Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Positive Community Member of the Year

Because the school year is winding down, there are a bunch of awards being given out! There are awards for all kinds of things at Albertus including athletics, student services, academic, various clubs... etc.

I'm not much of an athlete so I knew I wouldn't be receiving any awards in that arena and because I'm a transfer student who lives off campus, I really didn't expect to earn any student service related awards....

.... So you can imagine my surprise when I was nominated as a contender for the Positive Community Member of the Year award! I discovered my nomination when I went to go vote for my classmates and found my name as one of the options for this award.

I was so flattered that I was nominated, but didn't think I actually stood a chance to win. I've only been at Albertus for 2 years, and only actually lived on campus for 1, so I definitely did not think that I had a chance! I feel very honored that I was thought of for this award, and truly touched that people actually voted for me!

Other student service awards and their winners include:
  • Resident Assistant of the Year - the winner was a fellow student blogger, Gina D'Agostino.
  • Student Leader of the Year - Gina also won this award!
  • Student Organization of the Year - Student Alumni Association
  • Program of the Year - SGA's Haunted Maze
I am very flattered that I was thought of for the Positive Community Member of the Year award. It feels really good to know people think of me as a significant positive influence on campus. As a transfer student who commutes, it is sometimes hard to feel like part of the college community, so being recognized as a positive community member by my peers is definitely something to be excited about :)

Have you received any awards from your school now that the semester is coming to a close?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Housy College Fair!!

Housatonic Valley Regional High School in Falls Village, CT... aka "Housy"

Earlier this week I was given a really cool opportunity: to go back to high school! 

No, it wasn't like in 17 Again where I magically popped back into my high school body (I wish!) and had to attend classes/fix the wrongs I had made in my life... but instead I went back as a representative for Albertus at Housy's college fair!

It was so strange to be back... but in a good way! So much has changed in the 5 years since my graduation, but oddly enough... it's almost exactly the same! For example: there are so many cool things that weren't there when I was in high school, like a Student Government Association and a Powder Puff Team. There is also a ton more security (you have to be buzzed in!) which feels so out of place because my high school is literally in the middle of no where! 

My booth at the college fair.
There are a lot of differences in the physical structure of the school... but the kids that are going there now are exactly like the kids who I went to school with (like literally, could be the same kids). There are still the rich-preppy kids who dress only in Lacoste and wear boat shoes, the jock kids who wear their uniform to school, the kids-who-haven't-grown-into-themselves-yet-and-are-super-awkward, the Aggers, the somewhat normal looking kids, goth kids, stoners... etc. It's so crazy because I remember thinking I was such an individual back in high school... when really I was just one of those awkward kids who hadn't really figured out how to put myself together just yet (in my defense... curly hair is hard to handle!).

It was really nice to be able to go back and represent Albertus. It was such a pleasure to visit with some of the teachers who are still around and talk about "the good old days". I was really glad to be able to go back and share Albertus with some of the kids at Housy. Oddly enough, there are no other kids from my high school at Albertus; I love Albertus so much and really appreciate all of the opportunity it has given to me, so I wish that some more kids from my neck of the woods would come on down!!

I got to man a booth at the college fair and discuss the awesome things about Albertus, like our athletics program, vast selection of undergraduate majors, our awesome dorms, and the perks of being in New Haven.

I had a great time and was so excited to share the awesome things about Albertus! If you've got any questions about Albertus that you'd like answered, leave a comment here or email me at: orpalmer@albertus.edu... I'd be happy to answer your questions!!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Edwardian Opulence

This past weekend my mom came to visit me! If you've been reading along from the beginning you'll know just how much I love when people come to visit me in New Haven! You can read about my other recent visitors and what we've done here, here and here.

My mom lives about an hour and a half away so whenever she comes to visit it is always a treat! The purpose for my mom's visit (besides seeing me, of course!) was the Edwardian Opulence feature at the Yale Center for British Art.

One of the fantastic things about New Haven is that there are a ton of local museums. This is largely thanks to Yale. The three that I frequent most often are the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History, the above mentioned Yale Center for British Art, and Yale University Art Gallery. The Yale University Art Gallery is always free, and the other two are free on certain days (Sunday, I believe).

Anyway, my mom was particularly interested in the Edwardian Opulence exhibit because she (and the rest of my family, myself included) is obsessed with Downton Abbey. If you're not familiar with Downton Abbey, I not only feel very sorry for you (but not too sorry... get a HuluPLUS account!) but I also believe that you live under a rock. Downton Abbey is a TV series that follows the lives of the Crawley family and their servants. There's a lot more to it, but we won't go into that now!

Anyway, so we went to the museum which was a lot of fun and free. We also walked around downtown, stopping at some lovely places including Chocopologie and Woodland Coffee & Tea. We also spent a lot of time walking around the New Haven Green, which was beautiful.

All in all it was a fantastic visit. We didn't really plan anything to do for the day (except the trip to the museum), which was okay because one of the cool thing about New Haven is that you can just walk around down town and find some really great things to do!

What about you, are you familiar with New Haven? If so, how do you like to spend the day when you have visitors?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Time Out!

We're coming up on the end of the semester and that means that everyone (me included!) is running around like a chicken with their head cut off.

I'm a firm believer that even when you're going crazy with homework deadlines and other commitments, it's still important (maybe even more so) to get together with your girlfriends and just... relax! This weekend I had a great opportunity to get together with my friend, Nicole, and learn how to cook a few of her delicious recipes!

A few of the recipes I learned from Nicole! Yum!!
Nicole is a fantastic cook who has mastered the ability to make healthy meals which still taste phenomenal! Nicole and I scheduled this cooking date a while ago because I really want to learn how to cook healthier food and knew she'd be the perfect teacher. We had an amazing time and I learned quite a few new recipes (5, to be exact!).

This cooking day proved to be a much needed reprieve from the stress that comes along at the end of a semester. As things are winding down and deadlines are getting closer, it's super important to keep your stress level in check and also to give your body the necessary fuel to get through the last few weeks. It can be so tempting to swing by a fast-food place or eat out all week to save time on cooking... but really those habits are bad for you physically, and can get rather costly!

