MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Biology Major

Enthusiastic about far too many things.

I'm a 20 year old commuter from Whitesboro, New York. I'm a junior and hope to be an environmental lawyer one day...or a broadway star, who really knows? I'm in love with music, and movies, and literature, and corny jokes, and sleeping, and so many other things; I like to think I'm in love with life in general. I'm involved with the Asa Gray Biological Society , Choir, Student Senate, The Optimist Club, GSA, Alpha Phi Omega, WPNR, and I'm an orientation mentor on campus.

Moose Madness!

Apr 27, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Moose Madness (previously titled, Moose-A-Palooza) was this past week! It’s basically a week long host of events that are free for students! Typically it is the last (or second to last) full week of classes, and ends on the saturday with some big event. Plus! They always have cool tshirts that students can score for free with their student ID!

The big event at the end of this year’s festivities was the much-hyped concert put on by WPNR 90.7 (Utica College’s radio station) as well as the Utica College Programming Board (UCPB.) The performers were the X Ambassadors with the Royal Tongues as their openers. Unfortunately, I had to work an admissions event before the concert, and then had to catch up on school work while it was happening, so I’m super bummed I missed it. I did hear from some people (of the loads that went!) how great of a show it was!

But, Saturday was not the only day of fun. Monday there was a picture scavenger hunt, Tuesday a decades trivia game, on Wednesday they had a hypnotist…and the list goes on! Not only did UCPB put on tons of fun events, multiple other organizations took advantage of the fun-filled week and held their own events as well. Chi Beta Sigma’s airband was held on the Saturday after the concert and it was a great time had by all in attendance. The art gallery also held a scavenger hunt around campus based on tricky clues.

I took part in multiple activities during the week, but I am proud to say that a few friends and I were the winners of the picture scavenger hunt that was held the Monday of Moose Madness. It was a lot of fun running around campus and trying to find the various clues.

Moose Madness in general is just a week long of fun events to help students de-stress and relax a bit before the stress of finals sets in. So, if you didn’t take advantage of all of the free fun this year, be sure to check it out next year! It’s always one of my favorite things about Utica College. (Check out some of my fav pics from the scavenger hunt below!)

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Dr. Hutton Takes on Senior Sem

Apr 17, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

This semester I’m taking a senior seminar course as a junior. For biology majors, it is required to take a senior seminar, senior research, or a practicum in biology. So, I decided to get a jump on it and added the class to my schedule this semester.

The cool thing about the biology senior seminar is that the topic changes every semester! Two semesters ago it was focused on conservation biology and the class was so well received that they decided to make it an actual course, which I took (and literally loved) last semester. This semester the senior seminar is focused on urban ecology.

The first few weeks of class we went over various case studies and developed a working definition for what urban ecology means to us. Now we’re in the midst of planning a green initiative yard sale for the end of the semester (so people don’t have to throw away things at move out!)  Another aspect to the class now is that we have various guest speakers come in and talk to us about the different facets and multitudes to urban ecology.

This past week President Hutton came in to speak to our class. As all Utica College students, faculty, and staff are aware, our president is actively involved in many campus activities. He is also actively involved with the city of Utica. He is currently a member of the city board and gives input on various issues. (He has been a member of several city planning communities throughout the country!)

He also told our (enraptured) class about the various conservation efforts he and various other Utica College officials have taken to ensure our campus is staying up to date in the world of sustainability.

Did you know Utica College (along with the hospital) was the first school to produce its own energy? I had no clue! That building back behind Burrstone Hall is actually a microgrid that produces energy that is used by the hospital and our campus. During the day the micrgrid produces about 80% of our energy and the other 20% is supplemented from National Grid. At night, all of the energy being used on the campus is produced by the microgrid.

The campus is also looking into other sustainable options. Unfortunately full solar power for the campus is simply not a feasible option as of now. However, they are looking to put solar panels in above the pool in the athletic center so it can be heated that way! Little steps add up!

