First-Year Park Blog

The weekly go-to resource for Park's newest students.

Posted by Marc Phillips at 1:36PM   |  1 comment

               Let me guess…at some point today, you have checked your Facebook, read the latest tweets from your favorite friends and celebrities on Twitter, or shared some funny .gif you found on Tumblr.  As a society, we’re addicted to social networking. However, not everybody uses social media well.  With a few quick tips, you can make the most out of your social networking.

                  The first step in effective social networking is managing your privacy settings. Make sure that you are only sharing your information with the people who you want. Spending 10 minutes going through Facebook’s privacy settings goes a long way towards preventing the details of your life from being easily Googled. Facebook has also recently taken a page from Google+’s book, and has made it easy to share your posts with only some of your friends. Save yourself an embarrassing phone call home, and only share your recent weekend update with your close friends, and not your parents.

                  Other major considerations to keep in mind when it comes to social networking privacy, are your future employers. Today, almost everybody will Google your name before you get to an interview. Make sure that a simple Google search isn’t your downfall, and have your privacy settings set high. If you create an Ithaca College ePortfolio, it should be the top hit on Google!

                  Today’s reality, however, is that if a company is willing to pay enough money, no privacy settings will really make your profile or tweets completely private.  While this may seem terrifying, it is really a great opportunity for you to brand yourself.  Before you post your latest rant or pictures from your Saturday night shenanigans, think about your public image.

By crafting a well thought out social media persona, you can turn what may be detriment to many others into something that is a big plus for you professionally.



Posted by Marc Phillips at 8:14PM   |  Add a comment

When I first met my academic advisor, Matt Mogekwu, it was more or less love at first sight. Matt, if you’re reading this, I hope you felt the same way.

I wasn’t even a student yet—I was a senior in high school and had recently been accepted to Park. I spent a long time sitting with Matt, the then-chair of the journalism department, and crying in his office.

I was really torn about where to go to college—and it didn’t help that the May 1st deposit deadline was fast approaching…and I guess crying and making bad jokes was how I decided to deal with the stressful situation. In fact, that’s how I deal with most stressful situations.

And then a miracle happened. Matt listened. Even more miraculously, he laughed at my bad jokes. 

Since then, I have had great relationship with my academic advisor, and I’ve even managed to keep my crying to a minimum, as has Matt.

As someone who is about two years dry (of tears, that is), I’m basically an expert of sorts. So here are a few helpful tips on how to hopefully have a great relationship with your advisor, and—if nothing else—successful meetings:

  •  Come Prepared — You are one of the many, many advisees your academic advisor has taken on. You can’t expect your advisor to have everything memorized, so know what you’re going to ask…whether it is about what classes to take, your grades, or graduation requirements, before you come to your meeting. Bring a notebook and pen, too!
  •  Be Open — I know it’s hard to accept, but you’re not always right. Your advisor has seen other students go through a wide array of problems, so chances are they know more about it than you do. Listen to what they have to say.
  • Don’t Take Your Advisor For Granted — Believe it or not, your advisor is cooped up in Park all the time—not just when you need a reference or class selection for the next semester. Take advantage of all the ways your advisor can help you all semester long.
  •  If All Else Fails, Change Advisors — If you just aren’t connecting with your advisor, you can also change to someone in your department that you feel more connected with. Your advisor probably won’t be too offended—especially if it’s early enough.


Posted by Marc Phillips at 1:18PM   |  Add a comment

                        As a junior at Ithaca, I’ve already had my fair share of roommates: two different girls my freshman year and three guys my sophomore and junior years. The most important thing we all do to keep conflicts from arising? We talk. I know it sounds cliché, but you’ve heard it a million times for a reason!

                  Do you have a roommate with very different study habits and sleeping patterns than you? Talk to them about maybe studying in the lounge sometimes, and maybe turn your alarm down in the morning so as not to disturb your very, very close neighbor.

                  If you let problems grow without saying anything, your roommate most likely won’t know that anything is bothering you. It’s a case where you might have to be the bigger person. If you want them to be more considerate of your privacy, try asking her first if she minds if your boyfriend is going to be hanging out at night. The more open you are with your concerns, the more they’ll be about theirs. 

                  Another big thing: do not go to your friends or your RA right away. If the person you’re living with has to hear your dissatisfaction with them from a different person it could make your dorm room very awkward. Personal confrontation is almost always best. Keep third-party involvement limited.

