When The First Snow Comes to Oswego

B2bVafzIMAAcn77.jpg_largeWhen I graduate from SUNY Oswego in a few months and move on to something different, I’m going to miss a lot of things about this campus and about this region. One of those things is one of my favorite events of the year, and I know it’s many others’ too—the first snowfall.

No matter when it happens or how it happens or what happens afterward, it always seems to be something we look forward to. Snow is undoubtedly Oswego’s biggest legacy. Getting an average 150 inches of snow each winter, it is one of the snowiest parts of the country. Some people love it. Some people hate it. But generally, there tends to be a little bit of excitement when you hear someone say “It’s snowing out!” in early December, or November…or October.

Students will be taking pictures everywhere and when you go onto Facebook, you’ll see a picture of a white Campus Center every few posts. When you see people you know, they will each tell you their own story. How they “almost slipped and fell here” or “I couldn’t even see my building” or “some freshman were thinking this is bad. They haven’t seen anything yet.” Then there’s always that thought in the back of your head that says “class cancellation” even though you know there’s no chance of that happening.

It’s very hard to explain what exactly it is. Last Thursday while walking home from The Oswegonian office, it started coming down pretty good. It was a very pretty walk back to the Village with some of the other Oswegonian editorial board members. The wind was actually not blowing so the snow was just gently falling to the ground and not in your face. You could hear people shouting in the distance, obviously excited about it.

I can remember every first snowfall in my college years. Not that I’m not used to the snow that Oswego gets. I grew up around here and had my own share of 40 inches in five hours, impassable whiteouts, and watching snow pile up faster than I could shovel it before I came to Oswego.

I don’t know what it is though. Is it the change in seasons, the beginning of a different era, something new happening on campus, something cool to talk about? I’m not sure.

Maybe the snow brings us students closer together. We can’t bask out in the sun or play Frisbee or football out in the lawn anymore. The snow forces us inside to enjoy some warm food, lots of laughter and good company and to make some memories that won’t happen anywhere else when the snow starts to fall.

The Biggest Decision I’ve Had to Make in College

Photo provided by Luke Parsnow

Photo provided by Luke Parsnow

When people have asked me throughout the years “what is college like?” my favorite response has always been “Well, college makes you broke, sleep-deprived, and broke.”

Money is always going to be the most important subject when it comes to higher education. It always has been. But it’s a lot more than just the thousands of dollars of tuition. Things like textbooks, school supplies, clothing, and food are all expenses that every college student grumbles about when they’re trying to save and they keep having to dig into their wallets.

The solution? Easy—get a job, right?

Now, I grew up in an area that wasn’t exactly prosperous. I’m 21 years old and I’ve never held more than $1,100 in my hands. I’ve had one summer job that paid $8.50 an hour. That was a blessing that came at the right time. I had to go into my reserves just to buy the $0.89 manila folder to put my application for the job in.

Last spring, I hit the biggest crossroads I’ve ever had in my life. I was at the end of my junior year, I had a year of experience as being assistant news editor at The Oswegonian, I needed an internship in order to graduate and summer was coming up fast, and I was also out of money.

I can’t even remember how many sleepless nights were spent wondering about what to do. I was told about an internship in Albany that I would most likely get. Remember, my major requires me to have an internship to graduate. But it would be unpaid and it was 3 hours away from where I live. To make things more difficult, my boss from my 2013 summer job contacted me and approved me for another summer session if I wanted it.

The Legislative Gazette, a newspaper covering New York State government and politics, where Luke interned this summer.

The Legislative Gazette, a newspaper covering New York State government and politics, where Luke interned this summer.

I basically had to make the decision of “Do I go do an internship that will be good for me and will help me find a job someday? Or do I make sure I don’t go broke my senior year?”

I feel like this is a terrible decision that a college student should have to make. I wasn’t the only one either.

One of my friends told me that she got accepted to do an internship as an assistant school psychologist in New Jersey, but she had to turn it down to continue working at Subway in order to pay for her rent and textbooks the next semester.

With no car, no definite place to stay, no experience in public transportation, no knowing what exactly the internship was about, and about $100 in my pocket, I decided to go for the internship.

Having not much money to start out with, paying the bus fare, taxi fare, and food wasn’t exactly making my wallet happy. But I decided to risk it.

