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?”

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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

Transfer Tuesdays V

TODAY is Transfer Advisement Day! 

WELCOME TO UALBANY

If you are here, please comment below and say, “Hello!”


9a42c81259d79d0ceaea80c392c3cf4aWelcome to UAlbany!

As you are preparing to begin the next leg of your academic journey here, we want to share some useful and fun information to help you transition to your new educational home.

Every Tuesday, we will share one or two personal stories from our transfer students, along with information from advisors that we think would be helpful. 

It is always a great day to be a Great Dane!
The Advisement Services Center Team


Make sure to check out the Welcome Page. The Welcome Page has information about housing, registration, health forms, billing and more. Please MAKE SURE to submit all of your health information before August 1.


Last week, we introduced Jeniva Austin, a Transfer Transition Leader and one of our former MyStory Volunteers. Here is part II of her story:

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Jeniva Austin – Picture by Micheal Geroux

The social aspect of college is something people try to make seem unimportant but it plays a bigger role than people like to admit. It is not easy being a new student on campus, and it is even harder being a new student, and going to a school where you do not already have friends. College is not like high school where there may be maybe  just over one hundred students in your grade. It is more like thousands depending on what college you decide to attend. And being a transfer student definitely makes entering a new school so much more complicated. You are not THE new kid but you become just another new kid. Like myself…

As a transfer student, there is a great chance you will be place on Alumni quad. And if you have friends like mine, then you will hear that it really sucks to have to live “off campus.” But what students who are not transfers do not know is that, although Alumni quad is filled with transfer students, and about 10-12 minutes away from the main campus, Alumni quad is for students like me – students like us!  It is for students who come into a school with few  or no friends and not really sure how to get involved. On Alumni quad, they build a community for the transfer student population, and from what I know now, a lot of incoming transfers tend to enjoy living there.

When I first transferred to the University at Albany, I was so excited to have been placed on colonial quad. That meant that I did not have to worry about traveling to the main campus in the morning for class, and I didn’t have to worry about how I would get to take my mini-naps in-between classes. But along with all the pros of living in the main campus quads, there came cons. I was placed in a suite where one triple-room was filled with friends who knew each other from back home, and a roommate who had friends and plans of her own. So as anyone would, I got lonely and kind of annoyed with not having people to go to different events with. This lead to me going home every weekend and a pretty empty bank account due to all of those Trailways tickets I had to buy in order to go back and forth. And let me not forget that, because I usually didn’t have someone to go to the dining hall with, I ordered out VERY often during the week. So my first semester at UAlbany was not the best, but being able to realize that I wanted to be involved, helped me make my spring semester so much more worth transferring here.

In the spring, I got hired as a resident assistant and managed to make a few friends and even go out with people, I would not, normally, hang with on a regular day. I stopped going home every weekend and started to enjoy being in Albany more. I  even applied to be a Transfer Transition Leader (TTL), and got the job! A TTL is a resource for transfers, helping them adjust to socially and academically to the university. Many people asked why I wanted to be a TTL, since I was not an active transfer student during my first semester, but I believe that I could be of help to new incoming transfers that could resonate with me and my story.


Are YOU Coming to one of our Transfer Advising Days?
June 20 | August 1 | August 22 | August 24
If not, you may miss out on the
August 25 Transfer Orientation!

This does not apply if you have already
connected 
with your academic advisor
and have made your schedule.


Click Here for the 2017
Transfer Orientation Guidebook

Final Thoughts: Move Forward

amazon-1300350_960_720On,Tuesday, April 18th, I had my first interactive tabling session and it was a success! Many students participated by taking the time to reflect on the many types of losses and by answering one of the following questions:

  • What’s one thing you told yourself to get through one of these types of losses?
  • What’s one thing you would tell someone going through one of these types of losses?
  • What is one thing you wish you could tell a loved one you lost or a person you lost as a friend?

The types of losses that the students reflected on were loss of motivation, loved one, identity/sense of self,  friendship and academic/career opportunity. I was amazed that so many students could identify with at least one of these types of losses and/or would know what to say to someone who was going through a similar situation. Something I’ve talked about a lot in my blog posts this semester was the power that words hold, and it was evident that other students are aware of that power as well. Continue reading “Final Thoughts: Move Forward”

Outside of My Control

chaos-1820464_960_720.jpgMany students have circumstances, outside of their control that interfere with their ability to succeed in college. If this is your situation, right now, please know that there are systems in place to assist you. In some cases, students may be eligible for late withdrawals or special accommodation or through Undergraduate Education or the Disability Resource Center. If you are not sure what to do or where to turn, please contact any of the persons/offices listed below and they will connect you or provide you with the support you need:

Sally A. D’Alessandro
Director of Student CARE Services
Campus Center 361
(518) 442-5501
ualbanycares@albany.edu

Barbara Brown
Coordinator, Advising PLUS
Social Science 308
(518) 442-3971
advisingplus@albany.edu

Your RA or RD

Your Advisor or the Advisor-on-Duty in the Advisement Services Center
The Advisement Services Center is located next to the staircase in front of the Main Library. The Advisor-on-duty is available M-F, 1pm-5pm.

