Gnats are tiny insects that annoy us. For the most part they are harmless and we can carry on successfully with whatever we are doing in spite of their presence. Gnats are what I like to call all the little stuff that annoys us that we encounter all the time. Nothing major just stuff that-if you will pardon the pun-bugs us.

I figure since this is MY STORY I may as well share some of my college life gnats with you.

hatena-1184896__180Very annoying for me have been the things that no one tells us about directly. In fact, there are things that I have no idea HOW other students know about them. No one told me about Senior Seminar and Capstone papers. Every now and then a Capstone paper would be vaguely mentioned but I had no idea what it involved.  I also had no idea what would be involved in doing an Honors Senior Seminar until it was too late in my student career to participate in it-even though I was qualified to take the course. Continue reading “Gnats”

HOMESICKNESS: How to Manage a Home away from Home

As we merge our way closer and closer to October, more and more students are going to be feeling the effects of homesickness; the emotional bug which can make you feel sick to your stomach by the thought of not seeing the walls of your bedroom at home. I get it. I was there.

Before transferring here, I went to a community college which I commuted to. I never really ventured far from my home aside from a few family trips here and there. Living on my own was a whole other situation. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. That is possibly one of the most terrifying situations to be in, when you don’t have anyone within tangible reach to back you up. Continue reading “HOMESICKNESS: How to Manage a Home away from Home”


UAlbany is an amazing, beautiful, diverse place with people of all sorts of backgrounds. My background? I’m from a small town in a little place called Whitesboro, NY in upstate. I lived most of my life in a tiny neighborhood of four streets on top of a hill, surrounded by woods and farm land. Sure, I was exposed to some city life every now and then but nothing could prepare me for the Capital of New York State, Albany. I never even drove through a round-about before. I had no idea how this city would soon shape me into the person I am today. Continue reading “A SMALL TOWN GIRL IN THE CAPITAL”

It’s About Time

As I sit here in the campus library at the beginning of the third week of classes for this Fall 2016 Semester, I find myself already feeling a little stressed over issues of MY time and how and where to allot it. You see, when one is a non-traditional college student it literally is all about TIME . There are so many aspects of your life demanding a share of your time. Classes/Homework, family/home/relationship, work, YOU — they ALL want a share of your precious time. Continue reading “It’s About Time”

The Life and Times of an Invisible Student

In 2012 at the ripe old age of forty-eight, I lost my mind — or so some folks would have me think — and returned to school as a student at Hudson Valley Community College. I hadn’t stopped to consider my age or the fact that I had been away from school for over thirty years. I just jumped in with both feet and took up a full schedule of classes.

classroom-379214_960_720   My first semester consisted of evening and off-campus classes so I was not so unusual as a few others were also over forty. It was sometime during my third semester as a student at Hudson Valley that I realized that I was invisible. Not in a literal sense but in a figurative sense. By this time I was taking classes on campus during the day. Now I WAS pretty much the only one of my age in my classes — sometimes even the instructor was younger.  I did well in my classes and made the President’s List, but outside of classes I was a non-entity. There are no groups for a student of a non-traditional age. All of the activities are geared towards the younger crowd that make up the majority of the student population and often assignments are geared towards the eighteen to twenty-five year old set.

invisible-man-154567_960_720  At this point I must digress and tell readers a bit about myself. I graduated from HVCC with honors and transferred to UAlbany two years ago where I am now a History Major and English Minor with U.S. History being my concentration. I am a commuter student who doesn’t live anywhere near campus and I have a life outside of being a full-time college student.

With all of this in mind I am also excited to be a part of the MyStory project. FINALLY! There is a place where I don’t have to be invisible! I can share my triumphs and my woes with anyone else out there who is over thirty and invisible! I hope my writings will help others who may be feeling alone in a sea of traditionally college aged students. Maybe some traditional students will read my work and tell a parent or an aunt or uncle that they, too, CAN achieve a dream of going back to school. My main hope is that by writing about my experiences I will be able to help someone to feel like they are not alone and their experiences and struggles are not entirely unique.

phoebePhoebe E. 
Class of 2016
Major: History
Minor: English
Blog Theme: Trials and Triumphs 
of a Non-Traditional Student... 