It was definitely a really cool experience to have the president of Utica College come in and talk to my senior seminar class. We’re only a class of 7, yet he still treated us as if we were a larger class. He asked us our opinions and seemed genuinely interested in our thoughts. I got to talk about my favorite issues, and felt like my opinions were actually being heard. It was probably my favorite class hour that I’ll ever have at Utica College! 11160059_1103963916285608_7854584658554039119_o

Be The Change!

Apr 7, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Student Senate applications have been emailed out to the entire campus…so fill it out! Being a part of Student Senate is such a rewarding experience, and I strongly recommend everyone get involved. (Student Senate meets every other Wednesday at 3:00p in Bell Conference room.)

(After senate is a great time to take pictures, because everyone is dressed to impress!)

(After senate is a great time to take pictures, because everyone is dressed to impress!)

If filling out an application and being elected seems daunting, never fear! It’s not! The elections committee has streamlined the process and the only large piece to the application is 250 words on why you want the position you’re applying for. That’s relatively simple when compared to other application processes…

(Just some members of senate at a full body meeting. Shout out to Dean Varga!)

(Just some members of senate at a full body meeting. Shout out to Dean Varga!)

Honestly, being a part of Student Senate makes you feel a bit like you’re working “behind the scenes.” Whenever faculty or staff need student opinion, they head to student senate. All orgs have to be recognized by the full senate before they can be considered an actual organization on the Utica College campus. Any time an organization requests funding they first meet before the finance committee (which is an extension of senate) and then the full body senate! Student Senate helps to make things happen, and you can be a part of that!

I’ve been involved with senate since I was a sophomore. Now I am currently the Junior Class Treasurer. I love getting dressed up every other week and attending meetings. It feels I am actually helping Utica College to function as a collegiate institution, and hopefully making it just a little bit of a better place.

There are several different positions you can run for, go and check the application out!

(The full-body senate supporting one of our international senators last semester.)

(The full-body senate supporting one of our international senators last semester.)

Looking Back…

Apr 3, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

It’s almost the end of the semester, which means my junior year of college is drawing to a close. It’s so strange that next year I’m going to be a senior in college…senior year of high school doesn’t even feel like it was that long ago! But the truth of the matter is, my days at Utica College are quickly drawing to a close. I will only have two more semesters before I can call myself a college graduate. (!!!)

As I was thinking over my junior year, I realized that this year (both fall and spring) has been filled with events and happenings that have helped to shape who I am as a person, as well as influence my decisions toward my future. I actually plan to write a huge lookback over my entire time at Utica College right before I graduate, but (for now) I give you some of my musings on my junior year.

I joined a new (unexpected) organization. I love being involved on campus; I try to be an active participant in multiple organizations here at Utica College. However, most of the organizations I am involved with are expected (if people know me or my major.) So, one day I saw a flier for a trip to Sleepy Hallow (of Headless Horseman fame) and decided to tag along with the History club that was sponsoring the trip. I met loads of great (and interesting!) individuals by attending, and even became a member of the organization. I never even knew the history club had such a presence on the Utica College campus, but now I know and am a part of it. It’s fun to do new things, and meet people you wouldn’t potentially meet.

I stood up for myself. College is a time when a lot of people are forming friendships and making connections for life. However, sometimes the friends you make in college are only meant to be your friends for a short time; they influence your life, and then you go your separate ways. I was friends with people of whom I love dearly and wish the world for, but eventually our personalities and interests just did not mesh well. The breaking point came when I voiced my concerns and was met with resistance and little to no effort. I couldn’t see myself continuing on with that friendship, and that is completely okay. I didn’t want to abandon what I believe is important and healthy in a friendship.  It isn’t a crime to let go of things that you no longer think are beneficial. In the end, it only matters if you are happy and what makes you feel the best.

