Imaging Place – Creating an Identity through Architecture

This past weekend the gallery held the opening reception for their first exhibit of the semester “Imaging Place”.  This exhibit has a special place in my heart, since I not only oversaw the research conducted for the exhibit, but I am also one of the featured writers. It has become a recent tradition in the gallery, that every first exhibit each spring is a student researched exhibit. This may mean an individual student employee, or as was the case this year and last year, the entirety of the staff plays a role in researching the exhibit.

Offical e-vite for the exhibit. Created by: Carolynne Whitefeather
Offical e-vite for the exhibit. Created by: Carolynne Whitefeather

“Imaging Place” is an idea, concept and exhibit based in visual art. The exhibit addresses and asks about the relationship of architecture reflective of its makers mind and the relationship of places and how we see the Place and Space before us. The architecture of a place develops a character that distinguishes each place from another, in this way it becomes a form of human culture and expression. The best way I’ve found to explain it is to have someone picture the skyline in New York City, that skyline is iconic and instantly recognizable for most people. I then have them picture their hometown and their favorite hangout, for them the place that they choose is just as iconic and recognizable as the New York City Skyline. In this way, locations begin to take on a human-like quality, and you begin to create emotional connections to those places. The exhibit also expands beyond locations with architecture and discusses natural landscapes. These natural landscapes are often just as iconic and recognizable to those familiar with the area. Each of the pieces in the show depicts a location that potentially holds significance to someone, whether it is significant to a single person or an entire country, we can get a sense of how important having a place to identify with becomes to creating and shaping ones identity. In essence, where one is from becomes a piece of their identity.

Photo Jan 29, 2 53 17 PM
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc

The exhibit is truly diverse not only in the variety of artwork but also the unique perspectives brought to each piece by the student staff. While the pieces are united under a common theme, each piece has a distinct look and feel that is further conveyed through the accompanying writings by the student staff. Additionally, students have an opportunity to see the works interpreted and spoken about from the perspective of their fellow students. While we held the student staff to a high standard in their writing, each person brings their own flavor and background to their writing while maintaining the high quality standards expected in a gallery. Along that same vein, it gives students the opportunity to acknowledge and support the hard work of their peers.  The exhibit was produced, developed, and installed by the student staff under the direction of the gallery director, Carolynne Whitefeather, with the assistance of Utica College Alumni, Amanda Dummet, for editing. After the original pieces and concept were chosen, the student staff took the exhibit through the production process during a semester long research project as part of their employment at the gallery. From there, the staff installed and will now maintain the exhibit, while presenting the exhibit as docents.

Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc

Along with the great content, we had a great reception to boot. The student staff was on hand to talk about their work, and we had a great turnout from the community and students alike. I’ll leave you with some photos of the reception. I strongly encourage everyone to stop by if they can.

Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Exhibit Installation Manager, Amarildo Ceka, leads a group of international visitors around the exhibit. Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Exhibit Installation Manager, Amarildo Ceka, leads a group of international visitors around the exhibit. Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Group Photo after the tour. Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Group Photo after the tour. Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
Photo Credit: Joseph Fryc
I came out from behind the camera and ended up in a photo too. Photo Credit: Julia Mecalianos
I came out from behind the camera and ended up in a photo too. Photo Credit: Julia Mecalianos

21 Questions

I realized I hadn’t posted in a while, so I figured what better way get back into the groove than to jump on bandwagon, before it’s too late, and do one of these 21 question posts. Plus, I don’t think I’ve actually taken the time to formally introduce myself.

