Constructive Criticism

I think they truly have. See  I am student writer. One in the process of learning this craft, learning the mechanics and on a simpler note just learning how to write period. There is a difference between having good thoughts and articulating them in an efficient manner. My major says journalism but it also says student. Hence there must be a learning curve. Every post I write will not have a disclaimer to this fact. I will not make known the fact that everyday I learn new rules or find more habits that need to be broken. The point is to learn on the go and put what you learn into practice. The best piece of advice given to me when I told a mentor of mine at a previous school I wanted to write , was to do so everyday. Make it a daily habit. That’s kind of what this is about. That and to be truthful I have an unique perspective that I wanted to share with others. My college experiences are CRAZY.

HOWEVER what has annoyed me the most since starting this blog. Have been the comments. Not those by my peers I love them . Good and bad I love when people post comments on a post. It lets me know that you are alive , you are part of this little writer and reader relationship. Of course I see the amount of people that read my post and that always amazes me that so many people would read the blog. My issue however is with the Alumni. They kind of disgust me to be honest. As I write this someone is saying there goes his networking out the window( it was in my head as well) but to be truthful in edu domain friendly words “I don’t care”.

Countless amount of times my post has been featured on the school Facebook page. Whenever that happens I get more pedestrian views than usual. I sometimes don’t realize till a few days after. Usually when I see the numbers shoot off the chart. So I then take my little web stroll over to the school page and see it for myself. That’s when it always happens. Never fails that I see some Alum go ” ahhhhhh grammar grammar grammar” or “this shouldn’t be posted there are way to many mistakes” I can go on but I’m sure by now you get the point. Probably even have seen such. I then look at that comment and see about 5 “likes” . That is when I stew. Not only because that is about the only time that the alum is probably getting “likes” which some probably are still struggling to understand, but because for one the comments are never left on MY post. Which to me says “ego driven” . There is no reason I should have to go on the school page to read the criticism of my post. When I have a comment section! It’s senseless to me! That leads me to believe you are “like hunting”. More importantly is this. If I know or become aware of a typo or mistake, I fix them. After all the point is to be able to fix and correct. This is why we have the ability to edit articles already published.

The biggest issue I have with this stems from the above image. I could be wrong but I thought alum were here to uplift , encourage and be of help to current students. Simply telling the world but not the student writer of the problem will not fix or solve the current “ahhhh grammar grammar grammar” problem. I one time got so upset. That an English major graduate would take to Facebook to cry over the mistakes. Yet he didn’t think to help a current journalism major student right his wrongs or steer him in the right direction. Do you see how that sounds? What good came out of his comments. I didn’t see them until a week later and still didn’t even know what he was talking about 0_0 .This is all with out me adding in the fact that this is a BLOG. A BLOG! Not the New York Times. I am speaking to my peers: current students and soon to be’s . Where as you are still trying to remember how to change your current system preferences. I cld tlk like ths 2 my ppl nd still every1 wld get me, things like gifs, u dnt undrstnd but we do. u call it social media we use wrds like web , online, “goin on the computer during library hrs. So u c its not alwys bout wat u like but wat we like. Aii.

Moral of the story. If you are going to criticize or critique make sure that it’s function is to help and not to tear down. After all who we become or what we learn is a direct reflection of what you didn’t teach us.

p.s. Nobody likes a troll.Troll and get troll’d . Srsly

The Triangle of Life

Man, this may be the most accurate portrayal of school college. When I use to play the “you only get 2 games” I always got fustrated because I could never decide which I wanted. Yet here I am , again always stuck trying to decide between the three. Could this have been the source of my recent frustrations?

Maybe, but chances are it has more to do with these 4 major classes I am taking and trying to stay afloat in. Whatever the reason , it all leads back to this triangle. There has been a lack of consistency on my part this semester. At times, I’ve laid under the covers and said “rest!” then only but a few times, I have decided to go out and party and or drink(soda) all night long. Truest in its location however right at the top, hanging over my head has been the reminder that I want those great grades (not good). At times this has meant I went beast. Just running all around, staying up till all times of night, making a home of the library. Mostly though I have stressed myself to miserable levels and abandoned my promise to self to make sure I am taking time to enjoy life a little.

