Yes, I Live Close By. Yes, I Live On Campus.

Well, here we are. The summer has come and gone and SUNY Oswego is once again a bustling metropolis. Students, new and old, have come to the “Land of Oz” to prepare themselves for their futures.

Students at SUNY Oswego come from a lot of different locations. There are foreign exchange students, a few out-of-staters, and those from New York City, Long Island, Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Utica, Watertown, and many others.

Some people had to make long trips to come back to Oswego last week. I myself ventured on quite a trek to get here. I live in the tiny town of Sterling–a mere 12 miles away.

I know, I know. Whenever I say that, the usual response is “What? And you live on campus?” The answer is yes. Why? There are a lot of reasons.

When I was accepted at Oswego State, I knew I wanted to live on campus. The conditions for living home were just not favorable. Contradictory to what you might expect, my house is still not connected to the Internet in any way, besides on my phone. Most of my assignments are done online so that would cause quite some difficulty.

My senior year stay in The Village

My senior year stay in The Village

I also do not have my own car, so having my parents drive me here and back every day would waste more time and money than what I’d be saving. And as I’m sure you’re all aware, winter weather is nothing short of unforgiving in the Oswego County area. I’d rather deal with the struggle of walking between Campus Center and Lanigan than trying to drive between Sterling and Oswego in the numerous whiteout conditions that occur.

But those are just physical things. Those weren’t the first things I thought of when I decided to live on campus. I wanted to meet new people, put myself in a place I’d never “been” before; I say “been” because I often went to Oswego to shop for clothes, groceries and go to the movies. I come off as a quiet, reserved individual. But the truth is, I love being around people. Even if I don’t say much or anything, I’ll just sit there and listen. Coming here and staying here gave me the chance to meet a lot of wonderful people and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Above all, I wanted to avoid what people called “13th grade.” I felt like commuting, going to classes and leaving right afterward, would just feel like high school over again, except with strangers. This put me on a whole new level, a step outside of my comfort zone. The best thing about living on campus is that it involves both school and life. It has helped me grow in social interactions, take advantage of the many opportunities on campus, which would be hard to do if I commuted, and make a lot of memories with a lot of really good people. I couldn’t have said it better than my sophomore year roommate (who lives in Oswego and has his own car by the way.) He said, “I realized that you can’t put a price on the kind of experiences you get from living on campus.”

Yes, I will owe thousands of dollars because of it, but money’s just a number and I will pay it back one day and that will be it. The good times I’ve had here will last in my mind for the rest of my life.

My Journey: How I became an Oswego Laker

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Hello! My name is Mairead Hanson (left). I have an Identical, one-minute older twin sister named Erin (right), and we have been inseparable since birth. From matching pink outfits and blonde pigtails, to long blonde hair and dresses we love each other tremendously. We dance together, hang out with the same group of friends together, and often finish each others’ sentences; typical superficial way of how people categorize twins. What people often misunderstand about my twin sister and I, is that we have completely different personalities. Erin: Strong minded, intelligent, and stubborn. Me: Loving, hard-working, and caring. We balance each other out to the point were I have no idea what I would do without her.

During our Senior year we always knew we wanted to go to the same college, but we were both interested in majoring in completely different areas. It was not hard to decide on a college because we had previously visited SUNY Oswego, where my older sister Shannon attends, and fell in love with the campus. Whats better then living with not only my two sisters, but my best friends. AND living on a beautiful campus that has all three of our different majors.

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Shannon, now a junior at SUNY Oswego, was overjoyed to know that Erin and I were going to be attending Oswego as Freshmen in the fall. We are all so close; being at the same college will make us that much closer (if that’s even possible).

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Shannon is a Communications Major at SUNY Oswego. She loves to talk and is very good at it — except when she talks your ear off, just kidding. She is an exceptional older sister and I am more then happy to have her in my life. Knowing that she’s always here for me in college is one less thing i have to worry about.

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Erin is an Accounting major at SUNY Oswego. She has a mind that is very good with not just numbers, but figuring things out. I am so very lucky to have her here at Oswego, only two floors above me in our residence hall, to go through the transition from high school to college with. Also, helping me with my math homework is not to bad either.