And it was worth the risk.

I survived somehow. With a few playing shows, a few generous people, and luck (including finding a lawyer’s lost cell phone and providing me with a $100 reward) I made it through the summer with extremely limited income and heavy expenses.

While I did not make money last summer, I made a lot more. I made connections, I made a new form of confidence in myself that I’ve never seen before, I made a well-respected addition to my resume, and I made a stepping stone to the future I want to go forward in.

An article Luke wrote on a rally urging the State Legislature to vote on minimum wage reform.

An article Luke wrote on a rally urging the State Legislature to vote on minimum wage reform.

And it made sense to do it. Instead of mowing lawns and watering flowers I was able to meet Governor Andrew Cuomo, witness political rallies, write articles on various political subjects, talk to interesting people on the phone, live in a city for the first time, visit several presidential graves and Franklin Roosevelt’s library and museum, and a lot of other things.

I’ve encountered many obstacles with the things I’ve wanted to do in college. But I can honestly say that I have never failed in them. I found a way. I always found a way to make happen what I need to. Despite my situation, I always found a way. Most of the time it just wasn’t how I had imagined it.

And it was the right decision. It may have left me poorer for my senior year, but money is just a number. The experience I had and the lessons I learned over the summer will be the thing that pays me better in the long run than a large paycheck from Subway.

 

 

 

Humans Vs Zombies: First Half of the Week

Whew! This campus game has made the past week full of fun and energy. This is my second year participating in this complex game of tag. Players choose to be Humans or Zombies with blue or red headbands to indicate the two. Humans are allowed socks or NERF guns to hit the zombies with, which is able to stun them from tagging you for 15 minutes. The game is in play all day as long as you are outdoors and traveling to class; except when heading to work. This game has involved me having to do a lot of running and, since I started on the human side, it had me paranoid in the beginning. There are also daily missions that humans can optionally attend at 8 p.m. starting at the quad.

Day 1: My first class was at 12:40 and I had just finished eating lunch with my friends. Since they weren’t participating in the game, I asked them a favor to cover for me as I walk to class (I had to take safety precautions since I don’t want to be turned on the first day). Everything throughout the day went smoothly and I was able to head to class and back to my dorm safely. When the daily 8 p.m. mission started, zombies were the first to head out and find the red cooler that we humans are supposed to find and bring back into the Hewitt Union doors. It was then time for humans to head out to try and find the cooler. We split into even groups of ten. My group followed another into the area by Culkin Hall only to then spot some zombies trying to surround us after we went down the stairs in front of Culkin. When our group leader called out that zombies were spotted, we ran as fast as we could all the way around the way we came alongside Tyler Hall and straight to the back of Lanigan. With two zombies still lurking near us, we kept walking through the back of Penfield and towards the back of Campus Center. We spent a good amount of time having zombies spot us and chase after us as we run off. We kept doing this until we finally heard the call from one of the moderators that a group of humans have finally found the red cooler and brought it back. This calls for the end of the mission and grants the humans a 15 minute grace period from being tagged. Therefore, we had a successful mission and we ran home from those zombies!

