Last Post as an Undergraduate at Neumann University

Well, I was going to write this post before I left for Russia, but I kept putting it off with the idea that I was busy and didn’t have time. However, I think that I was more or less trying to avoid this post because it would mean the end. 

I try to act like endings aren’t such a big deal and that it doesn’t mean that much to me, but I’m always proven wrong. When I had graduated from Prendie, I was completely okay with it and during the entire ceremony I didn’t cry, but was filled with ecstatic joy. My family took me out for lunch afterwards and I was just so happy and proud of myself and figured high school wasn’t that big of a deal. My mom and I drove home together from the restaurant and I just began hysterically crying and my mom sat with me for almost two hours in the car outside of my house while I cried about the end of the 4 greatest years of my life, the fact that I was leaving for another country in two months, and for the fear that I would lose all of my friends and the great memories we had in those horrific peter-pan collars and maroon tights. But as usual, I was wrong, I still keep in contact with most of my friends and we still laugh, and sometimes cry about those amazing times.

So when the opportunity presented itself to study abroad in Russia this summer again, I didn’t hesitate. Hey, so I’m not walking? Who cares? I’ll be where I want to be, doing what I’ve learned to love over the past 3 years at Neumann. But during the first week of classes here in Russia and the constant uploading of photos from my friends on Facebook in their cap and gowns and of their ceremonies, I’ve grown sentimental. Now that I’ve become an almost emotional train-wreck due to my not walking, my suitemates and various friends I’ve made here so far are having an impromptu graduation celebration for me tomorrow evening during Eurovision, so I’m pretty excited. I’ve sworn to myself that I will walk when I graduate with my masters, because my mom and dad deserve that for everything they’ve done for me.

As for Neumann, I’m excited and sad to leave. They were very welcoming when I first transferred and have been secretly in love with the small close knit campus. I’ve made many new friends, all of whom will go so far in their career. They are amazing people with wonderful ideas on how to change the world or to even change something as simple as a local law. I can’t wait to see what they do and to support them in their decisions. They have also been very supportive of my decision to continue my Russian studies, occasionally poking fun at my choice, but only out of love. Anyway, I couldn’t thank them enough.

My professors have always also been entirely helpful, and I have no idea where I’d be today without any of their support and encouragement. Neumann is extremely lucky to have professors such as Dr. Bryce Johnson, Lawrence Puchalski, Dr. Geoff Karabin and various others such as Linda Miller who are fully dedicated to their students success. I can not thank them enough for all of their help.

 

So although I begin my new exciting adventure at Duke for a Masters in Slavic and East Eurasian Studies this fall, I am very thankful and will never forget my first registration meeting where Larry Puchalski told me: “You should take a foreign language, probably Russian, you’d like the teacher.”  The rest is history.

 

Thank you faculty, staff and administration of Neumann University for everything!!

A week late, but not a dollar short.

So last week we had 3 major holidays in one 7-day period. That is if you celebrate Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, and Valentines Day. I found it kind of ironic, as a Catholic anyway, that the holiday to celebrate feasting and partying happened on Tuesday, then followed by the solemn Ash Wednesday where one is supposed to fast, but the BAM Valentines day ( another holiday pushed by marketers for lovers to overindulge in gifts and sweets.)

Anyway, working at a Bakery on Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, is also called -drum roll please- Donut Day. I used to dread the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, and Christmas Eve? Forget about it! However, I think that I will be replacing Fat Tuesday as my least favorite holiday to work at the bakery. People are crazy! Buying dozens upon dozens of donuts! Getting mad because it’s 8pm and I’ve run out of cream. Anyways, the point of this rant, is that working in the customer service industry has changed my whole outlook as a consumer. So now I’m going to give you some advice on how to be a better shopper:

1. Don’t show up 5 minutes before a place closes and become exasperated because they don’t have particular items stocked or because they try to get you out quickly. It’s just rude, and in all honesty, we mock you when you leave and you just look like a dummy. How can you prevent this? Okay, so if you are running late, or you’re inspired to grab a cannoli at 845 at night, give the place a call and let them know. Seriously, that way they can be expecting you instead of feeling like their being held up they’ll be ready to assist you. In fact, if you know what you want, ask them to put it aside for you and it makes it 100% better.