Counseling and Psychological Services
400 Patroon Creek Blvd., Suite 104
Accessible via the UAlbany Shuttle
(518) 442-5800
consultation@albany.edu

ON CAMPUS COUNSELING  – Let’s Talk is a service that provides easy access to informal and confidential conversations with CAPS staff at various sites on campus. No appointments are necessary. It can help provide insight, support, solutions, and information about other resources. Let’s Talk is available when classes are in session. When Let’s Talk is not available, you can call us at (518) 442-5800 or email us at consultation@albany.edu

  • Mondays 1pm-3pm Science Library in Career and Professional Development
  • Tuesdays 11am-1pm Department of Athletics, SEFCU Arena, Arena Level A35
  • Wednesdays 3pm-5pm Office of Access & Academic Enrichment, (EOP, CSTEP, Project Excel), LI 94
  • Click here for more information.

The Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence
Indian Quad, Seneca Hall Basement, Suite 009
(518) 442-CARE (2273)
advocacycenter@albany.edu

The Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence provides a safe and welcoming environment for students to receive support and advocacy services in the aftermath of sexual violence including, but not limited to, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and/or stalking.

Disability Resource Center
Business Administration 120
(518) 442-5490
DRC@albany.edu

The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center
Campus Center 329
(518) 442-5015
GSRC@albany.edu


Please help us assess to be our best!
Click here to fill out our 5 question survey.
Thank you in advance for your support.

Don’t Panic

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Some times there’s a breakdown before there’s a break through. For me it seems as though this is always the case. As I write this blog from my bedroom, back home, my mind is consumed with a million and one different thoughts I’d like to share, and I’m puzzled by the best way to start. I guess I can begin by trying to make you understand… Continue reading “Don’t Panic”

Help Me!

Helping Hands

Whether you need academic, emotional or physical support, UAlbany has resources available to assist you. If you do not know where to  turn, speak to your academic advisor or your residential assistant. Even if we do not know the answer, we will be able to connect you to office or person who can. Whatever you are going through, we care and we are here for you. Please come and see us!

 


 

Here are some of our support services at UAlbany:

Advising PLUS is the place to go when you aren’t sure where to get what you need to be successful. We will work with you to identify what will help, and get you connected with campus resources.

  • If you need tutoring or are looking for a study group in ANY subject, Advising Plus is a great place to start when seeking help. On their Academic Assistance page, you may look for academic support by class subject to find out what supports are available. If you do not find what you are looking for, e-mail advisingplus@albany.edu. Barbara Brown and Amanda Parker can usually find the help that you need!

The Center for Achievement Retention and Student Success (CARSS) is a support service that was created to provide free academic assistance to intended or declared science majors. in Fall 2016, study group sessions are available for the following classes:

  • BIO 212Y, Introductory Genetics
  • CHM 120, General Chemistry I
  • CHM 220, Organic Chemistry I
  • CHM 221, Organic Chemistry II
  • CHM 350, Physical Chemistry I
  • CHM 444, Biophysical Chemistry I
  • PHY 105, General Physics I
  • PHY 140, Physics I

Math Tutoring Room The Mathematics department maintains a tutoring room in ES 138, staffed during business hours Monday-Friday. Students in 100 level courses have priority for this service.

The Advocacy Center for Sexual Violence provides a safe and welcoming environment for students to receive support and advocacy services in the aftermath of sexual violence including, but not limited to, sexual assault, intimate partner violence and/or stalking.

The Middle Earth Hotline is available if you are distressed, depressed or upset and you need someone to talk to ASAP. The Hotline is open from noon to midnight Monday through Thursday and 24 hours a day Friday through Sunday on weekends when University at Albany classes are in session during the academic year. Call 518-442-5777

Are you a Veteran?  First, we thank you for your service. The Veteran Educational Team (VET) is a newly formed committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students. VET aims to:

  • Identifying veteran priorities
  • Implementing, expanding and improving veteran services
  • Streamlined advisement and counseling resources for veterans

Help me questionsThe Counseling and Psychological Services Center promotes the behavioral and emotional health, furthers the social development, and enhances the academic success and personal resilience of University at Albany students.

