Finding My Way Out of the Dark

This semester I am taking a course called “Counseling Students with Special Needs.” This course explores the various disabilities that a student/client may be diagnosed with and how to provide the best mental health care for these clients.  I’ve always had an interest in disability services and am excited to be able to learn some skills to help me work with my clients, and find ways to advocate for services for myself.  Last week, in class, was the first time that I spoke publicly about my disability.  I have friends and family who know about my disability, but I had never spoke about it in detail.  I am legally blind.

When I was two years old, I was diagnosed with limited vision.  While growing up I was provided services to help me in school, such as large-print textbooks, magnification devices, books on tape, and an aide who would come in once a week to make sure I was doing well in school and to see if I required any additional services.  When I was in kindergarten I can remember taking a van to school, rather than the regular bus.  At that age, I didn’t understand what I was dealing with, but now that I’m an adult and have experienced 19 years of school I realize how fortunate I was to have all of that help.

As I got older and moved to a new town, which meant starting at a new school, I decided that I no longer wanted to accept any assistance or support from my schools and that I’d be able to succeed without the help of special books or equipment.  I was too stubborn and proud to accept any accommodations that were offered to me.  Looking back, I realize how naive I was and how wrong my decision to turn away the help was.  It greatly affected my life and my ability to prosper in school.  Unfortunately, I did not know how to request those services in school and continued on while struggling, but was very successful.

Around my 16th birthday, I did what every other 16 year  old does, I went to apply for my learner’s permit. I was so excited, I couldn’t wait to drive.  I had been studying the practice material for weeks and knew I was going to pass the exam.  I did pass the exam, but the next part was not so great.  I was unable to pass the vision portion of the test.  No matter how hard I tried, I was just not going to get it.  I remember the woman behind the desk even telling me to take a break and relax, maybe my nerves were interfering with my ability to read the chart.  This didn’t help; I still failed.

This led to a long process of seeing an eye doctor, trying to get some answers to the question as to why my vision was so poor.  It took a few months, but I was finally given an answer. Right before my 17th birthday, I was told that I am legally blind and that I have a disorder called Ocular Albinism.  I can only remember feeling disappointed because I knew at that point that I wasn’t going to drive, ever.  I have what is known as Ocular Albinism Type 1, or Nettleship-Falls Syndrome.  Since I am a graduate student and I know that everything on the Internet is true, I have included a quick definition from Wikipedia so you can better understand.

OA1 is recognized by many different symptoms. Reduced visual acuity is accompanied by involuntary movements of the eye termed as nystagmus. Astigmatism is a condition wherein there occurs significant refractive error. Moreover, ocular albino eyes become crossed, a condition called as ‘lazy eyes’ or strabismus. Since very little pigment is present the iris becomes translucent and reflects light back.  However, the most important part of the eye, the fovea which is responsible for acute vision, does not develop properly, probably indicating the role of melanin in the development stages of the eye. Some patients may also develop photophobia (discomfort or pain to the eyes due to light exposure).  All these symptoms are due to hypo-pigmentation of the retina. Moreover, in an ocular albino eye, nerves from back of the eye to the brain may not follow usual pattern of routing. In an ocular albino eye, more nerves cross from back of the eye to the opposite side of the brain instead of going to the both sides of the brain as in a normal eye.

Now that you have the scientific definition of my disorder, here is what I see.  I have night blindness, I have a great deal of difficulty seeing in the dark, even if there is a small light source.  In my words, my eyes do not reflect the light that comes from the source, so I see things much darker than other people.  I also have color blindness.  I have a mild case, where I mix greens and blues and browns and greens.  As far as I’ve been able to research and figure out, this is called Deuteranomaly.  I also have trouble seeing certain colors on other colors.  For example, I have difficulty seeing black on white.  The black text seem to have shadows on paper and it makes it very difficult for me to read; the same goes for computer screens.  There are many other things that I struggle with, visually, but I won’t go any further.

Back to my point of this post.  My class, Counseling Students with Special Needs, triggered an urge to advocate for not only myself, but for others. I have found a way to succeed in school and will continue to succeed, despite my disability.  I’m going to continue to advocate for myself, but also hearing the stories of my fellow students has given me the urge to advocate for them and their families.  I see a new project in the future…keep an eye open!

