Philly Trip

On October 2, the freshman Honors group, took a trip to Plays and Players Theater on 1714 Delancey Street, Philadelphia from 11-5 and experienced a political satire. From start to end, the whole trip was memorable. The actual satire was very enlightening and very informational regarding the surrounding politics. The view remained unbiased and the actors composed good representations. The building itself was very antique and small from the outside, although it was spacious on the inside. In addition, the architecture of the facilities was definitely a reflection of the history of the community.

The trip provided us with a great view of Philly and this adventure included a 45 minute hunt for lunch, only to end up a Wawa.

I would recommend this trip to any Honors student or any incoming student who wishes to join the Honors community to embark in trips such as these.

NAMS Laboratory

On January 23, in USC 221, I began my first day in the NAMS laboratory as a chemical lab assistant where my job was to prepare chemicals and prep for the chemistry labs as well as their finals. Upon walking into the lab, I was shocked at all the appliances and intense organization for all the chemicals and supplies. I was provided with lab googles and a lab coat (LAB COAT!!) and set off with simple tasks at first. However, as the weeks led on, I was given more complex tasks such as preparing 24 L of NaOH and cutting 500 strips of Magnesium. This job has taught me so much about chemistry as well as time management since I go straight from class to work and back to class. The amount of information I have learned hands-on and introductions to all the chemistry professors has definitely allowed me to place my foot in the door for which I am grateful.

I am still working at these facilities and would recommend any student to take a small-time job in their current major to truly experience it.

When the Tables Turn

From January 31 to February 1, Stockton University held its Spring Get-Involved Fair from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in A- I atrium. This is when all the clubs and organizations all advertise their groups to recruit members through tabling and the event usually takes place in the beginning of each semester. In the fall semester, my first one here at college, I was taken aback and slightly overwhelmed by all the possible teams I could join, “Should I go Greek? Maybe I should do something different and join Stockton Entertainment Team? Perhaps I could stay with my usual course and join Biological Society?” These thoughts poured through my mind and by the end of my visits to the tables, I was left with 50 pamphlets and no decision. In the fall, I decided to leave no bias and join each and every club’s email list (a decision which my piling mailbox now makes me regret) and attend each club’s meeting at least once. From there, I deduced my many club choices to just 2 to stay focused in them and still spare attention for academics, sports, etc.

Now, during the spring semester, instead of serving as the frantic freshman listening to each club’s pitch, I was tabling for Commuters on the Go and sitting on the opposite side of where I once stood. It was me who was now convincing students why my club was worth joining. The perspective had changed in less than a year and this was already evidence of me growing up. So what? I was able to learn how to convince students to join through my reflection on how others convinced me. This turned into a small learning project for me. In summary, this event was well worth attending and I would recommend it to any freshman-grad student who considers joining a club/organization.

Achieving my Dreams

Two years ago, during junior year of high school, my best friend asked me to join the cross country team after I expressed my passion for running. I laughed it off and joked, “No, no, not that type of running.” What I really meant to say was that although I really enjoyed running, I would run at most 1 mile or 2 miles if I was willing to push myself on a daily basis. I really did not think I was capable of running more than this distance until I came to Stockton University and decided to try something new. At first, in September and beginning of October, I was following the same training plan that I created for myself in high school. Then, I decided, “Well, what if I wanted to do more?” I pushed myself to run 3 miles and increased this to 5 and eventually 10. By the time I reached the last mark, I told myself that I had to race in order to truly mark my achievements. My heart was set on running on a half-marathon and for the next 4 months, I trained for this race and completely changed my lifestyle as I went. There was such a thrill in obtaining the once “unreachable” and I was about to grab it.

On Sunday, April 9, I woke up at 4:30 am with my stomach in knots and pre-race anxiety as thoughts ran through my mind. Why was I nervous? I had trained for months, followed a strict diet plan, and even planned my outfit a week in advance. As my dad and I picked up my friend and drove down to Rutgers reaching there almost 1 hour before the race, we were able to experience the pre-race rush before the wave of runners came into the area. Then, they started calling us into line and suddenly the moment I was preparing months for was REAL. It was all real. The gunshot rang and the runners blasted off. The first few miles, I could not stop myself from smiling like a dork with the euphoria just rushing in. By mile 10, my face was a different story, but my hard work and training kept me going towards the finish line. The finish line was a sense of relief and greatness; inexplicable by simple words.

Already, I am thinking of when I can race again and how I can improve my race by working on pace, posture, etc. There is always room for improvement; overall, my goal here is to show that if you set your mind to it, anything is possible. When I first started running, my parents even doubted that I would go further than 3 miles as a concern of health and family history rather than discouragement. Regardless, I was the first one in my family to run such a long race and defy all the odds. Often, you read the stories of the great unattainable feats athletes, scientists, etc. go through. Well, here is a small story of a common college girl who was able to break her own barriers and is on the way to joining the cross country team she once laughed off.

