Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Well, hello there college ... nice to meet you!

Picture this: you’re in the backseat of your parent’s car on the way to move in to college.

Your heart is beating fast.

You have butterflies in your stomach.

You can’t help but be excited, yet nervous at the same time. You’re mere hours away from officially being a college student ... away from your parents ... and living on your own for the first time ever! You think you’re 100% prepared for this new life. You've read online all of the recommended freshman in college do’s and don’ts. But alas, this was a whole new world. An entirely new script. A new lifestyle ... my new chapter.

This was me three years ago. I was that typical nervous freshman not knowing what to expect my first year at Bloomsburg. I just knew I was excited for this next chapter to begin.

I'll never forget the empty feeling of hugging my parents’ goodbye with my voice cracking and eyes filled up with tears after finishing unpacking my dorm. I've never felt anything like it before. It was a mix of sadness and excitement all at once. I had no idea what I was going to do without them. I stood in the parking lot watching them drive away just wondering what I was supposed to do next. Besides my roommate, I was all alone on a campus of almost 10,000 students. I felt like an outsider.

Flash forward a few days and it’s my initial “first day of classes” in college. Unlike high school, I walk into a room full of strangers. It was nothing like my hometown. I pretty much knew, or have heard of, most of the people in my town. And everyone knew everyone’s business. Here I was, in a town full of people I had never met and without my parents, for the first time.

My shyness was definitely triggered. I knew I was there for my education and to pay attention to the professor, instead of being so nervous. I had no idea what to expect from college classes. The thought of not having my mom around to help me with any of my homework, like math, gave me a knot in the pit of my stomach. And just thinking about not being able to come home from a rough day and not having my dad there to make me laugh made it even worse!

My biggest fear was I was going to fail out, that I wouldn’t be able to handle and equally balance a social life and school work. I heard so many stories of people just not going to class and partying all day and night, not having a care in the world. I made sure I paid attention and went to every class and asked for help if I ever needed it. I was motivated to do well in college and to not let any hard classes get me down.

Going into college no one really ever tells you about the important little things you learn day to day. My time in college so far has taught me a lot of things. Things like communication, leadership, and time management. My first year of college taught me something that has helped me throughout these years which is how to be independent.

I had to live without my parents for the first time and learn to do things on my own. I took care of myself when I got sick, fed myself, forced myself to go to classes, and learned how to become my own person.

Those college do’s and don’ts definitely didn’t prepare me. In college, you don’t have your parents on your back telling you to get your homework done or reminding you of things going on. It's solely all on you to be in charge of your life and to make sure to get your work done.

I'm glad I was able to balance how to have fun and taking my education seriously. Surprisingly, first semester freshman year was one of the best semesters academically I've had. Learning how to be independent by being on my own for the first time and what steps I have to take to succeed is what kept me focus and still does to this day.

Looking back, I'm proud of myself on how I got throughout the “toughness” of the first year of college. Bloomsburg taught me independence my freshman year of college by allowing me to learn more about myself. I’d say that’s a pretty big achievement for a freshman.

— Samantha Bergan, senior mass communications major and English minor #BloomOnward #HuskyLife

Monday, September 16, 2019

Working to find my next 'good life'

Honors mentors and mentees at Knoebels having a scream off on the Pirate Ship (Galleon)

Packing, moving and saying goodbye are three recurring themes in a college student’s life. Yet, what the world does not tell you is that some things, like packing an overnight bag, start to become second nature when traveling to friends’ houses or to and from home.

Settling in to the PA climate with some new gear
Along with, your “home away from home” becoming the place where you build your greatest memories, life, and friends. Even after years of the “good life” when college graduation rolls around, how could you possibly be ready to move on and start somewhere fresh when one still has more of the “good life” left to live? After all, college does not typically become boring or repetitive.

In the end, one must acknowledge that every journey does have a stopping point as another has a beginning. And this is mine. Hello Bloomsburg, I am Jen, a recent graduate of Radford University in Virginia, a native of Maryland, and now a new graduate student in the College Student Affairs program, working to find my next “good life.” Join me every month as I discover what it is like to be a Husky and engage in adventures of learning how to be a graduate student and graduate assistant to the newly formed Honors College.

Orientation and Welcome week flew by and I developed a plethora of fresh memories, extra friends, and memorable moments! In Honors, we participated in team building activities (with pasta and marshmallows of course), tours of campus and downtown, took a trip to Knoebels, and created a Goose Chase for our mentees to remember building locations.

This packed-full week opened my eyes to the numerous bonds, growth, and spirit that the Honors College is going to bring to the students through the staff, mentors, and me. I simply cannot wait to continue being a part of everyone’s miraculous journey here at BU.

— Jen Cole, #ProfessionalU #SAPro

Cole is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Japchae with a touch of Chuseok

It's been almost two weeks since I’ve landed in South Korea, and it already feels like I’ve been here forever! After stepping outside at the airport, I was hit by high humidity which my straightened curly hair did not like. It did not hit me that I was across the other side of the globe until I saw signs everywhere in Korean, a foreign language I only know a little bit of.

I’m staying at Korea University-Sejong campus in the university dormitories and have two Korean roommates. The university is located in a rural setting, and so the locals don’t speak much English. I found this out when going to the market for the first time; this is a unique experience for me to dive in another language. This will surely be a challenge, but I’m ready to take on this language barrier.

Bloomsburg prepared me to be fearless.

My roommates are so welcoming and informative. I’ve not experienced culture shock, because I’ve made an effort to ask my Korean friends on how to be polite to others and not be disrespectful. Elders are extremely respected here, so much that there are two different ways of talking — formal and informally, all of the endings are completely different for both. It’s been a great learning experience so far. Academic wise, I’m taking a North Korean socio-culture and human rights class with other South Koreans and though classes just started, it’s been really interesting.

I have a short week this week, it’s Thanksgiving here and so we don’t have class Thursday Sept.12 and Friday, Sept. 13. Thanksgiving this year will be celebrated on Friday, Sept. 13. It’s called Chuseok, and it’s not celebrated like in the United States. In my South Korean culture class, we learned that in Chuseok (literally meaning Autumn Eve) South Koreans thank their ancestors and celebration for the bountiful harvest.

I’ve already learned so much about the customs here, and I’m pushed out of my comfort zone every day. I will be visiting a Korean folk village and the DMZ with my class and will be visiting temples and palaces on my own, which I’m super excited for. I love history, and I know the Asian continent is full of it along with hundreds of years’ worth of traditions.

I’ll also be cooking japchae, a Korean noodle dish! Something I’m not used to yet here is the spiciness of the food. The food is so delicious, but every meal has a spicy component (or is spicy itself), which I’ve not completely adjusted to yet. I hope to become accustomed to this and a pro at using chopsticks by the end of my stay here. I’ve never used chopsticks in America, weird right? Chopsticks are used for everything here, even to eat fried chicken.

— Liz Hernandez, a health sciences and sociology dual major, is studying abroad this fall in South Korea at Korea University in Sejong, studying such topics as North Korean socio-culture and human rights, as well immersing herself in the Korean culture such as experiencing Chuseok and learning to cook japchae.

#HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU #BloomOnward #HuskyUnleashed #BloomUpward