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I am a Wellness Management major. I hope that one day I become a Dietitian, helping people become healthy and live a healthy life style.

I am such a lucky girl to have both my sisters with different majors then me together at SUNY Oswego. Knowing that I will have my two sisters beside me on our different journeys is satisfying and pleasing. I am so excited to see what is to come for all three of us in our bright futures.

Freshman Year: My first week

I’m severely homesick. I miss my dad’s incredible home cooked meals, talking to my mom, having my own space to myself, stressed out about classes, and all people keep saying is, welcome to college. Ironically, I’m actually having a lot of fun. I’m learning to transition into my new college life; even though it’s a lot different then what I’m used to I definitely do not want to go home. Thankfully, my two sisters, Shannon and Mairead also attend SUNY Oswego, so that helps not being to home sick. The food in the dining hall isn’t that bad, not as good as my dad’s cooking, but I don’t think anything is as good as his. There are always so many different things to choose, from salads to quesadillas to wraps to pizza, you’ll never be left with an empty stomach. THANK GOD for FaceTime, my mom and I FaceTime religiously, everyday, when we’re not were texting of course. Sure I miss having my own room along with my extremely comfy bed at home but, thankfully, my roommate and I get along great and have more then enough room for all of our things! After going to all my classes, of course I’m a little stressed out and nervous about doing well my first semester, but this is college, of course it’s going to be hard.

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(Pictured from left to right: Erin, Shannon, Mairead)

So, hello, my name is Erin Hanson, this year I will be blogging about my experiences as a freshman at SUNY Oswego. I grew up on Long Island in Islip, NY with my two sisters Shannon and Mairead. We have always been very close and consider each other best friends, which is one of the reasons why we all decided to attend Oswego together. Shannon, a junior here at Oswego, is a Communications major with a Public Relations minor, once she starts talking it’s hard to get her to stop. Mairead, my twin and also a freshmen, is a Wellness Management major with a Nutrition minor, she is the biggest health freak ever. And for me, I’m an Accounting major! After taking business classes in high school I knew I definitely wanted to do something in the business field. Then, in my senior year of High School I took an accounting class and knew that was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I’ve always loved math, numbers, calculations, and I’m honestly excited to learn more! I promise it’s not as boring as you probably think it is. Oswego has many majors available to study from, and with my sisters and I all in different areas of interest, we’re all lucky to be able to go to a great school with variety of different majors.

Touring Townsville

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Wombat! What a cutie.

The first 2 weeks of my stay in Australia are officially over. I feel like I have been here for a longer period of time though. My floormates are all so nice and friendly and I have made some great friends so far. O Week was filled with talks about everything from the basic rules of Australia to a tour of the campus to fun things to do around town. JCU also offered so many fun things to do during orientation week as well, besides all of the informative presentations I had to sit through, including a visit to Billabong Sanctuary where I met some beautiful koalas, kangaroos, crocodiles, wombats (my new favorite animal), snakes, birds, dingos. They were all so precious and we were able to touch and hold some of the animals as well. A lot of the animals were rescues that were taken in to live out their lives in peace.

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A koala named Ray Charles. He was hit by a car that blinded him when he was a little joey.

 

There was also a scavenger hunt that took our group all over the campus to find random items such as a ukulele, surfboard, wig, jump rope and some other difficult things to find, especially since we were all study abroad students that brought the least amount of things with us possible. Most things were borrowed from Australians, so we made quite a few friends along the way.

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Take a picture in front of the menu board at Green Plate Cafe

Over the weekend a group of friends and I took a trip to Magnetic Island, which is a 20 minute boat ride away and stayed for the weekend to relax on the beach and get out of Townsville one last time before school started. We went hiking from the backpackers resort to the other side of the island where we found a beautiful beach to go snorkeling at. The water was a little cold, but for winter it was absolutely amazing. There were giant boulders on each side of the beach so we got to do a little rock climbing as well. We spent the whole day there and eventually caught a bus back to our hostel. The next day we went to a closer beach and laid out for the day and looked for seashells.

