Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A life-changing experience, courtesy of Poland

We landed in Krakow, Poland, at about 8:30 p.m. after almost a full day of traveling. The six-hour time change wasn’t as difficult as I thought considering I was so warn out from the long flight and four-hour layover. At this point we were all running on adrenaline from finally making it to our destination — so we took a stroll through the Main Market Square after dropping off our bags.

Public transportation is key to walking around the city. At first I was hesitant, because I didn’t know a single word in Polish and translating isn’t as easy as one might think, but grabbing the tram was simple. It was about a 10-minute ride and the square was accessible from there. It was lit up with lights from Christmas and lined with restaurants, shops, and bars. It truly was beautiful.

In the main open square they were in the process of setting up a stage for the New Year’s celebration — expectancy over 800,000 people from all over Europe. When we weren’t in class we took tours all over the city and in took all its beauty. We were able to walk on the oldest road in Krakow, more than 900 years and spent the afternoon in the Wawel Castle where King’s once inhabited its corridors. The castle overlooked the river, which held a certain aspect of beauty during sunset.

We took a look at the Bishops corridor where Pope John Paul II once was during his lifetime, which was really interesting. Catholicism is a big part of the Polish culture so there was a Church located every few blocks but each had a personal touch to each one. I couldn’t grasp the concept of how old each individual building was throughout the city, the architecture was truly captivating.

The next day as class we took a field trip about 40 minutes outside the city to the Wieliczka salt mine. We took stairs down about 400 meters and walked through tunnels that once inhabited many mine workers. Salt was quite a luxury back in the day. Since everything in this mine was made of salt we were able to lick the walls and taste it because the salt would end up killing the germs or bacteria so it was completely sanitary. This was an experience to say the least.

One of the most eye-opening trips we took was to Auschwitz during out second week. I’ve had a European history class before, but I never truly could grasp the concept that millions of people were mass murdered during this five-year period. We took a walk through where all of these horrid things had happened. We all stayed rather quiet and respectful, because no one had the words to explain what we were looking at. It was a day I’ll never forget.

Our last weekend in Poland we took an eight-hour bus ride to the Czech Repulic, Prague. It was so beautiful there and the culture was similar to Poland, but they had traditions of their own. We got a tour through the town and walked across the St. Charles Bridge, which was breathtaking. Overall the trip was life changing, but I couldn’t wait to step foot on familiar grounds again.

Discovering Study Abroad

I originally heard about this program around the beginning of November last fall. I received an email from the professor who was in charge of the trip, Dr. Polyhua. When I was a freshman four years ago, I knew my one goal before graduating college was to study abroad. I had heard so much positive feedback from people who I have knew had the opportunity to travel abroad, that I wanted it for myself.

The main concern I had was money, because it would be on my own dollar that I could achieve this opportunity. I’m a huge history nerd as well and the idea of going to Poland really excited me. I read through the email and the price was within my range, so of course I signed up right away! Within two weeks I was set to go and accepted into the program. More than 60 students applied for 30 spots. I was thrilled!

Going on this trip truly changed me for the better, and I couldn’t be more thankful to have this opportunity.

