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Today, more than any day I have been here, I have realized how much I love the school, the people, and the community at Oswego.  Things have been very stressful lately with some issues I’ve been facing.  Having the people here, at work, my friends, and what I consider family, has really helped me get through it.  The support I receive from my coworkers, classmates, and close friends has made me stronger and more capable of getting through life.  I have met with administration and faculty to talk about my goals and aspirations, and I get nothing but support and advice.  I just finished watching the “Faces Video” from the capital campaign website that President Stanley and many other outstanding people completed just two years ago.  I will admit that I started to get a bit emotional.  The things everyone said about the interaction, support, and knowledge gained from Oswego are all true and hit the nail on the head, so to speak.  Everyday I think about where I’ll be in the next few years and one thing that always comes to mind is staying at Oswego.  I can see myself going off to grad school and getting a more advanced degree, but coming back to Oswego and teaching or being a part of the staff.  I want to see the changes that are about to begin and relive my college experience.  The new students that I see coming to Oswego this year are more intelligent and creative than ever before.

I came across this video by mistake (check it out here if you don’t know what I’m talking about), but kept on going to find more and more interesting, meaningful articles and videos on Oswego’s website.  The history of the college is incredible.  Next year marks our 150th anniversary and I know many people are planning so many amazing events for this celebration.  I know this blog is supposed to be an outlet for me to tell everyone about my experiences and my life, but I tend to use it more for telling you about the campus and what is going on and things that don’t directly affect me.  When I think about it, that’s exactly what I’m doing.  SUNY Oswego, or Oswego State as I like to call it, IS my life.  Everything I thrive for comes from and goes to Oswego.  I admit, I am a huge school spirit nut and I love seeing people excited to visit, start classes, or come back after a six week break.  Classes start on Monday, and I’m running low on patience for that day to come.

KCACTF 2010, Region II

The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival is an annual event that celebrates excellence in college theatre. This past week students in our theatre department took part in festival 42 (that’s right, 42 years!). Over the next few weeks I will be posting video blogs giving you all a glimpse into what goes on at the festival. This year, we had students competing in Directing, Design, and Dramaturgy, while attending workshops, and participating in side projects. OSU was not only represented by the students, but the staff as well. Judy McCabe, our costume shop supervisor, ran a workshop attended by students from other schools. Last year we brought Honor And The River to the festival to be performed for the entire region. This year was a different experience, but an overall great one!

Here is the first video,

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z-IzaIuCjc0

Back to School Soon

Well, as promised, I am reporting on how my life in the past week has unfolded, and I am happy to say that it has unfolded in my favor. My mom has, more or less, decided to help me, and Wednesday was magical. Ray went to lunch with my mom and I, as planned, and afterward, we spent the day together at my house. My father was aware but displayed no problem with it, which means that hopefully, this is not an issue that I will run into again. Today, I saw him, as he spent the day with me and a group of friends. We attempted to see the Lovely Bones, but it wasn’t in showing in my hometown, and it was sold out at the next closest theater. We instead went shopping, and we had a great day.

My friend David, the one who will be living in Oswego this coming semester, received some good (not the best, but good) news yesterday. He will be living in Scales on the third floor with a student named Jacob. I can’t recall Jacob’s last name, but hopefully, he is a nice person with whom David will get along. We tried to room together this semester, but we tried unsuccessfully. Residence Life and Housing told him that because he is starting late, they have no room anywhere on campus that is completely empty. I don’t really care, because I really like my current roommate, but I just hope that David likes his, as well. Anyway, since he is in Scales and I am in Waterbury, we will be right next door to each other, which is good.

I can’t believe that I go back to school a week from tomorrow. That thought really is quite daunting. It seems as if the break went by so quickly. I hate that I might not be home for Valentine’s Day, but I am going to try to be. It falls on a Sunday this year, which means that I probably will not be spending the actual date with Ray, but we can always spend that Saturday together if I am able to come home that weekend. Anyway, if anything interesting comes up, I will try to write another blog entry before this coming weekend; otherwise, see everyone on campus next week!

Back from Ghana!!!!

So, Internet in Hohoe is not that reliable, so I had to wait until I got back here to update the blog.

I JUST HAD THE BEST TIME EVER! I sincerely think that I am a missing African child, and I need to go back to my homeland now. I loved Ghana so much! The people, the food, the landscape, the environment, and the overall culture! I will definitely go back there.

