Spring Break (HOMW 7)

Hi everyone! With only six weeks of classes left in the semester, this week’s highlight was pretty easy to identify: it was the fact that we were on break!

HOMW 7: SPRING BREAK!

While I absolutely love my life at Utica College, it can get overwhelming. Between classes and assignments, organization meetings and events (GSA, Psych Society, and Student Senate- just to name a few that I am involved in), office hours as a Teaching Assistant, my responsibilities as a Resident Assistant, time spent at the WPNR station… there is a lot on my plate! I really enjoy everything I am a part of, which is why I am happy even on days that my schedule is chaotic. However, it is definitely nice to have a break from my usual routine.

Spring Break was just what I needed to rest, recharge, and relax before finishing up the last six weeks of my senior year. Most of my break was spent sleeping, hanging out with my sister, and playing with my kitten, Cleo. I was so grateful to have a few days to spend with my family before the end of the semester craziness kicked in.

Now that we’re back on campus, I am excited to finish out my career here at Utica College strong. I can tell many of my senior friends feel the same way, as I see the look of determination on their faces as they hit the library or walk to class. There are plenty of fun events coming up in these next six weeks as well, and warm weather is ahead. I am definitely feeling optimistic about the rest of this semester, and hope you are, too!

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“Many Mountains to Climb” (HOMW 6)

This week’s highlight was definitely a unique experience and one I will not forget any time soon!

HOMW 6: “MANY MOUNTAINS TO CLIMB”

Every other Wednesday from 3-5 PM in Bell Conference Center is the full body meeting of the Utica College Student Senate. I was given the opportunity to join Senate last year, and absolutely loved it! It is so interesting to see the backbone of our student organizations at work, and I really appreciate being able to represent students when decisions are being made. As a junior, I was a commuter representative, but this year, I am a North Hall representative. Usually, meetings are only attended by the students in Senate, plus any students who may be representing an organization requesting funds that week for an event. This week’s meeting was a bit different, because we had a special guest: UC President Todd Hutton!

President Hutton attended the meeting so that he could speak directly to us about his plans to retire. (For those of you who may not know, President Hutton announced his retirement earlier this week. To read WKTV’s report of his announcement, as well as President Hutton’s letter to the UC Community, you can click here.) President Hutton said that he had “many mountains to climb, both literally and figuratively,” as his retirement plans include hiking with his wife and spending time with his family. It meant a lot to me and the other students that President Hutton took the time to discuss his decision and the thought process behind it with us in person.  He gave us the opportunity to ask questions or make comments, and many students shared stories of special memories they had with him throughout their years at UC. Others asked him to share some of his own favorite moments during his time here. I was honored to have had the opportunity to not only hear more about President Hutton’s decision from the man of the hour himself, but also to have been able to hear so many wonderful memories he and my fellow students shared from their Utica College experiences.

After the meeting, my friend Karita and I shared with President Hutton our gratitude for his service to the College, as well as a special memory of our own. Karita and I met when we worked together during the summer after our freshman year; we were both summer orientation mentors and spent two weeks living and breathing every minute together. During summer orientation, President Hutton makes a speech to incoming students and their families about being mindful of what they do with all of the opportunities available to them at Utica College. He says, “Look next to you: that could be a lifelong friend.” Karita and I have always treasured hearing that speech when we worked orientation after both our sophomore and junior years, because we felt that his words were especially true for us, since we became friends at orientation just as he described! It was great to share that with President Hutton, and he said he was really grateful to hear that his words had such a positive impact on us.

Then, of course, we took a picture with him.

His smile says it all: we may very well be his favorite students of all time. I'm not saying that is true, but the proof is in the picture.
His smile says it all: we may very well be his favorite students of all time. I’m not saying that is true, but the proof is in the picture.

President Hutton’s guest appearance at the Student Senate meeting this week was a really wonderful experience. As a graduating senior, I felt a connection to his words, as I too will have “many mountains to climb” in the future when my time at Utica College comes to a close. I am grateful to President Hutton for all of the positive impacts he has had on UC, and wish him all of the best in his future endeavors.

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Things That Just Aren’t Cool

Utica College is a very small school, so generally students end up feeling like everyone knows everyone. Spending so much time every day with the same people usually has everyone thinking pretty similar thoughts, which ends in conversations of “I know exactly what you mean!” and “I was thinking the same thing!” That being said, here are some things I think we can all agree on: Things That Just Aren’t Cool:

1. Smoking. Seriously, it is 2015, who still smokes? I am always surprised when I randomly see a student smoking outside of an academic building before class. I think we are all grateful that there are designated smoking areas on campus, so we can avoid the stink of cigarettes. Seriously, cut it out, they’re gross.

