Wednesday, April 15, 2015

One idea can go a long way


LADIES - Are you aware that there is an entire month dedicated solely to us?

Over the past three decades, the month of March has been devoted to empowering women of all ages through a month long celebration of recognizing the most dominant and influential women in history. Since 1980, National Women’s History Month has been committed to highlighting their contributions and how they continue to affect our present-day society.

It’s hard not to feel a huge wave of compassion and respect for these historical female figures who have opened up doors and possibilities for all young women today. Their stories and successes continue to motivate females to be individualistic in a leading male culture.

There’s Nancy Reagan, former first lady, who taught us that, “A woman is like a teabag - only in hot water do you realize how strong she is”. And Helen Keller, prominent educator and internationally respected humanitarian, who proclaimed that, “No effort that we make to attain something beautiful is ever lost”. And then there’s Oprah Winfrey, the first black female host of a nationally syndicated daily talk show, who showed women that, “There is no greater gift you can give or receive than to honor your calling. It’s why you were born/"

By challenging humanities assumptions that women are not socially, politically, or economically equal to males, these legendary figures in history have been able to overcome adversity and achieve their dreams while continuing to empower females of all ages beyond their years.

Every March, Women’s History Month recognizes the brilliant women who continue to influence present day females in their own personal and distinctive ways. For me, my leading role model is a woman who was able to overcome the hardship and adversity she faced as a single mother who dreamed of pursuing a career as a writer.

In 1990 on a crowded train to London’s Kings Cross Station with her young daughter at her side, an exciting idea for a story fell into Joanne “Jo” Rowling’s mind. There was a young boy with messy black hair and round shaped glasses, who had unknowing knowledge that he was a wizard. By continuing to pursue this story idea, Rowling went from living a simple life as an eager writer living on state benefits to creating the multi-million dollar bestselling franchise that is known as Harry Potter.

Rowling, formerly known as Joanne, wanted to use initials instead of her full name on the cover of the Harry Potter books in order to target both genders. Her publisher agreed on her theory that a group of young boys would be reluctant to buy a story written by an obvious female name like Joanne. Since Rowling did not have a middle name, she decided to adopt her paternal grandmother’s name, Kathleen, for the middle initial. The creation of her famous pen name, J.K. Rowling, makes me appreciate her as an artist all the more. For a previously unknown writer who worked her way to the top, she did not care about the glitz and glory of fame. What she cared about was attracting readers to her stories.

My admiration for Rowling as an artist has never stemmed from her fortune and fame. What I adore about her as a person is my knowledge of her journey through failure and rejection.

Rowling has proved that one idea can go a long way if you have the knack and determination. Since the release of the beloved Harry Potter series, her stories have been translated into 73 languages, selling millions of copies and accumulating over 20 billion dollars through movie adaptations.

But despite her achievements, Rowling stated that at one point in time, “By every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew”. Back in 1995 when Rowling finished her manuscript for the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, she submitted the final copy to over twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript (I’m sure this has become the biggest regret of their lives). A year later, she was finally given the go by an editor from a publishing house in London.

For a young and aspiring professional about to graduate with an unsure future ahead of me, it is so symbolic to know that someone as lucrative and well known as Rowling was once a college graduate in my questionable shoes. At this point in my life, I’m not sure where I will be a year from now. But I hope to be journeying down a career path that makes me as happy as storytelling does for Rowling.

To me, Rowling’s real life story is more incredible than any work of fiction. By following her rocky journey, I have learned that you must push through the difficult times in life. Within every challenge there are great doses of life to be lived.

When I look back at my childhood, reading the Harry Potter series and watching the films was a huge bonding experience for my siblings and me who have always shared a love for Rowling’s storytelling. By doing what she loves, Rowling has been able to touch the lives of millions, inspiring boys and girls across the world to follow their wildest dreams no matter the defeat or failure they may face along the way.

Some of my favorite and most profound quotes by Rowling I have grown to feel a connection to over the lifespan of the fantasy world that is Harry Potter include but are not limited to:
  • “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
  • “Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
  • “It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities.”
  • “In dreams, we enter a world that’s entirely our own.”
With a chance to give recognition to a brilliant female in history who has impacted my life, Women’s History Month lives on to continue telling the tales of symbolic women like Rowling.

This year’s Women’s History month theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives”, really relates to how Rowling has inspired me to continue in her legacy of overcoming challenges and journeying on to reach happiness and one’s full potential.