  1. What is your year/major?
    • I am a senior and I am dual majoring in Business Management and Psychology
  2. When is your birthday?
    • October 22nd
  3. Where are you from?
    • New York Mills, NY.
  4. Why Utica College ?
    • I wanted to find something fairly close to home, and something small since I went to a small high school. I applied to Utica College as one of my first choices, and once I got accepted to attend on a scholarship the decision was pretty easy.
  5. What is your favorite cereal?
    • Cocoa Pebbles
  6. Do you have any pets?
    • I have a cat named Osiris, named after the Egyptian God of the Dead because of the markings by his
  7. How involved are you on campus?
    • Aside from being a blogger, I am involved in several other things on campus. I am the Intern at the Barrett Art Gallery on campus, as well as the student staff supervisor, admin on our social media accounts, and head of IT operations within the gallery. I have also been involved in a number of clubs including Psych Society, Gaming Club, Art Club, and the Honors Association. In addition to those, I am also an inductee into the Psi Chi Psychological Honor Society.
  8. What is your favorite season?
    • Definitely Fall, along with my Birthday and Halloween, I get to enjoy the cooler weather and the great fall scenery around Central New York.
  9. What is your favorite thing about Utica College?
    • I would have to say the people, even if you’re having a rough day someone is there to help turn your day around. Plus the professors are all pretty great, I don’t think I’ve had a professor yet who wasn’t willing to help you out if you need it.
  10. What city you would like to visit?
    • It’s not in America, but probably London, England.
  11. Favorite song?
    • Probably too many to mention.
  12. Any siblings?
    • One brother who also went to UC.
  13. What is your favorite animal?
    • Maybe Eagles or Owls. Turtles are pretty cool too, since they’re so chill.
  14. Favorite restaurant?
    • Delmonico’s is really great for steak, so if you love steak as much as I do I would highly recommend stopping by.
  15. Pet peeves?
    • People who complain too much, I’ve found the best way to feel better is to not dwell on whats got you down. Also, probably hypocrites.
  16. Favorite quote?
    • “True knowledge exists in knowing that you know nothing.” Socrates
  17. Most played song?
    • Not sure, probably something weird.
  18. Any talents?
    • I dabble in some photography and collage. I also do some street magic, card tricks, and mentalism.
  19. Favorite video game?
    • Probably the Assassin’s Creed Series, but I’m a sucker for old games like Super Mario Bros. and stuff like that.
  20. If you could be friends with any celebrity, who would it be?
    • I make no secret out of the fact that I’m kind of a big nerd, so rather than lie to you I’ll say Batman or the Doctor, even though they’re fictional.
  21. What do you want to be when you grow up?
    • Young at heart.

A Double Major and a Dual Degree: What is involved?

As someone who is currently in their final year here at UC, I thought I might be able to give some unique insight into the majors I am enrolled in for those who have yet to declare a major. In addition to that, I thought it might be important to touch on the possibility of completing a minor, dual major, or dual degree for those who have already declared a major, as well as those who haven’t. The experience can be enriching and quite rewarding if you have the time and dedication in order to do it well.

Personally, I am completing a dual degree in Psychology and Business Management, and I can tell you from experience that both programs are great. Initially, these two programs seem somewhat divergent, however when you get down to the bare bones of both programs you can begin to see a good amount of overlap. This fact is especially true in my case, when you consider that I am completing a concentration in Marketing as part of the Business program.

The Business Management program prepares students for a multitude of different management positions. The classes center around the various aspects of creating, running, and sustaining a business. These range from classes in Economics, Finance, Accounting, and Risk Management Insurance; to classes in Marketing, Human Resources, and even some in Entrepreneurship. The ultimate goal of the program is to prepare students to set out into the real world and succeed in whatever business path they choose to pursue. The professors in the program all hold either Doctorates in their field, or extensive years of critical experience working for actual companies and corporations. This type of real world experience allows the professors to give examples from their own experience in relation to the course material. The best aspect of the program is that it equips you with critical skills that can be applied to any workplace you choose. Just about every workplace needs managers who can put the company on a path toward success. A degree in management can quite literally be applied to any profession that you can imagine, if you take the proper steps.

