Tuesday, December 20, 2016

It's winter break, but now what?

When winter break comes around, it’s something we all look forward to no matter what year you are in. Winter break means finals are over, the semester is over, and we have a month to relax and get ready for what the spring brings.

But as a senior, this is our last winter break. Next year at this time, we will all hopefully have a job, but we won’t have that nice month to rest. As a freshman, this is your first of many breaks. Congratulations you made it through your first semester. But what to do during break?

So… as a senior this is the time to start the job hunt

Build a resume, maybe even a website, start looking at companies that you are interested in working for, if there are openings maybe even send out an application. It is never too early to start the search, so use this time to get all your ducks in a row so when spring semester comes you are ready to take on the job hunt.

But don’t forget this is your last winter break! Make the most of it! Hang out with friends and family, go on adventures, and do things you have always wanted to do but, never got around to it. The real world is creeping closer, go out with a bang before hitting that next stop.

So… as a freshman you have realized your broke

School is expensive so is extra-curricular activities. I suggest trying to get a job. During the winter season the demand for jobs are very high. Finding a job at your local mall or stores will keep you busy and also give you some extra cash before heading back for the spring semester. Also, remember you are back with all your friends from high school.

I’m sure this is the longest time you have been apart, so you are going to want to be with them almost every day. Make the most of it! You all have made new friends but, being with your friends from home, it’s like you have never been a part.

Winter break is a whirlwind

It’s the most exciting thing to look forward to at the end of the semester. Just remember no matter what year you are in or how old you are, winter break is a time to connect with friends and family. So go to the closest city to you, go skiing or snowboarding, go out of the country, or stay in and binge watch a Netflix series with your best friends.

Make the most of it! Even though this may be your first or last winter break we all agree on one thing … Happy Finals Are Over!

— Samantha Gross, mass communications major #HuskyLife

Intramurals ... more than just a game

Growing up I always loved playing and watching basketball. In middle school, I played point guard for my school basketball team and was actually good. Instead of continuing my love for basketball in high school, I decided to get a job and play basketball in my spare time.

My freshman year of college I went to the Student Recreation Center a lot to play basketball, and I would hear a lot of upperclassmen talk about intramurals. After hearing what intramurals was about me and group of my friends decided to make a team and join the competitive league.

Playing intramurals basketball provided a different experience from just playing in the rec, because the games are recorded and put on YouTube, teams can buy jerseys, and they hire referees and train them. What surprised me the most was that anyone could play, usually in basketball leagues people would have to make the team or tryout to prove their skill level before they can play.

Over time intramurals turned into more than a basketball game for me.

Intramurals became something fun to do with friends. Instead of just hanging out with my friend’s intramurals allowed us to build a stronger bond by working together to win. What makes intramurals so fun is the competitiveness everyone wants to win every game and make it the championship.

Every game a lot of students come out, which makes people play harder and want to put on a show for the crowd. Also if you win the championship you get a t-shirt but in the gym the t-shirt actually has meaning and shows everyone that you earned the t-shirt by winning the championship.

Intramurals also relaxes me and gives me time in my schedule for something I like to do. Most of the time I am busy with schoolwork and working part-time that I don’t make time in my schedule for what want to do. Playing intramurals allow me to have that space in my schedule secured for something I want to do. This also help me relieve stress because it gives me a chance to step away from everything that is may be on my mind at the time such as, test, homework, studying, and personal problems.

I am happy that over the course of my last past three years at Bloomsburg I had the chance to participate in intramural sports and will continuing playing my last two semesters.

— Khalil Daniel, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Time to graduate, am I ready?

A few years ago, I was a freshman and now I am a senior. Time feels like it blew by so fast …

I literally cannot believe this is my last year of college and will be graduating next semester.

Before I know it I will be ready to enter the workforce or graduate school. Some of my friends that graduate in the spring have already started looking for jobs and had interviews. I haven’t started looking for jobs yet, but I have been building my resume, cover letter and LinkedIn account.

By senior year it is important to have these things done so you can start your job search right away.
My freshman and sophomore year, I was not worried about resume building, cover letters or personal portfolios. I thought college was all about having fun and partying, but as I got older I learned how important it is to use the resources that Bloomsburg University offer to the students.

The Center for Professional Development and Career Experience can help with cover letters, resumes, professional attire for events, and LinkedIn. They also hold several workshops for these topics. I recently attended a workshop at the Center for Professional Development in the Student Service Center where they looked over my resume and gave me pointers. I also talked with them briefly about graduate school and their thoughts of the MBA program at Bloom.

The Center for Professional Development and Career Experience also does mock interviews. I didn’t get a chance to do a mock interview, but I know it will be very helpful and can help build my interview skills and become more familiar with the type of questions they HR mangers ask.

As an upperclassman speaking, I wish I would have taken advantage of these opportunities when I was a freshman.

— Khalil Daniel, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A sign of good things to come

I knew it was going to be challenging, but I did it anyway. I had confidence in myself … and in the academic support available to me here at Bloomsburg University.

The second semester of my junior year, I took American Sign Language to fulfill one of my general education requirements. I knew ASL would be an intense course, because one of my roommates took it the semester before and failed. However, it was interesting to me to learn how people used nonverbal methods to communicate.

The first day of class the professor advised everyone to get a tutor, admitting this was not going to be an easy course. She said students who normally use tutorial services on campus earn a higher grade than those who don’t.

I wanted to get my feet wet in the course before I went in and got a tutor, in case I didn’t need one. I did poor on the first test and was falling behind on the course schedule, which made me realize I needed help.

After speaking with my professor, she gave me a list of names of people who were tutors and ASL majors. When I went to the tutorial services office to fill out the form everyone was welcoming and helpful, which made me feel good about coming there for help.