2. Walking really slowly or blocking stairs and hallways during busy times. I’m not talking about walking at a generally slower pace to class because you’re enjoying the weather here. I’m talking about when you’re hurrying to the caf to grab a sandwich before your 4 meetings in the afternoon and you get stuck behind students who are barely crawling up the stairs in Strebel, or when you’re speed-walking to class and a group of people are creating a human barrier that is taking up the entire hallway. If you know it’s a busy time of day and you want to have a social conversation, take it to the student lounge instead of the hallways so that people can get to where they need to go. There is plenty of room for everyone if we are considerate of others.

3. Using your cell phone in class. I cannot believe my eyes when students try to make phone calls or send text messages in class. Not only are you being rude to the professor, you are being rude to everyone around you who is trying to pay attention. On top of that, you are defeating the point of attending class- you can’t retain information as efficiently when your attention is split (this is an empirically supported statement, not just something your professor says to get you to stay off your cell phone). When you get to class, turn your phone on silent, put it in your bag, and focus on the present moment.

Hopefully, we can all agree that smoking, texting in class, and blocking the halls are just not cool. Let’s all be a little more considerate of our fellow students and silence those phones, give others room to walk, and leave those cigarettes where they belong: in the garbage!

 

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Midterms Survival Guide

With only a week and a half until Spring Break, many students have begun discussing what fun plans they have for their time off from classes. While dreaming of sunnier days is something everyone has been doing during these cold months, it’s important for students to stay focused and motivated during this time in the semester, because midterms are quickly approaching!

As a senior, I personally have very few midterms. I have found that most upper-level classes in the psychology department tend to favor tests every few weeks and term papers over cumulative midterm and final exams. Therefore, the busiest time of year for me is prior to finals, when I often have several 10, 12, or even 25-page papers due for my classes. However, as a freshman and sophomore, I had many midterm exams, because I was taking more 100- and 200-level courses in a variety of subject areas (such as math, government, and sociology). Having my fair share of midterms, I have figured out a few ways to make the week a bit easier and more successful:

1. Study as early as possible. Procrastination is something many college students struggle with, and learning how to discipline yourself to get things done will be extremely helpful throughout your college career- and your life! With tests that cover a large amount of material, studying a bit every day will be much more helpful and manageable than trying to pull an all-nighter and cram the evening before the test. Try to dedicate 30 minutes every day to studying for a tricky subject, so that by the time the test rolls around, you’ve already logged tons of time reviewing the material. Plus, if you find yourself with questions, you’ll have plenty of opportunities before the test to stop by your professor’s office hours!

2. Study different ways. It’s great to know which way helps you retain material the best, but sometimes it works even better to study in a variety of ways, so that you can pick up little pieces of information from each technique. Some of my favorite ways to study are:

-taking notes on the textbook readings

-making flash cards

-relating concepts to my own life

-reviewing my lecture notes

-reviewing my textbook notes

-creating my own study guide with charts, vocab words, etc

-“teaching” the material to a friend

-answering review questions in the book or online

-asking questions in class or in a professor’s office hours

3. Read your book and pay attention in class! The number one suggestion I could give to any student is to stay on top of the material from Day One. Skimming a textbook and doodling in class may seem appealing, but if you’re not learning the material then, when do you plan on learning it? Approach the textbook as a way to be introduced to the material and class as an opportunity to grasp the material fully. I always read ahead of time, write down questions I may have, and take notes in class to supplement the readings. Then, if any of my questions from the textbook are still unanswered, I ask the professor to clear up any confusion. The textbook is your answer key for the course, and the professor is your guide to mastering the material. Utilize them, and by the time midterms roll around, you will be way ahead of the game.

I wish that there was a secret trick to automatically acing your midterms, like wearing your pajamas inside out or drinking chocolate milk before the test. However, I have found that the only way to ensure a high grade on an exam is to put in the prep work ahead of time, to study a variety of ways, and to pay attention in class and keep up on the readings. It’s no secret that hard work pays off, so focus on your course work now and before you know it, Spring Break will be here!

By the way, if you have any secret tips, feel free to share them with me in the comment section!

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Can I Get Your Autograph? (HOMW 5)

Hello, everyone!

It was great to bounce back this week after spending all of last week sick. I was really grateful to be able to attend all of my classes, not to mention to be able to breathe through my nose and stay awake for longer than three hours at a time! Thus, my highlight this week is related to one of my favorite classes (which I have written about before), English 407: Advanced Poetry Workshop.

HOMW 5: CAN I GET YOUR AUTOGRAPH?

As I have previously mentioned, my Monday/Friday poetry workshop is a favorite of mine because of the small class size and our hilarious professor, Dr. Leising. A typical day in our class involves reviewing one another’s work, discussing a reading from the week, and brainstorming as a group for a future assignment. We often use a book titled The Poetry Gymnasium to help us find new ways to develop our writing skills and stretch our comfort zones as poets. The class is always a comfortable, welcoming environment, which is especially valuable when we spend so much time having our writing critiqued. Dr. Leising is great at keeping things productive and helping us improve as writers while still making sure we feel like we can have fun and express ourselves fully.