The sad truth (to me at least) about this triangle is that there is no one right way to approach it. In my eyes there is only room for one other choice. Getting good grades are not an option, nor should it be optional . But again to each their own, “Live let Live”. This leaves the conundrum of choosing between sleep and social life. For a couple of weeks I decided to choose sleep but that did me no good. It left me tense and ready to blow over like a pressure cooker. You see if you do what is required of you academically, you owe it to yourself to take a few moments if not hours to just enjoy the simpler or more carefree parts of life. Beware however it comes with a price, that price being precious time outside of your twin size bed  and head under the covers.

So I guess there is no way to truly win or to come out successful is there? I’m lost and still trying to figure it out. Maybe you have the answer though. If so , don’t act stingy share it with the rest of the world!!! Me 0_0!

Journalists: be prepared to get your world rocked…

That’s what they should warn journalism majors before they start their program.

Be prepared to get your world rocked, because you will write something that you think is really good and then your editor will rip it to shreds.

I’m still getting used to having my work torn apart by editors, and I’m a graduating journalism senior. Such fun!

I suppose getting harsh reviews is supposed to help you do better and build up your work as well as strengthen your skin against criticism, but sometimes I’m a big softy.

I just wrote a blog post for my internship, and I thought it was pretty good. It was about new bills on the floor of the House of Representatives that seek to cut off funding for family planning and reproductive health. I sent my blog to my supervisor, who proceeded to strikethrough nearly everything I wrote. Case in point:

Talk about rocking my world. She told me my writing was still good, and it laid a framework for what she edited into the new blog post. But still, less than 10 percent of what I originally wrote was intact! I survived an editorial run-in.

It just goes to show you that no matter what sort of confidence you may have about a piece, it is still subject to the editor’s appeal. Just a reminder that I shouldn’t get overconfident in my writing, as well as I should prepare myself more for constructive criticism.

Real life 101 note: you may think what you wrote as a journalist is the cat’s meow, but just remember, you’re writing for an audience, and if your editor doesn’t like what you wrote – don’t take it personal when they completely scrap your work. It’s just the life as a journalist after all.

Back to the Concrete Jungle

For those of you who don’t know, this past summer I participated in an internship program through the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), which is a highly competitive 10-week program that selects 24 college juniors from across the country to work at well-known magazine companies in New York City and Washington, D.C. Only 10 percent of those who applied were accepted in 2010.

Did I mention it was paid, too?

That may not seem like a big deal to some, but for those struggling in the journalism field, we know how precious it actually is. Unpaid magazine internships are hard enough to land — paid mag internships? Well, you rarely hear of that these days, especially in such a struggling economy.

So, in the beginning of June I packed my bags and moved into a quaint NYU dorm nestled right in the heart of Greenwich Village. I had the time of my life, met amazing people and got to do the work I love every single day at FITNESS magazine. Life couldn’t get any better.

Then I came back to Oswego for my senior year. This semester has been a struggle, to say the least. I’ve been taking extremely demanding classes (but learning a lot!), working as a public relations student manager and a personal trainer at the fitness centers, blogging here and for my fitness blog, The Pulse, and I launched the Ed2010 chapter at Oswego State.

So what’s on the agenda for winter break? You’d think it would be a lot of relaxation, sleeping in and watching mindless television, right? Wrong. Instead, I’m not giving myself a vacation. Right after my finals are finished Monday, I’m packing my bags once more and heading back to the concrete jungle!

Fortunately, the editors at FITNESS were impressed with my work ethic and the quality of work I presented to them on a daily basis (at least, this is what they told me). I’ve kept in touch with quite a few of them while continuing my studies here in Oswego, and as it got closer to winter break, I asked the Executive Editor, Pam O’Brien, if they would be interested in taking me back on the staff while I’m out of school. She, along with the editors she spoke with about it, said yes right away! It felt really good to be accepted back so quickly because it made me feel as though I really left my mark. So in less than a week, I get to reclaim my old desk and resume working at a magazine I absolutely love.

But that’s not all.

As if it couldn’t get any better, right? Starting in January, I will begin a second job while in NYC. I’ll work for FITNESS three days a week and the remainder of the week I will work for The Association of Magazine Media, formerly known as the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA), to assist with their National Magazine Awards. Not to mention I’ll be working alongside one of my good friends, Nina Fortuna, every day I’m there. Once again, it’s a paid position, so both jobs will definitely help me work toward the permanent move to the city in six months.

So keep your eyes peeled for blog posts about all of my activities while I’m back in the city, readers! I’ll be talking about the goings-on at the mag and MPA, and my experiences of living on the Upper West Side. I rented a room from a student who is traveling over break, and will have two other roommates, so I’m sure there will be adventures to share!