Within a week I received an email with my tutor name and contact information. The tutor was an ASL major and a junior just like me. She worked around my class and work schedule. I was able to practice my presentations with her and vocab for exams! She was also able to give me pointers and advice that made ASL easier to remember, which was a big help. She was also patient and a good listener. My final grade was an A-, and I never would have gotten that without my tutor.

Tutors work around your schedule and are only here to help students succeed. It is important to remember tutors are students too, and that you should come prepared to the meetings ready to learn.
Utilizing the tutorial services can be good for students even if you are doing exceptional in all of your classes. You may think you do not need help, but a tutor can push you to the next level and give insight on better ways to improve study habits.

— Khalil Daniel, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Taking control before it's out of control

As I began my senior year, stress is at an all time high. I know a lot of you are wondering why because it’s only been one month.

Well, I am going to allow you to take a step into my life. I am currently enrolled as a full-time student, working two jobs, a board governor scholar, and I have one internship. I know, I know, it sounds very exhausting … This is an example of why it is important to have mental strength and to be in control while in college.

What is being in control? Being in control is having a routine that you desire and making time for things that make you happy daily. Of course homework and studying comes first but it is important that we make time for our self and what makes us happy at Bloomsburg University.

This could be going to the gym, going for a jog, going out with friends, playing Frisbee on the quad, or going to events at the Kehr Union. I have been working at the Kehr Union for the last past two years, and there's plenty of events that go on every day that students do not know about. Such as, movie night, poetry slams, trivia, and etc. You can find these events on posters inside the Kehr Union.

Being in control of your fun time is important but being in control of your school work is much more important. At the start of a new semester make a good impression on your professor and have a good start to the semester by completing all of your assignments and doing extra credit, because it can determine the way the rest of your semester may turn out.

Nobody wants to play catch up. Being in control of your schoolwork is being organized! Make a planner, know your deadlines, and when assignment have to be done. Also, a strategy I have been using since a freshman is studying before class. That 15 minutes before class can be valuable and can help you retain information.

Tutorial services and the writing center can also be a good tools to use on campus. When I first came to Bloomsburg University I was placed in Writing 2, which is one level behind the college level. So my freshman year I spent a lot of time at The Writing Center for papers. Now, I am completing my third internship and am a communication major, which means I write papers all the time.

So don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Last but not least mental strength... Mental strength can come from a variety of different places. I tend to talk to family and friends when I am feeling uneasy about something. Sometimes we might need to talk to someone other than family and friends. On campus has several different resources such as, assistant dean of students, mentors, and counseling that you can talk to and keep information confidential. They can also help with your mental strength and give you that boost of confidence you may need.

— Khalil Daniel, senior communication studies major #HuskyLife

Monday, August 1, 2016

Prepping for a Career in College Student Affairs

Hello everyone! In this blog, I’ll update you on where I am now… busy. Ha! But first, a quick overview of Lycoming College Prep, or LycoPrep.

LycomingPrep is a two-week learning opportunity for low-income, first-generation rising high school senior students. They attend Lycoming College to learn what a liberal arts college is like. During these two weeks, they live on campus with roommates, attend two non-credit courses Monday through Friday (Chemistry and Political Science), attend workshops led by faculty and staff, and participate in fun field trips to local hot spots. My role is to serve as a residential supervisor. I lead the three student leaders, Lycoming College Peer Facilitators (LCPF)who serve as mentors to the 20 LycoPrep students. I also drive the vans between campus and our field trip locations.

Last Wednesday, I moved onto the Lycoming College campus. I have not lived on a college campus in four years so I was nervous to live with students full-time. For the first three days, I participated in training along with my three LCPFs. Together, we focused on teamwork, personality traits, first-aid training, expectations, while we prepared door decorations (to welcome the students), bulletin boards, snacks, and games for the students to enjoy. The College Student Affairs graduate program at Bloomsburg has aided me with detailed leadership courses that provided me with a clear idea of how I can most effectively lead my team. Last semester, I completed “Introduction of Educational Leadership” which focused a lot on how to manage teams. This semester, I am enrolled in “Organizational Behavior” and spending a lot of time assessing my leadership qualities and weaknesses. BU has given a strong foundation to grow; every day I am practicing my leadership knowledge and skills.

Last Saturday, 20 first-generation high school rising seniors arrived on campus. These 20 students come from seven different states including California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia. This is a very diverse group where they can discuss and learn from each other the different cultures and values each of us have.

 So far, our field trips have consisted of a trip on the Hiawatha Paddleboat along the Susquehanna River, the Little League Museum, the Lycoming County Prison, Williamsport City Hall, Williamsport downtown art galleries, local dining, Rite-Aid shopping trips, and a Walmart shopping trip. Today, we are scheduled to go kayaking! Over the next week we are schedule for a trip to Knoebel’s Amusement Park, digging at Canfield Island, hiking at Rider Park, watching a movie at the nearby drive-in theatre, a Crosscutters AAA baseball game, pool party at the home of the Vice President for Student Affairs, and T & D Cats of the World animal refuge!

This is an intensive experience for the high school students . . . and also for me. I attend all meals with the students, all field trips, participate in late night activities such as watching movies, playing board games, playing cards, etc. and I even attend some of their workshop sessions. I have formed great connections with these 20 students. They are a very curious group! They ask a lot of thoughtful questions at tour sites, workshops sessions, and during class. They focus on their homework and enjoy learning from each other—I am so excited to see how much they are learning about attending college. This two-week experience is a life-changing opportunity.

The College Student Affairs program has also provided me with a solid understanding of how to address change, which has been very beneficial to me this summer because this program has evolved even during our two weeks. As Professor Roesch would say, “Change is inevitable.” As student affairs educators, we must be open to change and embrace it. During just the first week at Lycoming, we have had to switch discussions, cancel trips due to rain, find an alternative, and make it all work out. Those moments can be hectic, but through open communication and creativity, we have continued to provide an organized alternative. I’ve learned that these students are having the time of their lives. They are going to be happy with any decision we make that allows them to form strong relationships and create important memories.

