Binghamton University

Friday, August 22, 2014

#Back2Bing- Necessities

Hey guys!

As I’m sure you all know (well, I hope you all know), school is soon approaching. So, I thought I would be helpful and go over a list of 10 necessities for Binghamton U. students.
Please note, some (all) of these “necessities” aren’t usually considered “necessities” by #BNBS (Boring, Non-Binghamton Students).

Also, please note necessities 2-10 are not in order of importance.

1. Nutella-
First and foremost, it’s crucial to remember to bring a new jar of Nutella. I mean, what else would you eat with your bread and veggies?
Nutella, in my semi-biased opinion, is God’s gift to this earth. I will never stand how so much goodness can fit in such a little jar. It’s truly a shining example of the old quote “Good things come in small packages.”

2. Easy Mac, Easy Mac, and more Easy Mac-
I mean, how could you go to college without Easy Mac? I’ll answer that question for you… you can’t.

3. As long as I got my suit and tie
Make sure to bring your dress-shoes, suit, tie, and button up. At Binghamton, you never know when you might walk into one of the two job fairs on campus. Or, when you’ll have an interview for an internship or with a future employer.

4. Frisbee-
As soon as it hits 40 degrees outside, you will be outside in your salmon-colored shorts, playing Frisbee on the quad.

5. Snapback-
Because… it’s Binghamton.

6. Umbrella, Hat, Gloves, Scarf, Winter Coat, Boots-
Once again… it’s Binghamton. Please, don’t forget these.

7. Noise-cancelling headphones-
If you have ‘em, just bring ‘em.

9. Keurig-
Remember to bring one (or twelve) boxes of your favorite K-Cups. Nothing cures that, ‘last minute, I have class in 10 minutes, but I still haven’t had my coffee fix for the morning yet,’ problem like a Keurig.

9. Oh yeah, books- 
It’s definitely a good idea to buy your books before you get to Bing. Unless, you’re a fan of waiting in the ever-so long lines at the bookstore. If you are a fan, however, then please, wait until the day classes start to purchase your books.

10. A positive attitute
Yes, I know this one is a bit corny. But really, don’t forget it, it may be the most important factor in your success this semester. A little positivity can go a long way.

Well, Bing, that’s all I have for you now. If I forgot anything vital, please, comment below and let us know! smile See you all in a week!

#Back2BingNecessities #BNBS




Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Signing Off

Greetings from my new home, Berlin!

Having graduated Binghamton roughly two weeks ago, much has since happened. But let me backtrack first. With finals having ended the third week of May, I later took part in the Harper College commencement ceremony for social science graduates on May 18th. Despite being rather early in the morning, the ceremony went well and I can now call myself a proud Binghamton University alumna!

After helping with closing the halls and finishing with my final RA duties, I then packed up and headed home along with the rest of my family. Three days later, I left for Germany.

So what am I up to now? A few months back, I accepted an offer to intern for Rocket Internet GmbH for the summer as well as early fall. Specifically, I am a Content Marketing/PR intern in the Public Relations department at the company’s headquarters in Berlin. Rocket Internet is a German incubator company which builds up smaller online ventures and tries to create successful enterprises out of them. It’s a really vibrant work environment and I’m already learning quite a lot.

After completing my internship in September, I’m headed off to graduate school. I’ve decided to enroll in two degree programs, one right after the other. For the 2014-15 year, I’ll be headed to Central European University, which is in Budapest, Hungary, to complete the one year MA in Public Policy program, under a fully-funded academic fellowship. CEU is an English speaking university with both Hungarian and American accredidations, and is particularly well known in the region with regards to high-quality research and teaching. While interning at the US Embassy in Budapest during the 2012 summer, I was able to learn more about the school, as the Embassy has strong connections with it. Since then, being able to live for a more extended time in Budapest—a city I have grown to love so much, has been a goal of mine, so I’m ecstatic that I’ll be able to study at such a great university for an entire year. After completing my time there, I’ll be enrolling at the London School of Economics, in the MSc Management, Organisations and Governance program, which is also one year in length. Getting into LSE was a dream come true, and was something that I just couldn’t bypass, so in consultation with my amazing honors thesis adviser, I decided to combine these great options. This is a choice that will ultimately intertwine my academic and professional interests, and will enhance my ability to work for a global organization or company one day, whether it be in the public or private sector.

