have the right to be proud of it. Even if you didn’t find the cure to some crazy horrible disease, your findings still deserve to be documented. So once you find what you find, tell people about it! Don’t feel ashamed. You have a right to brag, so do it.

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(My group and my research poster is hanging in Gordon…I flail around it every so often.)

So there’s that. Find something that interests you, stick to it, and then have something to brag about. Being a researching nerd really isn’t that hard after all, is it?


Easter: How Utica Makes Our Traditions Unique!

Apr 20, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Tomorrow marks my favorite day of the year (no, not my birthday): Easter.

Even as a child, Easter has always meant more to me than just about the Easter bunny, chocolate, or candy. Don’t get me wrong: I always made sure I had fun, but I was raised to know that the holiday was about so much more.

I come from a wonderful family that have taught me so many special traditions during this time of year. To us, Easter is not just a day. It’s a season. Starting on Ash Wednesday and lasting until Easter Sunday, my family and I do various activities that showcase the true meaning of Easter.

Every Friday during Lent our Church holds Stations of the Cross.


My mom and I have gone for years and continue to go. This is something that I cherish greatly, and at times, have taken it for granted. Doing this together creates a special bond that only my mom and I can understand. I will always hold this close in my heart, and, when the time comes, will carry on with my children.

Once we enter Holy Week, our traditions are in full bloom. We begin by attending mass on Holy Thursday. Then on Good Friday, the cooking and baking begin. Since I come from an Italian and Polish heritage, the food is beyond delicious to say the least.

First my mom will begin making sausage pie. That’s an Italian tradition (my dad loves it!) Then, my mom will bake another Italian food, Easter Dolls. 


And, boy are they delicious! They are quite time consuming, but so fun to make. Each year, I watch my mom make them & attempt to help out as much as possible :)

After Good Friday liturgy, my family and color our eggs. (Hint: Forget the store bought stuff, food coloring works amazingly!)


Ever since I can remember, my grandparents always came back to our house to color eggs. Recently, my grandma taught me how to use beeswax to paint the eggs. That is totally a Polish custom, and trust me, they look beautiful when they’re completed! I’ll always thank my grandma for passing that on to me :)

Holy Saturday is by far my favorite day of Holy Week! My parents, grandparents and I all take our food to be blessed. That too, is a Polish custom. We head to Holy Trinity Church which is a beautiful, cathedral church in Utica.


Each year, we gather in the gymnasium at the school next door to the church to get the food blessed. People line up their baskets filled with various special foods and the Priest says a Prayer and blesses them with Holy Water.



After the blessing is done, we head inside the Church to sit in Prayer for a bit. Holy Trinity is truly unique – not only in its looks, but in its customs as well. Starting immediately after the Body of Christ is placed in the tomb, St. Michael’s Lancer’s stand guard until Easter Sunday morning when Christ is Resurrected. It truly is a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight.



After we say a few Prayers, my mom and I head to Chester’s Flower Shop in Utica. Now, this is neither a Polish or Italian custom, but it is so fun to do. If you’ve never been to Chester’s before, you must go – especially at Easter. They have the most beautiful flowers (my favorites being lilies and tulips!)  They also have some precious little duckies that are worth checking out too :)


We end the day with Holy Saturday Mass, which is so amazing. The blessing of the Holy Water, the blessing of the fire, it all is just so peaceful.

On Sunday, of course we start the morning with Easter Sunday Mass at our Church, St. Marks.



Starting Easter morning with mass, celebrating Jesus’ Resurrection is a great start to the day. There’s something about it that signifies new birth, new life and gives such a sense of hope. How can you not be happy and rejoice??

Of course, we end our holiday with a big, family dinner filled with foods of all sorts.



As I said, the sausage pie and Easter dolls are part of my Italian heritage. Kielbasa, the butter lamb, potato salad, rye bread, babka and beet soup are all part of the Polish heritage. Everything is so yummy. It’s like a second Thanksgiving for us!

