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.
Many times college students have a reputation of not being beneficial to their communities or active participants towards making a difference. However, I, along with the Tau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity have set out to prove that this is simply not the case here at SUNY Oswego.
Oswego Community Cares Day, being held on October 13th at The American Foundry (behind Fajita Grill), was conceptualized in May of last semester and has grown ever since. Hundreds of volunteer hours have been dedicated to this project; which raises funds for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude’s mission is advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
With the brothers of TKE, I have set out to create an event that is appealing and friendly for both the SUNY and City of Oswego communities. In addition to raising both awareness and funds for an amazing cause, the event serves to bridge the gap between both entities.
As a college student, it is important to get involved in any way you can, and use your skills to help others around you. We may feel secluded and as if we are not a part of the Oswego County community as a whole; but the SUNY campus is a huge and key part of the city in my opinion.
There are many volunteer opportunities available through the plethora of organizations on campus. One way to find out when these opportunities arise is to sign up to get emails from the Volunteer Opportunities list by going here. You can also find additional opportunities on the new Laker Life website.
Personally, I have seen firsthand the graciousness of members of the community when I have volunteered at events such as BucFest at Oswego High School or through programs such as Adopt-A- Grandparent. Our help and time truly means a lot to those in need.
It is easy in life, especially in college, to get sucked into the thought that we are in our own little world and nothing else matters. Volunteering and helping those in need is a great way to be reminded that the world is bigger than the problems we are all dealing with in our daily lives.
I have always had a passion for helping others and using my Public Relations talents and skills to promote events to raise money for good causes. Event planning has also been a way I have been able to help others. Working on Oswego Community Cares Day with TKE has been a pleasure and I look forward to the event!
It would be an honor to see a great turn out at this event, which is next Sunday, October 13th at The American Foundry (right behind Fajita Grill) from 4-6pm. Tickets are just $15 which includes a delicious Chicken BBQ dinner and raffle tickets. Amazing prizes will be up for grabs including a signed Macklemore CD as well as many gift cards from local establishments. Entertainment will be provided by Oswego student performers. Tickets can be purchased online by clicking here or at the door the night of the event.
For more information, leave a comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.
You may not have known it at the time, but when you decided to come to SUNY Oswego, you entered into a sort of social contract. By making the choice to pursue a higher education degree, you have made the choice to be part of a community. The community you and I belong to is called SUNY Oswego. The most important part of your end of the contract is your obligation to go to classes and do the work for them, but there is another part of that contract which may not be so obvious: being a valuable member of your community at large. The college has multiple avenues for being active in the greater community, but there is one common thread which holds them all together: you. Without student members of the extracurricular organizations and offices, there would hardly be anything to write home about at this school. And while you may not think your role in whatever group(s) you are a part of is particularly important, it most definitely is. If you take these bits of advice and try to behave more like a leader in your organization, you might see it spring to life and gain more influence and credibility in the community at large.
1. Confidence is key.
We’ve heard it a million times, but it can’t be stressed enough. If you know what you are talking about (or at least act like you do), people are more likely to listen and believe. But this isn’t about just being outgoing for no reason; I mean to say that if you work hard on something, it will show in the way you talk about it. So, sometimes it isn’t enough to talk the talk if you don’t have something good and tangible to back it up.
2. Dedicate time.
This appears to me to be one of the most common problems facing young student leaders. It is very difficult to set aside time for something when the first thing you learn about college life is the breadth of opportunities and activities available to you as a student. But if you can hone in on a few things and really set aside the hours for them, you will soon find people looking up to you and appreciating your effort and dedication to your club or activity.
If you can find some solid, meaningful, and well-defined goals for your time here at SUNY Oswego, you’re already two steps ahead of the competition. A good way to do this is to start big and work your way down. Find a few broad goals for yourself and compartmentalize them into smaller, more specific tasks, and keep working your way down more and more until you have found yourself in the possession of a set of tasks that are very easy and not stressful individually.
4. Enjoy what you do.
Most importantly, don’t force anything upon yourself. If an activity is not naturally part of your life, you might find yourself often unmotivated to pursue it. This may seem like common sense to some, however I can say from personal experience and first hand observation that it is very easy to feel the need to do something simply out of obligation to friends or maybe because you feel forced to. The trick is to enjoy helping others in the ways that you most easily can afford to.
Hopefully some of these tips stick with you throughout your college career, and hopefully I have helped you make some connections in your mind on what it truly means to be active and a good member of your community. This is an important skill set, one which will greatly enhance your personal and professional life – after all, that’s what we’re going to college for in the first place, right?
Seeing as this is my first blog post for SUNY Oswego, I wanted to start with an introduction of myself and my time at Oswego. So hello! My name is Ryan Sperry and I am a senior public relations major with a concentration in marketing. I’ve been involved a lot on campus. I was a DJ at WNYO 88.9 FM, president of the Oswego State Singers select vocal ensemble and captain and player for broomball, volleyball, softball and a few other intramural sports. As a PR major, I’ve also been involved in Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and have interned for the Compass and the Public Affairs Office. I have also spent the last two years working as a resident mentor in Johnson Hall working with first year students. I even danced a little with Del Sarte Dance Club. The list goes on and on. I’ve always been the kind of person to seek out new opportunities and experiences. Which brings me to my next point.
At SUNY Oswego, YOU define your college experience. There is so much to do here, enough where you will graduate and no matter how hard you try, you’ll only touch the surface. So how do you choose? When I got here two years ago, I was overwhelmed by how much there was. There are hundreds of choices and if you don’t like any of them, you can create your own club or set up your own pick-up games or whatever it is you want to do. Since I’ve gotten here, I watched one of my friends start Cut the Craft and a few other friends start the fishing club and badminton club. They have everything here! So how do you figure out what you want to do to have the best experience? I have three tips.
1. Do something you love.
Find something you loved to do for fun at home. Or maybe even something you liked to do in gym class like flag football or going to open skate every day. It’s great if you love your major and the work you do, but find something outside of academics. You need some type of stress relief and what better way to get rid of stress than doing something you love and can completely immerse yourself in. You’ll probably find people with common interests and end up making your best friends there.
2. Do something you need.
In this world, just a college degree is not going to get you far, especially if you want that awesome dream job working for that high profile company that requires years of experience for even entry level employees. So find something that you need for that job. It doesn’t have to be miserable either, especially if you love what you are doing. Find an internship on-campus. Join a club that coincides with your major or prospective industry. Do some community service. The more you can put on your resume that proves you’re responsible and passionate about what you do, the better your chance will be of finding a job after graduation.
3. Do something new.
One of the best things about college is being surrounded by new opportunities. The possibilities are endless. So reach out of your comfort zone and find something that interests you. Play broomball, learn how to dance, learn capoeira, get a personal trainer, take music lessons…do something! Even if you don’t like it, just move on to the next thing. At least you’ll realize something about yourself and other people. Who knows, the next time you try something new could completely change your life.