Wednesday, May 18, 2022

We did it together!

Coming into my last semester, I was beyond excited to finally live with my four best friends. I think to myself now, with little left of my time here at Bloomsburg, where did the time go?

It’s times like these I wish I had a time machine and could hit replay. All my roommates live at least two hours away from me, and I’m going from seeing them every second of my days to parting ways to go back home. It’s a bittersweet moment, sitting down and taking everything in.

This entire year brought me so much closer to my best friends, which I did not think was possible. It made me realize that yes it is sad, but finishing college with my girls is a beautiful accomplishment ... and now, we'll smile and say “We did it together!”

I feel so proud of myself for pushing through the hard times and continuing college after taking my semester off. Looking back, I wouldn't have developed and grown these bonds with these girls if it were not for coming back. I could never imagine a life where I did not pick up these last two years of memories, laughter, love, and tears. If you have the chance to live with your favorite people, don’t pass it up.

To any incoming freshman, I promise you're going to meet your best friends here. Living in Elwell my first year, I was terrified it was never going to happen for me ... but now I’m blessed that Bloomsburg brought me girls I'll talk to for the rest of my life, way past graduation.

— Sarah O'Leary, a senior communication studies major with an emphasis on interpersonal communication, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications this spring. She is a native of Scranton and is an avid Harry Styles fan.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Always one FaceTime away


Dating is a key component of college life. And, it comes in many forms. There’s typical dating. There's a study date. And my favorite, a food date. 

This is where Kelly comes in. Kelly and I have always had a special bond, especially after we got to know each other more during our sophomore year. When I first met her, I could tell she had thick skin and was someone who would do anything for her closest girlfriends. 

Chick-fil-A has always been our go-to for food dates, and now we're roommates ... two years later, it still is. These are little moments I’ve cherished since the start. These times have only brought us closer together. Kelly has taught me how to be confident, set boundaries for myself, and taught me how to have thicker skin too.

Kelly comes from Staten Island, a borough of New York City. Her heavy New York accent has always been something I love. I have never visited Kelly, although New York is one of my favorite places to visit. This summer after graduation, we plan on making a trip together to celebrate before we part ways. 

Kelly’s room is right next to mine in our apartment, which is so comforting, because I know she’s always there for me whenever I need to talk to someone. There’s been late nights where we have stayed up together and had conversations that have lasted for hours on end when either of us were feeling down.

Kelly has always given me the best advice, and I know she has truly shaped me into the woman I am today. I can say when we first met, my self-confidence was not there. I was constantly juggling something new with my self-identity while going through one of the hardest times of my life. By no means has our senior year been perfect. We’ve all had our ups and downs, but I could honestly say I'm so proud of us for who we have become today. I would call Kelly my therapist friend, because it's been proven countless times her advice has brought me nothing but self-improvement and love.

Now in our final year together, we’ve taken our Chick-fil-A dates to sushi dates at Oliran and make it a habit to do sushi Sundays together whenever we can. Kelly and I grabbing lunch together twice a month while at school is something I’ll always prioritize up until the day we part ways. We don't have to be together every second — but when we are — I know I feel safe and am with someone who will always have my best interest at heart. I’ll miss going out for food with her after we graduate but always know she’s one call or FaceTime away when I’m looking for someone to make me smile.

— Sarah O'Leary, a senior communication studies major with an emphasis on interpersonal communication, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications this spring. She is a native of Scranton and is an avid Harry Styles fan.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife

Making Friends


Starting the Bloomsburg University College Student Affairs (CSA) program, I didn’t know anyone. Not in the traditional sense. While I technically got my undergraduate degree from Bloomsburg in Technical Leadership, my program was online and I lived 63 miles away from campus (a two-hour drive, each way).

Before my first day of class as a CSA graduate student, I stepped onto the Bloomsburg campus only twice. First, to return a book on a dropped class, and the second time, for graduation.

Moving to Bloomsburg was interesting. Everything was the same but different. Learning the campus was a trip. It’s got your daily exercise built-in if you start down near Carver Hall and need to get up to the new Arts and Admin Building or the Andruss Library, up at the top of the hill. This might mean nothing to you right now, but come to campus, and you’ll understand. 

Honestly, six months later, I'm still learning the campus. Buildings I’ve never heard of, rooms that seem to move around, but the town feels like home.

— Lizz Matias Clammer, #SAPro. Clammer is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program.

Adult Student Housing

I had hoped to live in Bloomsburg by the time classes started in August 2021. Covid-19 and the mortgage industry had other ideas for me.