I posted this to simply give you all an insight into some of the wonderful traditions that Utica has. I also posted this because I am so thankful for my family, and for the strong traditions that we hold. These things will always mean more to me than any material item and I will always follow them as I get older and eventually have my own family. Some people don’t hold onto traditions, and I honestly don’t know why. I think they really bring a family closer together.

So, what do you do to make your holiday special?


Handling Bad News From Home, While at School

Apr 20, 2014 | Author: Candace Myers


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When I first left for college I never thought about possible emergencies that may happen back at home. This year after being away at college for almost four years, I experienced that feeling twice. During the fall semester I found out my grandmother had passed away and it felt like my world came crashing down on me. My parents tried to wait until I got home to tell me the news and just paid for my ticket, however, my cousin who was unaware of my parents plan, told me.

The second time it happened was just last week April 2. I received a news alert on my phone that there was a shooting at the Fort Hood base in Texas, which is the same base my sister in the Army is stationed at. Once again, it felt like my world came crashing down. I eventually found out my sister was okay and the situation ended soon afterwards but the feeling was indescribable.

After experiencing both situations, I think I can say that I have an idea of how to handle unexpected bad news while away at school. During both of these times, I felt alone, but I was not really alone. My professors and the staff I work with here at school were very comforting. They let me take time for myself when I needed it and they even gave encouraging words. When my grandmother passed away, the Office of Student Development and Counseling reached out to me just to let me know they were there for me, if I needed to talk to them. It made me feel so much better. There was also an explosion in Harlem, N.Y. this semester, and because the school knew there are several students from that area, they sent an email sending their prayers and letting us know the Office of Development was available for anyone who was impacted by the incident.

With all this being said, below are two suggestions on handling bad news back at home, while away at school.

  1. If you are feeling lonely, talk to someone. Talk to a friend or roommate about the situation to let your emotions out. It is always good to have a listening ear or they may even say something very helpful.
  2. Let your professor know. When the situation at my sister’s base happened it was right before my night class. I told my professor and he was very understanding. He allowed me to stay on my phone during class so I could stay in contact with my family and look at the Internet for updates.

So You’re Taking a Summer Class

Apr 18, 2014 | Author: Colleen Bierstine


You might think you know what you’re getting into with summer classes, but it’s a whole different game. Summer classes are condensed versions of what you take during a normal fall or spring semester, and they’re consequently that much more intense.

Each summer class runs for about a month as opposed to the four month time span you’re used to. That means summer class professors have to take four months’ of information and squeeze it into one very short month. That’s why your summer class is probably held every day of the week.

I learned the hard way that procrastination absolutely does not work in the summer. In truth, procrastination is never an efficient or helpful method, but if you default to your procrastinating ways during a summer class, you will not survive. This is because you simply don’t have the time to put things off.

In the class I took last summer, we had a weekly exam. It sounds like a lot, but again, it’s a much shorter time span, and it made sense, equating to about four tests. I often put off studying until the night before, and it was always a huge disaster. I wound up pulling all-nighters almost every week, and completely burnt myself out.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Quite simply, just don’t procrastinate. Even if you’re a procrastinator at heart like I was, you just have to remember that you only have to act like an on-top-of-things productive human being for a month. You can handle that.

You’re likely to have a smaller class in the summer, which is great because you can develop a closer relationship with your professor, and there will be more time for questions. You’ll develop a little bond with whoever is in your class because you’re all in the same boat.

You’ll also probably have to be willing to take initiative. There likely won’t be as much time for dissecting things and going over topics as in-depth as you might prefer in class, so you’ll have to be willing to work hard outside of class and get help from your professor. And don’t forget how helpful your good friend the internet is. Can’t figure something out? Try Googling it before you implode.

Most of all, give yourself a pat on the back. It might seem like a drag to take a summer class at first because you’re passing up what’s supposed to be a break, but think of the lighter semesters to come that you’ll have as a result.

Just stay calm and remember to manage your time wisely. You probably cannot go out partying every night and get through your summer class alive. But if you’re diligent, you’ll do just fine.