Some Random Thoughts

Sometimes, I wonder if maybe I post entries that are somewhat too personal. I mean, my understanding is that the purpose is to share college-related experiences that will maybe help high school students considering SUNY Oswego understand what life here is like, and sometimes, I share very personal stories, and maybe that isn’t appropriate; I don’t know. I do the best that I can to connect everything to my life here at Oswego, so hopefully, I am doing that successfully. I do, however, remember one blogger last semester suggesting that we do branch out a bit and talk about life experiences and such, so hopefully, I am still staying in the realm of what is appropriate.

Anyway, life has been pretty good lately. My friend David, who did live in Scales after transferring here just this semester, is now living in Waterbury with me. He moved in today, as in Tuesday. Additionally, I am really beginning to warm up to my EDU class. Today, we initiated our first discussion, and it was really interesting to discuss what we can do to make a difference in the school setting. Friday, I have to go to Sheldon at 11:30 to have a day and time set up for my Practicum, and I am feeling pretty bittersweet about that.

I am very happy to finally be taking part in courses pertaining to my major, courses that I actually want to be taking, but at the same time, it is so much work, and it is not that I am not disciplined. It could very well be that I am just taking too much work on myself. I will have that lengthy Practicum once a week, I have a Workstudy job, and additionally, I am hoping to tutor for English 271 this semester. Needless to say, it’s a packed semester with not a lot of time to myself, and that is my point. I am disciplined, and I do like staying busy, but also, I like having time to relax, and it seems like I don’t get very much time to relax; I don’t even get a little.

If you are indeed a high school student reading this and you’re considering SUNY Oswego as a possibility, please don’t let anything that I am saying to you dissuade you. I love college; I really do. No matter where you go to school, you’re going to get a lot of work, especially when you start getting heavy into your major. It’s simply part of the college experience, and it’s your job to find ways to balance that. For example, I have no issue balancing the life of a college student with a social life. I often do homework with friends and such. It’s really not that difficult. At the same time, however, you need to refrain from having too much fun if the amount of school work doesn’t allow it. Your education needs to be your top priority, and that kind of attitude is the only kind of attitude that is going to bring you success as a college student. If you don’t take it seriously, then your grades are going to reflect that, and that’s really all grades are; they are a reflection of how much you care.

For the past couple of days, I have been writing a lot. I like to write poetry. It really isn’t anything spectacular in my opinion, but it is something that I enjoy doing. It first allows me to unleash emotions and therefore feel them to the greatest extent and then allows me to free them. It’s incredible, and within the past couple of days, I think that I have written about five poems. Some are really short while others are a bit longer. It all depends on how much that I have to say. I bought a small-sized notebook at the campus store yesterday so that I would have something to write in if something spontaneous ever pops up, which does sometimes happen. I can, in fact, recall one called “Jet Engine” that I wrote while I was in a History class. Sometimes, I just get a spontaneous urge to write.

I feel like I am starting to get sick, but that isn’t really any surprise. With this spontaneous, unpredictable weather, it would be hard not to get sick. It seems like a good majority of my residence hall is sick. Anyway, as fellow LOST fans will know, the season premiere was on tonight, and this is an epic time for LOST fans, since this is the final season. The journey is almost over, and that is definitely sad. It’s too bad that the show has to be ending, but at the same time, every good story must come to an end. My two favorite shows on television right now are LOST and Fringe, and I can’t wait until Thursday. The final episode of Fringe before the spring hiatus will air, and I cannot wait for this episode. It looks like finally, the story is returning to the Cortexiphan arc of the mythology, and fellow Fringe fans will know what I am talking about. Anyway, I am sure that I will be writing again soon, but in the meantime, talk to you soon.