So this is a reminder to everyone to calm down! Yes, these next few weeks are going to be stressful and full of a lot of hard work... but don't forget to set some time aside for you and your mental well-being! Especially for you fellow seniors out there: these are our last few weeks as college students... don't let them slip by with you stressing about how much work you have to do! Enjoy these last few weeks and cherish them because I have a feeling we will miss this in a few years!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Writing Center

  • Do you ever have to write a paper and you literally have no clue how to get started? 
  • Do you ever know what you want to write about but need help developing your argument?
  • Do you ever need someone to look over your rough draft of a paper so you can beef it up a bit?
  • Have you ever taken a "W" course at Albertus?
If you've answered yes to any of the above questions, you need to visit the Writing Center in Rosary Hall (more commonly referred to as the library)!

The Writing Center is full of super helpful Writing Associates whose sole purpose is to help you improve your writing, you would really be a fool not to take advantage of that!

Basically, if you know you've got a paper coming up or if you're struggling with a paper, you can contact the writing center at wcenter@albertus.edu to schedule an appointment. You can request a specific Writing Associate if you'd like or they will place you with one who fits your availability.

When you go to your appointment you need to have 2 copies of your paper so you and the Writing Associate can look it over together. At the appointment the Writing Associate will do their best to help you develop your paper or thesis. Naturally, the Writing Associate will need your active participation, but when utilized correctly, a Writing Center appointment can really boost the level of your writing and therefore the level of your paper.

I typically only go to the Writing Center when I am required to by one of my classes, but each time that I go I end up picking up a lot of very useful information from my associate... and my paper definitely benefits from the time I spend there!

In addition, if you're someone who likes to write and would be interested in becoming a Writing Associate, you can contact them and apply for a job. This is a great way to get some extra cash in your pocket while helping out your fellow students! It's also very convenient to work there because it is on campus and the hours are very flexible.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Accepted Student Reception

Yesterday I worked at the Accepted Student Reception to help welcome the incoming class of 2017!

I was at the event working as a tour guide, but because I know a bit about financial aid through my work study position, I was stationed in the Financial Aid Office to assist students with any basic questions about their financial aid award.
Poster my co-workers made for Accepted Student Reception

I have worked at quite a few events this year designed to welcome new students to campus, including Falcon for a Day, Accepted Student Calling and Open House. Often, a student will come to all of the events, so many of the faces are beginning to look familiar. One student I met during Falcon for a Day came to the Financial Aid Office yesterday and actually remembered me! It was really cool because even though I am starting to recognize some of the incoming class, I didn't think they would actually remember me at all!

This student was with his family and they were literally beaming with joy and excitement for his future. Seeing his parents so proud of him reminded me how awesome Albertus is and how excited I had been when I first came to Albertus. The incoming students have worked so hard to get to this far, and it is truly something to celebrate. This student, along with all of his future classmates, has survived the stressful four years of high school and is now ready to embark on a completely new and unique journey.

For me, it's interesting to think what the next four years will bring for these students. I know that Albertus has offered me incredible opportunities and opened many doors that I had never even dreamed of. I hope that all of the incoming students have this same type of experience because from my limited interaction with these future falcons, they seem incredibly intelligent and eager for this next stage in their life.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Blue State Coffee

Pretty awesome if you ask me!
I learned long ago that I am one of those people who absolutely cannot study at home. I get too distracted with all of the things I have to do that are not homework related, like cleaning, cooking, watching TV... etc. These distractions get even worse when I have an assignment I absolutely do not want to do... like today.

I have a grant proposal due on Monday and it is one of those assignments that I am just totally not in to. The class is pretty cool and the topic is super important, but I just haven't been able to sit myself down before today to get this done. Luckily, we've been working on this project for quite some time, so I already have a pretty thorough draft to work off of.

Voting Station
Anyway, because I knew I wasn't going to get a thing done at home, I decided to hit up one of my all time favorite study spots, Blue State Coffee. I first discovered Blue State Coffee when my sister came to visit and we needed to grab a quick cup of coffee before she hopped back on the train to go home. This little gem is located downtown on Wall Street, right in the heart of Yale. I love this place because everyone who comes here is a student of some type; being surrounded by motivated students always gives me that extra push to work on a homework assignment... even when I really don't want to.

Blue State is also my favorite coffee place because I wholeheartedly support their mission, which they have done a phenomenal job of displaying and incorporating into the way they do their business. The two bits of their mission that I really love are:
100% Compostable!
  1. Donating 2% of profits to a non-profit organization of customers' choice. I think this is awesome because they are not just preaching that they want to invest in the community, they're actually doing it. Blue State has a station set up in the cafe where a customer takes a chip given to them at the register and places it in the jar for the non-profit organization they vote for. The jar with the most chips gets the donation, and then they start again. There is also a suggestion box where you can suggest a non-profit to be placed in the running.
  2. Become a zero waste business. I think this is also an incredible goal and honestly, I didn't think it was obtainable... but they're actually working towards it! As you can see by the picture the to-go cups, sleeves and lids are made from completely compostable materials, in addition they have a comprehensive recycling station set up near the area where you bring your dishes once you're done with your drink or snack.
I love coming to study at Blue State Coffee because it is such a hip place with positive energy that really fuels and encourages me to finish my work. What about you, do you have a favorite study place? If so, where and what do you like most about it?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Business Etiquette Dinner

Ann Lindsay of Style of Success
Last night I attended the 3rd annual Albertus Business Etiquette Dinner! This was my 2nd time attending this event and I feel so honored to have been able to go two years in a row!

The Business Etiquette Dinner is a networking dinner that the school holds for students and alumni so that we can mingle with each other in an effort to expand our network while also learning a ton about how to present yourself in a business setting. Each year the school hires a speaker to discuss a different aspect of business and how to conduct yourself in a professional manner.

This year's speaker was Ann Lindsay of Style of Success. Ann's job is to make her clients look professional; what this means is that she makes sure her client is dressed correctly and knows how to act appropriately in business situations. Ann spent a good portion of her talk discussing the proper business attire for men and women depending on the level of business being conducted, as well as proper manners when dining in a business setting.

