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, 3BL, Student Senate, The Optimist Club, GSA, Alpha Phi Omega, WPNR, and I'm an orientation mentor on campus.



Time to Pick New Classes. Again.

Oct 22, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Registration is coming up for next semester (November 17th is a little less than a month away!) I’m sure you’ve given thought as to what classes you are going to take. However, if you haven’t,  I suggest running a degree evaluation (in bannerweb) and figuring out what courses you still need in order to obtain your degree.

I’m sure you think this post is a little early, however, you can never start planning your next semester early enough! Here are some tips and tricks to help you make the most of your next semester.

Are you dreading a class? Take it as soon as you can! Don’t put anything off because you’ll have to take it eventually! Why dislike a class your last semester senior year? If one of your requirements scares you (like physics scared me!) then be proactive. Find out about tutoring opportunities before you even need them, and use them! I asked my friend last semester if he would be tutoring for a physics just because I knew I would need the help!

Plan accordingly! Are you not a morning person? Check out which classes are going to be offered when and have a game plan for when it is your day to schedule classes. Don’t waste time on the day you can register by trying to figure out times, have that all done before! Just go through and register. Nothing stinks more then when you’re stuck taking an 8:30 because the 11:30 section filled up while you were trying to figure your schedule out.

Find when classes are offered! Do you need a course that is only offered a certain semester? Or once every other year? Plan ahead for those special courses well ahead of time. If a course is only offered every other spring semester make sure you know when that is and register for it! Don’t waste an opportunity to take a course you may not have another chance to take! Also, if any of those special courses are specifically required for your degree pay extra close attention to when they are offered.

Know yourself and the classes! Don’t over or under load yourself. There is a precious balance (that can be hard to find) when registering for classes. If you are anticipating a certain course to be extremely hard for you, then maybe hold off on another super difficult course. You want to make sure you have enough time to devote to all of your classes, and some classes take more time than others. You don’t want to spend all of your time on one thing and not have enough for another extensive course.

Speak with your adviser! Every student has to meet with their adviser in order to receive their PIN so they can register. However, don’t only go to them for that. Advisers are professors who are there to help and assist you! Ask them for opinions on what you should take, and bounce potential schedules off of them to see what they think. Definitely listen and value their opinion, but remember that the ultimate decision is your own. You have to do what is right for you.

I hope you follow my tips and tricks and start thinking about those classes for next semester soon! It is closer than you might think!

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What I Love About Utica College: Fall Semester Edition

Oct 19, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Lately, I’ve been feeling a bit down due to midterms and gloomy weather, but I hate feeling that way. I don’t believe in bad days (As I’ve stated before…). So, I decided to make a list of all of the great things on campus that I appreciate, and some things that I am looking forward to for the rest of the fall semester; I figured that would cheer me up in no time!

(A picture I snapped the other days of the trees on campus.)

(A picture I snapped the other days of the trees on campus.)

The ambiance – Utica College is a beautiful campus in the fall. I love changing leaves, and the warm colors that everything takes on around this time. Going for a jog or walk around the campus during this time is especially nice because you can appreciate the entire place fully. One of my favorite things on campus is the trees that line some of the parking lots; they are gorgeous!

(A student, Quinaya, holding "Sweat-P" the snake during the majors and minors fair.)

(A student, Quinaya, holding “Sweat-P” the snake during the majors and minors fair.)

The events – There are countless big events which are coming up toward the second half of the semester. The Gay-Straight Alliance and the Utica College Programming Board are putting on “Take Back Your Prom.” The Greeks are going to put on Midnight Breakfast toward finals week. There are numerous sporting events to attend; hockey games are going to start soon! Everywhere you turn on campus, you’ll see a flier for a new event.

The opportunities – I just helped out with the majors and minors fair, which is an event put on annually in the Library Concourse. It is designed to help students understand what options they have as far as majors and minors go. Information about specific programs is typically presented. Also, there are numerous other events coming up in regards to future opportunities for students. There are networking nights for various majors, which establish connections between current students and successful individuals in their respective fields.

(I needed a warm cup of coffee on this chilly sunday!)

(I needed a warm cup of coffee on this chilly sunday!)

Coffee on a brisk day – For me, there is little better than sipping a cup of warm coffee on a cold day. Excuse the cliche, but it warms your soul. Fortunately for us, Utica College has a wide array of places to choose from when it comes to coffee. If you haven’t done it before, I encourage you to sit outside the library in the concourse and sip a coffee (or hot chocolate!) and just observe. As I’ve said before, this campus is beautiful in the fall. Take some time to appreciate it.