Lesson Plans to Life Lessons

As I count the days down towards graduation, I also have to count the sleepless nights staying awake to fill out grad-school applications, making arrangements for prospective job opportunities, and also re-arranging my final plans. But I have realized something, every time I tell someone, ” I really don’t know how I am suppose to  do this” how am I suppose to take classes, apply for schools, prepare myself for interviews, write personal statements, study, read, eat,  control my thoughts, work, and stay focus?” And most of them respond, “Sherrifa you have this under control, I am not worried about you.” However sometimes I do not feel like I have things under control. I am always running, always on the go, sometimes I feel like I do not have time for time itself, and that is a shame! I have  received alot of encouragements and advice over the last couple of months and many of them have kept me motivated and going, and I am really grateful for all of them.  I have to say that this one advice from one of my professors have really  stuck in my head all week long and it really has motivated me to just keep going and continue doing what I have to do.

I walked into my late class on Monday night, and the professor was down to earth and I was really excited to be there. As he went over the syllabus and requirements for the course, he made sure that we understood exactly what he was saying into a short space of time. He was more eager to get into the lesson. Usually I feel a little disappointed when professors decide to teach on the first day of class; sometimes I just feel really unprepared on the first day, and that is because I am really unprepared, and I just want a day to organize myself before I start learning, but this one in particular I didn’t mind.

He started talking about  general introductions about the course material and it was interesting, but what really drew my attention to what he was saying was when he said ” Students you learn by doing, ok? never forget that, you learn by teaching, or working with others.” Then he asked does anyone know about the learning pyramid? I honestly did not know about the learning pyramid, it was my first time, but I remember him explaining this pyramid and how we can apply it to our lives, and honestly I am so happy that in his lesson plan he provided us with life lessons. 

I remember him saying, grades do not come to you by memorizing and  pulling all nighters, they come to you by doing what you need to do! Do study, Do prepare! Do study groups! Do read! Do listen!  Do everything that you need to do! To me it felt like that was all I needed to hear… So the learning pyramid was a great introduction to my life, and from now on I will do!

Off to a Great Start

So far, this semester couldn’t be any better. As some of you may know due to my entries written during Winter Break and even before, my friend David is here, and that has been a lot of fun. He is just an all-around fun person to be with. In addition, I think that my classes are going pretty well. This semester, I am taking Lit 396, EDU 301, EDU 303, CWR 206 and English 265. It feels so good to finally be taking courses that I actually want to be taking, courses in which I am engaged.

My EDU 301 course is going to involve a lot of work. I have so much reading to do and response papers to write. Plus, I haven’t even been assigned to Practicum yet. When that happens, I am going to have even less time, and at this point, I have no ride, because I have no car. However, my EDU 301 professor says that no one is going to go without a ride, so she will gladly assist in finding transportation for those who need it.

This is the way that I look at it, though. Sure, this semester is not going to be easy; it is, in fact, going to be difficult, but I still think that my grades are going to be halfway decent. This semester will challenge me. In fact, it already is challenging me, but this is the kind of challenge for which I am up. Again, my mind is engaged in what I am reading and what I am doing. I would rather have a difficult semester due to a work overload than have one due to classes with which I am struggling to comprehend, such as math and science.

All I can do is thank heaven that I am not taking any math or science. I am all done with math, but I still need to take a level 300 Science course, which I don’t think that I can do until at least next semester, anyway. I guess that my senior year will be the only year during which I will only be taking courses that I want to be taking. Really, the only thing that I am doing this semester in which my mind isn’t really engaged is a novel that I am reading for English 265 called Moll Flanders, a novel that I believe was first published in 1722. It’s very slow so far and rather event-less, not to mention the fact that the language is very difficult.

Friday, I have my meeting to be signed up for a day and time for my Practicum, and so, I’ll keep everyone updated on how that goes. I think that it’s ridiculous that students are responsible for finding their own transportation. I think that some sort of busing should be available. Not everyone has cars here. In fact, a very small ratio of people that I know here have cars here. Anyway, it is getting late, and I am rather exhausted, so I am on my way to bed. I’ll write again soon.

Untitled…

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 :)