I really enjoyed the Business Etiquette Dinner. The dinner was a great opportunity to meet and re-connect with people... it was also really cool because my aunt (an Albertus alum) came to the dinner, so we sat together and got to catch up a bit!

I really appreciate that Albertus take the initiative to host events like this because the information I picked up from this dinner is really fundamental stuff that every business student should know. In addition, it provided an opportunity to work on my networking skills... which is really difficult for me! At networking events I always feel awkward (because let's be honest... sometimes it just is!) so the more practice I have in this type of situation, hopefully the less awkward I will become!

I really benefited from this event because I am a Business major and this type of stuff is super relevant for me. What is your major? Does your school put on any events to help educate you on real-world scenarios?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Baseball: AMC vs JWU

Last night I attended the baseball game against Johnson & Whales University (JWU) at our home field and let me just tell you.... it was amazing!

Granted, I am a bit biased because my boyfriend plays on the team, but regardless, the games were really exciting and definitly worth sitting out in the bitter cold for a few hours.

We played a double header against JWU which means they played two games back-to-back with a short break in between. Both teams seemed about evenly matched, so in the first game the two teams were deadlocked at 2 points each for a majority of the game. In fact, they had to play an additional inning (total of 8 innings) in order to break the tie. That last inning was what made the night because it was pretty much the ending of your typical sports movie where at the end the team you're rooting for gets the big dramatic win.

Team huddle after beating JWU twice!
Here's what happened: a Freshman, Michael Anastasio, came out of the dugout to bat, making his first appearance of the game. He walked up to the plate with bases loaded, down by one point, and with one out. He got an amazing hit and brought in two runners making the score 4-3 which made Albertus victorious. It was so exciting everyone on the bleachers lept to their feet and cheered while the entire baseball team ran from the dugout and stormed the field to congratulate the runners who came in and Anastasio. It was an amazing experience and definitly one for the books!

The second game wasn't as exciting because we beat them 3-1 (which after watching such a close game seemed like a sweep).

The baseball team is now 4-0 for GNAC games, which puts them in the #1 spot!

All of the players played very well, logging very few errors as far as I could tell. Two players who did especially fantastic throughout both games were Zak Sokolis at 1st Base and Pat Dornfried at Shortstop. Both players made phenomenal plays during both games which were essential in providing a solid defense that helped AMC on the road to victory.

Lindsey & Amanda all bundled up!
I love watching the baseball games because not only can the games be super dramatic like last night, but its a time to sit and spend time with other falcon fans, too. I sat with my friends Amanda and Lindsey, who also happen to date guys on the baseball team. It was really fun catching up with them and also experiencing/discussing the dramatic events of the evening. Yes, it was absolutely freezing, but I think it was certainly worth the cold to connect with some fellow AMC fans and see such a fantastic game play out.

I'm not super informed about baseball and all of the technical terms, so if you're interested in reading more about this game from a more knowledgeable view point, you can check out Dan Kmiechick's student blog or even visit the Albertus Magnus College Falcons Athletics webpage.

Does your school have a baseball team? If so, are they any good or are they struggling this season? I would love to hear about it!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

AMC Public Relations Internship

Today was my first day of yet another internship that I have taken on this semester! I am doing this internship purely for the experience as I do not need any more credits in order to graduate (yay!).

This newest internship focuses on Public Relations and is based out of the Marketing Department at Albertus Magnus College. I will be doing things like contacting newspapers, sending out press releases, following up with alumni accomplishments, and other things that relate to getting Albertus' name out there in a positive way!

I am really excited because Public Relations is a whole segment of Marketing that I simply hadn't thought too much about as a career choice, so I will get to learn more about that possible route, while adding a ton of valuable skills to my resume!

One of the many things I love about Albertus is the ample amount of opportunities that are available if you take the initiative to get involved. Albertus has literally tons of opportunities in every department and if you are motivated or interested enough there is likely to be a way for you to get some extremely valuable experience. I have no doubt that at a larger school I would not have been able to get this (or my other) internship, which translates into me missing out on a whole lot of job-prepping experience!

I am really excited about this internship and all of the exciting (or not so exciting, whatever the case may be) things I'm going to learn!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Experiential Learning Day

There are many great things about Albertus, but I think one of the top 10 would be the emphasis on learning by doing. This type of teaching shows up every day in the classroom, but is exemplified by the annual Experiential Learning Day at Albertus. Experiential Learning Day is a day that showcases work that Albertus students have been doing throughout the year. It offers a forum for students to share research they have been doing, and discoveries they have made. 

I love Experiential Learning Day for two reasons: 
  1. The research projects that my fellow students do are amazing. This day really showcases how creative, diverse, and curious our student body is and you really do learn a lot by going from project to project learning about the steps they took to do the research and their findings. 
  2. Classes are canceled until 3 pm! Because Experiential Learning Day is a campus wide event that students are encouraged to partake in, all classes were canceled today while the event was going on. In addition, many teachers will offer an extra-credit opportunity as in incentive for you to go. 
My friend Meaghan and I did a poster this year about our research project, Climate 4 Creativity. Climate 4 Creativity is an Independent Study/Internship I am working on with Meaghan and an Albertus professor, Mr. Patsalides. 

It was a lot of fun to share our project with other students and the faculty because many of the people who took the time to look at our poster were really impressed! Everyone was very supportive of our project, which was also pretty nice and motivating!
Meaghan and I worked really hard on our poster and we were really happy about how it turned out. 

Do you have anything like Experiential Learning Day at your school? If you already go to Albertus, did you attend? What was your favorite research project that you heard about?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What's In Your Wallet? No, really.

...to name just a few!
**Disclaimer: I am not advocating any bank in particular, just that you educate yourself about your bank and realize you do have choices***

I started my first bank account when I was in 3rd grade. My school had a program where you could bring $5 to school every week which would then be deposited for you in a local bank account under your name. It was a pretty cool program, but as an 8 year old and I really could not have cared less... and I certainly didn't care which bank had "my" money.

