Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Not letting winter break, break you

Finals are done, and I’m heading home for winter break.

It’s a bitter sweet moment, I can’t wait to go back to my mom’s cooking, but I’m not looking forward to my parents asking me what I’m doing, where I’m going, what time I will be home every single day. I also can’t wait to have some alone time because in college, you are always surrounded by people.

My first winter break was such a wonderful experience and change from high school. Over winter break in college, all you have to worry about is getting your final grades back from classes and ordering books for next semester classes. Another fun and exciting thing is that you picked your classes on your own, you aren’t placed into those classes by your advisor, so you have something to look forward to. This is also a great opportunity to make some money with a part-time job.

Now that you are more familiar with the campus and the things you can do near or around campus and have made friends to do stuff with, you need some cash. I worked at a restaurant part-time, but I found myself really bored at home. A lot of my friends from high school had jobs they needed to work at too or stayed at school to take winter classes or have even moved away. This winter I found a second part-time job to keep my busy.

As winter break came to a close, I was getting extremely anxious to go back to school to see all of my friends and be away from my parents again. I was even missing the food at the commons!! But for others, that wasn’t the case.

I asked my roommate before I started writing this blog about her experience her freshmen year to get someone else’s perspective, so I wasn’t completely bias.


I found out that at that time in her college career here, she was thinking about transferring or dropping out of school to go work. She came in as a freshmen not really knowing what she wanted to do, so she was undeclared.

She also didn’t have the best roommate experience, and your roommate is supposed to be your new best friend. It doesn’t always work out that way, I know it didn’t for me either.

When you don’t make that good connection with your roommate your freshmen year, it deters you from making other friends here as well, it gives you the impression that a lot of people around you aren’t nice either, so you don’t even bother trying. Sometimes you do try to make friends with the people in your hallway, but the drama with your roommate haunts you with the people that live around you.

For example, when my roommate and I started to argue and not get a long, she would turn people that lived in the hall against me. She was more outgoing and confrontational then I was, so I had a hard time sticking up for myself. Situations like that, from my experience, make you want to stay in your room and keep to yourself focused on the next time you get to go home.

I found out at the end of my first semester that my roommate was dropping out of school and going home to work because she found that school was too expensive for her. That was a huge weight off of my shoulders, because I felt like I could have a new start with a different roommate the next semester. My roommate on the other hand, did not have that luxury.

She decided to give Bloomsburg one more semester before she gave up for good. She said, “It was the best decision she ever made.”

Early into her second semester, she joined Program Board and made a ton of friends. She had a place to go whenever her and her roommate were arguing or she just wanted to get away. She also told me that after your first semester in college, you realize how much free time you actually have.

I asked, her, if you had any advice for students who were thinking of transferring, what would you say to them and she said, “Join a club, get involved, and don’t give up. Your years at college will be one of the best experiences of your life, so take advantage of them in any way that you can.”

College has definitely been a roller coaster for me, but I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world. I wouldn’t be where I am today and I am extremely happy and proud of the person that I have become and am still becoming. Even if your situation isn’t ideal, keep trying and keep your head up.

“I believe everything happens for a reason…and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” – Marilyn Monroe

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Friday, November 21, 2014

Seeing my future come into focus

College is nothing like high school, I actually remember being there forever and wanting to leave. If I could, I would stay in college for at least a couple more years (and never get older of course).

High school is as static as it gets, not a whole lot changes. College is very dynamic, you never know what the next day has in store for you. You hear people tell you that time flies, but that doesn’t seem more true than anywhere but college.

This month is going to be full of adventure and opportunities for me. Today, the Career Development Center organized a career fair with a room full of different companies from UPS, Fastenal, and Crayola where you could walk around and network and hand out resumes to. Since I worked at Fastenal as a sales-trainee over the summer, I talked to the district manager about getting some hours over winter break. Not only was he excited for me to come back and work at the Milton location, but he also wanted me to work at the Bloomsburg Fastenal next semester.

This just shows you that you should always work your hardest and even if you need to leave a company for any reason, you should never burn any bridges with anyone. You never know when you might need a job in the future or a few hours to make some extra cash. Students from my Advanced Professional Sales class went to talk to UPS to thank them for funding some of our trip to Orlando, FL to the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC). We talked about careers in sales and how much they love their jobs because they get paid to talk to people and create relationships. They also gave us some advice about interviewing and resume tips.

The ICSC was the most amazing experience I have encountered during my years here at Bloomsburg. The ICSC consisted of two competitions, one was the Tom James role play and the other was a Sales Management Case competition. I competed in the Sales Management Case competition, because soon I will be going to New Jersey for another sales competition.

We arrived in Florida on Thursday and immediately went to the opening ceremony and registration. At 7:30 p.m. that night, my partner and I were given our case where we had 18 hours to creating a presentation. We immediately went back to the hotel and plugged the flash drive that they gave us and stared terrified and immediately stressed at the 12 pages of information.

We were given a scenario of a real company that was fictitiously struggling and we had to come up with an idea to help them get back on their feet and present it to two people from companies that were sponsoring the event and the third person that was from the actual company the case was about. We researched and brainstormed and paced up and down all night and day to finish this presentation. 

We had to hand in our PowerPoint by 1 p.m. Friday. It was getting down to the wire, we were scrambling to get this presentation finished but we did. We had to present our ideas to the judges without any practice. We went in there and nailed it! Luckily, we got to see our judges later that day and talk to them about how they think we did. I got the most encouraging feedback I have ever received in my life. The feedback I got from the judges actually made me 110 percent sure that I was going in the right path for my future. The experience was something that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

A total of six of us (including our professor) went to Orlando for this competition, Jordan Barnett and Amanda Leshko competed in the role play competition and Austin Schwarts was an alternate if anything had happened to any one of us. Even if you were an alternate coming to this competition, the companies that were at the career fair there wanted you. Students aren’t invited to these competitions “just because,” you are invited because you have a passion for sales and you are good at.