Have you ever done a winter internship? What are your plans for this break?

Second Day of Practicum, Fall ’10

Today didn’t turn out quite like last week did, because like Corcoran High, Henninger runs on a block schedule, so the teacher’s schedule was not the same as it was last week. The first class that I observed was taught by a young male teacher who I really liked. My regular Practicum Teacher had to go to a meeting, so she gave me the choice of either going with her or observing his classroom, and I chose to observe his classroom. He seems to have a great relationship with his students, which are Seniors. He jokes with them and respects them, and in that regard, he reminds me of an English teacher that I had in high school named John Smales.

I was delighted to have the opportunity to observe his class today. His class was very well-behaved. He had them get into groups of five and analyze a poem that they had read, and although it took them a minute or two to get on task, once they did, they were really on target. There was a great deal of respect in the classroom. There were opposing viewpoints, both between the students themselves and the students and the teacher, but everyone respected each other’s opinions.

He talked to me about literary classics, since his class will soon be reading 1984, which is one of my favorites. I admitted to him that I unfortunately have a lot of classics with which I need to familiarize myself, and he told me that there are quite a few that he hasn’t read, either, because there are so many that it is nearly impossible to read all of them. However, I haven’t even read To Kill a Mockingbird yet, which I’ve heard is really, really good. I will definitely be getting on my classics in the future!

Something that I learned from him is that each teacher is allowed 1,000 pages of paper per month, and he has six classes of students. This is utterly ridiculous. If I knew exactly how many students that amounted to, I could do the math, but I do know that it is not sufficient, because he struggles. This is so unfortunate, because a steady paper supply is so important to an English teacher. I don’t see how one can teach with such drastic limits.

After his class, I went directly to my regular Practicum Teacher’s class. Last week, she had her students interview each other, and this week, she had them present what they learned about each other. My first impression wasn’t fully accurate. What I witnessed last week wasn’t really her fault. The school has an approximate population of 1,800 students, and the school is not large enough to school that many students. Some students have 30-35 students per class, and it is therefore extremely difficult to get to know your students quickly. That is a big part of the reason why she is doing this “Getting to Know You” exercise.

However, what I witnessed today was an apparent teaching method with which I don’t agree and do not plan to implement myself. As a whole today, her classes, as a whole, this week were not anywhere near as enthusiastic as her classes last week were. Many of the students were not ready to present, and so she lectured them. She said that teachers are commonly criticized for students’ failures when in reality, it is the students’ faults. “Shame on you,” she said. What happened is exactly what one would expect to have happen in a room full of adolescent students. They fought back, defending themselves, making statements such as, “No, it’s the teachers’ fault! Shame on you!” When you speak to your students that way, you have to expect that kind of response.

The day went by really quickly, which was really good (getting up so early when you’re not used to it is not fun). However, something was said during lunch that really angered me, enraged me, even. The teachers are all really angry because of the limited paper supply. This is completely understandable; I would be, too. However, one of the teachers was ranting about the situation, and she referred to her Special Education class as her “stupid kids class.” How, I wonder, could a teacher say such a thing? Even if it was said out of anger about the paper, that is utterly unacceptable. You do not call your students “stupid.” I really wanted to say something, but it wasn’t my place. I would have had I been a teacher, and it’s just as bad that no teacher who heard that (which most of them did) said anything to her.

For my Practicum Teacher’s last class, less than half of the students were there, something that clearly frustrated her, but even though I don’t really know why, the school underwent a Lockdown. A male student arrived to class late, and he explained to the teacher that he got caught up in a storm of people in the hallway due to a major fight, but it would seem to me that it would have to be more serious than that to initiate a Lockdown. Maybe one or more of the students had a weapon of some kind. Anyway, it was definitely an interesting day, and I sincerely hope that no one was hurt.

On a completely unrelated note, are there any other Fringe fans reading this? If so, what did you think of the Season Premiere last night? I really liked it, but there were a couple of points that kind of disappointed me. You can read my blog entry regarding the episode at www.fringematters.com. I’ve been excited about the third season all summer long.

College=Reading= :(Chris

So one thing about college I have yet to master is reading. I was never a big fan of it, and I figured I would change my ways in college. But no. I still fail to do my reading assingments. So far I’ve been able to get away with doing a couple assignments in a class of mine without reading  single page out of the book.