Getting to Ghana was pretty much a breeze because all of my connecting flights to JFK went through okay, and after being a little delayed due to people with huge suitcases who were trying to bring them on board, we finally left about 2 hours late. I thought that I would be going all the way to Africa without knowing anyone or anything, and that kind of made me nervous, but luckily on the plane I
got to sit right next to another volunteer, Maureen! By some random act of chance, Maureen and I were seated side by side the whole flight, and we were able to hit it off and talk all about the trip to come. AND, two other volunteers, Jenny and Subby (Sue – bee), were seated side by side just a few rows ahead of us, so they got to bond. It was great.

Once we got into Accra we headed up to Hohoe. It was definitely culture shock to see all of the women walking on the side of the road with the craziest things on their heads – sewing machines, baskets, wood, boxes – anything, you name it, and they were carrying it on their heads. And, there are no road rules in Ghana, as well very poor roads. It was pretty much a roller coaster ride driving around the potholes and over speed bumps every other second. The countryside is so beautiful, though, so you soon ignore the bumps.

The Volta Region is definitely gorgeous with the rainforests, lakes, hills, etc. It’s definitely breathtaking.

To reiterate, I went for three weeks with Cross Cultural Solutions. The other volunteers who were there were all amazing! They were really nice, and we all had similar interests. It was amazingly fun to hang out with the seven other volunteers.

I’ll recap quickly what all we did. We went to the Wli Waterfalls – upper and lower. We went to Mt. Afadjato and got to see the border to Togo. We went to a Monkey Sanctuary and a Snake Sanctuary. We got to see some voodoo in action and some elders and chiefs. We got to go to Cape Coast and Elmina to see the life on the seashore and the slave castles. We also went to the Kente Village where we got to see people weaving. All in all, the traveling that we did was amazing.

The best part of this trip was the volunteer experience, which is of course why I went there in the first place. Half of our time was spent at the volunteer placements and the rest was available for cultural learning. My placement was at the Hohoe District Hospital, but on our first day there the administrator told us more or less that we weren’t wanted, so I moved on to an NGO called Rural Action for the Poor (RAP). RAP does work to mobilize the savings of people in small communities who don’t have access to a bank. It was such an enlightening experience to be with this NGO and see what they do.

Basically, they go into different small communities and talk to the elders and chiefs and people of the community to set up these microfinance groups. Once the groups are organized, the field officer (FO) goes to the meetings and trains the people to start saving their money. The members of the groups do this by buying shares valued at 50 pesewas (like 50 cents) or 1 cedi (like one dollar). Each meeting they buy shares and in this way, they save money. Then, once they get enough money saved, they can start making microloans to each other with interest rates. All in all it’s a fantastic program that allows people to save and borrow and make money!

Well, now that I’ve updated you a little bit about Ghana, I’ll show some pictures, and save more good stuff for another post!

This is a picture of Lelabi, one of the microfinance groups who meet at like 6 a.m. once a week!

Wli Waterfalls!!!
Kids hanging out at the home base watching our traditional drumming and dancing!
The group minus two!

Conference Calls, Coffee and Courage

Say that title 3 times fast!

Today I am taking a conference call from my new internship with John Murphy at The Estate Planning Institue http://www.estateplanninginst.com/ .

The only issue is that I may or may have not stayed up till 4am cleaning my room and organizing things to go back to Oswego….whoops. Well I am the new intern, we will see how much information I get to have.

The internship was all so sudden, they called me and I got the job. I am a bit curious as to why, but I think it will become clear eventually All I know is that it only requires a few hours of training, verses a billion and a half. It is a good thing because I only have time for a few hours here and there. I always need an internship, and you do too, don’t fool yourself, however, I can’t be dead doing it.

Get yourself one: https://oswego-suny-csm.symplicity.com/students/index.php?signin_tab=2&js_disabled=0

and don’t delay, it is a make or break for the real world.

Alas, I am up way too early for common sense over winter break :) But, at least I did it, and I thought I did well too!

Time for a toast sandwich! Photos soon…

Be Ozzy

Exotic Animals and WiFi

My Grandma is an exotic animal wholesaler who lives in St. Augustine, FL. She can tell you everything about a jennet cat, red kangaroo or a cockatoo but heaven forbid it contains the word internet.

I finally managed to untangle everything and give her the internet. It has a been a great time.

I got a new camera though, check out the new things I saw :)

Trapped

I have to say that I had a great Christmas this year. It wasn’t perfect; for starters, I encountered a family issue the night of December 25th, but other than that, I had a great Christmas. Now, I’m just thinking about how quickly break is going by and how I feel about that. In a way, I am happy, because I miss all of my college friends, but at the same time, it is disappointing, because there are so many things that I would like to accomplish before returning to having very little time to myself, and it feels like I haven’t accomplished half of them. Luckily, however, the problem regarding the townhouses that I discussed earlier in my blog entries has been solved.

