12 Mar

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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

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“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.

Continue Reading

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05 Mar

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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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04 Mar

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19 Things To Do Before Graduation

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19. Meet new people

It is never too late to meet someone new. Before graduating, try talking to someone you have never met before. Who knows, maybe that one person will become a friend you will have forever.

18. Attend an event on campus you have never been to

Throughout your four years at the Mount, there have been many events hosted. You have probably been to a lot of them but try to go to one you’ve never been before. This is just a good way to try something new.

17. Use all of your resources

After graduation, we’re probably never going to have all of the resources we have here available to us all the time such as the library, writing center, and athletic trainers.

16. Explore the area around campus

We live in a beautiful area of the Hudson Valley. Go explore what it has to offer.

15. Hike Mount Beacon

A popular activity to do for Mount students is going down to Beacon and hiking. If you haven’t done this yet, you have to do it at least once. Who knows if you’ll ever be this close to a beautiful hiking trail again?

14. Go on a late night Alexis Diner run with your friends

There is nothing better than pancakes at 2 am with some of your closest friends. Cherish every moment you have. Continue Reading

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27 Feb

Comments Off on No Student is An Island

No Student is An Island

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By Dan Fenyo

We’ve all heard that classic maxim of reliance on others: “No Man is an Island.” For college students, John Donne’s immortal wisdom rings all the more true. While there may be a certain population of students who, without any exceptional support or guidance, find academic success, and graduate in four years, they are undoubtedly a minority.

Today, I want to talk about support for students on campus and the Student Support Center at the Mount. In many ways, higher education represents a new foray into independence. For some students, the sudden onset of autonomy can be empowering and awakening; for others, it can feel a big like being stranded on an island. Before you unload the minivan and leave your freshman at his or her dorm, rest assured that the Mount offers a number of resources to students to assist in their transition to college through the SSC. As usual, I’ll be talking primarily about the services offered through MSMC, but it’s always important to check to see what resources are offered by all the schools your student is considering attending.

The Student Support Center at the Mount is a broad umbrella that actually encompasses three separate departments: the Office for Student Success, Counseling Services, and Disability Services. For today, I’m going to focus on the OSS, but if you can’t possibly wait until later this week to learn about Counseling and Disability Services, you’re always welcome to contact those departments directly! Continue Reading

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