Day 2: I felt safe going to class since it was an 8 a.m.. After that class I walked with a friend straight to lakeside since class ended early and I needed to stay a way from central campus since that is where the zombies  walk around. Then I walked down alongside east campus for my 9:35 class hoping I wouldn’t find a red headband anywhere in sight. We walked very fast to my class in Lanigan safely. Once that class ended, I just had to speed-walk straight to my dorm since it is home to many starter zombies. All went well as I showed off my blue headband during lunch. I didn’t worry too much since I didn’t have class until 2:20 in Lanigan, which worried me a little bit. Nevertheless, I arrived to class 20 minutes early since it is a huge lecture hall class. However, once that class was about to end, I left, and spotted someone with a red headband going down the stairs. I pointed him out to my friend who was walking me back to my dorm. So we walked back up the stairs and went to get out through another door. Once we stuck our bodies out the door, three zombies spotted me. To my failure to read the rules correctly, I ran to the wall of Penfield from the door of Lanigan, thinking I could be five feet from a building in general to be safe from being tagged. Apparently that was not the rule, which was to be outside 5 feet from a door not a building. That was when I got turned to a zombie. I was pretty disappointed not realizing that part of the rules, but at least they kindly welcomed me and I didn’t let them down. At least after this point, it was fun stressing out some humans whenever I pass by a blue head-banded person. Later that day I saw two humans sitting in the open field by the Campus Center. As a zombie I wanted to see how I could tag them without getting stunned, so when one of them approached me, I ran as he followed. I circled around the area as quickly as possible to then find another human nearby throwing socks. As I ran by, I swiftly dodged the sock throws and felt confident in trying to tag her, however I was too worried about getting stunned by the guy already chasing me. With that thought, I found myself running towards the other human who was sitting down in the first place and he shot me with his NERF gun, thus ending the chase. I felt like that was a lot of fun on my part just dodging darts and socks. The mission that night was quite a run as well. The humans had to protect a bucket all the way past Shineman Hall, in front of Rich Hall, in the middle of the field. The Zombies had a head start where me and my friends hid by the campus center entrance that leads to Shineman. I was hiding cautiously by a pillar until the group of humans came. A human said he should check the area by the entrance “just in case,” while a friend of his said “no don’t, you don’t know if they are there.” That is when I saw him pass by the pillar I was standing by and quickly ran up to him and tagged him! It was then when the guy’s friend hit me with a dart and stunned me for 60 seconds prior to the mission’s unique rules.   It was a humorous tag because after I tagged him, the humans all said “aww!” and he pretended to fall jokingly as a fallen victim. They continued their march and very few humans were tagged that night. They reached the destination point in front of Rich Hall and there were so many there who kept stunning all the zombies who tried going at them. The mission ended and humans succeeded with some added rain that had started to pour down on us, which made it feel awesome, like a real zombie apocalypse or something from a movie!

This concludes my first two days spent during Humans vs. Zombies! A lot happened and I’ve had so much fun in just the first two days. Some starter zombies were actually 5 year veterans who knew how to catch humans all too well.

Why I’m Not Graduating in December

20140827_200104There are a number of students on the SUNY Oswego campus who keep looking at the calendar and realize they only flip it one more time before the word “December” is printed in big letters at the top. For some, that means their tenure at this school is ending and they will be walking the stage while the snow is on the ground, rather than the traditional dandelions.

There are many reasons for this. Some people are just finished—they have completed the necessary requirements for college and don’t see any point in hanging around any longer. Some do it to avoid paying an extra few thousand dollars that they technically don’t have to. Some weren’t able to graduate in May due to various problems and are  doing so now.

I began school here in the fall of 2011 and am on schedule to graduate in the spring. I have two majors and a minor. One major was technically completed before this semester and the other I could’ve finished this semester. I only have one more class for my minor that I also could’ve taken this semester. So in theory, I could have graduated in December. But I don’t want to.

And it’s not because I’m afraid of the real world and am just taking on another semester because I technically can. It goes way beyond that.

Being a double major and minor, I have had the lovely opportunity to take an armada of different types of classes from different backgrounds. I have taken creative writing classes, journalism classes, history classes, political science classes, broadcasting classes, English classes and more. So I am satisfied that I have had such a versatile class structure while I’ve been here. That is the basis for why I won’t graduate in December.

I love this school. I talk about it all the time. I cannot believe all of the things I have done and opportunities I have taken in my three-and-a-half years here. It has passed my expectations on biblical proportions. And each time I think it can’t get any better, things come up that just might make it so.

20140827_200053The spring semester might be exciting for many ways. I am excited for the classes that I will potentially be taking, and not because they are easy 100-level classes, because they’re not. Some of them are classes that I am not required to take for my majors but I am anyway because they are offered. One of them is a class that examines communications in other countries and sends students to Paris, France over spring break. I have only left the country to go to Canada, I have never been on a plane before, and have always wanted to go to Paris since I was about six years old. An adventure like that would be the perfect ending to my college years. That alone would define my entire philosophy on college: Take the opportunities that are offered and go beyond your comfort zone. For me, both would definitely apply here.

The spring also gives me the time to possibly squeeze one more internship in before I graduate. With a small class schedule, this helps make this possible. There are many opportunities on this campus or near this campus for that.