                  In the end, if there are too many problems with your roommate, or you’re finding it hard to get through to them about concerns, it is a good idea to talk to your RA.  Maybe he or she can meet with you and your roommate to clear up a misunderstanding our point out that you aren’t being controlling, but that playing rap music until 2 a.m. would be annoying to anyone.

                  Also remember that it could be you who needs to do a better job listening. If you notice your roommate acting weird around you, or avoiding conversation, ask if there’s anything you can do to help. Maybe your stuffed animal from home freaks her out at night or your Bob Marley poster gives him nightmares.

Just talk it out and act like a reasonable young adult.


Posted by Marc Phillips at 12:34PM   |  Add a comment

I would like to file a formal complaint against every stereotypical college film ever made. Yes, I love “Accepted” as much as the next girl, but these films have forced eager college students to come into their first year expecting an instant group of lifelong friends. My freshman year was a bit of a reality check when I discovered that finding your friendship niche can be a bit of a trial and error process.

 Being the outgoing person I am, making friends has never been much of a struggle for me. Therefore, when I spent my first weekend out at college with a group of relatively fun people, I was confident that these folks would be my companions for the next four years and beyond. We exchanged phone numbers giddily, with an unspoken knowledge that we were already the best of friends. 

Fast-forward two weeks: the “honeymoon” buzz has faded, and the façade of perfection was erased from my so-called “BFFs”. It was difficult to admit it, but I had realized that these people were not destined to be my buddies. I felt defeated, but fortunately I had one really close friend that I did not want to lose. We clung to each other, nervously re-entering the frightening friend-making arena one again.

Fast-forward two or three months: with an air of caution after my last friendship faux pas, my friend and I had begun hanging out with a slightly different crew. Unlike the last group we had assimilated into, this group felt natural: they laughed at my corny (but hilarious!!) jokes and were down to earth and friendly.

It wasn’t until the very end of first semester that I had firmly become part of this new friend group. Sure, one semester seems like a long time right now, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s impossible to put a quantitative standard on how long it should take to make irreplaceable friends.

And now, as I begin the first semester of my sophomore year, I am so grateful that I did not settle for the first friends I made and strove to find a group that I felt more comfortable with.

However, if you’re patient, you can be the star of your own quintessential college movie. I’m calling mine “Fran’s Fabulous Friends at IC”… it’s a working title...


Posted by Marc Phillips at 1:23AM   |  Add a comment

                   Sitting here as a sophomore, it’s definitely interesting to look back on just one year ago, my first month in college.  You always envision yourself at college and come into the semester with an idea of how it might play out.  The first month of college is a whirlwind of emotions and new experiences, but is essentially a very special and vital part of your life.

                  Driving up to Ithaca College for freshman year was a nerve wracking five-hour trip.  From my home on Long Island, all the way up to Ithaca, I had a lot of time to contemplate the obvious: Will I enjoy myself? Will I make friends?  

                  There are a million questions that run through your mind. Despite the nerves, I was still so excited to start this new chapter in my life, be in Park, and meet so many new people.

                  Looking back on it, the first month is the hardest but such a growth experience.  I remember feeling awkward hanging out with new people, being away from my family, sharing a room with two other girls, and figuring out what exactly I should do on the weekends.  There were nights I sat in my room video chatting with my family, and embarrassingly enough, even my dog, and I realized the mindset I needed to adopt. 

                 You have to open yourself up and allow yourself to meet people and have a good time.  Being open to the experience is truly what it is all about.  It’s the first step of growing up.

                  Ultimately, the first month is crucial, because it begins to shape the person you become and what exactly your place is at Ithaca College.  I’ve met amazing people through becoming involved with clubs on campus and through Park.  I’ve learned so much from professors.  I’ve had the most memorable moments of my life here--even in that first month. 

                  Now, I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else, with a different major, or with a different group of friends.  Going through your first month with a positive attitude paves the way for an amazing college experience.  Work hard but also enjoy yourself.  It’s okay to be nervous.  It’s normal to be a little homesick at times.  It’s fine to struggle with your workload in the beginning. 

                  It’s all about what you make of it.


You can follow posts to this blog using the RSS 2.0 feed .

You can see all of the tags in this blog in the tag cloud.

This blog is powered by the Ithaca College Web Profile Manager.


Roy H. Park School of Communications  ·  311 Park Hall  ·  Ithaca College  ·  Ithaca, NY 14850  ·  (607) 274-1021  ·  Full Directory Listing