Friday, March 27, 2015

What Being a Student Leader is all About

When it comes to the idea of student leadership, many students are not sure what the role entails. It can be an intimidating title, Student Leader. Before I attempted to take on leadership roles, I remember thinking to myself, “How can someone handle more than just being a student?” Well that answer lies with the person who chooses to take on the role. There are a few questions you have to ask yourself. Are you comfortable adding a little more to your plate? Are you ready to give your time to an organization? How can you fit this organization in?

To be totally honest, from my point of view, a student leader is just a regular student who has chosen to take on a little more responsibility. This added responsibility does not make them any better or worse than a general member of an organization or any regular student. These roles are always a learning experience and that is what I love most about them. They give you the chance to learn a lot about yourself and about the cause of the organizations as well.

Quick selfie with some
awesome people
before dinner!
This past weekend was one of the many amazing opportunities I have gained from being a student leader.  The All-Campus Conference at Penn State Berks, hosted by the Blue and White Society and the Lion Ambassadors, allowed student representatives of these organizations from all throughout the Penn State system to come and share in the experience of leadership and community service.

I not only had the chance to meet Lion Ambassadors and Blue and White members from other campuses, but I was able to give back to a community through the Gilmore | Henne Community Fund. This experience in itself was one to remember. It all started with an inspiring speech from the Chancellor, Dr. Hillkirk. After the conference had commenced, I was able to attend a few break-out sessions that taught me a lot about how to work in a team, handle conflict, and how to fix any issues arising amongst a group. It was so awesome! I felt as though I couldn’t take enough notes.

Berks LA mascot Lionel
helping with the egg hunt.
During dinner, we were all given the chance to listen to our keynote speaker, Jay Paterno! He was a phenomenal speaker. Going off of experiences he had in his own life, he motivated the conference attendees as a whole to give back and remember why we cared about our causes in the first place. These messages seemed to spread and rejuvenate the crowd.

We began our tour challenge scavenger hunt, allowing us to bond with members from all different campuses. We broke down into groups and raced across campus with the help of clues to give representatives from the other campuses a chance to learn about Penn State Berks. A little friendly competition is always a good way to get a group talking and joking around. My team had a great time and ended up with some good memories.

My Hero Zero!
The final part of the first day was my favorite part! A My Hero Zero concert! This band, well known to Penn State, had a great show that got us up and dancing. It was impossible not to sing along to the songs they covered. I had a great time with everyone there and honestly look forward to the next time the band comes back to campus. I will see them again for sure!

John Gilmore speaking before the egg hunt.
On the last day of the conference, John Gilmore of the Gilmore | Henne Community Fund spoke to all of us as a whole before we headed out to do our community service. His inspiring story of life lessons and the start of his foundation motivated me to really want to make a difference. As a group, the Penn State student representatives helped each other to mulch a playground and prepare an Easter egg hunt for the community. I have never felt so good about giving away candy, and that is no easy task for me. I have a massive sweet tooth! The community immediately showed the appreciation as they hunted the eggs and played on the playground.

Just a few of those
friends I mentioned.
Looking back on the time I decided to take on these roles, I can honestly say I would do it again in a heartbeat. I have met some of my best friends through these organizations and opportunities like the All-Campus Conference make me feel even more grateful for the chances I have had. I know it always seems so scary to take on a new responsibility, but when it comes to a leadership role it is worth it. I have always found myself trying to find ways to give back to these organizations for all they have given me. Whether it is THON allowing me the chance to fight pediatric cancer or Lion Ambassadors giving me chances to meet those who participated in this conference, I am a very lucky person. As tiring as this weekend was, it was well worth it.

Until next time,

Friday, March 6, 2015

Balancing College Student Life

Balancing work and classes
So, I think it is important to remember that as a college student life can get pretty hectic. I think that it’s completely inevitable. When it’s only February, your least favorite teacher just gave you a pop quiz, and your room is starting to look like a storage room, it might be time for a little self TLS. (Tender Loving Spoiling) It’s something I made up, but it’s starting to sound better and better, the more I look at it.