This coming June, Bloomsburg University will be sponsoring the 25th Annual International Conference on female author Virginia Woolf, one of the leading modernists of the twentieth century. This year’s theme, “Virginia Woolf and Her Female Contemporaries”, seeks to recognize Woolf’s writing along with the work of her contemporaries and how today’s society of young artists compare to that of Woolf and her colleagues. With the 2015 Women’s History Month under wraps, it is vital for our small population of unique undergraduates and graduates here at Bloomsburg University to recognize inspiring females who have contributed to the gender equality that exists in our university community today.

— Rachael Scicchitano, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Carpe College ... don't get stuck in a 4-year routine

We all get those emails from our professors, advisers and department heads about "upcoming opportunities" and "volunteer position availabilities." But let's be honest, how many of these messages go unread and/or unopened?

Most of them.

We students have far too much going on, right? Between waking up on time for class, making time for meals, studying and sometimes even working, where could we POSSIBLY find time to add anything to our schedules?

Yes, I realize that it would look good on my resume, but what is the concrete value of any of these experiences? What am I getting out of it? Is it worth getting out of bed on a Saturday morning to volunteer at a campus program or community event?

Probably not.

This is the way I thought throughout most of my undergraduate career. Don't get me wrong, during those four years, I maintained an above-average GPA, became captain of the women's basketball team, tutored for the disability center and held a part-time job (about 10 hours per week). It may seem like a lot, but now that I've begun to actually read the emails being sent by my mentors, I am realizing how much more I could have done with that time and how many connections I probably missed.

When I graduated with my undergraduate degree, I knew nothing about what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I enjoyed writing. I knew that I enjoyed working with people. That's about it. I did my senior internship and didn't completely despise it, so that's where I ended up after graduation. It wasn't until I finally began embracing and seeking out new opportunities that I found my real passions and could start pursuing the life that I wanted rather than the one I fell into.

Regardless of the specific opportunity we choose to pass up, we are potentially denying ourselves personal and professional connections. College is a time to discover strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes and passions. By getting stuck in a 4-year routine consisting of the same types of jobs, classes and social networks, we are being exposed to a very limited set of experiences and therefore, simultaneously prolonging the process of discovering what type of career, lifestyle and education is worth pursuing.

Here are a few of the advantages I've found to seizing opportunities, even if you aren't sure if they're "for you" or if you think you can handle the addition to your schedule:
  • Connections: Meeting people is everything! I cannot place any monetary value on the friendships and mentors i've gained through my volunteer experiences. I have connections across the country with people who can, not only help me professionally, but who have been wonderful personal supports and networks.
  • Compensation: While volunteer opportunities never offer big bucks for your participation, they do often provide things like travel costs, meal expenses and hotel accommodations. Don't be afraid to ask if any out-of-pocket costs are covered by the organization or institution before you travel too far and break your bank.
  • Experience different types of jobs: If you have an idea of what field you want to work in, use this as a chance to observe it on different levels and on various levels. You might find that you're more into the production side of things rather than being the front-(wo)man or vice versa. See what other people do in order to get a better idea of where you can see yourself.
  • Sorting through the garbage: the more you know and understand, the more you can discard what's NOT for you.
  • New places: Even if the position or job title isn't something you see yourself doing long-term, take advantage of opportunities that will allow you to travel. You might find that you really enjoy (or really don't want to end up in) certain places that you had never thought of before! Volunteer programs are great chances to experience different countries, states, cities and venues.
  • Respect: Professors, advisers and peers usually admire the fact that you're willing to take chances, which makes them more likely to throw more opportunities your way in the future! You may miss some classes or need to ask for extensions, but I've found that 95% of the time, faculty values the experience you're gaining and are more than willing to work with you as long as you communicate your plans appropriately.
  • Set yourself apart: While steady positions, degrees and long-term experience are definitely important, I am finding more and more that potential employers like to hear about my "unique" experiences and excursions even more than my schooling or day-to-day routines in my full-time positions. Those stories could be what helps them remember your interview after a day full of qualified candidates!
  • Open up future opportunities: There is real value in relationships. Others can offer support, advice and direction based on their own unique experiences. The more you volunteer for, the more people you meet. The more people you meet, the more opportunities they can present you with as you move forward!
  • Even if you hate the actual "job" you end up doing, most of these positions are part-time and temporary. Really, there's not much to lose. You never know what you'll discover when you stop ignoring those emails! Maybe even your future... Just go for it!
Social media: @_alyssameyers

— Alyssa Meyers is obtaining a graduate degree in Counseling and College Student Affairs (CSA) at Bloomsburg University, where she holds a graduate assistantship in the Student Activities Office. There, she assists in overseeing Bloomsburg's Program Board, Concert Committee and other groups and committees related to campus-wide event and activity planning.

