Marist Security is on the Clock Even when you are not Here

Although many students return home to celebrate Thanksgiving with they’re families, there are several students who live great distances away and are forced to stay at school. That means if students are here, so is Marist Security.

Thanksgiving week is finally here which different things for each of us. Turkey, stuffing, pie, and football make it up for most us, but for many Marist Security officers it is a regular work day which brings many of the same issues that come up when classes are in session.

“The campus is pretty close to dead, but I think that makes the students who stay feel like they can get away with anything.” Said Joe Kitson, a Marist Security officer. “The worst I have seen was when a girl who was doing laundry bent over and a bottle of vodka fell out of her laundry basket right in front of me.”

Kitson said that there are always more than a few incidents like this every year, but who can blame them with no body on campus people need some way to entertain themselves. As for security at least they stay busy if they cannot be with their families.

Tis the Season to Take Finals

With both the holidays and final exams right around the corner, many students find that completing final assignments and preparing for those exams gets in the way of their holiday cheer.

Yes whether you enjoy them or not the holidays are right on the horizon and with Thanksgiving on Thursday, it will again mark the unofficial start of the holiday season. However Thanksgiving also marks the beginning of another season at Marist College, and like the holidays, it is filled with stress, frustration, anxiety, higher blood pressures, and a lot of time inside, tis the season for final exams and projects.

When students return to Marist following Thanksgiving break, there will only be two more weeks left in the fall 2013 semester. The first being the final week of classes, and the second being final exam week. These are the two busiest weeks of the semester for many students.

I enjoy this time of year; in fact I will be celebrating both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving with my family this week. However I have always had a few issues with the season too. One of them is the seemingly forced joyfulness of the season. The message that it is the holidays and for that reason alone you should happy and cheerful no matter what situation you are in. This holiday spirit has reached Marist too, with the giving tree, and students decorating their dorm rooms and houses it seems that students need to find the time to get all of this work done.

“I almost feel like I am being taunted with the commercials and Christmas specials when I cannot even enjoy it with all of this work I still have to do.” Said Senior Chris Bellosi. “It is almost like they are almost here but I cannot enjoy them until I finish my work but I still feel like I am forced to be happy since it is the holidays.”

“The season really is a distraction for me.” Said Junior Jessica Taylor. “I have a major assignment due in every class next week but all I can think about is getting my shopping done and making plans with my friends and it really distracts me from my work, now I have to bring it home.” Taylor is not alone in having to bring some work home. Ask any student, myself included, and we will all tell you that we have deadlines early next week and will not only need to bring work home, but spend a significant part of our breaks’ working on these assignments.

“It is not going to feel like much of a break”, said junior Allie Zoll. “These assignments are really what stress me out more than the exams and all of my friends and I have assignments due in every class.” Said Zoll. Not every student has the same negative feelings about finals and the holidays intertwining.

“I use it as a motivator,” said senior Abbey McMichael. “I know that if I can get all of my work done I have the holidays as a reward. I do not think I would be able to work as hard or be as productive if the holidays were not right around the corner. After all the hard work, I really feel like I earn it too.” McMichael’s viewpoint matches mine in a way. Since I am Jewish my holiday have passed by the time the semester is over, but knowing I have that month long break just around the corner is excellent motivation for me. To so many others however, this becomes an obstacle to overcome.

“I cannot even concentrate during this time of year”, said junior Matt Duffy. “All I can think about is being home with my family and friends and at the same time I have piles of work to do and three exams.”

Final exam week begins the week of Dec. 9 and the semester officially ends on Dec. 13. Do not worry fellow students; we will all be home enjoying the holidays with our families before you know it. Until then, best of luck to everyone with their final exams and assignments and a very happy holiday season to all of our loyal readers.

Are Unpaid Internships Worth the Time?

The question of whether there is value in completing an unpaid internship has been a topic of debate for many college students.

The completion of an internship is required for many of the academic majors and concentrations at Marist College where students can earn credits toward their degree. Even in programs where an internship is not required to earn a degree, students are still strongly encouraged to explore possible internship opportunities.

Internships give students the opportunity to enter the “real world” and work a job similar to one they may have after graduating where they can establish professional connections that could potentially lead to a full-time career. However, many of these internships are unpaid.

“Internships provide valuable experience for students in a professional environment,” said Deborah Porter, an internship coordinator in the school of communication at Marist. “Students can make contacts, build a professional network, and add skills and experience to their resumes’ that perspective employers value. The fact that many of these opportunities are unpaid is a small sacrifice students have to make for the numerous positives that come with completing an internship.” Porter said.