 

This is Where I Belong

Glimmerglass Lagoon on my way to work

Three weeks…that’s all that’s left for the semester!  It’s almost unbelievable that I’ve pretty much completed my first semester of grad school.  Just a few months ago I was going to my first graduate class.  At the time I was worried, scared, and very nervous.  I had struggled through the last year of my undergraduate career and I wasn’t sure how I’d do as a graduate student.  Well, I’m doing really well and I’m surprised, yet proud of myself.  Before this semester started, I was exhausted, overworked, pretty much didn’t want to continue with school.  Now that I look back, I can truly say that I’m happy with the accomplishments I made over the last five years.  Oswego gave me so many opportunities to try new things, challenge myself, be challenged by others, and most importantly choose the life that I want to live.

Within the last few months I have figured out my path for life, or at least for the next four to five years.  I absolutely love my graduate courses.  I’m being challenged in ways that I never thought possible.  Emotionally, mentally, and academically – I’m learning things about myself that I never knew before; I’m learning in ways that I never knew existed.  Between classes, working two jobs, and making new friends, I realized what matters most to me and what I want to do with my time.  This realization has brought me a great deal of excitement and joy.  I wake up everyday ready for a new adventure and look forward to the unpredictable events to come.

My graduate courses are nothing like undergrad classes.  Not only do I only have classes once a week, but I enjoy them so much that I don’t even realize how quickly the 2 1/2 hours they each occupy go.  One of my classes, CPS 510 – Counseling Theory & Process, involves practice counseling sessions with my classmates.  We get between 20 and 40 minutes each class to practice the theories and approaches that we learn in class.  At first, my group would remain guarded and sort of act out our sessions.  After a while, we realized that we weren’t growing and learning how to incorporate new techniques.  So, we decided to jump in and be more open with each other.  Doing this really helped me, and I’m sure them, understand how I felt about things in my life and how to really be an active listener for others and to understand their lives.  Before this course, I thought I was a great listener; I thought I could easily understand and empathize others, but I was completely wrong.  This course has taught me how to focus on my “client” and really get what they’re saying.  I’ve also learned how to key in on their true emotions and empathize correctly.  All of this has helped me realize my limitations and where I need to grow as a person and as a future counselor.

Speaking of future counseling – I will begin to see clients next semester!  Knowing that I’ll be in sessions with people who are looking to make changes in their lives is intimidating.  There are times when I am so excited and feel that I’m completely ready and then others when I’m terrified and feel so unprepared.  I’ve been told this is normal, so I’m going to just go with it.  It’s awesome to know that I will have a professional counseling relationship with people who want to change their lives.  I’ve always been the person that my friends would come to for advice and to talk, but now I’m going to be that person and help clients figure things out for themselves.  It’s been a struggle to restrain from asking questions or to problem-solve, but as I grow I’ll learn ways to travel on my clients’ journeys with them.  I will be a “helper” rather than a “doer” and that makes me feel great.

Personally, I’m still a doer.  I’m working two jobs, going to graduate school full time, establishing a new organization on campus, and so many other things.  I’m trying to be as involved as possible with Habitat for Humanity.  I was a very active member in high school, but lost my connection when I started college.  Now, I’m a member of the board of directors for the Oswego County Habitat for Humanity chapter.  I’ve missed the last few meetings, but like I said – I’ve realized how I want to spend my time and I have decided to put more effort and time into this organization.  I can remember the feeling after completing a build and seeing the family receive their keys to their new home.  Knowing that I was a part of an awesome project to provide a deserving family a safe and healthy home would always fill me with such joy.  I want to feel that again, and I want to help those families again.  Keep an eye out for H4H updates over the next few months.

As I said, I am starting a new student organization on campus.  The Graduate Student Union will be the representative body for all SUNY Oswego graduate students.  We have great plans for Oswego and hope to reach some of our goals within the next year.  Gathering graduate students to meet has been quite a challenge, but the e-board is definitely up for it.  Keep an eye out for updates on GSU, too!