— Felicia Garcia-Wedemeyer, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Friday, July 15, 2016

Traveling in China

Two weeks ago I traveled to Dalian to visit a friend. Felicia was a visiting scholar at Bloomsburg University last fall semester and when she found out I am in China she invited me to visit her. To get there I took a 6-hour high speed train. The train was very comfortable but a little too cold for me. During the summer in most of the places in China we pray for an air conditioner, but on that train I was freezing the whole time.

Once I arrived in Dalian Felicia and her husband were waiting for me at the exit. When we got to their apartment Felicia gave me a little care package with towels, pajamas, sleepers and even a toothbrush. The next day we drove all over Dalian to Felicia’s favorite places and took lots of pictures. She introduced me to her friend’s daughter, Shellmy.

During that weekend Shellmy and I became good friends and planned to travel to Qufu, hometown of Confucius, the last weekend of July. In Dalian we visited a place called Little Venice. There are multiple canals around the downtown of Dalian where anybody can go on a boat ride. Felicia also took me to meet her sister that lives right by the beach.

When we went to the beach, even though it was really hot, I didn’t see too many people tanning. Most of the women in China don’t like to tan. There is even a saying for women “bai fu mei” which means white, reach and beautiful and for men it’s “gao fu shuai”, tall, reach and handsome.

Dalian cuisine specializes in seafood. Just in two short days I tried a variety of fish dishes such as boiled muscles in a sea shell and pumpkin fried crabs. If I ever come to China again I will definitely visit Dalian.

Just last weekend our whole program traveled to Xian for four days. One of my favorite parts about the trip was a 13-hour overnight train ride. Since we came as a big group, it was really fun to just play card games and talk. After we arrived and settled at a hotel, our tour guide took us on a City Wall tour. The City Wall used to be used for protection against enemies, but now it’s an important historical monument of Xian. Then instead of walking the 9-mile City Wall we rented out bikes and rode around the whole City Wall.

It was really fun and mesmerizing but it was really exhausting to ride the bikes in near 100-degree heat. When we had free time, we went to a market street. There they sold all types of souvenirs and foods. Xian is famous for “rou jia mo” which is meat sandwich and for their noodles. There were people stretching super long noodles right outside of the restaurants to attract more customers.

The next day we went to see the terracotta warriors. The site is divided into 3 pits with over 10,000 warriors. The 1st pit has 6,500 warrior statues and is the biggest one out of the 3.

Each one of the warrior statue is different from the others because it was sculpted by a real terracotta warrior. Our next stop was the Giant Goose pagoda. Right next to it there are multiple Buddhist shrines which are open to the public. In the evening many people gather on the square in front of the Giant Goose pagoda for group activities.

Every park in China has activities mainly for retired people, such as dancing, card games, martial arts, etc. When we went to the square at night we were welcomed to dance the traditional Jiao Yi Wu dance with the locals. So far everywhere where I have traveled, the foreigners are always welcomed.

Right now I am a little sad because I only have two weeks left in China, but at least every single remaining day is planned so I will not waste a minute of my time here. This Saturday we will be taking the HSK 4 test, which is a standardized Chinese language knowledge test. I really hope that I can pass so that I can apply for internships in China. My last weekend in China I will spend traveling to Qufu with my friend Shellmy and my roommate. Ethan, one of the Chinese students in Bloomsburg, is also there for the summer and he will be able to show us around Qufu.

— Anastasia Timofeeva, junior engineering and Chinese major #HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU

Timofeeva is studying abroad at the Beijing Foreign Studies University this summer, courtesy of several scholarships earned this past year. She received a Professional Experience grant from Professional U, a grant designed for students seeking to get involved in their career path or learn more about the world. Timofeeva also received an International Faculty Association scholarship dedicated to students with interest in fostering globalism and internationalism. Moreover, she received College of Liberal Arts study abroad scholarship and a scholarship for good academic standing from the university.

Getting the experience!

For was long as I can remember, I have had trouble getting jobs due to lack of experience.

I cannot explain the level of upsetedness I feel when I see “3-5 years of experience” as a position requirement. I’ll find the perfect position at an amazing location. Then after I spend a good amount of time reading the description and envisioning my future life, there it is…3 years of experience required.

And my immediate response is “how do you expect me to GET experience if no one will hire me without having experience?!”

So when I was accepted into Bloomsburg’s College Student Affairs program I knew I needed to secure a graduate assistantship to gain an ample amount of experience in two brief years. I applied to every available opportunity, and was lucky enough to be offered a position with the Living and Learning Communities. Wanting a position in fraternity and sorority life (FSL) upon completion of my M.Ed., I was worried that I would have insufficient direct Greek Life experience (post undergrad) to get hired in the FSL area.

I carried this thinking around for a really long time. I started to volunteer with my national sorority by assisting chapters across the U.S. and, wherever possible, built my course assignments around Greek Life topics. However, I still did not feel like this was enough to remain relevant or marketable to prospective employers.

It wasn’t until my second year in the CSA program, while working with the Compass LLC, that I shared my worry with my supervisor, Jennifer Hunsinger. She advised me to research open FSL positions and find specific experiences that were desired. I made a list of responsibilities that I had not had experience in and areas that I thought I still needed to improve on. From that list, Jennifer and I CREATED the experiences that I needed to get my desired job!

Soon, I was on the university’s formal hearing board, facilitating classroom workshops, building programs, creating outcome assessments, writing reports, and so much more! Having my volunteer work with my national organization and getting really involved with student affairs at BU, I still felt like I needed that direct FSL experience. So I picked up the phone and called Matthew Richardson, Coordinator of FSL at the University of Pittsburgh.

