You’ve Got a Friend in Me

6. Make a new friend.

Another item on my semester bucket list.  A lot of my friends are seniors this year so they won’t be coming back in the fall.  With this in mind I decided I should try to make a new friend this semester so I wouldn’t be alone next year.  At this point I should add that I’m not the best at making new friends.  I’m actually really shy around new people and a lot of my friends are actually people I met through other mutual friends, so I knew this was going to be a challenge for me.

However, I’m happy to say that I succeeded! I guess in reality I kind of cheated.  I became friends with someone who I was friends with freshman year and kind of grew apart from due to our busy schedules and differing interests.  This semester, though, Frank and I have been reunited!

We’ve already had some great times this semester and I know that next year will be more of the same.  I’m really glad to have “refriended” Frank.

Francis S. Bartkowiak… my new old friend



Animal House

1. Visit the Utica Zoo.

At the beginning of this semester I made a semester long bucket list.  A few weekends ago my parents and one of my brothers came to visit me and I finally accomplished my goal of visiting the Utica zoo!

I honestly didn’t know much about the zoo here before I went.  I thought it was just a small local zoo, but I was pleasantly surprised.  There are a wide variety of animals at the zoo including different types of primates, birds, reptiles, lions, zebras, and more.  There was even an area with farm animals like goats and pigs that you could feed.  One of my favorite animals there were the peacocks.  I had never seen an albino one before and it was really cool.

IMG_1029    IMG_1045

I’m really glad I got to visit the zoo and I definitely recommend it to anyone looking for something to do in the Utica area.  It is well worth the visit and students get a discount!


The Science of Awesome

In order to fulfill my core requirements I’m currently enrolled in Chem 105, Chemistry of Everyday Things.  This is a non-major lab science class, so it’s perfect for someone who, like me, has little to no background knowledge in science.  Over the course of this semester we’ve done a lot of really interesting and fun experiments.  We’ve made tie-dye shirts that won’t fade, we’ve mixed scents to come up with different fragrances (with admittedly mixed results as mine was voted to smell like awful death by the class), and we did a CSI investigation lab.

These were all really cool, but this past week we did my favorite by far.  To quote my friend and fellow blogger Elaine, it was definitely Highlight of My Week worthy. We were testing the pH of various household objects using only cabbage juice! First we put 11 buffer solutions with pH 2-12 in different test tubes, and then 5 household items in other test tubes. Then, after boiling the cabbage (the smell was really the only downside, but all magic comes with a price!), we put a little in each of the test tubes and watched the magic happen!


Each of the liquids turned a different color based on their pH and we compared the unknowns to the buffers in order to determine their pH.  I loved the colors so much, it was like a rainbow.  One of the best parts was coming up with the descriptions of each color for our lab report.  We had everything from neon lilac to emerald mermaid and jalapeno green.  Definitely a highlight of my week.



Lunar New Year

Last weekend the Asian Student Union hosted their 5th annual banquet in honor of the Lunar New Year.  The Lunar New Year celebration lasts 15 days, the first of which usually occurs between January 21st and February 20th depending on the cycle of the moon.  The celebration culminates with the Lantern Festival on the last night.

The years follow a 12 year cycle, denoted by the 12 different animals of the Chinese Zodiac.  2015 is the year of the sheep.

The ASU banquet had singing and a demonstration by the akido club here at Utica College.  They also provided a history of the celebration and great food! It was a lot of fun and I’m really glad Utica College provides such great opportunities to learn about other cultures.  I definitely plan on attending next year too!




Cinderella Made It to the Ball

Time to cross the first thing off my semester bucket list!!

  1. ATTEND CRYSTAL BALL (finally)

In the years that I have been going to Utica College I had never gone it to Crystal Ball.  My freshman year I did actually attend, but I was there for all of 10 minutes before my friend discovered he was sick and we all left to bring him back to campus.  Sophomore year I was in France for the spring semester so obviously I couldn’t attend.  Each year I always heard about how great Crystal Ball was and how much fun everyone had so I was determined to actually go while I still have to friends here to go with.  And it definitely did not disappoint!

My fellow bloggers Elaine, Karita and I waiting for the shuttles in our snow boots.