If you recall, the problem was that I was torn between whether or not I was going to live in the townhouses or live with my friend David, who is going to be a transfer student here. Well, here is what ended up happening. Unfortunately, not all of it is in my favor, but that’s all that you can expect out of life. You’re either going to get A or B, but it’s rare that you get both. Anyway, David successfully got into Oswego, so beginning this upcoming semester, he will be a student here. Therefore, when the time comes to request a roommate, he and I should be able to request each other for the Fall 2010 semester. At the same time, the Townhouses group has been dismembered. One of them has decided to live with a different group, and one of them has, more or less (to make a long story short), decided to stay in Waterbury.

Obviously, I gain something and lose something simultaneously. I will have David as a roommate, which is always a good thing, but the family that I have established will basically be dismembered, with everyone going their own separate ways. Things will not be the way that they are now, and that will be, at least at first, difficult to accept (I do not adapt to change well, especially when it is a change that involves me losing something). In time, I am sure that I will find a comfort zone, but it will indeed take time. In the meantime, I am trying to enjoy life as fully as is possible without allowing the future to meddle with me.

Right now, however, it’s not the future that’s meddling with me as much as it is the present. I am almost positive that I have mentioned it in an earlier blog entry, but if I haven’t, my father does not support my relationship. As a Christian, he does not support homosexuality in any way. He sees it as a serious sin and is therefore completely against gay marriage. It is something that is not easy for me to accept, because it is something that I not only feel very strongly about but also something that directly affects me. The issue therefore becomes a vicious circle; he can’t accept my relationship, I can’t accept his lack of acceptance, and he can’t accept my lack of acceptance of his lack of acceptance (sorry if that got confusing), and so forth.

Living in the same house with someone who believes that your lifestyle is the result of a devil having taken possession of you is not easy, to say the least. I have done the best that I can to talk to him in the past, telling him that homosexuality is something that you’re born with, not something that you choose, but his inability to see things liberally stands in his way and clouds his vision. He previously declared that Ray (my boyfriend, in case you didn’t know) can no longer come over, because, and I quote, “he is a bad influence on Cody and Eileene [my younger siblings].” I felt like saying to him that I guess I cannot be in the house, either, then, because, likewise, I am a bad influence on them, but I didn’t. I refrained from arguing with him, despite my natural instinct to do so, something that I fought relentlessly.

Right now, I feel trapped. I am going to be twenty years old in May, and I’ve gotten nowhere in life. The only feat that I have accomplished is that I am in college, and although that is a major feat, I admit, I don’t even have a car (I don’t even have my permit). The reason for that is because my parents either can’t or won’t help me financially. When I’m home, I don’t have a job, and when I’m in school, I can only earn a particular amount of money, since it is a work-study position. There’s no way that I could afford to pay for the course, pay for a car, pay for insurance and then pay for gas to fill the car; it is totally and completely unrealistic to even think about that; I’d need to be making thousands of dollars a year, which I don’t, not even close. So, whenever someone points out the illogicality of me being nineteen years old and not having a car, I help them realize that if it weren’t for their parents helping them out, they, likewise, would most likely be in the same boat.

I want to get an apartment with Ray and live on my own. I am tired of being dependent and am tired of having to work around my father’s strict rules to see him. This coming Wednesday (the 13th) will be nine months that we have been together, and it’s important to me that we spend it together. Normally, we can’t, because I’m in school, but now, I’m home, so it’s very important to me. I’m not sure how I’m going to go about arranging it. I have some ideas, but it feels like everything that I attempt blows up in my face and like I am therefore running low on options. I hate feeling caged, hate feeling trapped. It’s something that I want to escape, but there ultimately is no way to do so.

However, I don’t mean to be a downer and consistently write about negative aspects of my life. On a good note, I saw the new film Avatar tonight, and I am incredibly impressed. It reminds me of how movies can be magical and is so epically high on the scale of good movie-making that it is honestly the best movie that I have seen in a long time. It was very much a futuristic (the film takes place in the year 2154, I believe), sci-fi retelling of Pocahontas but epic, all the same. If you haven’t seen the film, then I highly recommend that you do. Trust me, it will blow your mind. Anyway, I guess that that is about it for now. I will do my best to check in again soon to let you all know how things turn out for me.

Relaxation and anticipation

I’m being pulled in two directions.  I’m glad it’s Winter break and I can relax and enjoy some time away from homework, but I also can’t wait for next semester to start.  It’s going to be a very busy, yet exciting, semester.  I start my internship in the Office of Judicial Affairs, and let me tell you, I can’t wait!