I learned to let things go. I have already mentioned that I am an active participant in several organizations on campus, but sometimes being that involved can seem daunting. Normally I do not mind having a full schedule, I like keeping busy! However, I realized that I couldn’t possibly attend every single club meeting that I had and still be able to complete hw/go to work/sleep etc. So, I made the decision to step back from an organization I was a part of. I made sure to let the president know I was going to be an inactive member, yet I still wanted to receive minutes. I’m glad I recognized that I just couldn’t possibly do everything I wanted to do; doing too many things causes stress, and your attention to be too divided.

I stopped being so hard on myself. A bad grade is not the end of the world. Tests are important, but do not require loss of sleep to feel confident about. My junior year I came even more to terms with the fact that not everyone can succeed at everything; people have things they are good at, as well as things they are bad at. My junior year of college brought my highest test grade ever (a 100 on a test in a bio course!) as well as my lowest test grade ever (I failed…and then some.) However, I have learned to take pride in the little things. Physics has been one of the hardest classes I have ever taken, and instead of getting upset that I don’t understand major concepts…I try to celebrate my little victories. If I answer a question right during lecture, just that can make my entire week.

Positivity goes a long way. I’ve always tried to be a positive person, but this semester I really amped it up. My mother has always believed in the power of positive thinking, and shared with me some of her readings and videos when I started to focus on the negative aspects of my life. Now I try to focus on the good rather than the bad. If I have a super busy week I don’t project that I’m upset about it, I try to enjoy the packed schedule…it’s better than being bored! You should always attempt to see the twist or the positive side of things, it can change your whole world view!

So this post detailed my little stories of personal growth over my junior year at Utica College. Look back for another post when I highlight some of my favorite events that I attended. (I’m saving that one just because I’m so psyched for all of the events coming up!) I encourage everyone to look back on their own year here at Utica College, you may be surprised at how far you’ve come!

(Leadership weekend. 2014. This was one of the most stressful, yet life-changing days of my life. I'm terrified of heights, yet I still did it. Yes, I cried and almost gave up, but I didn't. And that's what matters.)

(Leadership weekend. 2014. This was one of the most stressful, yet life-changing days of my life. I’m terrified of heights, yet I still did it. Yes, I cried and almost gave up, but I didn’t. And that’s what matters.)

April showers…?

Mar 27, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

March is almost over! And with the end of March, brings the beginning of warmer and sunnier days. Yet, this area is quite temperamental when it comes to weather. While the varying weather is always a cause for excitement, it can be a bit difficult to plan for. So while April may be the time when it actually starts to feel like spring, the warmer weather usually brings a load of rain.

Actually, it rained for the first time the other day and I was simultaneously excited that it wasn’t snowing, but was upset that I was getting soaked. (April makes people feel strange things sometimes…) So I have some advice for those rainier days here at Utica College.

Make sure you have a good raincoat. And rainboots. And an umbrella. The key to not hating the rain, is to be prepared for the rain. If it looks dreary out, bring an umbrella with you just in case! Nothing stinks more than getting ready, and then getting caught in a downpour on the walk to class. So always try to be one step ahead of the weather! Rain can actually be a lot of fun in the proper attire; I love splashing in puddles if I’m wearing rainboots! (Also, if your hair does not do well with rain…bring a hat!)

Plan for a rain date (or pay attention when events have them) If you are planning to go to an event or are planning an event that is outdoors plan for the rain. If it is your organization’s event make sure to have a plan b in case you cannot be outside. If you’re going to an event, pay attention if they have a different day…and plan to attend it on that day potentially as well! Often people forget to set aside the rain day if they have to attend the event, and if it does get rescheduled they might not have work off (etc.)

Soak it up. Sometimes rainy days require not changing out of pajamas and drinking tea and reading a good book/marathoning netflix. I love taking advantage of dreary days like that. Be as cliche as you want on rainy days! Stare out a window all moodily and take a pic, that’s what instagram is for, right? All jokes aside, rainy days are great days to do absolutely nothing…or you can do absolutely everything and be super productive! It’s a personal choice, but use rainy days as an excuse to do whatever you want.