Thanksgiving break – This isn’t necessarily a thing which occurs on campus (for most), but it is three days off that the school allows us. I love spending time with my family, and relaxing before the craziness of finals starts. Plus, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, Black Friday, is the day after. I love getting all of my Christmas shopping done and out of the way on one day!

 

 

 

 

Too Old For Halloween? Never!

Oct 9, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

It’s only October 9th, but I am already planning out my Halloween festivities for the month of October. I love this weather, I love apple cider, and I love the fashion! I also love Halloween. Plus, the history of Halloween is probably the coolest part about the holiday. When I studied abroad in Ireland I took a walking tour of “Dublin’s Hallowed Past” and learned the history of the spooky holiday.

(Me touching a “sanctuary stone” in a graveyard I visited in Ireland.)

Originally, the holiday was celebrated by the Celtic People who populated Northern and Western Europe, with large numbers of people concentrated in what is modern-day Ireland. The purpose of the day was to celebrate the end of a successful harvest season, and the start of a long winter.

“Samhain” or Halloween was actually the biggest event during the Celtic calendar. Their new year started on what we consider to be November 1st, so it was the very last day of the year. It was believed that the souls of those who had died during the past year would finally be able to make the long trek to the underworld. People would light bonfires in the hopes of guiding the dead along their way and keeping them from still-living people.

I’m a huge history buff, so this is totally interesting to me. However, if the history of the day isn’t your thing, then I’m sure the actual day is. And, lucky for all students, there are numerous events on and around campus to celebrate the upcoming day!

RHA’s annual Haunted House- This event is located right on campus in the basement of one of the residential halls. Be scared by fellow classmates and Utica College students as you wander through rooms full of scary goblins, and ghosts, and gouls…oh my.

The History Club’s trip to Sleepy Hallow- An event put on by the History club, there are fliers all around campus for this event. They are doing a movie night on October 24th to watch “The Headless Horseman,” and then the next day, they are venturing to Sleepy Hallow for a private tour of the cemetery there. If you don’t know the story of Ichabad Crane and the Headless Horseman, I suggest looking more into this event!

The Utica Zoo’s Spooktacular- This is a fun event for children (and adults!) of all ages. The ASA Gray Biological society and Alpha Phi Omega are just two organizations from campus volunteering to pass out candy to young trick-or-treaters wandering throughout the zoo. Come, dress up, and join in on the Halloween fun! (October 17th-19th, Friday and Saturday are “scary days” from 6-9 p.m., and Sunday is less spooky from 12-4 p.m.)

CAYO Industrial Haunted House- This one is not for the faint of heart. I have personally never gone, but I have heard stories from friends who have been scared out of their minds. It takes place right in Utica, not too far from the school. It’s filled with haunted horrors and scary creatures all brought together in one big warehouse. It runs all weekends in October, so check out the website if this haunted house sounds fun to you!

(Last year I was a hippie for Halloween, and my friend a unicorn. I am still working on costume ideas for this year!)

What Did You Do This Weekend: Asa Gray Picnic 2014

Oct 6, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

The Asa Gray Biological Society is one of the oldest academic organizations on campus. It is  geared toward volunteering and planing activities that have to do with biology in some way, shape, or form. Basically, it is an organization that is open to all students on campus who have an interest in joining a club related to the natural world.

I, personally, have been a member since my first year here at Utica, and even have the privilege of being an eboard member for this year.

This past Sunday, the club held one of its annual events, The Asa Gray Picnic. This is an event that is open to all club members, and all first-year biology students. Professors and students get to interact in a more relaxed setting. Every year, there is guaranteed to be free food, games, and a fun atmosphere for everyone to partake in.

Typically the event is held at a bio professor’s house, and this year, it was held at the home of two professors: Dr. Wise and Dr. Buchanan in Trenton Falls. Their house is something you would expect to see in a magazine about beautiful country homes. It was completely secluded and had a large yard which, was ideal for yard games.

People took advantage of the sunny yet brisk day, by sitting around a fire, playing frisbee, and enjoying the free food. The students were all encouraged to sit and chat with their professors, and fellow students. Funny stories of test stresses, long labs, and general classes were shared by everyone. Even topics not related to school were discussed. The picnic was a time where people could just come and relax.

If this annual event sounds fun to you, feel free to check out an Asa Gray meeting sometime soon. There are numerous other events they put on, and new members are always more than welcome!

