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?
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.
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.
A 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.
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.
The clip above is from 4 Guys in a Booth, the longest running radio talk show currently on air on WNYO, SUNY Oswego’s student run radio station. While the show has been on air for four years, I have been a producer on the show for three. We have won the Ozzie (Communication Studies Department award) for best radio talk show for two years running, including this year.
On 4 Guys in a Booth, four guys talk about absolute nonsense for two hours each Monday night from 9-11pm. Each of the four hosts are very different from each other. There’s John Mongiello, the funny one, Allen Wengert, the smart one, Brian Camporese, the lazy and nerdy one, and Adam Rosenbarker, the…how do I put this… not so intelligent one.
What makes their conversations interesting are what each host brings to the table. We also have three producers who plan content for the show and come on it regularly including Chris Walters, Tyler Baker-Carr, and myself.
I am the Executive Producer of the show, so my job is to help create content for the show, organize content, and assist the hosts while they are doing the show. All seven members of the show submit ideas each week for what we want to talk about, either through Google Docs or during meetings. John, Allen and I sort through the ideas and pick the very best ones.
My Mondays for the past three years have been completely absorbed by 4GB. I spend time organizing the show, writing my news breaks which I read on air, and making sure everyone is doing their part. If we have a guest coming on, I usually also make sure that they know what time to call in or arrive at the studio. I arrive at WNYO almost two hours before each show begins to finalize everything and assist in finishing what isn’t done.
The staff of 4GB are not just my co-workers, but also some of my best friends on campus. When we aren’t doing the show, we all hang out together. We have become very close over the past four years and it has made the show grow stronger as a result. When many people listen to the show, they say that they feel like they are sitting at the radio booth with the hosts and feel like they are part of the conversation. The strong chemistry between everyone who works on the show provides this grand illusion.
After producing over 50 episodes during the three years I’ve been with the show, I am very sad to leave it. We have improved greatly since the beginning and now we are preparing for it all to end. I’ve learned so much from trial and error when it comes to making people laugh and having people not tune out after five minutes. When the show is live, I just feel like I’m hanging out with friends for two hours. That’s how we all feel.
With one episode left, we are working hard to deliver the best show we can. Our series finale is at a special time on Monday May 12 from 7pm-10pm.
It’s safe to say after it all ends that my Mondays will never be the same again.
“Thank God we found your resume.”
This was the first thing an employer said to me during an interview for an internship I had applied for last year. Probably about 70% of the experience on my resume came directly from WTOP 10, the campus TV station. I hit the ground running when it came to involvement and since my first week on campus, I’ve been an active member. After four years, my final weeks at WTOP 10 are upon me. I definitely have mixed emotions as one of the highlights of my last four years comes to an end.
I started off doing a position in the control room where I queued up and played videos and commercial breaks for the station’s nightly news show. The next semester, I had a great on air audition and became a reporter for the station’s news show. By the end of my journey, I have directed TV shows, trained members both for on air and behind the scenes positions, and executed new ideas to make the station better. I progressed forward by becoming smarter and meeting new members at the station who would help me to learn new things.
WTOP 10 taught me so many important things that will be useful for my upcoming career. I learned how to work well with others, how to be a great leader, and I’ve developed incredible problem solving skills. My favorite moments have been pulling huge shows where people from different departments in the station come together and create something magical. The one that I am most proud of was last year’s Media Summit Red Carpet Show which I had the honor of directing. It was a huge task and everyone put in their best efforts to make it as great as possible. It was a huge success.
The friends I’ve made at WTOP 10 are some of my closest on campus. Not only are they good friends, but I’m also sure that if I’m ever in need of a job in the future, they may be able to provide me with one. The network WTOP 10 creates between students is very strong. Some of the alumni I know are doing incredible things such as working for Time Warner Cable News and ESPN. I can only hope to have as much success and I think I can with them as my role models.
Joining WTOP 10 was easily the best decision I made while at SUNY Oswego. Through being a member, I gained real experience in my field, made many new friends, and gained leadership experience through training members in new skills. I didn’t think it would come to an end so fast and I am very sad that it is. I’m just so glad it happened. I did get a job offer this past week and without WTOP 10, I probably wouldn’t have even been considered.
For those on the fence, WTOP 10 is an amazing club to join. Whether you want to gain real experience in the broadcasting field, be a play by play announcer or news anchor, or just want to make a silly show starring you and your friends, WTOP 10 makes gaining these opportunities very easy regardless of one’s class or major. It’s an amazing ride and I recommend you take it.
It’s hard to believe that this four year journey I’ve been on is coming to a close. Unlike getting out of high school, I’m actually saddened by the fact that I’m not going to be a student here for very much longer. These years have been amazing to me and I’ve done much more with my time here than I ever thought I would.
