Clubs & Organization: Balancing Final Club Events and Finals Themselves:

IMG_0177Towards this time of year, it can seem like your life is like a game of Jenga.  With so many blocks being pulled out as you finish different tasks and new ones are added on top, it can seem overwhelming. However, realizing that this tower doesn’t have to fall is an important part of having a fulfilling end to the semester.

You know how during sports practices and the likes coaches always say “finish strong?” Well, this can apply to a wide array of things. Anything from organization’s final moments to those tests that you just feel like you can’t study for anymore, should be treated with this “finish strong” mentality.

I know that for me, a lot of my extracurricular activities focus heavily on end of the year involvement. Shaun Cass Improv’s biggest show is always our last. It involves planning, promotions, and practice. This can be tiring. But, once it is done, the fact that I remained committed is enough.

For Lifestyles, the Peer Education program comes with banquets and applications for the following year. This means filling out forms and having to move schedules around. But these final things are still important to attend and making it work around your schedule involves a lot of time management.

Other things that can make studying feel impossible are work schedules. While often able to do homework at the desk, sometimes it can be hard to focus. The way to beat this, I have found, is to only bring homework to the desk. Whether that means leaving your laptop or just having less to occupy your time, you can help yourself focus.

That being said, final notes I would give is to realize that at the end of the day, school does come first. And, while this college offers a lot of opportunities to expand yourself, it is a college and gaining professional knowledge is what matters. Good luck to everyone with the final weeks of the semester.

Student Athlete Guide: Eating Right

When it comes to preforming, the food that we put in our bodies makes all the difference in how well we will be able to compete. As athletes we can’t be like Popeye the Sailor and just eat spinach before a game, have mega-strength and destroy our opponents… I’ve tried.

Any athlete will tell you that practice makes perfect, and the same thing can be said about training your body to eat right.  By minimizing the bad (yet oh so good) food from your diet, it will allow your body to understand what healthy foods help you preform better. Having the right food in your system will not only make you a healthier individual but it will also improve your performance out on the field.

SUNY Oswego is always promoting a healthier way of living, especially when it comes to what you eat in the dining halls. However the choice to eat the right things as an athlete falls solely on you. You have to make the conscious decision of doing what it takes to become a better athlete. So put down the extra slice of pizza and step away from the ice cream bar, and here are some helpful hints about eating right.

1) Freshman 15 is a Real Thing

It really shouldn’t be called “Freshman 15″ in reality it should be called “Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior 15.” When it comes to eating in the dining halls it becomes a social event. Even when you are not hungry you still go to the dinning hall because that is where all your friends are. And when all of your friends are eating food around you its hard not to want to get a plate for yourself.

I am not discouraging you to go to the dining hall, in fact some of the best new food concoctions are invented in the dining hall, I am just encouraging you to grab some fruit, or make a salad instead of eating another full meal.

2) Check Out The Resident Dining Menu Online

Looking at the dining menu online before eating can help with making the right choices about what to eat. If you look at the menu only it will show you what is being served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and what foods are heart healthy, vegetarian, and vegan.

Also the dining menu online offers MyPlate. MyPlate is where you can pick foods from the menu that you want to eat and then it will calculate all the total nutrients (good and bad)  you are receiving from that specific meal. By being able to visually see how the foods are helping or hurting your body it will make deciding what healthy food to eat easier.

3) Encourage Your Teammates

Eating healthier can change your game, imagine what it can do to an entire team. That being said take the initiative to circle the wagons with your teammates. Trying to eat healthy as a group is a lot easier than trying to eat healthy on your own.

I know for our team we have a sweet tooth for ice cream and Cooper Dining Hall has its own creamery. So after a lot of our meals we would go get ice cream afterwards and not think twice about it. It wasn’t until when we were in season that we were seeing the effect all this ice cream was having on us. So instead of just cutting out all junk food we decided that once a week in season we would go for ice cream. We were all in it together and it made things a lot easier. It’s okay to eat junk food as long as you manage how much you eat of it.

 

Lakeside Dining Hall

Lakeside Dining Hall

 

 

 

 

Clubs & Organizations: Taking Initiative During Summer

DSCN999Summer is coming up. That is a fact and while everyone is excited for one of the longest breaks of the year, students everywhere will be left unoccupied by extracurricular work. For some this is a blessing, but for others summer, while fun can also be a simulative lull. For those needing to occupy their brains with entertaining, but experiential work during the warm months, here are some things I think will help.