2. Don’t be rude to people who handle your food or to workers in general. Look, I’ve been up since 4;30am and the last thing I want to be doing is dealing with your cocky attitude at 830am because you havent had a coffee. Or if you rifle through a whole area of freshly stocked t-shirts at Kohls or something, don’t just throw stuff everywhere and anywhere, make an attempt to put it back in the right area, trust me, we appreciate it way more than finding mens boxer briefs stuffed in a kids helicopter toy. 

3. Don’t be on the defense right away. Working in retail for awhile, people with returns or other issues with the company come right to be ready to take me on like it’s WW3. I truly regret that up until our encounter you’ve had a horrible experience, but you will just make it worse by talking to me like I’m dumb. Trust me, I would like nothing better than to help you, get you on your way and love my average customer handling time, but if you give me attitude, you’ve just totally put me off of being helpful and at that point could careless if you get your refund or not. In fact, I might even put you in the system to not allow you to make returns, trust me, some places can do that. 

4. if you have a coupon, please, for the love of God, please present it before I’ve already rung you up. Nothing irritates cashiers more than having to void a sale and re-doing the whole entire process. It’s not hard, and you know you’re going to use it.

5.Speaking of coupons, or no matter how you’re going to pay. Be prepared. I’m not saying have everything counted down to the last cent, but at least know if you’re going to use cash or credit. It’s bothersome that I have a line of 12 people waiting and you can’t find your AMEX, or you’re not sure if you want to do half credit half cash, just make the decision before I’ve fully rung you up.

I’m sure there are a few other tips I could give you, but those are just some of my rants. I just try to be as friendly and helpful as possible when I go out shopping. I don’t go out to try and personally give a sales person a horrible day.

Night Classes

So it’s a few weeks into the semester so naturally everyone is bored of their current classes and excited to start registering for summer and fall classes and look forward to the thrills and prospects of these new classes. But let me give you a quick word of advice on choosing classes. You might decide to go with a 3 hour night class over a Monday, Wednesday, Friday 8 am class. I suggest you stick to the one hour 8 am class. It sounds great getting that whole weeks worth of class done in one night but 3 hours is a long period of time, especially sitting in class. If its convenient for your schedule then go for it but I seriously think at least for me, that I am able to academically perform better with a break in between learning that isn’t 7 days long. Also if you take a night class like I do now, reconsider carpooling. I go with my mom whose class is also on Monday nights from 630-930 and mine is from 6-9 but I’m usually done by 7 hahaha so sitting here at school for an additional 2 hours can be boring but hey I’ve finished a research paper that isn’t due until the middle of March, so I guess it’s not so bad after all.

Tips and Advice on How to Survive School

Sitting here and saying that I have perfect time management skills would be a full on lie. As much as I’d like to think I’ve got it mapped out between school and work and a social life, I really don’t but I’ve got some few tips that might help. Don’t be surprised if some sound familiar. I don’t want to sound like one of those corny school survival posters or something, but here’s how I manage a full time work load, a full-time job, and a somewhat social life.

First off, get a planner, or use the calendar on your phone, trust me. I know it takes hours to fill in every little thing but it works. The day after I get all my syllabus’ from my teachers I go home and fill in each day in my planner with what’s needed. I keep my planner with me everywhere. When I get my schedule for work, I write those times in and see which days are going to be tight with studying time, or which days I’ll need to ask for off because of a test. Now, for things like major reports and tests, I put those on my phone calendar and have the reminder set for the day before. TRUST ME, as annoying as it is, it’s a life saver. Nothing like forgetting a 10 page paper, or realizing you were supposed to be at work an hour ago.

