"Who we are and who we are meant to become is a collection of constant creation and revision...I am still a work in progress."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In Three Days Time

As I walked past Wolfington Hall earlier today, I imagined myself in the same location in just three days time. Waiting patiently for the service van, I make small talk with other classmates in attempt to distract my nerves. My legs tremble with anxiety and excitement as I think ahead to the next hour. I pull on the neckline of my Saint Joseph's University t-shirt. I scan the other students' outfits to see if mine stands out. No one else is wearing a v-neck, which only increases my worries about my choice in shirt.

I decide to stare intently at the nearby construction workers to take my mind off of my wardrobe issues. As I take in my current surroundings, I cannot help but picture the differences between here and my perceptions of the service sight. Feeling alarmed, I remind myself of the tips that Shannon and Megan gave to the class on our first day. “Make eye contact with everyone you walk past.” “Act like you belong.” “Do not bring your purse.” Oh great, these reminders just worsen my nerves.

As my mind continues to wander, I imagine riding down a trash ridden street. I bounce in my seat as the van races over bumpy potholes. Shortly after, the van pulls over towards a run-down, brick building called the Center For Literacy. One look at this establishment and an overwhelming sense of curiosity takes over. My entire body is alert and my mind is focused.

Emerging slowly from the vehicle, I follow my class over to the steps. Each step I climb, I remember how excited I am to meet my student. Even though I feel nervous, I am sure that their feelings are much worse. I cannot begin to know how it feels being an adult who can not read or write. These adults must have much determination and courage to take on this journey. I am reminded that this experience will not only better the life of another individual, but myself. I am ready.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Taking on my Education
One Door at a Time

While I lazily walk around campus on a Sunday morning, I stop in front of the most curious of buildings. I usually run past it on my way to an 8 a.m. class, but this morning I just take a moment to admire its' beautiful architecture. The building is known to be home to the fine and performing arts. Since I am interested in the fine arts, it is no wonder that I feel such a strong connection to this building.

As I wait outside, I look at several students who make their way past the crimson door. Even though, I would love to walk right through that door, I stop myself. I want to make sure that when I open that door, I belong. Although it was easy to have someone open the door for me, I want to find a way to open the door myself. I decide to find a way to involve myself within the arts building. I will take this opportunity and learn for myself what truly is behind that crimson door. Through this simple story, I have decided what it means to take my education.

I want to earn my education, not have it be handed to me on a silver platter. Throughout my time at Saint Joseph's University, I will take the initiative to make the best version of myself. I am both passionate and dedicated to make this possible. By working to the best of my ability, I will gain a greater education as well as a sense of accomplishment.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

12 First Impressions

1. People are friendlier here, even the squirrels.

It may just be the hawk pride, but every person I have met on campus is genuinely friendly. No matter where I walk on campus, I always stumble into someone who greets me with a “Hi Aly.” I am incredibly impressed with this fact, since it is so hard to keep track of names and faces. Especially since these past few weeks have been nothing but information overload. Not only are the freshmen incredibly kind, but so are the dining hall staff, professors, upperclassmen, and squirrels Now I know it might sound silly to acknowledge that the squirrels are noticeably nicer than home, but it is true. In my hometown, squirrels are known to eat through window screens and drop acorns on people walking underneath trees. Here, the squirrels come up to your feet and prance around. I couldn't help but compare the squirrels to the people. The squirrels are completely content with where they are living so they treat others better. I feel that this same concept is true to the people at Saint Joseph's University. Everyone on campus is happy to be here, so they in turn are in better moods.

2. Campus takes my breath away.

While walking through campus on a peaceful, quiet morning I could not help but be thankful to be surrounded by such beauty. The buildings on campus make me feel as though I am living in a dreamland. No wonder people refer to Barbelin Hall as Hogwarts. Campus is also the perfect combination of the excitement of a city and comfort of the suburbs. Not only are the buildings beautiful, but so is the wildlife. Walking through campus makes me appreciate the lush environment that surrounds me.

3. You can always find something that you like to eat.

The dining hall is so flexible with food options. I like that at every meal there are numerous options to choose from. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, so I am pleased to say that SJU does it justice. The omelet station is so fresh and delicious every morning. Not to mention, the omelet chef is incredibly sweet. I am also guilty to have taken a picture of my “hawks” waffle and sending it to my mom. This is a definite perk to waking up for my early classes.

4. Freedom, finally.

You have to be self motivated to do laundry or clean your side of the room. But other than those few chores, I am free to do whatever I want. I have to say that I love the feeling of being on vacation.

5. Sharing a room is a lot better than I thought.

I have never had to share a room before, so I was unsure of how it would work out. But I have to say I like that I always have someone to talk to or go to breakfast with. I am glad that I chose my roommate on Facebook ahead of time. We have similar interests and habits so it makes life easier. Plus walking into a room where you favorite music is already playing is a comforting feeling.

6. The internet connection aggravates me.

Well of course there has to be some things about college that aren't the best. The internet connection is top on that list. I can never Skype friends or family because it always cuts in and out. I also hate having to sign into the sju wireless portal any time I want to go online.

7. SJU is conditioning us much like Pavlov.

Every morning when I am crossing over from Maguire Campus to Campion, I wait for a bell. At first, I thought that it was the most annoying invention, but now I am trained. I no longer wait for the walk signal but listen for a bell.

8. Whenever one door won't open, learn a trick.

The very first time I used the bathroom in Saint Albert's Hall, I was locked in. The door often jams and unfortunately I had no idea how to open it. This same pattern continued until the girls on my floor were sick of being stuck in the bathroom. After much deliberation, we came up with a few tricks to open the bathroom door. I learned that even if your door won't open like you are used to, you can learn a few tricks on making it work the way you anticipated it would.

9. 40 Lapsley Lane = 102 Myers Street

After a few weeks, I am already referring to 40 Lapsley Lane as my home. There are similar qualities between my home in Forty Fort compared to my new one in Merion Station. My R.A. Teresa acts as the mother figure, which establishes a similar feel of home. She watches over us and makes sure we are all doing emotionally and physically well. At first she may seem strict, but I now know she is only looking out for us. My housemates and I have bonded quickly. We feel extremely comfortable with each other and have established a sisterhood of sorts. I can even smell the fresh scent of laundry every time I walk through the front door.

10. I never want to take a cab again.
At first I was excited by the idea of taking a cab, but now I will avoid cabs at all costs. Shelling out over twenty dollars just for one night of transportation drives me crazy. Not only are cabs expensive, but the drivers have no sense of direction. We ended up spending an hour to get into the city, while it should have taken twenty minutes.

11. There is never enough time.

While I thought that joining the rugby team would be fun, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I admit that I love the team aspect of the sport. All of the girls were so welcoming and fun to be around. But spending three hours a day getting tackled and shoved was time consuming. Not to mention the pain your body endures after practice. I was exhausted when I came home from practice and often fell asleep on my homework. I would have definitely stuck to the sport if I didn't already have so much going on. But I strongly suggest that if you get the chance to play rugby, accept it. Even if it is only for a week.

12. I love my classes.

Not only do I hold a genuine interest in each one of my classes, but each of my professors make class fun. I thoroughly enjoy that each class is discussion based.