Crystal Ball is one of the events held annually here at Utica College and it is a much anticipated event.  The Residence Hall Association puts it on every year and they do a great job.  It’s an off campus event, this year it was at Twin Ponds, and is a chance for everyone to dress up and have a good time while getting a change of scenery.  Plus there are free shuttles to and from so no one has to worry about transportation.

All dressed up at Twin Ponds.

There was a DJ playing music, and a buffet with great food and my friends and I spent the night dancing and making use of the awesome photo booth (which is always fun).  The theme this year was “An Evening in Paris” so RHA gave everyone Eiffel Tower keychains as a souvenir.



2015 Here I Come

Hey Guys!

It’s the start of a new semester here at Utica and I’m really excited.  Last semester was very stressful for me.  I had a lot of difficult classes and all of the organizations I’m in took up most of my spare time.  It was my first semester back after studying abroad in France and the transition back proved to be somewhat harder than I thought it would be.  The lifestyle is different and I had some trouble getting back into the swing of things here, but with the fall behind me I’m ready to have a great spring semester.

I’m really excited about my classes this semester, they seem really interesting.  I also managed to have my friends in most of them so that’s awesome too!  I’m back on the radio this semester with 3BL on Mondays 3pm-5pm so definitely give it a listen (shameless promotion).  There are some really great events this semester too which is exciting.  And I definitely plan on blogging more so you can hear all about the awesome things happening on campus!  It’s my last semester as a Junior and next year is going to be intense so I’m definitely planning on making the most of this semester before my Senior friends graduate.

As a way to accomplish this I’m making a bucket list for this semester.  A lot of people do this for their Senior year but since some of my closest friends are Seniors and have made their own for this year I figured now is a good time to start mine too.  So here it is my Senior (Almost) Year Bucket List…

  1. Visit the Utica Zoo. I love zoos and in all my time here I have yet to go.
  2. Take advantage of all the fun events on campus.
  3. Do something that scares me.
  4. Do well in my classes.
  5. Keep the stress level a lot lower than last semester.
  6. Make a new friend. With some of my friends graduating this year, I think it’s time to expand my friend circle.
  7. Attend a sporting event. Honestly I’m not even sure which sports happen in the spring…
  8. ATTEND CRYSTAL BALL (finally)
  9. Try food from a different country. Utica has a lot of restaurants that serve different countries’ food.
  10. Stay healthy and be happy.

Stressing Out

Stress (n.)- a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances As college students we can all pretty much agree that stress is a fact of life.  It’s pretty much inescapable.  I am the kind of person who is ALWAYS stressed about something.  I even get stressed for other people.  If I find out one of my friends is procrastinating on a paper or something, I will be stressed out about it for them until it gets done.  Literally, other people’s lives give me agita. The thing is, we are all so stressed all the time that it seems like we’re getting to the point where we almost can’t function without stress.  I know I leave things to the last-minute even when I have plenty of time to get them done, and so do my friends.  Ask any chronic procrastinator and they will respond, “I work better under pressure”.  But is that really a good thing? The short answer is obviously no.  Stress can lead to a lot of mental and physical problems, but yet we seem to constantly put ourselves in stressful situations and stress out about things we can’t control ( i.e. my friends’ study habits).  In my opinion there are a lot of factors contributing to this, but one of the major ones is also one of the hardest to avoid. One of, in my opinion, the best things about Utica College is the variety and multitude of things happening on campus.  We have numerous clubs and organizations. with new ones forming all the time.  We also have varsity and intramural athletics, on campus job opportunities and internships, as well as events happening nearly everyday.  (That’s not even mentioning the classes, homework, and friends you’ll have)  Any time a group of students here is asked to give advice to incoming first years the most common answer is “get involved”.  And how can you not?  With such a range of exciting things happening, getting involved is easy and lots of fun.  The stress part comes from over-involvement.  It’s easy to look at all the groups on campus and want to be a part of everything.  And at first it might seem easy to balance them all too.  But as the semester goes on and workloads increase you’ll soon find yourself running between classes and meetings and getting a lot less sleep than you should be. I’m definitely not saying don’t get involved.  I’m involved in a bunch of orgs and I work on campus while balancing a double major and minor.  It’s definitely possible.  As a Junior here I feel like I can offer some valuable advice though… slow down and breathe.  Take some time for yourself at least once a week.  Time when you’re not thinking about everything you have to do when you can just relax a little bit.  Personally, I drink a lot of tea, go for runs, and do yoga once a week with my friends.  Find something that works for you and do it!! IMG_0330