  1. Start a summer blog. No matter what club you are in, chances are your experiences through that club, your interests, and your personal thoughts can be applied to some blog form. Whether its useful tips, entertainment reviews, or opinions on certain matters; establishing a strong summer blog can be great for the mind to filter out information and ideas, while also providing possible work examples.
  2. Stay sharp by practicing. A lot of different clubs can provide summer work if students choose to accept it. For clubs that feature performances in any form, find local open mics and attempt to do your act at them. In addition, clubs that are more major-driven can be made much easier by calendaring the schedule. By getting a jumpstart on the year ahead you can spend your time more evenly.
  3. Do an internship. In terms of no-brainers, this point may seem obvious. Internships can definitely help you build professional experience and experience to help in your organizational commitments. Building skills while also building your resumes is the way to getting a step ahead.
  4. Learn new skills. One way to occupy your time constructively is to pick up some new skills. Things like photo editing programs, web programing, and the likes help make you look technologically advanced for your future. Even learning the fundamentals of these various things can help you in the future when looking for a job.

Clubs & Organizations: Things I Wish I Had Known

DSCN9931

As previously written, I always knew that in college I wanted to be as involved as possible. I knew that it was a great way to build social relationships as well as professional ones. Coming into Oswego I wanted to join everything. Instead, I wish I had known what I know now about joining organizations because it probably would have made things much easier.

  1. Try out for things, even if you’ve never done it before. Coming into the school, I definitely had a love for comedy but had never done any form of improv or acting. When I heard about Shaun Cassidy Fan Club (the improv troupe), I was unsure whether I would/could do what they set out to do on a weekly basis. Skipping their table at the involvement fair out of fear, I went to their first show and found their brand of comedy to be something I could fall in love with. I moved on to try it out and proved myself to be right.
  2. Mix clubs of entertainment and leisure with professional ones. While clubs can be fun and social experiences, the benefits of joining organizations that push you towards a career can be extremely beneficial. Major-driven clubs (Like PRSSA) and honor societies are great because they allow you to gain real work experience (not to mention they look good on a resume).
  3. Pick a few clubs and excel at them. As stated, coming in I wanted to be a part of everything. I love clubs and feel that they provide people with great social and experiential opportunities. I signed up for a double digit amount of clubs during the involvement fair without realizing the commitment they would take. After quickly dropping some, I’ve wished that I had picked a few from the get go to become deeply invested in (at the very least, it would have saved my wrists from having to write my email down so many times).
  4. Realize that integration is a process. This one should have been a no brainer, but for me it wasn’t. When I joined my chosen organizations I had hoped for swift bonds and engagement. What I realize now is that no matter what the organization is, becoming truly invested in it and creating long lasting bonds is a journey in itself but the rewards are terrific.
  5. At the end of the day, Oswego offers enough organizations where there is multiple things for everyone. Not being able to find a club is as remediable as a Google search. Picking a few awesome clubs is a great move for anyone!

SUNY Oswego Brought Me to France

13760_799793690057922_6459331804728573772_nWould you ever think a SUNY Oswego student who lives on a dirt road who’s never had a passport, who’s never been outside of the country, or who’s never even been on a plane before would find himself sitting in a street café in downtown Paris, France?

Neither would I. But that’s what happened to me.

Last spring break, I went down to Alabama to volunteer for Habitat for Humanity in house construction and thought I couldn’t beat that. But when the possibility of going to Paris arose last fall, I reconsidered that thought.

A lot of people my age have been able to venture to foreign lands and I never understood how they were able to do it. I can barely find enough gas money to drive to Syracuse when I need to.

But they somehow found a way. And so did I.

SUNY Oswego offers quarter courses, a chance to study abroad without actually studying abroad. Students enrolled in these courses study a certain topic about a specific place in the world for seven weeks. Then, they go visit that location during spring break.

10614312_799793220057969_8717143414005323638_nI happened to be in a class with the same instructor who would teach the quarter course who told me about it.

Ha, yeah right, like I could ever do that, I thought.

But I started seriously considering it. And I realized that if I was seriously considering doing it, I had to seriously get on it.