Please Note: The views of our student bloggers do not necessarily reflect the views of the UAlbany Advisement Services Center. These are their stories and their voices.

The Fall 2016 MyStory Team

Project MyStory BrochureGreetings! We are excited to usher in the 2nd year of Project MyStory. We are students who share our personal stories and encourage others to share in order to help one another succeed at UAlbany. This semester, we have mix of returning and new MyStory participants who will be blogging, vlogging and conducting story circles and workshops. We hope to ease the stress of college while also building each other up for the future. Meet the Team: Continue reading “The Fall 2016 MyStory Team”

Meet Tiffany F.

Tiffany is a non-traditional student who came to UAlbany as a non-matriculated Student. She is currently in graduate school here and she wants other non-trads to know that they are not alone and that they have what it takes to finish strong! Click Here for Her Story!

Tiffany Finkle
Tiffany Finkle

UAlbanese and the L Sees: Deciphering Frequently Used Terms for a Successful Semester


parkingDay One: You call ahead to find out where to park. “Not in the circle; students park in Gold Parking,” says a voice on the other end. Super. Too bad you have no idea where either are. When you arrive, you find an empty spot close to campus because you have arrived early. What a relief. You look over your schedule one last time; it’s a strange LC number, but no buildings say ‘LC’ on the outside. A student, who looks a little more experienced than you, tells you to take the tunnels to the L Sees, or  you can ask the students at The Podium. There is no sign for either anywhere and the UAlbany map looks more like a small city rather than a school. Everyone tells you that you will get used to it after day one, but then day one comes to a close and you find a warning on your car about your parking. Apparently that wasn’t Gold Parking.  

Parlez-vous UAlbanese?

Sometimes we take for granted that we are speaking UAlbanese, using institutional lingo that gets lost in translation. Here are  some explanations of just a few terms to help ease your transition into UAlbany:  Continue reading “UAlbanese and the L Sees: Deciphering Frequently Used Terms for a Successful Semester”

Meet Drew

Drew Murphy is a senior Criminal Justice and History major. He shares his academic and mental health struggles and successes here. Have a bit of inspiration to be the best you – check out Drew’s story!

Drew Murphy
Drew Murphy

Participate in Project MyStory

What’s Your Story?

Opportunities to Earn Credit: 

UAlbany students are able to earn Community and Public Service Credit by blogging, vlogging, and facilitating workshops about their academic journeys or about topics they feel would help students better acclimate to the university and to be more effective at pursuing their goals. We build connections through the telling of stories.

In the past students have blogged about overcoming academic difficulties, loneliness, becoming a feminist at UAlbany, pursuing dreams without a support system, coming out as LGBTQ at UAlbany, learning  to succeed here, grief and loss, self-love and self-care, life as a non-traditional student on campus, life as a commuter, and much more. We have held workshops and interactive tabling events on creating vision boards, being undecided about your major, majoring in the humanities, self-care, identity, reconciling with your past, pursuing your dreams when you are not supported, and many other topics.

Project MyStory is ever in development and we are open to new ideas.

Credit Options:

  • RSSW190 – 1 Credit – 35 Hours – S/U Graded
  • RSSW291 – 2 Credits – 60 Hours – S/U Graded
  • RSSW290 – 3 Credits – 100 Hours – S/U Graded


  • For Spring Semester Community Service – December 15
  • For Summer Community Service – April 15
  • For Fall Semester Community Service – May 15
  • You may apply by contacting Rachel Moody at with a statement about why you want to participate. If you plan to be a video blogger, please submit a sample of your work. 

Share your Story Just One Time!

UAlbany Students: Tell Your Story! If you do not want to blog, you may submit your story one time and  we will share it with the incoming freshmen and transfer students, and with the current UAlbany community. Your stories may also be featured on Advisement Services Center posters and publications.

 Make sure to include the following:

  • Your Name
  • Entry Year & Status (Freshman/Transfer)
  • Graduation Date
  • Major/s or Intended Major/s; Minor/s
  • Your Story
  • How did you decide on your academic or career path?
  • How did you overcome obstacles to succeed?
  • What advice would you give to students who are struggling?
  • What resources helped you to find a home at UAlbany?
  • What do you think all new students should know?
  • Do not simply answer the questions. Please incorporate these questions into your story.