How much of a financial sacrifice are unpaid interns making? The total cost of tuition for a semester for a fulltime undergraduate student (undergraduates taking 12-16 credits) at Marist is $15,350. These students typically take 15 credits each semester dividing those into five classes for three credits each. Most programs require that students earn three credits through their internships. Considering the total tuition cost for 15 credits, those three credits at Marist would cost $3070.

“When you consider the cost of paying for the credits with travel costs and other daily expenses, it actually costs the unpaid intern more financially to participate in the internship than they can make at it,” said Marilyn Green, a career counselor at Therapeutic Counseling Services in Poughkeepsie, NY. “I think employers and interns are put into a difficult position because while interns would like to be paid, part of what makes companies want to hire interns is the fact that they do not have to pay them. If they have to start paying interns, it may make the companies less likely to hire interns in the first place and without internships, none of these students will be able to get jobs in the future.”

“I feel that this idea of financial compensation has actually hurt interns and companies that hire them,” said Steve Balsan, the Media and Public Relations Coordinator for the Rockland Boulders professional baseball team, a company that employs many interns but does not pay them. “Previously we had interns work for the entire day, and while that was valuable, many of them quit because they felt they were doing to much work to not be paid for it. So now we only have interns work about 20-40 hours a week which helps us keep them, but the interns themselves are not getting the most that they can get out of the experience,” said Balsan.

According to the United States Fair Labor Standards Act, unpaid internships can avoid minimum wage rules only if interns learn skills “similar to training which would be given in an educational environment.” Some companies, including magazine publishing company Conde Nest, have had to end their internship programs following lawsuits alleging violations of minimum wage laws.

“I agree that not getting paid is a drawback, but there are so many more benefits to internships and I never would have gotten a job out of college without them,” said Anna Krishna, a recent graduate of Trinity College and now a trainer and recruiter for Merrill Lynch. “You get valuable work experience, you build connections, boost your resume, and can gain practical skills you can never pick up in a classroom, in a way not getting paid can be a plus because your focus is on the experience and not on earning a paycheck,” said Krishna.

One aspect of unpaid internships that many of its detractors have pointed out is that an unpaid internship is not a practical option for everybody. Unpaid interns must come from families that can support them financially so that the lack of financial compensation does not pose a problem to the well being of the intern. In fact, the United States is one of the few countries wealthy enough for unpaid internships to even be an option. In some less wealthy countries, unpaid internships do not even exist because there would be no way to fill a position that does not pay.

“Everyday it seems that I talk to someone who finds a great internship opportunity that they cannot accept because it is unpaid,” said Anne Johnson, a career counselor in Poughkeepsie, NY. “In most cases, they have to work to help support their families and if they take time away to complete an unpaid internship, it puts their family at risk.”

U.S. Capital Building Interns posing in front of the U.S. Capital. Photo found through creative commons search

U.S. Capital Building Interns posing in front of the U.S. Capital. Photo found through creative commons search

There is no denying that the job market is competitive and getting a job out of college is nearly impossible without having completed internships. However, the question of whether it pays to not get paid is a debate that will continue as long as they exist.

Tips for Freshman Registration

While selecting classes can be stressful for any student, it seems that freshmen have the most difficult time with it. This is partially because spring registration is their first experience registering for classes, and because they are the last students who get to register, so many of the classes they need to take are full by the time it is their turn to register.

This week marks the beginning of registration for the winter and spring 2014 semesters here at Marist College. Registration opens the morning of Wednesday Nov. 6 for seniors, Friday Nov. 8 for juniors, Wednesday Nov. 13 for sophomores and Friday Nov. 15 for freshmen. The final dates for registration are Nov. 18-20 and registration officially ends on Wednesday Nov. 20 at 5 p.m.

“I am definitely excited to pick my own classes and make own schedule for the first time,” said Gabrielle Maurie, a freshman fashion merchandizing major. “At the same time I am nervous I will not get into the classes I need and I feel like I still do not understand everything about registration.”

“This is the most nervous I have been since I got here,” said freshman Megan Carey, a Psychology major. “My sister just graduated from college and she said that she got shut out of all the classes she need when she registered for the first time as a freshman. I remember when she called our mom crying after that happened.” Many other freshmen also seemed to express feeling of both nervousness and confusion about ways to stay organized during the registration process. In this time of confusion, many freshmen would welcome some simple advice to help them keep their situation in the proper perspective. To do that, upperclassmen and faculty offered their advice to freshmen.

