The Power of Focus

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If you listen to any successful person talk about how they got to where they are, a lot of times, the word focus will be mentioned at some point. Everyone wants to be successful, but many of us lack focus. Although we live in this multitasking age, multitasking just does not work. And I am not just talking about daily tasks. I am talking about greater focus in life. Look back and be honest with yourself. Do you consider yourself to be a focused person? I personally do not consider myself  to be a focused person. I constantly have to remind myself, “Heather, be focused.” We are constantly getting distracted from what we need to be focused on. Whether we are distracted by our phones, other people, worried thoughts or, you fill in the blank. Continue reading “The Power of Focus”

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Getting My Feet Wet

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I was raised by a hard working, motivating, and humble family.  My grandparents  started a business geared toward outdoor enthusiasts.  Shortly after, my father started his own business. When both grandparents fell ill, my family worked hard to maintain both businesses. This was a long period of great stress. Through all of this, I had to get through elementary, middle, and high school.  My social life was lacking. I did not fit in with my peers, and while I was involved in extracurricular activities, I still struggled with answering the question of, “What is my passion?” Continue reading “Getting My Feet Wet”

What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?

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Image taken from: http://howigrewtoday.com/2013/10/how-i-grew-today-19/

I heard it, I felt it, and then I took ownership of it.
The label was my enemy, and my scapegoat.

When I was in fourth grade, I was called dumb for the first time by a classmate. I was called dumb because fourth grade was the first year I was put into a reading help class. I could not read as fast or as well as the other kids. I specifically remember sitting in class one day during reading time and looking over to see the girl next to me reading Harry Potter and then looking, shamefully, back down at my Junie B. Jones book. I could not even fathom trying to read a Harry Potter book. Harry Potter looked like a dictionary compared to the books I was reading. I know it should not have, but this set the tone for me for the rest of elementary school, and even followed me through my high school career. Because of that, I always felt behind everyone else. I was always struggling to keep up, even with the extra help classes. Continue reading “What Happens When You Let Other People Tell You Who You Are?”

Self-Reflect to Self Direct

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Reflection is the key to growth. I find value in reflecting on past experiences because it helps me realize how far I’ve actually come. Right now, as I wrap up my third week of my first fall semester of grad school, I am able to reflect on how much I’ve grown since last fall.

A year ago, I was in my third week of my senior year, brainstorming post grad plans. I was torn between taking a gap year, going straight into grad school, going to Denver, CO; staying in Albany, NY; or going back home, to Queens, NY. I didn’t know where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. This was odd for me, as someone who loves to plan and know what my next steps are. But for some reason, when it came to post-graduate plans, I just could not figure it out. I put too much pressure on myself to make decisions on things that I needed time to think about. I knew my ultimate career goal was to become a special education teacher, but I was unsure of which path I should take to get there. I was so worried about making the “wrong” decision and choosing a path I would not be happy with.

I talked through my ideas as much as possible with friends and family, however, there is one resource on campus I wish I had taken more advantage of during my senior year. I wish I went to Career and Professional Development to talk to a Peer Career Advisor, who could have helped me narrow my choices. I think I became too overwhelmed because I had too many options. I bet you’re wondering, “How can having too many options be a bad thing?” It is when you are indecisive like myself. I am indecisive in almost every aspect of my life: when it comes to figuring out what I should eat, what to wear, what to do for post grad—you name it. I was given so many options from people I knew in the teaching profession; from Teach for America, Blue Engine Teaching Apprentice, Relay Graduate School for Education, Denver Literacy Fellow, City Year, UAlbany Special Education & Literacy II Program (ding ding ding…we have a winner), Queens College, St. John’s University, NYU, and the list goes on.

I was also torn between going straight into a job that would give me teaching experience right away, versus going into a teacher preparation, graduate school program that would teach me about things like classroom management so I would be better prepared. I was always told, “Experience is your best teacher.” I was also told, “It’s best to feel as prepared as possible before jumping into anything in life.”

I think a year ago, I had enough research done to figure out what my next steps should have been but I did not take the right steps to eliminate options that were not best fit for me. I was able to see myself in every environment that I was considering. It is important to consider getting rid of ideas and options that are not the best fit for your personality, values, needs, etc. It takes a lot of self-reflection to do this and I did not get to this point until March of my senior year. I went all those months, from September to March, not sure what environment was the best fit for me.

If there is any senior who is unsure about what they want to do, or where they want to go, first realize there is no “wrong” path when you are deciding between two or more options. Then realize what your needs and desires are, and truly look into all options to see which one is best fit for you. You just have to take it a step at a time. Process of elimination and weighing pros and cons never hurt. Don’t be afraid to be selfish with your decision. This is your life you are planning for!


Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories  – their voices.
Resources:
About the Author:
kerry-debruce
Kerry D.
Class of 2017
Major: Psychology
Minors: English and Education
Blog Theme:
Pulled Back to Move Forward

Going into Freshman Year

“High school graduation day was a very exciting day at my house because I was going to be the first in my family to hold a degree achieved in America.”

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The end of Senior year of high school is a very exciting time for almost all of us. The weather is getting nicer, graduation is fast approaching, and you have chosen what college you will be attending in the fall. This was me at the end of senior year in high school. I was very relaxed. The workload was winding down quite a bit which meant more free time and more hanging out with my friends. High school graduation day was a very exciting day at my house because I was going to be the first in my family to hold a degree achieved in America. That summer, before freshman year of college, was one of the best summers I had. I got lots of travelling done and spent a lot of time with my friends before classes started. Towards the end of summer, I made a resolution to myself, that I would focus, study hard, and not procrastinate so that I could achieve exceptional grades. I thought that since I was having a very relaxed summer, I would be able to focus better once school started.

