Spring Break 8° South of the Equator

Last week eight friends and I decided to take on Bali, Indonesia for our Spring Break. We step off the plane to be greeted with a wall of hot, heavy, and humid air; none of us have ever been this close to the equator before. Our driver, Bobby, packed our luggage into the van and took us to our awaiting villa of paradise for the week.

The first day we trekked through Bali a few hours North to Ubud’s jungles and an elephant oasis. Mary, the elephant I was paired with, showed me around the local village, rice patty and forest. Riding an elephant was definitely terrifying at first. They are so tall and strong; you can’t help but feel vulnerable. But after a few minutes I was comfortable and amazed with the beautiful creatures power. After feeding the elephants and playing with the babies we were lead to a beautiful three-course Balinese lunch.

Day two we had a few adrenaline packed activities planned – white water rafting and ATVing through the jungle. I felt like I was apart of a Hollywood film while gliding down the Ayung River. The valley was filled with natural waterfalls and bright green vines – the scene was picturesque and serene when we weren’t tumbling through the roaring rapids. Afterwards, we were able to blow off some steam and let loose on the ATV course through the jungle and nearby village.

The third day my roommates had an early pick-up call of 2am to hike up Mount Batur, an active volcano, for the sunrise. Unfortunately, I had to decline this exciting excursion due to my recent injury but I knew it was for the best. Instead, my friend Emma and I found a spa a few blocks away from our villa to receive some luxurious Balinese treatments. Since our money is worth so much in Bali, we were able to treat ourselves like queens in the tranquil environment. Later that day our group found the Monkey Forrest and made a few furry friends. I was surprised at how terrified I became after the larger-than-expected marsupials were jumping on and off all of us. However, I did end up making a furry little friend that hung out on my hand for a while.

Spending a few days in a low-income country was an eye-opening experience. Being in the tourist area of Bali was a very different experience than being up north in the villages filled with locals. The Balinese that lived in the tourist areas lived off the tourists’ money. We couldn’t walk down the street without every taxicab beeping at us to see if we needed a ride. Similarly, every salon, spa and restaurant had employees waiting outside to inform and hopefully drive customers inside. We walked through a few markets during some evenings and the vendors would sometimes trap you into their booth and beg you to name a good price. I would bargain for a good price, as we were told to do so, but sometimes I left feeling unsatisfied – knowing they needed the minimal amount of money I saved more than I did.

After leaving Bali, I can’t help but feel extremely grateful for the life that has been given to me. There are many less fortunate than us that we tend to ‘forget’ about. Not necessarily in the sense of money, but the opportunities and resources we have access to and often take for granted – like clean water and a higher education.

In the end, spring break was a success! The food was delicious, the people were friendly and the views were incredible. This week I’ll be headed to New Zealand for a long weekend. Thanks for reading – stay tuned for more adventures!

 

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Hello!

fullsizerenderHello! My name is Carolyn and sadly I am a second-semester senior. I say sadly because pretty much the last thing I want to think about right now is graduating. Finding a job, leaving my friends, moving to a new city, and leaving Oswego is all too much to think about. I have been extremely fortunate to have had the experiences I have had in the past four years. I’ve been surrounded by the most amazing people and partaken in the greatest adventures.

Here’s a brief run-down of my involvement on campus over the past four years. I’m a double major in Marketing and Public Relations, a TA for MKT 250 and MKT 467, I’ve held on-campus jobs in both the Res Life and Housing and Campus Life departments, I’ve participated in three internships, I’m a member of PRSSA, I traveled abroad with a quarter class to London, helped build a house in Iowa with Habitat for Humanity and played on several intramural sports teams (actually my first time playing a sport was in college haha).

One of my favorite experiences, by far was through my internship experience this summer. I was an Outside Sales Representative for the AroundCampus Group in the SUNY Oswego Market. This meant that every day I was accountable for selling advertising space in the free student planners that are handed out to students each year (make sure you get one!). Not only are they free, but they include deals and coupons for businesses in the Oswego area. This is a great resource for students and the community. I was able to meet several amazing local business owners in the Oswego area and learn about the rich culture of Oswego. Over the course of the semester, I will be sharing these businesses with you and many of the best places to see/visit/and eat at in Oswego!

HI! My name is…

Hi, my name is…if you thought I was going to say, Slim Shady, I think we will get along great and if you didn’t we’ll still get along great!