“Make sure to meet with your advisor early on, because the longer you wait, the busier we get and you may not get a chance to meet with us and get that hold removed to be able to register,” said Dr. Veronica O’Connor, a professor and advisor in the School of Communication. “Always make sure you come to your advisor meeting with a plan and some idea of which classes you want to take, and always have questions for your advisor ready.”

“Make a few different versions of your schedule with back up classes in case you get shut out of classes you need,” said Junior Zach Goldman. “You never know how many classes you could get shut out of so make sure you have all the CRN’s written down and next to you when you register.”

“Take a good mix of classes,” said Sophomore Anthony Martin. “Do not stack your schedule with only core classes, but also do not only take classes in your major. It is important to take care of your requirements but college is a time to get a well rounded education so take full advantage of the great courses Marist has to offer.”

A common response these upperclassmen gave was that they wish they had some kind of advice column or real practical advice when they were freshmen. So there are some final tips from myself. One is to tread lightly when selecting core classes. Core classes are very important for your degree and they will most likely be taken as a freshman and sophomore, but it is important not challenge yourself too much. I understand this may be contrary to what you have been told for your academic life but the last thing you need is to have your grade point average dragged down by a class that has nothing to do with what you are doing with your professional life. So when you are picking core classes, stick with introductory and 100 level classes over classes like organic chemistry or advanced physics if they are not part of your major.

Take a wide range of classes if you are undecided. Through these classes you will discover what your interests are but get a full taste for what Marist has to offer and try out several different classes.

My final piece of advice is to use all of your resources. Your advisor is a great resource to help you decide what classes to take, but they cannot always tell you the right professor to take. That is why every student should use when making a preliminary schedule. This website provides reviews of professors by students who have taken them that can give insight into what taking that class may be like. We make a great financial investment into our educations, why not take the best professors possible for that investment and get the most out of every class.

Good luck freshmen, may all luck be with you.

Registration sign up sheet

Registration sign up sheet

Glitches with Online College Application Program Lead to Problems for Prospective Students

Glitches within a major online college application program have frustrated prospective students and college admission counselors across the country. The Common Application, which is accepted by more than 500 colleges and universities, handles millions of applications annually and was retooled this year to try and make the website run more efficiently. However when the 4th online version of the Common Application went live on Aug. 1, it caused angst for many college-bound students.

Various software troubles and other technical difficulties have left students with frozen screens, led them to pay multiple fees for a single application, or even shut out of their accounts completely. This has prompted several schools, including Marist College, to push back their fall application deadlines. Marist pushed back its deadline for Early Decision applications to Nov. 8.

“This has created a very difficult situation for students and admissions staff,” said Niasia Kemp, an Assistant Director of Admission at Marist College. “The Common App is where most of our applications come from and with these problems we can’t process the applications and we have already received several applications.” Students can also apply to Marist College online through their website or print the application off the Marist website and fill it out and mail it in.

“In a way the Common App has been a victim of its own success,” said Luis Santiago, the Director of Admission at Marist College. “They look to simplify the application process and then this gets so popular they have to keep changing and it opens them up to problems.” All of the Admission Counselors at Marist have been working around the clock to make sure they can process all the applications on time.

Not all schools have their own applications or even accept paper applications like Marist does. Some only accept the Common Application; this puts these schools in a very poor position if these glitches are not fixed soon.

“It is unfortunate that the Common App eliminated the paper option because it leaves them and the entire process at risk of a major collapse,” remarked Santiago.

“I have lost count of the amount of visits from students, and e-mails and phone calls from parents panicking about this,” said Cristin Silk, a College Counselor at Dobbs Ferry High School. “I have advised them to explore other options to apply such as applying through the school’s website or requesting a paper application.” Some students have even been willing to share their experiences.

Brian Sawyer, a Senior at Dobbs Ferry High School in Dobbs Ferry, NY said “I tried to log in about 10 times so I could apply to UNC-Chapel Hill. The website kept saying they did not recognize my username and password. I was freaking out.”

“We were prompted to pay about three times,” said Steve Gamin, whose daughter Emily is a Senior at FDR High School in Hyde Park, NY. “It turned out I was charged each time.”

While there are currently no estimates about how many students have had trouble, it is clear that this is a problem that needs fixing before that Nov. 8 deadline.

Seven Trends from This Week #Marist: Sept. 30-Oct. 7

With another busy week in the books, Marist students, staff, and alumni used the Marist hashtag on Twitter to tweet about the various events and trends that highlighted the week at Marist College. Here is a snapshot of what was posted.

1. Alumni Weekend

This weekend was alumni weekend here at Marist and many alumni tweeted about their excitement to return to Marist where they could reunite with friends, catch the football game versus Valparaiso, and visit establishments they enjoyed while they were students.

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