Thankfully, he was able to meet with me three days later and offered me an internship! In January of 2016, I moved to Pittsburgh and spent over 350 hours (100 hours over the requirement for the field experience course) working with the FSL community.

I am sharing this to remind your to concentrate on the things you can control when you’re stressing out about finding your first professional job and to be proactive about them. The amount of worrying I was doing about not having experience was not helping me get experience. I sought out and created the experiences needed to be marketable for a job after my time at Bloomsburg came to an end. The entire job search was still overwhelming.

However, with the support of the student affairs professional staff, I was confident that I did everything over the two years of the College Student Affairs program to gain the experiences needed. Creating my experiences certainly paid off: I just hit my one-month mark of my first professional position within fraternity and sorority life!

— Jill Franklin, M.Ed., college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New Things, New Place, New Home

I am one week into my first full-time College Student Affairs position and I am starting to realize that this is AWESOME! However, I absolutely did not feel awesome every step of the way.

Day one was filled with nervous smiles and confusion. Parents, students, and professionals asked me questions I did not know the answers to, which really hurt my confidence. Even though everyone was extremely polite when I told them it was my first day, I felt like I was in way over my head and couldn’t swim to the surface. As quiet and reserved as I acted, I did my best to observe my environment, attempting to learn the culture of my new home. This is not the first time I have put myself in the situation of learning a new place, but that does not make it any easier to overcome the uncomfortable feeling of being a newcomer.

Luckily, I had a three-day weekend and great pep talks from my peers to get ready for the next week. Yet, I still had mixed feelings about returning to work on Monday. After a long and non-eventful weekend, I was extremely scared that the week would be just like my first day, filled with confusion, awkward moments, and a lot of silence.

 Certainly, it was. I watched people and listened to conversations feeling as if they were speaking a different language (so many acronyms!). Then, on day four I finally made it to the surface! I met a students I will be working closely with for the rest of the year.

Finally, a conversation with someone speaking my same language, Greek! I was so relieved that I could show someone that I can do this, I know what I am taking about, and I am capable of contributing! Looking at that moment, I realized that the only person I needed to prove anything to was myself.

I have had many conversations about the importance of learning institutional culture through my educational leadership classes. On day five, after I decorated my office and unpacked the books from those classes, I was reminded to reflect on those conversations and readings about culture and institutional fit. I remembered that I have been complimented on my ability to adjust to new environments, to observe new cultures without over-stepping boundaries, and to ask questions when I am not understanding.

That moment of reflection was enough to boost my confidence because right now I’m supposed to be learning and observing. I think I have the highest expectations for myself, so when I started off quiet and reserved it made me more nervous to think that I would not overcome the initial transition. The truth is that if I want to shatter those expectations, then, first, I need to have a firm understanding of the culture I have immersed myself in.

— Jill Franklin, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Monday, June 27, 2016

17 days in Beijing

The biggest event we’ve had so far is the overnight trip to the Great Wall last weekend.

It was a two-day short trip that included lots of hiking. We drove about two hours out of Beijing and started our first hike right away. We went to a part of the Wall where not too many tourists go to, so that we could enjoy it without being overcrowded.

It was about a 30-minute hike up the very steep stairs. I did not expect to be as difficult as it was, but everybody in our group made it up to the Wall. Seeing the mountains surround the Great Wall was one of the most beautiful scenic spots I have ever experienced. After we came down, we had taxis take us to a small village near the Great Wall for a homestay. We stayed with a very nice Chinese family that often hosts groups of tourists. Right at their backyard we could see the Great Wall and enjoy the sunset. That night our group stayed up pretty late and we just joked around all night.

The room that we slept in was just a one big bed. Boys and girls each got their own room. Next day at 4 a.m. we started our second big hike. The grandfather of the Chinese family lead our group because it was on a mountain beside the Great Wall. Once we got to the top of the mountain we sat down and watched the sunrise. I’ve never been much of an outdoor person, but after these hikes I want to start hiking more.

Another historical trip that we have had last week is a trip to Temple of Heaven. Temple of Heaven is located near the Tiananmen Square and is a popular place for school field trips and Chinese and foreign tourists. Our history professor told us that the Temple of Heaven was a very important spiritual place for the emperors of every dynasty and if the emperor did not perform the rituals at the Temple of Heaven he was looked down upon. Each dynasty had their own rituals, but the Emperors always prayed for a good harvest or for a victory in a war. If there was a famine, Chinese usually thought of it as if the gods were upset with the Emperor.

Yesterday we went to one of the famous hutongs a Beijing. Hutongs are streets surrounded by houses. They are popular for their markets and museums. Right now more and more authentic Chinese businesses are bought out by big franchises such as Starbucks and KFC.

Back in the day most of the officials lived in hutongs. Each profession and rank had their own type of entry gate and if an official was demoted, he would be required to change his gate. Since hutongs did not have a plumbing system, there would always be one or two saunas located in each hutong. These saunas were mostly used for gathering purposes where groups of men and women would play cards, gamble or drink. In the 60s and 70s hutong saunas were especially popular. As more and more businesses started to develop around hutongs, some of the saunas were not able to keep up paying high rents, so eventually they would run out of business. That usually affected the whole hutong because communities would lose a place to gather and their way of life would change.

In the first few weeks of my shopping experience in China, I have also learned that in most places you need to bargain for a good price. Last weekend my roommate She and I went to the Pearl Market. That market is famous for a variety of souvenirs and other goods. Especially for foreigners the starting prices are pretty expensive.

Usually I go 60 to 80 percent down the original price. At first the sellers try to convince you that they can’t lower the price, but a few minutes into it they give you the price that you are happy with. I think this is the only time when I feel confident talking to the sellers.

