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Archive for January, 2013

  • Tough Decisions on January 30th, 2013

    Over the next few weeks you guys will be making some tough decisions, and so will I. But of course they are drastically different. Your choices are more along the lines of: “What college should I go to? What major should I pick? What kind of housing do I want? Do I want to go to the same school as my best friends/boyfriend/girlfriend?”

    My options are: to continue rowing OR to train for my marathon without crew, earn money doing a job I really love, and maintain a good sleep schedule. I know this sounds like an easy choice; obviously if there were no emotional strings attached to crew, it would truly be easier to to accomplish everything else without having to wake up so early and practice everyday. But alas, there are always roadblocks, and mine is my passion for the sport.

    Before I continue on, I just want to say that I know your decisions are hard, I’ve been there. But whatever decision you make, you might need to take a leap of faith and believe in yourself, and know that wherever you go off to in the fall, doesn’t mean you’re stuck there.

    In a way, I feel like if I quit crew for this semester, I’ll be opening up a whole new chapter in my life…almost like what you do after a break-up, which sounds like a ridiculous comparison, but that’s just how strong the bonds are between the people on this team. On the other hand, if I continue, I might make my semester extra hard, and I’d be preventing myself from earning some good money–every college student could use some more money! I know I have to think about this more, and I’m really on the imaginary line dividing what I wanna do from what would be easier, but it’s just not a simple decision.

    These kinds of  life-changing decisions are always hard to make, but once you make them you have to be completely on board. No regrets, but being scared and worried is totally okay. Whatever happens is for the best, even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

    Go ahead, be like Ted Mosby, take out your yellow legal pad and make a Pros and Cons list.

    Until next time,  Happy Pondering!

    Pratha

  • Hello (future) Seawolves! on January 30th, 2013

    Hi everyone!  For current students of SBU, a welcome-back is in order: it’s the first week of the spring semester!  It’s also the start of my last semester at Stony Brook, a realization which is both exciting and bittersweet.  But even as I’m preparing to depart for graduate school and beyond, it is always so fun to welcome newly accepted students to the Seawolf crew.  Some acceptance letters for Fall 2013 (that’s the class of 2017!) have already gone out and Facebook is abuzz with questions and comments.  This season we have a brand new social media tool for admitted students: the Inside Stony Brook app on Facebook.  Once you’re admitted, you’ll receive an invitation in your email inbox.  If you haven’t checked it already, you definitely should!

    There are tons of activities, interests, careers, and other pages that you can “like” to form mini-communities with people who share your interests.  It’s a great way to meet other students who are considering SBU.

    You can also post questions about anything–student life, campus events, dorming, commuting, coursework, majors, etc.–and get feedback from current students who have first-hand experience!

    If you are still waiting for news about your application, there is still plenty of time.  If you’re unsure about the status of your application, make sure you check your SOLAR account.  This is the first place that will be updated once a decision is made.  When you log in for the first time, use your Stony Brook ID number (you’ll find it on the confirmation email and/or letter you received after you submitted your application) and your birthdate (MMDDYY).

    Best of luck!

    Kelly

  • Brush Shoulders with Some of the Most Prominent Scientists, Advocates, Professors, Students, and Concerned Citizens in the Campaign Against Hydraulic Fracturing! on January 24th, 2013

    Hey Stony Brook!

    ericarunsamerica here to report an important upcoming event that may influence the outcome of hydraulic fracturing legislation in New York State, and even the American nation at large…and YOU are invited!

    Maybe you have heard about a little something called “fracking…” Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is a dangerous drilling method used to extract fossil fuels from rock (namely shale) reservoirs deep within the earth…a water, sand, and chemical (hundreds!) soup are shot into cracks in the ground surrounding a well to drive up natural gas and/or oil, thus enhancing fossil fuel recovery…but the practice comes with enormous added environmental, health, economic, social, and political costs!  Think of all the land that must be cleared, the toxic tailings ponds containing used “frack fluid,” the effect of boomtowns that turn into ghost towns, methane leaks, land buyouts, release of carcinogenic chemicals that taint drinking water supplies, the displacement of wildlife…the list goes on and on.  It is clear that hydraulic fracturing is a process that effects so much more than just increasing recoverable fossil fuel supplies. It is a dirty and dangerous practice…no matter what your view may be on domestic vs. foreign oil, I believe that our bodies and the earth are telling us that fracking is wrong.  Instead of poisoning ourselves and the planet, we need to focus on sustainable, clean sources of energy to power our futures.