So there you go! It’s been an awesome four years of blogging. I will always remain a big advocate of Binghamton because of the unique opportunities that I’ve been able to pursue and the path that I’ve been able to create for myself, while also being able to finance my degree in such a comparatively affordable way. Remember, take advantage of your college time, it really does go by so fast. Be bold, be passionate and be curious. Work hard, obviously. The world is your oyster and you never know what opportunity will present itself. Lastly, don’t ever be afraid to be different.

Like I’ve mentioned before, if you want to keep up with me, follow me on my personal blog, as I continue with my adventures!

All the very best!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Top ten

On this blog, I’ve shared a lot of things about my life at Binghamton over the past year and a half, but I’ve also had some great experiences that have never made it onto the blog. It’d be hard for me to even think of them all, but here, in no particular order, are ten of the best things about my time at Binghamton that never made it onto the blog:

1. Boys & Girls Club—The Binghamton chapter of the Boys & Girls Club is pretty active, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved through the Bing U student chapter. For scheduling reasons, I was only able to participate for one semester, back in my sophomore year, but it was a fun opportunity to play with local kids.

2. Stars
—I’m from New York City, so when I first came to Binghamton, I was struck by how many stars you can see here and how bright they look. My friends from suburban and rural areas aren’t impressed by Binghamton’s night sky, but I know I’ll miss its sparkle next year when I’m back in NYC.

3. Crepe Heaven
—One of my favorite Binghamton restaurants. Go hungry or else share with a friend, because you’ll definitely want to try both a tasty dinner crepe and a sweet dessert one. Sooooooo delicious!

4. Being a Native Speaking Assistant—Like blogger emerita Sam, who wrote a little about this last year, I was an NSA for an English as a Second Language class. If your native language is English, I highly recommend this experience. You get to bond with international students, see the classroom environment from a different perspective, and gain a whole new appreciation for language acquisition.

5. Mid-day concerts
—Sometimes certain musical groups (mostly orchestra classes, I think) give short, low-key performances on campus during the day. If there happens to be one when you have a break, it’s a great way to escape without actually going anywhere.

6. Apple-picking
—To the shock and consternation of my friends from New York north of Westchester, I had never been apple-picking before college. Now I’ve gone a bunch of times and I think it’s a lot of fun, plus the fresh apples in this area are delicious.

7. Weirdly long winter breaks—I always seem to start second semester a week or two behind friends and family who attend other universities. It feels good getting extra time at home, and I’ve always had enough time to get excited about coming back.

8. Roberson Museum and Science Center
—The Roberson is a really cool museum on Binghamton’s Westside (the Westside bus goes right there). It’s got a mixture of art, history, and science, so it’s a good place to go with people who aren’t all interested in the same thing, and at Christmas they decorate the mansion part to look amazing. If you go, check out the model train in the room next to the gift shop—it goes around a tiny model of 1950s-era Binghamton!

9. Cram Jam
—Just when you’re about to collapse under the stress of finals week, the dining hall opens late to serve treats like pancakes and cheesecake.

10. The Fine Arts courtyard
—In my opinion, this is the prettiest place on campus, with a big tree on one side and benches scattered in the garden. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo to upload, so I guess you’re just going to have to visit Binghamton and see for yourself.

Saturday, May 10, 2014


If you’re looking for fresh, homemade food, Despina’s Mediterranean Taste is a fantastic option. Located on Court Street in downtown Binghamton, Despina’s is an adorable local restaurant with the best Greek food I’ve ever tasted. There are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options, though you can also get meat, so it’s perfect if you’re going with a group of people with different dietary restrictions. I highly recommend getting a platter so you can try four different things plus warm pita bread.

The restaurant is small and intimate but still spacious, and Despina, as well as all the other people who work at her restaurant, is very sweet. If you’re a ridiculously astute reader, you may realize that I’ve mentioned Despina’s once before on this blog—over a year ago, when Despina very generously donated a gift certificate to my event on local businesses.