Likewise, the Psychology program also has a lot to offer to anyone who enrolls. Within the Psychology program you will be exposed to a multitude of disciplines within the area of psychology. Classes range from Statistics and Research Methods, to Counseling, Psychobiology, and Cognitive Psychology; among so many more. The Psychology program allows students to chart their path towards a career in Psychology, whether that career is in Counseling, Clinical Psychology, or Research. A degree in psychology can also open doors into related careers in which a background in psychology could be useful; these careers might include Forensic Crime investigation and Marketing, along with a host of other careers. Each of the professors in the program hold a Ph.D. in their respective field of psychology, giving students access to a veritable treasure trove of knowledge.

When I was first applying to colleges I was split on whether I wanted to pursue a degree in Psychology or one in Business Management. This is where the opportunity to complete a double major came into play. By opting to double major, I was able to gain knowledge in both fields that I could apply towards deciding what to do after college. As I said before, I was lucky that my two interests fit together so well. That being said, even if your interests don’t necessarily converge, you should still look into a double major or at least a minor if you have another interest besides your declared program. Not only does this allow you to pursue valuable knowledge, it also makes you more marketable to employers. At a base level, if your future employer sees that you completed an extra major or minor, this indicates to them that you are well-rounded and well-educated. Additionally, it might also indicate that you are a driven individual, and that you are not afraid to take on a challenge. Moreover, the additional major or minor may be a key aspect they were searching for in an employee. For example, if you are a Business Major, it may be beneficial to complete a minor in one or more foreign languages. This way, when applying for jobs you have the added selling point that you are experienced in a number of foreign languages and can communicate with international customers or international business partners.

As I said before, I am completing what is called a dual degree. Completing a dual degree requires good time management skills and the ability to plan ahead in order to make sure you take all your required classes, however if you are willing to put in the effort, this can be a worthwhile venture. There are several distinctions between a double major and a dual degree. When completing a dual degree you are required to complete an additional 30 credit hours of course work in any classes that you choose, bringing the total up to at least 150 credit hours of work upon graduation. Luckily, you can utilize transfer credits from another university or from high school in order to supplement the required credit hours. Additionally, you cannot choose two BA programs or two BS programs; rather one must be a BA and the other a BS. The main distinction between a double major and a dual degree is the outcome. Upon completing a double major you will receive a degree in one of your chosen majors, and the other will be noted on your transcript and you can list it as such on applications. Upon completing a dual degree, you will receive a degree from both majors and can list either or both on your application as such. In simpler terms, with a double major you receive one Bachelor’s degree with a notation of an additional major, and with a dual degree you receive two Bachelor’s degrees. This can be helpful when applying for jobs, as you can fall back on either degree in the event that you cannot find a job. In other words, it gives you some wiggle room when searching for jobs so that you are not locked into one field or the other.


New Exhibit Opening “Spun from Light, Woven in Silence”

It is time once again for me to shamelessly plug one of my own events. The art gallery will be holding an opening for our first exhibit of the semester, on September 6th from 5-7pm. “Spun from Light, Woven in Silence” features the artwork of John Lyon Paul, a local artist based out of Ithaca, New York.  This exhibit is composed of pieces from his series entitled Studies on Mylar and Glass, which currently has 50 paintings and is still growing. I can definitely say that it is one of my favorite exhibits that we have had over the past 4 years I have worked there.

Gallery Opening Sept 6

Paul’s paintings have a depth that can only be fully experienced in person, and his abstract style has appeal for all ages from young to old. The colors seem to almost jump out at the viewer, and Paul’s choice to paint on glass adds a stunning glimmer to his pieces. Along with his beautiful paintings, Paul has presented a collection of wonderfully complex sculptures including two prayer wheels that are fully interactive for guests. Everything down to the lighting becomes part of the sculptures, from the reflections of light to the shadows created in the nooks and crannies.

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The opening is free and open to the public, and will feature light refreshments and music. In addition, the artist will be on hand to talk about his artwork alongside the wonderful art gallery staff. If that isn’t quite enough to get you through the door we will also be holding giveaways for a number of prizes, including a digital picture frame and a portable speaker.

sept 6 prizes at UC Gallery

I hope you can join us for the opening, and if not you can stop in during our normal hours starting Saturday and running through the end of October. For now I’ll leave you with a few more behind-the-scenes preview shots to whet your appetite:

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If you stop by, let me know which piece is your favorite.