Establish a relationship with your professor from the beginning. Even in high school my friends always thought I was weird for being nice to my teachers and going out of my way to make sure they felt like they were important, well it’s because they are! These people want to help you, despite popular belief, they truly want to see you succeed and not end up in jail. So be nice to them, respect them during class, even if they are boring or come across as jerks. Show some restraint and pay attention. Don’t text on your phone or update your twitter, because I’m here to tell you, nobody really cares that you’re bored in English class, because everyone is bored in English class. It’s an hour, hour and a half tops of learning for each class. Go to your teachers if you need help or have a question, don’t wait till the exam to stress yourself out, it’s not worth it. Trust me, I’ve sent teachers e-mails at 3 in the morning because of something I didn’t understand. All my teachers know me by my first name and say hi to me in the hallways, it’s really helpful when you need letters of recommendation or references for your resume.

Don’t get involved in drama. Okay, this one I know is hard, because everyone gossips and we all thrive like pigs in dirt with the news of a couples breakup. But seriously, don’t put too much into it, because half of the time, actually 100% of the time, it’s not worth it. Those people that try to start drama constantly are attention-seekers, so the best thing to do is walk away. Go tweet about Kim Kardashians baby or something, but don’t tweet or facebook about anyone or anything that will start drama. It will come back to haunt you, trust me on this. Everybody talks and not everyone is on your side either.

READ your textbooks, even if it’s just a quick scan before class. It’s always better to have a working knowledge of what you will learn in the class. It not only helps you out but it helps the teacher out as well. DO YOUR HOMEWORK, just do it, seriously, you know you have to do it, so why not do it that night? Granted long papers take time, but outline it that day and start researching it the next day, you seriously do not want to be sitting in the last few nights of the semester doing those papers and catching up on homeworks.

Get involved, now this post is totally cliché huh? One of my biggest regrets was waiting to get involved. In high school I was president of student council, president of orchestra, captain for relay for life, a member of the all catholic jazz band, a cast member of the school musicals and part of other various organizations and I loved it. But for some reason I decided I was going to focus on my grades in college and not worry about getting involved. However, this past year I joined jazz band and I love it, I’ve made new friends outside of my Criminal Justice classes and I enjoy playing our concerts and for the nuns as well. I wish I would’ve joined before my senior year and I wish now I could’ve done other activities on campus to meet more people. Just do it, go to one meeting, if you don’t like it then you can leave, nobody is keeping you!

Keep in touch with your family and friends back at home. Nothing like coming home over break and having no one to hang out with. Make sure you send your family and friends a tweet or facebook message every now and then to make them feel like you haven’t forgotten about them!

I’m sure there is more I could think of, but alas, I have homework to do to get it out of the way so I can enjoy my weekend!

Maybe I’ll post tomorrow ;]

Here’s my daily advice

For those of you who have aspirations and dreams of what you hope to become in society, read on. After a rough start to my college career and some typical existential crisis of “what am I supposed to be doing with my life?” I decided to trudge on and apply to Neumann University. In high school I had applied to Neumann but didnt really want to go here because my mom went here and is still working towards her BA. After studying in London for a semester and failing miserably after 2 weeks at a military college, I decided that I would give Neumann a go again. I’m so blessed that I have had the opportunity to attend this University. It just makes me laugh because there was a cadet at the college I attended who would every day tell me how pathetic I was and how I would never amount to anything and that I’d never get my dream job. I laugh now because that cadet taught me a very valuable lesson I needed to learn. Not everyone has your best interest at heart. Not everyone wants to see you succeed and be happy. If you can realize this and surround yourself with awesome people and work really hard and let those mean words slide off of you, you will be fantastic! I can guarantee it!

Weekend

The weekend is for the warriors is absolutely correct! I don’t know how people can go out and party all weekend when I’m usually thinking about sleep or still doing school work.
A great distraction for this is shopping. There are some great places around Neumann to provide this fix. The perfect place is the Granite Run Mall. Although going through some remodeling, there are still some great stores to check out there. I’m there now looking for luggage! My younger brother is going to Russia this summer, and I don’t know if Ill join him yet, but here’s hoping ;). Leaving now though cause its snowing :)