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 :)