Dr. Favia picked a great group to go to the competition this year. Anthony Furjanic and I did not place in the top four out of the 21 schools that competed in the case competition but we definitely made an impression on people from industry. Jordan made it to the second round and also made a good impression on some of the judges. Amanda did an amazing job and made it to round three where she was in the top sixteen out of 84 students. We definitely put a good word out about Bloomsburg University because different companies introduced themselves to Dr. Favia and wanted to make connections with her and our University. Overall the trip was an amazing experience and we couldn’t have done it without Dr. Monica Favia, thank you!

Another opportunity I couldn’t have been able to have without Dr. Favia, is an interview with ADP. She encouraged us to talk to a recruiter from APD about a month and a half ago to get some information about the company to see if we would be interested in working there. After meeting with the recruiter, we emailed her our resumes and gained a brief phone interview and an in-office interview.

At ICSC, when we walked around the job fair, we pretty much had mini interviews with each company that we talked to. Some of them asked me questions that I was prepared for and others asked me some that I wasn’t so that helped me prepare for next week. Another way that helped teach me how to interview, were the Professional U sessions that the University organizes. They are extremely informative and you learn something new every time.

Along with my interview next week, I will be going to another sales competition in New Jersey where I will be participating in the role play competition. At this competition we will have to sell ADP in various scenarios in various rounds. This competition will also have a career fair where I can market myself to potential businesses around the US.

My second to last semester has most definitely flown by with the blink of an eye. The most I can do is to get out as much as possible from my experiences as I can and learn as much as I can before I get thrown out into the real world. My advice to you, is to take advantages of the opportunities that surround you every single day. Don’t put something off or push great opportunities to the side, you never know when you might get them again and when they do, they will be gone in a blink of an eye.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

3 organizations I wish I would have joined

Bloomsburg has so many opportunities for absolutely anyone on campus with any interest. If there isn’t something for you, it is extremely easy to create your own club! I was lucky enough to discover Program Board and it has most definitely opened an infinite amount of doors for my future, but there a few other organizations on campus that I wish I would have joined.

When I was in high school and looking at colleges, I was planning on being a nurse. I never in my wildest dreams would have predicted that in three years from my senior year, be a senior majoring in the business field, let alone being a marketing major but that is exactly where I am now and I wouldn’t change it for the world. But when I was in high school, there was a club called Phi Beta Lambda, which stands for Future Business Leaders.

If I would have known that I would be where I am today when I was in high school, I would have joined that club in a heartbeat. As a freshmen, I had no idea what I was getting into, how much time I would have on my hands, or any idea what Bloomsburg had to offer. I was very narrow minded and that is one of my biggest regrets.

After my three years here, I wish I would have joined this club for a couple of reasons; it’s a resume booster, it is a national business organization recognized throughout the country, and holds fundraisers, guest speaker events and meet the alumni events. This club would have been great for expanding my network and would have expanded my knowledge about the campus and what Bloomsburg has to offer for after I graduate. If I had the opportunity to meet alumni, I’m sure I would be hearing a lot of the advice I am now giving you.

Another organization that I wish I would have joined is the American Marketing Association (AMA). AMA is a professional association for individuals and organizations teaching and developing marketing knowledge worldwide. This club could have given me a great opportunity to really expand and grow my knowledge of the ever changing marketing world. This club could have given me a leg up on some applicants that I will be competing with for jobs. They say it’s all about who you know in the business world and the more connections you make and the wider your network, the more doors will be open for you in the future.

They also get the opportunity to go to the International Collegiate American Marketing Association Conference where you can take your marketing skills to the next level by learning from and interacting with current marketing professionals from all over the country. At the conference there would be presentations that are given about current market trends, how to get a career in marketing, and the constant change of marketing. This would have been an amazing resume booster and a great opportunity for anyone in marketing.

The past two organizations I talked about were very similar in how they could benefit me and were geared more toward something that would have increased my knowledge in the field of business, but my third organization is a bit different. I would have loved to join the dance ensemble. Now you’re probably thinking, “What in the world does that have to do with your major and can you even dance?”

Good question! No, I have never tried dancing in my entire life, but I love the Step Up movies and wish I could own those skills that they have and dance like no one but yet everyone is watching! *snaps fingers and strikes a sassy pose* Another reason is because a couple of my friends were part of the dance ensemble and I would have loved to have something other than classes that we can all have fun at. Don’t get me wrong, dance is a lot of hard work and takes a lot of time and effort, but it sounds like a lot of fun too!

Okay, okay if you want to hear about the resume side of things and how it can benefit you, then here it is. When you join the dance ensemble, you are joining a team, you need to learn discipline, time management skills, teamwork, reliability, and confidence. I recently had a practice phone interview with a company that I might be working for after I graduate and she explained to me how I should answer the question, “Why do I want to be a sales person?”

She told me to think about the sports that I was in and talk about those abilities that I possessed and whip them out for the kill! She also told me that bringing up any inspiring stories that you may have from doing some sort of sport or activity. Since I have never had a single dance lesson in my life, I’m sure there are plenty of obstacles I could have brought up during an interview that I could have overcame.

All in all, joining any sort of club or organization on campus can expand you knowledge, network, and skills and abilities that can be helpful for the future. Don’t’ be afraid to try new things or meet new people. Remember, college is one of the biggest opportunities you will ever have to try out hundreds of new and exciting things. Like I said before, I had no idea I would be in the position that I am today, the future is always changing, don’t hold back, take a deep breath, and go for it!

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Friday, November 7, 2014

How to survive your last year of grad school

My graduate school experience has had its share of meals on-the-go, motivational self-talks and 16 hour days. Holding two assistantships and advising multiple undergraduate committees and groups, maintaining a full-time class schedule all while preserving some shred of a personal life can be overwhelming at times.