The summer flew by and before I knew it, the first day of my freshman year at the University at Albany had arrived. I looked forward to starting this new chapter of my life, but at the same time, I was very nervous since I was a new student at a huge, confusing campus. Little did I know that freshman year was going to be a year of many ups and downs. From what I have seen, freshman year of college does not go as planned for many people, and that was the case with me as well. Continue reading “Going into Freshman Year”

The First Resolution

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The whole “New Year-new me” thing that everyone makes fun of, in a way, ridicules resolutions. For the longest time I thought that resolutions were stupid too, how can you just decide to be something else when you wake up on New Year’s Day? Well, it occurred to me a while back that resolutions don’t have to mean that you change everything about yourself and become a new person overnight, which is probably why I failed at fulfilling my resolutions for many years. I have tried, too hard, to fix too many things about myself at once. I learned, through time, that resolutions can be tiny improvements that you decide to work on throughout the span of a year. It really does not have to be anything drastic at all.

Continue reading “The First Resolution”

Meet our Fall 17′ @UAlbanyMyStory Bloggers Pt. 2

Through videos, blogs, posters, small group meetings, community outreach, and presentations, our UAlbany Project MyStory bloggers their experiences – the good and the  bad; the ugly and the beautiful. Check us out every Monday, after 12 pm, for MyStory Mondays, when we share the latest posts. 


Meet Simonti and Anik

My name is Simonti Banik and I am a very talkative, travel-loving, dog-loving, Biology and English major at UAlbany.

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And this is us, just two kids that happened to grow up right around each other in Sutphin, Queens with all the same mutual friends but didn’t meet until we accepted to join the 21k Student-wide UAlbany family. Anik having moved to Albany through his middle school years, and me surfing the MTA and enjoying NYC public high schooling, has forcibly and unknowingly led us to grow up in two very different environments.

In this blog, we decided to work together to talk about some of our resolutions, past present and future that we have made, broke, are in the process of becoming resolutions or are working on to see how different we are. Having a resolution itself, big or small is important because it indicates that you want to work on something –  anything, to improve yourself. This is an important first step, especially in today’s world, considering everything that is happening around us, such as incidents of racism, police brutality, and bullying.

One person working on one slight aspect of themselves to improve for the better can affect many individuals in their path and can lead to a more aware, open minded, and sensitive society. That person’s little resolution may help some of societies issues to subside or, may even,  start a transformation that will be captured in textbooks, many years from now. Be sure to check out both my and Anik’s blog to read about our successful and failed resolutions along with the ones in progress and hopefully it will influence you to make a resolution, big or small, for yourself.

Click here to check out Simonti’s previous posts.


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My name is Anik Paul. I am just entering my junior year here at UAlbany. My friend, Simonti, is also entering junior year with me. I am an economics major with a business minor and she is a double major in biology and English. In my two years here at the university, I have learned a lot and have grown significantly as a person. Time management is a major thing that I have grown in. I used to be a huge procrastinator. Over the semesters I have learned how essential it is to plan ahead of time because sometimes professors may give last minute assignments. Another aspect I have grown in is staying motivated. Every semester, lots of students go in to the semester thinking this is their semester, they are going to study a lot and do amazing, but as the semester goes on, they get tired and loose motivation. I was one of these students as well. In my blogs, I hope to address all the obstacles I encountered as a freshman, and a commuter student, and in general to  help the other students get through these obstacles by telling them how I have dealt with situations and what other ways there are to deal with these various situations by setting goals to make changes/ improvements. As a result, seeing that other students are dealing with the same problems they are will make them feel like they are not alone.

Knowing that this semester ends around New Year’s, Simonti and I have decided to collaborate on resolutions to speak out about the many ways we’ve improved through the years with resolutions that we’ve set that were successful, not so successful, and in the progress. I made a personal goal of comparing my resolutions with Simonti because I expect them to be very different and our ways of dealing with goals to be very different which may represent how everyone in a society are tackling their own goals and making their own ways for improvement. As a result of this, I hope that our readers can take the idea that it’s necessary to be kind and respectful of others in a world where it is hard to improve for oneself and maybe even make a resolution for themselves, big or small.


Find out more about Project MyStory Here!

MyStory Mondays 6-19-17

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MyStory Mondays is a weekly digest of our latest posts.
We are all done for the semester, but we are going to go back in time and share some posts that, we hope, will be useful to our new Danes!
New Danes – Make sure to complete your course request form and register for Orientation at www.albany.edu/welcome.

This week’s installment of MyStory Mondays focuses on identity.  As you gain more knowledge about the world and become exposed to information that will help shape your future, you are also developing – shape-shifting in amazing ways. This is a time to decide who you are and who you want to be. Several students have shared what this growth was like for them. Check it out!

Find out more about our students and how college has impacted their personal growth my clicking on the pictures below.

Brittany Newell


Franshelis 2017


The following two stories were posted by UAlbany Student Affairs on their Facebook Page. Click on the photos for more and like their page!

Chill

“I am a first generation college student. I attribute my success to myself, but mostly to my mother. She was a single mother who raised me and my brother and I watched her break her back to make sure we had everything we needed to get through life…
Click here for more.


 

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“The Honors College is fun. It fits me. I’ve come to appreciate the community of like-minded people. There’s this perception that school only teaches you what you need to know to work in the real world. People don’t look enough at how schools shape people as human beings…
Click here for more.