Need Something to do this Summer? (Part 2) Arts and Entertainment

Being a local, I get asked a lot by my fellow students where they can go to entertain themselves while they are here for the summer. Maybe you’re taking a summer class, maybe you’ve just gotten an apartment here, or maybe you’re just stuck here because of a job. Either way, you’ll need something to keep yourself busy until classes start up again in the fall.

Arts and Entertainment

All too often the numerous Art venues in the Utica area are overlooked, maybe because they are seen as boring. However, you could easily spend a day venturing into the depths of arts and become lost in their charms. Keeping that in mind, here are a few suggestions of some easy trips you can take to enjoy the arts.

Munson WIlliams Proctor Arts Institute

The Art Museum at Munson Williams Proctor Arts Institute is a great place to spend an afternoon enjoying  both classical and contemporary art as part of their permanent collection. Plus, its free for the public. The museum also holds special exhibitions that you can view for only $10. The museum is open weekly on Tuesday – Saturday from 10am-5pm, and Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. If your hungry you can stop into Terrace Cafe featuring made-to-order sandwiches and daily specials. The Terrace Cafe is open from 11am to 3pm, Tuesday – Saturday, every week. Munson Williams also offers a performing arts series with performances weekly, as well as movie screenings all summer long.

Want more info, Check out Munson Williams at:


Corning Museum of Glass

The Corning Museum of Glass is truly a New York State treasure. The museum displays nearly 3,500 years of history through glass. In addition to the great art work, the museum offers glass blowing demonstrations daily to educate visitors on the process. After you’re done browsing the museums extensive collection of glass work, stop by the gift shop to see the hundreds of handcrafted glass pieces for sale. The museum is open from 9am-8pm, every day, all summer-long. Admission is $16 for adults, $13.60 for college students, and free for anyone 19 and under.

Want a preview? Check out these photos from my last trip to the museum:

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Want to know more, Check out Corning Museum of Glass at:


Barrett Art Gallery – Utica College


Alright, time for some shameless self-promotion. This summer the gallery will, for the first time, be holding an exhibit during the summer for students and community members. “Art in Between” is a collection of works from local artists, exhibiting a range of artistic mediums. Artists include locals, Mary Murphy and J.D. King, Gallery Director Carolynne Whitefeather, Kyle Riecker, Administrative Assistant in the Education Office, as well as professors from the college, Steven Specht, Larry Pacilio, and Nancy Hardy.   The exhibit was organized by yours truly, as part of my summer internship, under the supervision and assistance of gallery director, Carolynne Whitefeather. “Art in Between” will be on display from June 2 through July 25th, Monday-Thursday from 12-4pm.

Check us out at:




If Galleries aren’t really your speed, you could catch a performance at The Other Side or the Stanley Theatre in Utica. Or watch a movie at the Marquee Cinema.

Stay Tuned for the final post of this series “Fun and Games”, where I will highlight a few great places in the area to have fun.


Need Something to do this Summer? (Part 1) The Great Outdoors

Being a local, I get asked a lot by my fellow students where they can go to entertain themselves while they are here for the summer. Maybe you’re taking a summer class, maybe you’ve just gotten an apartment here, or maybe you’re just stuck here because of a job. Either way, you’ll need something to keep yourself busy until classes start up again in the fall.

The Great Outdoors

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is camping, and luckily upstate New York has a plethora of great spots for camping all within a few hours of Utica. By far one of my favorite spots is Limemkiln Lake Campground located in Inlet, NY. Limekiln Lake Campground comes closest to what I like to call “true camping.” What makes Limekiln unique is that you are, quite literally, in the middle of the woods. Although Limekiln has predetermined campsites, they don’t manicure the land. Rather, your campsite is surrounded by thick trees,  flowing rivers, and active wildlife; and to reach your campsite you must navigate a series of rough dirt roads that snake through the campground.