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Horseshoe Bay

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Florence Bay

 

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The gang.

The vacation ended of course but the first week of classes went pretty well. My schedule was very difficult to understand at first but I thankfully made it to all of the classes. It was basically an introduction week so there wasn’t much to do but all of my professors are funny and nice so the semester should go well. I also get to go on a field trip for my Rainforest Ecosystems class to a rainforest! That was definitely a good choice for an elective! Now that the second week has started there are assignments already so I know I need to stay on top of them all before it becomes overwhelming. Each subject seems really interesting so I’m sure it won’t be too difficult to keep up. When it came to buying school supplies I cut back so much from what I usually have at home. I didn’t bring anything with me so I had to buy it all. The basics for me included notebooks for each subject, post-its, a highlighter, and a mini stapler. Luckily I only had to purchase one textbook so that was another money saver. Also, I only have 4 classes to take here, Rainforest Ecosystems, GIS, Invertebrate Zoology and Behavioral Ecology. It’s nice to have a smaller work load for a semester and the behavioral class is even based off of field work every single week! Everything is great here so far and I can’t wait to share what happens next. (:

Journey to Sydney

Hello, my name is Kadeem I arrived in Sydney two days ago. I came here for an exchange program at the Australian Catholic University, which is better know as ACU.This trip was my first time ever being a passenger on a plane. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, especially being paranoid by watching and listening to the news over the last couple of weeks. I believe the hardest part of my journey was the first takeoff, after that everything else felt completely natural. The only thing I hated about the trip, was the obnoxious amount of chicken and rice the airline served. It was a Chinese airline but still, I had every type of chicken the Chinese diet could offer. The journey included connecting flights in Osaka and Tai pae which made my flight time about 24-hours altogether. I never really knew what 24-hours felt like until this trip, I can remember everything I did within the day I spent flying. I arrived wednesday around 10:30 am not knowing what day it was. Instantly after leaving the airport, I already felt how different this country was from the US. It is winter here but everyone is wearing spring or light clothing. Compared to Oswego weather, this was a summer night. I took a shuttle to a hostel where I have been staying until I get my housing situated. Everyone I have come across is very nice as well as personable. My first day wasn’t actually as bad as I thought it would be. I knew everything in Sydney would be much more expensive probably because the taxes placed on imports, but even toothpaste and a toothbrush ran me $7.  I walked around for a couple of hours to get to know the area, and it is not so different from New York City. The strangest part was crossing the street, which will take some getting used to. Something that is done everyday without thinking must be carefully done because drivers drive on the left .Other than that my first day was very pleasant. I was able to contact all my friends and family, and catch up on some rest.

Week 1: Adventures in Hobart

Oddly enough, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was playing on the plane over to Sydney; the movie basically inspiring me to travel… but it’s just so bad I can’t bring myself to watch it a second time.

 

Anyways, I’ve made it to Hobart, Tasmania in Australia! I am currently sitting on my deck listening to a very loud, odd sounding bird, looking out to the beautiful mountain range and bay in the distance. Although it’s winter, I’m very comfortable with bare feet, yoga pants, a tee shirt and a cardigan at 11:13AM.

View on my way to class/from my balcony

 

It is very clean here! For the first two days I didn’t see any trash outside of a trashcan. Once I thought I saw a few gum wrappers in the road, but they ended up being the remains of an interesting looking plant. I exclaimed how clean it was to my Swedish roommate, and he didn’t think it was any cleaner here than his home… (way to go, New York).

Organic products AND aesthetics!

Tasmania is considered the “natural state” of Australia, so a lot of the products sold here are organic (in the city of Hobart, at least). There are also a lot of local products at the super markets and at the boutiques in the city.

Yesterday I spent six hours walking from Sandy Bay to Hobart, shopping and talking to store owners, and trying to find my way around. I got home around 4:30PM, and realized that from the time I left the house till when I got home, I counted three pieces of trash total… A leather strap that looked like it belonged to a purse, an empty cardboard cup near campus, and an abandon water bottle that looked like someone was coming back for.

