Graduation, Here I Come!

This is my last month of college classes. Ever.* And in order to celebrate the end of an era I am going to do a countdown of sorts as some of my final blog posts. This is going to be a pseudo bucket list of sorts, and I intend to produce (photographic) evidence that I’ve actually completed my tasks. So, stay tuned. And check out the list of things I am going to (attempt) to complete before the end of the semester rolls around.

  1. Work out at “The Hutt” aka the Dome!
  2. Swim in the pool! (My entire time at Utica College I have never gone in the pool…)
  3. Check a book out from the library…a book for lesiure. (Not something to be used for a paper/research. For fun.)
  4. Organize a friend “family” dinner. Cook actual food. (…learn to cook actual food.)
  5. Attend an annual event on campus that I have never attended before.
  6. Pull an all nighter for some reason other than schoolwork. Watch the sunrise.
  7. Wear sweatpants to class. (I’ve literally never done this. Surprising, I know.)
  8. Write a cover letter. Actually try to perfect my resume.
  9. Apply for some jobs and stop stressing when someone asks me the “dreaded question”.
  10. Plan a huge-elaborate event with one of my orgs…and get other orgs involved!
  11. Get to know someone that I haven’t known before. (Make a new friend.)
  12. Find a new resturant in Utica and buy myself a fancy dinner. “Treat yo’ self”
  13. Thank my professors for everything they have done for me. Find a way to actually show my grattitude.
  14. Decorate my graduation cap. (…actually buy my graduation apparel.)
  15. Walk across the stage and get my diploma!

*Well, until I decide if I want to continue with a further degree…that decision is unknown as of right now

 

I’m simultaneously thrilled and terrified at this upcoming month, but I’m sure it will be filled with many unforgettable moments. I’ve always believed in the tired and true saying to “live in the moment” but, this month will see me fully embracing the motto. Here’s to April and here’s to the now.

 

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Club Spotlight: UCEMS

I’m a proud member of several diverse and interesting organizations. From the Gay-Straight Alliance, to the Biology Club, to the Residence Hall Association…one of my favoite things about Utica College is the sheer number of organizations that are available for students to join and become a part of.

One of the newer organizations on campus is the Utica College EMS (Emergency Medical Services). The organization is open to anyone interested in helping out with emergency assistance and care on campus. However, students that are trained as EMTs and have recieved their state certification are given the position of Captain, and are the main respondants from the organization to any on-campus situations. If you aren’t EMT certified, never fear! They do offer first aid certification training for their “assistant responders.”

The organization is certified through the state and campus safety, and now they are fully allowed to respond to emergency medical situations on campus. Plus, the coolest part about the org is the hard work all of the members put in to actually bring the idea of an on-campus, student-run, emergency medical service to life.

One of the integral founding members is Anthony Scalise, a sophomore Biology major. He now holds a captain position within the organization and I was given the opporunity to sit down and chat with him about his endevaor to create the Utica College EMS.

Anthony was very enthusiastic with how awesome reception has been to the new organization. It is great that students that are trained to respond to incidences will have the opportunity to use those skills. However, he did stress that “if people have a medical emergency, call campus safety and they will notify us. “*

We chatted about a few of their events and he mentioned how they were on for the heart run and their presence was seen by all as they responded to events. Plus, they will be in charge of all medical calls for the 2nd annual upcoming Relay For Life! Not only with the organization be on call for the event, but they also will be walking in the event. Currently they are number two for all clubs on campus as they have raised over $800 for the charitable cause!

Congratulations to Anthony and the entire Utica College Emergency Medical Services on a sucessful inagural year as an organization!

*To be clear, campus safety still responds to all on-campus incedences first. UCEMS is a supplemental service avilable to the Utica College community.

EMS members Ann, Megan, and Anthony

 

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Beating the Winter Blahs

Every year around mid-winter I feel my temperament start to drop and my spirits sink. It’s not that I’m sad, it’s just that winter, as a season, is pretty draining! While winter can be fun for the first few months, by the time February rolls around, the cold and dreary weather has gotten to be mundane and tiring.

The dreary feeling many people experience during the winter season can be due to seasonal affective disorder (SAD) which is a serious thing that afflicts people every year, and if you have it, take it seriously! However, winter can still make you feel down even if you’re not afflicted by the depression. So, anyone can follow these tips just to cheer up the winter days a bit more. Plus, before we know it, Spring will be here again!

