Awards Season (HOMW 11)

Another week has passed us, friends! I would like to share a moment with you all from this past Sunday.

HOMW 11: AWARDS SEASON

As the semester is quickly wrapping up, there have been many festivities celebrating the successes of the academic year. I love getting together with students, faculty, and staff and reflecting on all of the progress that we made during the last two semesters. This past weekend was especially special to me because of the Student Recognition Brunch that took place in the library concourse.

The brunch was a special ceremony that celebrated an array of students, from those with academic achievements to individuals who have contributed to areas such as Greek life, theater, and diversity on campus. I loved hearing the achievements of my fellow students and congratulating them on their hard work.

Some of our lovely UC GSA members! Lindsay, me, Imani, Maryellen, and Courtney!
Some of our lovely UC GSA members! Lindsay, me, Imani, Maryellen, and Courtney!

 

The Gay-Straight Alliance won the Outstanding Club/Organization Award from Student Senate, which was a huge honor for us. I myself was also recognized for several awards that noted my scholastic merit as well as my involvement on campus. Overall, the brunch was a very enjoyable event and was a great start to my week!

My boyfriend Ryan and I after the brunch!
My boyfriend Ryan and I after the brunch with some of my awards!
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You’ve Got to Have Nerve (HOMW 10)

Hi, everyone! My highlight this week happened on Thursday and Friday, and once again relates to my awesome poetry workshop course, ENG 407.

HOMW 10: YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE NERVE

One of my favorite things about Utica College is that there are many excellent guest speakers who present at the college each semester. I have been to cyber security presentations, poetry readings, etiquette dinners, biology seminars, and musical recitals, just to name a few!

This past Thursday evening, I attended a poetry reading by Suzanne Cleary. She was awarded the 2014 Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, and when she read excerpts from her book Beauty Mark, it was clear why she was chosen for this award! Cleary’s writing was hilariously entertaining, and her energetic delivery of her work added to its charm. Every person in the Carbone Auditorium (which was so full that extra chairs had to be brought in!) found themselves laughing out loud during the reading. Cleary was by far one of the most entertaining and fun speakers I have ever had the pleasure of listening to, and I was surprised by how quickly the hour presentation flew by.

After the reading, copies of Beauty Mark were available for purchase, and many people had their copies signed by Ms. Cleary herself. My friend Nicole, who is also in my poetry workshop class, loves her personalized copy of the book!

Nicole and her autographed book!
The beautiful Nicole showing off her autographed book!

 

As if this experience wasn’t awesome enough already, the next day, Suzanne Cleary was our guest poet in our advanced poetry workshop class. We read our poems to the class and discussed them with one another as usual, except this class, Cleary was there to add in her own feedback and help us with the creative process. I learned so much from her, and was really grateful to have a different perspective. One of the things Cleary said that really stuck with me involved a poem I had written that was humorous and had a surprise twist at the end- similar to many of Cleary’s own poems. She said, “In order to embrace the pure silliness of poetry, you’ve got to have nerve. And you definitely have it here in this poem!”  She was extremely supportive of every student in the class’ writing and made for a very fun class.

Another shot of Nicole's personalized copy of Beauty Mark.
Another shot of Nicole’s personalized copy of Beauty Mark.

 

ENG 407 is always a highlight of my week (in fact, I’ve chosen it as the HOMW twice- here and here), but the guest poet this week made the class exceptionally wonderful!

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EH440 (HOMW 9)

Another week has flown by already, can you believe it? It is bittersweet to only have a few weeks left of the semester. This week’s Highlight Of My Week is definitely something I will remember long after graduation!

HOMW 9: EH440

As a WPNR Production and Public Relations staff member, I sometimes get amazing opportunities at the Utica College radio station, 90.7 FM. This past week, my friends Laura, Karita and I were offered the chance to interview the Canadian a capella group Eh440 on our show 3BL. We immediately accepted the offer and eagerly anticipated the interview.

On Tuesday afternoon, we called the group from the road, since they are currently on tour. We spoke to Joe, a member of Eh440, live on the air, which was a little nerve-wracking, but definitely a lot of fun! It was especially exciting to talk to Joe because Eh440 was going to be coming to UC the next day to perform via the Utica College Programming Board, so we asked him many questions to help our listeners get an idea of what to expect at the show the next day. We also played a question game that had Joe naming the first thing that popped into his head when we said a category (for example, he answered that Eh440 as a color is red, as a type of weather is a thunderstorm, and as a major at UC is philosophy). The interview was a great experience and made me love my job at WPNR even more than I already do, which I didn’t think was even possible!