My name is Bridgeblog-1t Rooney and I am currently a second semester senior here at Oswego. Time really does fly when you’re having fun! I am pursuing a dual degree in business administration and public relations. My minor is international business studies and my concentration is business marketing (I know it’s a mouth full). This semester I am a social media intern for the office of marketing and communications as well as working for Campus Life in the Campus Recreation department. I am a student supervisor for Intramural sports on campus.

My hobbies include playing intramural sports, rapping to old school hip hop, and making omelets. My deepest fear is butterflies and that isn’t a joke.

Throughout my 4 years here at Oswego, I have been really active in our school community. I am excited to talk about my past experiences, as well as what I will be doing to prep for the real world which is approaching at a rather hasty rate. Picking SUNY Oswego was to this day one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am excited to have the opportunity to share with potential students that when you pick Oswego you don’t just pick a great school, you get a new home and new family.

Snow, snow, and more snow…

Hello Oswego, and welcome to the Spring 2017 semester!

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Matt Seymour, a sophomore meteorology major here at SUNY Oswego. Some may know me as the “Sassy Weatherman.” (plug: follow my Twitter @SassyWeatherman and you’ll eventually figure out why). I am active in the school’s meteorology club, and I enjoy being outdoors and taking photographs.

And what a start it has been to the semester, weather-wise. Two significant lake effect snow events have occurred in the past two weeks. Neither produced huge snow accumulation in Oswego, but the Tug Hill Plateau (northeast of Oswego) has been hammered. Redfield, NY, a small town on the southern Tug Hill, has picked up 120″ (10 FEET) of snow since January 26. Videos have been posted of people literally jumping into the snow and being buried head to toe instantly. Now that’s some powder!!!

Here in Oswego, we have been missed by the majority of these snows. I’d estimate that campus has picked up around 20-25″ of snow in that same timeframe. Why’s this? Blame the lake effect. A single band of lake effect snow often isn’t more than a few miles wide, so it is capable of highly localized snowfall. It literally could be sunny in one location, and then a mile down the road it’s snowing and blowing with drifts waist deep. In a nutshell, this is what happened to Oswego during this past week. The snow band set up (on several occasions) just to the north or south of campus. Locations on either side picked up 2-4 times as much snow as campus. However, when it did snow here, it came down fast and furious. There were even two instances of thundersnow! (For those who keep track, we have now had 8 instances of thundersnow this winter in Oswego.)

This week, a mid-week warm up looks to bring rain, wind, mild temps and melting snow. Lake effect is once again possible Thursday. Will it hit campus, that remains to be seen. Regardless, have a great week all!!!

Introducing Jess!

Hey everybody!

My name is Jess Mulder and I am currently a first semester senior at SUNY Oswego. I am a Broadcasting and Mass Communication Major from Bridgewater, NJ which is roughly 45 minutes west of New York City. This semester I am interning as a Web Multimedia Intern for the Communications department with a focus on creating videos for the sunyoswegovideo YouTube channel. I am Co-President of a mental health club on campus called Active Minds, and a crewmember at WTOP, the school’s student run TV station. I am still figuring out what I want to do when I graduate in December but I am extremely interested in pursuing a career involving social media and am hoping that this internship simply strengthens that desire.

My focus this semester will be taking over former intern Alyssa Levenberg’s “Alyssa Explains It All” Q&A segments, obviously with a new name… Jess Explains It All doesn’t have quite the same ring to it. Head over to my twitter to vote on the name! You can find me at @jess_mulder ! I relied on these videos for tips during my time at Oswego and I look forward to guiding new students to success just like Alyssa’s videos did for me!

First things first

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Let’s face it, living in a new country where you don’t know anyone or speak the language is scary in general! But added on top of the intimidating application process and the physical (don’t forget mental) preparation can easily overwhelm students, causing them to miss out on an opportunity of a life time. That is the inspiration for this post; I’m going to break down every part of the “preparation” stage that the school doesn’t straight out tell you and that I wish I knew!

***FYI, I am studying in Madrid, Spain for a whole semester and living in an apartment. So if you’re program is different, some of the elements of the application process will be different from mine.

Application process: Not going to lie the application process is super confusing and stressful at first. Juggling schoolwork along with all the deadlines for the applications is a lot…. but worth it.