Gone Farming

This semester I joined Asa Gray here on campus. Honestly I mostly joined because one of my good friends, MaryEllen, is a member and their meetings are really short which is fantastic for someone who is always busy like me. This past Sunday I took part in my first event as a member…I went farming.

I’m definitely not what anyone would call a girly-girl but to be honest I left my days of digging in the dirt behind well before I finished middle school.  When I told my family about my farming adventure the general response was “but you don’t like thing like that…”  which is not necessarily false.  I’m not much for yard work or anything like that at home.  However, I have recently become really interested in the environment and sustainable living so naturally the idea of farming has grown (see what I did there?) on me.

We went to a family owned farm in Chittenango called Hartwood Farm.  The owners were extremely friendly and gave us a tour of the property and explained everything.  We even got to see their pigs and chickens! After the tour we helped them pick some of the produce (Swiss Chard to be exact) and then brought it back to Utica with us to donate to the food pantry and Hope House.  I learned a lot about sustainability and the difficulties of farming ( a lot can go wrong very easily) and I got to spend time with people I didn’t know before.

I held a chicken!
I held a chicken!

Overall I had a great time.  Farming is definitely hard work, I was tired after just 3 hours so I have no clue how people do that all day everyday! But at the same time that’s definitely something I am interested in learning more about.  One of the owners talked with me about this program called WWOOF.  It stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and is basically a network of organic farms around the world that invite people to come and live and work on their farms for different periods of time.  The idea is to provide the farms with the needed manpower during busy seasons and help people learn about sustainability and farming at the same time.  This is definitely something that I am going to look into more in the future.



Hello All!  My name is Laura and this is my first post as a student blogger.  Since my basic bio is already available in my bio I figured I would answer some more unique questions about myself for you to get to know me.  I found these questions on the internet as part of the question game so here we go…

1. A city you would like to go visit?

Well, I’ve traveled a lot so far but one place I haven’t been that I would love to go is Rabat (the capital of Morocco).  It seems like such a beautiful and fascinating place. Plus I really want to ride a camel…

IF you’re interested in some of my previous travels, I kept a blog while I studied abroad last semester so feel free to check it out

2. Pepsi or Coke?

I have to say neither. I don’t drink soda anymore, that’s me trying to be healthy.

3. Favorite quote from anyone?

“Do I dare disturb the universe?”- T.S. Elliot

4. If you were to have a superpower, what would yours be?

My superpower would be flight.  I know that’s kind of cliche but not only would I be able to get places faster I would also experience the complete freedom of soaring above the Earth on my own through the clouds… It’s an escape plan built in.

5. Favorite season?

Definitely Autumn!! I love everything about it!

6. Any book you’re currently reading or any recommendation?

My recommendation is always The Giver by Lois Lowry.  It is my all time favorite book.  A lot of people had to read it in school at some point but personally I think it’s worth a second look now that we’re older and aren’t going to be tested on it.

7. Any siblings?

I have two older brothers.  One is 26 and the other is 23, making me the baby at 20.  I love them both and wouldn’t trade them for the world.

8. Your favorite fruit?

This is really hard because I’m a big fruit person, I love them all. I guess I would say raspberries or kiwis (its a tie).

9. If the world were to end tomorrow, the very final thing you would do is?

If the world were going to end I would be completely honest.  I feel like everyone (me included) is so concerned with what other people think that we aren’t honest with each other or ourselves.  So I would use my last day to change that.

10. What is something you regret?

I don’t actually regret anything. (NO RAGRETS!!) I believe that every choice I have made has lead me to where I am today and I wouldn’t want to change that.  Yes I have made some unfortunate choices but I learned from those and grew as a person so I don’t regret them, life is too short.