I talked to my parents about it. I went to financial aid and figured out a way to pay for it. Over winter break, I went and got my passport. I did all the mountains of paperwork and reserved my airline ticket. I took the class, called “Comparative Media,” which examined the properties of media compared between the U.S. and France. And then, I went to Paris.

I remember in third grade filling out one of those papers the first day of school that gave the teacher all about yourself. One of the questions was “Where would you like to travel to someday?” I wrote “I want to see Paris, France someday.” I’m not exactly sure why but I always wanted to go there.

And then, I was. I saw the Eiffel Tower, I saw the “Mona Lisa,” I saw the Palace of Versailles, Notre Dame and so many other things. And of course, since I was there to examine the media there, I was able to visit the French Associated Press, a cinema museum, a communist newspaper and listened to a talk with the French correspondent for National Public Radio. I was also able to walk to the office of Charlie Hebdo, the satirical magazine that came under attack in January that captured global attention.

Then there was just being there itself. I had to keep reminding myself that I was in Paris, a place I never imagined I’d ever go to, let alone at 21 years old. I was the first person in my immediate family to fly since 1983 and the first person to go to a different country at all.

11048683_798769296827028_6279308243856522881_nI understand now why people always say to see the world. It definitely changes you and makes you think differently about the U.S. and yourself. That may be the biggest reason why I wanted to go. I was able to talk to people in a different language. I was able to see what their lives were like everyday. And I was able to witness that with a great bunch of people who also took the class, people that were wonderful to spend a whole week with.

I have absolutely no regrets. It was a great way to start the beginning of the end of my time here. When I applied to SUNY Oswego and moved my things in as a freshman, I never would’ve thought I would fly across the ocean my senior year. It’s just another reminder that SUNY Oswego can surprise you.

I’m grateful and lucky that I’ve been able to see a little more of the world before I’m released to it very soon.

Clubs & Organizations: Benefits of Getting Your Foot In Early

Every year, Admitted Student Days, open houses,  and involvement fairs sweep the campus. It seems like every year, more and more clubs and organizations appear. Every year, these organizations also seek new membership. Whether it be writer positions at The Oswegonian or dancers for Del Sarte, open memberships to campus organizations can prove to be beneficial and fun ways to integrate into the school community. So, with these days fast approaching, students both current and incoming should look forward to getting their foot through the door of clubs early for some of the benefits I have laid out below:

1. Club membership helps establish bonds, early membership does too! Nothing can be better for a student looking to get to know some other students than joining a club with people who share similar interests. For instance, a club like Shaun Cassidy Fan Club, finding fellow comedians to build off of has proven important for many members. Early recognition through involvement fairs allow you to sift through the clubs you might be interested in joining.

2. Don’t discount day one facial recognition. Following the hustle and bustle of tabling and member sign-ups, many clubs have general interest meetings. For both the e-board and yourself seeing those friendly and recognizable faces can be comforting!

3. Show your determination. Nothing says you want to be involved more than signing up for updates from a clubs! Use this as an opportunity to show that you mean business when you write your name down. This puts everyone in a better mood because doing so shows that you’re willing to put in the effort.

4. Lastly, strong foundations lead to quick advancement. While this seems obvious, it is still important to point out that, if you show interest early on, you are more likely to advance in the organization. Speaking personally, I know that my sophomore year saw me through to the e-board of Shaun Cassidy Fan Club and know that this is true of other organizations as well.  Showing the immediate interest helps you, along with the previous benefits, build a support system that will further you along on your professional and  interested path.

Alternative Spring Break Iowa 2015

One of the perks of selecting the spring semester as my exchange semester was that I would be able to experience the famous, Spring Break. Growing up in Australia, I would frequently watch American teen TV shows and films which would depicted college students during Spring Break. Thus it was a concept I was familiar with and excited about. Back in Australia we have a “mid-semester break” but this is generally a week where students catch up on their studies, study for exams and rest. Prior to researching my options for Spring Break I assumed that most students went to Florida and partied similar to the film Spring Breakers. This option didn’t really appeal to me because of financial reasons, so I went on the search for alternatives which would still allow me to have fun whilst seeing more of the United States. One of my friends was taking a communications class and her teacher informed her about the alternative spring break trips. She then discussed it with me, we looked at all the different locations which were offered, and we signed up. Prior to arriving in the United States I had no intention of travelling to the MidWest as I did not think the opportunity would arise and in addition to this, it is not exactly the typical tourist destination. We were both excited about the idea of the trip but did not know what to expect.