Don’t get me wrong; I feel extremely thankful for the opportunities given to me and I am more driven by my demanding schedule than I have ever felt before.

However, I am not a complete robot and even I still have those moments when anxiety gets the best of me and my inner child just wants to crawl into a pillow fort, where my responsibilities cease to exist, and color pictures of unicorns for a few hours.

I’m not an expert, but I feel as if giving into these fleeting breakdowns once in a while is not only inevitable, but necessary to retaining our humanity as grad students.

Here is my to-do list if you’re interested in keeping your sanity throughout grad school:
  • Keep your schedule in your phone. If you’re anything like me, your phone is constantly within an arm’s reach. After experimenting with several different planners and scheduling methods, the most practical form has been my iPhone calendar. Add your daily/weekly schedule first (classes, office hours, etc.) then as soon as you find out something is happening, put it in your phone, set an alert, and free up some space in your brain!
  • Stop procrastinating. If you’re someone who is always waiting until the last minute to get things done, now is the time to break that habit. If you don’t already, you’ll soon learn what it’s like for something to come up an hour before a deadline and have to explain why the assignment was late. Your professors and supervisors will accept the “something came up” excuse once or twice, but anyone in Higher Education most likely has a similar schedule and, therefore, squandering sympathy for your lack of ability to plan for unforeseen circumstances.
  • Schedule free time. Self-care is different for everyone, but extremely important. If you’re waiting for free time to magically appear, good luck. Figure out how much time you can reasonably set aside for yourself without falling behind in your other responsibilities. If family, friends or gym time is important to you, schedule it. If it’s already in your calendar, when someone asks when you can add a meeting, you’ll be less likely to take away the only hour you have to yourself.
  • Sleep. Eat. Study. You are a human first and a student second. Everything else will come with time. Adding everything at once will only be detrimental to your health, grades and duties.
  • When things get overwhelming, re-evaluate. Grad school is a perfect time to learn how to balance time and experiment with how much you can take on and still give 100%. When that percentage starts to drop, your balancing act might need reassessment. If you find yourself completely booked with no time to sleep study or eat, it’s time to rework your current plan. Maybe it means taking a few hours away from one position and adding them somewhere else. Maybe a conversation with an advisor or supervisor can add some clarity and take away some pressure. It might also mean dropping one responsibility completely, and that’s ok sometimes. You can always add more responsibilities again after you get a better grip on things.
  • Don’t panic. Grad school is the perfect place to make mistakes. You’re probably surrounded by helping professionals who want nothing more than to see you succeed! If everything hasn’t fallen into place quite yet, don’t worry too much. It will.

— 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.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Why I Love Nicholas Sparks

Finding time to read while I am at college is one of the hardest time management problems to figure out. Between class work, work work, and any other activities, I barely have enough time to sleep, never mind read.

Professors always say reading helps you in the long run… ok then give me less homework so I have time to read.

When I finally find the time to snuggle up into bed and read a good book it’s always a Nicholas Sparks book. For some reason I just gravitate to his readings. All of them are love sappy stories that have a guys and a girl and they fall in love and live happily ever after.

For instance; The Notebook, The Wedding, The Lucky One, Safe Haven, Dear John, The Last Song, and many more. But isn’t that what every girl wants, happily ever after. No girl wants to read a book where everyone dies at the end and then its over.

When I read a book I picture the story in my head. Making every little detail seem as real as it can get, and for that period of time I am reading I am taken into another place, into the place of the story, feeling what the characters feel, seeing what is written on the page, and for a moment you forget about the life you live.

Your boring life has turned into a fantasy where you are now in the 1960’s and you are in love with Noah, and he writes you letters for 365 days and climbs a Ferris wheel to sit ask you on a date. To the point where you are so wrapped up into the story you are rooting for fictional characters to kiss.

Nicholas Sparks is not just an author of many well-written books, but he is a storyteller that makes people believe in fantasies again. Taking people out of their day-to-day life and in a life they always wanted to live.

All books do the same thing. Just find a book you like, pick it up and start reading. It’s as simple as that!

— Samantha Gross, sophomore telecommunications major #HuskyUnleashed

Going over "board" for campus entertainment

Being a part of Program Board has opened so many doors and opportunities for me. I’ve met so many amazing people and have learned so much about our school and the people in it.

Program Board has given me skills and abilities that I will be able to take with me to future jobs and life in the future. Program Board has helped me grow as a person and will be one college experience I will never forget. We recently got to take our programming to the next level. Normally we have to rely on the Internet or word of mouth to find the talent and entertainment that we are looking for, but we recently got to sort through our options from watching live performances.

This weekend we went to the National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) where talent from all over the country gets to show us what they are made of and why we should bring them to our school.

NACA was full of events and activities, there was never a dull moment. The event started on Thursday around 2 p.m., but I didn’t go until Friday due to midterms. When the other half of us came on Friday we went immediately to an education session.

Education sessions are session where students that are on programming committees from different schools create a presentation about anything from general member retention, late night events, and how they keep themselves organized and engaged.

These sessions are great to share ideas and insights with students from all different schools. One session was called, Class, Power, Privilege and How It Affects Your Leadership Role. Here we defined class, power, and privilege and talk about how important it is to know these terms no matter what organization you are a part of.

We also did an exercise where half the room was friendly and engaging and the other half of the room was very closed off and uninviting. This showed us how important it is to be engaging and kind to everyone that you encounter whether it’s with general members or any student on campus. The way you act might determine if they become a general member or even attend the events that we organize.

Another session I went to talked about how they quadrupled their attendance to events when they moved them one hour earlier. They only do events late at night on a Friday and Saturday but they have over 300 people coming to them. We learned their students like events where there isn’t just one thing they can do in a room, they like to be able to move around and participate in different things if they get bored.

We also learned that students love to do things that they will be able to take home with them (free stuff). So you might see some arts and crafts events starting next semester. Time to get my Pinterest on!