My only disclaimer is that these are (by no means) fool proof ways to have happy days. I just know what I do to cheer myself up a little bit on the worst of the cold and snowy days, so I’m spreading the knowledge on to you!

Grow something- Seeing something grow during the winter is a super rewarding. All that white outside? Make it green inside!

(My little bud! I can't wait for her to bloom. I named her Petulia.)
(My little bud! I can’t wait for her to bloom. I named her Petulia.)

Drink a warm beverage- It makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Duh. Nah, what’s better than holding a nice cup of hot chocolate?

(One of my favorites from the bistro is the venti mocha, it's the pick-me-up that is always needed!)
(One of my favorites from the Bistro is the venti mocha, it’s the pick-me-up that is always needed!)

Go to the movies- Step out of your comfort zone, get off the couch, grab some popcorn, some friends and go! Bonus points if you see something you never thought you would!

(I went to the art museum Munson Williams to go see Carol, a film I didn't think I would go and see.)
(I went to the art museum Munson Williams to go see Carol, a film I didn’t think I would go and see.)

Try something new- “When’s the last time you did something for the first time”? There’s loads of winter activities! Go skiing, ice skating, or sledding.

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My radio show is my something new! I’ve had shows in the past, but never by myself! So this semester I decided to just jump right in.

Resist the urge to stay in bed all day- Ever feel more tired after a long day in bed than when you’re mobile? Keep going! Netflix and chill isn’t for everyday!

Exercise- 30 minutes of exercise can keep your mind de-stressed. Head to the Dome and get a good workout in! Don’t feel like running? Get on the bike and enjoy a good book or catch up on your favorite shows! There’s your Netflix and chill.

Winter can be tough! But I have faith we will all make it through. See you on the other side my friends.

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Student + Aid = Opportunity

A few Tuesdays ago, I was given the opportunity to speak with several lawmakers in the New York State Capitol about something that is very near (and dear) to my own heart and I’m sure most students’ hearts… financial aid.

Student Advocacy Day is an annual day at the Capitol Building in Albany where students essentially lobby for programs such as TAP (tutition assitance program) and various opportunity programs (C-step and HEOP). Students are encouraged to share personal struggles and triumphs in order to encourage policians to support the various programs.

In all, there were over a dozen Utica College students there to represent our student body. I had friends come from out of state and even out of the country, because most people can see how essential state aid is to some of our most deserving classmates and friends.

I recieve New York State funding, and for that I am grateful. My mother worked hard to get me where I am, but when it came time to choose a school…money was a huge factor in my decision. Fortunately, I was awarded some UC scholarships and the rest of the cost was substantially cut because of my aid. I was fortunate to have people rooting for students like me in the Capitol building.

So, I looked at Advocacy Day as a way to give back. I wanted to be present and share my story, as a graduating senior, so others would be able to have the same experiences that I have had. Plus, the day in a whole was so fun! We got to meet influential lawmakers and even had a tour of the New York State Capitol building, a day well spent if you ask me!

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My friend (and fellow blogger!) Courtney and I, posing with some signage!
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The floor of the capitol building. …I really liked the design!
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The floor where the assembly men…assemble!
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A little photobooth fun!

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Utica College Choir: The Rockstars of UC

Ever since I was a little girl, singing has always been my favorite past time. I sing when I’m happy, stressed, excited, sad, bored, etc. My mom tells stories of how I would sit alone in my room for hours and just narrate what I was doing through song.

So, imagine my happiness when I found out that I could continue my love of singing when I enrolled as a student at Utica College. (Actually, you don’t have to imagine my happiness because I’m going to tell you all about it…)

The Utica College choir is a student, faculty and alumni choir that is under the direction of David Kolb, a professor here at UC. Participation in choir can range anywhere from students who have never sung before that are taking it as a course, to people like myself, that have sung in a choir since they were 9. My favorite thing about the UC Choir is that it is a welcoming environment for all abilities.

We rehearse every single Tuesday night from 6:30-8:30. (No worries though, we get a 10 minute break to relax and grab a coffee if we need one!) We typically perform 3-4 times a semester, whether at our own concerts or at sporting events singing the national anthem. Concerts and events range from dressy attire to UC apparel, and we always sport our UC Choir scarves or ties.