PS: Things are very expensive here, but minimum wage is $18. It all makes more sense now.

 

In addition to touring the city on my own, I’ve been on a hike with a few friends! It was snowing pretty hard near the top of Mt. Wellington, but we had a great time.

View from Mt. Wellington

Lots of snow up towards the top!

Lots of snow up towards the top!

Well, I don’t have that much for you… I’ve only been here a few days.

Until next time!

-Patty

 

525: Good Times Were Had By All

 

Fall 2011

Fall 2011

“Room number?”

“525.”

How many times have I recited those three numbers? Endless. That’s because I’ve lived in the same dorm room on campus for as long as I’ve been here. Most people stay in a room for one year and move to a different one. Some people may stay in their rooms for two years. Not many stay in them for three. I’ve said “525,” at the front desk, written “525″ when people ask me for my address, and have pushed “5″ on the elevator counsel a million times. Tonight, I will spend my last night sleeping in and waking up in the good old 525. Now I’ll be moving on to bigger and better things. I will be moving into a house in the Village to spend my senior year with the greatest people I’ve become friends with during my time at SUNY Oswego. I will enjoy the luxuries of my own room, a full-sized bed, air conditioning, and the ability to cook my own food in my own kitchen and watch television in my own living room. So, why have I stayed in one room for three consecutive years?

Fall 2012

Fall 2012

525 in Funnelle Hall is one of the hard, fought-after “L” rooms, the rooms that are not designed like the standard SUNY Oswego room. Their doorway walks into a little entrance way where the residents’ closets are, before turning to the left or right where the rest of the room is. Whether there is actually more space or not, no one really knows. But they seem that way and are usually the first rooms taken when housing selection happens in April. How I and another freshman got one three years ago is beyond me. Along with the space, 525 faces the south side of Campus Center with beautiful Lake Ontario glistening behind it. It is the best thing I could imagine looking at when waking up every morning and right before I go to bed every night. You get to see part of Oswego’s famous sunsets, get to see the storms coming when they are still miles away, and the snow fall down gently or blow so much you can’t see the Campus Center at all.

Fall 2013

Fall 2013

I’ve had three roommates in the three years I’ve been here and each have brought their own special qualities to the room while I’ve been here. There has been movie nights, acoustic guitar jam sessions, pizza parties, a ball pit, monkey bars, standard beds, lofted beds, a futon, “go-down-to-dinner rendezvous,” a science experiment that involves a balloon (don’t ask), and best of all, small random get-togethers that started out in the hallway that moved here, that turned into half the floor coming to join. These resulted in staying up till 5 in the morning on a week night, us telling stories that in the telling, turned into stories themselves.

unnamed1A lot of good memories have been made between these four walls. It’s going to be strange being somewhere else on the Oswego campus, but it is time to move forward. And it’s almost as if I’m not exactly going. My current roommate is staying in the room next year so I will be passing the 525 torch down to him, sort to speak. The last two times I’ve moved out of this room, I’ve laughed, knowing that I was coming right back in three months anyway so “saying goodbye” was nothing. Now it’s going to be different. This time I won’t be coming back. Time never stands still for very long and college is no exception, as it is just a small part of what my life will become. When I get my room inspected, hand in the 525 keys, sign the check-out sheet, and close the door, it will be much like closing the door of the last three years. But there are more things to see while I spend my final year at SUNY Oswego, more memories to made elsewhere, and I know, there are other doors waiting for me to open.

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5 Tips on How to Succeed in College

So, as I write this, I am completely finished with all college work. Every paper has been turned in along with every exam. It feels really good to be done. Looking back on my four years at SUNY Oswego, I realized that there were a few key things that helped me to succeed in college. Feel free to take my advice and run with it. It can work for you too.

1. Diversify Yourself and Your Skills:

Fun fact, when I originally started college, I was looking to become a journalist. While I was interested in writing, I figured that I should be a broadcasting major as I figured journalists in the future would have to know how to speak in front a camera or a microphone. When getting involved at the campus radio station, WNYO, and the TV station, WTOP 10, I realized that I liked TV and radio production a lot better than I did writing. I changed paths quickly, but always explored other options.