    On behalf of the Stony Brook University Sustainability Studies Program and New Yorkers Against Fracking, I would like to invite YOU to attend a critical gathering taking place on Tuesday, February 12 (2013) at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY…the
    Screening, Reception, & Discussion: Jon Bowermaster’s “Dear Governor Cuomo.”

    Date: 2/12/13
    Time: 7PM
    Fee: $10/members; $15/nonmembers
    Address: 423 Park Ave. Huntington, NY 11743
    Mark your calendars! This event will be a symposium featuring of some of the most prominent names in science, academia, arts, and government (NY Senator Gillibrand may be in attendance)!
    The evening will entail a reception (food/drink), the screening of Bowermaster’s epic film, followed by a discussion featuring filmmaker Bowermaster himself, and Patti Wood, Executive Director of Grassroots Environmental Education and representative of 30 Days of Fracking Regs, among others!
    We are working to include and enlighten all New Yorkers to this key issue.
    It is so important that WE as Stony Brook University students show our support!
    Remember, it is OUR environment, OUR health…
    WE need to UNITE as ONE powerful entity to end this practice, which endangers OUR bodies and OUR planet.

    WE can make a change.

    If you have any questions, feel free to contact me: ericarunsamerica@gmail.com.

    Find me on Facebook & join the event: Screening, Reception, & Discussion: Jon Bowermaster’s “Dear Governor Cuomo.”
    I hope to see YOU there!
    peace. love. run.
    ericarunsamerica
  • What we can learn from Kanye West on January 23rd, 2013

    Hey guys!

    School starts in a week. This time of the year is pretty stressful for high school students; finishing up their applications and in some cases, receiving notifications. For us college students, its time for buying books and waking up early again. I figured, in accord to the New Year’s Spirit, to give five main points of advice to high school students awaiting college responses and how to deal with college rejection.

    1) Relax

    Many students awaiting decisions are often anxious. They become consumed with unnecessary stress. Honestly, just relax. You have already submitted your applications- for the most part, there is nothing you can do. Just relax. Harvard University does not have a stress monitor implanted within you to determine if your stress level is adequate enough to deem acceptance. Take a breather. Do some yoga. Play basketball. Watch a Bollywood movie.

    2) It’s not the end of the world

    One part of the college application cycle which is the most daunting to students is rejection. Students feel being rejected is literally ‘the end of the world.’ No. It really isn’t. The sky does not tear apart as you tear open your rejection letter.  Trust me, I also felt it was the end of the world when I got rejections. I truly thought I would not be able to pursue my career goals. Boy, was I far from wrong.

    3) Things happen for a reason

    This is perhaps my personal edict. I truly believe things happen for a reason. Trust me, here is my personal story: I graduated high school as salutatorian. I wont say my SAT scores for personal reasons, but I assure you they were ‘mad’ high. I applied to a few ridiculously competitive schools and was rejected from all of them. I felt horrible and felt like a failure. I did not intend to come to Stony Brook at the time, but it was between SBU and NYU (Free Vs $50,000). You can assume I chose SBU since I am here blogging about this with you. So yea, to be honest, I did not intend to come here. But it for some reason, it just clicked. I felt at home. I made new friends and met my best friend, who I strongly believe is the BEST PERSON IN the world. I got to meet awesome professors and advisors who have been like friends to me (Another shout out to Professor David Maynard). The diversity here made me feel like home. I learned so much out of the classroom through experiences than I did inside. One semester into Stony Brook, I really thank God I was rejected from where I was because I got the opportunity to be here. Like I said, things happen for a reason. Just stick it out and your patience will be rewarded.

    4) Who cares about other people?

    Yes, really!!! Who cares about other people. When I graduated, I was the only kid in the top 5 ranked kids who did NOT get into an ivy-leaugue school. I felt bummed and once again bad. Mostly because I was jealous and comparing myself to others. If I had a time machine, I would go back and slap myself and tell the old me to not care about other people and just worry about myself. Granted they got into somewhere prestigious, but hey, if I work hard and become super-successful, perhaps I can be the one who gives Stony Brook a huge reputation across the world. Dream Big! Dont dream about others. Also for the side note, I am FB friends with the other 4 kids, turns out, I am doing much better than all of them :)

    5) It’s life

    It’s life. Stuff happens. It’s about how you cope with falling down. Life is not easy. Life is not perfect. So just enjoy the ride and relax. If you do not get into your top school, it’s fine. Lift your chin up and make your self so ‘mad’ successful, that the entire world will know your name and the college you went to. Not the college you got rejected from. As the Great Kanye West once said, “If you got the opportunity to play the game of life, appreciate every moment.” ( Yes he said that)

    Till next time…Peace!