I’m ready for this extreme adventure that grad school is going to give me.  I can’t imagine myself anywhere else or doing anything else.  Oswego is my home and I’m so very glad to have stuck around to experience everything going on around here.

Graduate School – Sure, why not?

The last few weeks have been quite the adventure.  The amount of change in my life has sent me on a roller coaster.  Beginning graduate school, starting a new job, and moving into a new place have all created a new beginning for me.

Toward the end of last year I struggled with the decision of where to attend graduate school.  I had been accepted to Northeastern University and Suffolk University in Boston, MA.  I had also been invited to interview at Syracuse University here in New York.  Each of these universities had some kind of student affairs counseling program that I was interested in.  I was also accepted into SUNY Oswego’s mental health counseling program; something that I never really considered for myself.

Through the application process I changed my mind many times.  The decision was not easy at all. I had spent 5 years at Oswego and thought I was ready to move somewhere new and begin a new life.  I went back and forth between Boston and Oswego over and over again (break into Nelly song here).   I spent many sleepless nights researching Boston and looking for potential places to live.  At one point I was fully committed to Boston and started to prepare myself for the move.  Then, all of a sudden my mind changed and I accepted the offer from Oswego and here I am!

Now, at first someone may think that I am not happy with my decision, but it’s quite the contrary.  I am absolutely in love with this college.  SUNY Oswego is and always will be my home.  Yes, there may be days when I wonder what life would be like if I left, but I could never leave until I’m finished with grad school, and maybe even more after that.  I wanted to start a new life somewhere else, but now I can improve my life at a place that I’m comfortable and settled.

Graduate school is something that I always knew I would do. In fact, I wont be done with just my masters degree; I will be moving onto a PhD in the future.  Anyway, I am so excited to be in grad school and really love my classes.  I never thought I’d pursue a degree in mental health counseling, but I’m very glad I did.

A briefing for future entries

Now that I’m officially a graduate of SUNY Oswego, I have started to immerse myself into the next chapter of my life.  As a soon-to-be graduate student in the Mental Health Counseling program, I realize how critical the next few years of my life are.  I’ve also realized how quickly time can go by without even noticing.  I really need to do all that I can over the next two to three years, because who know’s when I’ll have the chance to do it all in the future.

Last month when I graduated, I planned on taking some classes this summer to get ahead in my program and eliminate the worry that I wouldn’t graduate with my master’s degree in two years.  Now that the summer has started and I realize what it feels like to have somewhat of a break, I am postponing classes until the fall semester and enjoying as much as I can while on break from school.  I’ve begun working more (which is counterproductive to having a break, but enjoyable – I’ll get to that later), exploring new avenues of involvement (now that I’m no longer actively engaged with Student Association), begun making plans for new adventures (something I’ll be talking about a lot over the next few months), and reflecting on my life in general (which is something I’ve always done, but now piecing things together).  The next few months will include many emotional, physical, and mental challenges, but I know that I will be more than capable of keeping up with them, and with myself.

In the past, my blog entries have consisted of my views of somewhat political and social issues.  Although I know that is not what you all want to read (since you can easily read blogs on MSNBC.com, Fox.com, etc.), there may be times when something is very close to my heart, or would have a direct effect on my life (and possibly yours).  If I do feel the need to post about a current event or political, social, or financial situation, I will mark those entries as such, that way you will know before diving in that it’s not an entry about me.  These entries will include my viewpoint, and will be connected to my life in some way, so they will not be summaries of what is happening, but more reflections and explanations of the impact they will have for me.  The way I see it, I’m about to turn 23 years-old, it’s about time I pay attention to what is happening around me and figure out what I can do to turn a negative into a positive, or at least understand why I can’t do anything about it (I’ve always had the attitude that I can change anything I want; five years of college has definitely fixed that mindset).  From now on, most of my entries will be directly related to my life and what I’m doing.  I already have a lot planned for this coming semester, so I know there will be plenty to write about and plenty for you to read (I guarantee that I’ll keep up with my entries at least bi-weekly (most likely, weekly)).

