Long Overdue Update

It has been so long since I have posted a blog entry here. As an undergrad, I posted updates pretty regularly, but as a grad student, I almost never do, and I regret that. I figured that I would take some time to post a new one. Hopefully, at least some readers have read my blog entries in the past. This is my final semester here at SUNY Oswego, ever. A masters degree is the highest degree that one can obtain here, and even if SUNY Oswego did offer doctorate programs, I have to start earning a considerable amount of money before I can continue to spend a considerable amount more, and I am not sure yet whether or not a doctorate program is even something that I want to pursue. I am having bittersweet feelings about leaving next month – happy because I will have a masters degree (which is a major accomplishment) and won’t be continuing to build up on debt but sad to leave Oswego. Over the six years that I have been here (I started as a freshman in 2008), I have, like anyone, experienced ups and downs, but I love the environment of the campus (especially when it’s not winter) and have had some really great professors whom I will truly miss. I will also miss my job (I am a desk attendant in Sheldon Hall) because it has enhanced skills such as organization skills and teamwork skills.

This semester has been very busy because since it is my final semester here as a graduate student, so I am writing my masters essay. The course on my transcript is titled Reading for Examinations, and it involves writing a very long thesis paper (mine is currently close to sixty pages) and then submitting it for assessment by a small group of three readers. Fortunately, my essay is almost finished. As I stated, it is nearing sixty pages, and not only is that about how long that it needs to be, I also feel like I am naturally winding down, anyway. It is something of which I am very proud. It is an expansion upon the final paper that I wrote for a film class (Women and Screen Studies) during the Spring 2013 semester, and my professor (Amy Shore) liked it so much that she suggested that I expand upon it for my masters essay. Because I, too, liked it so much, I followed up on her advice and have done that. I am so excited to get it officially finished and off to the readers for a final glance. As I said, researching for it and writing it has taken up a great deal of my time this semester, and it will be such a relief to be finished with it.

Graduating, as I said, though, is bittersweet, and the bitterness doesn’t just come from not wanting to leave Oswego. I have been applying to jobs since December or so, and nothing is puling through. I graduate next month and still do not have a job lined up. I know that in today’s day and age with it being so difficult to find a job, that is normal, but it’s so scary. I can’t live with my parents indefinitely, and I need to start making money pretty immediately to start paying off my loans. The most recent job to which I applied has a dual possibility (although one is a lot more likely than the other). I applied to the New Britain, Connecticut school district because there are openings for substitute-teachers (with which I have plenty of experience), and there is also an opening for a permanent position as a middle school English teacher, and I applied to both. I have not heard back from that yet, but I am keeping my fingers crossed. The state of Connecticut is at a serious shortage of substitute-teachers to the point at which students’ learning experiences are being negatively impacted, so my shot at getting a position as a substitute-teacher somewhere in Connecticut is pretty decent. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life subbing, but it would get my foot in the door, would get me more experience, and would increase my chances of being hired for a permanent position. My hope is that in a few months, I will be able to post a blog entry here with some really good news!

Although this is completely unrelated, I have recently developed a really strong interest in Wicca. For years, I have considered myself a deeply spiritual person but did not know what that meant for me. I have known for quite some time that unlike my father, I am not a Christian (despite my name, which means that I carry or bear Christ). I recently discovered that what aligns best with my own personal beliefs and whatnot is Wicca, and I have pursued that. I feel very passionate and excited because I have been buying books on Wicca and have been having a great deal of fun reading up on it. The more reading that I do, the more excited that I get; the closer to it that I feel. I just wish that this interest would have fully manifested itself earlier than it did because as fate would have it (another reason why I feel like I was mean to pursue this), I found out that there is an organization here on campus related to Wicca very shortly after deciding to pursue Wicca myself. The name of the club is Oswego State Pagan Association, so it’s broader than just being a Wiccan organization, but it’s partly what it embodies. I have not yet been to a meeting, but they meet on Thursdays, and I am going to my first meeting this coming Thursday (tomorrow) to check it out. I am really looking forward to it!