  • Let’s Talk is a service that provides easy access to informal and confidential conversations with Counseling and Psychological Services staff. Students can walk in at various sites around campus Monday to Wednesday and speak with CAPS staff. No appointments are necessary. It can help provide insight, support, solutions, & information about other resources.

Disability Resource Center. Whether your disability is visible or invisible, this is the office that can assist you. Help step up

LGBTQ Resources. The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC),
located on the third floor of the Campus Center in room 329, is a safe space for all students to engage in dialogue around the intersections of Gender & Sexuality on our campus and in our society.

Spiritual Services. There are many faith-based student groups on campus and spiritual leaders available to assist students.

Pre-Law and Pre-Health Advisement is available through the Advisement Services Center.

Project Excel offers academic Counseling, free-study group tutorials, and study skills workshops, supplemental advisement, personal counseling, and free peer tutoring to low income, first generation, and disabled students.

The CSTEP Program is designed for New York State residents (including permanent resident aliens) who belong to groups historically underrepresented and economically disadvantage in scientific, technical, health-related, or licensed professions and who demonstrate interest in pursuing professional careers.

The Writing Center offers students, faculty and staff a process-based approach to writing at any stage of the writing process. Please note: Tutors do not proofread or simply correct grammatical errors; instead they engage the whole writer and his/her writing process.

Campus Recreation Physical Activity can be a GREAT stress reliever! UAlbany’s Campus Recreation is devoted to you being your best. Check out their programs and events!

Connecting to Students with Similar Interests. Click here to view a list of all UAlbany Student organizations.

Advisement Services Center Advisors. The advisors in ASC are here to help you as you map out this chapter of your life and make plans for the next one. Come on over. Let’s chat!

Motivation Plus Compassion – Advising Plus

17201377_1306486016107772_4566494713974496269_nI didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. The one thing I really felt passionate about was fitness. I used to be overweight, and I looked for schools to help me with that. I found the World of Fitness Living-Learning Community, and it ended up changing my life. Not only have I grown as a leader, but I’ve also learned that I really do love helping people. Right now I’m working for University at Albany Campus Recreation at the SEFCU and Indian Quad gyms teaching Insanity on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. After I started Insanity, I realized that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. Being in college and teaching and instructing all these different kinds of people, with different backgrounds, and different personalities, has enabled me to integrate them into my own being and knowledge. I’m able to talk to and relate to so many different people.

Fitness shouldn’t be about the aesthetic display of your physique, it should be a reflection of who you are. Take advantage of all the wellness centers that we have here, and all the free group instruction classes. It all comes down to intrinsic motivation. You should be able to wake up in the morning and say, “today is the day that I’m going to take charge of my health, take charge of my life, and take charge of me.”

Sophomore year, before I started Insanity, I was depressed, for a while. There’s a mentor I had, an advisor. Her name is Barbara Brown from Advising Plus. She is literally my second mom. She helped me realize that I wasn’t alone. She helped me stay on track. You cannot allow yourself to plunge deeper into that nasty abyss. Because once you get used to that feeling, it becomes second nature. I felt like I was weak to ask for help. But there’s absolutely nothing wrong with getting help. If I didn’t get help, I would probably still be where I was or even worse. That’s the scariest thing. It’s not about you. You always have at least one person who cares about you. You never want that person to see something bad happen to you. You don’t want that to be the very last memory that you leave here. You will never know your full potential unless you wake up and get started on something. Even if it’s just one goal a day, get started on it. Don’t leave things to chance. Because then you’ll never get anything done.

College is a time for discovering yourself and what gives you goosebumps, your passion. Learn to see things and live for the present, and learn to love yourself. Nowadays we’re not taught how to love ourselves. Where ever you are, whatever sort of state of mind that you’re at, it’s all temporary. Make sure that you leave your mark on earth. We live very short life spans. You want to be able to say “I actually made a difference.” That’s my goal. That’s really what I want everybody to aspire to.”

-Jayvon Evans
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Major: Communications
Minor: Business
Year: Senior

Photo by Naomi McPeters

— at University at Albany, SUNY.

Words of Encouragement

logoWhen I first started this blog, I didn’t know how much of an impact it would have on people. As much as I had hoped for at least one person to be able to relate to my experiences and feel some comfort, I did not actually think I would get the feedback I have received.

The past few weeks have shown me that I am supported by so many people, such as co-workers, my current Res Life supervisor, other Pro-Staff members, one of my professors, my counselor at CAPS, family and friends.

My post from last week was actually inspired by a conversation my friend Felix and I had back in August. We both experienced grief the previous semester, and did not reach out to anyone, nor each other, and we had similar reasons why we didn’t. He shared my post from last week on Facebook, remembering our conversation on that topic and reminded me, “Just know you’re not alone.” Continue reading “Words of Encouragement”