I hadn’t been to Despina’s since around the time of that event, but recently, some friends and I have started going off-campus for lunch on Wednesdays. Living on campus can be a little bit like living in a bubble (especially if you’re an RA), and a change of scenery in the middle of the week can be super refreshing. So, I want to remind you guys that your exploration of the community need not be confined to the weekends. Even if you only have an hour between classes, you can use it to grab a bite at Despina’s. The five friends I’ve brought there for Wednesday lunch thought it was amazing, I thought it was amazing, and you’ll think it’s amazing, too, the minute you take a bite of a flavorful falafel or gyro.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Green spaces

Coming from New York City, I tend to consider Binghamton’s campus a green space for all the quads on campus and for the view of the surrounding tree-covered mountains. And of course, we have our huge and wonderful nature preserve. But just in case you’re very specifically in the mood for a walk in the park, the Binghamton area has got you covered.

Within walking distance of campus is Stair Park, which is small and pretty and has a tiny waterfall. It’s really peaceful and quiet there, and if you’re looking to get away from campus for a little while, say for a picnic, I highly recommend it.

If you’re willing to take the bus a little farther away, Recreation Park in Binghamton is another nice place to visit. I’ve only been there once (my friend and I decided to go for a walk after visiting a local gift shop, Tom’s), but if you end up living on the West Side, you might want to go more often. It’s got some monuments to historical figures of local importance, a cool Grecian bandstand, and one of Binghamton’s carousels.

If you’ve got a car, check out Otsiningo Park. Among other things, it’s got some running trails and a stream and some equipment for little kids, plus it holds a biweekly farmers’ market for much of the year. This past weekend, the senior RAs in Dickinson Community went there for a barbecue. The park was a great setting for a relaxing afternoon of pre-graduation bonding.

The Binghamton area has a bunch of other parks, too—these three are just the ones I’m familiar with. Even though I’m not super big on parks, it’s always nice to know that there are some nice ones around if you’re looking for a little retreat.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Bundy Museum

Today was the last day before Binghamton’s spring break. I don’t have Friday classes, but I can’t go home until tomorrow because as an RA I’m responsible for helping to inspect the building before it closes. So, this afternoon seemed like a perfect time to check out the Bundy Museum.

The Bundy Museum is maybe a fifteen-minute bus ride away from campus. Its Victorian exterior is a little run-down, but the inside has mostly been restored to look the way it did when it was inhabited at the end of the nineteenth century into the early twentieth. The way the museum is set up, you don’t just go in and walk around on your own; a guide takes you on a tour. I was the only one there, so for me the tour was private. Since I’m used to the bigger museums at home in New York City, the idea of going on a private tour is novel to me me. I liked the intimacy of it, and I also liked having another little thing to add to my overall experience of the differences between bigger and smaller cities.

By going on the tour, I learned more about daily life in Victorian homes. For instance, I learned that there was a brief period during which electricity was on the rise but not yet the dominant power source, and that during that period there were lamps that were built such that they could be powered by either electricity or gas. I also learned that wealthy women saw cooking as beneath them but needlework as a very appropriate activity, and after seeing the single, five-inch-deep kitchen sink used by the household servants, I learned that I should never complain about having to wash dishes in my dorm room again.

I also learned more about Binghamton-specific history from my trip to the Bundy. For example, Harlow Bundy, whose family were the original inhabitants of the mansion, founded the first company to produce the time-recording clock. The annex houses a bunch of these clocks, which stamp punch-cards to indicate what time employees begin and end their shifts. Gradually, the company expanded its repertoire to include other machines that in their own times were cutting-edge, and eventually it morphed into IBM, which was an economic powerhouse in Binghamton until maybe the turn of the twenty-first century.