Our home for the week

Our home for the week

SUNY Oswego’s alternative spring break’s are organised through Habitat for Humanity, which is a non-profit organisation. I had heard of this organisation and the worthwhile work they do, so I felt comfortable and safe embarking on this trip. Our group was going to Iowa so we were volunteering with the Iowa Heartland Habitat for Humanity. This specific location builds between 10-12 homes a year which is an incredible movement to be part of.

Day 1

We travelled through the night in an attempt to preserve whatever sleep patterns we had prior to the trip, and arrived refreshed and ready to explore our new home for the week. We were staying in Cedar Falls, Iowa, in a United Methodist Church, this church was more like a community centre rather than a church. It had modern facilities that we were able to utilise including a basketball court, cinema, games room, three kitchens and general common areas. We spent the day unpacking, becoming familiar with our new setting, preparing for the week ahead and getting to know each other.

Community service project

Community service project

Day 2

Day 2 marked the beginning of our work week and thus our routines were established. We woke at around 7:30am, ate breakfast as a team, travelled to the site and commenced work at 8:30am. This first day we completed a project in the community. We pulled down a fence which surrounded the oldest property in the area. This was a sensational effort on our part, as initially we were predicted to complete the job in three days, we did it in one. We left the site at 3:30pm and spent the remainder of the afternoon exploring the main street in Cedar Falls and visited the University of Northern Iowa. Our evening traditions emerged which consisted of watching a crazy number of The Cleveland Show episodes, whilst playing trivia board games, before bed at 11pm.

Day 3

Once we arrived on site, we were advised that we would be working in the warehouse and creating the exterior frames of a house. I was clueless about framing but fortunately we had an excellent instructor. Framing is reading a wall plan, following the measurements, doing

St Paddy's Day!

St Paddy’s Day!

some basic calculations, cutting the wood to size, fitting the wood together, and nailing the wood together. It’s quite a process. The first day it took each team all day just to complete one wall each as we were all still learning. It was actually St. Patrick’s Day, so after we had finished work for the day, we decided as a team to celebrate by getting a McDonald’s Shamrock Shake – we do not have these in Australia so I was very excited. In the early evening we attended a dinner which the church was hosting, this was great as we were able to interact with and meet some community members. Several of us decided to go for a jog in the later afternoon – it was beautiful. I really enjoyed being in the fresh air and seeing more of the town.

Day 4

Once agin we were framing, we became slightly better and each team

Framing

Framing

managed to complete either two or three frames, we saw this as a significant improvement. I discovered that I am allergic to saw dust as even with a ventilator my throat was still irritated. This was annoying but didn’t put a damper on my day as I knew I just had to endure several more days. After we had finished work for the day we went to the local sports complex which was fantastic. We worked-out individually for around half the time, before coming together and having an epic volleyball game.

Day 5

Day 5 was the last day of framing and by this point we were serious pros. At the end of the day, we had actually completed the entirety of the exterior walls of a home. We were really proud of this effort as not only had all of our construction skills improved, we were the ones responsible for these frames being completed which a family in need would eventually live in. Once we left the site we returned to the church where we had Brinner (breakfast for dinner – duh); it was incredible. We then went downtown to explore the main street more, purchased specialty popcorn and checked out the local ice-cream parlour where we devoured some tasty treats.

Photoshoot!

Photoshoot!

Day 6

Day 6 marked our last day working for Habitat and it was bittersweet. We spent the morning doing another community service project which consisted of pulling down a handicap ramp, and then spent the rest of the day assisting with cleaning up the warehouse and yard before finally doing a photoshoot as a team and saying our goodbyes to the Habitat team. We spent the afternoon packing our bags and napping before heading out for a Mexican dinner and attending a semi-professional Ice hockey game. The Ice hockey game was like nothing I had ever witnessed before. The fans were all shaking their cow bells when their team had possession, and the hosts were engaging with the audience through shouting and dancing competitions. My seat was apparently lucky as I won a coupon for a local ribs outlet.

Day 7

Chicago!

Chicago!