Admissions has been very busy with applications, phone calls, and visits.  (Anyone who has applied for the Fall semester: the first batch of decision letters go out on January 15th).  I love working there and enjoy hearing how excited everyone is.  Next semester will be very busy with planning for Open Houses and Admitted Student Days.  Check out SUNY Oswego’s visit page for dates and registration.

I’m taking some random, but necessary classes: Accounting 2, Marketing, English Lit in the Global Context, and Conflict Management.  My internship at Judicial Affairs is also credit bearing, which is great!  I know this is boring, but you all want to know my life don’t you?

Other things going on…I’m trying to plan a trip to Boston in March.  I am a member of ACPA, which is an organization for student affairs professionals.  As a student interested in the field I get to be part of the organization and attend a conference held in Boston this year.  I applied for the scholarship and am going to try to find other sources of funding. Cross your fingers for me!  Another is the search for a new apartment.  Unfortunately I have to move out of my amazing apartment at the end of this May.  I have been looking for a new place, but nothing compares to where I am.  I’m taking my time and looking at different places, but time is running out.  Hopefully by the time I post again I will have found a new place.

Again, good luck to all applicants.  Hello all alumni, current students, staff, and faculty. (Cheesy, I know :-p )

Wrapping up the year

I am so happy it is all over… This is my favorite time of the year! The semester is over, there is a long break so that you get enough time to relax, travel, and catch up with friends and family. There is also the anticipation of a brand new start! There is so much that I have left behind, I spent the past semester trying to find a balance; a balance between friends and family, school and work, and even between play and planning.  I think the anticipation of graduation, Grad- School, and the possibility of relocation really keeps me unbalance. I battle with so many feelings, feelings of hope, fear, joy, happiness, fulfillment, accomplishment, and so much more. Even though I am not at the finish line, the anticipation is really killing me. I can’t stop reflecting on how fast 4 years  went by; the best 4 years of my life.  I won’t reflect  on or think about what I will leave behind because the depth of my true engagements shall follow me wherever I shall go; I know that for sure the support, love, and encouragement will not stop from the lovely people I have met here… Next semester I will embrace it all like I have never embraced it before; the closer it gets the more I get anxious. I am awaiting many new starts for next year. There is so much to work on, so much to plan for, so much to enjoy, many more to meet, and many new engagements! I have no New Year’s resolution, except that I wish you the best and I hope that you get all that your heart desire, along with that I wish you peace and happiness… I am waiting and hoping; hoping for the best but preparing for the worst!

What makes a good blog? What makes a hard semester?

So you all have may or may not heard that the Oswego blogs got an accolades award. That is super cool! However, I am trying to find out…what makes it great? I am unsure…I find it puzzling in the least.

I have not written for a while and I apologize to Tim.

However, if you look at my last post. I have a picture of my aunt with her favorite chicken. A few days after I posted that, she passed away. It has been very hard to blog after posting that. This has definitely been a rough semester. It has been my absolute best and absolute worst time at Oswego. The real reason that I came back from New Zealand is that an acquaintance attacked me while I was over there. It got real sticky and I was told to leave because the sister University couldn’t do anything. I don’t blame anyone though. Both Universities did what they could. It was really rough because I didn’t want to talk about it. I just wanted to pretend that those few months didn’t exist. I do want to talk about it now though. It is really important for everyone to know about how domestic violence can effect everyone.

It was devastating. I had to leave my study abroad, get back into Oswego 3 weeks late and still make it seem like I was fine. You should also note that there was no alcohol or drugs involved. Just some people can’t handle life and they take it out on others. Always remember that it isn’t your fault. No one deserves to be treated in any other way than fair and just. Its the American way…side note: cool video on American Values http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nn4IH3yng4k You know in toilet talk about how you always have that one issue about domestic violence. Its real, don’t ignore it guys. http://www.ndvh.org/ I am so happy to be home and back to Oswego. I know we all complain about student accounts being slow or the registrar being grumpy but they did everything in their power to get me back in and safe. I give major props to them. I also got really close with some great people, so many reached out and became the best support network. You just really have to be thankful for what you have. Especially around this time of the year. I love all my friends, we are celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and Chinese New Year and might all meet in the city for news years.

However, while most of my blogs are friendly and spunky, this one is serious. Everyone needs someone and it is OK to reach out. Never let anyone take anything from you and always give back to the people you love.

Its a real message and its one that I hope can help someone. I am doing the best I can though and I think I am doing OK. I got the top eight internship in the country with Northwestern Mutual. I started a company and am in the process of planning it. I only took four classes this semester but I handled them well and I came back to the people I love. I win, I know it and I know you can too.

Be Ozzy

http://www.ndvh.org/