On-campus residents have started to return for the spring semester, which officially begins on Monday. As an RA, I’ve been here since last weekend, and I’m kind of embarrassed to admit that only today did I finish cleaning up the mess I left before going home for winter break. After I finished cleaning, my building’s staff hung out together to eat pizza and other food provided by our Resident Director (because she’s awesome!).
I spent one semester of my sophomore year at Binghamton and the other semester studying abroad. Halfway through last year, I moved out of my on-campus apartment because I’d been hired as an RA. That means that this is the first time since my freshman year that I’m spending spring semester in the same place and with the same people as I spent fall semester. I like that I’ve had so many different experiences, but as I look around my newly-neat room and get ready to meet with part of my staff again in a few minutes to watch a movie, I feel really content with the continuity of my experience this year. I’m looking forward to getting back to old commitments and old friends. I’m looking forward to squeezing in some new experiences, too. Actually, I’m looking forward to everything. I’m anxious, of course, because this is my last semester, but keeping the general framework of my life the same as it was before the break is making me feel more comfortable.
Posted by Alicia Holland at 10:10 PM.
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My name is Stephon and I am a transfer student from Brooklyn, NY, double majoring in Political Science and History.
I ultimately want to become a lawyer, and then later on involve myself in politics.
I’m involved in all sorts of things on and off campus. On campus I’m a tour guide - which is loads of fun. I enjoy meeting new and prospective students and talking with them about Binghamton, college life, and everything in between. I’m also involved in student government, so I’m constantly trying to keep track of what happens both on and off campus. On the weekends, I play Co-Rec Football (an intramural football league in the residence communities in which the quarterback is a girl).
Outside of campus, I intern for the Red Cross International Humanitarian Law Action Campaign program, where I work with high school students to educate them on International Law and challenge them and others to be mindful of and engage with the world around them.
I LOVE Binghamton. Again, I’m a transfer student, so Binghamton was not my first “home”. It quickly became home however. Everyone here is so committed to helping one another succeed, the professors are great, and the University as a whole offers every student a legitimate opportunity to succeed, and —perhaps more importantly - learn and mold themselves into adults ready to change our world.
I’m very excited to be a blogger, and hope that I will be able to connect with you all and assist you in your college search. Hopefully in the process, you’ll see that Binghamton would be a great fit for you as well!
Posted by Stephon Martin at 11:30 AM.
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First-year experience courses are classes that pretty much teach you the same things you learn at orientation, but more in-depth (for instance, instead of just learning that there is a Multicultural Resource Center, for the class you might physically go and interview someone who works there). You don’t have to take a first-year course if you don’t want to, but they do help you fulfill some requirements and get settled at a new university. I took one when I was a freshman—HDev 115. Most of what we did was aimed at acquiring basic skills, like public speaking or citing things properly, or at helping us get to know aspects of Binghamton University, like its resources or its history.
Last week, I was part of a panel for one first-year experience course. It was weird. I mean, it was actually totally normal—I was talking about my experience getting an internship through the school, and I always like doing that. It just felt weird being one of the students on the panel instead of one of the students in the class.
I remember at least one of the students who sat on a similar panel back in my HDev class. She was the president of Dickinson Town Council and had done the Dickinson Leadership Certificate program as well. She was one of those people I didn’t know personally but did recognize, just like the supervisors at open houses or people I remembered as orientation advisors.
As I go about my business on campus these days, I constantly run into residents from my building this year, residents from my building last year, students who were in the ESL class I assisted with last year, and people who’ve come to me for study abroad peer advising. So, I am constantly thinking about something that’s drilled into the head of every RA during training: RAs live in a fishbowl. We are those people that other students might not know personally but do recognize, and when they see us around campus, they are likely to notice our behavior. Part of the idea of the fishbowl is that you’re setting an example. I don’t think anyone else exactly models their behavior on mine, though I try to be aware that someone might and to act with that in mind. The aspect of the fishbowl that I feel most acutely, though, is that I’m never 100% away from any of my leadership roles. If someone sees me or says hi to me between classes, the way I act is going to affect the way that person interacts with me in the future. If I smile and ask how someone’s day is going, they’ll be more likely to come to me if they have a problem in our res hall. If someone sees me roll my eyes at how slowly the line is moving in the dining hall, that person might not want to approach me with questions later when they see me manning a table for study abroad.