Usually when I go to a store I try my best to find everything myself so that I wouldn’t have to speak Chinese to people that I don’t know. Sometimes when I walk around Beijing I have no idea what I am reading on a billboard or what someone is saying to me and there are other times when I perfectly understand everything or at least 80 percent and it honestly makes my whole day. A few days ago I went to a train station to buy a ticket to go to Dalian to visit a friend. In U.S. or in Russia it wouldn’t be a big deal for me, but in China it was. It made me so happy that I had enough vocabulary to buy it for the right date and time and even get a ticket back to Beijing.

Yesterday me and another student decided to go running. The track and basketball courts are located within a two-minute walk from our dorm so we had no excuses not to go running. A wide variety of groups gather around track every day. There are many women that dance together to Chinese folk music, guys and girls my age who ride bikes and skateboards, children who play basketball or soccer, families spending time together playing badminton. In contrast to American campuses, we were a little surprised to see so many people that are not BFSU students involved on campus.

Next weekend I will be traveling to Dalian, which is north-east of Beijing by myself. If I survive this trip, you can read about my experience in Dalian in the next blog :)

— Anastasia Timofeeva, junior engineering and Chinese major #HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU

Timofeeva is studying abroad at the Beijing Foreign Studies University this summer, courtesy of several scholarships earned this past year. She received a Professional Experience grant from Professional U, a grant designed for students seeking to get involved in their career path or learn more about the world. Timofeeva also received an International Faculty Association scholarship dedicated to students with interest in fostering globalism and internationalism. Moreover, she received College of Liberal Arts study abroad scholarship and a scholarship for good academic standing from the university.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Working in a career I love so passionately

A lot has happened over the course of the past two weeks! Lycoming College had three June Orientation sessions (June 6, 13, and 17). Each orientation day was about a 12-hour work day and was very busy!

For years previous, Lyco’s Orientation was a two-day event with information and fun activities for students who all stayed overnight in the residence halls . This year was the first time for a one-day Orientation program. With that, of course there was a lot of preparation work!

Each day leading up to the first of the three sessions, there were multiple meetings with different campus offices, many edits made to paperwork, new handouts being made, and more, all to ensure that the new program was well coordinated and met student and family needs. My supervisor, his assistant, his student worker, and I worked constantly on multiple projects and triple checked our work for any errors.

After each Orientation session, we had a debriefing meeting with the 22 student orientation staff (SOS) members and the professional staff involved in Orientation to hear about what went well and what could be improved upon. There was a one week time period between the first orientation session and the second and I would say that week was the busiest, most hectic, and most stressful. There were a lot of changes to be done in a short amount of time, while also juggling a variety of other projects. But we all got through it!

My supervisor, Andrew Kilpatrick, has been phenomenal at giving me learning opportunities! During the third Orientation session, Andrew allowed me to come up on stage with him to co-present a parent session. The topic was how to coach their students to move from dependent individuals to interdependent college students.

He asked me questions on the spot that I got to answer and explain the resources Lycoming has to offer. When I first heard I was going to be thinking on my feet on stage to an audience of about 150 parents, I was a bit terrified, but it wasn’t bad at all! I actually surprised myself with how confidently I spoke and with such ease. I had many parents address me throughout the day with questions and many told me I was a huge help to them.

In addition to office preparation and Orientation days, I was also working alongside a Residence Life Coordinator. I assisted her with the SOS training, picked up food, and led the SOS in fun team-building activities/games. Getting to know the SOS members has been my favorite part of this internship!

They are truly great students with powerful leadership skills. They always had high energy and welcomed me with open arms. A few times they told me they see me as more than just an intern, but rather a great supervisor and close friend. Hearing those comments from SOS and parents warms my heart as I am just so happy that I am finally working in a career that I love so passionately.

Now that all three Orientation sessions are over, I am happy to finally be able to catch up on sleep! Ha! I will have the next two and a half weeks off until the second part of my internship starts, which is LycoPrep. I will be moving on campus July 6 and living there for three weeks as a supervisor to high school juniors who are engaging with the LycoPrep program.

I am looking forward to new experiences with Lycoming College. So far Lyco staff has been fantastic! I have purchased Lycoming College gear and wear it proudly.

— Felicia Garcia-Wedemeyer, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Monday, June 13, 2016

First impressions of China

It’s been a week since I’ve arrived to China. Life here is quite different, but I really like it.

I am staying at an international student dorm with a Chinese roommate. Ever since the first day, we have bonded and she helps me adjust to my classes and to life at Bei Wai (a short name for my university).

On the second day after arrival the summer IES students had to take a placement test. Surprisingly to me, I did better than I expected and was placed in a 300 level. Four days a week we have classes for three hours a day.

Compared to my Chinese classes at BU, classes here are really hard. My Chinese classes are only in Chinese, and we took a language pledge where we can only speak Chinese to other students and roommates.

Every day we have a listening quiz where we have to write all the new words we have learned in the previous day.

We learn 30 to 40 new words and we have to memorize how to write the characters for these words too.

My university has two big cafeterias. It costs me 50 cents to a dollar to eat there. Outside of the university there are little restaurants on every corner that are also really cheap. If we have to spend $5 or more on a meal, it is considered pricy here.

Every day after classes, the program has something planned for us. A few days ago we traveled to the Olympic village and looked at the Bird Nest and the Water Cube.

Just yesterday our history professor took us on a trip to the Tiannamen square and told us about the different stages of the palace during each dynasty’s rule. I cannot wait for many more trips that we will have with IES to other historic places.

— Anastasia Timofeeva, junior engineering and Chinese major #HuskyAbroad #ProfessionalU

Timofeeva is studying abroad at the Beijing Foreign Studies University this summer, courtesy of several scholarships earned this past year. She received a Professional Experience grant from Professional U, a grant designed for students seeking to get involved in their career path or learn more about the world. Timofeeva also received an International Faculty Association scholarship dedicated to students with interest in fostering globalism and internationalism. Moreover, she received College of Liberal Arts study abroad scholarship and a scholarship for good academic standing from the university.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

And so it begins with orientation

Hi there! As a young girl I always enjoyed writing in my diary so I am super excited to be blogging this summer for an inside view of my internship (field experience) at Lycoming College!