After the morning education session on Friday, we had lunch. During lunch we had an inspirational speaker who was 16 years old and had turrets. His story was inspiring and encouraged everyone to never judge someone before you get to know them and to treat people the way you want to be treated. This speech not only helped you on a personal level, but also helped all program boards around the mid-Atlantic with possible general member retention and recruitment.

After lunch we had a mixture of showcases and CAMPs throughout the day and into the late night. A showcase is where about eight performers and one MC performed a fifteen minute snapshot of what they had to offer. The MC would do a short five to ten minute act and then announce who the next performer would be. There were acts from comedians, hypnotists, magicians, musicians, slam poets, acrobatics, step teams, musical comedy, and more.

There was a lot of new talent compared to last year and it looked like we might be booking a few of them to come next semester. One of the MC’s called “Dakaboom” was my favorite and we hope to be bringing them here soon. And here, they do 50 theme songs in under five minutes!

Another one of my favorite acts which we had at our school a few years back was the comedian Eric O’Shae. He’s an older comedian but leaves you with a pain in your side from laughing so hard.

After the showcases we would go to what is called CAMP, which stands for Campus Activities Market Place where performers and agencies set up their booths to talk to students about what they have to offer and do small demonstrations.

 There were booths for showing films to students, inflatables, massage chairs (one of my favorites), stuff your own animal, spray paint, make your own goo, and pretty much anything you can think of that would be a cool activity to do.

My absolute favorite section of CAMP was where three main booths were set up next to each other and included Eric Mina (a hypnotist we brought last semester), Spidey (who did a mental show during orientation this semester), and a new magician that we are bringing next semester named Joel Meyers.

As I talked to them for a few hours, they showed me a bunch of magic tricks and a little bit of mentalism. This was a huge opportunity for me to network and broaden my horizons and open possible job opportunities. Since I made friends with these people that I keep in touch with on a personal level I have an open door to possibly help some performers on the marketing and advertising side of things.

All in all, this entire weekend was an amazing experience and it never would have happened if I didn’t go to a Program Board general meeting my sophomore year. If Program Board wasn’t part of my college experience, I have no idea where I would be today. I don’t think I would have had the confidence that I have today to accomplish the things that I have and continue to accomplish.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Welcome to the Smith Olympics

It may have just been another beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon to everyone else but to me and my staff it was a big day!

We planned for this day for weeks and finally our first big program was about to happen, the “Smith Olympics.” The residence hall I oversee — of over 250 first year students — is called Smith hall which is located right next to a nice big grassy lawn.

My staff and I came up with having a day, just like the Olympics, of games for the residents and a prize at the end for the wining team! The games that we led included:
  • volleyball
  • tug of war
  • Frisbee
  • and a relay race
My RAs prepared wonderfully and also had music speakers set up so everyone was able to listen to music throughout the day.

The residents along with my staff were able to bond and get to know one another while having fun and jamming out to music. I was very proud to have such a successful event take place all because my RAs made it happen. To see the students smiling and getting along was great.

We hope that the “Smith Olympics,” can become a tradition at Susquehanna University and continue on for the years to come. I am just thankful that I was able to be a part of it and make a positive impact on this campus.

— Kami Skoloda, a Lancaster native, is a second year student in the Counseling and College Student Affairs (CSA) program. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communications from Bloomsburg University (BU) in 2013. Her senior year she interned in the ACT 101 office at working with academic probation students. As an intern, Kami worked alongside several CSA graduate students suggested she consider a career in college student affairs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My life in a nutshell: Hard at Play

I am currently a full time graduate student in the Student Affairs program at Bloomsburg University, a half-time (20 hours per week) graduate assistant in Bloomsburg’s Student Activities office and a part-time staff member (20 hours per week + overnight/weekend “duty”) at Penn State Hazelton’s Office of Residence Life.

A typical day begins around 8 a.m. and ends when I return home between 10 and 11 p.m. My weekends often consist of late-night student activities and weekend day trips and/or weekend duty responsibilities. Just so you have the whole picture, I also commute to and from Hazleton, about 30 minutes each way, usually 5-6 days per week to accommodate my various commitments.

When I explain my life and schedule, the response I usually receive is “When do you sleep?!” The way I choose to see it, I have been blessed with a very high energy level and a love of my work, so I don’t mind my 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. days, I actually thrive on them.

This thriving is the point of my post. When people respond to my schedule negatively, I always come back with a smile. Each time I explain my schedule to others, I use it as an opportunity to remind myself how very blessed I am to be in these positions! One of my learning points is that I have a difficult time staying on-task if my schedule is not laid out and stacked.

Instead of letting myself waste “down” time, I am making the conscious decision to take full advantage of my high energy level, my freedom as a single young professional and the unique opportunities provided to me through the College Student Affairs program and career path. I am choosing to stack my days (and my resume!) with awesome experiences.

Each day, I grow more thankful for the knowledge I am gaining, not only in College Student Affairs, but in schedule management, relationship building, leadership (on several levels), prioritizing and much more.

For the record, I DO sleep; 8 hours, every night (unless I get distracted by Pinterest, of course). As a footnote to my life-in-a-nutshell, I’d like to say that self-care is EXTREMELY important and a schedule like mine is definitely not for everyone! I take advantage of the few hours per week that I have to do things for myself (visit with family and friends, hike, run, travel, etc.).

I am a firm believer in the idea that, when someone is truly passionate about what they do, they never work a day in their life. This is why, when people question my decision to take on so many responsibilities at once, I am able to respond by saying I’m not overworked, I’m simply Hard at Play.

— 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.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Where am I living next year?

It’s time to start considering your living arrangements for next year. I know it seems like you just got here, how are you possibly expected to choose a place to live in this new town you’re just getting used to? I have a few pointers to hopefully help make this decision a little easier.