Alyssa also holds a part-time position at Penn State University's Hazleton campus, where she is the Assistant Coordinator in the Office of Residence Life. In this position, she oversees a 10-person student Resident Assistant staff, works with the full-time residence life staff and participates in on-call or "Duty" responsibilities.

Prior to starting her career in student affairs, worked as a caseworked at Columbia County Children and Youth Services. She gained experience in crisis management, community health, and strength-based intervention strategies. Last summer, Alyssa moved to the Los Angeles area and worked with the Student Life and Engagement staff at Marymount California University. The focal point of her summer was designing an LGBT Safe Zone training manual and additional programming for the upcoming academic year.



Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Empowering your Inner Husky



To me, attending the 8th annual Husky Student Leadership Summit was one of the most valuable ways I have spent a Saturday during my career at Bloomsburg University. Notice I said the 8th annual summit? Yes, this summit has been going on for the past eight years, and as a senior I could slap myself for not becoming a part of this incredible experience sooner.

But I won’t allow myself to complain; one days’ worth of speaking with prominent alumni, hearing networking tips, and attending speaker’s panels was enough to make me feel super inspired to become the professional I seek to be.

Leading up to the summit, I was provided with a list of session options to attend throughout the day. I decided to go with sessions covering topics on networking, professional development, and leadership, which I believed would help me in my quest to improve my overall professional skills. Each session offered students with a chance to hear real world career advice from BU alumni through their personal stories and experiences.

Each session, I made sure to scribble down some quotes I felt were great tips from the alumni staff. In the second session of the day, ’87 Husky alumni Alana Gallo talked about her positive and negative experiences reviewing student resumes throughout her career. “Everyone looks the same on paper…so what makes you stand out?” This quote could not be more spot on to my life right now. Over the last month or two I have been in the process of sending out my info to several companies and organizations and have only heard back from a few places. I’ve been thinking - is there something wrong with my resume? Am I too standard among my competition?

So I’m sitting there in Gallo’s session, contemplating what my next step should be to become a more unique electronic applicant. And that’s when it hit me – I was doing it right there and then! By attending the Husky Leadership Summit, I was able to gain ample experience and opportunity that my competition may be lacking. Networking with alumni is such a crucial factor in the job search process and is something I need to continue to take advantage of as I journey through life as a pre and post-grad.

Gallo also talked about employers who would rather have more resumes in the NO pile than the YES pile. Upon hearing this, I looked around to find the student audience with awestruck faces. But she’s absolutely right - if employers have any immediate doubt in your potential, you have some major work to do on your resume, your cover letter, and your overall digital presence.

I can’t imagine how many resumes and cover letters employers have to look at each year. Imagine if that was your job and everyone’s resumes were extremely similar. Pretty boring, I would think?

And I’m sure it is difficult to narrow down the applicants when no one is really standing out. Employers don’t have the time to sit there and slowly dissect what you’ve sent them. So it is important to leave a memorable impression that will immediately catch their attention, whether that be through your outstanding GPA, your involvement in clubs and organizations, your digital portfolio, leadership positions, or relevant internship experience. Make sure to highlight what makes you YOU! With a fantastic digital impression, employers will be curious and excited to meet the real deal in an interview.

Midway through the day, the alumni already had me feeling so enthused to make a name for myself. Because of the useful tips I received while attending the summit, it has become my mission to have no red flags and no questions asked. My goal is to work towards being placed, without a doubt, in an employer’s YES pile based on their overall first impression of me.

Other advice I took to heart came from Kristin Austin, ’02 Husky alumni who spoke with us about her experiences networking and developing her personal brand over the years. Austin, who is currently coordinator for new students at BU, brought to the session her excitement and enthusiasm for student triumph by telling her humorous yet successful networking stories. Austin’s advice - you have to be courageous and open to stepping out of your comfort zone if you want to make potential networking connections.

Networking is not fast and it is certainly not easy. But it is an action that is entirely up to you. It is your choice whether or not to start a conversation with a potential contact. It is your choice to ask for help from a family member with prior experience in a company of interest. Austin preached that without physically taking action, no one will be there to help you. And most likely these networks who were once in our shoes would be pleased to help.

By keeping an open mind and a positive attitude, networking can become a prime factor in any student’s progression towards landing a job post-graduation. Although my attendance at the summit was mostly for my personal benefit, it also allowed me to participate in the Student Involvement Resource Fair luncheon with Communication club NCASC aka the National Communication Association Student Chapter.

There, I met with our student president Kate Armstrong, and together we spread the word to the hungry crowd of leaders about the benefits of joining the club. I was also able to snap some photos for the BloomsburgU Instagram account, capturing lively and interactive moments throughout the summit.