I will conclude this blog entry with some news (old news, which I suppose is an oxymoron) that I don’t believe that I have ever shared here before. If I have, then forgive me because I don’t mean to be repetitive. Some of you might remember how several years ago, I posted a blog entry about the many problems that I had with our organization, Pride Alliance. The group, for example, was far too focused on sex and not focused enough on larger societal issues, and I eventually decided to stop going because of how tiring that that became. As a graduate student, however, I gave them another chance since it was under new leadership, and I noticed a major change. The organization is now what it should always be, and I wrote a follow-up blog entry explaining how, in my eyes, Pride Alliance had reformed. I ended up (last spring) winning an award for that. It was to commemorate my faith in the organization, my willingness to give it another chance, and I was so honored and so happy. I have attached a photo of the award here for you to see. There you have it, bloggers – I actually won an award for writing a blog here, so don’t stop blogging! You really never know what will happen as a result of pursuing a passion.

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Time Management-How to Successfully Get Your Work Done on Time

Sometimes, your classes can get the best of you.

 

Have you ever put off a huge project until the last day before it’s due? Ever let your homework pile up over the course of the week? These two things can work together to make you feel overwhelmed, stressed, and buried in work. Contrary to popular belief, a pot of coffee and an all nighter are not the solution to this problem. This bolg post is aimed at time management, seeking help in topics you may be struggling in, and how to survive the semester without stressing over being behind in classes.

 

When it comes to time management, there are many courses of action you can take to help keep organized and work in a productive, timely manner. Here are a few methods you can use to help manage your time:

  • Make a schedule for yourself!-When a professor assigns a project that is due in a month, it may be a good idea to utilize all of the time that you have been given to complete the assignment. This usually means that you’re expected to put a lot of work into the assignment. In order to keep on track, make a schedule for yourself. Use a loose leaf piece of paper, calender, etc. to remind yourself what part of the project you should be working on at a given time.
  • Buy yourself a white board!- This is a must have for any college student. A great idea is to keep the white board on the wall next to your bed so you can see whatever reminders you’ve written yourself as soon as you wake up. That way you won’t forget about an assignment that is due. Plan your week out on the board–it will be extremely helpful!
  • Have a smartphone? Use it!-There are some great features in most smartphones that can work wonders when it comes to managing time. Most phones have a notepad, which can be used to write notes to yourself regarding a project or homework assignment. Another great feature is the alarm. Set alarms for yourself to remind you that you should be doing your work. That way you won’t get distracted by whatever you may be doing and lose track of time.
  • Buy a planner!-Planners are a great invention–especially for a college student. Use them to keep track of all of your assignments and their due dates. This way, you can get things done before they start to pile up.
  • Others- Other great ways to stay on track include leaving sticky notes for yourself, or having a trustworthy friend remind you to stay on track.
Sometimes for a student, procrastination occurs because they do not understand the material in class. If this is the case, and you are struggling in a class, here are a few methods to help you bring up your grade and do better on exams, homework, or papers:
  • Office Hours-Most professors on campus have open office hours–which is a specified time on a given day where they are open to students who may wish to come in and seek help on a project, paper, homework assignment, or seek additional instruction in a specific area. Usually office hours are posted in a courses syllabus. If not, consult your professor to see when they are available. This is a great way to establish a good relationship with your professor as well as receive one on one help with whatever you may be struggling with. Professors are always happy to help!
  • Tutoring Services-  SUNY Oswego’s Office of Learning Services provides numerous resources t students who wish to seek extra help with their classes. A great service provided is their tutoring service. If you visit the OLS office (Located in room 171 in the Campus Center), you can request a tutor to help you. Tutors are available for most lower level courses, as well as upper level courses. These tutors are usually undergraduate students, graduate students, or professors who make themselves available to help you.
  • Need someone to proofread your paper? Go to the WRITING CENTER!-Located on the third floor of the Penfield Library, the Writing Center is a great service offered to those who wish to seek help with a writing assignment. If you wish to have somebody read over your paper and help you improve your writing skills. To make an appointment with a writing tutor, go to this web address and follow the instructions. http://www.oswego.edu/academics/support/OLS/wc.html
  • When studying, DON’T CRAM!-Spreading out study sessions over a period of time before your exam will help you to retain the information better. Study one portion of the material at a time. Cramming is stressful and ultimately is not a good way to study. Taking breaks between study sessions is healthy and gives the information time to sink in.
  • Study with a group of friends- Sometimes, working in a group is much better than working alone. If you have a big exam to study for, study with a group and take turns testing each other on the material.
  • Go to the library!-If you feel as if you may be studying in a distracting environment, go to the library to do your work. There are plenty of places in the library that promote productivity and help you to focus on your work and your work alone. For me, just being at the library makes me study harder and focus more.