I took it upon myself to learn everything I could. By the end of my college career, I have produced radio, directed TV, learned how to be an on air personality, and much more. I learned a little bit of everything, which made me a well rounded person. Additionally, I also took public relations and journalism classes which helped me to develop other skills.

Rather than looking to become good at one or two particular skills, making an effort to learn everything regarding your career field will take you far. You will find that you can apply for more jobs and adapt to new situations quickly. It’s never good to know or like just one thing. Having multiple interests and skills will benefit you more.

2. Learn How to Write Well:

While applying for jobs this past semester, one of the things employers told me the most was that they were very impressed with my writing skills. One employer even proceeded to say that this is rare as most college students do not know how to write well. I would have to agree with this statement. After being a TA for two years, I have read plenty of papers with ridiculous spelling and grammar errors. Some students even try to use complicated words to make themselves sound smarter, but that just makes things even more complicated.

When it comes to writing, the two things that matter most are content and style. What you say is important, but how you say it makes all of the difference. Anything in the world, even paint drying, can be interesting if presented in the right way. Learning how to write well can allow someone to make anything they say remotely interesting.

What helped me to improve my writing skills were lots of practice. During one semester, I took both a news writing class and a public relations writing class. Having these two classes back to back gave me more practice writing than I ever could have asked for. Both classes also used A.P. Style, a set of rules typically used by newspapers and journalists. Every college student should take a class which requires them to learn from the A.P. Stylebook. It improved the quality of my writing significantly.

Another piece of advice is to always proofread your work. I read everything I write out loud when I’m finished with it, including this blog post, to make sure that it makes sense and also catch any typos or errors. You are doomed to do poorly if you do not proofread your papers at least twice.

3. Get Involved, and Get Involved Early:

One of the best decisions I had made when getting to school was to get immediately involved in a couple of on campus organizations. For tips on how to get involved early, I actually wrote about this in a previous blog post. Getting involved gives you great experience and also allows you to meet like minded people. I had a lot of trouble making friends during my first semester, but getting involved allowed me to meet the people who would become my close group of friends.

My college experience would not feel complete and would probably not feel special if it were not for getting involved. My experiences at WNYO and WTOP 10 are some of the most valuable experiences of my life thus far. The earlier you get involved, the more you learn and the faster you climb the ranks.

4. Use Your Last Semester to Focus on the Future:

If there is anything I have learned over the past few months, it’s that the job market is very tough. I am very lucky that I currently have two paid internships lined up for the Summer and possibly a full time job lined up for the Fall. One reason I got all of these opportunities was because I spent most of my time searching for them.

Since January of this year, my main focus has been on finding a job and making myself look like a great candidate. I visited The Compass (career services) to make my resume and cover letter look stellar, created a portfolio website for myself to further showcase who I am, and did a lot of research regarding how to find different opportunities.

My GPA may have taken a small hit this semester, but I’m glad I used my last semester to both relax a little bit more and focus on my next steps. While I have been applying for jobs since March, I didn’t receive a single reply from an employer until the middle of April. You really do need an entire semester and a bit of luck to get a position right out of college or get into graduate school if that is your next step. Maintaining grades and staying involved on campus are important, but put your future above everything else when you’re close to the end.

Are you ready for my single most important strategy to succeeding in college?

I credit this to being the single most important tip I could ever give someone starting college or continuing it.

5. Show Up!:

I’ve already written an entire blog post on this strategy, but I’ll provide a little more insight. You can only benefit yourself by going to class. Being present and attentive are the most beneficial things you can do for yourself in college. Even when I did not understand anything I was learning in a particular course, I would have been even more lost if I had missed even a single class.

This tip is so powerful because it is so effortless. All you need to do is walk out of your room and be in class or at your job on time. There’s nothing more to it. The best part is as Woody Allen says, “Showing up is 80% of life.” When you attend class or a meeting for a club, you’ve done most of the work by just showing up. By doing this, you’re 80% of the way towards being successful in college.