Some people have a deep natural awareness of all this, which is great. For me, I guess I needed to be in some leadership positions in order to learn how to cultivate an approachable image. This has definitely been a major aspect of my personal growth since coming to Binghamton, and it’s definitely one of the main benefits I’ve gotten from getting involved on campus. It was weird sitting on a panel for a first-year experience course last week because it made me think about the fact that to a new cohort of Binghamton students, I might be one of those older people they kind of notice around campus. Weirder still, as I think about how much I’ve changed over the past three years, the fact that I might be one of those people actually kind of makes sense.
Today I was looking at my calendar and realized that it’s somehow already November and there’s a little over a month left in the semester. While the horizon holds inevitable finals week gloom the fall here has lasted pretty long bringing with it some awesome fall experiences that I wanted to share with you all. Fall in Binghamton is one of my favorite times, everyone is adjusted to his or her respective schedules, freshman finally understand how the whole college thing works, and people are back in the college mindset. Usually everyone has a pretty intense midterm week or two in October; however, this is typically followed by a nice week or two lull of relative ease. This means that students traditionally have a nice break to take advantage of all the activities that campus and the city have to offer. One of the best fall activities is Co-Rec Football and area-wide competitions. Every building has its own flag football team and we play against the other buildings in our community. In each living community there’s always a field day full of building competitions, in CIW we call ours “Woods Olympics” and it’s a great way to raise some building pride and get everyone pumped to be a part of such a great community, as well as create some fun rivalry between neighboring buildings. Downtown Binghamton has also had great activities going on. For the entire month of October a theater downtown screened weekly cult-classic horror films to get everyone in the Halloween mindset, culminating with one of my favorites- Rocky Horror Picture Show, where of course everyone showed up in crazy attire. Another really fun event is Homecoming Weekend. Sure, Binghamton might not be making any ESPN headlines lately but free D1 sports games are always fun. This year our soccer team had a shut-out win that was preceded by a filling tailgate party and afterward one of the bonfire pits on campus had a fire complete with make-your-own s’more kits and hot chocolate, they also gave out free Binghamton scarves so now everyone who went looks like Hogwarts students walking around in our striped scarves.I had the pleasure of speaking with one of the faculty masters ( I’ll write more about these guys later, but they’re one of the coolest parts of the Binghamton student-professor relationsip so check them out here http://www.binghamton.edu/academics/provost/undergrad/faculty-masters) and a couple alumni, one of whom was a student here back when it was Harpur College (pre-1965) so it was quite interesting to hear how things have changed since his time at Binghamton.
While these are all great ways to get involved, meet friends, and be active on and off campus, my absolute favorite part of Binghamton in the fall is something that allows me to get away from everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending a vast majority of my day living and learning with my best friends, but every now and then being a college student can make you feel a bit claustrophobic. What’s Bing’s solution to this you might ask? Our 182 acre Nature Preserve located right on campus!
The Nature Preserve is undoubtedly one of the most unique aspects about our campus, seriously though, what other campus do you know of that has a couple hundred acres of ponds, waterfalls, trees to climb, deer, and seemingly endless miles of trails? Not many that I can think of! I unfortunately think the Nature Preserve is one of the most under utilized areas on campus, it’s absolutely gorgeous, and it’s such a nice reprieve from the daily grind, but I suppose it would be a lot less peaceful if it were packed with students. In addition to the calming silence and fresh air, there’s also no light pollution so I’ve gone up there in the early hours of the morning to check out meteor showers, our hilly campus gives us a great view of the surrounding area and an unobstructed view of the night sky.The Nature Preserve is equally awesome in winter and spring, but I tend to favor it in the spring as the changing leaves remind me of being home in NH. For all of you runners out there the Nature Preserve is amazing, I try to include a few miles in there on my daily runs so, if you’re coming to Binghamton regardless of the season take a walk around the Nature Preserve, maybe I’ll see you out there!