Graduating is a mixed bag, especially considering I don’t have a job in place yet. The outlook for me has been looking better lately, but more than likely, I’m going to have to be patient and just keep applying. I’m probably going to do some internships until I get hired so I can at least get out of the house and do something productive daily. Maybe one of these internships will even lead to a job, so who knows. I have some interviews for internships this week so we’ll see what happens. The bright side of graduating is that a new adventure awaits with new people, new places, and a regular paycheck. I’m very much looking forward to a fresh start.
I’m very comfortable where I am at school. I have a solid set of friends, plenty of activities I participate in, and I’m taking interesting classes. It’s going to to be hard to leave all of this. Although every week feels fairly routine now, it’s going to be hard to say goodbye. I don’t want to do keep thinking about the last times I do things here. My goal for the next month is to just be in the moment and enjoy everything. It’s going to be a very fast month, but one I’ll remember for a long time coming. One month left. This is it. Let’s make it great!
Many students have sat in a class with a teaching assistant, or TA for short as they are commonly referred as. They are students who help professors with their duties both inside and outside of the classroom. Being a teaching assistant is a very interesting experience and one that has made me a smarter person in many different areas. I have been a teaching assistant for two courses over four semesters. Here are some interesting things I have realized upon reflecting on my time doing the job.
1. You Become a Mini Celebrity:
I’m a TA of 70-90 students over the course of a semester. After four semesters of doing this, I have met so many new people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Just about everywhere I go on campus, I either see a student I have or I get recognized by one.
Towards the beginning of each semester, I am bombarded by people I have never met before, asking me questions about what assignments are due the next day or other class related questions. I guess I kind of know what being famous is like. It’s a weird, but cool feeling when someone you don’t think you have ever seen before says hi and uses your name. It’s a hard task to memorize 70 faces and names, especially for the one class of 50 people I have. I usually know most names towards the second half of the semester.
2. Time Management Becomes Essential:
I always have a large stack of assignments to grade or attendance to log in. Balancing this job alongside classes and my other responsibilities on campus proved to be a huge challenge when I started the job. My drive to succeed forced me to learn how to have really good time management skills. If I told myself two years ago that I would finish class assignments at least a week before the due date, I would have laughed. Now, I sometimes don’t have a choice as my schedule fills up with grading and meeting up with students for extra help. I think these skills will really come in handy when I graduate and try to keep a good balance between work and my personal life.
3. Back to the Basics:
The classes I am a TA for are introductory classes. Being a broadcasting student, the classes are the foundations for the entire major. I attend every class and I have seen every lecture multiple times. It’s like the lyrics to a song that just keep repeating every semester. This has led me to make insights about what I’m studying that I would not have been able to make otherwise. Having a solid foundation of the basics has increased my understanding for more advanced topics within my major.
4. Fear of Public Speaking Vanishes:
I remember I use to shake with nervousness when stepping up in front of a crowd to speak. Throughout high school, I hated giving speeches. It made me so nervous. The public speaking class I took during my freshman year helped me with this fear a lot, but it was being a TA that gave me the large amount of practice I needed. My professor lets me teach at least one class per semester. Upon creating my lesson, I would practice it in front of my professor multiple times. He would not let me teach until my lesson was perfect. This gave me hours of public speaking practice I wouldn’t have received otherwise. Lecturing felt incredibly natural and as the semesters went on, I got used to speaking in front of a crowd.
5. I Became a Better Student:
Professors complain all the time about students not doing their work or not putting effort into their work. Being a TA has allowed me to experience the professor’s perspective for myself. Through grading papers, my writing skills, especially my grammar, improved significantly. When students aren’t trying, I can now sense it just like a professor can. This whole experience has made me realize what it means to be a good student and what it means to put effort and time into assignments rather then getting them over with at the last minute.
I do graduate in a little over a month and while I won’t be student for much longer, these skills are applicable to many other areas in life. I’m so glad I got the opportunity to be a teaching assistant.
It’s not every day a group of SUNY Oswego students are in Paris, France with a trip over spring break and they meet up with another SUNY Oswego student who is already there.
That student was then junior Daniel O’Connor. O’Connor had taken two courses at La Sorbonne, the Université de Paris, and was interning at the Irish Embassy that semester. A global and international relations and journalism major and French minor, he is a perfect example of a SUNY Oswego student who has taken advantage of taking his Oswego experience to other parts of the globe.
Before all of that excitement, O’Connor first found music as his main interest as a freshman at college.
“Vocal Effect was my life here at college up until I studied abroad in Paris,” O’Connor said. “I was a founding member, choreographer, vice president and finally a co-president of the group in the two-and-a half years I was involved. The reason I was drawn to Vocal Effect is because I absolutely adore music. I also used to travel and perform professionally in my high school show choir, so joining something similar in college really interested me.”
O’Connor also said his time with Vocal Effect helped boost his confidence to new levels and helped him meet a lot of wonderful people.
O’Connor had always wanted to go to Paris since he had taken French classes in middle school and he called his opportunity to go to Paris a dream come true.
After all he’s done over the last four years, O’Connor still likes the tale of how he got here, a place that took him to music, to Paris, to his future.