I stayed with that bank (Salisbury Bank & Trust) all through my teen years until I moved to Texas, where I opened up a bank account with Chase because my sister earned an incentive for bringing in a new customer. When I moved back to Connecticut I opened a Webster Bank account because in my home town there are no Chase's and my best friend banked with Webster.

Even though I've transferred banks quite a few times in my short time as being an "adult", I have never really considered what it was that I wanted from a bank, and to be completely honest, I didn't really think there was much difference from bank-to-bank. I simply bounced from bank to bank depending on what my friends and family thought, but never actually looking at my finances and seeing what would be the best fit for me. It wasn't until just a few weeks ago when I had an unpleasant experience with Webster that I decided that maybe I should explore my options. After looking around and seeing how other banks offered their services, I decided to give my business to another local bank, People's.

As a college student, it is so important to be aware of your finances and take responsibility for your money and spending habits. Being away from your parents, you're going to need access to your own cash and having a bank account in your name is a vital step to becoming an independent adult (at least from my point of view).

Here are some things that I thought about when I was thinking about what bank would be right for me:
  • Do they offer a free checking account? Most banks will offer some type of special for college students, just make sure to let the teller you're working with know that you are a student and bring your school ID!
  • Are their hours conducive to my schedule? I used to think all banks were 9 am - 5 pm, Mon - Sat, until I found out that People's is open 7 days a week and open until 7 pm on week days! For my schedule, that makes a ton more sense for me, because I am never out of work before 5 pm so going to the bank if there is an issue is a huge hassle.
  • Are there enough branch locations in the area? Ideally, you would want a bank that a) has a lot of locations in New Haven, and b) has a location in your home town as well so that you can access your money even when you are home during breaks. Having many branches available in New Haven is important because often times if you use an ATM that is not your bank's, you will get charged by that ATM and by your bank. To avoid those extra fee's it is more simple to just go to your bank's ATM, which is why you may want a bank that has various locations throughout New Haven.
  • Are they a big or small bank? Depending on your personal views, you may prefer either... but that is something that you may want to consider. Some people prefer larger banks (like Chase or Bank of America) because they feel more secure with their money in a larger bank and typically larger banks will have the most up-to-date technology. Others may prefer smaller banks because they don't want to support the corporate giant banks and want to stay local/smaller. Also, people may choose smaller banks because you may get more personalized attention and they are typically more customer focused.
  • Do they have mobile banking? Mobile banking (different from online banking, which is something I think at this point all banks have) means that you can do banking from your smart phone. Some banks (like Bank of America, People's, and others...) allow you to actually deposit checks by snapping a picture on your smart phone and submitting it to their app. You can also do other stuff like check your balance, transfer funds, etc. As someone who is already always looking at my phone, for me this is a huge benefit and something I really look for in a bank.
  • How long do they hold checks? I used to think it was standard for checks to be held for a few days after depositing them but realized after talking to People's bank that this is not the case. At some banks (People's is one of them, not sure about other ones), pay checks are cleared automatically, meaning as soon as you deposit your paycheck you can go spend it (not that you should)! This is a drastic difference from other banks who will sometimes hold your check for days to verify that it is good, which can cause problems if you're on a tight budget.
There are most likely a ton of other factors that I didn't even consider, but when I picked my new bank those were the main questions running through my mind. I think the most important thing about deciding where to bank is to realize that you do have options and that you should not give a bank your business if they do not treat you with the respect you deserve.

For those who are not familiar with New Haven, here are some of the more popular banks in this area (in no particular order):
  • Bank of America
  • Chase
  • People's
  • Webster Bank
  • First Niagra
  • Wells Fargo
  • TD Bank
What about you, where do you bank? Do you like it? What did you consider when you opened your bank account?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam!

White smoke, signaling that a new Pope had been chosen
Because I am currently taking a Roman Catholicism class, I have been keeping a watchful eye out to see who the new pope will be. As you very well should be aware, today the new pope was selected and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina made the transformation to Pope Francis.

As expected, there has been quite a buzz with this new selection. CNN reports that the papacy election created a very large spike on the internet; at it's peak, Twitter reported 130,000 tweets per minute!

Pope Francis
So what is so amazing about this event, and why does everyone (Catholic or not) care about this? Well, simply put: the Pope is a world leader and represents about 1.2 billion Catholics. In addition, the way that this election came about was very unique; as I'm sure you already know, Pope Benedict XVI (now referred to as 'emeritus pope') resigned saying that he was not physically capable enough to continue in the papacy. This has not been done for almost 600 years, so it was bound to draw the attention of everyone, regardless of their religious views.

There are thousands are articles being published about Pope Francis and countless stipulations of what type of papacy he will lead. Here are some interesting tidbits I picked up from this article and general conversation that I thought I would share with you:
  • He is the first pope from Latin America
  • He is the first Jesuit pope
  • He is 76 and only has one lung
  • He chose to be named after St. Francis of Assisi who was known for his work with the poor; apparently St. Francis Assisi gave up all of his riches to live a more simple life - this is why many people stipulate that he will do wonders for needy during time as pope.
  • He holds degrees in chemistry, philosophy, and theology
  • During college before he joined the church he worked as a bouncer in a bar
  • Instead of living in the archbishop's palace in Buenos Aires and traveling via chauffeured limousine, he chose to live in a modest apartment and take the public transit
  • He is reportedly rather conservative; he does not condone gay marriage or gay couples being able to adopt, he is against most forms of birth control, abortion, and does not believe woman should play a larger role in the church.
So, that's that. Now you can at least have some interesting facts to contribute in a conversation, should the need arise!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Senior Degree Audit 101

The date is set (May 19th), and with Spring Break next week, it's safe to say that we are almost on the home stretch to graduation! When I think of graduation I think of celebrating and being care-free... but there are a lot of things that you need to do before walking to the stage and getting your diploma! The requirement that has created the most confusion among my fellow seniors is the Senior Degree Audit.