Overall, my participation in the summit provided me with a chance to really reflect on what I have been building for myself at BU. A memorable moment from one of the alumni speakers was when she compared the student audience to products and that each of us were products in the process of development.

By the time graduation arrives, I hope to have created the best possible self-product imaginable based on the classes, professors, employers, and experiences I have utilized while at BU. By attending professional events such as the Husky Student Leadership Summit, I have been able to continue working towards preparing for the world outside of Bloomsburg.

A huge shout out is in order for all of the Husky alumni who took the time to support the students at this event, along with the hardworking staff of BU leaders who made this unique experience possible.

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams.

— Rachael Scicchitano, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Friday, March 13, 2015

China Today: An immersing and exciting experience



Today was another beautiful day in the city of Kunming. After class and lunch we hopped on the bus and headed for Guandu Old Town. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from here, like most things, but was pleasantly surprised when we arrived.

Getting off the bus we walked towards what looked like another outside market with beautiful rea lanterns leading us to more rows of shops, restaurants, and historical buildings that all told a story. We first stopped at this beautifully designed building that was surrounded by little Chinese ponds with lilly pads, lanterns, and Chinese checker boards. We explored the shops which were the best I have seen yet, I couldn’t resist buying something.

These shops seemed the most organized and had more of a selection then the ones I’ve visited so far. I could’ve spent my whole day there if I had the chance. After the Old Town we headed for the YNNU cheggong campus which is a more modern version of where we're studying at now.

This campus was so huge it seemed like it could be a city by itself. After touring the extravagant campus and hearing how much tuition is compared to what we are already paying at Bloomsburg, my heart broke a little bit. The students at YNNU cheggong campus really got it good.

Today was the day we’ve all been waiting for … the Stone Forrest! I have been excited about seeing this infamous site since I found out I was officially going to China. The Stone Forrest is located right outside Kunming and is basically a Forrest full of both tall and short limestone, all once below sea level. Our tour guide, dressed in yet another stunning traditional outfit, made everything that more entertaining.

Every now and then I’d feel someone’s hand on my shoulder and it would be her making comments like, “Hello!, here take picture!,” or referring to our group as , “many English people let's go.” She was so energized leading us through the tunnels, valleys and mountains of stone while everyone is trying their best to be cautious on the slippery stone stairs. Soon enough she lead us into another shopping center, which actually turned out be tea testing.

If I have learned anything by now it’s this Country loves their tea, which I have no problem with. I’m so used to coffee but since I’ve been here my taste buds have learned to love tea; which tastes so natural and feels healthier. Seeing the Stone Forrest and the people, like our tour guide, who inherit it for their day to day lives make me wish it wasn’t such a tourist attraction. Although it should be shared with the world and it’s great to know some history when walking through, I felt more rushed. In my opinion if we could just receive a map and explore it for ourselves, it’d be a greater adventure (not to sound picky.) If everyone has to make a living somehow, and that’s how the villages surrounding the Stone Forrest do so, I accept that.

Ever played real life frogger?


The game where you try to cross the street but have to make sure you don’t get hit by cars that do not plan on stopping for you ? That’s kind of like Kunming. It's funny because the amount of mopeds driven here you would think they would have their own lane but that is not the case. Cars, Buses, and Mopeds all drive in the same lanes and are not very courteous of one another.

In America, I feel like in the cities the traffic is more controlled by either signs or stop lights but here it seems a little bit more unorganized with much more people. They do not really believe in “Yield to pedestrians,” you just got to go when it’s the right timing in hopes of not getting hit since it looks like they are not going to stop.

Cars and busses go at a regular speed of about 50, which doesn’t seem so fast. When they are driving, they don’t plan on stopping; and if they reach that point where they almost hit you they just swerve around you.

Also they love to use the horn. When we started off in the villages all I could hear when I went to sleep was dogs barking, now I here constant horns (not just like “honk honk” it’s more like hoooonnnnkkkk hooooonnnnnnkkkkk.) Everyone is very selfish when driving, just yesterday my two friends and I, witnessed a minor accident where a middle-aged women on a mo-ped was hit by another mo-ped. The moped drove away as the women stood in the middle of the intersection with here broken parts until a kind citizen helped her. Cars and busses just drove past here not offering any help.

Today we learned a little bit more about Yunnan and all it’s different minorities. First we visited the Yunnan Minority Museum which was filled with ancient artifacts, scrolls, books, clothing and all that good stuff from years and years of the Yunnan Minorities. We have been to museums before but this one was the most interesting since they were courteous enough to include English. The people of Yunnan are way more into their culture and ancient ancestors then anything I have ever seen in America. They value their minorities enough to create a two floor multi-room exhibit filled with relics and works of art.