I know that I, personally, am at the point in the semester when I am starting to feel a little overwhelmed. My 22 credits are all throwing quizzes, projects, and blog entries all at once. And I can’t necessarily stay up until 2:00 a.m. working on all of these assignments, because my internship (on Tuesdays and Thursdays) starts at 8:00 a.m.

This is where having your life in order (or as much as possible) 
comes in.

So here are my tips for trying to keep up with the crazy thing we call student involvement. Ideally, keeping all of these in check is a healthy balance, because they act like a cycle that feeds into each other!

Organization is the most important. You can easily spend unnecessary amounts of time trying to find a document you misplaced, or a shirt that may or may not be in the hamper that you are required to wear as part of a uniform for a club or group. Keeping all of your spaces neat, tidy, and organized cuts back of a lot of time because you will know where everything is and it will take less time to find any item you need!

Don’t forget to sleep! Nothing good can ever come from lack of sleep. When you take the time to get plenty of sleep, or at least a substantial amount of sleep, it works wonders for your body! You will feel more refreshed when you are out and about, not to mention you will be more efficient and energized!

Time management is crucial. With 22 credits and an internship, I can’t let my work and busy schedule get the best of me. I know that during the week, like most students, there are multiple “balls in the air” that we are responsible for juggling. It is important to make sure that when you have time, you manage it to the best of your ability. If there is an hour between classes, if you have, for example, a blog post, that is something you could easily complete in that time!

Katie's birthday dessert
This was the dessert I had
on my birthday!
You do need time to relax and pamper yourself every once in awhile, maybe even a little more frequently. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been extremely stressed and I feel like I am going to rip my hair out! To calm myself down, I put an hour aside to just take a nice hot shower. Try something like that! Or maybe eat some sweets or another food you like!  Girls, consider putting a half hour or so aside to straighten your hair, curl it, or even do your make up. Take some time to focus on YOU, in contrast to taking on the whole world’s problems. Luckily, I am able to manage my time well enough that I can put aside an hour or two to just relax.

Remember that each of these, if completed correctly, help each other. More sleep increases productivity, which allows you to multitask better, and in turn, that gives you some extra time that you can use to spoil yourself.

- Katie

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Managing Your Time

Knowing how to manage your time is a key component of a successful college career. College is a place where you’re likely to have your hands on a bunch of stuff at the same time and, to be honest, it can be really stressful most of the time. This is why knowing how to manage your time will make your workload seem less stressful and you will feel 
more at easy when completing all of your work.

Here are some tips on how to manage your time:

Make a list!
Organizing your work is really important. Having a planner or even using your phone’s calendar can be very helpful in reminding you of due dates. If you have a several things due on the same day, try to order them according to difficulty. The earlier you’re done with those troublesome tasks, the less stressed you’re going to feel as the due date closes in!

Keep your work with you.
It is really nice to get some work done on your assignments whenever you find some free time during the day.

Know what time works best for you.
Are you an early bird or a night owl? Knowing at what time of the day you work best is really important. Try to find out at what time of day you are the most productive and able to focus.

Say no to procrastination!
If you want to finish your work on time, you need to put aside all possible distractions that could get between you and your work. I know that checking Facebook, Instagram, or even staring at the wall can be more exciting than doing your homework sometimes. The best thing you can do is turn off your phone and find a place in which you can work easily without any distractions.

Take a break.
If you feel overwhelmed and/or unable to do your work, STOP! Put your books aside and rest for a while. Doing your work is important, but if you don’t feel capable of doing it and you push yourself to do it for the sake of finishing it, you and your work will suffer. So, take a break, go for a walk, or eat something. Let those brain juices flow and bring those new ideas to you!

Until Next Time!

Diana :)

"8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time - High School and College." 8 Ways to Take Control of Your Time - High School and College. The College Board, n.d. Web. 20 February 2015.

Friday, February 20, 2015

An Element of Fun

“In every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” 
–Mary Poppins
Just like Mary Poppins said, there can be a bright side to everything that has to be done. It is not always about just getting things done. Whether it is finishing homework, working a part time job, or just cleaning up your room, you can always make fun a part of it.