The Senior Degree Audit is a process where you sit down with the Registrar and go over your academic plan to make sure that you've done everything necessary in order to get your degree. Ideally, you would have been continuously doing this with your academic counselor along the way, so this meeting is more of a formality then anything else.

The process for this audit is a bit funky, so I thought I'd lay out the steps I went through:
  1. Fill out the Graduation Audit Form which can be found online or outside of the Registrar's office
  2. Look for your name on the white board outside of the Registrar's office
  3. Once your name is written on that board, go inside to the Registrar's office say your name is on the board and you'd like to meet with the Registrar for a degree audit. 
  4. At this point, you'll sit down in the Registrar's office (if she's available) and discuss your status and any actions you need to take from there depending on your situation.
Once you've met with the Registrar, she'll be able to tell you what your graduating GPA will most likely be (depending on how you do this semester) and let you know if you're going to be graduating with any type of Honors (cum laude, magna cum laude or maxima cum laude).

Once you've checked the Degree Audit off of your to-do list there are a bunch of other steps you need to do, like purchase your cap & gown, your financial aid exit counseling, paying your graduation fee, filling out the mandatory participation form if you'd like to walk on graduation day...  the list seems overwhelming at first, but don't despair, the end is almost here and you can always check back here for some more graduation tips!

What about you, does your school make you do a ton of things before graduation or is it a fairly simple process?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Accepted Student Calling

We got free dinner from Moe's... yum!
The past two nights I have had the pleasure of helping to call all of the recently accepted students for next year! I have never done this before (because this is my first year as a tour guide), but it was a ton of fun! It is so amazing to hear how excited the students and parents got when they realized it was someone from Albertus calling!

I was really excited to do this event because I remember when I got my accepted student call! I remember how incredibly jazzed I was - I could not wait to get to Albertus! It's so funny because I remember exactly what I was doing when they called (cooking dinner) and I remember the entire conversation! Turns out the girl who called me actually became my really good friend when I came to Albertus, and we still hang out!

Most of the soon-to-be Falcons were super excited and had really great questions for me, so I thought I'd share them with you, and give you my answers!:
  • As a freshman, where should I live; Dominican or in a mansion? When I came in as a transfer I lived in Dominican, and I am so happy that I did! I wanted to be where all the excitement on campus was, and being that 2/3 of the residents live in Dominican, for me Dominican was the place to be. Also, because the majority of kid's on campus live in Dominican, it's so easy to just pop over to someone's room to hang out, versus having to cross campus (especially when it's snowing!). That being said, if you enjoy/require living a quieter lifestyle in order to be able to focus on your schoolwork, then you should choose a mansion. Regardless of where you live, you are going to make friends - so don't stress too much on this!
  • I'm on a sports team, where should I live? Typically incoming freshmen and transfers who are on a sports team want to live around their future teammates. Most of the teams tend to have a majority of their players living in Dominican, though I would talk with your coach about it!
  • Should I bring a microwave/refrigerator? If you live in Dominican, yes; if you live in a mansion, no because they are not allowed (you have access to a community kitchen in the mansions). I would suggest waiting until you see who your roommate is before you go and buy them. The summer before move-in, you will get a letter saying who your roommate is and their phone number. I would suggest calling them and working out the details of who will bring what, that way you don't end up duplicating.
  • Can I bring my pet? Nope, sorry :( ... But that just gives you a reason to go home and visit mom and dad! You won't believe me now (because if you are anything like I was, you are so ready to get out of the house!) but you will miss them a ton, and you will want every excuse to go home, even just for a weekend.
  • What is my financial aid status? The Financial Aid Office will be more then happy to answer any and all of your questions. You can email them at: financial_aid@albertus.edu or call: 203-773-8508.
Do you have any questions I didn't answer? You can either ask them in a comment, or email me directly: orpalmer@albertus.edu. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Habitat for Humanity Auction: Reflection

Silent Auction after it had been moved to the Pub
As you know if you've been keeping up with my blog, I was recently part of a Habitat for Humanity Auction! The funds for this event will be going towards funding a trip that a Service Learning course here at Albertus will be taking. The students in the Service Learning course will be going to Montreal this spring break to help build a house for a family in need. If you'd like to read my previous post about this event, click here.

The excitement of the event is over, and we did an awesome job pulling this off (if I do say so myself!). Between the two auctions, silent and live, we made a grand total of $1,700! Can you believe that?!

The first auction of the day was the Silent Auction. This was held in the Bree Commons which is on the ground floor of Aquinas Hall. Students and faculty alike were able to bid on items they liked throughout the day - some of the items were very popular and definitly ended up costing a pretty penny!

The second part of the auction was live at the pub, and this is the one I worked at! I was 1 out of 3 auctioneers who auctioned off the items. The live auction was for the big-ticket items such as 3 lazer hair removal appointments, a month of Zumba classes, a year's Costco membership, etc. We also moved the silent auction into the pub to get any last minute bids! It was a really good time and fun to see people battle it out for the items they had their eyes on!

All in all, it was a wonderful experience and it made way more money then we had expected! I'm going to log this event away as a huge success and keep it mind for any future fundraising needs I may come across.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dunkin' Donuts vs. Starbucks

If you walk around campus on any given morning during the week, you will most likely not be able to count the amount of Dunkin' Donuts coffee cups being carried around by faculty and students on two hands; the well-known slogan "America Runs on Dunkin'" could accurately be pinpointed to "Albertus Runs on Dunkin'".

Shirt for sale at a local Dunkin' Donuts
I admit, I enjoy the convenience of Dunkin' Donuts for when I'm in a pinch and craving caffeine (I mean, they're literally everywhere in CT!) but past that, I cannot understand why Dunkin' Donuts has become such a "thing" - their products there are not even that cheap anymore! This may sound ludicrous, but I cannot stand Dunkin' Donuts! If I have the opportunity, I will always choose to go to another coffee place.

I have had countless bad experiences (either they have messed up my order, given me stale or burnt products, or the staff has been horribly rude) at almost every Dunkin' Donuts I have ever gone to at one point or another! The crazy thing is... I am not alone in this; anytime I mention that Dunkin' Donuts got me so frustrated that morning because they messed up my order, at least 80% of whatever group I am talking to will agree and say they have had similar problems! So what then is keeping Dunkin' Donuts so popular?