First, it’s important to explore all your options here in Bloomsburg. Nothing is worse than rushing into something and later regretting the location you have already signed for. I am assuming most of you have never signed a lease before and it can be scary, but I promise it feels a lot better to sign when you’re 100 percent happy with your new space. The first decision you have to make is deciding whether you want to live on or off campus.

Living On Campus

On-campus living can be broken down into two areas: the dorms and on- campus apartments. Most of you are already living in the dorms and have a grasp for what dorm-living is all about.

In most cases you are able to select your dorm and can choose your roommate(s). This option remains a possibility for every year up until graduation as long as you remain on campus. Keep in mind that once you move off campus, you cannot move back. This also holds true for upper campus apartments.

On upper campus there are three apartment buildings you can sign up for to live in, which are first come, first serve.
  • Montgomery Place Apartments (MPA) are the closest to campus and have 2 bedrooms per apartment, hold 4 students and have 1 bathroom to share. 
  • Mount Olympus Apartments (MOA) are further up the hill and are townhouse styled apartments. They hold 6 students, with each student having their own bedroom and 2 bathrooms to share. 
  • Jessica Kozloff Apartments (JKA) are the furthest uphill, right near the Blue Lot. This apartment complex holds 4 students, with each student having their own bedroom and they also have 2 bathrooms to share. 
Keep in mind that these apartments all have a shuttle that runs regularly between lower and upper campus. Because these apartments are on-campus, there are CA’s and it is still considered ‘dry’, meaning no alcohol is allowed no matter your age. I think these apartments are especially great for those who may be nervous to make the transition from the dorms to downtown right away. Of course they are also great for those who want to experience a different kind of on-campus living!
  • Kile Apartments, located right behind Schuykill dorm on Penn Street are also considered on-campus, but they are slightly different. 
These apartments have 2 CA’s as well as a landlord. It is a little more expensive than upper campus apartments however they are significantly closer to town. These apartments range from 2-6 students, with the larger apartments having two bathrooms and the smaller ones having one bathroom. In this complex everyone gets their own room. You can always contact Res-Life for more information as well as pricing on any of these locations.

Living Off Campus

When I was a sophomore I chose a different route and moved off campus. Off-campus living offers a variety of options as far as where you live, how many roommates you can have and what is all included. These options are generally always more expensive than on-campus living and requires a little more responsibility since your living is no longer affiliated with BU.

I moved into an apartment my sophomore year, which was slightly more expensive than the average off-campus apartment, however it came completely furnished and all utilities were included except electric. You can also elect to sign for an apartment that is cheaper however you may pay that money you save in rent by renting furniture or paying all of your utilities.

My junior year I signed for a furnished house where my utilities were not included and it was definitely a shock compared to barely paying any my sophomore year and no utilities in the dorms as a freshman.

With that in mind it is very important to shop around and stay informed of your decisions. There are a wide variety of landlords who rent to BU students so check them all out, as they all offer different benefits.

Consider your budget and talk with your families and future roommates about what is best for you.

Deciding on a place to live for next year can be seem overwhelming and sudden but it is important to start thinking about this sooner than later. I can’t tell you exactly when certain places with fill up, but I do know the best places obviously go first. I have always signed my leases by the end of October to make sure I could secure the apartment I wanted, but if you need more time to figure things out you can always contact Res-Life or desired landlords to see what their availability looks like.

Good luck on your housing hunt and enjoy the rest of your semester!

— Sierra Kern, Class of 2015 #HuskyLife

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Welcome to grad school ... a new life, a very exciting life

I took the summer after my college graduation off — no classes! — and started my master’s degree in August 2013. My first semester, I had a graduate assistantship position through the academic achievement office.

A graduate assistantship (GA) means you work on campus and get remunerated with a stipend and part of your tuition is paid for. In my role, I helped start a brand new program called the Sophomore Success Program at BU. This is a mentoring program designed to help undeclared sophomore status students raise their GPAs and declare a major.

I have been the GA for this program ever since and really enjoy working with this population of students. Through my experience as a GA for this program, I have strengthened many skills, such as:

  • counseling techniques
  • providing resources
  • mentoring
  • tutoring
  • leadership
  • building relationships
  • assessment

This semester I also am also serving as the Graduate Resident Director at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove. For this position I oversee a first year residence hall with around 250 students. I work closely with another head resident and eight resident assistants.

Working in residence life is new to me, but I find it to be very exciting.

As for my life outside of academics, I enjoy working out and playing basketball, volleyball, and ping pong. I was an intramural volleyball referee for around six semesters at BU throughout my schooling and also played for fun.

— Kami Skoloda, a Lancaster native, is a second year student in the Counseling and College Student Affairs (CSA) program. She received her bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal Communications from Bloomsburg University (BU) in 2013. Her senior year she interned in the ACT 101 office at working with academic probation students. As an intern, Kami worked alongside several CSA graduate students suggested she consider a career in college student affairs.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

3 ways student life helps you survive the semester

It’s week four moving into week five of classes, I don’t know about you, but I’m starting to feel the pressure. Classes are starting to move out of the review stage and into the new material stage, I started slacking on reading the chapter before every class, and started pushing off some homework for tomorrow…well, maybe I’ll do it Thursday.

In the beginning of the semester I would read ahead and maybe even get some assignments done early but not anymore. Every semester, I tell myself that I am going to read the chapter before every class and review my notes right after class…that lasted about two weeks. Now you are starting to realize that you have a test in three different classes which is coming up in a few days! You might have, like me, already had a test. How did the time go by so fast? This is starting to get stressful.

Now that you are shifting your focus on new or harder material in class, you are getting nervous about passing the first test, or even the course because your class has only two tests the entire semester. What are we going to do?! When I first walked into my Intro to Corporate Finance class, I thought I would have a leg up in this class since I took Personal Finance two semesters ago, I was wrong.