When doing homework or studying for a quiz, you can team up with a friend and break away from your usual routine. You can quiz each other on the material at hand and interact. At work you can decide to smile at everyone you encounter to see who might smile back or to just make someone’s day a little better. While cleaning your room, you could sing to your favorite songs or if you like basketball, like me, shoot some hoops into the laundry basket or trashcan. Whatever the task may be, something positive can always come out of it.

This past weekend, I was able to perform at City Light shelter with the youth group from church. Seeing how our songs and worship dance brought smiles to the audience’s faces was a great blessing. We sang with them, ate with them, smiled with them, and were able to listen to their stories. I had a lot of fun while being able to help others out.

The worship dance

Having fun while doing anything does not only cheer you up, but allows the happiness to flow to others as well. So next time you are working on something, remember to have some fun and enjoy it.

Until Next Time,


Friday, February 13, 2015

Tips to Relieving Stress in College

From 100 question exams to 6-page papers, the college life tends to be stressful and overwhelming at times. Stress plays a huge role in how well you do your schoolwork. Overcoming this stress is a mystery that most college students cannot solve. This blog entry is a guide for you to follow so that stress can be resolved as you progress in this semester.

There are three main areas you need to focus on when reducing stress in college. The first is the most cherished thing of a college student’s life… sleep! Studying all night for an exam or cramming in a paper is an easy way to increase stress levels. Everybody should get at least 8 hours of sleep each night. Those couple extra hours of sleep can work wonders when it comes to stress levels.

The second main area of focus is eating well. I know that it is tempting to go to Taco Bell or McDonalds every day, but that is not helping your stress levels. Eating three healthy meals a day can increase your energy, which can lead to a more efficient completion of schoolwork. Having the energy to get your work done will greatly decrease your stress levels.

The final area to focus on when reducing stress levels is exercising. I know how easy it is to marathon a season of Breaking Bad every day, but that is not helping your stress levels at all. Exercising regularly can help relieve your mind and, of course, reduce your stress levels.

So the next time you are chowing down on a double cheeseburger or heading to bed at 5 a.m., remember that the best way to reduce your stress is to get enough sleep, eat appropriately, and exercise often. Your semester will be much easier to handle if you follow these stress-relieving tips.

- Justin Smith

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Life Lessons You Learn in College

1. Responsibility. 
As soon as your parents leave your dorm room on move-in day, the responsibility is entirely on you. You decide if you are going to class. You decide if you are going to complete your homework. And you decide if you are going to do well in your classes. The responsibility of every decision is yours, but it is whether you make the appropriate one.

2. Take advantage of your resources. 
In college, there are endless different types of resources that you are able to use. Here at Berks, we have the Writing Center, Learning Center, Career Services, Student Tutoring, and professor’s office hours. Not all colleges have these opportunities, so it is extremely important to take advantage of these. They will not only help you connect with the campus more, but they will also help you do well in your classes.

3. Time management. 
No one truly knows time management until they experience college. You have classes, homework, clubs/activities, sports, studying, sleeping, socializing and eating all to make time for. At college, you learn how to manage this time and how to prioritize all of your activities. Life is asking a lot of you, but if you master your time management skills, you will do well in college.

4. Don’t be afraid to fail. 
Henry Ford once said, “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again, only this time more wisely.” Every single person fails at one thing in their life. It might be a math class here at Berks, or your driver’s license test that you took years ago. Failing is how we learn and grow in order to succeed the next time. It’s like the saying “fall seven times, get up eight.” Sometimes being successful takes longer than we expect, but it is truly not failure if we learn from it. 

5. Take pictures. 
Every moment you share with your friends, your roommates, and your peers, take millions of pictures because that moment will only happen once. College is only four short years, and it is the best time of your life. After I graduated high school, my family would always tell me to cherish every moment, good or bad, because your college days only happen once. So here are some of my moments.

Until next time Penn Staters,