By far the best thing about Limekiln Lake is the lake itself. I have been fortunate enough a few times to get a campsite right on the edge of the water, and there is nothing better than sitting by the fire and looking out over the serene lake to really relax. Likewise, the lake is great for kayaking and canoeing, or even sailing if you can afford it. The lake is dotted with a number of small islands and peninsulas that you can stop off on during your journey.


If being out on the water isn’t  your thing then try the beach, complete with a picnic area and hibachis for grilling. Or try their “Old Dam Nature Trail” that brings you through the woods and past the dam. The trail is a pretty good hike, but I would recommend you tread lightly as the trail isn’t manicured; there are a lot of roots and rocks sticking up out of the ground along the way, so bring a pair of hiking shoes to save yourself from a twisted ankle.



If the “rustic” experience isn’t necessarily your cup of tea, you can try Chenango Valley State Park, located right outside of Binghamton. This state park offers a family friendly camping experience that is even enjoyable for those who hate the outdoors. Chenango Valley Offers a number of Camping Cabins for those opposed to tents, and has a number of campsites designated for RV’s and pop-up campers.


Also, you’re never far from a picnic area or playground to keep those little ones busy. If your the adventurous type, you can try their walking trail, just make sure to bring your bug-spray. The trails are well kept, and markers help guide you throughout the forest and  around the bog.


Or if you prefer you can try the swimming area, with lifeguards on hand to keep the kids safe. Chenango Valley also provides a number of events for campers including Ice-cream socials every Friday night, Bingo nights, and even movie nights. The best part is that you aren’t too far out of the city, so you can easily pick-up any supplies you forgot right in town.

You really can’t go wrong with any of the campgrounds in the area, and if a day trip is more your speed any number of the campsites in the area offer day passes where you can get in for the day and set up on a site to grill and sit around the fire. Or if your looking for a way to burn just a few hours outside you can try any of the walking trails right here in Central New York. My favorite is Erie Canalway Trail in Whitesboro, that takes you along the historic Erie Canal and past a working lock. I used to spend several days a week on the trail taking walks with friends and family enjoying the outdoors.

Where is your favorite place to enjoy the great outdoors?


Tips for Scheduling Classes

With fall registration approaching fast, it is likely that most of us have started at least looking at classes. You may have even started picking classes; or if you’re me you’ve got your entire schedule ready so that you can register right when it opens. If you’re not quite as crazy as me, that’s okay, you still have time. However, you may not want to wait too long before getting a serious idea of how your next semester will  be laid out. For some scheduling classes may seem like a trivial matter, it’s just scheduling classes, right?

I can tell you from experience that the way you set up your schedule can mean the difference between a sweet smooth semester, and months mired in misery (sweet alliterations, huh). Over the years I’ve learned a few things, some the hard way, about scheduling classes. So, lest you make the same mistakes I’ve made, I’ve created a list of some tips that may well save your sanity.

Plan Ahead. This first tip is two-fold, the first thing you need to do is get a plan for your next semester in place before registration begins. I consider myself lucky that as an Honors Student I get priority registration, so I can usually beat people to punch before classes fill up. But, I’ve heard from far too many of my friends how they’ve gotten blocked out of  the class they wanted because it was already full. So keeping this in mind, try to register as soon as it opens for you. If registration opens at 7 am, then get up at 6:30 and have the registration page open and ready for 7. This may seem like overkill, but the quicker you can lock yourself into a class the less chance there is that you won’t be able to get in. Likewise, if by chance there is an issue, you can fix it and get into the class before it is too late.