Although we do have museums such as the Smithsonian, MOMA, Museum of Natural History and so on, the Minority Museum is strictly showcasing the Yunnan Province. After lunch we headed for the Yunnan Minority village, which I thought would be just another row of shops but then we received tickets. After we got our tickets we entered the gates to what seemed to be an amusement park of all the different minorities located in Yunnan. Each minority had their own exhibit so we were able to see tons of different ethnic backgrounds and what they value most.

The most exciting part of all this would have to be the Elephant performance which was a total surprise. These elephants were so talented I was amazed watching them. You could tell they were very well-trained which was kind of upsetting when they would mess up and get yanked by a chain; I guess since they are large wild animals that is the only way to tame them. The best part was the show was very interactive with the audience and we were able to feed them and be a part of the show. Towards the end after all their majestic tricks, we could pay 20 yuan to have our picture taken with them. They set it up so two elephants were holding trunks so whoever wanted a picture could sit and hold onto them for a quick snap shot. I was very amazed by this whole experience.

I have been immersed in so many new and exciting things so far during my time spent in China. Last night we left the city of Kunming where we’ve been living and learning this past week and a half and headed North towards Lijiang and Dali. Instead of road tripping via bus we took an overnight train. I have seen plenty of trains in my day but never one with bunk-beds! It was almost like a Hogwarts experience minus the wizards.

Each cart had a set of miniature dorms with bunk beds making sleeping an interesting experience. After about 7 hours we arrived in Lijiang early morning and were greeted by our new tour guides. We wasted no time eating breakfast and checking in so we could start touring the old town of Lijiang. Being here only a day it already feels nice to get out of the city and into a place where fresh air is no problem. Lijiang is populated by the Naxi people who have all been very kind and welcoming so far. They take very good care of the village and aside from the Chinese symbols, you’d think you were in Colorado or something with the snow-topped covered mountains and log-cabined boutiques.

One of the main reasons for visiting Lijiang was to tour the Jade Dragon Mountain located here. Although it was the coldest part of this trip it also was my favorite place we visited. I’m usually used to going to large mountains for snowboarding purposes but getting the chance to walk and admire how beautiful the scenery was made everything that more surreal. There was not one cloud in sight and the mountain and trees were snow covered making it a great day for photography. Towards the bottom of the mountain were crystal blue meadows that were so clear you could see right to the bottom. Along the meadow laid the reflection of the mountain making for an overall breathtaking experience (literally cause of the altitude.) If Jade Dragon Mountain wasn’t on my bucket list before, it is now and I am thankful I had the chance of experiencing it.

China is very admirable for their unique designs of both architecture and fabrics. It’s interesting to see how they get their inspiration from surrounding elements such as nature and animals especially. I’ve always been interested in clothing and different types of fashion fads and trends.

Coming to China allowed me to explore a variety of different fabrics, textiles, and patterns among the people here. In America we are so used to shopping at our favorite chain stores and having all our clothes already made for us. It is rare to look at a tag on a new shirt you bought and see, “Made in America,” when shopping at big name department stores.

Among the places we have visited I’ve been exposed to so many different types of fabrics and styles, mostly all hand-thread and manufactured. Sheets of fabric are showcased everywhere from store windows to car door windows. Here, keeping to traditional clothing and embroideries isn’t uncommon.

In Yunnan I’ve seen a lot of the same patterns repeated in different cities that include similar embroidery of flowers and naturistic designs. One pattern I haven’t seen a lot of is cotton. In America we love our cotton tees sweatshirts and sweatpants. We go to class and aren’t surprised to see half the students still in their pajamas, which seems unlikely in China.

Speaking on behalf of my age group, I feel a lot of the Chinese young adults and youth like to express themselves culturally through how they dress more than what I am used to seeing. Everyone has their own type of style whether its high fashion or sticking to the traditional embroidery. I have seen more of high fashion in the city of Kunming where more of the villages like to stick to traditional embroidery, especially with age.

— Annie Sapio, art studio major #HuskyAbroad

Led by Vera Viditz-Ward, professor of art and art history, and Jing Luo, Ph.D., professor of languages and cultures, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent three weeks in China studying language, culture and photography. The group, hosted by Yunnan Normal University, traveled to Kunming, Hekou, Yuanyuang, Mengzi, Dali, and Lijiang, where they had close contact with a variety of ethnic groups and learned about their lives and cultures.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Warming up to Husky Life



The winter season could put a real chill on some outdoor plans. You never know what to expect and if it’s warm enough to do some activities outside. But there is always one thing you can count on, and its Netflix.