In this class I have to read the chapter before class in order to have a shot in answering bonus questions on it in the beginning of every class. So I opened the book with highlighter in hand and an open mind. As soon as I read the first paragraph, I dropped my highlighter and closed my eyes and took a deep breath. This was the most information packed, boring as can be, monotone writing style I have seen in a long time. I knew I was in for a challenge but I am determined. The first test was during the third week of classes and we have five tests during the semester. I wasn’t worried about having to drop the class because we have a free tutoring program on campus.

Network through tutoring

Tutors can be very helpful whether you are just trying to pass the class or you just want a little extra help to go from a B to an A. Tutors are students just like you but truly love and understand what they are going to be helping you with. Being a tutor is completely voluntary, no one is forcing them to help other students, so you can be sure that they will help you to the best of their abilities. If you don’t want to work one on one with someone, you can always get together with people that are in your class and make a study group.

You should always get to know people in your classes, you never know when you will see them again in another class. Working with other people in class is a mini preparation for the real world. You are always going to have to work with people, around people, or surrounded by people so you might as well get used to it now. You aren’t going to be comfortable with the material in every class that you take, so be prepared to seek extra help.

Utilizing the Writing Center

So maybe your math class doesn’t stress you out and your music class, well, you could pass that course with your eyes closed but your writing class is what’s really stressing you out. Well, you’re in luck, on campus we have what’s called the Writing Center. The coolest part of the Writing Center in my opinion, is that, it doesn’t matter what your major is or what you are writing about. If you have to type something up and hand it in class as a graded assignment, they can help you with it. Another cool thing, is that students just like you are the ones that work there, they completely understand what you are going through and are there to help with the process.

Now, they won’t write your paper for you so go in asking specific questions and bring all of the material you need to write the paper, so they can give you as much advise as possible. You’re probably wondering, “What is this going to cost me?” it’s free! Well, you already pay for it in your tuition, so why not utilize it as much as possible?

Most of my friends aren’t nearly as bombarded with work as much as I am, so they had a lot of free time. My roommate decided to join the Society of Human Resource Management which pertains to her major.

This will also boost her resume and increase her knowledge about her field of study. She looks forward to every meeting because she meets new people that can give her some insight or see different paths that she can take with her major that she never knew about.

Joining student organizations

If you know what direction you want to go into in life, I highly suggest that you join a club or organization that pertains to that. Other people in that club or organization are probably going to be in some or most of your classes, so therefore you have some people to sit with during that awkward first week of classes or people to form a group with for a group project. If you aren’t sure of a path to take, get to know students and your professors in your general education courses, go to as many general meetings for clubs as possible, and keep an open mind.

No matter how stressed out you are, there are people going through exactly what you are going through. In the beginning of this blog, I’m sure I had a few people or even you nodding their heads in agreement because they completely understood what I was going though. If you weren’t one of those people, you may go through this at some point in the future. If and/or when it does happen, take a deep breath and remember that you have people on this campus that are supporting you and want you to succeed, even if you don’t know who they are yet.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A month into college, how are those sea legs?

Going from high school to college is one of the biggest life changes I have encountered. You go from having almost eight hours straight of classes Monday through Friday, from early in the morning until about 3 p.m., to classes scattered throughout the day with plenty of free time in between.

After four years, you have finally mastered the routine of going to bed at just the right time where you won’t be too miserable in the morning and getting up when you have just the right amount of time to eat, get dressed and do some last minute homework you’ve been putting off for the past week.
College throws you for a loop the first day of class and the semester following.

Like I said before, in high school you had a constant routine but in college, well, that’s a whole different story. My freshmen courses were from anywhere between an 8 a.m. class on Monday, a 1 p.m. class on Tuesday and a 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. class on Thursday, where does a routine come in?

You will also find that you have so much spare time on your hands! In high school, you were in class for eight hours straight, what do you do with yourself? This is where you start to make some friends and get to know your roommate. A few weeks before I left for college, I got into contact with my future roommate who I have never met before.

We discussed who was bringing what, what were her likes and dislikes, and how we would decorate our room. It seemed like everything was going to work out and we were going to be great friends! The day we moved in, we hugged and laughed like we have been friends for years.

After we got our room decorated the way we both liked, we started to compare schedules, they were the same except for one class! In my head, this was the ideal situation, I had someone to get lost walking to classes with and a convenient and fun study partner.

During the first couple of days before classes start is where you really start to get to know the people in your hallway. People will pile into rooms or gather on the floor of the hallways and talk until about 3 a.m. Who wants to get sleep when you have so many new faces to talk to and no parents to tell you it’s time to go to bed?

This is where you learn about other peoples’ life styles, where they come from and if you might become friends with this person. Early on I found out that becoming friends with your CA or older students in your hall is very important.

Every CA has to create a “program” for the students on campus to help people get to know each other or to inform students of what else you can do on campus. My CA had a program where we all had to go see a magician in the Kehr Union Ballroom, and it was the coolest thing I have ever seen. Before attending that program, I had no idea what was in the Kehr Union and that events like that even happened at Bloomsburg.

The person that was running the event lived in our hallway and made sure that we had front row seats! That was the beginning of my involvement in Program Board. It was a great start of college before classes and homework and it relieved some stress of not living at home.

I don’t know about you but for me, high school made me terrified for college courses. They would tell me that the books were extremely heavy, the professors didn’t care if you passed or failed their classes, and that you would have piles of homework and 20 page papers to do every week. I found this to be mostly a myth.

Yes, sometimes the books that you have to buy can get rather large but most of the time, the professor doesn’t care if you bring the book or not, sometimes, you never even use the book. Most likely, the classes that you were placed in are general education classes and if you already know what you want to major in, this can be super frustrating. Even if you haven’t declared a major, you don’t have a choice in the classes you want to take for your first semester and maybe chemistry, for example, isn’t your strong suit. I was put into a Chemistry 101 class my first semester and did horribly.

Don’t get me wrong! I did great in chemistry when I was in high school but of course we had to sew together little moles to look like the element we chose from the periodic table and do a report on it…big difference. In Chem 101 we had to balance equations and study all of the elements on the periodic table. That class was a struggle for me.