The second part is more far-reaching. You need to get a rough idea of which major-related classes you need to take each year. Often, there is some leeway in when major-related courses need to be taken, however you need to be mindful of prerequisites and classes that are only offered once a year. Prerequisites can sneak up on even the best of us. You may know that you need to take a 300 or 400 level class in your junior or senior year, but it may have slipped your mind that you need those pesky prerequisites to even get into the class. To avoid having to play catch-up, look ahead at classes you need to take in the future so that you know what needs to be taken first. On the same token, not every class is offered year round. Often, that class you need to graduate is only offered once a year in the fall, or worse once every few years. In order to avoid needing an extra semester, look ahead in your course requirements. Often, it will be listed how frequently that class is offered; this way you know that you absolutely need to take that 300 level class in the fall or else you will fall behind.

Don’t avoid core classes. Despite what you may believe, your program isn’t forcing you to take core classes as torture. The classes you need to take as part of your core requirements will set you up with tools critical to success in your future classes. I can say with confidence that those writing skills you learn in your 100 level English classes will aid you when you need to write a 10 page research paper with internal-citations; and I can assure you your 300 and 400 level professors will expect that you know how to cite before you get into their class. That being said, don’t wait until your junior or senior year to take the bulk of your core requirements. I can imagine nothing more embarrassing than having something go wrong, and having your graduation delayed because you still need to take a freshman history class.

Know your habits and your schedule outside of school. If you tend to sleep late, it may not be wise to take an 8:30 class. Likewise, if your not a night owl, you may try to avoid night classes. Knowing the your habits will aid in selecting the right times and days for classes. Obviously, there are set times when classes are offered. However, if you face the decision between taking a class MWF from 8:30am-9:20am or Monday night from 6:30pm-9:20pm, knowing how you function is key. Moreover, it is important to know your work schedule or sports schedule, so that you can plan accordingly. Especially in the case of on-campus work study jobs, not all jobs have flexible hours. It may be the case that you need to arrange classes so that you leave yourself with time to work.

Don’t overdo it. I can tell you from personal experience that is all too easy to overwhelm yourself with classes, work, and extra-curricular activities. It may be tempting to take 18 credit hours, but make sure that you know what you’re getting into. Those extra 3 credit hours can be the straw that breaks the camels back, if you also need to juggle work and 2 or 3 clubs on the side. That being said, those extra hours can be rewarding in the long run if you know how to handle them.  The bottom line is that you need to make sure you can dedicate the time required for the class without sacrificing your performance in the rest of your classes. Moreover, consider how difficult the classes you are taking will be. It may be best to balance out more difficult, higher level classes with easier classes that you are taking for fun. Don’t try to overdo it with a load of hard classes just because you think it will make things easier in the long-run. Putting in the extra effort can help, but only if you are able to pass your classes.

Talk to your advisor. This should go without saying, but your advisor is there to help you and they can only do that if you ask for it. Luckily, most advisors will require you to come in for a meeting in order to get your registration pin. However, this doesn’t do much good if you don’t come in with questions. Generally, they have a working knowledge of which classes should be taken during which year and moreover they can warn you if a class you need will not be offered again before you graduate. It is best to come in with an idea of which classes you want to take and then you can discuss that with your advisor. Believe it or not, your advisor wants you to succeed, but they can only give you help if you are willing to accept it.


Feeling Tired – Try Improving the Quality of your Sleep

We all know that sleep is very important for our health and well-being, not to mention just functioning well during the day. I’m personally pretty serious about getting my 8 hours every night so I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the next day, and ready to be at the top of my game.


Yet, I noticed that even though I was getting enough sleep I was still tired when I got up, and I stayed tired for most of the day until I climbed back into bed. As college students we aren’t known for keeping the most regular sleep schedule, and sometimes that paper you’re working on at the last minute keeps you up into the wee hours of the morning. However, that tired feeling you have during the day may not be because you aren’t getting enough sleep. Rather, you may not be getting the quality sleep your body needs to recharge. After scouring the internet I’ve found some tips you can employ to avoid being a walking zombie during the day.