You see, I lived two hours away from Bloomsburg University. Not only did I live in Reading, but I also had a mortgage on my home. In comes the dilemma. Without selling my house in Reading, I didn't have the income to support two mortgages.

Now you’re thinking, why not just rent in Bloomsburg? The problem with that is ... I have a dog. A big dog! A Siberian Husky named Maverick. I would've loved to live on campus, but they have no pet-friendly housing. Even if they did, I just got married and don’t think we should've to pay double the rent because there happens to be two of us in the same space.

While Bloomsburg has made the move to allow service animals and emotional support pets; what about our pets? Must we surrender our dogs to live in campus housing? Colleges claim to be worried about our mental health, so why not let us keep those pets that help bring us peace?

Long story short, my husband and I found a cute little house in Bloomsburg on Summit Avenue. It’s outside the flood zone and has a decent view. Our delivery drivers probably don’t enjoy our steps, but we found a reasonably priced home and we love it.

— Lizz Matias Clammer, #SAPro. Clammer is pursuing her Master's in Educational Leadership through Bloomsburg University's College Student Affairs (M.Ed.) program.

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Yes, we’re changing

Everyone has that one person in their friend group they refer to as, “Mom.”

It’s the friend who’s so caring and always looking out for you, while also bringing out the best in you. When you’re in college and away from your family, there are usually those people you go to for advice and help when you’re in difficult situations, or even for me, something I didn't know at the time would put a pause on my sophomore year spring semester. I was lucky enough to have my friend group to help me through my ups and downs, even after I took time off from school.

Especially my roommate today, Olivia.

Olivia comes from Warminster, Pennsylvania, which is a little over two hours away from my hometown of Scranton. Over the past two years, I’ve taken trips up to Liv’s house over the summers and over holiday breaks. Before we lived together, I visited her in the summer and we went to a winery for the day. We talked about how living together would be the best experience, since the year before I didn't get that chance. 

In the summer, she came up to visit me for the Fourth of July. I think Liv and I have had the most time to see each other over breaks and time off from school, and it has made us a lot closer. During this year's spring break, we went to Philadelphia to see our favorite artist in concert, Tame Impala — an Indie/Alternative music group known for their light shows and interactive performances. This was definitely a life-changing experience, something she surprised me with.

“Yes, I'm Changing” by Tame Impala is one of our favorite songs. The song lyrics resonate with us and how we’ve grown as individuals, being there for each other through our hardest times that were life-shaping. The song challenges people's personalities to remain fixed, regardless of circumstances. I would say that change is an important thing in life, and to go through changes and grow together with one of your best friends is a beautiful thing.

When I took a break from school my sophomore year, I could say now that person — that Sarah — is almost unrecognizable. I remember one night when I was going through a particular family situation, Liv was one of the first people I talked to about it. At the time we were not really close, but the way she immediately consoled me and gave me advice was when I knew we would be friends for life.

Now that we live downtown in Bloomsburg — on our more laid-back days — we do little things such as journaling, homework, or grabbing coffee at Fog and Flame or Brewskis. Whenever either of us is having a stressful day, this is our go-to activity to get out of our apartment. I think when we both were younger — this goes for anyone in my friend group — we would not really take the time to do things for ourselves like this. I would not trade anything in the world for the times “Mom” and I do this, even if it seems like something so small.

— Sarah O'Leary, a senior communication studies major with an emphasis on interpersonal communication, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications this spring. She is a native of Scranton and is an avid Harry Styles fan.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Look at your friends, look how they shine for you

Having a best friend that knows you inside and out is such a wholesome feeling. Someone that relates to you and understands certain aspects of yourself and what you’re thinking by just an expression on your face. Bloomsburg has given me many friends and a place to call home, but one person in particular has been there for me through some of the hardest times of my life. Someone who I can unapologetically be myself around while knowing she’ll be in my life forever.

Morgan was a transfer student from New Jersey. She came to Bloomsburg as a sophomore, so she was starting all over again, which was a feeling I once experienced. She was the first one I met out of our entire friend group, and we instantly clicked as if I knew her my entire life. I soon found out she lived right across the street from me, so I went over to her apartment almost every day. 

Over the next few months, we started bonding over similar interests we shared, music being a big one of them. To this day, we make it a habit to play the music we love together when we go on long car rides, our favorite being “Yellow” by Coldplay. Listening to this song has become something that instantly reminds me of Morgan, a feeling of warmth and comfort in knowing I could always count on her.