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Our text, The Poetry Gymnasium

Anyway, this past week, we were reading through The Poetry Gymnasium when we saw a familiar name referenced in the text: Gary Leising! The author mentioned reading one of Dr. Leising’s poems and how it could be interpreted many ways. I knew that our professor had written loads of poetry and had won awards for his work in the past (including Utica College’s Clark Award he was presented with at convocation this fall), but it was really cool to see him referenced in our book. Dr. Leising was very humble about the whole thing, but of course I had him autograph my book right below where his name was printed.

Some day, this signature could be worth millions. For now, maybe just half a million
Some day, this signature could be worth millions. For now, maybe just half a million.

I never imagined when I began attending Utica College that such a small college would offer classes taught by individuals that are so well-known and respected in their field. Four years later, I can say that I have learned from some truly special people who have shared their experiences and wisdom with me and really have helped me grow as a student and an individual. Dr. Leising’s shout out in our textbook is a more obvious example of just how awesome the UC faculty are, and it was definitely a memorable moment from my week!

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When Chemicals React

Sometimes, you find yourself saving a degree-required course for your final semester of college. Sometimes, that course is a science with a lecture class as well as a lab, and you have to devote over six hours per week on that class alone. Sometimes, you may be reflecting upon your life choices and wonder why you put off your lab course until your senior spring semester. Sometimes, your two best friends register for that course too, so that your chances of survival increase. This is one such circumstance.

I have never been very interested in science, mainly because I find it hard to relate to the rest of my studies. I love that psychology is a science that is extremely applicable to my daily life- in fact, sometimes I over-analyze things and may relate my life too often to my studies! On the other hand, things like geology and chemistry never came as naturally to me as psych. I definitely procrastinated my required science course due to my disinterest in science, but this semester, I had to register for something in order to graduate in May.

The class I chose as my science with a lab is Chem 105: Everyday Chemistry. Turns out, this class is the best possible lab class for a student like me, because the entire class is focused on relating chemistry concepts to everyday topics. Our professors, Dr. Thomas and Dr. Barr, explain known, familiar concepts like tye dye in terms of atomic bonds and chemical compounds. It makes science much less intimidating and way easier to understand! Plus, the labs are activities like solving a fake crime, which can be pretty entertaining.

My chemistry course is not a class that comes easily to me, but having my friends in the class with me as well as professors that are dedicated to making science relatable and fun makes the class way better. Pretty soon, people will be calling this chick “Elaine Nye the Science Guy.”

Laura and I modeling some attractive goggles. Safety first, peeps.
Laura and I modeling some attractive goggles. Safety first, peeps.
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Back on the Air! (HOMW 4)

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) #4: BACK ON THE AIR

As I have written about many times before, I am a DJ at Utica College’s radio station, WPNR 90.7 FM. Last semester, my friends Karita (aka DJ Young Keezy), Laura (DJ Lil Marco) and I (DJ E-Money) had a once-a-week radio show that was always the highlight of our week. This semester, we decided to have not one, not two, but THREE show times!

Last week, the highlight of my week was getting back into the swing of things and starting up the show once again. I love spending time at the station. Sharing music, campus knowledge, and celebrity gossip with our listeners is super fun and always puts me in a great mood.

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By the way, if you want to tune into our show, the 3BL Power Hour, catch us Monday 3-5 PM, Tuesday 12- 1 PM, or Thursday 12-1 PM!

Have a great week, everyone!

 

 

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What To Do When You’re Sick At School

This past week was a bit of a doozy for me, because I was super sick all week. What started out as a little cold turned into a four-day marathon of sleeping, eating soup, and coughing non-stop. I wish I could say that it is easy to be sick when you’re away at college, but the truth is that being ill totally stinks, no matter where you are! Fortunately, there are a few things you can do if you find yourself overcome with the plague while you are at Utica College:

1. Go to the Health Center. You can call them (315-792-3094) to schedule an appointment, or you can visit them any weekday 8 AM- 11 AM (8:30-11:15 Wednesdays, though!) for a walk-in visit. They offer tons of services that are free to students, so take advantage of getting health care right on campus!

2. Get a ride from Campus Safety. If the Health Center doc recommends you go to a doctor or hospital nearby, you can call Campus Safety and ask them to drive you to and from your appointment. They are more than willing to bring students to medical visits off campus, and make it easy on you by transporting you to where you need to go.

3. Eat some soup. I swear that soup can make anyone feel better! Luckily, there are two varieties of soup every day at the Dining Commons, and those soups are also available at Le Bistro in Gordon Science Center and Common Grounds in the Library. You can also get different types of soup in the Pioneer Cafe and Subway, both downstairs in Strebel Student Center.