3 Things Study Abroad Taught Me

  • Independence — Coming to college is an adjustment from high school, but going to a foreign country with 29 basically strangers and two professors you’ve only spoken to briefly is a wake- up call. You really have to learn how to hold your own. I had experience with airports so I found it almost calming since I had been through security many times before, but knowing I was going miles away from home and across an ocean was slightly terrifying. My mom and dad were no longer a two hour drive away in case of emergency. I adjusted rather quickly to Krakow and found a sense of ease after getting settled. Even though I was the outsider who didn’t understand the language I embraced it for what it was. Most people spoke a broken version of English so it was simple to figure things out. Studying abroad truly helped me figure out who I am and how to go through life on my own.
  • Teamwork — I’m a social person so I lucked out in the sense that I got along with everyone on the trip. I can honestly say that I consider a few close friends of mine. We have managed to keep in touch since the program ended and have gotten together to hang out. When you spend three weeks straight together its almost impossible not to become close with people. I say teamwork because other than planned trips and class, we were mostly on our own. We had the ability to wander freely as we pleased, but we were also in an area we weren’t aware of. There were times we would get lost or be unsure of what road we were taking and since we couldn’t read the language let alone speak it – we really had to work together to figure it out. It’s really easy to see people’s strengths and weaknesses, but together we would always manage to get ourselves out of any sticky situation. It was good for both my leadership and social skills.
  • To Be Fearless — As a society we tend to fear the unknown, it can be difficult not too. I’ll be honest I was very nervous and cautious about attending this trip. I went into it almost blindly with not a lot of information except the basics, but I learned quickly that things will all work out. Once we landed my fear had seemed to disappear and excitement began to form in the pit of my stomach. I understood that when something went wrong not to panic, but take it one step a time and it would eventually resolve itself. I honestly ran into barely any issues while I was there and the trip was truly enjoyable. The fear I had originated with had turned into pure bliss.

— Dana Shirley, senior mass communications major #HuskyAbroad #WinterBreak

Monday, January 25, 2016

Countless memories in Poland

A group of 30 students traveled to Poland during this winter break to study abroad for three weeks.

They were accompanied by two Bloomsburg professors, Mykola Polyuha, assistant professor of languages and cultures, and Michael Martin, assistant professor of English. While there, students completed two classes at the Jagiellonian University, the second oldest university in Central Europe and located in Krakow.

The first class was titled Jews of Europe. This course was about European Jewish history and their culture. This class examined Jewish life from 1450 to the mid-20th century and helped students understand the plight of the Jewish people that ultimately ended in the Holocaust. The second course students participated in was an Eastern European film class.

In this class, the students watched sixteen different movies that illustrated Central Europe in its multicultural background as well as its interconnectivity in terms of ethnicity. These courses had world-renown professors, a cultural/social anthropologist, Dr. Annamaria Orla-Bukowska, and Dr. Maciej Stroinski, cultural theater and film critic.

Not only did students spend time in the classroom, but they also were able to explore the beauty of Krakow, spending time on the Main Square, that was complete with the Christmas Market. The Main Square was filled with food, restaurants, pubs, and little shops offering numerous options to learn about the culture and bring back gifts for those who support them back home. The most exciting part for many students was spending New Year’s in the Main Square with as many as 90,000 people from all over the world.

Two days of travel to Prague, Czech Republic, was another highlight of the trip. Exploring the city of Prague and the city’s Jewish section was an incredible experience. This experience of walking through the cemeteries and synagogues that were built as early as the 13th century provide a sense of history that cannot be found in America. Visiting the Jewish Ghetto, Schindler’s Factory, and the Jewish Quarter in Krakow provided a first-hand look at history that was such a significant part of the 20th century.

Leaving Poland is bittersweet for most of these students, because of the countless memories they made. Much of what was learned will be understood in the weeks, months and years ahead, but now, in spite of some continued jet-lag, it feels great to be back home in America!

— Arden Shiller, sophomore early childhood and deaf education major #HuskyAbroad #WinterBreak

Monday, January 11, 2016

One Last Time: 7 things for seniors to do this spring semester

It’s hard for me to believe the spring semester is almost here. It already has a different mood than any semester I’ve been through before.

This spring will be full of so many “last times,” and offers so many “first evers”, too. I plan to make this the most memorable semester with my friends before starting, what my mom calls, my “big girl job.” I also would like to get myself organized for when I move out of college and start this new chapter. I’m sure I’m not the only one in saying that I definitely need to figure out how to make student loan payments, how to buy a new vehicle, and other adult-like things.