My next entry will consist of a new introduction of myself, for those of you who have not read in the past, as well as my plans for the summer (and a brief look into my fall semester).  I welcome comments and will respond to them as I receive them.  I think this could easily become a two-way conversation and I’d love to hear what you have to say.  For now, I must begin my day and move onto the next task.  It’s time for a few hours of work and then a couple of meetings.  Enjoy this summer solstice (use as much of the daylight as you possibly can).

Mt. Tremblant with the Ski & Snowboard Club

Today was the first full day at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec, Canada.  This is my first time skiing in five years.  After a semester of ups and downs for the Ski & Snowboard Club, they finally made it to Mt. Tremblant!  My interest in the trip grew over time, through conversations I had with officers and members of the club.  After much deliberation, I decided to join the group of 57 SUNY Oswego students and test my rarely used skills on the slopes.

The trip began yesterday, Sunday, January 2, 2011 at about 7am.  Well, I woke up at 7am and the bus left at about 10:20.  Why so late? Well, we had to wait for some people and I was almost forgotten! No worries though, I made it and was on my way.  We spent about 7 hours on the bus and arrived at the hotel at about 8pm. This trip included a few stops to eat and grocery shop.  After unpacking the bus and settling into the room, we all decided to lay low and enjoy the night.  The next morning was to bring a very early start and a great day on the slopes.

Check out what my room looks like!!

Homewood Suites by Hilton - Homewood Suites by Hilton

At about 7am this morning, Monday, we woke, went to breakfast, and immediately headed out to the mountain.  I had a little bit of hesitation, but received a lot of motivation from my friends.  The first run down was very bad; I was falling avery few feet and twisted my neck in a way I would never think to be possible (I’m still very sore right now).  After what could have easily been my 15th fall, a few of my friends stopped to help me down the rest of the way.  I owe my life to Mike and Wilson, who both stuck with me through every following fall.  At about 2/3 of the way down I finally got the hang of my “pizza” and  completed the trail with ease.  The final stretch was very exciting because I was able to go on my own.  Here I am, a 22 year old man, and I can’t ski down a hill.  Now I can! (I think).

Ater the second run, I headed inside and rested for a while.  Everyone from my room came back for lunch and then headed out for another run on the mountain.  I stayed back and hung out with my friend Tom, who had fallen earlier in the day and really injured his neck.  After Allie and Griffin returned, the four of us ventured the village.  It is beautiful here, you all should see it! (I’ll take pictures tomorrow and post them with my next entry).  We stopped at a few stores and this restaurant, Le Diable.  It was incredible! The group ordered a Honey Blonde, homemade beer (we are all of us, I promise) and Allie and I shared a French onion soup and garlic escargot (yes, i ate snails!) They were so good!.  The time I sped with them was great.  I am really enjoying this group of people and am honored to be a part of this trip.

We then headed back to the hotel room and stuck around for a while.  We spend the rest of the night in and I’m now watching three of them play backgammon.  Two of the girls are sleeping and I’m sure the rest of us will get to bed soon.  It is now midnight and I’m sure tomorrow will be full of adventures.  I am looking into going dog sledding and possibly horseback riding.  I love skiing, but I want to experience as much as I can while here.  I’ll probably make a pit stop at the restaurant and order another bowl of that delicious French onion soup.  For now, I must sign off and say good night.  I will write again tomorrow and include pictures and hopefully some amazing experiences.

Let the Adventure Begin!

I’ve finally started to catch up with the semester.  The fourth week just finished, with a bang might I add, and I feel like it’s going to end so quickly, already.  I’ve been very busy and very involved on a lot of what is happening on campus over the last few weeks.  As the president of the Student Association, I have so many opportunities to interact with students, faculty, staff, and community members at a number of events on and off campus.  From groundbreaking ceremonies to concerts and dinners, every day has been filled with such amazing privileges for me.