4. Email your professors. If you need to miss class, just shoot your professor an email as far ahead of time as you can explaining when and why you will be missing class. Professors are much more likely to be understanding and willing to accommodate you if you give them advance notice of your absence. By the way, you can find my tips for writing a professional email here.

5.  Sleep! Above all else, get rest so that your body can recover! Do your best to get some Zzz’s so that you can get well. Allowing yourself the time to rest will help you get back up on your feet as soon as possible.

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Magic Always Comes With A Price (HOMW 3)

Hi everyone!

My highlight for the second week of February is a little delayed, but I am still going to fill you in on a moment I loved!

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) #3: MAGIC ALWAYS COMES WITH A PRICE 

In case you forgot, Utica was hit with some major snow at the beginning of February. So, during those first few weeks, my friends and I spent quite a bit of time in the residence halls instead of hanging out outside or attending events in other buildings.

One weekend, we spent the entire weekend watching a TV series on Netflix. The show, called Once Upon a Time, is all about fairy tale characters living in a modern world. It is totally addicting, and we loved ordering pizza, piling up all of our fuzzy blankets, and binge watching episodes!

My friends and I are extremely involved on campus and usually try to attend every meeting, class, and event possible. But sometimes, that can come with a price: feeling stressed or burnt out at the end of the week. While it rocks to take advantage of all of the fun events on campus, sometimes it is nice to actually stand still. Taking a weekend to relax with friends and watch Netflix allowed me to rest, recharge, and avoid the snow for a little while.

I am so grateful to attend a small school, as it really helped me get to know my peers and make some true friendships.This weekend was exactly what I needed to feel ready to face the busy week ahead. These girls are there for me through it all, and we have weathered the storm together- literally! And that is better than any fairy tale.

 

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Glitter, owls, and more glitter (HOMW 2)

Hi, everyone!

As I mentioned last week, I am making time each week of this semester to reflect and share a moment that was a highlight of that week. In my previous blog post, I told you all about the great time I had at Crystal Ball on Saturday. That was definitely a highlight, but the highlight of my week actually happened prior to Saturday night…

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) #2: GLITTER, OWLS, AND MORE GLITTER

I had an RA Event last Thursday in North Hall. For those of you who may not know, I am a Resident Assistant here at UC, and part of my job includes planning fun events for my residents. Sometimes they are educational events, like when we visited the Clinton Cider Mill and learned how apple cider is made. Other times, they are social events, like last Thursday, which was a make-your-own Valentines event.

This was the flier advertised on the Utica College First Year Village Instagram account. FYI, you can follow the account to be in-the-know about upcoming RA events in North and South Hall! It's named uc_firstyearvillage
This was the flier advertised on the Utica College First Year Village Instagram account. FYI, you can follow the account to be in-the-know about upcoming RA events in North and South Hall! It’s named uc_firstyearvillage

I have had many RA events before, but had never had one that included my love for crafting. However, I talked to some of my residents earlier in the semester and discovered that many of them also loved arts and crafts and liked the idea of having a time we could all decorate Valentines together. I immediately began planning the event and was extremely excited to pick up glitter, construction paper, the CUTEST owl stickers of all time, and all sorts of other art goodies for my residents to use. By Thursday night, many of the students who lived on my floor as well as other floors were looking forward to the event as much as me, and met me downstairs right at 8 pm when it began. The basement lounge was soon filled with students drawing, glueing, and glittering to their hearts’ content.

This is just one of the many groups of students who were making Valentines at the event last week. We put newspaper on the floor to minimize the amount of glitter mess- it's a tricky hazard of crafting!
This is just one of the many groups of students who were making Valentines at the event last week. We put newspaper on the floor to minimize the amount of glitter mess- it’s a tricky hazard of crafting!

Over thirty students attended my event. It was scheduled to only go until 9 pm, but we ended up crafting past 10:30 in the evening! I had a great time watching other students make beautiful cards for their friends and family, and of course I enjoyed making some Valentines myself! I was so happy that the students who attended had as much fun as I did crafting. One of my residents told me it was the best event she had been to yet this year!

Here is a glimpse of the Valentines I crafted!
Here is a glimpse of the Valentines I crafted, featuring the cutest owl sticker of all time.

Sometimes in the business of college life (especially during your first year, which is a huge transitional phase of your life), you can lose sight of special little traditions from your home life. I really missed making Valentines for my friends when I began college, so I was happy that my event allowed students an opportunity to be festive, creative, and do something that may have reminded them of old traditions in their lives.

Events like these remind me of how great it is to go to a school that has such a tight-knit student body. I love celebrating holidays in fun ways with my UC family. Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! Have a great week!

 

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