Posted by Neal Bonenberger at 06:34 PM.
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My name is Neal Bonenberger, and I’m a junior at Binghamton University. I’m double majoring in English and History. I’m from a small town in southern New Hampshire and have a couple siblings and two awesome German Shepherds.
In high school I played football and wrestled among other activities. I was involved in a few other clubs and activities such as coaching a Special Olympics basketball team which was an absolutely incredible experience. Here on campus I continue to be involved in sports such as the club swim team, intramural dodgeball, and I even referee co-rec football. When I came to college I decided I wanted to branch out a bit from simply being involved in sports. As a result, I’m a Tour Guide, a Resident Assistant, a Teaching Assistant in the Theater Department, and when my schedule has a few hours of free time I go to the Ballroom Dance Club practices (something I definitely wouldn’t have thought I’d be involved in before college).
Outside of my campus involvement, I’m an Officer Candidate in the United States Marine Corps, and after completing this summer’s training and my undergraduate degrees I’ll be commissioning as a Marine Corps officer.
I don’t have a magical story as to why I chose to come to Binghamton. I, like many students, enrolled because of its excellent academic reputation and affordable cost. However, I’ve stayed because I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else. It didn’t take long into my freshman year before I realized how much I cared about Binghamton and it was quite evident when I caught myself about two weeks into college referring to my dorm as “home”. I hope that through my subsequent posts you will understand why Binghamton has been such an incredible experience and place for me, but more importantly, help you in seeing how well you’d fit in here!
Posted by Neal Bonenberger at 03:03 PM.
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My name is Maria, but everybody calls me Murph. I am a transfer student majoring in Human Development in the College of Community and Public Affairs with a concentration in psychology. I am a Binghamton native, who grew up in Johnson City (a small village next door to Binghamton).
I plan to graduate with my B.S. in Human Development and then go on to get my masters in social work so I can provide counseling for the homeless.
I like running, writing, painting/drawing, and playing my ukulele. I am a recent triathlete, and just drafted my Fantasy Football team for the new season! I also write for a local arts and entertainment newspaper called Triple Cities Carousel which tells you just about everything that is going on in Binghamton, and the surrounding areas. I work at a local brewery called Galaxy Brewing Company as well as a cafe called Cyber Cafe West (my favorite place in Binghamton).
I am very excited to be writing with you all and I am hopeful that I will help answer your questions and share with you any helpful knowledge I have, so you may find some clarity in searching for the university that is best for you. And in the process, I hope to also show you how beautiful and wonderful a place the Binghamton area is and all there is to enjoy here!
Posted by Maria Murphy at 10:25 AM.
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Because of the way Labor Day and Jewish New Year fall this year, Binghamton has a week off, which means that I’m back home, contemplating the fact that my senior year has begun. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how much my life has changed since I started my junior year. My conclusion: it’s changed a LOT.
So first of all, the summer before junior year started with me coming back from study abroad. One big adjustment revolved around the fact that while abroad, my goal was to absorb as much of my environment as I could, and thus wandering around, eating chocolate, and watching TV seemed both urgent and important. Back in the States, I felt massive (largely self-induced) pressure to choose a career path. At that time it seemed like exploring Italy was the only thing I would ever really be interested in. But that didn’t seem practical, and I’d come to the realization that I didn’t have the emotional capacity to make a permanent move abroad anyway, so basically, I thought I was screwed in the enjoying-my-career department.