Netflix is one of the most addicting websites a college student can go on.

Let's be honest we all have gone through a Netflix binge at least once a semester. Watching eight hours of Netflix in a row is something I know I look forward to.

The hard part is that once you get connected to a TV show you are bound to finish it in a week.
Six seasons. More like four days.

It’s a real sickness we get from watching Netflix.

Winding down and relaxing?


College life can be very stressful but coming to a stop in the on going day to take a breather and catch up on Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Lost, or Gossip Girl, can give the college student exactly what they need to break away from life for a little.

For me, my ultimate favorite show is Gossip Girl. As a Jersey girl who lives right by New York City I was able to really connect and envy the characters within the show.

I always wanted to live on the Upper East Side and this show took me right into that life style. Living in big fancy apartments, and going shopping everyday is only a girls dream.

But this show has so much more than material aspects. Every episode dives deeper and deeper into the character lives and with large amounts of money comes dirty secrets and betrayal. As the audience, we know the secrets and just want to scream at the characters to tell them what’s going on, but in the end we are seeing out of the eyes of the Gossip Girl. And we can’t wait to hear, “XOXO Gossip Girl."

As for the guys or girls who aren’t into the high society life style, another great option is Prison Break. My boyfriend and all of his roommates are obsessed with this show. This show has just enough action, drama and romance in it to make both sexes happy.

I occasionally watch it with him, because it’s a great show for us both to enjoy. Michael and Lincoln are thrown into prison for a crime they were framed for, but by trying to escape they are causing more kayos, and with kayos causes drama and suspense. We just hope that one day they will live a free life.

The winter weather gives us that perfect excuse to lie in bed all day Saturday and watch our favorite shows or movies. Its endless fun and excitement in the warm humble abode of your room.

Its nothing to be ashamed of, we all partake in this satisfying binge. As for me, my next series will be Friends. I have seen almost all of the episodes from reruns, but finally I will be able to watch it in order.

Surviving the Semester Freeze


— Samantha Gross, sophomore telecommunications major #HuskyUnleashed

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Words of wisdom



Hello Huskies! Now that we’re starting to stray away from the first week gotta look nice stage of the semester and are slowly moving towards the rolling out of bed wearing yoga’s and/or sweats to campus every day look, the reality of being back to the grind of things is starting to sink in (for some slower than others).

As a graduating senior I feel it is my duty to grant the youngsters of BU with my best advice to help you survive the greatest, most exciting four years of your life. And although it gives me great pain to claim the role of a soon to be graduating senior, I hope to shape my grief into pure reminiscent bliss by telling some of my stories in hopes that present and future huskies can avoid my mistakes and follow in my happiest footsteps.

After completing seven out of eight semesters at BU I can confidently say I have experienced just as many (or more) awkward and embarrassing moments you are probably experiencing. I was just as uninvolved and unconcerned as most of you, always reassuring myself with, “I still have time to pick a major, I still have time to get a job, I still have time to find an internship.

#RachaelTip - Never allow waiting to become a habit. Looking back, four years was NOT that much time.

*Flashback to 2011*


High school senior me made the impulsive decision to commit to Bloomsburg University. Back then, as if this was that long ago, my future was extremely unclear. I had no idea what I wanted to major in, no idea what I was good at, and no idea if I could survive living away from home.

So I decided to migrate a total of 20 whopping miles from my hometown to Bloomsburg University. Such a huge transition. I sometimes detest my choice and wish that I would have at least attempted to relocate to a university farther away from home. But after all of this reminiscing I came to realize I could go on for hours about what I would change. But that’s not why I’m here. What I want to share is what has changed all of my doubts about BU, a university I chose solely due to its convenient distance from home.

I can now truly say that I am completely content with my decision to come to Bloomsburg University. Not only did BU help me discover my strengths, it has allowed me to meet and connect with inspiring students, professors, and coworkers. Unfortunately, it took me until the very end of my sophomore year to grasp the fact that I had nada to put on my resume. I was not involved in any clubs or organizations, I didn’t have a job, and I had not made any influential connections.

ATTENTION READERS - if this sounds like the present you - listen up!

One of the first steps I decided to take was job searching on campus. While talking with my peers, one of my friends suggested applying to the Student Activities Office in Kehr Union. Fortunately they were seeking students like me who lived locally and would be available to work during the summer, so I was lucky enough to get a job as an office and main desk assistant.