In addition to the main attraction of the mansion, the Bundy Museum offers several other exhibits. Its annex has not only the clocks but also the Southern Tier Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame, what was the Bundys’ ballroom now shows off contemporary local art, and I got a sneak peek at a really extensive upcoming exhibit of African art. My visit to the Bundy gave me lots of interesting things to think about, including a deepened sense of Binghamton history, and I really enjoyed looking at all the pretty parts of the mansion (the octagonal dining room and the hand-carved wood all over the house are gorgeous!), so I definitely recommend it.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Mutant Mania 2014

Mutant Mania—an annual week full of competitions among Dickinson‘s four buildings—came to a close on Saturday night, and just now am I sufficiently caught up on sleep and studying to tell you about it.

First of all, Mania is sooo much fun. Some of the highlights of Mania, from my perspective, were:
-Helping write an anthem for my res hall that included references to cavemen, our building’s theme for Mania this year
-Helping try to build a cardboard-and-duct-tape boat good enough to sail someone from one side of a pool to the other and back
-Watching a tug-of-war that included a body builder on each team
-Knowing that we raised like $700 for charity through penny wars
-Getting a free show from a local drag queen during a cross-dressed beauty pageant for transgender awareness
-The fact that six people in my building were willing to road-trip to Times Square in the middle of the night just for a photo for a scavenger hunt
-The fact that my building’s entry in the Iron Chef contest included venison that two other RAs in my building had butchered themselves with stone tools (thank you, experimental archaeology class, for having the best timing ever—seriously, how perfect is that for a caveman team?)

Second, Mania is crazy-competitive and if you’re into it (which you should be!) you will sacrifice for it. From my perspective, these were some of the low-lights.
-Giving myself a slight asthmatic reaction by running part of a relay race in 30-degree weather
-Getting water on me because people decided to throw water balloons even though the event involving water balloons was cancelled due to the 30-degree weather
-Being the least helpful person ever in musical charades
-Losing my ID card while walking through campus’s disc golf course for the scavenger hunt
-Discovering, also during the scavenger hunt, that it is no longer appropriate to expect Toys R Us to have Barney paraphernalia (kids these days!)
-Having a borderline-coherent conversation while cleaning my res hall’s kitchen after a 4 AM attendance event
-Hearing people get into an actual heated argument over what counts as a spatula

The thing about the lowlights, though, is that—except for losing my ID and giving myself a medical problem (not practicing self-care, tsk tsk me)—ultimately they are their own kind of highlights. You look back and laugh about how intense things can get and how silly everyone can be. You don’t even have to wait till Mania is over, though, because one of the last Mania events is usually skits. Each building writes and performs two skits, one comedic and one musical (usually also comedic), about Mania. The skits are usually filled with Dickinson in-jokes, some about the different halls’ reputations outside Mania, some about who did how well in other events, and some about things people have said and done during the course of Mania. It gives us the chance to see the humor in everything, and because the teams all watch each other’s skits, we get to sort of start being on the same page again so that the competitiveness ends when Mania does. (If you’re interested, check the skits out here.)

See, by the end of Mania, we’re all definitely ready for the end of Mania, and the great payoff for everyone is that the community is much closer. You’re closer with your team, obviously, because nothing bonds people together like football and midnight road trips. And you’re closer with the rest of the buildings too, because once the dust has settled you realize that you all just spent a week pouring yourself into the same ridiculous things pretty much just because it’s a Dickinson tradition to do so.

I said I’d keep you up-to-date on how new Dickinson compares with Old Dickinson, and I’ll be honest. While there were just as many super-dedicated people this year as there were in the past, there were far fewer people who were semi-involved and far more who just didn’t participate. It’s kind of disappointing, but to be expected, I think, given how nice the new buildings are—whereas Old Dickinson housed basically only friend-hungry freshmen and those upperclassmen drawn by its reputation for tight-knit community, New Dickinson seems to have attracted a lot of people who see their res hall less as their community and more as just a place to live. Maybe as time goes on, and as Res Life and student government continue to promote the Dickinson spirt, that will change. In the meantime, those of us Dickinsonians who choose to get really involved can still have a really great time. I congratulate Rafuse Hall for their fourth consecutive win, I have pride in my own Johnson Hall for our third-place finish, and I thank everyone who helped Mutant Mania happen. Yay Dickinson!


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