Posts by Mary-Elizabeth
- Reflections from a Graduating Senior on April 25th, 2013
I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to work with a lot of prospective students and incoming freshman. The number one question they (or, lets be honest, their parents) ask is some variation of “if you had the chance to do it all again, would you still go to Stony Brook?” I’ll be honest in saying that up until this semester I probably would have answered “I don’t know.”
There are a LOT of things that I love about Stony Brook but, I also had a lot to complain about: homework, tests, professors, the same old food choices, etc. This semester I realized the things I complained about are the standard college student grievances. Finals week happens everywhere, all professors think their class is the most important three hours of the week and if you stay anywhere long enough, the food gets boring. The things I love about being here are Stony Brook specific. Nowhere else do we celebrate the end of the semester with Roth Pond Regatta, the Spring Concert, Earthstock AND Strawberry Fest all within a three-week span. No where else do we join together and release our finals week tensions during midnight screams. No where else are the professors as dedicated to their work and making advancements in their field as they are here.
Over the past four years I’ve seen tremendous growth at Stony Brook. We’ve opened two new residence halls, a hotel, Red Mango and unveiled dining hall changes. We’re opening up a new academic building and plans are in the works for yet another new residence hall. More than that, the student body, faculty and staff have grown. We’ve suffered the loss of professors and students and we’ve grieved together. We have worked to make Stony Brook the inclusive, safe campus that we know today through programming and lifestyle changes.
This campus is incredibly diverse in terms of religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, economic background and more. I’m so grateful for the people I’ve met and the mentors who have helped make me a leader. I’m applying to Stony Brook graduate school because I’m not ready to leave. Stony has so much to offer both in and out of the classroom and I’m ready to soak it all up.
Looking back at the last four years I can’t help but laugh. I came here with expectations and thoughts about what I thought college life was. It was definitely about academics and big sporting events and falling in love but it was also about growth. I grew up here. I’m a completely different person with an open mind and clear goals. I have Stony Brook to thank for that and I’m ready to say, with 100% confidence, that if I had to do it all again I would choose Stony Brook.
- RecycleMania Plants! on March 12th, 2013
I’m really excited to be a part of RecycleMania 2013! RecycleMania is a two-month competition among the different residential quads to see who can recycle the most product. This year, there is also a photo contest where students can submit a photo that pertains to the theme: “Live Sustainably. Choose to Recycle.”
The RecycleMania competition focuses on recycling all of the following products:
- Bottles & Cans, Including Plastic Types #1-7
- Paper & Shredded Paper
- Electronics / E-Waste (Electronics, Computers, Laptops, Used Cell Phones, etc.)
- Food Service Organics
I’m doing my part to help out through programming in the residence halls. Two weeks ago, we transformed plastic water bottles into plant holders by cutting the top off, filling the bottom with dirt and placing the bottom inside the top. I’m proud to say my basil is going strong and in a few weeks, I’ll have enough to bring home for Easter lasagna!
The best part is, once the basil grows enough to be transplanted, the plastic bottles can be washed and recycled! With the help of hall council, my fellow RAs and I will be planning fun programs about ways to reduce, reuse and recycle. Recycling and sustainability are important part of Stony Brook’s culture. We are learning how to reduce our carbon footprint as a campus. Last year we came in first place among NY colleges in the recyclemania initiative. This program highlights just one of the many ways that Stony Brook students shine and can make a difference in preserving the planet for future generations.
- Why Stony Brook? on March 12th, 2013
As a live-long Nutmegger, and a non-science major, people always ask me how I ended up at Stony Brook. Its true, there are great Connecticut state schools and awesome people but, I needed a change. I grew up in the same house in the same town and went to elementary, middle and high school with the same people my entire life. When I told my guidance counselor I only wanted to apply to out of state schools, she suggested Stony Brook.
On the Wednesday before the Friday deposits were due, I skipped school and hopped on the Ferry to Long Island. I took my friend Rachael with me and together we navigated the bus route from Port Jeff to Stony Brook. The bus dropped us off just across from the Wang Center and we looked around for a few minutes before heading to the Administration building for our tour. We saw the Student Activities Center (SAC), academic buildings and some residential halls. I kept looking over at Rachael and whispering “what if I ACTUALLY went here?” Up until that moment I hadn’t really been away from home, except for a debate club field trip to Boston and I was rapidly falling in love with the idea of coming to Stony Brook.