However, my #RachaelTip to you would be to apply to several places on campus, not just one.

This way, you can get your application out there and have options while also not feeling bad about yourself for not getting a call back. Having an on campus job has been a wonderful opportunity and has allowed me to become much more involved within the campus community. For me, working on campus has given me the chance to meet other students while opening up doors I never knew existed. With this job came firsthand access to exciting information on campus events, activities, trips, and discounts the university offers.

For all of you undeclared majors, I was once in your rocky boat. My sophomore year I finally made the decision to join the communication studies major.

#RachaelTip - I highly recommend looking into this major!

The communication studies department has an amazing group of faculty and a variety of concentrations you can choose from than fit your interests.

But anyways….(not trying to be the poster child for Comm Studies, but really, it is the best ☺), after declaring a major I slowly started to make my way into the crowd. I decided to join the NCASC (National Communication Association Student Club).

NCASC is a national organization welcoming students of all majors meeting bi-weekly and providing important information and workshops on topics such as interview etiquette, how to perfect your resume, landing internships, studying abroad, and more. Oh, did I forget to mention the free pizza??? NCASC is run by a group of BU students ranging from sophomores to seniors, so don’t worry, you won’t feel intimidated by a bunch of big seniors running the show.

After being involved in the club for nearly two years, my junior year I decided to run for a leadership position on the exec board which would be in charge of Public Relations and the clubs social media sites. When I first joined NCASC sophomore year, I never thought that I would be one of the students helping to organize events and run the meetings.

#RachaelTip - if you want to strengthen your resume, exec board positions show diversity and your ability to handle leadership roles.

Usually at the end of the spring semester clubs will vote for new exec board members to replace any graduating seniors. Whether you are a leader in a club or general member, joining a campus organization is a significant way to get your foot in the door and boost your resume.

Although I can’t speak for all departments, if you are unsure if your major has a club or organization my advice would be to check with your department secretary. They are there to help you and are very friendly! You may also want to look into finding out whether or not there is an honor society for your major.

Lambda Pi Eta, BU's communication honor society, reached out to me my junior year inviting me to join the other honor students in the major. A month or two after getting inducted, I decided to run for the open Public Relations position and I somehow landed the role. While running up against my fellow students I thought to myself, “What am I doing? I look like a fool. No one will vote for me!” Please, don’t have these thoughts!

#RachaelTip – Remember, you can do anything you put your mind to. As long as you stay true to yourself I assure you, all of your hard work will be recognized.

So freshman and sophomores, maybe even some juniors and seniors….get up and get moving! With the large variety of student life opportunities on campus, there really are no excuses. BU has more than 250 student clubs and organizations ranging from the arts, business, entertainment, athletics, community service, and faith. I have built friendships, gained leadership positions, and created amazing opportunities for myself because of being active in all that the university has to offer.

Nowadays, students with scholarly grades are not as notable as those who are deeply involved with a wide range of roles and engagements. After all, college is more than just going to class. It’s about taking advantage of the rewarding opportunities sitting in front of you. One final #RachaelTip - Enjoy every moment. Make mistakes, try new things, learn, and push yourself to greatness!

— Rachael Scicchitano, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Thursday, January 29, 2015

China Today: Colorfully intense and diverse




I have found myself incredibly fascinated by the traffic here in China. There are a number of elements that pique my interest. The first of these is the diversity of the traffic. Here in Hekou, most of the diversity is in the various two-wheeled vehicles people use to travel around. There are very nice, pristine, and personalized mopeds, beat-up dirt bikes, bicycles with carts attached to the back, and all sorts of old mopeds. These vehicles seem to allow you to drive wherever you want, as they weave through the streets and even on the sidewalks. There is no discernible organized parking, and people seem to leave their mopeds—or what have you—wherever they please.

The same general rules seem to apply to cars—there is no specified parking locations, and the cars simply drive through the streets, honking at people and smaller vehicles in their way. These cars have an even larger diversity than the two-wheeled vehicles. I’ve seen all sorts of brands, like BMW, Toyota, even some Fords and Jeeps. They are mingled with small and large vans that appear to be unique to China, and there are a few large cargo trucks that have a militaristic air to them mixed in as well.

I’ve noted no speed limit signs, though it is possible I haven’t recognized them, as they are most likely in Chinese. People walk into the streets wherever they please. In Kunming, I saw a woman standing in the middle of traffic waiting to pass through each lane. On our journey from Kunming to Hekou, I noticed a few vehicles that were sitting idle in the middle of the highway. I can only assume they broke down, and I suppose rather than moving the car off to the side, people just get out and walk away. For all of this chaos, I have not noted any road-rage. Nobody seems angry at anybody else for getting in their way, perhaps because there are no rules to follow and therefore no rules to break. The bustle of the streets sounds exactly New York City, save for the sound of police sirens. If anyone in China ever gets a ticket, I can’t imagine what it would be for.

