UConn

My Best Articles

April 4, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

Since I’m just about done with college, I’ve got a lot of work to do for my post graduation life. So I’ve decided to make this my final article on the site. It’s been fun writing for the site, but I no longer have to time to really commit. I’ve been doing it for almost a year and a half and this is my 64th week. In retrospect, I’ve decided to go back and look at my best (or at least my favorite articles that I wrote). Here are six of the articles that I’ve written that I am the most fond of.

  • Ten Reasons to Go to School In The Northeast http://alivecampus.com/ten-reasons-to-go-to-school-in-the-north-east/ I wrote this about all the benefits of going to school in New England or the Tri State Area. It basically bolsters what people from the North East already know, that it’s the best part of the country. It also could sway some folks from other parts of the country to head up here to get an education.
  • Incoming Freshmen, Listen Up: http://alivecampus.com/incoming-freshman-listen-up/ I wrote this towards the very end of last year and aimed it towards high schoolers and current freshmen. Everyone is the stupid freshman some times and there’s really no way to avoid it. While you might not realize it at the time, everyone else almost certainly does.
  • Jesus Freaks: http://alivecampus.com/jesus-freaks/ This was one of my favorite articles to write because almost everyone had seen these guys on campus. Whenever they come to campus there is always a scene. Such a strong topic that everyone has opinions about was a lot of fun to write about. Especially since I could write my own opinion and not have to be an unbiased review.
  • It Hit The Fan: http://alivecampus.com/it-hitthe-fan/ This is especially relevant as both the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams are in the Final Four and the Men’s team will play Florida tomorrow night. After beating Michigan State in the Elite Eight last weekend, there was a “riot” on campus. The incident consisted of a big crowd at the center of campus in which a newspaper was set on fire and 1 kid was arrested. Yeah a real dangerous riot, someone call CNN. Anyway, the entire student body has already received the email about NOT burning things and rioting after the game, like we did a couple years ago when the Men won the National Championship.
  • UConn Alum: http://alivecampus.com/uconn-alum/ This is pretty relevant for the same reasons as the previous one. It lists some of UConn’s most famous alumni, all of whom are basketball players. No doubt that after this year, some of the current players will join the pantheon of famous UConn Basketball alum.
  • Cult Life At UConn: http://alivecampus.com/cult-life-at-uconn/ I wrote this one just a couple of weeks ago, but it might just be my favorite article that I’ve written. I wrote it in response to one of the stupidest articles I’ve seen published in the school paper. It was about a topic that I know quite a lot about and am very passionate about, it was great to write and even better to see people read and talk about.

And with that, my last article come to an end. It’s been cool, keep up with the site and all the great pieces it publishes.

Peace, I’m out.

Done!

Done!

What I Really Learned In School

March 25, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

With just a little more than a month to go in my college career I’ve been reflecting and looking back on my four years here at the University of Connecticut a lot. I’ve also started to realize that most of my classes have been pretty pointless. I still really have no idea what I want to do for a career after graduation and I doubt that knowing all sorts about contemporary Latin America or the finer points of Social Theory will really come in handy in the future. Sure knowing some stuff from classes on social stratification or human evolution (get at me creationists) COULD be useful in the future, but I would say that they are hardly the most important lessons that I’ve learned in the last four years. What I have learned is this:

  • Dinosaur shaped chicken Nuggets and freeze pops are only acceptable as a meal for so long. It’s a cruel and unfair world we live in.
  • How to prioritize: For me high school was very regimented. Each day it was the same thing. Get up, class, lunch, class, practice, dinner, homework bed. Same thing. Now, I’ve got a lot more variability in my schedule and less work that is assigned one day and due the next. It’s all either copious amounts of reading or large writing assignments that will take me multiple days to complete. In a perfect world, I would have time to do them all, but unfortunately this is not the case. Now, writing assignments get priority to do first, then which ever class I have to do the reading for and then finally the class or classes that I don’t need to bother reading for.
  • How to get by with limited money: Granted I’m not paying bills or a mortgage or for a family, but I’ve been learning to get by on not a lot of money. When I was in high school I worked and always had money since I never really needed to buy anything. All I had to buy was like snacks or beer when I could get my hands on it, and the occasional item that would cost me more than $20 and I would always have about $1000 or more in the bank that I never needed. Now I have more to spend my money on than just snacks and useless crap. And I typically only have a few hundred dollars to my name. I’ve learned to get by thought by making some sacrifices. I’ve had to make decisions in the past like “do I want to get food today or save money for the weekend?”. It sucks but you learn from it.
  • Save your money. This might be the most valuable lesson I’ve learned. How to save money and avoid living paycheck to paycheck. Buy food that will last you a long time. Steal food from the dining hall, NEVER buy books from the UConn bookstore. Use as many coupons, deals and specials as possible. Get a job. Don’t waste your money on stuff you really don’t need.