Create the proper environment for sleeping. This entails changing a few habits you may have picked up over the years. Experts recommend that you keep the room as dark as possible. This means dimming your digital clocks, turning off the TV, and getting rid of that night-light (not that you still use those). Light is a powerful cue to your brain that you need to wake up, which of course is counter-productive to sleep. Likewise, try to eliminate the most noise possible. You may feel that music helps you relax but it may be placing undue strain on your body during sleep. If you need to listen to something try using a white noise app on your phone to drown out any sounds that may wake you up during the night. Additionally, it is recommended that you keep your bedroom a few degrees colder than you would normally have it during the day, preferably between 60°-75°F, as this helps prevent your internal clock from waking you up unnecessarily during the night. If you have pets, try to prevent them from being in the room if they tend to wake you up. Some even recommend removing electronics from you bedroom entirely, for those in a dorm this may be more a little more difficult. However, the stronger association you can create with your bedroom as a place designated solely for sleep, the  better sleep you will get.

Set a routine. This goes beyond just going to bed and waking up at the same time. Try to establish a relaxing routine that you perform for about a hour before bed. You might get comfortable in bed and read a book, or any other activity you find relaxing. Avoid working and talking about stressful situations, when stressed the brain secretes a chemical called cortisol that promotes alertness, which is counter-productive to relaxation. That being said, establishing a set time for going to bed and waking up is still important. Practicing this type of control helps set your internal clock. However, it may be difficult to get to bed at the same time every night; so your best bet is to establish a set time every morning to wake up. This practice helps to set your internal clock, which in turn allows your body to consolidate sleep better. This means that even if you don’t get a good night’s sleep, your body will make up for it the next night. The most important thing is that you try your best not to deviate from your routine.

Keep Calm. We’ve all been in that situation where all we want to do is fall asleep, but we can’t. This is likely because your trying to hard, and that can lead to stress that will keep you awake. If you can’t fall asleep after about 20 minutes, don’t force it. Try getting up and doing something relaxing for a while in a low-light setting. Once you start feeling tired and your body is ready to sleep, you can return to bed. Likewise, avoid watching the clock; nothing is worse and more stressful than trying to fall asleep with the clock staring you in the face, mocking your inability to fall asleep. Try turning the clock face away from you, or dimming the screen so you can’t read it. Not only will this help you fall asleep faster, but you will be less tempted to check the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night.

Avoid foods and activities that keep you awake. This may seem obvious, but just about everyone is guilty of doing this every once and a while. It should go without saying that your worst enemy is caffeine. This means trying to cut out coffee, soda, and even chocolate for about 4 hours before bed. Likewise, be careful when snacking late at night, it’s okay to eat something light if your hungry. But, that double bean burrito or slice of supreme pizza is asking for trouble with indigestion and insomnia. You should also try to avoid exercising too close to bed, exercise produces cortisol, which interferes with sleep. Try not to exercise within 3-4 hours of going to sleep. Also, try to balance your fluid intake, drink enough so that you don’t wake up thirsty in the middle of the night; and I’m sure I don’t need to warn you about what drinking too much liquid will do. Lastly, control your napping habits. Hopefully, you won’t need to nap if these tips are working; but if you do need a nap, the timing is crucial. Try to nap about midday for 20-30 minutes at most, this will give the boost you need the make it through the rest of the day, but it won’t ruin your sleep schedule.

I’ve tried a few of these ideas myself, and I’ve seen some improvement in the way I feel during the day. At the very least, you might trick yourself into sleeping better just by thinking positively. What do you do to relax after a hard day?


A Little-Known Treasure on Campus

Over the three years I have been working in the Art Gallery on campus, I’ve heard the same question at least 100 times from students: “We have an art gallery?” It’s even possible that you asked the same question as you began reading this post. Though sometimes overlooked, the gallery provides a unique opportunity for students to experience high-quality art right on campus, and it’s free!