    Kanye Said So

  • Five Tips for a Better Financial Future: Stony Brook Edition! on January 15th, 2013

    Hey Stony Brook~

    Happy 2013! I hope that the New Year brings you peace, happiness, and, oh yeah, prosperity

    Money may not buy happiness, but, admittedly, life seems a bit easier when you don’t have to fret over cash, especially when you’re enrolled in college!  Between the cost of student loans, housing, cars, and books, it is easy to see how money concerns can be a major stress.  However, as you make your tuition payments for the 2013 spring semester, never fear…I have complied a list of five financial tips that may alleviate some of your stress by saving you money and maybe even allowing you to set aside a few extra bucks to save.  This list is compiled of advice that friends, classmates, and I found to be the most helpful

    #1. Apply for financial aid.

    Scholarships can be a great way to reduce tuition costs!  Stony Brook offers many helpful grants and scholarships.

    Visit http://www.stonybrook.edu/finaid/programs/scholarship to learn about the various types of aid that you may qualify for at SBU.

    Some scholarships you do not need to even apply for; the University will notify you if you qualify for such aid packages.  For instance, the Presidential Scholarship is based on your high school academic achievements, including SAT and ACT scores.  If you did well academically in high school, you may be rewarded with lower tuition bills now!

    #2.  Know your loans.

    Personally, I do not advise taking a loan unless it is government-subsidized (which means that it does not accrue interest until after you begin repaying the loan) otherwise you may find yourself drowning in interest.  Interest accumulates when you take out an unsubsidized loan (interest is dispersed until the loan is paid in full).  If you are able to pay tuition in full each semester without taking a loan, it may mean less money in your pocket in the short-term.  However, you can avoid the huge burden of having to pay back student loans (that may have mounted up a lot of added cost through interest) after you graduate, allowing you to focus more on starting your career!

    If you must take out an unsubsidized loan, try to pay back the interest as it accrues (since the interest on such loans is capitalized, meaning that you pay interest upon interest that builds up, thereby drastically increasing the amount of money that you will ultimately owe) to reduce your debt in the long-run.
    Regardless of which loan(s) you take, ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions!

    #3. Keep on top of your money, and SAVE.

    If you haven’t already, I definitely advise creating a savings and checking account at your local bank.  If you are coming from off the Island or if you live on campus, consider creating an account at Teacher’s Federal Credit Union (TFCU), as there are a few ATMs located around campus and on Long Island, making it convenient to perform transactions.

    If you have a job, direct deposit your paychecks into your savings account instead of depositing each check.  This will save you time that would have been spent traveling to and from the bank!  Additionally, by not “touching” each check, it is easier to forget about them: you will be less tempted to spend if you don’t think about the money.  If you save scrupulously, before you know it, you will have a mountain of cash stocked up in your savings account!

    If you have a credit card, be smart about paying off your balance and interest.  This will help protect your credit score and prevent additional costs from piling up due to late fees!  Try not to use your credit card unless you know you will be able to pay it off.  And definitely do NOT impulse buyThink>swipe.

    #4. Lifestyle: it’s where you live and what you do…

    First off, how far away do you live from Stony Brook? Is it more economical for you to live in a dorm, off-campus with roommates, or maybe (the dreaded) live with your parents?  When I initially considered college, I was dead-set on accepting an athletic scholarship for Women’s Cross-Country and going away to school.  However, I found that enrolling in Stony Brook (a top-tier, Division-1, nationally renowned university!) and commuting made the most sense for my budget and lifestyle.

    Living at home has saved me some major cash, and because I commute I am able to devote a decent amount of time to working, which allows me to pay my tuition.  If you have the time (depending on your course-load and other obligations), you may want to consider a job, if you haven’t already.  Even if you live on-campus, there are many great opportunities to make some money (or try an internship!)…just visit the Career Center (located at the bottom of the Zebra Path, near the new Sustainability Studies Offices) or online on ZebraNet.  Having a job or internship in college is an awesome way to build relevant job experience and boost your resume!