  1. The first step you should take is to look online at SUNY Oswego’s study abroad page; there it lists all the programs that are available (https://www.oswego.edu/international/program-search.) You should start this process at least one semester before you want to leave! Keep in mind, if there is something you’re interested in and don’t see, SUNY Oswego works with all SUNY schools and odds are another school has it. For example, I am going to Madrid, Spain, which is through SUNY Oswego, but there are people from New Paltz, Cortland and Albany on the same trip as I am. If you’re interested in another SUNY schools program, the credits transfer over to Oswego without any problems. ***One problem my friend ran into was that she was a transfer student from Cortland (2 years) to Binghamton, and wanted to study abroad with me through SUNY Oswegos’s program. Well, because Bing has a cap on how many credits a student can transfer from another school, the 15 credits that she would get from study abroad with Oswego would not count for her…. Just something to pay attention too before getting too far into the process.

  2. Next, when you find a program that you like you can click “apply now” and an online application would be set up for you. On this application it requires you to attach your official transcript (ordered online $10), 2 academic letters of recommendation, a study statement (see Study Supplement Example), and a language proficiency exam (only important if you are going to study a language.) Oswego has an online program that you can sign into which shows you all the forms you need… but I had no idea how that worked until I met with my study abroad advisor (Lizette Alvarado.) I suggest making an appointment with the international  office ASAP when you know where or when you would like to go.

  3. After you have submitted the application and have been accepted, the online program attaches more paperwork onto the online application that you have to submit. For example a $250 deposit, copy of your passport, 2 passport size pics (for visa, $30 from post office), $160 Visa application, housing form, health forms, learning agreement (class selection.. see “The Fun Part!” post for more info), and a financial aid form. You have a good amount of time to get these things in order and submitted, but the sooner the better. You will see the online application program is very organized with what has been submitted or still needs to be. The study abroad office also sends out automatic emails telling you the things missing (which was a life saver for me!) I also included as many prices as I could remember only because I felt like I had no idea how many things I had to pay for right out of my pocket… and seeing as I’m living off of pasta and eggs each cost hit me hard. Each check that will be submitted to the international office has to be a certified check or money order (Culkin can do this and the Oswego post office too.) Your study abroad advisor will apply for your student visa (required for a semester study abroad), which you will receive in the mail with your passport before you leave.

***TBH I submitted all these things the week of the deadline and was fine… don’t stress too much!

Financial aid (https://www.oswego.edu/financial-aid/): Obviously this depends on everyone’s individual loans or whatnot….but what I didn’t know is that if you have the parent plus loan, you can bring the study abroad budget sheet (online) to the office and they can increase your loan. So that’s exactly what I did and they increased it  to the amount that the budget sheet suggest that you bring (which is way more than you need.) This comes back to you in a refund right before you go. For me this was super helpful for rent and also to have extra spending money… you know for emergencies 😉

*** I talked to Jennie Hoffman and she is super nice and SOOOO helpful!

Scholarships: Oswego has a lot of study abroad specific scholarships. You can apply online and it attaches to your study abroad application (https://www.oswego.edu/international/scholarships). I applied for 5 and was awarded 0 (lol just my luck.) But I recently found out that I was awarded the GETGO scholarship, which gave me $1,500!! That money is taken right off the bill for the semester, so when I get my refund back I have an extra $1,500 for necessity like shopping 😉 The GETGO scholarship paperwork is in the language department and it just requires you to put how long your studying for (quarter, semester, summer) along with your acceptance letter (also attached to the online application program) then a small written statement and an option to attach a letter of recommendation. Then I was emailed with an invoice for the cost of the semester abroad with that GETGO scholarship taken off of the total. Nice end of the semester surprise!

*** I used the same study statement that I applied for the program with for the scholarships… keep in mind I only received one though, so you might want to switch it up a bit!

This seems like a lot… and honestly it is, but this is the worst part! Everything after this process is a lot more fun! See my follow-up post “The Fun Part” for more information for what comes next!

Don’t Stress It

College is a once in a lifetime experience, and, of course, anyone would want to make the most of it. But a part of this experience, unfortunately, is stress.

I’m juggling a course over load (over load of homework too!), PRSSA meetings, a job and a social life, so I am no stranger to stress. I’ve had a pretty hectic week. This tends to happen occasionally, but I’m at the point in my collegiate career where I now know that not everything is going to be the end of the world and life will go on as it always does.