The songs the choir sings range from typical choir selections, such as Broadway pieces and traditional vocal selections, to more contemporary pieces; one of my favorite pieces the choir has ever performed was my sophomore year when we sang Queen’s Somebody to Love. The songs are always varied, and Director Kolb tries to add variety to every concert lineup.

This past Wednesday we had our “Lunch Hour Series” concert, which is a part of the Professor Harry F. and Mary Ruth Jackson concert series that, according to the UC website, “presents a series of musical and literacy programs each semester.” (Learn more about the lunch hour series here) The concert is open to the public, and always has a good turn-out of students, faculty, staff, and community members.
The Utica College choir is something I encourage all students to participate in. Even if you doubt your singing abilities, singing in a choir can help to foster a sense of music that you might not have even known you had. Plus, the UC Choir is a small choir that allows for close interactions with fellow singers; I enjoy just hanging out with choir members! So, think about joining choir next time you find yourself bored on a Tuesday night, we always welcome new members!

 

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EFT- Electric Fuerza Talent Show

Fuerza Latina, a student organization on the Utica College campus, “fulfills a common need to share rich Latino/a heritage and unites all Latino brothers and sisters in a mutual bond.” (According to their pioneer place.)

 

Every year the organization holds a talent show that they encourage all members of the UC community to participate in. They held open auditions this year during the month of October and advertised throughout the campus so that everyone would know about the opportunity to showcase their skills. Any talent is encouraged and welcome! (Dancing, singing, spoken word, comedy, etc.)

 

The cumulation of all of those auditions and rehearsal times for the selected performers was this past Saturday. Doors opened for the talent show at 5 with festivities being kicked off right away by DJ Rey Stacks, a student from UC, playing music and pumping up the crowd. The theme of the talent show was Electric Fuerza Talent show, so Strebel Auditorium, where the event took place, was decked out with glow sticks and balloons. Fuerza Latina even handed out glow sticks to audience members and it was a fun and poppin’ environment to wait for the show to start in.

 

I actually decided to audition this year, being that it’s my senior year and all, it was my last chance! I made it into the show and actually performed an acoustic cover of Adele’s “Hello” with my resident, Fredo, playing guitar. It actually was one of my favorite performances to date. There’s just something about being able to do what you love in front of people that really want to see you do well. The audience would clap and cheer for every single performer, and the environment was so encouraging. People would shout out for performers and were waving their glow sticks during slower performances, it was like a concert at certain points!

 

The winner(s) of the show this year was AIM, or Africa in Motion, a dance crew from Utica College. They performed a moving piece about the Black Lives Matter movement, and it was incredible to see them portray such strong emotions and concern for social activism through their dance skills. They really deserved to win. In fact, every performer really put an incredible amount of effort into their performances and it showed. Even performers from other schools were invited to showcase their talents, and they all were amazing.

 

Fuerza Latina hosts the talent show every year and it is always a widely attended event. So, next year be on the lookout for their annual show and head to it! It’s a guaranteed good time. Maybe even work up the courage to audition? I mean, it only took me 4 years? So what have you got to lose?

 

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(The winners from this year’s show!)
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(A snapchat of me singing snapped by my friend!)

 

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Tried By Twelve or Carried By Six

This past weekend I attended the Utica College production of, Tried by Twelve or Carried By Six. The play was actually written and directed by Shannon Enders, a professor of Theater right here at Utica College! The production detailed the lives and stories of police officers, firemen, and citizens pertaining to the issue of human rights, specifically focusing on the #blacklivesmatter movement.

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(The program for the production.)

The production boasted a cast full of talented student actors that were brave enough to tackle some heavy storylines pertaining to race issues. The play detailed riots, gun violence, racism, and the actions taken by police officers while in the field. While the issues were heavy, the play never felt too somber; there were a few “well-timed” funny moments which helped to carry the play. While the play did focus on the severity of scenes depicted, it did not completely stray from humoring the audience.

My favorite storyline focused on a young black woman who was cleaning up after a riot. She was upset and exclaiming how the people who were sabotaging the firemen and police were actually sabotaging their community’s own safety. She was upset and was ranting about how individuals that were choosing to riot were actually harming their own neighbors. Yet, the delivery of the lines was comical at times. There were moments when she would aggressively start sweeping in time with her angry musings, and she would complain about how stupid the individuals were. It felt very real. The actress portraying the individual was only a freshman! Her acting abilities were quite impressive.