But until we get those figured out, here’s to the last time being an undergrad college student and the seven things you most positively should do before leaving.
  • Take a picture with Roongo: It’s unknown for most if you’ll be on campus again, so you might as well get a picture with our mascot while you have the chance. BONUS: take a picture with your friends at the Roongo statue on the corner near the Tri-Level.
  • Play on the Quad: Pick a sunny day and have some fun with friends on the quad. Whether its cartwheels, catch, or one of those giant bouncy houses, get your friends together and go make some memories! Frolic to your hearts content.
  • Eat at the Commons: At least once before you graduate, have an all you can eat buffet at the Commons with your squad. Roll in like you’re a freshman who’s never heard of the freshman 15 and make sure you leave with either a cookie or an ice cream cone. You could even eat dessert first, why not?!
  • Do something out of the ordinary: Everyone has their limits, but do yourself the favor and come out of your comfort zone a little bit. That’s why we come to college anyways, to experience new things. It could be something as small as studying in a different spot or something as wild as taking a spring break trip out of the country. Take advantage of any and all opportunities while you have the time.
  • Take part in a tradition on campus: Be a part of The Big Event, Relay for Life, Spring Fest, or anything else that pops up. Not only is it a meaningful experience, but you might end up in the yearbook that way. Plus, it’s a great way to show your Husky Pride!
  • Go for a walk on campus: Not just any walk, take a self-guided tour of campus while taking in the flowers in bloom. See what I did there, hahaha, but seriously, our campus has so many beautiful sights to be seen and some hidden treasures to be found. Pick any random Sunday afternoon and reflect while walking. Think about the reasons you chose BU, the people you’ve met here, the things you’ve learned, and how far you’ve come in the last four years.
  • Thank those who’ve helped you: Maybe write a thank you letter to your parents or grandparents and hand it to them at graduation. You could have them read it while they are waiting for your name to be called. Don’t forget to thank those professors who you really learned a lot from and those who went out of their way to help you succeed.
Even if you aren’t a senior yet, you should still do these things. Also understand that your time is coming soon and it’s never too early to start planning for your senior year- it comes faster than you think. Make sure you have all your classes organized and your GEP goals met; you’ll thank yourself when you are trying to graduate on time. Be proactive in your career search and look for grad schools and internships before your senior year.

Most importantly, enjoy being on campus with your friends and make the most out of the time you are here. From one Husky to another, let’s make this semester the best one yet!

— Jessica Shiptoski, senior accounting major, professional writing minor, fraud examination concentration #HuskyLife #WinterBreak

Friday, December 18, 2015

Bring on the Break!

IT’S HERE! The break we have all been waiting for!

As students, we all know how stressful finals can be and the lack of sleep that might stem from those late-night, caffeinated, study sessions. It’s like Winter Break is the light at the end of the tunnel. I can hardly focus by the time I get to my last final exam, because I start thinking about all of the things I’m going to be able to do after I leave that classroom and honestly, my first thought is usually a nap.

Don’t get me wrong, break is a great time to catch up on sleep, but don’t snooze your entire Winter Break away. From a senior’s perspective, I’d like to share with you some of the ways I took advantage of Winter Break in the past, somethings I wish I had done, and a few tips for the best ways to utilize our Winter Break as we look forward to the spring semester.

Winter Break allows you only five weeks to de-stress, catch up, and plan for the Spring semester. With being so close to graduating, I am taking advantage of this Winter Break a little differently than I normally do. For some, Winter Break means the start of Winter Session, which I am currently enrolled in.

It’s a good time for students to take harder courses at a pace that helps them to better understand the material and for others it’s catch up or get a head time! I’m using this Winter Break to fill the rest of my GEPs and to complete my minor so that in the Spring, my course load won’t be so heavy. Studying, writing papers, doing projects, and taking exams won’t be the only thing I plan to do this Winter Break, though.

I am also using Winter Break to gain new skills that could benefit me in my future career (Oh, Hey Marketing and Communications Winter Internship!) and to better organize myself for post-grad life.

Fortunately, I have already contracted with a company for after graduation. This Winter Break I plan to stop into the office to deliver some cookies and to catch up with everyone in the office that I haven’t seen since my internship ended.