A little bit about Lycoming College (aka “Lycoming” or “Lyco”): Lycoming College is located in my hometown of Williamsport, PA (So I am excited I get to live at home this summer!) Lyco is a private, four-year, liberal arts college with an estimated 1,400 students. The mission “is to provide a distinguished baccalaureate education in the liberal arts and sciences within a coeducational, supportive, residential setting.”

Being a residential campus means that more than 90 percent of students live on campus in one of nine residence halls. You may find out that, at some institutions, it is difficult for students to receive financial aid. One factor that makes Lycoming so phenomenally different, especially as a private institution, is that 100 percent of their students receive scholarships or financial aid! What a great commitment to student attendance!

Lycoming College’s mascot is the Warriors and their school colors are Blue and Yellow. A large proportion of students are involved in athletics (one third of the men and a quarter of the women). As an NCAA Division III institution, these students are considered scholar-athletes. The football team, in particular, brings a lot of school spirit to the campus culture. Football games and other athletic competitions pull attention from the outside community to attend games and support student athletes.

What I will be doing at Lyco

Orientation — For this portion, I will be living at home and commuting to campus for work. There are three different orientation days scheduled during over a three week period.

I will be communicating heavily with residence life staff to schedule student orientation leaders’ duties throughout these days. I will also help plan the orientation breakout sessions where each OL works with a small group of incoming first-year students to provide guidance and support. I will be working six days a week for these three weeks and then have a few weeks off between my next portion of my field experience!

LycoPrep — This second portion will again be about a three-week “all hands on deck” internship. For this portion, I will be living on campus and serving as a resident assistant for the high school students who are participating in LycoPrep. This program invites high school students to live on campus, attend non-credit college-level courses, and engage in field trips to venues in Williamsport and the surrounding area.

I am most excited for my work with LycoPrep, because I get to talk about college life to high school students and promote Lycoming College. I am especially interested in supporting students from under-represented populations in their quest for further education. Plus, I get to participate in all the awesome things they will be doing, like going kayaking and riding rides at Knoebels Grove Amusement Park! I am really looking forward to building relationships with these students and help them adjust to being away from home for three weeks.

So that is pretty much what I will be doing this summer at Lycoming College! I am so pumped! There will be a lot of planning, a lot of high-energy, a lot of people and it’s right up my alley! Can’t wait to see what is in store! I am excited you are following along :)

— Felicia Garcia-Wedemeyer, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

A summer of new people, new skills

My experience with the college student affairs program has involved a lot of change!

I have been so fortunate to be able to work in a department where I love being able to help students learn, grow, and develop. I am Chelsea Titus, a second-year graduate student in the CSA program. I completed my undergraduate degree in exercise science at Salisbury University in Maryland.

What a change coming from the eastern shore of Maryland to the Pennsylvania mountains! I found my way to Bloomsburg through applying for and securing a graduate hall director position.

 Last year, I supervised the Montgomery Place Apartments; this fall I will be moving to “lower campus” (literally, lower in altitude) supervising Schuylkill Hall.

Throughout the summer I will be working within the housing operations side of Bloomsburg’s residence life program, managing summer camps, conferences, and events. My main responsibility is to assure that all events run as smoothly as possible.

This includes signing in and checking out groups who use the facilities, intercepting and resolving building or room problems, as well as being on call (in case of emergencies!) on a rotating basis with other residence life staff. I work with two graduate assistants and, together, we are the "go-to" people who solve problems or help the groups that utilize campus spaces.

For example, I recently helped with Berwick High School's prom which was organized in the Kehr Union Building. I successfully aided in fixing lighting issues in the ballroom, worked with information technology staff sound preparation, and built a professional working relationship with BHS' advisers. Not only was it fun to reminisce my old high school days, I was able to talk to several high school seniors who will attend BU in the fall!

I am looking forward to a summer of meeting new people, learning new skills, and of course staying in touch with all of my CSA friends!

— Chelsea Titus, college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Hey Dad ... I got a job!

When I decided to apply for graduate programs the last thing on my mind were the feelings I would have upon completion.

Five semesters, hundreds (literally) of days spent in the library, and a handful of emotional breakdowns later, there I was. I stood in front of a filled auditorium with only one person in mind, my dad. My father is a simple man and having never attended college, he does not understand student affairs work. Knowing my dad has absolutely no personal experience with university lingo, imagine him trying to wrap his head around my explanations and descriptions of my classes, assistantships, and overall program.

He did, however, become very adamant to ask me weekly—when and if I would get a real job. A real job, to my dad, means a steady income, job security, and fringe benefits.

He could not fully grasp my daily work so I told him stories about being a first-year graduate assistant with the Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) throughout my first year of the program. I tried to tell him about the planning and facilitating I did and students I worked with each day.  Just when he began to understand, I, of course, switched it up.

I moved onto to my second graduate assistant position working specifically and intensely with the Compass Living and Learning Community, which is dedicated to helping undeclared students navigate their transition from high school to college. As the Compass GA, I was blessed to supervise six upperclass student mentors and 20 first-year students, facilitate trainings and activities, and research and assess the impact of LLCs on first year participants.

Then, just when he started to understand what in the world I was talking about, CURVE BALL: “Dad, I’m moving to Pittsburgh for an unpaid internship!”

I spent the spring of 2016 working with the fraternity and sorority life at the University of Pittsburgh while being supervised by a Bloomsburg faculty member for course-related learning.

Not only did this allow me to work at a different institution size and type but immersing myself in the culture of the city of Pittsburgh was an irreplaceable experience. Even though I know the impact of those three and a half months on my life, it seemed that still, all my dad could ask about was if or when I would find a real job.