Morgan is a big part of shaping me into the person I am today. Before the pandemic first started, I was really going through a tough time in my life, which led to me taking off a semester from school. Throughout that first half of that semester, I watched from home as my friends continued on with their lives, before being sent home right about the time spring break was over. 

This is when everything with COVID-19 hit, and what we thought was going to be an extended spring break, turned out we would be staying home for months. This was one of the biggest changes that could have happened right before our senior year. Now in our final and last spring semester, things are finally starting to feel like they used to.

The pandemic had a huge impact on everyone, not just college students, but all around the world. It’s hard to imagine getting through this big change without the support of my closest friends and family, such as Morgan. Even though at the time I was technically not in school, I was still supporting my friends that found out their school year abruptly ended. 

Since Morgan lived over two hours away from me, we stayed in touch by FaceTiming on the weekends, anticipating the next time we would be able to see each other in person. Morgan and I are roommates now in our final year. I’m so thankful I decided to continue my education back at Bloomsburg, and be able to graduate with someone who is so close to my heart.

— Sarah O'Leary, a senior communication studies major with an emphasis on interpersonal communication, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications this spring. She is a native of Scranton and is an avid Harry Styles fan.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife

Friday, March 4, 2022

It’s right here, don’t waste it

It didn’t happen right away for me in college, but it eventually did. Meeting those forever friends is one of those precious college checklist items. It can be frustrating and depressing when it doesn’t happen early or even at all your freshman year. Rest assured it will — especially in a place like Bloomsburg.

For me it was the start of my sophomore year. I met four girls who I didn’t know at the time would change my life forever. They would go on to become my best friends. We’ve lived together for the next two years. We’ve laughed together. We’ve fought. We’ve made up, and we’ve cried. But best of all we’ve been together for it all, and soon we’ll graduate college together.

It feels so surreal to have met these four coming in to college feeling so lost to now having such a strong connection to these girls who were once strangers. Morgan, Leah, Kelly, Olivia … thank you for giving me a great college friendship experience.

Leah comes from Williamsport, a city famously known for the Little League World Series, which is a little over a two-hour drive from me. I remember first meeting her and instantly connecting with her bubbly personality and ability to make anyone laugh.

At the time she lived at Glenside apartments downtown, which was a far walk from where I lived in Soltz Hall on campus. That did not stop us from hanging out almost every day. Leah was always ready to pick me up, listen to our favorite song “Better Not” by Louis The Child and drive to Panera for lunch.

I could also relate to Leah in a lot of aspects just from the first few months of knowing her. She understood me and my struggles and was always there to lift me up when I was in a funk. She would reassure me that balancing life issues and college at the same time is not always easy.

Leah is two years older than me, so I’ve always looked up to her in a big sister aspect. She’s a social work major, so her compassion for wanting to help people in need showed every day, having one of the biggest hearts out of anyone I’ve ever met.

A specific memory that sticks out when I think of Leah was when we went to the beach together over summer of 2020. We booked an Airbnb for a few days in New Jersey and spent those days soaking up the sun. When I think of my happy place, the beach immediately comes to mind. What better way to spend it with one of your favorite people?

I felt like we picked up from where we left off, as if we never were apart from one another. In high school you think you have your group of friends who’ll always be in your life — but the truth is — it’s okay to outgrow them. You lose touch with them in your first year of college, and maybe you go home and see them over break. Meeting your college friends is like a breath of fresh air though.

I was scared to open up to new girls such as Leah, but her unconditional support and my trust in her just keeps growing every day. This semester, Leah decided to move out on her own. She thought we would be upset or that it meant we would see less of her. Just the opposite. Her decision was best for her and her mental health, and if anything, it only made us happier for her. I still take time to reach out and call her to see how she’s doing, and I know when it comes time for graduation, she’ll be right by my side telling me that, “We did it!” Leah has been there for me through thick and thin, and it’s the same for me with her.

A lesson I learned as I’ve grown throughout my college years is that you have to prioritize yourself. Setting boundaries and knowing your limit is important in college, because things take a huge shift and are not always easy. You have to know when you’re balancing too much — school, friendships, work, and just in general life, and everyday problems we might have.

That’s why when Leah decided it was time to part ways with Bloomsburg, she was prioritizing mental health, even though it was a decision that involved us too in the roommate perspective. Despite the fact we had to find someone new for our lease, our friendship and support for Leah came first. Mental health is something that should always be taken seriously, no matter the circumstances.

— Sarah O'Leary, a senior communication studies major with an emphasis on interpersonal communication, is interning with the Office of Marketing and Communications this spring. She is a native of Scranton and is an avid Harry Styles fan.

#BloomOnward #HuskyLife