So, whether you’re a freshmen still discovering how this whole college thing works or a senior getting ready to graduate, I want to share with you guys some tips to manage stress!

Stay Organized! This is key! Professors give you a syllabus for a reason. Most tend to have a schedule of due dates for assignments and exams. Know what is coming up so you’re never caught off guard. I also recommend having a planner to stay on track.

Prioritize. Now that you know that your syllabus is your best friend, all you have to do it prioritize based on when assignments are due and roughly how long it will take you to finish the assignment, project, etc.

Use Free Time Wisely. I am more than guilty of scrolling through Twitter instead of reading a textbook chapter in between classes. Don’t be like me! Try to utilize free time wisely. This will benefit you in the long run and reduce the likelihood of you being stressed out. Future you will thank you.

Find Studying/ Work Habits That Are Best For YouWhat I mean by this is to immerse yourself in a setting that will allow for you to focus and perform to the best of your ability. For me, I need a quiet room that’s devoid of all distractions. I’m so easily distracted that it’s impossible for me to work with other people around me. It took me until my junior year to realize that I was actually hurting myself by studying with my friends because I would spend more time talking to them than actually studying! But if studying/ doing homework with your friends helps you and gets you motivated, go for it.

There’s Always Someone To Listen and Help. If you ever feel as though you are overwhelmed, talking through your issues is a great way to feel better. Fortunately, SUNY Oswego offers counseling services at the Mary Walker Health Center on campus. It’s free and confidential.

Decompress. This is the most important. Sometimes stress can be a little overbearing and I don’t know where to start first. When this happens take a deep breath, relax and do something other than work. Simply do things that make you happy. Trust me, this will go along way. If you’ve been cramming for an exam, take a nap. Your brain works a whole lot better when you’re not running on fumes. Hang out with friends. You’ll find they’re probably dealing with the same things you are and it’ll feel better talking about it.  Watch Netflix…Yes I’m saying it’s okay to ditch the homework for some House of Cards.

Hope these tips can help you guys in the future! Always remember that your mental well-being is more important than any grade on a test!

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Fall Foliage Fun

Happy November, Oswego!

The season of fall has progressed quickly, and is now 2/3 over, from a meteorological standpoint. Meteorological seasons are a little different from regular seasons – for example, fall runs from ~Sept. 21 to ~Dec. 21 on the calendar, but meteorological fall runs from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30. The reasoning for this is that meteorological seasons are based around times of temperature change (spring and fall) or non-change (summer and winter). It also is easier to keep track of!

Anyways, here’s an update to what’s happening in the trees around campus! Lots of colorful leaves have blossomed over the past couple of weeks, and I had a chance to check out the color a couple days ago.

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Maple trees adorn in yellow along the road to Hidden Fields. Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

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Maples in front of Culkin Hall, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

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Trees near Littlepage and Glimmerglass, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

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Oak tree in the quad, Oct. 30. Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

Foliage conditions on campus were generally mixed. About 1/4 of all trees were bare and prepared for the long winter ahead, while another 1/2 had leaves in fall colors, and the last 1/4 were still mostly green. The area around the Lakeside dorms generally had the most green trees left, while Central Campus, The Village and Hidden Fields (the athletic fields near the Village) held the most fall-colored foliage.

While these conditions are similar to what Oswego experienced during autumn last year, I continue to be surprised by the longevity of the foliage season. I am originally from the Ithaca, NY area, which is typically on its tail end of fall foliage season at this time. Oswego’s season, in my opinion, is peaking right now, and if not will peak later this week.

Lake Ontario, in part, helps locally change the timing of foliage emergence on campus. The lake typically keeps nighttime temperatures from dropping too low. Trees require cool nights, in combination with mild days, in order to produce maximum color. Additionally, the overall weather pattern has been mild. Until about a week ago, nights were generally mild to warm, prolonging the foliage season. The recent colder weather has finally jump-started the trees’ preparation for winter.

Weather conditions this week will generally be drier and warmer than last week, but not perfectly dry nor perfectly warm. Every day this week, except Thursday, should offer plenty of dry time to get outside and check out nature’s beauty. Have a great week, Oswegonians!

Blown Away!