Seniors —yesterday was the day to start looking for internships and job opportunities for after graduation. Maybe even finish up those grad school applications and take the GREs. If you get some free time or your Netflix account starts getting old, hop on that career search grind.
Juniors — internships are a great way to get your foot in the door. That’s actually how I received my job opportunity. Special thanks to the Center for Professional Development and Career Experience because it was through their webpage that I found that internship and if you impress the employer, you might just get a job offer.
Sophomores’ and First Years’ — use this time to be proactive and start thinking about careers that interest you and academic specializations/concentrations that will set you apart in your major and ultimately, in your future job search. Someone once told me that you should pick something “hard” and work until you are good at it. It will make you very valuable to any company, especially if you can do that one thing no one else wants to do.

Academics aside, there is still plenty of time to spend with family and friends, enjoy yourself, and to maybe even do a little traveling. In the past, I also used Winter Break to make some extra cash to use for books, gas, and other expenses during the coming semester.

My roommate since freshman year, Mere, and I started what seems to be an annual tradition. Every January, a few of our BU friends get together and go to the Farm Show in Harrisburg. The two of us always try to squeeze in a ski trip and time to build gingerbread houses, too. It’s always enjoyable to spend time together outside of college. Some of my best college memories are from Winter Break. Maybe this year you could start a tradition with your friends.

The only thing I wish I could have taken advantage of in the past during Winter Break would be to take at least one course over the five week period. I think it would have definitely lightened up my semester course loads and would have kept me in my “school work” state of mind. Sometimes going back to college after break it is hard to get back on track and focusing the way you need to be. I think maybe one course over break would have kept me focused a little better.

In the short time we are away from campus, try to keep your goals in eyesight and to make memories that you’ll never forget. Live, laugh, and love. Spend time those around you and enjoy being at home. Make new goals for yourself and be proud when you achieve them. Try something you’ve never done; dare to make a difference somewhere. Catch those extra ‘Zzzs. These might be the same old things you’ve heard time and time, again, but the more I think about graduation, the more these tips make sense.

Enjoy your Winter Break. Happy Holidays and Have a Happy New Year. Thanks for reading!

— Jessica Shiptoski, senior accounting major, professional writing minor, fraud examination concentration #HuskyLife #WinterBreak #memories

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Where did the time go?

Well, the fall semester is just about over, and I’m not sure if I’m ready to leave beautiful Bloomsburg.

That feeling of returning back to our hometowns can be relieving and scary all at once. I remember the feeling of missing my family, but it was going to be worse leaving all of my friends here at college. So what is there to expect when you go back home?

Having control of life and being free here at college is great. But going home means, “mom’s way or the highway.” So maybe going home is nice and all, but it won’t exactly be that easy. This new adult-self could soon be shut down and shut up real quick by mom’s rules.

Not looking forward to being away from best friends and boyfriend or girlfriends either? This idea can cause some serious separation anxiety. I found best friends in Bloomsburg who bring out the best in me, and we are used to spending every waking moment together. Being at home leaves me feeling a little lost and lonely ... no worries though, Snapchat will come in handy.

I am reminded of how much I can take away from college. A lot more than I could from just watching television all day and sneaking snacks before suppertime. So we all may go through the different struggles, ups or downs that winter break will bring to us. But this time can be used to catch up on sleep, start applying for internships or jobs, see old friends, and have quality time with family. It’s quality time to do some self-reflecting and get prepared for the next semester.

This time off could be used to spruce up my creativity. It could be a good time for some changes too. I usually try to find the changes in myself first. It may be a small break, but use the time wisely and remember that college is a stepping stone, second home, and even sometimes that change to get you up and going.

We all may leave it for break, and eventually for good, but we’ll always remember how life changing Bloomsburg can be.

Rep On

— Lydia Jenkins, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife #HuskyFit

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

5 things you need to do on campus in October

Fall is slowly fading away from us. The clocks will be turning back soon and then it will move into the dark winter months. But since we have a couple more days left of October, you should make sure you accomplish these 5 things that BU has to offer.