On the other hand, I had a Principles of Cultural Anthropology class that was amazing! The course content was very interesting but what really got me, was the anthropology professor. He had traveled all over the world visiting different cultures and studying them. He treated us as equals and obviously loved his job. Even though you were in a classroom of about 200 students, he made you feel like you were the only one in the room that he was telling his adventures to.

Now don’t panic! The school didn’t lie to you when they said they have a small ratio of faculty to students, because they do. Your general education courses will be much larger because the demand for the class is very large.

For example, almost every single major on campus needs to take a psychology class and therefore more people need to take that class which will equal a larger classroom size. Once you get into the classes that a geared toward your major, the class size will dwindle. I am currently taking a class that has eight people in it.

Even if you have a very large class, make it a habit to visit your professors during their office hours even if you don’t have any questions. Professors do care that you do well in their class and they truly want you to succeed during your years at Bloomsburg and beyond. You never know when you may need a reference letter or 0.10 of a point to make it to Dean’s list. If they see that you are trying your best and are putting your time and effort in, they are more than likely to help you either study for the final, or give you an extra credit assignment.

All in all, freshmen year will be terrifying for some and a breeze for others. Just know that you have people around you going through the same experience or have already been through it. Take the time to make friends and get to know your campus and professors.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions, even if you might think it’s stupid, chances are, there are many other people with the exact same question but are too afraid to ask. Enjoy the time that you have here and make the most of it because it will go by faster than you can imagine.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Friday, August 29, 2014

Getting on board

Before I came to Bloomsburg University, I mentally prepared myself for being constantly busy with studying and reading the thickest books I have ever seen in my life. High school made me honestly a little scared of all the work that would have to be put into college.

On top of being bombarded with school work, I was very shy and lacked a lot of self-confidence. Moving to somewhere new and bring surrounded by brand new people made me extremely nervous.

After my first couple of weeks of meeting everyone who lived on my floor and adjusting into the college life, I became much more relaxed and confident. I met an upperclassmen named Rob who happened to be a chair member of Program Board. He was the Special Events chair, which meant that he brought all of the mentalists, hypnotists, comedians, and magicians.

After days of Rob bugging me to go to one of their general meetings, I finally went. The students were very welcoming and seemed to really know their stuff. Now, I was still in the mindset of college being super busy and not having any free time, so I waited an entire semester before I actually started going to Program Board events.

The first event that I attended was "Midnight Came Early." When I first walked onto the quad I was handed a t-shirt and greeted with a warm smile and "Welcome! Thank you for coming to help us out today!" The night started out with four different inflatables from an obstacle course to a laser tag maze!

The entire quad was filled with students from the moment the event started until the event was over. Once it started to get dark, we had about 20 tables on the front half of the quad with candles and bingo chips on each table. Students could buy up to six bingo cards for 25 cents a card and win up to $350 in cash!

After Bingo was over, hundreds of students were lined up to get free pizza! I found out later that Program Board buys more than 100 pizzas from four different local pizza places downtown Bloomsburg once a month and every student with a BU student ID gets as much free pizza as they want.

The next day I talked to Rob and asked him why we do these sort of events for students. He responded with, "We do these events so students can have an alternative to underage drinking, and so students can feel welcome here at Bloomsburg University." The very next meeting, I signed up for every committee within Program Board and have been in love with it ever since.

As a marketing major, getting to know different people and networking is a huge part of being successful for the future. You never know who you are going to meet, that person might end up helping you gain a future job. Program Board has opened so many doors and created an infinite amount of opportunities for me.

For example, I met a student who encouraged me to come to a conference where people from different businesses come and talk about what they have to offer and about their company. After the conference I left with a part-time job offer as a sales trainee at Fastenal where I worked over the summer.

I have also made a lot of connections with people that are involved in marketing at conference where we go to watch entertainers try to convince us to bring them to our college. Those entertainers work with people that market them to students all over, and to experience something like that opened a new path of marketing for me.

Program Board is a very diverse organization, which in turn attracts a variety of students. We offer a little bit of something for everyone. You get to work with a lot of people who love their jobs and love working with other people. Program Board helps you learn how to work in a team in a relaxed and fun environment. Program Board plans and coordinates a lot of programs for students that require leadership and prioritization skills which you can learn and apply to school or to a future or current job.

At the end of each year, Program Board puts together a banquet to recognize the general members for their hard work. Many students have come forward during the banquets to talk about how Program Board really helped them come out of their shell. I remember one year, someone came up to me and said, "Before Program Board, I would sit in my room over the weekend while my roommates went out to party. Now, all of my weekends are full of fun and exciting events! My roommates are jealous of all of the fun I am having and want to start coming to the events with me."

Program Board has eight different committees: films, dance, travel, bingo and games, special events, hospitality, public relations, and sound stage. If you are interested in all things music, you can join the sound stage committee. If you organized every single dance in high school and that is your passion, dance committee is for you. If you are interested in marketing and love to travel places, you can join travel and public relations committee. If you just want to make friends and have a lot of free time on your hands, you can always sign-up for every single committee that we have.

— Chelsea Underhill, senior marketing major #HuskyLife

Friday, August 15, 2014

Best approach to buying textbooks?

Can you believe you’re a mere week away from classes starting? I’m sure it feels like you were making your college decision just yesterday. By the way, congrats on picking the best school!

You have gone through a stressful, yet exciting past couple of months. You’ve made decisions such as choosing your college, finding a roommate and attending summer orientation. You’re now a week away from college and besides moving in (that’s the fun stuff) you have one final stress: textbooks.

Welcome to a new world of buying your own textbooks!

... but don’t worry, they’re much nicer than those flimsy, torn up books in high school that date back to the early 90’s. As you anticipated, your textbooks come at an inevitable cost, sometimes higher than expected. You’re not alone. It seems like we all spend a little too much than we would like on books each semester but I promise it hurts your wallet a little less when they’re well worth it.