Hello Oswego! Midterms week is finally over. Can we say, relief? In more ways than one, too. I’m typically a fan of cooler weather (just wait till it starts snowing…), and the recent trend downwards in temps has been more than welcome. Two major weather stories occurred this week, so let’s get to it!

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On Oct. 17, a noisy thunderstorm passed through campus during the early evening hours. Before the storm hit, I was able to (safely) capture a few shots of lightning flashes, as well as a shelf cloud, over Lake Ontario. It was quite an unusual storm given the time of year, frequency of lightning strikes, and organized structure. What a “shocker”!

The other big weather story of the week began last Thursday, Oct. 20. A large storm began to affect the Northeast, bringing with it a slug of rain. Nearby official rain gauges reported 2 to 5 inches of rain over the course of 48 hours. Definitely something to put a dent in the lingering drought from this past summer.

The bigger story, especially here in Oswego, is the wind. As the storm wound up, winds howled out of the north across the wide open waters of Lake Ontario. The Oswego buoy station reported winds of over 30 mph at times Friday (10/21), Saturday (10/22), and Sunday (10/23). The weather station atop Shineman Center even reported a wind speed of 51 mph early Sunday morning. A few small tree limbs fell on campus, as a result. Now doesn’t that just blow you away!

Why the strong winds? Two main reasons. 1) The storm system that generated the weekend rain created a tight pressure gradient between itself and an area of high pressure over Canada. When a tight pressure gradient is present, wind speeds increase as they attempt to counteract the pressure imbalance. 2) The wide open surface of Lake Ontario provides little in the way of obstructions that the wind must encounter (hills, trees, etc.), hence locally increasing the wind speeds along the shore.

Looking ahead, a chance for a few snowflakes is coming Thursday morning (Oct. 27). Currently I don’t expect accumulations, but a slushy coating cannot be ruled out. Keep your eye to the sky, and have a great Halloweekend!

Weather or not, here I come!

Hello everyone! What a week it has been. We all could use a break from midterms, right?!

As always, there’s been some excitement here in Oswego, weather-wise. Let’s get to it.

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Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

Saturday, Oct. 8, ended on a brilliant note. As the sun set, the clouds lit up like fire. The surrounding landscape glowed of yellow as the sky became very bright. As the sun continued to set, the color morphed from yellow, to bright orange, to deep pink. It was a surreal experience to stand at the lakeshore and look at the best sunset of the semester so far.

Thank (in part) Hurricane Matthew for the extreme sunset. The clouds from the system, well to Oswego’s south at the time, streamed north, but the edge of the clouds ended just below the horizon as seen in the photo above. This allowed the setting sun to briefly illuminate the clouds from underneath, creating an effect known as afterglow. Afterglow is fairly common among most sunsets, however this intensity is probably only a twice-a-year occurrence in Oswego.

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Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

Then, on Oct. 13, a weather system moved through the Great Lakes, bringing with it some morning rain showers. Later in the afternoon, the dreaded Oswego wind moved in. Large waves ensued as the wind blew out of the northwest, some of which likely exceeded 5 feet in height. As the waves came in, some would crash into the rocky shoreline and have nowhere to go but up. Not a good day for boating!

Don’t be fooled, however, waves around here can (and have) reached 10-15 feet in height. Come wintertime, I’ll probably come back to this topic for one reason or another.

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Photo credit: Matthew Seymour

The night of Oct. 13, Oswego had a chance to see the Aurora Borealis. I walked down to the lake around 9:50 pm to snap some shots with my camera. While I did not succeed in photographing the aurora, I did still walk away with this cool view of Lake Ontario at night. However, aurora were sighted and photographed around nearby Rochester, as well as several other locations in the Great Lakes region.

Why the lack of visible aurora here in Oswego? A couple reasons. 1) The nearly full Moon added a lot of light pollution to the sky, making it harder to spot the relatively dim aurora. 2) There may have been a “substorm”, or brief uptick in auroral activity, that initiated the flurry of aurora sightings in the region. At the time, Oswego had cloudy skies, with clearing taking place shortly after the time of those reports. Substorms normally do not last more than an hour or two, so Oswego may have just missed the viewing window. Tough luck on this one!

The upcoming week looks like pretty typical fall roller-coaster weather, with near-daily rain chances, warm temps to start the week (chant enough and we might reach 80 on Tuesday!), followed by cooling as the week progresses. Until next time, Oswegonians!!!