Actually, the entire cast was very impressive. Each student had all of their lines memorized, and were able to realistically portray intense situations and characters, which is no easy task.

After the production, audience members were invited to discuss the scenes that they had seen throughout the show. It was actually revealed during this discussion that several audience members were actually the policemen or firemen that had their stories portrayed in the play. Shannon Enders, the author, had interviewed people from the surrounding areas to get their take on issues and to hear their stories. During the discussion, an older gentleman actually raised his hand and discussed his storyline that was portrayed in the play.

Being able to actually hear from the people that the production was based on was an amazing experience. Hearing first hand about such poignant issues such as race and racism from people that actually experienced it was memorable and my favorite thing about the production.

While the run of the play might be over, the theater department puts on a production every semester! So, I strongly encourage everyone to attend the play for the next semester! (Or audition!) If the next play is anything like this past one, it is sure to be a hit!

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(I had to snap a final pic of the cast!)
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NEACURH

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the NEACURH conference held at SUNY Geneseo. NEACURH is the North Eastern affiliate of NACURH which stands for the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. It’s basically an organization that is who our own RHA, or residence hall association, reports to.

I was invited to go to the conference because I am a member of Utica College’s RHA. The president, my friend George, and another member, Sara, went as well. Our advisor, Marissa Finch, also accompanied us. (She actually drove…so I guess we accompanied her…)

The conference was themed “Marty and the Chocolate Factory.” (Marty is the name of the NEACURH mascot, which is a moose.) So everywhere you turned there was a candy themed this and that.

I really enjoyed the conference because it was a great opportunity for our RHA to network with other colleges and their own organizations. I actually have so many ideas for potential events and different ways to ensure that a large number of individuals get involved. It was so cool being able to talk to other individuals that have the same goals and the same mindset as myself and my friends!

If you’re interested in a fun time, join RHA! They tons of events planned for the rest of the semester and the upcoming one as well! Meetings are Wednesdays at 2:00pm in Bell Conference Room. Plus, if you join UC’s RHA you’ll have the opportunity to attend a NEACURH event in the future!

 

(George, Sara, and I getting into the NEACURH spirit!)
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National Coming Out Day!

The Gay-Straight Alliance is an organization on the UC campus that I am fortunate to be a part of. The GSA tries to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for any individuals that are a part of the UC community, regardless of sexuality.

A great part about the organization is their work to further the education and knowledge of all individuals with regard to the lgbtqia+ community. They do that by providing safe spaces at their meetings, at bonding nights, and at events that are held through out the semester.

One event that happened last Thursday was the annual “Coming Out Stories” event that showcased GSA members and non-members telling their stories about how they decided to come out with their sexuality. The event is one of my favorites to attend because it showcases the true struggles that some people have to go through to become comfortable and confident with who they are. …Not all of the stories are sad though! Some are quite funny, depending on the story.

If you missed out on the heartfelt event, no worries! There are loads of Gay-Straight Alliance events planned for the rest of this semester and next! And, the event is annual because it is done in honor of National Coming Out Day that is every year in October… so be sure to catch it next year!

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(The GSA had some pretty cool tshirts to advertise for the event this year.)
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(Jeff, an area coordinator for tower/bell and alumni, came up to tell his story.)
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(The GSA fam after the event.)
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Spooky Activities This Fall

The Utica Area is a local area that is obsessed with Fall. You think I say this lightly? I do not. Being a Utica native myself, I can say with the utmost confidence that Fall is truly the season meant for Central New York.

There are apples to pick at local orchards, vegetables to snag at farmers markets, trees to oogle at up North, as well as spooky activities to be frightened by. With Fall being a local favorite, anything Halloween related is also well-within the favorites range.

Some of my favorite local things to do just so happen to be of the Halloween variety. Lucky for all locals and visitors, the Oneida County Tourism Department puts out a handy brochure of all ghost and goblin filled Halloween-esque events.  So take a look at the pictures below and see if any events peak your thrill-seeking fancy. I know I’ll be headed to a few of the events as well!

Enjoy the season! And be sure to check out as many local events as you can! Take advantage of the Fall weather…because before we know it, snow will be here. (Which brings with it a whole host of winter events to be taken advantage of!)

Happy early Halloween!

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