Samsung Galaxy S5
The next generation smartphone is going on sale in a matter of days. Have you pre-ordered? Are you looking forward to buying it? Well if you’re a Samsung fan, this is the phone you want. If you aren’t and are more agnostic, you may be looking for something else that could be better. Although the Samsung Galaxy S5 is a good step ahead of the S4, it’s not competitive in the design aspect with its competitors. Overall, the value, usability, performance, and features are in great standing. Looks aren’t everything, but it’s a critical part of the buying cycle. You can’t rely on brand loyalty for long if competitors are putting out things that are much better looking. This is true, just look at Apple.
Now the S5 is something I look forward to purchasing because I can’t get enough of my S3. I can’t wait to have the battery life upgrade and a much better camera. Everyone is looking forward to the S5, especially if they are upgrading from a S3 phone or lower. The S4 is already an advance, and it probably wouldn’t be worth purchasing the S5, unless you have an excellent budget, otherwise, look forward to the S6.
Although I want to purchase the S5, I am going to have to wait until next year to buy it because I’m paying for college as well as my current phone bill. For me, it would be more comfortable to make my purchase when Boost Mobile has it (late as usual). I was the first to purchase the S3 as soon as Boost had released it on June 12, 2013; close to the release date of the S4. So I’m not expecting to be purchasing the S5 anytime soon. Besides, I have to worry about upgrading my 3 year old laptop by June.
There’s quite an amount of hype going on about the Samsung Galaxy S5. It is indeed an evolution, being the most secure Samsung Galaxy phone created. The S5 may be more solid than the S4, however the superior design just isn’t there when compared to the HTC phone. Most likely Samsung will fix this “mistake” when building the Samsung Galaxy S6. They didn’t quite optimize its software in certain areas, for example, the camera taking a while to load up. At least the battery life is excellent with more efficiency, beating the HTC 1 M8.
And so, I hope you enjoy the Samsung Galaxy S5 to its full potential if you are a Samsung fan. Have fun with the phone with high capabilities that can really be amazing to those making a major upgrade. This being anyone with a Galaxy S3 or lower.
This past weekend, I traveled to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the SUNY Oswego History Club. The club takes a trip to a historic location every year. Last year, we went to Washington, D.C. and that was a lot of fun for me, so after visiting the national capital one year, I visited the old U.S. capital this year. Although, I did not expect some things to happen on this trip.
After four straight weeks of traveling, Oswego to Alabama, to Memphis, Tennessee, back to Alabama, back to Oswego, down to Binghamton and back, and then to Philadelphia and back, I’ve got 4,000 miles under my belt, 95 percent of them from activities I’ve done through SUNY Oswego. Traveling and staying with groups for long periods of time always causes a little tension somewhere on these trips. Philadelphia was no exception.
By the time we ventured back into the historic city on Saturday morning, we hit that point. The driver of our car was not used to driving in big city traffic and everyone clashed on where they wanted to go and where they wanted to park, and how far they were willing to walk, and how much this parking garage charged and when it closed. On top of that, everyone’s GPS’s sent us on many goose chases the whole weekend. By the time we finally parked the car, there was still so much tension that everyone split up and did their own thing for the majority of the day.
That was, until the phone call came.
My friend and I were examining the last piece of tourism we wanted to see that weekend, the grave of my hero, Dr. Benjamin Franklin at Christchurch Cemetery, when someone from one of the other groups called me. I was able to understand the name of one of our group members and “seizure,” “running,” and “hospital.” I gave the phone to my friend to try to make out what was going on but we figured it out pretty fast. One of our group members fainted in one of the museums and had a seizure. Museum security guards called 911 and sent an ambulance while the remaining members of that group ran ten blocks through downtown Philadelphia to the hospital. Now it was our turn. After already walking seven miles and digesting a Philly cheese steak, my friend and I did our own jog through downtown to find the hospital. We contacted the other members of our group to tell them the update, and they made their way to the hospital themselves.
Less than an hour later, after spending the whole day our separate ways, we were all reunited, not in one of the rental cars as we expected, but an emergency room. And all of that tension and yelling that had occurred earlier was suddenly swept away, completely forgotten, because it didn’t matter anymore. What mattered was that we were a crew with a missing member, one that was getting a CT scan in a hospital in a different state of residence, 300 miles from home, 18 hours before we were scheduled to leave for home.
We were all together again, not arguing about silly things like parking, but asking each other what we could do to help and how to keep our injured member’s parents updated, keeping everyone calm, and figuring out how long of a wait it would be.
It made me really think. It’s amazing how when a crisis hits, people just forget all of their differences, because when a crisis happens, there’s one thing everyone has in common: they’re all in a crisis. And when you’re in a group, if not everyone is present, it messes everyone up.
Our member spent the night at the hospital and we visited her in the morning, bought flowers and a card for her, and finally she was released. With that, we made our way back to SUNY Oswego, as a whole, with everyone on-board and safe, and remembering what the important things in life are.