The spring semester also gives me a window of a few months to do some hardcore job and internship searching, which is quite comforting. I want to leave SUNY Oswego knowing what’s next and not just walk out the door and go wherever the blustery Oswego winds take me.

An undergraduate student has four years. Four years is not a long time. It has gone by astoundingly fast. I want to do as much as I can in those four years because they won’t come again. I’m paying the money and taking the time, but I will take it all because I know what kinds of doors can open at SUNY Oswego.

Oswego Dining

Usually you hear that college food is gross when it comes to the dining hall; here at SUNY Oswego, that is not the case. Each dining hall has a deli, the special food of the day, salad bar, cereal, and dessert options. There are a variety or dining halls for you to pick from: Lakeside, Cooper, Pathfinder, and Littlepage. Each dining hall specializes in something unique.

Lakeside:

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Lakeside dining hall is located on lakeside and is connected to Johnson Hall. Lakeside specializes in Chinese food. Chinese is strictly served Sunday through Wednesday. You can pick from the daily special, or have the dining hall make you a special plate custom to your liking. Lakeside also has pizza and bread-sticks, you circle on a piece of paper what you want, whether it be garlic/cheese sauce, pepperoni, broccoli, onions, or more, and they make it specially for you. Latenight is also offered here.

Cooper:

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Cooper dining hall is located in main campus, and is connected to heart hall. Cooper is well known for its ice cream bar. While their are certain nights where ice cream is offered in every dining hall, Cooper is where you would go if you want a great ice cream sundae. They usually offer at least 6 different flavors with unlimited toppings of your choice. Like lakeside, Cooper also has a pizza station. Late night is also offered here.

Pathfinder:

Pathfinder is located in west campus, connected to Cayuga and Seneca Hall. At Pathfinder, depending on the day, you can get quesadillas, flat bread pizzas, or panini. You can get anything from sour cream, guacamole, salsa, chicken, cheese, and more on your quesadilla. Pathfinder offers a wide range of options for flat bread pizzas and paninis including buffalo chicken, pesto chicken, roasted pepper and chicken, and more. Pathfinder also allows you to order burgers, hotdogs, grilled chicken, bacon, onion rings, and french fries at the grill.

Littlepage:

Even though littlepage has a salad bar, they offer a special salad of the day. The special of the day can range from chicken cesar, mexian, ham and cheese, and more. You tell them what you would like in the salad and they make it for you in seconds. Littlepage is also opened for late night.

Places around campus:

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There are many places around campus where you can use your Oswego dining dollars to get a quick meal or snack. This is a smoothie called Lean Machine at FANS in the Marano Campus Center. There are many other places around campus where you can get a things such as a bagel, buffalo chicken sandwich, yogurt, chicken fingers, and more.

As you can see, when it comes to Oswego dining there’s always something to choose from. Each dining hall is unique in its own way and it makes Oswego cuisine very diverse and interesting instead boring and dull. SUNY Oswego also has an app available in the app store called “SUNYOswego” where you can look up what the dining halls are serving for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oswego dining truly has great options.

HvZ Next Week!

Humans vs Zombies

    Sign up this Thursday! It’s almost time again for the Humans vs. Zombies annual game. For those of you who don’t know, this game is a campus wide game of tag where a set few of people are labeled zombies and cannot use anything but their two hands to tag someone labeled a human in order to turn them into a zombie. Humans are allowed to throw socks and use NERF guns to stun zombies from being able to tag them for 15 minutes. I participated in this event last year, and I recommend everyone to at least join in the fun during one of their years here in SUNY Oswego. The game only comes around once a year after midterms in the fall semester.

I probably will be writing up daily blogs for each day I survive as a labeled human in the game. I may resort to writing a huge blog that is more like a list of journal entries of what occurred every day from what I remembered that is most memorable of course. I have done this last year where on the last day of the event, I wrote a blog describing everything I could in detail and it was just too much fun writing it all down and remembering the friends I made and hilarious moments.

There are clear rules within the event which keeps everyone safe as long as people respect them. Such rules are that you can’t be in play when you step in the parking lot or 5 feet from a building. When a NERF bullet hits a zombie in the head, it won’t count as them being stunned. Also, non-players cannot participate in the game, where players working in collusion with non-players will be kicked out. You can find the list of rules and regulations within the Humans vs. Zombies Facebook page.