We hit the road at 7am, Chicago bound. We arrived in Chicago around noon and driving into the city was sensational as we were able to see the skyline and the Willis (Sears) tower very clearly. My first impression of Chicago was that the city is a smaller version of New York City. We explored Millennium Park and I was in awe the entire time. I was so excited to see the Big Bean and couldn’t wait to see what else the city offered. We passed the Chicago river which was still a hint of green from St. Patrick’s Day, and also walked down the Navy Pier. I was amazed by the pier, and Lake Michigan’s beauty. It was one of the most beautiful shades of blue I had ever seen. We had intentions of walking down the magnificent mile and shopping, however our stomach’s interfered with this plan and instead we went to Pizzeria Uno to eat the original Chicago-style deep-dish. We waited around an hour and a half for this pizza, but in my opinion, it was worth it. The pizza had a fruit pie-like base with fresh toppings. After two slices I was uncomfortably full. By this point it was around 5pm and it was time to go. We once again drove through the night and arrived back at campus at approximately 5:20am. Although it was a long day, this day was one of the best days of my life.

The group

The group

Final thoughts

We all agreed that the trip was a very worthwhile experience and I would certainly recommend it to students looking to do something different during their break. Working for Habitat put life into perspective for me, and allowed me to see how fortunate, blessed and lucky I am. I want to give back where I can, and prior to this trip I found it difficult to discover these kinds of organisations which were inline with my visions and values. Habitat provides this opportunity in a safe environment with the chance to learn useful, valuable skills. The kinds of people that you meet on these alternative trips are a special kind, I feel it takes a certain type of person to be willing to sacrifice their break in order to go and do community service. I am sure that the friendships which were formed during this trip will last in years to come.

Thankyou SUNY Oswego for providing me with this opportunity, thankyou to the incredible group I was able to experience this with, and a massive thank-you to Scott Ball for being an incredible leader and role model.

Peace Out

K

Welcome back!

Break is over, midterm grades are about to be posted, it’s still cold in Oswego State, but most importantly it’s great to come back. Sure some of us prefer to be home, but there’s nothing like being back in college since we aren’t here forever. As a sophomore, I cannot yet begin to fathom how it is like for a senior to see that their college experience is nearing an end and their career life is so near. Having to think about paying off all your student loans over time and wondering if you will have the money and time to spend on yourself sufficiently enough to satisfy your own individual needs. Things like these is what makes me think that we should all feel that much more welcome to come back to the university that makes all of what seems like the impossible become possible. Compared to those who either drop out of college or couldn’t even complete high school, having to surpass all your peers who gave up, gives us that feeling to be more ambitious with our studies in the long run.

Even though I am a sophomore, I do still miss my high school. Therefore, I can only imagine how it’s like when you graduate from a university. The ties are probably much stronger between your friends, too. So I hope you simply don’t forget about us if you are graduating this semester! Visit, remember, repeat, and attend graduate school. Have fun because for now, Oswego State University welcomes us all for the opportunity to strive for success.

My roommate is actually graduating next semester, and he certainly had memorable moments in Oswego that he doesn’t want to let go of. We make lifelong friends here and learn to manage our time for when adulthood after college hits. Good luck to everyone, I’ll miss some of the seniors I’ve gotten to know. Spend a great time outside of college, but most importantly, spend all the time you can to make good memories while you’re still here!

Thank You Oswego DBus

As some of you know, the Oswego D Bus made trips from the Regional Transportation Center in Syracuse to the SUNY Oswego campus for a low price of $10. This was really nice of them to do and I’m really thankful for their service. They helped make the commute from our homes to the campus much easier. When considering waiting 5 hours for the next Centro bus to arrive or chip in $10 for occasional D buses to arrive, I’d take the latter. We appreciate it very much. We know you didn’t have to do this so we can’t express how lucky we are to have your service working with us.

I was planning to make it just in time for the Centro bus until one of the Greyhound buses heading to Syracuse took an hour and a half to start boarding. So as I made it to Syracuse, I arrived at 1:40, just about the time the second of only 2 buses was already filled. I noticed there was a D Bus leaving alongside it as well, and was just hoping another Centro bus would arrive. After waiting an hour, I saw another D Bus arriving, and there I had to expect the next Centro bus really won’t be coming back around until 7 p.m.. Therefore, I got aboard, paid $10, and enjoyed the quick trip to campus. Once again, thank you, and if I could expect the D Bus to do this over every break, I’d feel a little better commuting by bus than depending on carpooling.