 

Wait, what month is it?

When I started Graduate School in late August of 2012 graduation seemed distant. Now, in the midst of my second semester, it seems to be coming up quicker than I thought. Though most people will explain Graduate School programs in years, 1-3, in the grand scheme of things Graduate School is only 4 semesters. When you break that down, it’s easy to lose track of time when you think of how the semesters themselves get fragmented with school work deadlines and, before you know it, it’s the end of the semester. 5 months flew by and you can barely remember what you did. This made me think about what was important to me, what I needed for professional development, and what I just needed to do to survive.

It was a hard decision to stop doing certain things that I had become accustomed to doing here at SUNY Oswego for the last few years (I received my Bachelor’s Degree from here, too.) I realized that in order to stay sane it was important that I did things that I wanted to do for me and stop thinking about the big picture 24 hours a day. Professional development is important and taking time out to do that is something everyone should do. However, sacrificing happiness now for future happiness wasn’t how I wanted to live my life. So I changed it. I left some things behind, adopted a new attitude, concentrated on a few things instead of a handful, and opened my self, and my schedule, to new experiences. One of the most important things that I’ve picked up along the way is that personal development, learning more about who you are, will help you in the long run when developing yourself professionally. With a more relaxed schedule no longer filled with the stresses of simply too much to do, my spring semester has slowed down in comparison to the fall of 2012. I take my school work one day at a time and leave enough time for me to relax, go nuts, enjoy food, favorite sporting events, and well- anything else I want.

The semester ends when?!

Like most students on campus, I’ve been as busy as ever juggling  jobs and classes, relationships and hobbies, and most of all… me time. This also means that I neglected updating all of you with how my semester was going. So, here it goes. It’s been a long one. It’s interesting to see how far I can push myself and it’s really rewarding when the grades that come back reflect the work that’s been put in. Graduate school is no joke, but at the same time I feel that this is where I’m supposed to be and that I was prepared for the work. Civic Engagement is going well, we were super busy until the election and now we’re planning for next semester, which is just as time consuming. The Women’s Club Hockey team is off to a decent start, not where we usually are at this point but we picked up our play as of late. Coaching teaches me a lot about leadership roles, professionalism, the game of hockey, and myself. Right now we’re 5-3-0 with a few games left this semester to improve that quite a bit. It’s something that I love to do, though it’s really time consuming. On a lighter note, being a graduate student means no finals! it also means that there are only 8 days left in my semester. Definitely thankful for that. Well, hope all of you are doing well. I’ll try to get on this more often to keep it updated.

The beginning of a new semester

Well, here we are. The start of a new academic year. For me, it just seems as if something else has simply begun on top of what I normally do. But, for ambitious individuals who aspire to one day be employed full time making good pay, it’s what needs to be done to meet that goal.

I knew it wouldn’t get much easier after graduating from undergrad last May and now that Graduate school is in full swing with two jobs, 3 extracurricular activities, bills, and the desire to have some kind of social life, I don’t expect to have a second for myself until after finals.

So far, I’ve been busy working with Civic Engagement, shameless self promotion here (check out my Rock the Vote Blog here http://sunyoswegocivicengagement.wordpress.com/) to get the word out about the election, how to vote, where to vote, and everything else that it encompasses. It’s been a great experience and I know that it will help me in the long run.

Graduate classes already seem to be a huge step up from Undergrad. It’s the natural progression, everything I expected it to be. More work, more reading, more attention to detail, and did I mention more work?

It’s a different style of history being in a classroom versus in a museum;the feel for history isn’t the same. In a classroom  it becomes a more intellectually dense experience listening, digesting and analyzing, and in a museum the information comes at you using different senses, you’re inside of the history.

I like being back in academia. It’s a much different pace than the private sector or even the government side of the economy. There’s a certain sense collaboration, even if there hasn’t been a meeting to designate who’s doing what. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of different professionals on campus and everyone has advice and is willing to lend a helping hand in the events or activities we have planned, or are trying to plan.

It’ll be a fun semester and I’ll keep this as well as my Rock the Vote blog updated regularly.