Afternoon of Service (2-28)

A couple hours a week of simple community service can add to your living and soon enough it will not be community service as much as it will become part of weekly routine. On Tuesday, February 28, from 4:30-6 in Meeting Room 5, my club, Commuters on the Go hosted an Afternoon of Service where the main service project was creating tote bags. The task was fairly simple; align two pieces of cloth and sew three sides together, then attach a handle. However, the effect was lasting. Seeing how easily a small group of people could create 10-15 tote bags in a little over an hour was magnifying and although these bags may serve no regular purpose for those creating the bags, they make a large impact for the homeless people to whom they were being donated to. Rather than simply donating food or money which is a short-period expense, this clothing bag lasts forever and serves as a substitute to plastic bags or carts and helps develop a sense of security for personal items. Following the service session, there was a reflection which helped to open all our minds and hearts regarding our opinions of homeless people. Our common perception is that these individuals are lazy and treated below the status of human for their lack of belongings which typically generate trust and security (car, house, etc.). Yet, after some thought, we all poured in ideas that these are just everyday people who have encountered slight bumps in the road and many of them do have jobs, simply just not enough to sustain a home.

This service and reflection made me understand why I go to college: not just to be educated in the sciences, but everyday issues which surround us. Days like these should be attended at least once a month to retain their purpose.

 

Day of Leadership

Although I was simply the secretary of a small-time club, I was still eager to attend this event to learn how I could improve my leadership skills. On Saturday, April 18 at 8:00 a.m. in the Campus Center Event Room, I attended the Day of Leadership. Upon walking into the room, I was able to view leaders of all types of experience from club leaders to resident’s assistants to even a couple professors. The morning started off with a guest speaker who introduced the idea of being innovative with even the smallest of tasks and speaking up. The concept of leading can come from the most minuscule of tasks and he was able to inspire many individuals, including myself, with the talks he delivered. After lunch, the group separated into different meeting rooms where several speakers delivered their own presentations regarding their own subjects. The one I attended discussed creating his own pin as small project and handing it out to others to share quotes from his book. These motivational phrases were soon spread through the world of celebrities earning him the just fame which he deserved. This was very fascinating to see how many people commended his efforts and how a mini project could grow so large. Afterwards, Stockton faculty and students presented their own “TED Talks” and then the day was to an end.

From this session, I learned the importance of trying new projects and speaking up. I would recommend this to anyone who desires to be a better leader and individual in their community.

M.L.K. Day of Service

The day before winter break ended, on January 16, and before the dreaded course work was thrown onto us again, Stockton University held a Day of Service in memory of Martin Luther King who committed his life to helping others. The event was held in the Campus Center Event Room and began with a series of speakers before the large group of eager volunteers was sectioned off into different service events hosted by a diversity of clubs and organizations. At first, my friend and I joined a group that assisted with tutoring prison inmates in basic schooling such as algebra in order to help them receive their educational goals. However, after realizing that this required a lengthy application process instead of being able to volunteer on the spot, we switched over to Books without Borders where we were able to assist with the transportation and organization of books which would be sent to Zimbabwe.

By being hands-on with the service, I was able to directly view its impact. After the service projects had all ended, we were all given a brief reflection session as well as a shirt/scarf!

I would recommend doing this event to anyone who wishes to serve their community and greater good of society.

Rice, Grains, and More Rice

Rice and grains

I am relieving the pain

Of hunger.

Third world countries suffer

And I serve as the buffer

This short poem describes the following: On September 10, 2016, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the downstairs B-C atrium, the Stockton students and I were able to provide hundreds of food packages to individuals and families in need. The package included vitamins, protein grains, and rice grains. There were three different stations: one packaged the vitamins and grains, the next poured in rice and weighed the bag to a certain amount of grams, and the last sealed the bag. This drill was repeated again and again and successfully completed. After a checkpoint number of bags, a bell was rung to remind the volunteer of how many bags were completed and how many were left. This lasted for approximately one hour before the groups of volunteers shifted onto the next rotation; however, since my friends and I enjoyed this activity so much, we chose to come back to the rice packages for round two. We were able to bond and serve a practical purpose for the community with this encouraging activity. The event was well organized and many others seemed to appreciate donating their time early on Saturday morning as much as I did. Often, volunteering carries a negative connotation and causes people to stray away from it; nonetheless, the impact it creates is large and just on that one day, the Stockton students and faculty were able to donate such a large amount with a minimal amount of time.

Rather than any particular clubs or organizations establish such an event, the university itself took a large role in organizing the activity and encouraging a large turnout. For the almost 8 hours of service, there was the given incentive of a Stockton lunch which, as always, consisted of sandwiches and wraps, accommodating all food needs. For attending the event, students also received a t-shirt and I still see some of my friends wearing it today. I hope that this event encouraged my fellow students as much as it did to spend their time for someone other than themselves. I would recommend this event to any student, regardless of their class or age. The chance to socialize over a useful event was advantageous for all the participants.