Sometimes when its rainy people get upset, but just take the weather in stride! Everything can be good if you let it! Also, you know what they say… “April showers, bring may flowers!”

My Favorite Thing.

Mar 25, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

One of my favorite experiences at Utica College has been my involvement every summer with the first year orientation program. I started doing it the Summer after my freshman year, and fell in love with the experience. It’s a lot of fun introducing new students to the UC community, and getting to know the incoming first year class.

(Fellow mentor [&blogger!] Courtney and I taking a picture with a student from Orientation!)

(Fellow mentor [&blogger!] Courtney and I taking a picture with a student from Orientation!)

Orientation is a great way to meet new people on campus-both current students, and the new incoming class. You are seen as a “pseudo adult/role model” by the incoming class, and its actually really cool. One of my favorite things is when someone comes up to me and mentions how they remember me from orientation! It even happens months after the fact! The impression that you make on the incoming students is huge.

(Mentors are always super happy people...right?)

(Mentors are always super happy people…right?)

I also love how orientation allows for current students to share their stories and experiences with incoming students. It’s nice to be able to give little tips and tricks to the new class so they too can navigate their own ways through their college careers.

(The transitions cast from last year.)

(The transitions cast from last year.)

Going with the theme of the sharing of information, orientation also holds a play, “Transitions” every session. This play is written/directed/acted in by students. It’s a lot of work because the mentors that are part of the cast only get a few days to rehearse, but those few days rehearsing are some of my favorite Orientation memories! The whole point of the play is to show students various situations that have could actually happen on our campus, and it also shows what to do in case an event like that were to ever occur.  I’ve been involved with transitions every year I’ve worked Orientation, and I always love the responses that students have to it.

(Ice breakers are one of my favorite things about Orientation!)

(Ice breakers are one of my favorite things about Orientation!)

Another faucet of orientation is ice breakers. As a mentor, you are in charge of helping to “break the ice” between the new students. This is done by little games and get-to-know-you activities that range from stationary name games, to massive games of red light/green light. The games are fun to facilitate because you get to watch as students gradually become more comfortable with one another, and establish tentative friendships.

(The Orientation crew from two years ago!)

(The Orientation crew from two years ago!)

This year the first year orientation has been moved to the fall, so it is going to take place August 28th-30th. If you remember your orientation or think it sounds like fun, I strongly encourage you to apply to be a mentor! (Go here: Utica.edu/orientation) This year I decided to apply to become a student coordinator of orientation and I got the job. It’s a little more in depth than a regular mentor job, but I’ve never had more fun at a job in my life; orientation is literally one of my favorite things at Utica College…even more of a favorite than brown paper packages tied up with string. (Sorry, the Sound of Music is a classic…I couldn’t resist.)

To be sappy, Orientation helped me to become the person I am today. I grew more comfortable with the Utica College community, and grew more comfortable taking charge and being a leader. Orientation introduced me to friends that would help to shape my experiences at UC and even more so, my life in general. I am forever grateful for that. So, if you want to be a super sap like me, apply to be an Orientation Mentor. Trust me, you won’t regret it!

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(The Orientation crew from last year.)

Have a “Staycation” this Spring Break!

Mar 13, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Spring Break is here! I’m so happy. For those lucky enough to be headed toward an exotic location, please disregard this post. (And have a blast obvs!) I’m going to New York for a few days, but other than that, I’m as free as a bird. I’m literally thrilled that an entire week stretches out before me, and I’m not obligated to do anything! No early morning classes, no labs, no meetings…I’m actually a little frightened about all of the free time I’ll have.

Actually, I take that back. I’m so excited about all of my free time, and I’m sure that you are too! Spring break is a nice refresher in the middle of (what I consider to be) a long and dreary semester. The Spring semester is always a little bit more dreary than the fall semester because the Winter here in upstate New York just seems to stretch on. Spring break is about that time when the weather starts to turn, and the boots and coats can be retired until the next year.