    Additionally, think about what you eat on and off campus.  Obviously, eating out all the time will be a major drain on your funds (and may lead to the ‘Freshman 15’).  Stick to healthy options, and try to bring little meals or snacks with you to power you throughout your day (And reduce the temptation to buy food between classes!  And it’s more ecologically-friendly to bring your own containers of food rather than to keep buying more food, in more packaging!).  My friends joke with me and call me the “Tupperware Queen,” as on campus I can be found with a myriad of reusable containers filled with all types of fresh fruits, veggies, and other goodies stuffed in my bag, ready to be eaten!

    If you live on-campus or if you commute and always find yourself heading to the Union or the SAC to grab a bite, consider purchasing a campus meal plan…this will save you money in the long run, since if you pay without it, your food will be taxed!

    One fun tip for free food: look for campus festivals and gallery art openings…there have been more than one occasion where friends and I have nabbed some fresh sushi or fruit salad from such cultural events! Plus, you can enjoy the fun of the occasion while eating!

    #5. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle…

    You need not be a tree-hugger to save money.  However, it is clear that living a more sustainable lifestyle can help reduce your expenses!

    Buy, swap, or find free used textbooks for your classes. I recommend Chegg.com for renting textbooks; it is pretty affordable, and easy to return them once you have used them for the semester. Ask around to see if friends and roommates want to get rid of their books, and you may be able to strike some deals!

    Keep organized: look at what food, school supplies, clothing, shoes, etc. you already own, and keep them neat! This will ensure you don’t make unnecessary purchasesyou may be surprised at what you find lying around in the back of your closet.  You also may find some dollar bills stuffed in your old coat pockets!  Try to use what you have before going out and buying more items.

    Hopefully these tips will start your 2013 off on a good financial footing!

    For those who are really into economics, I suggest the book, blog, and podcast “Freakonomics” by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner…really interesting, smart, and relevant advice about money!

    Put your money where your mouth is! Start thinking, working, living, and saving to a better, more-financially sound future.

    peace. love. run.

    ericarunsamerica.

  • Time to hit SUBMIT! on January 15th, 2013

    It’s application deadline day for the Fall 2013 freshman class! Today’s the day to get that application in.

    December and January can be a bit of a whirlwind, with the holidays, the new year and all the associated festivities.  Add in midterm exams and all the final details of the college application process, and its enough to make anyone dizzy.  But this is one deadline you don’t want to miss!  There are tons of great reasons to apply to Stony Brook–the exceptional academics, the excellent value, the prime location–but here are a few extras: my own top five reasons to make sure you hit SUBMIT!

    1. the diverse student body

    We have students from all over the country and all over the world here on campus every day, which makes for an amazing college environment, both academically and socially.  Collaborating and conversing with students from different backgrounds and perspectives has enriched my learning experiences and encouraged me to think about global issues from new viewpoints.  And I’ve developed some great friendships!  It’s great to have connections worldwide!

    2. the AWESOME new student recreation center

    I used to hate going to the gym.  That was before I met the new student rec center.  There are tons of cardio machines, so even when its crowded there is always equipment available, and everything is state of the art!  Every machine has its own TV with on-demand programs, live radio, and an iPod charger!  You can even track your workouts using your student ID number.  In addition, there is an indoor track, basketball, racquetball, badminton, and other courts, and studios for fitness classes.  The best part: it’s all FREE!  Many universities charge a membership fee for their gyms, but SBU allows all students to utilize the facilities free of charge, and offers a full schedule of aerobics, yoga, and other classes too!

    3. the train station right on campus

    Having an LIRR station on campus is SO convenient–you can just hop on a train straight to NYC!  The train will also take you to Port Jefferson, Smithtown and other local areas to explore!

    4. the new Red Mango

    Fro-yo lovers, rejoice!  A brand new Red Mango cafe is opening this semester as part of Campus Dining offerings–that means you can use your meal plan!  Dining options may not seem like the most important factor in choosing a college, but since you’ll be eating meals on campus almost every day, they are definitely worth considering.  Class of 2017, you have even more variety coming your way with the renovated West Side Dining , which is also slated to open this spring.

    5. super-cool campus traditions

    Now that the spring semester is almost here, I start to get excited about our awesome spring traditions.  My two favorites are Strawberry Fest and EarthStock.  You can read all about them here.

    Here’s a bit more good news for you freshman applicants: we need your application by today, but you have until February 1st to submit your supporting documents (SAT scores, transcripts, etc.).  So don’t stress!  Just make sure to hit SUBMIT before midnight tonight!