Before leaving for Milan, I’d played with the idea of becoming a speech therapist. While studying abroad, I realized how much I love social sciences and humanities and how ill-suited I would be to all the science classes speech therapy would require. I didn’t know what else to do, though, so I rearranged my fall class schedule to make room for Biology 118, a prerequisite for all the other pre-health classes I was now planning to take.
I did believe that picking up bio was the right thing to do, but aside from the fact that I lacked intrinsic interest in the subject, I resented my decision to take the class for one reason: it made it impossible, schedule-wise, for me to accept the teaching internship I’d been offered. At the time, I thought the internship would be a cool experience, but since I was set on speech therapy, I didn’t think it would do much for me in the long run. Postponing the internship annoyed me mostly because it made me feel like even though my application to the internship program had been accepted, it hadn’t paid off.
This was perhaps a bigger deal to me than it should have been. I’d faced a lot of rejection lately. Sure, I’d been accepted as a Native Speaking Assistant for one of Binghamton’s ESL classes, but I’d been turned down as a mentor for the Emerging Leaders Program. Despite having been on the publicity committees of two clubs, I hadn’t gotten a position as publicity chair with either of them (although High Hopes had accepted me as secretary). Even though I’d been a dedicated Student Ambassador for two years and even put in the effort to visit international high schools in Milan, I hadn’t been offered an e-board position with that group either. I’d been rejected from being a student blogger. I’d wanted to be a tour guide since freshman year, but I’d now been rejected for the third time. I’d been waitlisted as an RA. I’d even been waitlisted for Welcome Back Crew, which I hadn’t even known could happen.
You may have noticed that a lot of the rejection I experienced had to do with my marketing-related activities (Student Ambassadors, tour guides, publicity for two different clubs). For this reason, I started to doubt my ability to make it in marketing, which had always been my back-up career plan. I expected the rest of my life to be unpleasant, since I felt like my only real option was speech therapy, which was not a good fit for me. And I really, really expected my junior year to be unpleasant, since I’d had such a bad success rate at getting the positions I wanted.
Things started to turn around when I got off the wait list for Welcome Back Crew. OK, so that only lasted about a week, and most of it was carrying people’s stuff and knocking on their doors telling them to go to Res Life events. But it helped me meet cool people and get settled into Susquehanna. Also, returning to campus after nine months away (one of winter break, four of study abroad, and four of summer break) was a little strange, and WBC helped me feel more engaged as soon as I returned.
My life did not magically become perfect as soon as fall semester started. I disliked and struggled with my biology class. I was rejected from being a tour guide for the fourth time. Other things went well – I became a student blogger, obviously, as well as a study abroad peer advisor – but it wasn’t until maybe December that I actually started feeling good about the way things were going.
See, the disliking-and-being-bad-at-biology thing made me give up the idea of speech therapy. The blog made me slightly more hopeful about marketing. Being a Native Speaking Assistant, though, made me realize that I might actually like teaching, so I got excited to pick up the internship in the spring. Meanwhile, I got emotionally invested in High Hopes and I organized my intellectual reaction to study abroad through my Global Studies capstone. Then I got off the wait list to become an RA. The rest, as they say, is history. (In case you don’t want to go read those posts, I’ll summarize here: being a teaching intern and an RA were super fulfilling and helped me grow as a person, I got less mixed up about how study abroad fits into my overall experience, and I have big plans for this semester related to my positions as study abroad peer advisor, RA, and High Hopes co-director.)
So, why am I announcing to the world how great things are for me right now? First of all, if any of you are having a rough time, I hope this will show you that it is actually possible for situations to turn themselves around in unexpected ways, as long as you keep trying. Second, I want to draw your attention to something. Even with study abroad and two minors in addition to my major, I could have graduated in three years. I didn’t, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. During my third year, I kind of found myself; during my fourth year, I’m going to use that to get more deeply involved with the Binghamton community and to plan for my next steps after college.
I’m not hating on people who finish in three years. If that works for you, then hooray. But don’t let anyone pressure you into graduating early. Sometimes, one year can make all the difference in the world.