Number 1, take a picture of the quad with all its fall colors. 

We all know that those quad pics are hard to come by and when you finally get the right light and color for the picture you are bound to get a bunch of likes on it. So before the leaves start falling and the color in the sky becomes dreary make sure you get your quad pic.

Number 2, We all know pumpkin anything is where its at. 

So make sure you splurge on your flex with all the pumpkin that Starbucks has to offer, because we all get a little cranky when we find out there is no more pumpkin spice lattes or pumpkin scones left. So get your pumpkin on!

Number 3, Life as we know it is going to fade away soon so make sure you get your fair share of catches on the quad in before time runs out. 

Throw a frisbee, toss a football, for all I care play catch with an apple, but make sure you have some fun on the quad before it is all buried in snow.

Number 4, If you have not sat on upper campus to watch the sun go down, you have not lived. 

It is the most amazing sight that you can ever witness. Our campus overlooks such beautiful landscape, that when the sky turns that pink, orange, and purple it is a breath taking sight, not to mention an awesome picture.

Lastly number 5, you can’t skip out of the tradition of carving a pumpkin! 

So drive to a local pumpkin patch or even buy one at Weis, Giant, or Walmart. Just get a pumpkin, carve it put it outside your dorm door, apartment door, or outside on your porch. I know I like to drive up to upper campus and see all the pumpkins sitting outside people doors. Its what brings fall together.

Fall in Bloomsburg is a special time, it has the most events, most class work, and most beautiful sights. So make sure you take advantage of what Bloom has to offer in the fall, because we will be missing it soon.

— Samantha Gross, mass communications major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

It's the little things

Self-motivation shouldn’t be a choice of action, it should become a mental routine...

As I slowly reach the middle of the semester, there are different commitments that come my way. Midterms are attacking one by one. Group projects are in full force. My daily schedule has now been set in stone… Finally. And I start to question will this semester drag on or go by too quickly? (Either way my motivation is sluggish.)

Despite the tough notes I have to go over, and the feeling of missing home I still manage to be self-motivating. I try to kick my mental state into full gear just so I don’t lose my sense of purpose and determination during this confusing time. There are physical and mental actions I take in order to keep myself and my mind organized during mid-terms.

First off, I fall into uneasy moods when I have a cluttered home. My bedroom and working space are good places to start. It’s time to rearrange some furniture, dust off the art work and tidy up a bit. Giving the bedroom a little face lift doesn’t have to be a day-long event either. I usually move things around, rearrange my pictures of family and then look around to feel the new vibe. Cleaning out and off my desk usually helps too. I put my papers and notes in order, clean out my folders, and restock my backpack and drawer with notecards. It’s the little things that get me moving towards a productive path.

Secondly, when my mind is confused with due dates, topics for papers, research, club responsibilities, even plans with friends, then I usually take a moment for a walk. Something quick, like down the street and around the block helps. When the breath of fresh air has cleared my head, I sit down to map out my plan of attack. I line up my group meetings, club dates, volunteer hours, and study sessions. I clearly write down my goals for the following weeks, and keep my highest priorities at the top of the list.

These little tips and tricks are just a start to get myself back into the right mindset for midterms. I sometimes turn to my apps for some assistance as well. Pinterest always gives me motivational quotes, tips for stress, clutter free guidance, and even some relaxing new yoga poses to try out. I look to Instagram to see the beauty that’s around me in Bloomsburg, along with traveling pages from around the world. It keeps me happy to be here while I’m working hard, but also keeps me looking towards where the future will take me after graduation.

All of these little things start to help my mindset when I’m feeling a little hazy midway through the semester. I look to other resources for aid, and alone time so I can collect my thoughts to stay on track. Before I know it, I’m ready for the midterm, I have new ideas to bring to group meetings, and I’m excited to be involved with my next campus event. Just like that, I’m back to my healthy and motivated self who is going to take care of business this semester.

Rep On

— Lydia Jenkins, senior mass communications major #HuskyLife #HuskyFit