Another great opportunity

This is my first entry as a SUNY Oswego blogger and I am happy to be a part of a great tool in communicating ideas, events, and anything else that we have on our minds. I’ll start my journey as a blogger on this site with a little introduction;

I’m Jon Zella, I’m a Graduate student studying History: Museum Preservation here at SUNY Oswego. I recently graduated from SUNY Oswego with my Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Italian, Buon Giorno. I am also the graduate assistant for Civic Engagement, I work as an interpreter at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, I’m the Head Coach for the Women’s Club Hockey team, Director of Athletic Affairs in Student Association, I write for a hockey blog called the Checking Line mostly about the Buffalo Sabres,  I play the drums in the Avondales and Burning Bridge Street, and now I write for this blog.

Though the above paragraph makes me seem like someone who might be high-strung, I’m generally a pretty calm person. Keeping busy allows me to stay focused and everything gets done, even if it’s at 2am. I enjoy being social, speaking to others; the exchange of ideas and culture is something I’ve always enjoyed.

I also run the Civic Engagement Word Press which will cover a lot of what I’ll be up to this academic year. I will do my best to blog on this as well and keep those interested in the loop with what I’m doing and how my year is going.

quest report: minding your manners.

Submitted by Gabriela Santos

I attended “Etiquette: Minding Your Manners” at Quest. During the presentation, I learned about business etiquette and how to act respectively in the workplace.

When you are going for an interview, be early. Introduce yourself to everyone and shake hands with everyone as well. Dress professional, as a first impression is very important. Listen carefully to your interviewers for all information about the job. After your interview, you should send a thank you card, thanking your interviewer for their time. Make the card personal to help them remember you and stick out from the rest.

At your job, you should always be prompt and prepared. You must make sure that you use proper language around your co-workers and bosses. Keep the conversations appropriate and refrain from swearing. If your job requires you to travel often, make sure you research the culture, proxemics and hand gestures. Some countries take offense to things that have positive meanings in the United States.

E-mailing is a major way of communication today. It is used in the workplace frequently so there are a few guidelines you need to follow. You should always put a subject line in your emails. This will make it easy for the receiver to have an idea of the email and it is also easier to find this way. If the email is long, put “(long)” in the subject line as well. This way, a reader can put time aside to read your email. Make sure your grammar is perfect and reread your email.

If you want to quit your job, there are a few ways of doing this without burning any bridges. You may want to use your boss as a reference for the future. You want to give your boss a two-week notice of your leaving. Some jobs, such as a teacher, you should give your boss notice of your leaving at least six months ahead of time. When telling your boss you should write a letter as well as telling them face-to-face. Make sure you thank them for the opportunity and stay positive. You should offer to train your replacement. Someone had to train you and it looks professional to do the same. Make sure you tie up all of your loose ends. You do not want to leave your replacement with unfinished projects. Also, it is smart to ask for references from your boss and co-workers. Following these guidelines will allow you to succeed in the workplace in a positive way.

quest report: business and leadership sessions

Submitted by Kaila Curatalo

Etiquette: Minding Your Manners

The first presentation that I attended was a presentation about the different types of business etiquette. What to do and not to do in the work place, interview etiquette, email etiquette and in case you ever want to quit your job, the successful ways to go about it. To start off with the topic of interviewing, always be early. Whenever attending an interview it is crucial that you dress appropriately in business attire. When meeting the person who is interviewing be sure to shake their hand and be prepared for small talk. Also be sure that you listen carefully through out the interview and if you do not understand something, speak up and ask them to repeat themselves. Make sure you always being extra resumes and although most people do not think to send a thank you note, it shows that you are appreciative and serious about the job position.

Through out the presentation the group discussed the six rules of business etiquette, which are promptness, preparation, appearance, decorum, e-mail formatting and communication appropriateness. By being prepared in those six skills you will look more professional and more likely be hired for the job. One of the most important skills to have in this technological day in age is good email etiquette. Be sure that you are not using email just to avoid face-to-face communication. Always know that email is not private, so your messages need to be professional or work related in case they get into the wrong hands, and as always be sure to reread your emails and make sure your grammar, spelling and punctuation are all correct.