The game is thrilling, exciting, and friendly if you make it so. There won’t be anything weird about it since it’s a game where we all can go around and be “childish” as some people believe it to be. It’s worth the fun, and it’s acceptable. What’s better is you’re playing with potential long term friends and well as building great friendships as you go around finding other humans to team up with as you walk to class. The same goes to zombies where you can wait in front of campus center and wait for humans to walk nearby (Oops…watch out humans).

The game may feel like it’s built towards zombies to win, but it’s really all about giving it a try and experience the thrill of being in situations of survival. I want everyone to have fun and don’t even worry about not having a NERF gun. I was pretty much a weaponless human who would throw useless socks sometimes and even borrowed a NERF gun whenever a friend wasn’t going outside for the rest of the day. Enjoy the event guys, it’s only one week with an interesting storyline brought to you by the moderators of the Story Teller’s Guild.

Fall has hit oswego!!

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The cold weather is on it’s way! The trees have changed colors and the air is chilly. I have switched to drinking hot tea instead of cold water because I’m so cold. I have no idea what id do with out my pink keurig; I have so many different flavors of tea. lol! Oswego is the most beautiful place to be in the fall with all the different fall colors everywhere you look. It’s a great view when walking to class. I’m having so much fun and cant wait to take a picture when it starts snowing. Hopefully it starts snowing soon!

Long Distance Communication

Long Distance

            Long distance may be one of the most difficult things to cope with in life. Whether it’s long distance relationships or being far from home, dealing with it is all you can do. However, there are different ways to deal with it. You can go through with video calling them through any video calling software ranging from Skype, Oovoo, Tango, FaceTime, etc… There are some advantages and disadvantages to using video calling, but it’s really helpful when you miss your significant other dearly or a family member. Long distance relationships, however, can have its pros and cons, but you may feel the cons a lot more. There are great things like: unlimited alone time, not having to fight for space, being able to go out with your friends all the time without anyone getting upset. The main con is the fact that you both can be thousands of miles apart. Distance has a definite impact on the dynamics of a relationship. A serious long distance relationship surely isn’t the same as having a long distance crush. When you have a long distance crush, everything’s new and exciting. You’re getting to know someone over the only modes of communication you have and it’s the biggest emotional tease, really, because the possibility of anything is wide open. Maybe you’ll meet them, maybe you won’t; you never know. But when you’re trying to make something that already exists, a legitimately working long distance relationship, it’s difficult.

In general when you’re away from home, you have the best and worst of both worlds. The freedom of being single and none of the fun or all the comfort of being in a relationship and none of the contact. It’s like having a large part of your life figured out, but it’s mysteriously nowhere to be found; that’s probably one of the weirdest feelings you’ll ever get. We can only be happy we have software online that helps with this struggle many of us encounter. Video conferencing for example, you have quick communications with others and  it’s where people from all over the world can meet each other halfway. You also have convenience since most places have internet connection these days, so it’s easy to talk to whoever you want, from wherever you are.

There are many options within video conferencing. Facetime allows you to connect with different people or family members. You can utilize Facetime off of apple products with one other person at a time. This is good for long distance video conferences, it is affordable for people that live far away, and it has a larger base compared to Skype. Facetime gives you a very clear picture. Oovoo allows you to connect with up to six people at a time. This is good for family members that live far away. If one of your contacts isn’t online, you may send them a video message that they will receive when they log in. Skype allows you to connect with one other person at a time. This is free to download and it offers a voice mail service in case someone missed your call. Tango is a video chat app that can be downloaded on an iPhone, iPod, iPad, or an android. This can connect you to one other person at a time. This is, however, a very unpopular app. Although some options can be pricey, others can be very economically feasible, along with being compatible with other equipment. Most of these types of software are very easy to use and understand. It can only take a few clicks to start talking with who you have to.

Video conferencing has some troublesome aspects to it, but the advantages balance out. Time zones may be different in other parts of the world. The investment and maintenance of the equipment is expensive. Also, there will always be times where you need to be able to meet face to face. It’s still worth the time and effort you want to put in order to talk with who you want.