If you’re unsure of how you want to go about book buying for the semester, you can always attend the first week of classes to get a feel for which books you will definitely need. Professors are very honest and open about whether the book is an absolute necessity or not. My best advice would be to take it from there and decide based on your study habits.

You won’t be forced to have your book in hand on the first day or even in the first week, during which time students are still dropping and picking up classes. You will usually break them out by the second, sometimes third week of class. I personally bought every book the first semester in fear of what was to come and there were some I never opened, and I did just fine!

Most professors put a considerable amount of their exam material on their PowerPoint slides so make sure to attend all your classes, but that’s another story. If you would like to purchase all your books regardless, go for it, do whatever works best for you. You will all have a good grip on this after the first semester, guaranteed.

So after you decide what books you need, where do you get them?

I have bought my books from a variety of sources whether it was Amazon, Chegg or the University Store. Each has their ups and downs. Amazon and Chegg are great ways to get your textbooks and you can buy or rent from both. They are convenient and can be rush ordered, however you cannot forget to return rentals at the end of the semester. Chegg is even nice enough to call and leave an automated reminder on your cell phone. Depending on the book, you may have a little more difficulty finding it on this site as they are not related to Bloomsburg University, however I have gotten lucky so far!

The University Store is guaranteed to have all your textbook needs!

However, depending on how many books they have in stock and the number of students purchasing them, you can find yourself on a waiting list if you wait too long to purchase the book. I have been put on various waiting lists, and they are very efficient and the bookstore will email you as soon as your book is ready. In the meantime, meet a new classmate and ask to borrow theirs — making new friends is always great!

Also keep in mind that depending on your major and classes, some books will only be available to you at the University Store, such as a lab manual written by your professor. Like I said, don’t fear, you’ll get the hang of this pretty quickly.

The final aspect of buying textbooks — do you buy new, used or just rent it? 

This fully depends on what you’re trying to spend and what’s available. Buying new is almost always an option, but I promise those used books with a scratch or two have the same content inside. You can save up to half of the price by buying used and you can still sell it back at the end of the semester.

Rentals are a different story. These are even cheaper, however they must be returned at the end of the semester. I rent books if I’m running short on money at the textbook buying time, and it’s extremely helpful.

But how does returning those new and used books you bought work? 

When you buy a book from the University Store, you have the option of selling them to the bookstore or you can sell to a kiosk in town, such as Belltower. They are set up in various places that buy books back at competitive costs. It’s hard to say which is more profitable (for you) in the end, because it varies between books.

Unfortunately, sometimes a newer edition of your textbook comes out leaving yours worthless to these buyers. Always try multiple places to make sure you’re getting the best price possible. If you find you can’t get money at either store, you can always go on the Bloomsburg Class of 2018 Facebook page and see if any of your classmates need it. New editions usually don’t vary that much from the one before, and most professors won’t mind if you use it. I have also done this before, and it helps both you and your classmates out immensely.

Can you believe all these difficult decisions are almost over and you are soon finally going to be a college student? Enjoy this time in your life it goes too fast. I am embarking on my senior year and remember being in all of your shoes. Make smart decisions while you’re here, have fun and make the best of this life changing experience.

— Sierra Kern, Class of 2015 #HuskyLife

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Chemistry comes into focus as CO2 research draws to a close

Carbon dioxide is often considered a by-product of fossil fuel consumption — and not a useful one, either. But what if carbon dioxide could be turned into something useful or even an energy source? Jocelyn Legere, a Bloomsburg University student, is working on a project at Yale University this summer to do just that.

June 30 to July 4 —   More work in the Lab. I am getting a lot of results; but it’s getting close to the end of the program, so I’m trying to get as much data as possible to present  at the Leadership Alliance Symposium at the end of my time at Yale.

July 7 to July 11 —   This is my second to last week in the lab, so it’s crunch time! Still getting a lot of results and troubling shooting to make the set-up the best it can be. Starting looking more closely at the chemistry this week, which was really cool! So sad that it is almost over but most of my 20-page paper is written!

I have learned so much from this program. I have expanded my knowledge in inorganic catalysis and got a “taste” of what graduate school will be like. I have also learned a lot about Yale University and the opportunities they are able to give their students.

The chemistry program at Bloomsburg University has really prepared me for the research I conducted at Yale this past summer, as well as the research I did with Dr. Eric Hawrelak last summer. It gave me the ability to jump the learning curve and get started on the research right away having learned all the techniques, procedure, and safety at Bloomsburg.

This summer really showed me that I have the ability and know-how to conduct research and contribute to a project. It’s been a very busy but exciting summer. Thank you everyone for tuning in and following me through this summer.

I really appreciate your support. Happy Summer!
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskyUnleashed

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Guess this is what graduate school will be like

Carbon dioxide is often considered a by-product of fossil fuel consumption — and not a useful one, either. But what if carbon dioxide could be turned into something useful or even an energy source? Jocelyn Legere, a Bloomsburg University student, is working on a project at Yale University this summer to do just that.

June 18 to June 20 —  This week I made my catalyst from scratch for the first time. It was very intense and technical, but I managed to make the correct catalyst! It was a long and work-filled week but satisfying that I correctly made it.

Otherwise, it was a fairly uneventful week other than being in the lab for long hours of the day. I guess this is what grad school will be like, bring it on!

June 23 to June 27 —  Abstracts, presentations, progress reports are all due soon, so I am trying to get as much as possible done as early as possible. It is supposed to be beautiful outside this weekend and would like to have nothing to do but sit in the sun and read!

I am almost done with most of the assignments that are due in the weeks to come, but a daunting 20-page research paper still lingers over my head … I am officially half way done with the program and luckily my research is working out well and I am able to get results. The time has really been flying.
#CollaborativeLearning #HuskyUnleashed