Author: edib1553

15 Mar

Comments Off on Why Getting Involved on Campus Makes or Breaks Your College Career

Why Getting Involved on Campus Makes or Breaks Your College Career

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My name is Alex Perlak. I am an aspiring Financial Analyst majoring in Mathematics on the Actuarial Science track from West Hempstead, Long Island, New York. In high school, I knew I wanted to get involved the very minute I learned what the Student Council and Key Club did for my community back home. At the end of my four years, I became the president of five clubs and graduated in the top 10% of my class. But enough about high school, as those days are in the past; I am writing to discuss why you should get involved in college.

Since high school, I’ve always had a passion for giving back to the community. I definitely want to join as many clubs and organizations as possible to eventually reach out to the community and greater Newburgh and to give back to the campus that gave me the opportunity to earn a college degree. I joined eight clubs during my freshman year while balancing theatre and my academic studies. I enjoyed every minute of my freshman year. I became involved in the Dominican Scholars of Hope, a community service based organization that serves our community as a whole; became an officer of the Delta Leadership Society, a club whose mission was to give back to the school and area surrounding it; and I also joined the Student Government Association as the freshman class president. With the help of my peers, mentors, and members of the faculty, I learned so much about the opportunities this campus has to offer. I joined clubs, made friends, earned leadership experience, and had the best time one could ask for by getting involved on campus.

I sometimes believe that I can be shy at times, and I almost didn’t join some of these clubs because I was afraid I wasn’t going to fit in. But the chip on my shoulder said to go for it and I did. If you are someone who is worried about joining a club, or running for a position on the executive board of a club, hear my advice: college is what you make of it and getting involved in something, whether it be sports, intramurals, clubs, or organizations, is going to help you grow as a person in your college experience. It is never too late to join or even start a club at the Mount. I currently serve as the club assembly senator of the Student Government Association. It is my mission to create a welcoming environment for current and prospective students to have fun and enjoy activities that pertain to them. I oversee the management of over 30 clubs at the Mount, and it is very rewarding to me to see people have fun based on the different interests they possess.

Again, it is never too late to get involved. Especially at the Mount, we value each student as a member of our family, and we would love to see you at a future club, organization, or intramural meeting soon.


If you have any questions about the Club Assembly or need more information about getting involved on campus, don’t hesitate to contact me at aper6101@my.msmc.edu

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14 Mar

Comments Off on Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap

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For better or for worse, the question we ask of our high school seniors tends to be “Where are you going to college?” and not “When are you going to college?”. In many parts of the country, it’s assumed that graduating seniors will be entering a college of some sort (whether it be a community college, a state school, or a private institution) just a few short months later. As we rapidly approach enrollment deadline season, it’s time to start asking if now is the best time for your child to be packing their bags.

I fully understand that it’s my job to guide students from high school to college. Trust me when I say that I’m not encouraging hesitant college-hopefuls to give up the search and resolve to a life without higher education. The Grateful Dead are long gone, so any hope of following them on tour around the country through one’s 20’s is unfortunately useless. What I’m suggesting is a short break between high school graduation and college enrollment. A semester or two can make a real difference for some.

Now, before you go and refund your child’s enrollment deposit, it’s essential to sit down with them and discuss their options. For those who might be experiencing sudden cold feet, a gap year might not make much difference. The same goes for students who are having second thoughts about their major, school choice, or roommate. These are largely reconcilable concerns that a little can-do attitude (and a chat with their Admissions Counselor).

Obviously, there are a number of drawbacks to waiting a year to enroll at a college. You know by now how much I love lists, so let’s cut to the chase:

Institution practices are shaped to fit a traditional model: College admission departments design their activities and programs around the assumption that most students do not take a gap year. College fairs, high school visits, Open House, Accepted Student Day, and Orientation are all scheduled to align with the needs of high school students and their parents. The application process also typically requires a number of documents that rely on a student’s relationship with their high school. If your child is planning on taking a gap year, consider contacting their guidance counselor for a copy of their official transcript and a letter of recommendation. Acquiring those documents after graduation isn’t impossible by any means, but it’s far easier to get it done early and have the files on hand.

Going to school ISN’T like riding a bike: Momentum is everything in learning. We’ve all heard of the dreaded “summer slide” that robs students of their mental acuity after a season without studying. There are studies which suggest that the “slide” isn’t as damning as once thought, but the truly troublesome bit comes from breaking a habit of education. Retraining oneself to wake up on time, get to class, take meaningful notes, study, and complete assignments can be a real drag. Be mindful of letting a gap year turn into gap years.

The work/school balance: Unless your student is financially sound enough to take a year off without any form of income, exiting high school might necessitate employment on their end. Depending on the nature of the work, it might become problematic or detrimental to walk away from their occupation to pursue education at a later date. Falling into the rhythm of regular employment leads us back into my last point: momentum towards a college degree gets lost all too easily.

There are plenty of upsides to taking a short break before starting a college degree program. At the end of the day, it’s our duty to ensure that our children and students are making progress and growing into productive, happy adults. Whether it takes a year of soul-searching abroad, a semester working a part-time job, or a few weeks on a road trip with friends, it’s essential that there be some kind of personal progress being made. When they’re finally ready, you know who to send their college application to.