So, are you frightened or thrilled about all of your free time? Either way, you’re going to have some free time. So here are some of my tips on how to have yourself a little “staycation” or a vacation while in the comfort of your very own home.

1. Plan a day where you do nothing. Literally put aside a day during the week you have off, and don’t change out of your pajamas. Marathon your favorite show on netflix, or find a good  book and attempt to finish the entire thing in one sitting. Don’t eat a proper meal (unless you want to!) and count microwave popcorn as an essential food group. Bonus: Don’t look at your phone all day. Shut it off. Don’t answer any texts/calls. Be disconnected.

2. Make a To-Do List. Think of everything (that you know of) that is due before the end of the semester. Get started on it! I have a few papers that aren’t due until the end of the semester, but I already have all of the information to get started…so I’m going to get started. I plan to finish a bunch of assignments during spring break in order to give myself some leeway when things get really rough (assignment wise) during the finals weeks of the semester.

3. Get Creative with your Meals. While you may not be at some exotic locale, it doesn’t mean you can’t indulge your taste buds! Go and buy a coconut, and stick a straw in it! Or, get some sushi and eat that for dinner. I plan on getting mexican quite a few times during break, and justifying it by saying that it’s a part of my staycation-I’d rather be in Mexico!

4. Have some creative fun! Build a fort and lounge around in it. If it’s warm enough, set a tent up and camp out! Go and buy a hula skirt from a costume store and wear it around your house. Bonus points if you also add the coconut bra and lei! Instagram your “day at the beach” when really you just put on flipflops and took a walk around the block.

5. Be a tourist in your own area! My ultimate vacation is anywhere I can wander around a museum for hours. (I went to the Louvre and cried I was so overwhelmed!) So, lucky enough, I live near Utica and they have an art museum open to the public! So, look into what you can go to! If you’re into concerts, look at what local musicians are playing a gig. Think about what someone who has never been to your hometown would want to see, and go there! Take pictures! Be as corny as possible! There are loads of things going on and things to do, you just have to seek them out!

So these are my little tips for having a great spring break, while still staying home. I hope everyone has a safe and fun break no matter what you chose to do!

America’s Greatest Heart Run and Walk!

Mar 8, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

This past Saturday was Central New York’s Heart Run and Walk. This is Utica College’s 18th consecutive year hosting the event, and what an event it was! Over a million dollars was raised by the community for heart disease research and awareness.

The walk starts with the health expo which is held in the Utica College gym. There are various local businesses and vendors all giving away little things that help encourage healthy living. I love going and just walking around to see all of the people supporting heart run weekend.

(The start line of the heart run and walk!)

(The start line of the heart run and walk!)

The walk (and runs) are the next day. There is a 30k run, a 10-mile run, a 5-mile run, a 3-mile run, as well as a 5 mile walk and 3 mile walk. This year over 9000 people participated in the walks!

One of the organizations I belong to walks every year, and this year was no different! Asa Gray donated to the cause and had 20 people who walked! We all decided to walk the 5 mile because we were feeling pretty pumped about the day…and it wasn’t too cold!

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The walk is a lot of fun the entire way through. It starts right on Burrstone Road, across from the hospital and not too far from campus. Kiss FM, a local radio station, plays music to pump up the crowd as everyone waits to walk. The walk begins at 10:30 and then everyone is on their way!

(The eboard of Asa Gray mentally-and actually-preparing for the cold and walk!)

(The eboard of Asa Gray mentally-and actually-preparing for the cold!)

WPNR played music for the walkers, and shouted out support to teams. Also along the route are various other radio stations and local businesses cheering people on. My favorite thing is that the people who live in the houses often wave at the walkers! I always try to wave back, it makes me feel much more important than I actually am.