 

Leadership Weekend 2014

Oct 1, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

This past weekend, I was given the opportunity to attend Student Senate’s annual Leadership Weekend. The purpose of the event was for student leaders to develop leadership skills within themselves and when working with other people. The weekend was held up on Raquette Lake at Camp Huntington, which is a secluded property owned by SUNY Cortland. We left from Strebel at 2 p.m. on Friday and returned at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

    (Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon boat to get there!)

(Camp Huntington is so secluded that you have to take a pontoon to get there!)

The biggest attraction of the weekend were the high and low ropes courses, which were done Saturday afternoon. Individuals were split into two groups, and then went through a series of obstacles designed to test a multitude of skills associated with leadership ability. On the low course, the main take back was that of teamwork; people had to help out their team, and had to be encouraging if someone was having difficulties. The high ropes course was more about challenging yourself, and overcoming any personal hesitations you might have had.

(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold...while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)

(One of the low ropes course obstacles was being led around while wearing a blindfold…while your teammates also had on blindfolds.)

 

(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)

(I was terrified of going up on the ropes, but I was proud of myself that I did it.)

Throughout the weekend there was also free time to kayak, canoe, swim, and even paddle board. The weather was beautiful (not a rain cloud in sight!!), so everyone took full advantage.

(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)

(My friend, Elaine, and I loved kayaking with everyone else.)

The other main focus of leadership weekend is for the students to think of ideas which may better the school, prepare presentations on them, and then present their proposals to various Utica College dignitaries who were invited up to the camp on Sunday afternoon. Several ideas were thrown around, but eventually three ideas became the prevalent ones, and were presented by the groups on Sunday afternoon. The proposals were:

1.) Better Handicap accessibility on campus. (Including shoveling snow more thoroughly in the winter, fixing the elevators in the academic and residential buildings so they break down less often, and allowing for better handicap seating in classrooms.)

2.) Updating IITS issues. (Printers placed in every residential hall, schedules put up outside of computer labs when they are in use, and the Strebel computer lab getting a bit of a “face-lift.”)

3.) Helping to integrate commuter students more easily. (More programming for commuters, and a lounge which contains lockers, a refrigerator, seating areas, etc. so they have somewhere to go on campus.)

(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)

(A group presenting their proposal on how to improve Utica College.)

The ideas were all good ideas, and presented very thoroughly. The various Utica College officials took notes, and will try to implement some of the students’ suggestions.

 

(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)

(I love love love loved Leadership Weekend 2014.)

Leadership weekend was probably one of my favorite things to have done on campus, and to quote my friend Elaine, “I’ve done a lot.” It is a beautiful place to go and spend a weekend, and I highly encourage it. Even if the ropes course freaks you out (like it did me!) think to yourself, “When am I ever going to get this opportunity again?” A completely free weekend spent in the Adriondacks challenging yourself, and thinking of ways to make your school better – I can’t think of anything better.

Try New Things! No, Seriously. Try Them.

Sep 26, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

Everyone says college is about trying new things, and leaving your comfort zone…well, listen to them; it’s a cliche for a reason. My first semester on campus, I was the typical commuter; I went to class, and went home. I joined one organization and prayed their meetings weren’t later at night so I wouldn’t have to drive back to campus. Now, I rarely leave campus…which may be considered not so good, looking at my sleep schedule. But looking at it from my own perspective, sleep aside, I enjoy college much more now, and *bonus* know all of the places to get coffee on campus. Plus, I feel more at ease with my surroundings, and love all of the organizations of which I am a part of.

I credit my current involvement with the personal philosophy I adopted my second semester freshmen year, and even more so when I studied abroad the fall of my sophomore year. If I see something that looks interesting to me, I do it…or join it. I don’t let my own fears hold me back from doing something I want. So, you shouldn’t either!

(Mentors involved with the Transitions play during my first year of orientation, Summer 2013.)

I joined Orientation the summer after my first year and learned so many useful techniques about interacting with people. I even made friends I consider to be friends for life. When I was applying for the position I was unsure, and a little nervous about joining in with a group of people I had never really met before. Now I know every single mentor and wouldn’t hesitate to say hi if I saw any of them in the hall between classes.

(The Dublin Zoo was so fun to visit, it was definitely worth the hour walk.)

My fall semester, I studied abroad in Dublin, Ireland. I had planned on going abroad since I applied to UC. However, I had never lived away from home for more than a few weeks, let alone many months. Plus, the only foreign country I had ever been to was Canada.