Generally, the gallery exhibits two to three shows a semester, each lasting about one or two months long. These exhibits range from local artists like those of the “Utica Camera Club” show, to renowned artists like those exhibited this month in “The Landscape Revisited.” The common theme is the quality of the work that the gallery exhibits. Each show is produced, hung, and advertised by the student staff, under the leadership of the gallery director Carolynne Whitefeather.


In addition to the great exhibits, the gallery provides other services for the college community. The gallery is able to be reserved for meetings by students and staff with the gallery directors approval. Likewise, the gallery regularly shows films and documentaries, while also maintaining a quiet reserved space for students to come study or simply relax after a stressful day.

The gallery also hosts two to three Art Fridays during each semester, which give students the opportunity to relax and hang out while learning how to make fine arts and crafts. These crafts range from holiday themed pieces to creative uses for household items, but all are easy and fun to create. Often, attendees will be entered into a giveaway to win prizes just for showing up.


The gallery is one of the largest employers of students on campus with 16 students currently on staff, each bringing their own skills and experiences to the production and presentation of the exhibit. It is not uncommon for the gallery employees to be responsible for conducting research on upcoming exhibits and projects, as well as pieces contained in the college’s extensive art collection.

The gallery aims to send each student away with something they can use to market themselves to potential employers after they graduate from Utica College. The student employees are thoroughly taught information about the exhibits to provide the best experience for the visitor when they come to the gallery. I would challenge you, perhaps to the dismay of my co-workers, to come down and ask any employee about the artwork. I expect that you will walk away being impressed with the information and insight they can give you.

I personally encourage any student to stop down to the gallery whenever they can, and that’s not just because I work there. Having a knowledge of artwork can really be a selling point when applying for jobs or impressing the higher-ups once you have the job. Also, who wouldn’t want to add a little culture to their lives? I can tell you from personal experience that being able to speak about art will make you seem all that more intelligent.

Want to know more?

You can connect to the Gallery Online at these links:








Walking for a Cause

One of the great things about Utica College is that, for the past seven years, we have played host to America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk. The event put on by the American Heart Association raises awareness for heart related illnesses, as well as money for research in the fight against heart disease and strokes. This year, the event certainly lived up to its name as “America’s Greatest” by raising a grand total of $1,092,129. Over the event’s 40-year history, Central New York has raised upwards of $21 million for the American Heart Association.

Photo from
Photo from

I have been participating in the festivities since I started at Utica College three years ago, but I’ve played witness to the event for most of my life; and this year did not disappoint. The weekend was kicked off on Friday by the Heart Expo held in Utica College’s Clark Athletic Center. The Heart Expo hosts dozens of local vendors, mostly related to heart health but all in support of the American Heart Association. In addition, health professionals are on-hand for a number of free health screenings. This year featured booths for Saranac, NYCM Insurance, and the Center for Donation and Transplant, among others.


The big day was Saturday when nearly 6,443 participants gathered to walk and run in support of heart health. The day consisted of several events including a 30k, a 10-mile, and a 5-mile run, as well as 3 and 5-mile walks. Although the events start from different locations, they all end up at the finish line at Utica College.

Another common factor is Heartbreak Hill, otherwise know as Elm St. in New York Mills. This steep hill is part of the final stretch for each of the events. Luckily, there is always a party on the way up with local DJs, radio stations, and news stations providing music and media coverage during your ascent. Here are a few highlights from my experience walking on Saturday:


It was pretty cold.



Dunkin’ Donuts had their mascots out in full force.


This was relatively close to the front, there was probably twice this amount behind me.


Audie the Mascot for the Utica Comets was on hand for pictures, along with his squad of Comettes.


I made a special effort to find these two after I had seen them last year.




I found a few stragglers from one of the runs dressed as some beloved cereal mascots.


A view from the bottom of Heart Break Hill.


Does anyone want a hug from the First Source Federal Credit Union Big Hug?


Or maybe you’d like a picture with these sweet frogs?

America’s Greatest Heart Run & Walk is by far one of my favorite fundraisers. With most of the money going towards life saving research you can’t go wrong. What is your favorite fundraiser or local event?