One thing that I have noticed about Dunkin' which really grinds my gears is that they're always seeming to compare themselves with Starbucks. I personally love Starbucks and cannot see how Dunkin' Donuts would even think themselves in the same league! Starbucks coffee is delish (in my opinion), and they have not once messed up my order. I also hate when one company clearly bashes another company in their advertising, it seems cheap and inappropriate in my eyes - a very bad marketing technique indeed.

So what do you think? Do you understand the Dunkin' Donuts craze or are you as bewildered as me? If you had the choice of Dunkin' Donuts and Starbucks, which would you choose? If you have any insight to this Dunkin' Donuts phenomenon, please enlighten me!

A made this short poll below in order to get a good grasp of what you readers think, so please answer :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Haircut at The Paul Mitchell School

So today I got a haircut! This is a big thing for me, because I haven't gotten my hair cut for at least a year and a half; usually I'm not too concerned with my hair, which is why it has been such a long time.

Today I got my hair cut because my long-time friend, Sam Bate, is attending The Paul Mitchell School - Danbury. Sam is in a year-long program from which, when she is done, she will graduate as a certified hair dresser, which is pretty cool! I make the hour-long trek to Sam's chair because Sam and I met back in 6th grade, and have been pretty good friends ever since! It's nice to have an excuse to go visit with her and catch up with all the going-on's in our lives. 

Another cool perk of having Sam cut my hair is that it is super cheap. For a hair cut and blow out today, I paid only $12! The reason the cuts are so cheap is because you are getting your hair cut by a student... so you have to take this into consideration. I wasn't too worried because a) I trust Sam and know she's fairly decent at doing hair (she's been doing my hair for dances since 6th grade!), and b) if there was ever a point where she wasn't sure, there was a teacher available able to either walk her through the steps, or do the cut themselves. For example: I wanted side bangs, which is something Sam wasn't comfortable doing just yet, so her teacher (a Paul Mitchell certified professional) came over and did them for me!

It was a really great experience and I will definitely be going back next time I need a trim. I know that Danbury is too far for most people in the New Haven area, but there is a Paul Mitchell School in North Haven, so if you're interested in getting your hair done for cheap, while helping a student practice... feel free to check out their website and schedule an appointment! If you're willing to make the journey all the way up to Danbury, I would definitely suggest booking an appointment with Sam - she's awesome!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Nemo Clean Up

Though it has been a week since Nemo struck, New Haven is still coping with the aftermath. There is so much snow that there is really nowhere to put it! Even when the city plowed the streets, the snow from the streets got pushed to the sidewalk, which in a city is just not acceptable. Main streets are completely clogged up, for example: one main road near Albertus, Dixwell Ave, is completely overloaded with traffic because the normally two-lane road has been reduced to one lane. This is super inconvenient and I wasn't really sure what the city was going to do about it.

I wasn't sure... up until tonight! Tonight when I was doing my homework I heard a ruckus outside, so my boyfriend and I went to the porch to see what it was. Turns out, the city has some SERIOUS snow plows that have been working overtime to clear the roads and collect all the snow to dump in areas that wont be effected, like empty fields.

It was so cool to see the snow plow because it was literally the largest vehicle I have ever seen. In the picture it is hard to grasp the size, partly because I am standing on a porch that is elevated, but as you can see, it is about half the size of the 3-story house behind it!

The plow was accompanied by cops who blocked off our roadway so that the big plow could work fast and efficiently without having to worry about hitting cars. We had to park our cars in our neighbor's driveway so that the plow would be able to get the snow that was around our cars.

Now our road is very clean and we can go back to parking on the side of the street without having to worry about getting stuck in the snow. All is good on Spring Street!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Aftermath of Nemo

I spy with my little eye... two cars!
So as you should know by now if you live in New England or have been paying attention to the news, we just weathered a huge blizzard, Nemo.

Nemo was a beast! My boyfriend, dog, and I were snowed in from Friday the 8th until today, so we're definitely ready to get out of the house! It was quite an experience, and honestly it was really good for me. Nemo put my life on pause for a good 5 days, which enabled me to catch up on my assignments and just take a much-needed breath. Albertus just opened up today for faculty and staff on an abbreviated schedule - classes are STILL canceled, which means in total so far, Nemo has canceled 4 days of classes.

My boyfriend working on digging out the cars
As you can tell from the pictures, we really got slammed. The snow covered our cars and after the plows passed, the snow piled up on our cars even more to create what seemed like a 10 ft mountain of snow! Digging out our cars was quite an ordeal that took a good 5 hours, with the help of our neighbors. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, Zairis!

Though history will recognize tonight as the night Nemo the Blizzard pummeled New England, it's also the night my boyfriend turns 24!

We had originally planned to go out for a nice dinner for his birthday, but with Nemo hitting tonight, and already logging some serious inches of snow, we decided it was best to stay in. I'm sure he was a little bummed that he had to be in the house for his birthday, but I did my best to try to make it as special as possible.

I made him his favorite dinner (lasagna) and we watched a bunch of movies we have been meaning to see online. I also got him a yummy cake from Stop & Shop and some birthday presents.

All in all, it was probably not the birthday he was hoping for, but we made the best of it :)

That's how I spent the night when Nemo came to town, what were you doing?!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Blizzard on the Horizon!

So as you probably know, we are expecting a blizzard here in the Northeast! I am really nervous... but also sort of excited!

Because there has been so much buzz about this storm, I have really taken a lot of thought of how I'm going to prepare for it. So far, I've filled up my gas tank (in case the gas stations lose power like they did during the last major snow storm), made sure all of our flashlights have batteries, picked up a few bottles of wine, and grabbed some snacks so that we wont go hungry! My boyfriend also purchased some tarps so that he could cover up our cars (I have a hole in the roof of my convertible... so the last thing I need is a few feet of snow resting on top of it!). So far, everything seems to be smooth sailing, all that we have left to do is some batch cooking (because you know how much I love to do that! If you don't already know, you should learn by reading what I batch cooked before Hurricane Sandy!), and wait for the storm to hit!