While I lived in Ireland, I told myself that I would not let a day go by where I did not do a single thing. Luckily, one of my housemates had the same philosophy, and we made sure to do at least a little thing every day. We went to museums, little shops, parks, and the zoo; really, we went anywhere we could. However, this philosophy doesn’t have to be used in a different country. Do it here! Do something different everyday. Whether it be as small as trying a new sandwich for lunch, or as big as going to the next town over and exploring, just try new things.

(The first pic I ever took in the radio station. This was taken from the Divaa Hour’s first show.)

The spring of my sophomore year, I randomly decided I wanted a radio show. So one of my friends, Karita, and I created The Diva Hour. We would play music from all of the great divas, classic to modern. It was fun, and we even got our other friend, Elaine, on board with it. Then, this year, we decided to make a new show, and titled it “3BL.” It’s fun to do, and fun to listen to (at least according to our mom’s it is…). Our show is even going to be featured during the upcoming college radio day, which we’re super excited about! So, if making a radio show is one of the new things you want to try, go talk to the staff at wpnr!

Utica College is a diverse campus with loads of activities and things to do. So, go out there and try some new things, it’ll make your college experience that much more exciting. Trust me.

 

 

We’ve Got Spirit!

Sep 23, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

This past Saturday was the first home football game of the season. There were numerous flyers around campus advertising a new student section and a guaranteed good time. The game started at noon with the National Anthem being sung by the Utica College Choir.

The game was against Frostburg, a college in Maryland, with Utica coming out triumphant. The last minute of the game was filled with screaming fans and clapping as people cheered on the football players to victory.

https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xpa1/v/t1.0-9/59716_2824590350848_1714751781_n.jpg?oh=81505124c3eb39ca23754b2f8d2643bc&oe=54C93E9D

(The choir singing at a hockey game my freshman year.)

If football isn’t your thing, then Utica College is home to multiple sports which suit anyone’s needs – player wise and spectator wise. Most sports are played right here on campus. The hockey games, which are played at the Utica Auditorium, have shuttles that take students to and from the game. Go to the sports website and check out when a game you want to see is!

(I got a picture with Trax my freshman year at an event.)

At the various sporting events you attend, you’ll probably run into the Utica College mascot, “Trax.” He’s always up for pictures, so go find him! Once, at a hockey game, I even caught a free shirt that Trax was throwing!

(My friend Elaine and I at the  football game this weekend, reppin' UC swag.)

(My friend Elaine and I at the football game this weekend, reppin’ UC swag.)

You don’t have to be super into the sport; sometimes it is just fun to go and people watch. Also, going to a game ensures that you can eat concession food and just soak up the atmosphere.  They always play songs in between quarters, so go grab some nachos and dance along!

Games are a great atmosphere and are a way to show your pride for your school. Wear your school apparel, grab your friends and get ready to cheer on your fellow Pioneers.

Missing Class?

Sep 18, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

We’re almost a month into the semester now, and I’m sure you’ve been a diligent little student attending all of your lectures and labs. Here’s a disclaimer before I even start this post, do not miss class unless absolutely necessary; you are very sick, you have a family obligation, or it’s an emergency.

So, one of those three reasons came up and you have to miss class, here’s what you should do:

1.) Tell your professor as soon as possible. If you have your cousin’s wedding a weekend in November, and you know when it is in August, tell your professor then! They will make a mental note of it, and know that you take their class seriously.

2.) Write an email either the day of, or the night before just reminding your professor that you are going to miss class. (For how to write a super profesh email check out fellow UC Blogger, Elaine Paravati’s post about how to write an email fit for a professor to read.)

3.) Get the notes you missed from a classmate. Find out the important things you missed, and try to understand what happened during the lecture. Reference your text book, and any notes your professor may have posted online.

4.) The day you get back, or feel well enough, go to your professor’s office and apologize for missing class. Explain that you understand how valuable their time is, and then ask what you missed. If you already attempted to understand the notes ask for clarifications on any “murky” points.

These steps are essential if you happen to miss a class. However, don’t be one of those people who stops showing up. Even if your professor doesn’t take attendance, you want to be present so your professor can connect your name with a face. Important things are happening during class, why would you miss that? People tell you time, and time again that actively listening in class helps students achieve better test grades, something every student wants! So, get those better test grades; you are paying for your education, why throw that away on missed classes?

 

Clubs, orgs, and greek life? Oh my.

Sep 11, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

The yearly organization fair was held in the Strebel lounge yesterday, September 10th, and “Meet the Greeks” was also held later that day in the same location. Both events were opportunities for first year students, and upperclassman, to get an idea of what there is to do on campus.