So, while in Pittsburgh I took up the hobby of applying for real jobs. I call it a hobby because it took up a LOT of time, and when I say jobs I mean EVERY job.

After five months of applications and phone, Skype, and on campus interviews, I found my match at a small public university in South Carolina with a position in student activities and fraternity and sorority life! I was offered the position three days before graduation and thought, what better way to tell my dad I finally got a real job than at graduation!

In the two years spent in the College Student Affairs program at Bloomsburg University, it was not until I was about to walk onto the auditorium stage that the full understanding of what was about to happen really enter my mind. I was not only a first generation college student and the first person in my home community earn a master’s degree, but I was also about to tell my friends and family, my dad included, life changing news!

The feelings of accomplishment and pride overcame me! So I walked out onto the stage with my head held very high, because in that moment I was finally able to show my dad exactly what he had wanted to know throughout my entire graduate school experience. Now dad, I now have a real job!

I am still pretty positive that he does not fully understand what college student affairs is, what I have done in the last two years, or even what I’ll be doing for the rest of my life, but he can rest assured knowing I am employed! I will be starting this adventure mid-June and cannot wait to share with you, and my dad, my experiences of being a new professional and how impactful the CSA program will be during the beginning my first real job.

— Jill Franklin, M.Ed., college student affairs #EducationalLeadership #ProfessionalU

Friday, May 13, 2016

How fate landed me the perfect roommate

When I look back at the summer going into my freshman year, the first thing I think about was waiting to find out who my roommate was going to be.

Like most of you, I have never had to share a room or living space before, let alone share it with a complete stranger. I am actually the youngest of three, and the only girl, so the idea of having to share my space with another girl was completely foreign to me.

You have two options when it comes to roommates:
I went with the second option.

I know that some freshmen are hesitant because of the rumors they hear, or horror stories online of psycho roommates. To be honest, those stories are few and far between. I have to tell you though, deciding to have a random roommate was one of the best decisions I could have made.

Here is the story of my freshman year.

It's kind of ironic, actually

My roommate friended me on Facebook (remember this was three years ago!) and we started talking over FB messenger, and then eventually started texting.

The process is a little like the first stage of dating — you get to know each other by asking basic questions, trying to get a feel for their personality, hobbies, interests, where they're from. You move on to the important stuff, the roommate stuff — do they like the room hot or cold, do they go to bed early or stay up late, do they like going to the gym, are they into the party scene.

My roommate was a summer freshman, which was cool because she was already familiar with campus, knew the shortcuts or different ways to go to class, had her own group of friends, and knew what to bring for the room.

The reason I say that my story is ironic, because I think part of the reason I chose to have a random roommate was to branch out and new people, which is exactly what had ended up happening.

Flashback to accepted students day

I met a girl who was the same major as me and we immediately connected and started talking. Little did I know that when she would message me on Facebook months later, the day we moved into the dorms, our rooms were a few doors down from each other. On that same day we went around the hall, meeting our neighbors and the people who would soon become our best friends.

There was a group of about 10 of us that were really close. My favorite part about being so close to them was the atmosphere in the hall. We all kept our doors open and bounced around from one room to another when the boys got rowdy or we just wanted to go somewhere else.

Each of us had our rooms set up so differently that we kind of used them for different purposes. The boys next to me had the perfect set up for a movie room — there were tons of bean bags and fold up chairs. The girls down the hall had a really open room so that was a fun hang out room.

What you will find is your own way, and your own wings to connect with others. Each person has their preference of random roommates versus chosen roommates.

Fast forward to this fall

I will move into my first ever apartment with six of my friends, and guess who my neighbors are? Some of my neighbors and best friends from freshman year. Talk about ironic.

— Kate Armstrong, junior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Monday, April 4, 2016

It's spring. It's time. Your future awaits!

Oh, the spring semester is probably the most interesting and dynamic point in an academic year:
  • freshman don't feel like the new kids anymore
  • sophomores are halfway done with college
  • juniors begin to feel the pressure of senior year
  • seniors are savoring their last few moments of an era unlike anything they'll experience again

Coming to college, I had a good grasp of what my interests were, but had no direction when it came to the type of career I wanted to pursue. I wanted all of my classes, not just my major classes, to be useful tools to me both in college as well as in the future.

Whether that time is in another class, during a job interview, or when I am already in a job. I wanted to know what other options I had in addition to my major, which is when my advisor introduced me to the world of minors and concentrations.

A major "concentrated" effort 

After going through this process and speaking to my friends who are in the same boat, the most valued piece of advice I can share with you is to network. Network network network. I think one resource that gets overlooked is your professors.

Picking up a concentration meant taking classes tailored toward areas of study that would help me in my future endeavors — exactly what I was talking about above! But, I still needed to take general education classes.

My concentration helped me fill my time with classes that I genuinely wanted to take, classes that would still be relevant to me after school.

I was immediately drawn to the human resources concentration because of the wide range of topics and classes offered. Just like communication studies, there are so many aspects of HR that I never even knew existed. A new found love of law and the legal system resulted from the classes associated with this track, which has actually opened several doors in terms of jobs and internships.

Welcome to Internship Season

Speaking of jobs, the spring semester also means that summer is around the corner, and for juniors and seniors, that is code for internship season.

I have been applying to summer internships since January, and let me tell you that the last three months have consisted of pure stress, persistence, and a lot of self motivation. Anyone who is internship hunting right now knows exactly what I’m talking about. Between the cover letters, emails, networking, and countless hours of researching, this process is a LOT of work.

Our generation is in a unique place right now. We are really the first generation of young professionals going through the job and internship process with the presence of the web and media at the intensity that it is today. As society and technology evolves, so does the working world, which impacts the people who are trying to break into it, namely, you and me.

Network, Network ... Network!

Get to know them!

They are professionals in the industries of your dream job. They have connections and access to people that you probably don't, and, they are going to be the ones who write your letters of recommendation!