But my highlight doesn’t stop there! The next day, Karita and I ran into Eh440 when they arrived at UC before their performance. We spoke to them as they set up (mostly just about how funny our interview was since it was all live and we were all nervous of messing up and being immortalized forever on the airwaves as fools).

Once showtime rolled around, Karita, Laura and I ended up sitting front and center in the Pioneer Pub and dancing and singing along with the group from our table. They put on an amazing show full of catchy original songs as well as outstanding covers and even some fun song medleys. Each and every member of the group is insanely talented, from the beat boxers to the harmonizing female vocalists to the male vocalists with crazy vocal ranges. The students who packed the Pub to see Eh440 that night were all blown away! The group was funny, spunky, and always kept you guessing what would happen next. It was one of the best shows I have seen at a UCPB Pub Night in all of my four years here at UC.

After the show, we stuck around like the crazy fangirls we are and ended up talking to the group (can you believe they aren’t fans of Degrassi? I am still trying to work through the emotional turmoil of learning that. Good thing I am a psych major) and enjoying F’Real milkshakes from the Pioneer Cafe together. Going to a small college definitely has its perks, and hanging out with unbelievably talented members of a touring a capella group is definitely one of them!

Unfortunately, we never got a picture with the group, as we talked right until they had to hit the road again. So, I guess you will just have to take my word for it this time when it comes to my highlight of the week. However, if one day I end up in Canada as a personal assistant to an awesome a capella group and am being fed meals made by a certain part time culinary expert who is a member of the group, well… don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Have a great week, everyone!

PS: If you want to learn more about Eh440, you can go to their website here! And you can stay up-to-date on future UCPB events by checking out their schedule here!

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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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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.

IMG_2270
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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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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The Friday Afternoon Time Warp (Highlight of My Week: Week 1)

Hi everyone!

This semester, I have decided to reflect at the end of each week and share with you a moment that was a highlight of that week. Last semester was a whirlwind of meetings, classes, appointments, events, forums, office hours, and library sessions- by the end of the term, I was pretty burnt out, to say the least! One of the things I want to focus on this semester is having some down time and enjoying the moment more, rather than over-scheduling myself. I think that consciously spending time each week to reflect on the things that occurred will help with this mission. So, seeing as last week was the first full week of classes, here is my weekly highlight!

HIGHLIGHT OF MY WEEK (HOMW) 1: THE FRIDAY AFTERNOON TIME WARP

A little background: I am currently enrolled in a class titled ENG 407: Advanced Poetry Workshop. This class is a continuation of ENG 307: Beginning Creative Writing. I took 307 last semester on a whim because I heard that it was taught by a really funny professor, and I hadn’t taken a creative writing course since high school. The class ended up being my favorite class of the semester, and I was happy to enroll in 407 this semester to continue learning from Dr. Leising, who always challenges the class to write in different, unique, and fun ways.

407 is a bit different from 307, mainly because it focuses primarily on poetry writing, rather than a variety of types of writing (creative non-fiction, for example). Furthermore, my 407 class has only a handful of students in it (seven, to be exact), which allows us to spend some serious quality time reviewing and discussing one another’s work. This makes the workshop a very thought-provoking and fun class; I know that I am going to get to read some awesome poems when I go to class, have quality conversation with my fellow students about the creative process, and will get some sincere feedback on my writing that will help me improve. Plus, as a psychology major, I love that I am in a class with mainly English majors, because it allows me to view things from a different perspective and broaden my frame of thinking.

Anyway, onto the highlight of my week! On Friday, my class was so invested in our workshop that we ended up going over the class time by 15 minutes. Usually, students will be a bit fidgety towards the end of class, especially during a 75-minute time block. However, none of us even noticed the time; we were really enjoying our conversations with one another and had no idea that we were past the class period. It was as if we had entered a time warp- we hadn’t realized how fast the time had passed us!

This moment reminded me of why I love Utica College so much- the small class sizes allow me to really get to know my professors and fellow students. I am grateful to be able to take a course that is not only challenging me as a writer and a thinker, but also is truly something I look forward to attending twice a week.

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