These events can be intimidating for students (myself included) because there are so many organizations. If you are also like me, you have many diverse interests; there are so many organizations that may fit with what you like! Attending these informational events is as easy as going and walking around. Picking which ones you actually want to be a part of, now that is a struggle.

Here are some tips to help you decide what organization is right for you.

(The Asa Gray Biological Society is an organization which focuses on biology-related activities and events.)

It is for your major/future career aspects. If an organization is dedicated to a certain type of student, and you fit the bill, for sure join! For example, joining the pre-law society makes it so you are surrounded by future law students aka people who understand your struggle. It’s great to have friends in your major because then you can compare professors, classes, study together, and have a support system.

(The Utica College Gay-Straight Alliance puts on a yearly drag show with professional Kings and Queens which is fun and entertaining.)

You enjoy the activities they do. If an organization is established for a hobby of yours, join! The Outing club is an organization on campus which focuses on going outside and doing things! If you love the outdoors and wilderness, then join! Same goes for any other thing you may like.

And here are some tips to help you decide what organization is not right for you:

(Summer Orientation isn’t really an organization, but it is something you can get involved in! I joined my first year not knowing practically any mentors, now some of them are my best friends.)

All of your friends are in it. Okay, great for them. But are you actually interested in the organization? Do you like doing what they are doing? If not, it’s okay to not join. You’ll meet other people in things you do decide to do. You can always hang out with your friends later.

(Alpha Phi Omega is a service fraternity on campus dedicated to volunteer work, and leadership.)

It will boost your resume. This is true of every organization you join! We’re college students, we’re all working toward having a good resume!! But, the key is to not join just because you think it will look good. Join because you actually are interested in the org, the resume stuff can come later.

Joining organizations is not supposed to be a tiresome process, it should be fun! You can always go to a meeting, see if you like it, and if not, don’t join! The Greek organizations all have informationals during the semester to let you know about their events and activities, so go if you want to know more! If you aren’t comfortable going in person, you can always check out PioneerPlace which is a website which compiles all of the organizations on campus, and allows you to browse through.

So, whatever organizations you join, good luck. The process may be daunting, but the friends and memories you make will certainly be worth it.

Dress for Success?

Sep 9, 2014 | Author: MaryEllen Fitzgerald-Bord

College is a time to express yourself. From the way you act, to the way you talk, even to the way you dress; you are in complete control of how you want to present yourself. Personally, I believe the way a person dresses says so much, without actually saying anything at all.

I understand that the desire in college is to wear sweatpants, and a t shirt at all times because it is perfectly acceptable to do so. However, bumming it every day may not be the smartest idea. Here are some tips and tricks for knowing when to dress up…and dress down.

 

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(I remember picking this outfit specifically because I had a test…and because it was comfy. Matching my friend, Kat, was also a plus.)

 You have a test. I like to say, “Dress cute, feel cute, do cute.” If that doesn’t make any sense to you, here is the gist: dressing nicely can make you feel more confident, which may lead to a better test grade.

(You don't have to dress crazy nice everyday... only if you want!)

(You don’t have to dress crazy nice everyday… only if you want! Please excuse my mirror pic)

You feel bad. If you are in a funky mood, the first thing you want to do is feel comfortable. That doesn’t have to mean donning your sweats though! There are dressier clothes which feel more comfortable, while still telling the world that you look good.

(My friends Elaine, Courtney and I rocking the business cas'.)

(My friends Elaine, Courtney and I rocking the business cas’ for student senate.)

You have an interview. Whether it be an on campus job, or a job in the “real world” this one is definitely non-negotiable. Dressing for success is essential for any job interview. How would you feel if you were conducting the interview and some person just rolled up in their baggy workout clothes? Personally, I would be upset and would definitely not hire the person who did not care enough to dress nicely.

(During this year's Orientation the play, Transitions, had a character that only wore his pajamas. EVEN to class!)

(During this year’s Orientation play, Transitions, there was a character, played by Cam Jennings, that only wore his pajamas. EVEN to class!)

You’re running late. Okay, this one I’ll give to you. If you are running late then I completely understand the non-dressy clothes you may throw on. No judgement, but when I’m running late I feel extra stressed; I don’t want to add to that stress by looking extra put out in my gym shorts. So, I have a few go-to outfit combinations that I turn to without fail. (Leggings and a long shirt with a denim. Always.) Find something that feels casual, but actually looks like you tried.

Despite this, however, you are still free to dress how you choose. If wearing dressier clothes isn’t your thing, you tried it and didn’t like it, then don’t fret; wear what you want… except at an interview. That one is non-negotiable.