In my first blog post, I wrote about the power of connections — the number one way to get your foot in the door. My second piece of advice is to build your resume. Start now. Seriously.

Earlier when I said that we only have four years here, that means we only have four years to join clubs, take leadership positions, do research, and volunteer. You can't apply anywhere without one, and it is a work in progress that will stay with you for your entire professional career.

Four years seems like a long time until your freshman year is over, then you're half way done with college ... and then you're scheduling for your senior year, or you're graduating in one month.

— Kate Armstrong, junior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Monday, February 29, 2016

Why do you look so stressed?

When I was in town a few weeks ago, someone I'd estimate to be in their late 40's asked me why I looked so stressed.
Who me?

A college student in their 20's, stressed?
Maybe a few of these stressors sound familiar to you: Uncertainty of what the heck you're going to be doing for the rest of your life, exams, group projects (that turn into you doing the group project), exercising, friends and family, eating, clubs, volunteer work, social media, roommates. Oh, and you either have a job or internship, or you're desperately searching for one.

We are all playing a game that teaches you how to find your balance. The good news is? As each semester becomes more challenging and involved, you learn to adapt. This is my sixth semester at Bloomsburg, and I have found that with each new semester and each passing year, the balancing game gets easier.

One advantage we have is our schedule. We have a pretty consistent outline of classes and clubs, which makes filling in the gaps a little easier. I have established a routine of basic activities I personally need to do to get me through my day as a sane human being. The first thing I do when I wake up is hit the gym. I love hearing my friends' reactions when they ask if I want to go to the gym with them at 6 p.m., and I tell them I was there 12 hours ago.

Waking up early allows me to have the morning to myself, which as we all know is hard to come by in college. Working out is one of those things that a lot of college students cut out because of time, but it really is one of the most important things you can do for yourself.

If you find it hard to get to the gym or work out, find a way to reward yourself after going, or drag your friends or roommate along with you to make it more enjoyable. I'll be dragging my roommate from sophomore year, Jess, because we have been promising to go to these classes since the fall of 2014. The Rec Center offers classes like Yoga and Pilates, which are focused on building your strength and clearing your mind.

The middle of my days are always the most chaotic- I find myself constantly worrying about where I have to be next or what else I have to get done, and I end up losing out on the moment that I'm in. This is something that I'm trying to get better at, which is why I have taken up mediation and deep breathing.
If you asked me to do this at any point before this semester, I literally would have laughed at you and told you that I have no time for deep breathing, because I barely have enough time in my day to breathe at a normal pace. Well, let me tell you, this has changed my life in so many ways — not in a crazy divine ways or even visible changes for that matter, but in smaller important ways.

I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this has made me slow down and feel more at peace with myself and my surroundings. Although I do still jump ahead to the next thing on my schedule, I am more conscious of doing this, and it's still a work in progress.
However, I am more productive, more energetic, and overall more attentive to my every day activities. I appreciate the little things more than I used to, something that is so easily taken for granted.

— Kate Armstrong, junior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU

Monday, February 8, 2016

Don't underestimate the power of connections

President of the National Communication Association Student Club (NCASC), community assistant, communication studies major, and intern are just a few titles that define my life at Bloomsburg.

I have to attribute all of my leadership opportunities and involvement to my major — I am constantly networking, socializing, and working with various groups, organizations, and people on campus.

As a junior in college, I often think about life "In the Real World." I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't nervous about graduating or what happens after we leave. College is a weird place.

You leave home after high school, start over in a new place, and spend four years creating a new home and knowing that you have a finite time there. You grow up, make lifetime friends, hopefully find a career interest, and while you are busy with other stuff, you're trying to figure life out. During this process, I have been trying to be more spontaneous and take more risks, which is something that is not really in my nature.

Here is where my story begins

I was a freshman in my second semester of college, sitting at an NCASC meeting that was devoted to elections for the executive board. In that moment I decided to run for the position of vice president.

I can picture myself standing up in a room full of upperclassman, giving a speech as to why I, an 18-year-old who has never directed anyone or anything, would make the best candidate for this role.

What is in my nature is confidence, people skills, and public speaking. And, as it would turn out, I won the election for VP and was the newest member of the executive board.

Plot twist.

I didn't know the president would be graduating in the fall, which meant I would take over as the president in the spring. This was a challenge that I was excited about, and I couldn't have been happier with my choice to run for the executive board.

My second year at Bloomsburg led me to residence life, where I became a CA. This experience has been something I will value forever. Even though I always tell my residents that I'm not their mother, I always think of them as 45 (ish) of my kids, and watching them grow from their first semester to their second is so cool.

Because most of them are freshman, they come to me for advice about pretty much everything, which I love. I feel a responsibility toward them, to help them grow, get involved, and have the best college experience possible. Now I'm in my third year, so I will follow the pattern and talk about the third leadership role I've taken since I have been here.

I talked earlier about how networking and socializing is second nature for me. Don't ever underestimate the power of connections. I landed my marketing and communications internship befriending a member of the NCASC Executive Board, and I can't thank her enough for helping me.

Each year I have added something new to my life, taken a risk that has opened up a new path and new opportunities. I was fortunate enough to find my niche at Bloomsburg very early in the time I have spent here, and I am forever grateful for the people I have met, the opportunities I have had, and the impact I am making here!

Ready to find your niche?

  • Spring Activities Fair — representatives from many of the more than 250 clubs and organizations will be on-hand Friday, Feb. 12, during an Activities Fair from 1 to 4:30 p.m. in the KUB Multipurpose 345 A&B.
  • Husky Student Leadership Summit — connect on Saturday, Feb. 27, with alumni who once held leadership positions on campus, along with discussions on how to capitalize on skills learned as student leaders in life.

— Kate Armstrong, junior communication studies major #HuskyLife #ProfessionalU