Keeping Yourself Busy

Lately I’ve been drenched with boredom throughout this past weekend. Although I’ve been sick and had more time to think to myself how boring it is to feel like there’s nothing you can do especially when sick. One would want to avoid getting other people sick, which is something I tried to avoid even though someone unfortunately received some of same symptoms I had. Despite someone else getting sick and spreading the “Oswego Plague” indirectly, as some people call it, I’ve had trouble having fun in any way. Usually I enjoy having work to do, however I had caught up with the work I had been assigned.

I actually was glad I had my afternoon class this past Monday for Accounting, seeing as it is my major and that class seems to always have me doing work. The feeling of something keeping me busy makes me feel a lot better especially since I was already focused on controlling the mucus running marathons down my nose; it was not a pretty feeling. Thankfully though, Monday was the last day of me being sick at all. Today, Tuesday, I woke up completely recovered and relaxed as I woke up and went to my 8 a.m. class.

As I write this blog today, I think to myself that I probably should have taken the time to write a blog during the time I was bored. I felt miserable with the cold I had, but now I’ll be trying to keep myself busy again by getting back into the gym. Speaking of gym, if you haven’t purchased a gym membership, I highly recommend you go find a friend who has the Insanity Workout DVD and attempt it. It will be worth your time because watching a video on what specific work out you have to do is better than figuring out first hand in the gym (even though you can get a personal trainer or look up online). I only recommend Insanity at all if you want to find a different place to work out than the gym itself. Hopefully you guys wont feel too bored during your years in college. Make sure to sleep it off if you have to, especially when you’re sick. Spend time with your friends.

As a Senior, Keeping Busy Keeps Me From Being Bored

Here I am, a college senior at SUNY Oswego and a mere seven months from graduating and moving on to something else. Some people might want to spend their last year living it up, partying while they can and taking those 100-level courses just to get the credits they need to graduate. I admit that’s what sounded good to me when school work started getting more difficult as a sophomore.

But that is not what my final year is like however. I figured out very soon after my sophomore year that college is not just the pain of work, no sleep, and spending thousands of dollars. College is a gift. And it’s a gift that comes and goes all too quickly. So I decided I was not going to take those 100-level courses and sleep in all day. I’ve come to realize that those that do nothing in college get nothing out of it. Those that take advantage of the opportunities that college provides at least have a fighting chance in the real world.

I keep myself busy. Mondays I’m in class 10:20-12:25, then go to my internship at the Oswego Alumni Office from 1-4:30, followed by a three-hour American History Seminar from 5:30-8:15, then meetings with the campus media organizations from 8:30-10:30. Tuesdays I have one class, attend the Student Association meeting at 6 to write a weekly column on it, and go to History Club, of which I am the secretary of, from 8:30-9:30. Wednesdays I have class and my internship again and then edit the news articles and start designing the news section of The Oswegonian. I’m usually in that office until 2 or 3 in the morning. Sometimes later. Thursdays, I’m in The Oswegonian office from about 10 a.m. until 9 or 10 p.m., minus my one class. Fridays I have two classes and a meeting at 3. So let’s just say I enjoy my weekends.

On top of that, I write one, two, or sometimes three news article a weeks for The Oswegonian and Alumni Office, opinion editorials, and when I can, write something for this blog. Oh, and of course homework. Can’t forget the homework for three 400-level courses.

Some people will ask why I kill myself with all this work. At times it is stressful and I don’t get to sit down and relax very often, but whenever I think about how tiring it is, I remember that I love it.

Keeping busy keeps me from being bored. I’ve learned that you don’t learn anything by standing still, nor do you get where you want to go.

I can’t even describe the amount I have learned from my time at SUNY Oswego by being active. And all that I have right now comes from all that I’ve done and who I’ve known. The classes, the professors, the newspaper, the clubs, the friends, colleagues, this very blog, have all in some sort, given me something to help propel myself into my future.

And I want to do more. A lot of the enormous opportunities and resources offered in college disappear when you walk down that aisle in that graduation gown. And I want to take advantage of all those that I can in my remaining time here.

I’ve got seven months left. That’s seven months left to paint my image that will stick for the rest of my life. When I walk down that aisle myself, I want to be assured I did all that I could and that I did it the best I could.

I’ve come to find out that in college, the more you give, the more you take away.