Last Friday, I had the opportunity to attend my first College Council meeting of the year.  I was a bit nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect or what to do.  The day started with a formal lunch in the Sheldon Hall Ballroom.  In attendance were President Stanley, vice presidents, deans, politicians, members of the college’s engineering advisory committee, and College Council members, and me.  I’ve been to lunches and dinners on campus before, and have had some of these people in attendance, but for some reason I was very nervous this time.  I got to the lunch a few minutes late, because I was so nervous about it and the other responsibilities I had that day.  When I arrived I was greeted by Ellen McCloskey, President Stanley’s assistant, who was able to calm me down just by talking to me.  I proceeded to get lunch, which was on a very nicely decorated buffet table, where there was an assortment of salad ingredients, such as different types of greens, vegetables, shrimp, etc.  At first, I was not aware that the lunch was just soup and salad, so while trying to be courteous and not pile food onto my plate, I took very little.  As I got toward the end of the table I realized that the salad was the main part of the meal, so I quickly went back and took some more.  I then took a bowl of soup, which a catering staff member served out of the dish for me, and went to a table.  Finding a table – this was yet another difficult situation for me, because I was not sure where to sit – were there assigned seats? Ellen kindly told me to sit anywhere I’d like and so I chose a table where I knew only a couple people.  I sat with some members of University Development and faculty members.  To my right was Susan Camp, who I had not realized I had met before.  The conversation ranged from my schedule for the semester, the construction that has begun on campus, and the financial state of the college and New York.  Some I was able to participate in, and others I just sat, listened, and learned some things about what was going on around me.  As lunch finished, members of the college’s engineering advisory board left to go to a meeting and the members of College Council moved to the opposite side of the room for our meeting.

College Council was what I had imagined.  It was just like any other committee that I sit on.  There is a chair, secretary, and members siting around a large table, or tables.  There were nine college council members present, including myself, President Stanley, VP Joe Grant, VP Nick Lyons, Assoc. VP Mary Canale, Dr. Camp, and Julie Blissert, from Public Affairs.

There were reports from Faculty Assembly, Student Association, and President Stanley.  There was some discussion about the disappointment in SUNY for giving the top three administrators raises, when most institutions were facing possible furloughs.  This was an almost exciting discussion, but a council member motioned to have the President’s Office draft the resolution, it was seconded, and that was that.  There was some discussion regarding the Rice Creek updates, War of 1812 Commission (which I am not 100% sure what that is), and some encouragement to attend campus events.

I was able to give my report, which was pretty cool, because everyone was very interested.  I addressed the Centro bus service on campus, civic engagement, voter registration, fall concert, ALANA events, etc.  In fact, here is the blurb from the College Council website.  I like how the recorder worded my report:

“Mr. DiMarzo introduced himself and reported that Centro bus passes for students are now entirely underwritten by the Student Association so that students may ride free anywhere; that the free fall concert outdoors near the Campus Center on Saturday attracted 1,200 people; that civic engagement is again an SA priority, focused so far on registering students to vote, either on campus or by absentee ballot, and on filling student vacancies on campus committees; that over 1,000 attended the Student Involvement Fair promoting student organizations; and that the ALANA conference would start the next week. Discussion covered student voting and the new polling place in the Campus Center as well as on Mr. DiMarzo: his major is human development with two minors, conflict management and business administration, and he plans to go into student affairs after graduate school.”

I have to say that it’s very exciting when someone of importance shows interest in my life and what my plans are for after Oswego.  Knowing that I am making the right choices, and that others commend me for those choices, really adds some type of motivation to my days.

Later in the day, immediately following the College Council meeting, I was privileged with the opportunity to attend the groundbreaking for the Piez Hall renovations, formally known as the Science, Engineering, and Innovations Corridor.  The ceremony consisted of student research displays along with cookies and beverages, followed by remarks from many key players in the planning and financing of the new complex.  Senator Darrel Aubertine, former senator James Wright, J. Mitchell Fields of the Construction Fund, William Shannon of the Upstate NY Laborers’ Business Council, David Smith of the college’s Engineering Advisory Board, and ME!  It was intense, being part of such an important day; I’d never imagine being someone who could speak on behalf of all of the students at such a wonderful event.  Here is a link to my remarks from this ceremony, if anyone is interested.