Email Alert from Albertus Emergency Alert System
I am really glad that Albertus has already announced that they will be closing for the storm. Earlier today, Albertus' Emergency Alert System sent out a message saying that the school would be closed tomorrow (Friday) and the next day (Saturday). Because I work at the school, this means I not only get the day off from classes.. but also from one of my jobs! Albertus is really good about letting students and faculty know when there is a cancellation. When you register for the alert system you can get a text message, phone call AND an email! In addition, when you log onto your online portal (called "myAlbertus") it announces in big red letters across the top of the screen; if you're paying any attention at all, you will always know if the school is closed!

I am really nervous for the actual storm, but I'm even more relieved for the opportunity to catch up on my life! I have got a ton of homework that I need to do, I need to apply for jobs for after I graduate, and my house needs some serious cleaning! I will definitely be taking this opportunity to catch up on my work... and maybe even jump ahead in a few classes! 

Are you going to be around for the blizzard? If so, what will you be doing with your long weekend? Are you excited to be snowed in, or would you rather be going to school or work? What do you usually do to prepare for huge storms like this one?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Stay Confident

Thinking about the future and making the next step, whether its graduating from college and entering the "real world" or graduating high school and deciding what your next step will be,  can definitely cause a whole melting pot of emotions; one minute I am so excited I wish May would hurry and get here, and the next I'm so nervous and full of anxiety that I want to curl up in bed and hope that May never comes!

I think (and hope!) that this is a normal mixture of emotions. This weekend, what with visiting my sisters in Washington, DC and seeing yet another path I could take after graduation, I have been feeling a new emotion: self-doubt. Being surrounded by such a supportive community at Albertus has really boosted my confidence and made me feel somewhat like a big fish in a little pond; so to come to the nation's capitol, which is where the best of the best come to start their careers... it's definitely easy to start feeling like you're inadequate and may not have the right kind of stuff in order to make it in such a happening place.

So, instead of getting down on myself, I have decided I am going to surround myself with positive things, improve my life as best as I can, and start trying to truly believe that I've got what it takes to be whatever the heck I want to be! I started with changing the background of my laptop from the generic blank screen to a collage of motivational pictures. It's not only already making me feel better, but every time I open my computer it reminds me that I am going places and to stay focused on that goal (so I don't go on Facebook instead of writing my homework posts on eLearning!). Here are the pictures I selected for my collage:

So if you're looking for colleges or starting to apply for jobs and are beginning to doubt your ability, I suggest starting with a small step like this! I found these pictures simply by Google-ing "motivational picture quotes", there are hundreds so I just picked the ones that best applied to my life. One thing to remember is that when you surround yourself with positivity, you are bound to be more confident... and nothing is more appealing then confidence!

What about you, do you have any tips on staying confident and positive? What types of motivational and/or uplifting tools do you use?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Study Tip: Get a Partner!

Going into the 3rd week of the semester, I already have a good sense about which classes I will do very well in and which classes I may struggle with. This last semester of my undergraduate degree is looking to be smooth sailing - except for one of my classes: Money & Banking. This is an online course that is taught through Aplia and it is perhaps one of the hardest courses I have taken throughout my college career. 

Usually I love online courses; however when the material is hard, I find that the class being online makes it that much more difficult because the teacher is not readily there to answer your questions. Of course, the teacher is available to help during their office hours, but with my busy schedule I am not always available during their office hours.

Two heads are better than one!
So here's my tip: find someone else in your class that is also a motivated student and have regular study sessions were you complete the homework and help each other learn the material. We've all heard the old saying "two heads are better than one" and sometimes (even if you're both clueless about the material) it can just be beneficial to have someone there to bounce ideas off of, and because you both have a vested interest in doing well, it should motivate you to stay on time with the assignments and focused on doing well in the class, instead of giving up when it get's too hard (which is what I tend to do!).

So, for Money & Banking, I have teamed up with Gina! She is one of my friends from campus and is actually another Student Blogger, you can check her blog out here.

How do you get through the more challenging classes? Do you have a study partner or do you go it alone? Do you have any tips for me?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Habitat for Humanity Auction

As you may have guessed by reading through my blog, at Albertus we do a lot to give back to the community both locally and on a larger scale. To read about other fundraising events I have participated in at Albertus, you can visit my posts about The Giving Tree or our Life Haven Raffle which took place last semester.

This semester, through my Grant Writing & Fundraising course, I get to participate in a fundraiser which is dedicated to the Habitat for Humanity organization. Interestingly enough, back when I was in high school I was involved in the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, so to be able to get back involved with this organization is a real treat!

Habitat for Humanity is an international organization that focuses on re-building communities, in the literal sense! Habitat for Humanity offers a way to give back by helping to fund and build houses for those who cannot afford to build their own.

Albertus is going to be sending some students to Montreal, Canada to build a house. This is going to be an awesome experience that unfortunately I am not going to be a part of. However, because my professor is very invested in the project, she has decided that one of the goals for our Grant Writing  & Fundraising class will be to apply what we learn to real-life organizations and put all the money we earn towards this great cause! I am really excited about this real-life application of what we will learn in this class because it will legitimize what we are learning and will really allow us to use our skills in a professional setting!

Though my class doesn't get to go on the Habitat trip, we are going to be very involved in the fundraising process; our main event will be an auction that will be taking place Thursday, February 28th in the Bree Commons from 4:30-5:30 pm. 

We are currently looking for donations from local vendors, so if you know anybody who would like to donate a good or service to this auction, certainly let me know! If you're not able to donate a good or service, you're still welcome to donate as little or as much money as you'd like... so if donating is something you'd like to learn more about, just shoot me an email at orpalmer@albertus.edu or comment on this post!

Does your school offer any programs where you get to give back to the community? If so, which organizations do you donate to? If not, which organizations are close to your heart that you wish your school would get involved in?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


My Winnings!
Last night I decided to attend Bingo, which was hosted by our Student Government Association (SGA) in the pub. All events put on by the SGA are for the students and are free. They sponsor about 2-3 events a night, so there seems like there's always something going on!