How do you feel about gap years? Are they a waste of time or a chance to grow? Let me know what you think on Facebook and Instagram!

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12 Mar

Comments Off on My First Year: Challenges and Triumphs

My First Year: Challenges and Triumphs

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For the Office of Student Success, freshman student Erin Gokey shares her experiences changing her major and commuting on the blog today!

While applying to colleges, I knew I did not want to go away to school. I chose to commute, so I applied only to schools within a 45 minute radius from my house. Needless to say, the first and only college I visited was Mount Saint Mary College. From the moment I stepped on campus, I knew that this was the place that I wanted to be. Everyone was so nice and accepting, and there was so much for students to do, even as a commuter.

Choosing a major was not hard for me at all. I knew that I wanted to be a teacher, and being in the education program means to focus in on a subject area for your major. I decided to major in General Science. That was not for me, however. For the first semester, I was working two jobs and enrolled in 17 credits for the semester. It was a lot: I got pre-occupied really quickly and did not manage my time at all. Because of this,  I did not do great at all in my classes, and that was such a letdown.

Finally, I decided to talk to my academic coach about what I could do differently. I decided to change my major from General Science to English, and then get tutoring for the rest of the semester. It was pretty late in the semester when I decided to go and get help though, so unfortunately I was placed on Academic Probation for the second semester. With this, you are limited to the amount of credits you can take during the semester. This was terrible news for me; I was extremely upset. I did know that it was probably the best option for me, but it still is not the best thing to hear. While having to limit myself with the amount of classes to take for the semester did help me get back on track, I wish I had asked for help sooner in the semester, instead of being stubborn and thinking I didn’t need the help. My advice to you: Do not be afraid to ask for help, especially when it comes to your grades. Communicating with your academic coach or your advisor is the most beneficial thing you can do: they know all of the answers and will help you figure out what you can do, regardless of the situation.

Deciding to attend the Mount was by far the best decision I think I have ever made. Yeah, commuting is hard. Especially when you wake up late and the mountain is closed… but to come here, it’s totally worth it. Challenge yourself and manage your time properly. Time management is the key to success.

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06 Mar

Comments Off on “Life is a Journey” – Making the Most of Your World

“Life is a Journey” – Making the Most of Your World

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We make decisions in our life every day. Whether it’s something small like what to eat for breakfast or something on the larger scale like making a difference in people’s lives, we make these decisions to not only benefit ourselves but for everyone we come into contact with. Christina Mistretta, a senior at the Mount, has just made a decision that will change her life (and others’ lives!) for the better. Christina will be traveling across the world to Tanzania, Africa this July. She has accepted a position in the Peace Corps as a secondary education science teacher.

Christina on a service trip in Ecuador

Christina’s life during college has been all about big decisions. Her first was choosing to attend Mount Saint Mary College to study Biology- Adolescent Education. Coming from Brooklyn, NY, Christina was excited for this chapter in her life in an environment she wasn’t used to. She fell in love with the Mount and everything it had to offer her. Once she was here, she wasted no time in getting involved. Christina became an active member in Habitat for Humanity and had a huge role as the president and founder of our Catholic Relief Services Student Ambassadors program. She is also a chair member on the Student Honors Council.

This wasn’t enough for Christina, though. She wanted to do more all around campus, so she decided to apply to be a resident assistant. After receiving word as a freshman that she had been accepted, Christina couldn’t wait to get started. Becoming an RA was a huge decision she had to make and she took it a step further for her senior year by becoming a senior RA (SRA), which is a step above a regular RA. Three years in Res Life has changed Christina’s life. She explained that she has met people that she can call friends for the rest of her life and she has had experiences she hopes to take with her through life.

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05 Mar

Comments Off on The Best Laid Plans

The Best Laid Plans

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By Dan Fenyo

Bill Evans, famed jazz pianist of the Miles Davis sextet, wrote an outstanding article that was featured within the liner notes of Davis’ iconic album Kind of Blue entitled “Improvisation in Jazz.” The article itself is a terribly insightful read, but you’re currently busy reading MY article, so I don’t want to let Evans steal all my spotlight for now. For now, I want to draw your attention to the opening of Evans’ commentary:

“There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke with destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way the deliberation cannot interfere.”

You may be asking yourself how jazz improvisation, Japanese art, and college admissions are related about now. Well, today I want to talk about planning for college and, more specifically, what to do when those plans go wrong. Navigating the choppy waters of college admission isn’t easy and frankly, if everybody could do it as well as Bill Evans and Miles Davis could improvise jazz music, I might be out of a job! It’s natural for you and your child’s plans to go awry. Sour notes and torn parchment are all a part of the process but, as we approach nearer and nearer to the enrollment deadlines of many colleges, it’s time to start thinking about what to do when things aren’t going according to plan.

What sort of things can go wrong in college admissions, you might ask. Well, there are a few common ones: Continue Reading

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