(Sweet Frog was just one of the many businesses supporting walkers along the way!)

(Sweet Frog was just one of the many businesses supporting walkers along the way!)

(The walk was a great time.)

(The walk was a great time.)

The walk is a bunch of fun, and I cannot wait for next year. Actually, my friend and I are planning to run one of the runs next year! It’s a great event that brings together the Utica College Community as well as the local community. Plus, it all goes toward a great cause.

(Our team all went out to lunch after the walk! ...We were starving. After this I took a long-and well deserved-nap!)

(Our team all went out to lunch after the walk! …We were starving. After this I took a long-and well deserved-nap!)

The Spring Play!

Feb 28, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Every semester Utica College puts on a play. This year the theater department and individuals involved decided to produce two one-act plays. I attended Friday night and was entertained the entire way through.

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The first play entitled, “Chamber Music” told the story of a diverse set of individuals plotting to attack others, and avoid being eaten by cannibals. The plot lines twists and storylines go off until the individuals forget what they were plotting in the first place. It is a wild ride from start to finish, with entertaining characters to keep you company.

The second play was “The Actor’s Nightmare” and it tells the tale of a man thrust into a play which he has no recollection of even being a part of. This one was my personal favorite of the two, because it really did seem like a nightmare an actor would have. The plot follows the main character’s struggles to learn his lines and participate in the play. However, the twist is that once he finally starts to understand what is happening, the scenes of the play shift to a new plot. It was very funny.

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Both were thoroughly interesting plot lines, and I applaud the decision to perform two one-act productions. It was a nice change of pace to have a fresh story after intermission. The change of characters was also entertaining, because the actors had to create entirely new personas for these new characters they were portraying. Both pieces were executed well by the actors, and I loved both plays.

The hard work the performers (and all others involved) invested in the productions was obvious. If you didn’t get the chance to check out the plays this year, I recommend scoping out when the play is next year! It’s always so fun to see your peers perform, and produce work which they are proud of.

Ace Your First Test!

Feb 19, 2015 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

So now we’re at the point of the semester when professors are beginning to give their first exams of the semester. (I have my first physics exam on Friday!) The first test in a new class can be daunting, especially if you’ve never had the professor before and don’t know what to expect. So, don’t freak! I have a few tips to help you!

Ask your professor how they typically format their tests. It’s super helpful to know if you only have to worry about preparing for multiple choice, or if you also have to anticipate short answer questions. If a professor doesn’t offer up how their tests are formatted, ask friends who may have taken the class before! Previous students from other semesters can give insight into how long tests might have been, as well as types of questions that were asked. Be sure to NOT talk about the actual content of the exams though!! That can be considered cheating and might result in strict consequences.

Be sure to clarify what exactly you are being tested on! Some professors insist they only teach what they lecture on, so great! Study your notes! However, I’ve been in classes where anything was game for tests: lecture, lab material, and content from the text book. So, make sure you ask your professor to clarify what content is actually going to be tested on. It would totally stink to not read the chapters in the book and then have to fumble through 10 questions that you really have no idea how to answer.

Take advantage of practice tests/ study guides! If you are lucky enough to have a professor that gives you study materials, use them! Professors make those guides knowing what they are going to test students on; those study guides are gold, treat them as such. I use study guides to gauge out how the test may be formatted, ie: if there are a lot of short answer questions on a study guide, I assume that short answer questions will take up a large portion of the exam.

If you’re feeling uneasy, go to office hours! Take advantage of the times when your professor is in their office and ask any questions you might have. Even if you don’t have any specific questions, go talk to your professor and see what they have to say. If I ever feel uneasy about an exam I go talk to my professor about the exam just to calm my nerves.

These are only a few tips for tests that I have. But, obviously, my biggest tip is to study. Professor usually give exam dates well in advance, so don’t wait until the last night to cram in all the info you need to know.

Good luck on your first tests! (And all of the tests that follow throughout the semester!) You’re all going to do great.