I’ll be able to put these experiences to use in the future a hell of a lot more than my intro to geoscience class.

Aint This A Bitch?

Aint This A Bitch?

Savor Day

March 21, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Career, Colleges

It’s now officially spring time and the weather should finally be getting better. The spring time has always been fun at school. I’m planning on making the most of these final few months. 4 years ago, I was a senior in high school, had already been accepted to college and was riding out the last few classes in high school. Since I went to Catholic school, the seniors finished class on April 9th, and spent the next month doing community service. In my case, I would go down to my old elementary school and hang out there for the day and help out. I was still in the midst of lacrosse season so every afternoon we had practice, then I’d get to go hang out with my friends without any work to do. Those were some of the best times of my life, and I savored every minute of it. I’m planning on doing the same for this semester, my last one.

I’ve got a job lined up after college, I’m only taking four classes and am all set to graduate. It’s smooth sailing from here. All I have to do is pretty much not screw it up. As the weather gets nice now, my friends and I wont be cooped up in our apartments anymore. It’s starting to look just like senior year of high school. Great weather, great friends, and more time to kill than before. Plenty of time to relax outside with a beer playing corn hole or Kan Jam. Perfect BBQ and day drink weather. However, I did go into this semester expecting a cake walk and underestimated a few of my first exams. After having my best semester last fall, I’m not trying to let my GPA drop. For the past few weeks I’ve been focusing more and working a little harder at my classes and have seen my grades come back up. Unlike high school, I’ve got class all the way through. Still though, I’ve got time to kick back and relax.

I want to make the most of my last couple months in college, before I have to join the working world and become a real adult. I won’t have as much free time for a very long time, or be able to go to a bar with only $15 in my pocket and have more than enough money, or be able to sleep until noon. Gotta make the most of it. It’s like my old high school gym teacher used to say. He would have us play one sport per week and the last day would be “savor day”. Every Friday, when we’d switch from basketball to flag football or to soccer, he’d always say to us “savor day boys, savor day. Savor every minute, savor every pass, every basket, every rebound. Savor it” (He’d switch up what he said based on whatever sport we were finishing). Anyway, we would always joke about “savor day” and about how corny it was, but now I try to actually appreciate what I’m doing or where I am before it’s gone.

Now what?

Now what?

Cult Life at UConn

March 14, 2014 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Reviews

Earlier this week, an article was posted in the Daily Campus, UConn’s campus newspaper, comparing Greek life to a cult. This was in response to a hazing incident that made the news last weekend and has resulted in the suspension of one Fraternity and one Sorority on campus. This news has created a massive stir in the UConn community. There has been a backlash against Greek life, which has led some Greeks to speak out to defend themselves, which only escalates the witch hunt on campus right now. This recent article has only added fuel to the fire.

The Daily Campus has received a wave of feedback criticizing and condemning the article for being a slanderous, uninformed, and just flat-out wrong piece of journalism based on minimal research. I will say though, that it is wrong to blame the paper. The article was part of the commentary section, an opinion piece. However, biased and uninformed his opinion is, the dude’s got every right to voice it. The Daily Campus has posted plenty of articles about how impressive Greek life is and all the great philanthropic and charitable efforts that UConn Greeks have done over the past few semesters. So clearly, the paper is not a biased source, just this author. The Daily Campus SHOULD be printing stuff from every point of view.

As far as this guy’s article, I personally was pretty butt hurt about it. It compares UConn’s Greek life, and all Greek life in general, to a cult and lists a number of different criteria for what qualifies a cult and how Greek life fits that mold. I’m a little confused how exactly one can come to that conclusion when he has not participated in Greek life and doesn’t actually know how it operates. I will admit though, it’s hard to actually take this thing seriously. I mean the guy’s source for all this is an article about Greek life and hazing at another school (nothing to do with UConn) from fucking COSMOPOLITAN magazine! Right away, all this article’s credibility is out the window.

I’ve never been in a cult, so I really can’t say what being in a cult is like, but I have been in Greek life for years now and I’ve got a pretty good handle on what it’s like. Let’s take a look at a few examples from his article shall we?