But don’t follow me by example. I’m just all over the place. I have three jobs and am the vice president of the Gospel Choir (Rehearsals Saturdays Tyler Hall rm 102 1-3pm) among other things.  By the time I can do homework, something more interesting comes along. I’ve survived four semesters here and I’m thinking this is where my shortcuts are no longer going to pan out successfully. But we’ll see in time….

P.S. I figure for every post I’ll upload a new picture. Sometimes it’ll correlate to my topic and sometimes it won’t.

How is it senior year already?

Graduation is imminent!

The summer has flown by! I can’t believe it’s halfway through summer! I wish that I had more time to work for the summer, but I also can’t wait to go back to school. I’ve been having the weirdest dreams about being late for journalism classes with Professor Gilligan, who I’m not even taking classes with next semester! I think that comes from being late for Investigative Reporting a couple of times and freaking out until I realized that Prof Gilligan was later than me, luckily.

In thinking about the summer flying by, I think the past three years have flown by, actually. For me college has been a blur of staying really busy and doing a million things, and now, all of a sudden it seems, it’s senior year! In less than a year, I’ll be out of college and into the workforce. Holy cow!

My first year, I started out as a freshman at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. I remember moving in all anxious about meeting people, but excited to start studying (I’m such a nerd). I had already been to boarding school my junior year of high school in Arkansas, so I wasn’t afraid of being away from home, but there were those moments of “am I going to fit in?”

The nice thing about PSC was that there were 800 students there. And there was a ratio of 7:2 guys to girls; that was very beneficial :) Overall, people were very warm to me because of the size of our community. I loved it there. The students are fun, and the teachers are great. I miss it there sometimes. I left because the program wasn’t the strongest – environmental writing. I had my fun, but moving on to Oswego was a good decision.

Sophomore year came and went. I got used to the bigger size of Oswego and the weather. The classes are my favorite part of Oswego (nerdiness once again). Also, I really enjoy the ability to connect with other people on campus, whether they’re faculty, staff, or students. I feel like with the size of Oswego, there’s the opportunity to build close-knit groups, despite the thousands of students. You find your niche with people of like interests, and you gravitate toward each other, but that takes a little more time than I expected.

I feel like Oswego has been cliquey, though. It’s a lot harder to make friends at Oswego than it was at PSC because people aren’t as open with each other. Where I knew nearly everyone’s name at PSC (no joke), at Oswego my sophomore year, I felt a little lost in the masses at Oswego. It wasn’t until this past year, junior year, that I finally felt like I found my own niche.

The problem I think that I had was that there is only a relatively small group of student activists who have similar causes as I do, despite the thousands of students. Oswego has a lot of divisions from fraternities and sororities, who can tend to seem solely exclusive for members of Greek organizations, to sports groups, who seem to be exclusively for athletes, to the members of Humans v. Zombies, who tend to be just for those who enjoy LARPing (live action role playing).

Maybe it’s just my Southern background that makes me feel like the people at Oswego are a little more separatists than unitarians (in the literal sense of the words_, but, maybe that’s just college life. Anyway, tangent aside, I feel like my time at Oswego has been really great. I’ve made some friends and done A LOT of activities on campus. I’m just looking forward to life after college for a little bit. The time of living for partying on the weekends has been over for a while. I’m ready to start doing what I love as an occupation, and then go back to school in a couple of years.

Save Money, Get Smart…click here!

Go to them. They are good for you :)

I am back in Oswego after an amazing trip to NYC with my best friends this weekend. My classes are awesome and I can’t wait to get into them more.

I am taking eco 383, economics in baseball, eco 327, economic history, com (some number), advanced public speaking, Fin 325, Corporate fianance and Hrm 386, the 2nd level of human resource mangagment.

Some of my profs are left field, including the baseball guy, no pun intended but should be fun. I think I can get good grades in all of the, but I am worried about corporate finance. It looks hard, I might just sign up for tutoring right now. It is free and offered at http://www.oswego.edu/academics/support/OLS Check it out, it is free and super helpful.

Also, never buy your books at the stores, buy them online. I found a $150 dollar textbook online for 1 cent. Yeah that is right, 1 cent text book :)

It makes for extra room for more trips, but meanwhile check out this one!

Kia Ora Bro, This place is sweet az!