Not to sound like an old lady, but I love going to Bingo! It's a lot of fun and they play so many different versions that it keeps it interesting. Also, they play at least 10 games a night so your chances of winning are pretty high. 

I also like going to Bingo because, like many other SGA events, it is located in the Pub. The Pub has a lot of food for very cheap - only a few dollars for things like nachos, chicken nuggets, etc. In addition, during Bingo, they provide popcorn for free! I really like this because, as anyone who knows me can attest to, I love food and I love noshing on snacks when doing pretty much anything.

Usually, I am one of those people who never wins anything, but this is my second time winning at Bingo! Most of the time the prices are gift certificates to places like Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin' Donuts, Panera Breads...etc. but towards the end of the night the prizes turn into cold, hard cash! I won a $20 Visa Gift Card, so I was really happy with that :)

What about you, do you like Bingo? Do you always win, or are you like me and never win at all? Does your school put on any fun, free game nights?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blended Courses

This semester I am experiencing a new aspect of Albertus academia: blended courses. Blended Courses are just like a regular class, except for one major thing: each week you meet once in class (called "on ground") and once online via eLearning. This is definitely new for me, but I am really starting to love it!

What initially attracted me to this format of classes was that because the classes only meets on ground once a week, I would have more time to work at my two office jobs. This is a huge help for me because I really rely on my income to pay my rent and bills, so to be able to have those extra hours that would normally split up my work day has really helped me out and put a nice little lining in my pockets!

The only downside to the blended courses is that sometimes it can be hard to remember when things are due; this is when keeping yourself organized becomes crucial. If you forget an assignment because you didn't remember to sign onto eLearning, you have no one to blame but yourself. The lucky part is that you're usually on eLearning everyday anyway for other classes, so it is no hassle to just look at all of your classes and see what is due. I find that a really helpful tool is to use a day planner and just write in a reminder every week to submit my eLearning assignments for each blended class.

The two courses I am taking in the blended format are: Grant Writing & Fundraising and Marketing Research & Strategy. So far, they're going great :)

I know everybody has very different views on online classes, have you ever taken an online or partially online class? Do you like it more or less? Did you have trouble keeping up with the class or was it easier for you?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


You can start your own bowling club!
Sometimes, no matter where you live or what school you go to, it can seem like there is just nothing to do! This is how I was starting to feel a few days ago, so when my friend asked me and my boyfriend to join a very casual bowling league, we jumped at the opportunity! I also joined the team because it is a great way to meet new people and expand your network.

This league that I joined meets at Brunswick Colony Lanes in Wallingford, CT, which is just about 20 minutes from Albertus. It is very informal and really just a great group of people who wanted to have an excuse to meet up every week! What's really cool is that you can start your OWN league for very cheap, which is why I thought I'd blog about it!

The league meets 8 weeks and is $1 a week per player, each team in the league has two teammates, so it's really easy to get your teams started. If you're really into bowling and want to have your own bowling ball at the end of the "season" you can pay an additional $5/week and you will get it at the end of the session!

My boyfriend and I are a team, and we had a TON of fun! We played a team of two guys who were really good; we got murdered, but I'm going to blame that on the fact that I had fake nails on and had to bowl like a 5 year old and roll the ball between my legs. Needless to say I have taken those nails off and I am ready for next week's match... they're going down!!

My boyfriend bowling - what a pro!
If you decide to go bowling at Brunswick, the only think I would warn you against is eating there. We had skipped dinner before going bowling so we decided to just eat at the bowling alley; this was a huge mistake! As could have been expected, the food was sub-par (even for a bowling alley) and incredibly expensive (think: movie theater food, but worse).

What about you, do you like to bowl? Have you ever been in a bowling league? Would you be interested in joining or building your own league?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Religion at Albertus

As you most definitely should already know by now, Albertus Magnus College is a Catholic College in the Dominican Tradition. This is because back in 1925, the school was founded by some Sisters from this religious sect.

Though we at Albertus are proud of this heritage, it does not necessarily show up all the time in the classroom or living experience. Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of religious outlets should you choose to engage, such as Campus Ministry, Choir, and the weekly Mass held on campus; but because I am not associated with any religious affiliation (aka Agnostic), I have not sought out any of these experiences and the fact that Albertus is a Catholic school has really slipped by mostly unnoticed for the past year and a half. 

... That is until this semester when I decided to enroll in Roman Catholicism. In an effort to uphold the "and discover truth in all of it's dimensions" part of the Albertus' mission statement, it is a requirement to take at least one religion course before you graduate. There are tons of classes to choose from, such as: World Religions, Religion & Nature, etc. I chose this class not because of any particular interest, but rather because it fit perfectly into my schedule.

To be perfectly honest, I was not too stoked about having to take this class. Because religion does not play a role in my life, I found it annoying that I have to take this class when right now all I want to do is focus on business courses for my major. Also, spending an hour and a half (give or take) twice a week listening to a teacher drone on and on about Catholicism does not sound like my cup of tea.

That was my mindset going into this class, and when I walked into the classroom to find an actual nun as my teacher, my lack of enthusiasm turned in to dread. That was until the nun, Sister Mariette, started speaking. It turns out, Sister Mariette is actually really cool - she prefaced the course saying that she was not there to convert anybody, but rather talk about what Catholicism is and try to debunk and rumors we may have heard. 

Another cool thing that Sister did was give us a check-list of topics related to Catholicism that we wanted to learn more about. She recognized that this class would only be interesting if we all participated and were interested in the topics covered, so she let us pick out which topics we would like to discuss and learn more about for the rest of the semester - sort of like we are building our own, customized course!

Sister Mariette's enthusiasm and candidness with us was like a breath of fresh air. Instead of being locked in a room about to fall asleep listening to outdated, irrelevant preachings (like I thought this class was going to be) it actually seems like it is going to be very interesting. Sister was open to all of my questions and very honest about her life as a nun and her personal take on some of the Catholic teachings. I'm excited for our second class today!