Graduate School Isn’t For Everyone

Whether you’re thinking about going on with higher education to pursue a Masters or Doctoral degree, there are a lot of things you need to take into consideration before taking the dive. Financing is an obvious issue, as is how you’re going to support yourself in the meantime- you know, eat and stuff.

Beyond those types of things, there are some others which aren’t as apparent; things that don’t happen during undergrad.

Going through the History Masters program here at SUNY Oswego has made one thing painfully obvious to me: There are people who are much, much smarter than me. During undergrad I was a pretty good student. I loved studying history, writing papers, analyzing- all that stuff most of you hate. It made me seem smart because I was invested in the process. However, at the graduate level, I had to step up my game. There aren’t a ton of us in the program, so standing out negatively is easy. Teachers, and frankly your peers, expect more out of you. The days of the kid who doesn’t know what he’s talking about speaking up every class making people look good are over. You’re in the big leagues now. If you didn’t read for that day, stay home. People will eventually figure it out.

This is a good time to bring up my next point: You better love what you’re studying. If you’re pursuing a degree after your Bachelor’s it should be something you don’t mind spending every weekend for a few months…who am I kidding? You’ll probably be spending most days researching, studying, and writing about. You may have to skip out on some nights out with friends or with a significant other, which is never fun. Dedication and perseverance will be key. It’ll get tiring, trust me, but at the end of the day I’m proud of the result and focused on getting my degree. If you feel that maybe it’s not for you, do more research, talk to people already in the program and the professors in the department, and choose your University or College very carefully.

Finally, being in graduate school also brings on this feeling of limbo: Am I a student or a professional? I work 30 hours a week, but I go to class at night. How do I introduce myself in a meeting or to people I meet? I’ve personally had trouble understanding the difference. Many times I’m expected to be professional, going to meetings and creating events, but I need to make sure I’m home in time to finish a paper or study for an exam. It’s a delicate balance that will work itself out. In the mean time, do your best to just concentrate on what you’re doing.

At the end of the day, make sure you take your time with your decision and way all the pros, cons, and everything in between.

- Jon (@jonzella)

 

Who really needs an off-season? Psh.

The OzZzsome Roller Girl Tattoo-By: Mallory Wills Taber

So, a lot has happened since my last post on here. We are now in “off-season” but in roller derby terms that means absolutely nothing as said before. We still are practicing 2 to 3 times a week and have have our common social events. How do we do it you ask? Because it’s a sport that doesn’t get old possibly ever, it’s an addiction.

Last Saturday, Certified Public Assassin, Masso-Kiss-Tic Mandy, and I went to an event called “Scrap Night” down in Clay hosted by Assault City Roller Derby. This was a great experience for the 3 of us because we were able to play with the best of the best teams scattered all across Upstate New York. I have to admit, I was terrified to play such skilled athletes but it really helps you put your own skill into perspective and you to see how far you can push yourself. It was enjoyable watching my teammates shine and play to their full potential against these ‘A- team’ players. Our team’s first bout of the second season is coming up quick in January against the Albany All-Stars (weeeee, hope we will be ready).

My sister presenting me my award--Damn, we look hot.

Aside from practicing and scrap nights, our team keeps up with the social events in the winter. We just officially ended our season with the end of the year party. My sister Insane Assilem and teammate J-RockIt planned the event at D.S. Humphrey’s where fun was most definitely had by all. The best part of the night was the series of awards that were presented to the skaters, refs, trainers, coaches, nso’s, and even volunteers. The awards were either barbies or action figures presented on a orange construction cone. Hilarious. I was presented with the ‘Most likely to have groupies award’. You definitely can’t say you see sweet awards like that often for sports award ceremonies. I give a lot of credit to the creativity and thought that went to everyone’s individual award, Thank you Mel and Jamie!

So, looking back on these past two derby experiences, i’d like to say that i can’t see this fun ever ending for as long as the Oz Roller Girls are around. I also can safely say that i’ve never felt more accepted and respected in a community and that the experience over this past year has been unreal. Our team isn’t just a bunch of girls there to play a sport, we’re a family. Love ya’ll.

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.

Hi All!

Hello Everyone,

My name is Lindi Himes. I am a senior at SUNY Oswego and I’m a Business Administration Major. I was born and raised in Oswego, New York and it’s been quite an adventure thus far. My roller derby team’s Announcer/Ref/Friend Tim Nekritz thought it was a good idea for me to do a blog because he said I had the personality for it….hmmmm, we will see!

BUT Roller Derby if you’re wondering is one of my main hobbies when I’m not doing schoolwork/bartending/or working at my family’s butcher shop. It’s a fascinating new sport making its way around the state, country, and world! On my team (Oz Roller Girls), I’m generally the jammer (point scorer) and sometimes a blocker. I think the best things about derby are the people you meet and the fun times you share with these people. How did I learn about derby? My cousin Laura and my sister Melissa actually got involved 6 or so months before me. I was terrified at first learning a completely new sport let alone learning how to skate (yes, 2 wheels in the front and 2 in the back) but I have developed a love for a sport that I never thought I could have.

I’ll speak more about derby in the future because our season never ends in this sport (luckily) and we are always looking for new recruits. Our last bout (what they call games in ‘Derby’ terms) is this coming Saturday @ 6 p.m. If you’re the Type A person looking for a good time, that’s probably where you would want to be. And to follow the bout, our team will be celebrating (our win hopefully) at Woodchuck’s down the road from our venue (Crisafulli Rink-next to the Fort).

Hopefully this wasn’t too much randomness for the first blog!

-Lindi Himes or Crushed Red Pepper (Derby Name)