Following this event was another ceremony!  This time I got to ride in a GEM! I love these things! See one here! I drive these as often as possible, mostly during Alumni Reunion Weekend, which is going to be a HUGE celebration this coming summer.  It’s one of the final events for the Sesquicentennial Celebration on campus.  Anyway, at the second ceremony, we celebrated the dedication and completion of the Village Townhouse Complex.  This ceremony also consisted of remarks from important people in the planning and construction process.  Some present were, President Stanley, VP Joe Grant, Steven Curro of the Dormitory Authority of New York, Edward McGraw of Ashley McGraw Architects, Andrew Hueber of Heuber-Breuer Construction Co, and of course me, again!  This ceremony also included a tree planting in honor of the completion of the Village. Here are my remarks from this ceremony, again – if anyone is interested.

There is so much more to come.  My days are filled with excitement, craziness, and satisfaction.  I hope you all are ready for the ride, because it’s going to be a roller coaster from here on out!

I am who I am

After reading Sam Shelton’s blog, I’ve started to realize how bland my posts have been lately. I think it’s time to kick things up a notch (thank you Emiril Lagase). I’m in my friend’s car on the way back from Buffalo right now and I e been doing some thinking. Sometimes I take this blog in directions that I never thought I would and right now is one of those times. There are things about me that some people don’t know, but other than that I’m pretty open about my life and don’t hide much. Here is something that most readers don’t know about me.

I am openly gay to all of my friends, my family, and anyone else who asks. Normally, I don’t advertise it like this, but for this special circumstance I’m willing to break my rule. This weekend I realized how proud I am to be accepting of myself and the friends I have who are accepting as well. I have also realized how much joking goes on at my expense. We all have those inside jokes with our group of friends that only we understand, but they are meant to be only known by us. The fact that my friends (and I joke as well) use my sexuality for punch lines has started to bother me lately. I didn’t choose to be gay, although at this point I wouldn’t choose any other way. When someone makes a joke about some stupid thing their friend said or a situation they were in, it isn’t so obvious that everyone around knows about it. When my sexuality is used as a joke is when that no longer happens. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t bother me if people know of I’m gay, but it doesn’t need to be announced.

I’m proud of who I am and I know that homosexuality is only someone’s orientation an it doesn’t define their life or who they are as a person. I’ve been “out” for almost four years now and have never had a negative experience because of it. What I have experienced is my inability to ask someone to not use that part if my life as a way to make people laugh. Each time someone cracks a joke is a reminder that I’m gay and I don’t need that reminder; I already know.

The fact that I’m “out and proud” gives me the strength to put my efforts and dedication elsewhere. I have friends who attend special events for gay, bisexual, and other orientations, but I don’t feel I need to do the same. We all make choices and live our own lives. I’m Steven, a college student attending SUNY Oswego. I’m not Steven, the gay friend.

I do, however, support anyone who is struggling or unsure of their sexual orientation. I just do it in my own way; not by attending PFLAG or a Pride event in a local city. I know what it’s like to go through difficult times and I’ve found ways to deal with them and get to where I am today. I never turn down someone who needs help with anything, especially working through the coming out process. It’s a life changing moment and must be treated carefully.

My point here is that sometimes people are a bit more sensitive with certain things, particularly aspects offhand lives. We should keep some things private, just as I usually do about this aspect of my life. The only way you’d know if I was gay is if you looked on my Facebook profile or asked me. I don’t expect my friends to tell everyone else or joke about it. I don’t go around introducing them as “straight” so why do they need to do the same.

My bigger point here is that everyone should be proud of who they are. Whether gay, straight, bisexual, black, white, or whatever. We are all different and there is no need to point out those differences to the world. It’s sometimes obvious and sometimes not, but those are the times when it’s up to us to let others in, not our friends.

I guess I went on a bit of a rant today, but I hope everyone understands what I’m trying to say. Live your life how you want to live it. Don’t let others get in your way or cause you distress. Be proud of who you are and of what you’ve achieved! I make this promise in front of everyone that I will continue to succeed and have pride in myself and my accomplishments.

I guess this was a few notches more dramatic than anything else, but I think it’s an important issue to address. Until next time readers… Be strong. Don’t give in. Live YOUR life. Be who you are without doubt or fear.