I have an incredible respect for the Hani people, and everyone who lives like them. Their existence is so simple and natural. The little old women working in the fields and carrying things around on their backs were so solid. Watching them, and the men herd the water buffalo and the pack mules through the village, was like standing at a still point in time.

While the village did posses plenty of modern amenities, the people still worked the land to live, using simply tools and methods, as they would have hundreds of years ago. China, so far, has impressed me with its beautiful coexistence of past and present. It’s not something we see in America, as the present is consumed the past.

First of all, Happy New Year! I never imagined I would fulfill one of my new year’s resolutions, to do more exciting things, on New Years. Anyway, I’ve been really interested in the way all of the people we’ve seen in this country dress. There are the Hani people, of course, who wear those beautifully embroidered traditional clothes. Even the more reserved clothes that are one solid color dot the terraced fields and decaying buildings like ornamentation. However, their clothing is not what I have found the most fascinating.

On our drives, we pass through a lot of small towns or clusters of buildings that are very dirty and rundown. In them, I have noticed a lot of women dressed as if they belonged in New York City. They are often in high heels and fashionable jackets, and honestly look more stylish than I do most of the time (regrettably, I do not have any photos of this). I was talking with a few of my comrades, and they suggested that perhaps the single women do it to attract men. This would make sense, as all of the women I have seen dressed this way are young, while many of the older women are wearing simpler, average clothing.

I’ve seen some really cool graffiti here in China. It’s funny to see people carving the Chinese symbols into trees and stuff like we carve our initials. One type of graffiti I’ve seen a lot of is crayon children’s drawings. This is probably my favorite type of graffiti to see because it’s not something seen in America. I’ve noticed that the children are often running around free-range with each other, up and down the streets with no worries. I even saw a child crossing the street by herself yesterday.

In America, children aren’t really allowed to do that anymore; they’re very sheltered and their parents are always watching them. Although, it is mostly in the small villages that I see the children running around unsupervised, which I imagine is due to the likelihood that everyone knows each other in the smaller villages. This child-like graffiti is evidence of the independence these children have on their little streets. (As a side note, it is entirely possible that I am mistaken, and that these are not children’s scribbles, but the scribbles of someone who is not very skilled at drawing. Either way, the point stands: the children in this country appear to have a lot more freedom in playing than American children)

I continue to be blown away by the intensity and diversity of the colors in this country. I’ve already written about the beautiful colors in the clothing of the Hani people, and the same intensity that exists there exists all over the place. Looking down the street, one is met with bits of striking color. One thing I have noticed is the presence of bright red ribbons tied to different places. I have seen a few tied to tree branches, a couple on the front of a car, and they surround the entire memorial site of the founders of the University in Kunming.

This last piece of information leads me to believe that perhaps the red is symbolic of loss or memory. Perhaps the ribbons in the trees symbolize a location where someone died, and the ribbon on the car is in memory of someone. Since red is also the color of the Chinese flag, it could symbolize some kind of nationality. I’m not able to research any of this on the Internet, so I will have to clarifying my suspicions with someone who knows the culture. For now, however, I find it exciting to speculate the meaning of things based on observing them in context.

When I took anthropology my freshman year, I learned about the affinity that the Chinese have for Christian traditions. The article I read back then was about how they like the have all of the ceremony associated with Christian weddings. They even fly over Americans to act as priests, many of them not being priests themselves. I noticed evidence for this on the flight here, as there was and advertisement that came before the movies of a bride and groom dresses in the tradition white wedding gown and black tuxedo.

As I have been in China, I have noticed a lot of Christmas decorations. There are Santa Clauses, Christmas trees, even a sign that said "Feliz Navidad." We were told later that the Chinese celebrate a non-religious Christmas that is essentially a time for people to party and have fun. I find it very interesting how they have incorporated an element of our culture into theirs, but have modified it to make it fit into their beliefs.

— Katie Starliper, art studio major #HuskyAbroad

Led by Vera Viditz-Ward, professor of art and art history, and Jing Luo, Ph.D., professor of languages and cultures, a group of Bloomsburg University students spent three weeks in China studying language, culture and photography. The group, hosted by Yunnan Normal University, traveled to Kunming, Hekou, Yuanyuang, Mengzi, Dali, and Lijiang, where they had close contact with a variety of ethnic groups and learned about their lives and cultures.