  • Right off the bat here is his first example: “one quality of a cult is that ‘the group displays excessively zealous or unquestioning commitment to its leader’. Although most Greek organizations have more than one leader, their orders are almost invariably followed without question out of fear of rejection or worse.” Having actually been one of the executive members of my chapter I can call bullshit on this one. I’ve learned that the word “mandatory” in Greek life means about jack shit. Trying to get 100% of your chapter to do anything is like pulling teeth out of a fucking tiger’s mouth. I can tell you that some leadership in Greek life is pretty far from unquestionable.
  • Here’s the next one: “The ICSA notes that in cults, ‘the leadership induces feelings of shame and/or guilt in order to influence and/or control members. Often, this is done through peer pressure.’ Fraternities certainly use peer pressure to force recruits to perform embarrassing or even dangerous tasks ‘for the organization.” Oh yeah peer pressure is our main tool to get people to sign up for stuff like Huskython, philanthropies, community service events and log study hours in the library. Ya know, for the organization.
  • ” In a Cosmopolitan article, former sorority member Tess Koman writes that from the time she pledged, she was “made to feel pretty terrible about any activity I was doing that wasn’t sorority-related.” Going to a family member’s funeral? Better be Sorority related! I like to use the old “I’m not mad. I’m just disappointed” line for this one.
  • “One more quality of cults is that “members are encouraged or required to live and/or socialize only with other group members.” Many fraternities and sororities at UConn have their own residence halls in Husky Village, and most of the ones that do definitely encourage or even require members to live there, rather than in traditional residence halls with friends from outside the organization” Fun fact: Some majors such as Nursing have their own communities where they are encourages to live with and socialize with other members. Also my chapter, along with several others, don’t even have houses in Husky Village. I for one live in an apartment with one other member and two guys who aren’t affiliated.

So clearly this is some Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism here. While the facts presented in his article are in no way shape or form true, the guy still has as much right to voice his opinion as I do mine. I might disagree with what he has to say, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be allowed to say it. I’d like to end my article with this. It’s a quote from a biography about Voltaire, ”I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to get back to my cult and drink some Kool-Aid.

Here’s the article in question: http://www.dailycampus.com/commentary/how-fraternities-and-sororities-operate-needs-to-be-reformed-1.3150476#.UyNqYEJdUeZ

Yep, Here We Are!

Yep, Here We Are!

I Love My University, Except It Kind Of Sucks

February 28, 2014 in Academics, Alive Campus, Campus Life, Colleges, Reviews

I am currently finishing up my senior year at the University of Connecticut, which I chose over several other schools four years ago. I picked UConn over other schools like the University of Massachusetts and University of Maine to name a few. When I was searching for schools UConn seemingly had everything I wanted and was looking for. A vibrant and passionate student body with nationally renowned athletics, choices for major and educational programs, and countless activities to participate in on campus. Don’t get me wrong, I love this school and am very happy with my choice. It’s just once the freshman “honeymoon” phase is over, you really begin to notice the flaws with the school. What I have here, is just a musing on some of the things about UConn that disappoint or annoy me to no end.

The first thing that comes to mind is the location. Having grown up in a suburb of a major city, I was always just minutes away from downtown Boston. UConn however, is a half hour away from Hartford and is located in the middle of the woods. The campus keeps me plenty busy, but once you go off there is really not a whole lot out there. Also one thing that just annoys me to no end is the lack of street lamps. In my home town there are street lights every 100 feet or so. At night everything is covered in an orange glow. Out here, nothing. Total blackness at night. Its creepy for sure.

A major headache at school is the transportation system. I’ll say this as candidly as I can. UConn Transpo fucking sucks. The bus system is incredibly unreliable. There have been times when I’ve been waiting at the bus stop at night in the freezing cold for about a half hour for a bus that the tracker said would be there about 25 minutes ago. I don’t know whats worse, the drivers not being on time, or the bus tracker app being beyond inaccurate. It’s pretty much just a crapshoot.

Quite possibly the worst thing about UConn. The most irritating thing in the world, about the school is the gym. UConn is a major state university with a population of 18,000 undergraduates at the Storrs campus alone. The two weight rooms hit max capacity at 30 people each. Constantly, the basketballs are all taken out, the locker rooms are full, there is a line for the treadmills and the weight rooms are packed to capacity. And I work there. I have to spend enough time there, that I know just how horribly undersized this facility is. It is an old, dated building that has not been updated with the rest of the school. That’s the worst part, honestly, is that the University has put a billion dollars into renovating the entire campus and the surrounding area. New buildings, classrooms, apartments, restaurants, the works. And here we are stuck with this crappy building that the student body has easily outgrown.

And there it is. This is of course just the tip of the iceberg, when it comes to my complaints about UConn. But as I said before, I genuinely do like my school and am proud to be graduating from here. Most of the time that is .

But we did get this guy as a new mascot this year so, you know, take the good with the bad

But we did get this guy as a new mascot this year so, you know, take the good with the bad