In summation, the Day of Service highlighted that the school which we attend looks out for the best intentions of its students as well as other persons. The liberal arts college has its own real life applications and events like these may only occur every once in a while making it all more essential to attend the activities. If anything, these hours can be collected and added to a resume which will boost a student’s chances of being hired to a professional job or being accepted to graduate school. Volunteering has so many added benefits, so one might as well try it out.

Just Do It

Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy. As the well-known rapper, Eminem, would quote, running takes quite the toll on an individual’s physical as well as mental and emotional states. For the first two miles, everything hurts and every step is painstaking, then suddenly, a barrier is broken and one’s legs continue moving without their asking and the body begins to carry them, at least for me. Then, as I look down at my phone, I realize that one hour has passed and although my body encourages me to keep running, my brain deters me from continuing by reminding me about my calculus homework…

So, why do it? This tends to be the most prevalent question which my friends and family members ask me as I explain my running adventures and I attempt my best to explain the runner’s high and feeling of accomplishment as I complete new feats. Regardless, I still sound insane as I round upon the conclusion, “It is fun.” The feeling is indescribable and the journey itself was a great personal milestone.  The running began the end of my sophomore year when I had to reduce my mile time for lacrosse and it continued from there where I would run a mile a day in the summer; I ended up reducing my time down by 2 whole minutes.  Often, I was encouraged not to run, “The idea is futile, you’ll never get anywhere with it”, “You’re not capable so why try?”, and “Just focus on school, there’s no point in running.” Ironically enough, my grades improved with this activity and my focus was sharpened so there really are no disadvantages.

I carried running into college and started my runs at 1 mile, then I realized that I was capable of running even more and raised my threshold to 3 miles a day and moreover onto 5 miles a day. Now, as I continue training, I am working towards running a half-marathon. The limits that the body can push are incredible; just a couple years back, I could not imagine running more than a mile and soon I will be at 13.1. After beginning this activity, I realized how much my lifestyle had transformed from my healthy eating alternatives to my increased productivity from day to day. So, maybe this is why I run.

Although the mental prep before actually beginning the run may be heavy and the first steps may be burdening, after a while, you begin to appreciate the surrounding nature: the temperature of the air, the green on the trees, and the wind that pushes on your back encouraging you to keep going. After finishing, often, I want to go back and do it all again. For those individuals who need a group or partner to run with, there is the Stockton Run Club that meets every couple weeks or so for runs around Lake Fred and usually designates times in the evening. These runs take place often, although it is always possible to complete these runs on one’s own time.

For any individual of any age, size, or physical stature, running is a great option. Especially when it is controlled at a desired pace, running serves as a stress relieving method. So, go ahead, take advantage of that sunny day and go for a run, a jog, even a friendly stroll. I guarantee you will be satisfied with your decision.

My Life in Madagascar- Sort of

As I blew out the candles to celebrate my eighteenth birthday, fear suddenly gripped my eyes and I ran to my room to scramble for my laptop. I completely forgot about my first day of “class”. An online class was new to me; however, knowing myself, I would not want to miss out on earning college credits before officially beginning my first semester. So, here I was with a piece of cake on one side of me and a classroom on the other. This course was the only cost-free course which Stockton would offer to incoming freshman and although the course did not seem all too appealing, I later found it to be extremely insightful. Without further stalling, on June 29th, I began the course, “GoGlobal: GSS 1236 393” with Professor Rodriguez who later turned out to be my instructor for my freshman seminar. This online class focused on instructing the class on the world and discussed different aspects of it from economics to population to information.  The class was split into three different classrooms with a different professor to monitor each one to look over the assignments and discussion board. The course was approximately one month and a half long and assignments were due daily from Monday to Friday.

The topics covered were: Introduction, Population, Resources, Technology, Information, Economies, Conflict, Governance, Globally Citizenship, and Summary/ Integration. The purpose was to transform the students into globally informed and moreover globally involved citizens; a goal which I am positive was achieved based on my education from the course. For each topic, there was a lecture with videos and articles to supplement the information and three types of assignments: New York Times Blog Posts, Discussion Posts, and Global Villager Blogs. Following each topic was a quiz and after five topics, there was an examination that consisted of all open-ended questions. My favorite assignment was the Global Villager Blog since it involved researching a particular area of the globe and seeing how certain economic or health factors would affect an imaginary character which was created by you. The perspective was added when this character was compared to other characters or even the average college student. The assignment truly helped build on research skills and writing performance in my opinion, since a well-constructed response reflected on both the character and the writer.

All in all, the course was very informational and useful to take, although this was only a one-time opportunity since incoming freshman are the only ones who have a chance to enroll. Best of all, in the comfort of one’s home and in their own manageable time, an individual was able to complete their assignments with no worry. I would recommend this to anyone, regardless of their major, since it expands their mind on ongoing global issues and allows them the chance to contribute with political action; this begins with writing a letter to the senator. Finally, since my villager was from Madagascar, I even felt like I was able to visit the country by stepping in her shoes.