Active Minds: Being a Co-President

Good evening everybody! Today I wanted to write about my experience being one of the Presidents of Active Minds at SUNY Oswego. For those of you who do not know, Active Minds is a national organization whose goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illness and help people access the resources that they need.

I first joined Active Minds my second semester Freshman year. My roommate at the time was thinking about declaring her major as human development and had heard about a mental health club called Active Minds. I remember walking into the room being really nervous about joining a group in the middle of the semester but once I walked into the room I felt much better about my decision because everyone was so nice. I had attempted to join a different club with my roommate earlier in the semester but still a few weeks in and had a strange experience where I felt like I was intruding on a group of friends hanging out so I was very relieved that Active Minds felt nothing like this. One of the things that really drew me to Active Minds was how they were trying to get the word out on how common mental health issues are. I struggled with anxiety and depression throughout high school and did not know anyone in any of my classes going through the same things as me. Active Minds made me feel better by making it known how common mental illness really is, for crying out loud we give out buttons that say how common it is (1 in 4, meaning 1 in 4 people have a mental illness)!

My memories from Active Minds include participating in Send Silence Packing, which is a display of backpacks that represent the number of suicides on college campuses each year, “Get Scrambled” which was a stress reliever where we threw eggs with our stressors written on them at a tarp on the wall in front of Tyler Hall, as well as going to weekly meetings with a bunch of people who wanted to help people understand mental illness as much as I wanted to.

After a semester, I became secretary of Active Minds and started a twitter account for our chapter. I remember being happy to have been elected to this position because it meant that I could be more involved with the club. I went to every meeting and would send out meeting reminders before the meeting through our email list and on our twitter. I would also send out the meeting notes to members who could not make it to the meeting due to class or illness. Then at the end of my junior year, I was elected to take over for our former Co President who graduated and got the chance to run the meetings which I have been doing since then. I really liked the freedom to talk about whatever topics I wanted in the realm of Active Minds and I still do! Although it can get frustrating being President like when budgets don’t go through or when we do not get a good turn out at a meeting, knowing that I have the ability to make a difference on campus is something that I will always appreciate getting the opportunity to do.

Greek Life Doesn’t Deserve A Bad Reputation

IMG_1607When I first came to Oswego and I was thinking about joining a sorority the first thing my mom said was “all you are going to do is drink”. She was very wrong. Joining a sorority was the second best decision I made. Of course going to Oswego was my first best decision. A lot of people stereotype members of Greek organizations based off of movies. Movies are the main reason Greeks get such bad reputations. Many people think that greeks are a bunch of jocks, dummies, and party people.

To join Greek life you must meet the GPA requirements, then you also have to obtain those requirements. Although the Greek life here at Oswego isn’t that big we make our presence known. Greek life is very involved on campus. When you are in Greek life you also participate in philanthropy events, fundraisers, community service, and much more.

Joining Greek life was a great decision here at Oswego. I met my forever friends and learned so many life skills. Being in a sorority has helped me network with alumni, find internships, and be my true self. Sure I know how to have a good time, but it is just so much more than that.


Get Involved

Get involved. No matter how busy you are, how many classes you have or how much homework you have to do, find time to meet people and get involved in a sport, a club or something. My first semester at SUNY Oswego, I was afraid to get out and meet people. I think it had to do with my vision and worrying if I’d find my way home or silly things like that, but this semester is totally different.

Over the Summer, I made it a goal of mine to try and keep as busy as possible, and meet as many people as I could for this Fall semester. I am very outgoing and enjoy trying new things, but I just wasn’t sure how to go about it. I pulled the SUNY Oswego website up, searched for clubs and organizations and made a list of everything that interested me. These included tae kwon do, ski club, and the crew team. I was interested in many others, but didn’t want to overbook myself. I then clicked on the club and it connected me to their homepage. From here, I emailed the president or contact email and went from there.

I was very interested in the crew team, but I had other obligations that interfered with many of the practices. I go home, to Baldwinsville, twice a week. I take Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), and Brazilian Jujitsu classes. I enjoy this so much but I was unable to do this and crew.

I went to a tae kwon do class last week and really enjoyed it. I laughed because it is a lot of striking and blocking. I enjoy the striking part of it, but I kind of have a little problem with the blocking. I plan on attending more of these classes.

This past weekend, I received an email back from the Ski Club. They were very interested in having me in their club. We have been emailing back and forth trying to see what mountains have adaptive teaching aids, or someone who is familiar with teaching a blind snowboarder. We are making great progress and I cannot wait to get on the slopes and board all day with my friends.

I have also joined the fitness center that is attached to my dorm building. Talk about convenient. I can go work out and then walk across the hall and have dinner or a snack after my work out. I haven’t tried a workout class such as the spinning class or other classes yet, but some of my friends and I are planning on doing that soon.

I also enjoy volunteering whether it is on campus or in the Oswego community. It’s fun meeting residents in the community and helping out for a good cause. Last weekend, a friend and I volunteered to help out with a 20 mile bike race, and a 5k and 10k running race. We were asked to direct traffic for the bike race, and then block off a street and cheer for the runners. This was so much fun, and yes a blind girl was helping direct traffic.

I can’t stress enough how much fun I’ve had just meeting people, making friends, doing something I love and trying new things. This is what college is all about. Yes there are classes, studying, homework, projects and other assignments or tasks that we have to complete to get our degrees, but there is so much more to college that you should take advantage of if you haven’t already.

Just never be afraid to get out of your comfort zone, go somewhere without your roommate or friends and do something that you love doing. I think that was another one of my problems, not wanting to go places without friends. I am comfortable with my friends and enjoy being with them, but sometimes I needed to do what was best for me. Not all of your closefriends will have the same interests as you do, so don’t be scared, and get out there.