The tour continued, past the library. I was impressed with the facts the tour guide offered, like the fact that Stony Brook was the birthplace of the MRI but, where I really feel in love was Staller Steps. There were tons of students playing frisbee, taking pictures and hanging out on the steps. In the grassy strip just outside the library and the SAC, students were sitting under trees reading and playing music. The entire place seemed so alive. Professors were holding class outside of a building I now know was the Psychology building. After the tour was over Rachael and I decided to walk around and talk to current students. At first we just walked around, listening to what current students had to say then we asked a few questions. The only complaint people seemed to have was that the science classes were difficult. Other than that, the students were happy. The other thing I noticed was that everyone had a plan, it was clear their future was bright. That impressed it me.
I went home that night and crunched the numbers with my parents. With my scholarship, Stony Brook would only cost about $1,500 more a semester than a CT state school but it offered so many more opportunities. There is literally a club or organization for every interesest–from Dumbledore’s Army to Community Service Club. The quality of professors here is unparalleled in terms of their research and field experience.
I’m incredibly happy with my decision to come to Stony Brook. I’ve found life-long friends, learned countless life lessons and feel totally prepared for the next chapter of my life.
- What I Wish Someone Told Me Freshman Year on February 4th, 2013
1. Haters are gunna hate
Haters are everywhere, at work, in your classes, in your residence halls and walking through campus. Haters come from insecure people who don’t know how to mind their own business. They get mad when someone else excels at what they’re lacking. Instead of working on fixing their situation, they hate.
People who don’t know the answer in class, hate on that one person who sits in the front row and answers every single question. Instead of studying harder or preparing for class, haters sit in the back and snicker. Haters try to diminish accomplishments and belittle their peers. They twist positives into negatives to make themselves feel better. If someone is hating on you, don’t be upset, pat yourself on the back. Having haters means you have done something right, you have succeeded where someone else feels like they’re failing.
2. Get involved
Whether you’re a commuter or resident, there is plenty of opportunity to get involved. Within the residence halls you can join hall council and quad council where you meet with people who live in the same building/quad as you and discuss ways to make life on campus better. Outside of the residence halls, there are clubs, organizations, fraternities and sororities for nearly every interest. You can find a list or clubs and activities on campus here: stonybrook.edu/sblife.
Even if you’re not much of a joiner, there are still plenty of ways to get involved, like getting a job on campus. Working on campus is a unique experience because you’ll have the chance to interact with your peers, professors, faculty members and prospective students. It’s a great way to network and build your resume. Visit the Faculty Student Association office in room 250 of the Student Union to get a job application. Once you fill it out, it’ll be sent to all areas of campus that are operated by FSA.
3. Be who you are—and own it
There used to be a Resident Assistant in my building named Jessika and when she introduced herself, she would say “Hi I’m Jessika with a K!” She was loud and animated and NOONE ever forgot her name. She found what made her unique and used it to brand herself. There was a kid in my class who had 6 toes, I have no idea what his real name was because everyone just called him Six or Six Toes, that’s even how he signed my yearbook. The point is, figure out what makes you special or sets you apart from the crowd and use it to your advantage. Being know for something strange is better than not being known at all, especially in a big school like Stony Brook.
4. Ask and you shall receive
If you want something, ask for it. What’s the worst that could happen? The person says no? So what?
All the most powerful people in the world just ask for or even demand the things they want. If you can’t make your professors office hours, ask to set up a meeting at a different time that works for you. If you feel you deserved a higher grade, fight for yourself (with facts) and ask them to change it. I’ve even had classes where the students admitted they were totally overwhelmed and asked the professor to move the test back and the professor agreed. The truth is, most professors will be more than accommodating and are pretty flexible.
In all areas of your life, being confident, knowing you deserve to be heard and simply asking for the things you want will get you far.
5. RELAX, its not that serious
College is the most impermanent time in our lives. Everything is constantly changing—not only physically with all the construction on campus and the moving in and out of res halls, but also in terms of emotional connections and intangible experiences. People you see every single day one semester may have graduated or be studying abroad the next.
The four years (give or take) you spend here go by in the blink of an eye. There just isn’t enough time to stress or worry or get upset about things. One bad test grade or even one bad semester won’t make or break you. With a few exceptions you can always retake a class or boost your grade with extra credit. College isn’t like high school where you know everyone, your mistakes don’t follow or define you. If you mess up, admit to it, move on and be sure you don’t fall down the same path in the future.