New way of communicating

So I just got an iPhone! This means I’ll be able to blog on the go. Life has been absolutely amazing lately. SA is more than I thought it would be. I spend a lot of time in the office getting things ready for the year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, but I sure wish I had some people here to help me.

There is a lot to plan. The director of SAPB and I, along with the help of the concerts coordinator are planning an opening concert for September. As of now we think it will be an alternative rock or ska group. Reel Big Fish is at the top of the list and we are working hard to figure out the exact date to have the concert on. Residence Life and Housing is having their annual Lakerfest, so we are hoping to cap off the day with an outdoor concert.

It’s things like this that I love about my job. Although I must do a lot of the “business” stuff, I don’t enjoy it as much as the event planning and creative stuff.

Well, today is my birthday so I’m out for the day. Have a great holiday weekend everyone.

Spring Break Was Amazing!

First of all, I must apologize for how long it has been since I’ve posted here.  Life has been outrageously busy!  All for the good though.  My plans for school and work have changed so many times over the past couple months.  I’ve gone back and forth from graduating in December to staying until May 2011.  I have finally decided that I will be staying in Oswego until next May.  I just can’t let go yet!

I attended a conference in Boston this past weekend for ACPA (American College Personnel Association) and LOVED it!  My dream is to work in student affairs at a college or university and ACPA is an organization for student affairs professionals.  I was able to meet other students who want to work in student affairs.  It was an amazing experience.  I never realized how intense my emotions could get when I meet people who have as much passion as I do about where they want to work.  I was able to meet so many incredible people who have experienced graduate school and the beginning of their careers in student affairs.  They were so inspirational and motivating.  The conference was two days and it was called NextGen for next generation, obviously :-)  It was preceding the annual ACPA Convention.  Can I just say SO MUCH FUN!  Melissa and Sean were amazing, they were the coordinators of the program and did a wonderful job.  I learned so much and connected to so many people.  I know I have made so many new friends.

I have decided to stay at Oswego for multiple reasons.  1. I want to be a student for one more year.  I love college and everything that is offered to me. 2. I have the opportunity to take part in a fellowship next year in student affairs.  The fellowship will give me the chance to travel and work at other colleges. 3. If I stay the full year and apply to graduate schools for the Fall 2011 semester then I’ll have more opportunities for graduate assistantships.

I have a lot of homework to do, so I must go now.  Don’t worry, I will be posting much more often than I have been.

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Today, more than any day I have been here, I have realized how much I love the school, the people, and the community at Oswego.  Things have been very stressful lately with some issues I’ve been facing.  Having the people here, at work, my friends, and what I consider family, has really helped me get through it.  The support I receive from my coworkers, classmates, and close friends has made me stronger and more capable of getting through life.  I have met with administration and faculty to talk about my goals and aspirations, and I get nothing but support and advice.  I just finished watching the “Faces Video” from the capital campaign website that President Stanley and many other outstanding people completed just two years ago.  I will admit that I started to get a bit emotional.  The things everyone said about the interaction, support, and knowledge gained from Oswego are all true and hit the nail on the head, so to speak.  Everyday I think about where I’ll be in the next few years and one thing that always comes to mind is staying at Oswego.  I can see myself going off to grad school and getting a more advanced degree, but coming back to Oswego and teaching or being a part of the staff.  I want to see the changes that are about to begin and relive my college experience.  The new students that I see coming to Oswego this year are more intelligent and creative than ever before.

I came across this video by mistake (check it out here if you don’t know what I’m talking about), but kept on going to find more and more interesting, meaningful articles and videos on Oswego’s website.  The history of the college is incredible.  Next year marks our 150th anniversary and I know many people are planning so many amazing events for this celebration.  I know this blog is supposed to be an outlet for me to tell everyone about my experiences and my life, but I tend to use it more for telling you about the campus and what is going on and things that don’t directly affect me.  When I think about it, that’s exactly what I’m doing.  SUNY Oswego, or Oswego State as I like to call it, IS my life.  Everything I thrive for comes from and goes to Oswego.  I admit, I am a huge school spirit nut and I love seeing people excited to visit, start classes, or come back after a six week break.  Classes start on Monday, and I’m running low on patience for that day to come.