Quitting a job always seems like it would be an awkward or uncomfortable process, but after watching this presentation, leaving a corporation or business in the correct fashion can actually help your future endeavors. Always give enough notice to your job when you are putting in your recognition. The standard is two weeks, but some companies may require up to a year in advance notice. You never want to burn any bridges with your employers so letting the company have adequate time to replace you is the respectable thing to do. Ask if you can train your replacement, finish any projects that your working on, leave a clean workspace, ask for references and thank your supervisor for the opportunity and training.  After watching this presentation I am more familiar with what I need to have to have good business etiquette.

Networking: Your Key to Success

The next presentation I attended was about what may most be the most important aspect of our society today, networking. Networking opens up new doors for you every day. Meeting new people and making new connections proves to be very beneficial in the business world.

There are many places right on campus at SUNY Oswego that open opportunities for you to network. The Compass has services such as the Leadership Development Program, Major Career Exploration, Career Services and Experience-Based Education. The ASK mentoring program pairs you with an alum to explore your field of career interest. With the help of your alumni mentor, you can find what truly interests you and they can help you to begin to network yourself.

Being involved around campus can quickly increase your networking status. The many different jobs the school offers in places such as residence life and housing, Cooper and Glimmerglass gyms and the dining halls can help you meet new people and create networks. Also the different activities and clubs such as Greek life and the numerous different varsity sports can help you network yourself. Although social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter have become highly popular within the last few years you have to be extremely careful about what you put on your site. Some companies hire people who can hack your account to see the types of things you put on your page. Always make sure you are putting things on the Internet that you would want people to see, not something that people could use against you.

Managing Conflict: A Soft Skill

The third presentation that I attended was about conflict management. Many people view that conflict it a bad thing, but throughout this presentation you being to see that sometimes conflict can be a good thing. Conflict is normal in the everyday workplace and normally if everyone communicates properly it can be easily solved. Conflict will test the strengths of individuals, and will help you learn about the strengths of others. It has been proven that when conflict is involved it actually improves your performance rate.

When being faced with a conflict don’t be afraid to ask questions. Getting a variety of different sources is crucial in the resolution of a conflict. In the pre-negotiation stage, first start of the conversation, and find out if everyone is willing to communicate. Then agree on the discussion rules and be organized. During the negotiation bring everyone’s concerns to light and show the current options. Once this is done, evaluate the options then write a written agreement. Last in the post-negotiation make sure you take action and seek outside support if needed. The most important aspect of solving a conflict is that both parties need to be willing to negotiate. Solving conflict will help you and your business succeed.

Becoming a Leader

The last presentation that I went to was about becoming a leader. Every good business has people that step up and become leaders to their co-workers. Every leader must have good communication traits and create different approaches to management. There are five different leadership styles, which are social, task, balance, leaderless and moderate. A balanced leader has a high concern for the task and a high concern for the people. The balanced leader is the ultimate leader and has great communication skills. A moderate leader has moderate concern for the task and moderate concern for the people, and although this is not the best case, this is in reality what most leaders are.

Leaders need to have good communication traits that will continue to make them better leaders. They have to have a willingness to communicate. Leaders also need to have a sense of argumentativeness, which is being able to exchange ideas that state positions providing support for those positions. Leaders that are high in argumentativeness are likely to have more influence in an organization. Leaders need many skills in order to be successful such as strategy, writing and speaking. Emotional intelligence, cultural literacy and listening are also key character traits of a leader. One of the most important traits of being a leader has to be credibility; if your co-workers do not think you are credible you are most likely not going to be taken seriously in the workplace.

quest report: “current issues in media law”

The 2 p.m. presentation of “Current Issues in Media Law” featured a panel of  Jason Zenor, Asa Stackel, Leigh Rusyn, Annie Palmer and Carly Olds discussing provocative issues in this evolving field.

The presentation discussed the legal issues various forms of broadcast media have to deal with. One situation given was libelous statements via the Internet and whether anyone saying things on the Internet should be held responsible for their statements. One interesting point given was that people have claimed that any offending statements could have been said as a spur-of-the-moment event, and that making these hurtful statements newsworthy would only increase the publicity.
The other topic involved copyright infringement. Under today’s protection, a copyright stays active until a considerable amount of years after the copyright owner is deceased. Examples of potential copyright-infringing material includes fan-fiction (the use of copyright characters in an original story), parody (a mostly satirical comment on a specific work, usually depends on how much the original work is duplicated) and music sampling (using clips of a copyrighted song without owning the rights to create a new song).