Beautiful Day in Auckland, NZ!In the Hamilton, NZ Botanical Gardens.Winter in JULY! Too bad winter here is 60 degrees and sunshine :)Tacky photo in front of the University sign!Hugging Gandalf after Caving in Waitomo, NZ.Caving in Waitomo, NZ.

Translation: “What is up brother, welcome, this is a cool island man”

Emersion in the isles of New Zealand has begun. I have 3 classes worth 12 credits back home that are more academically diverse and varied than I have ever been in. It was totally worth every minute and penny to come here and do this.

I am taking International Marketing, Advertising Branding and Identity.com, and a Negotiation and Persuasion class. Honestly though, they are crazy hard and I wouldn’t recommend taking 400 level courses while abroad.

I am homesick but staying busy. Leaving America really makes you appreciate it a lot more. The political issues that they have here are overwhelming compared to America. I know we fight a lot between parties and we have plenty of issues but there are a whole lot more over here.

It is a lot of fun but the food here is really different. Everyone’s favorite thing is mince pies (mince meat in a flakey crust) but they are so weird tasting to me. The weirdest thing is that they don’t know what a biscuit is! You know hot delicious biscuits that we like to eat with strawberries and cream at the dining hall or where ever, yeah they have never heard of them. They call a store bought cookie a biscuit. It is so crazy. I am going to make my Kiwi friends biscuits though, it will be a grand adventure soon to come.

One of the worst things yet though is that one of my best friends here is from Arkansas and I picked up some of her accent, now I say “Yall”. I am forever going to be made fun of back in NY. :) You got to love it though, a New Yorker gone southern in so many ways.

Check out the pictures and video and do not forget to Keep it Ozzy!

SUNYACS!

Heyy guys, I haven’t updated in a while but things have been totally hectic with the new semester starting, and my SUNYAC CHAMPIONSHIPS that i just had this weekend.  I was totally stoked for the big meet, and our team has been training for this sole meet the entire season.  This is the only meet that we are given enough rest and recovery time to actually preform at our best.  It’s something we wait for the entire season, and I was so glad that the time was finally here when we get to show everyone what we can actually do!  The meet went really well, the girls scoring second overall, and the guys 4th.  Both of our teams being in the top half of the conference was an awesome accomplishment.

We had many records set on both the men and women’s sides by Eileen Macmann, Jenny Vanetten, Jake VanEtten, Nicole Dean, the women’s 800 freestyle relay including Jenny VanEtten, Nicole Dean, Alycia Mullins, and Hannah Slaga, and the 400 medley relay including Kara Sitnik, Jenny VanEtten, Hannah Slaga, and Alycia Mullins.

We also had a bunch of people swim B-cut times for the NCAA National meet.  Forgive me if I forget someone but in individual events qualifying B-cuts we had Jenny VanEtten, Kara Sitnik, Nicole Dean, Eileen Macmann, Shawn Merlin, and Eric Messina.  we also had relays qualify including the 200 Medley with Kara Sitnik, myself (Leah Matthews), Hannah Slaga, and Kelly Williams, and also the 400 medley with Kara Sitnik, Jenny VanEtten,  Hannah Slaga, and Alycia Mullins.   I think almost everyone went best times in their races, and overall both the men and women preformed well.

The next step for us is to see if any of the swimmers that made B-cuts get invited to the National meet.  We will not find that out for a few more weeks, but we will wait in anticipation in hopes that we will be able to send someone to this prestigious meet.

Aside from athletics, there are actually other things that go on at college that I sometimes forget about when I’m wrapped up in my swimming….ACADEMICS!  I started my 2nd block in Education this semester, and I am really looking forward to some more experience in the classroom.  This semester, I am at Huntington K-8 school, and I am helping out in a 6th grade English classroom.  My host teacher is really awesome, and I think I am going to learn a ton.  Whats great about Oswego’s education program here is that prospective teachers get a lot of hours in the classroom, and are able to dive right into the magic of the classroom and learning so that they can be better prepared for student teaching and their professional future.  This semester I will be spending 25-30 hours just in a classroom observing and helping out wherever I can.  I am really excited and I think I am going to learn a lot that I wouldn’t be able to learn on campus.

If you are an Oswego student, I hope your semester is starting off smoothly, and If you are a prospective student, I hope you pay us a visit soon! I knew there are a bunch of opportunities for tours and things like that, so definitely check it out and see what we are all about!

GO LAKERS!

<3 Leah

The gorgeous facility at ECC

ME! swimming breaststroke