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Breaking your routine | Writer’s Cut

I love planning. No, really – nothing makes me feel more accomplished, more safe, than the feeling of having my schedule completely filled out, so that I know what to do every hour of every day. Does that make me a bit of a control freak? Yes, it probably does.

Now if all of that is true, you might be confused as to why you’re reading an article on taking a break from your planned routine. Well, just stick with me here.

The weeks leading up to college move-in were grueling for me. Though I suppose it’s not uncommon for upcoming freshmen to be worried about this new chapter of their lives (some will show it more than others), I was utterly terrified. I was moving halfway across the country (22 hours by car to be exact) to a school that none of my friends had even heard of, and to make matters even worse, move-in day was going to be the very first time I set foot on campus. Although I had been away from home for significant periods of time before, nothing was never quite as permanent as this move.

After unpacking and setting up my room, it was almost as if someone had pressed a “GO” button on my life. Throughout orientation, I was only in my room when I needed sleep, and it’s safe to say that this pattern continued well into the beginning of that semester. Now before you jump to conclusions here – no, I was not out partying every night, and no, I was not trying to drink away my worries. Instead, I began to fall in a strict routine of school, work, and friends that I helped myself to and upheld to a T. I had found my own way to forget, my own way to not allow myself to stop for long enough to think about just how far out of my comfort zone I really was.

My routine engulfed me. I was so focused on always doing something that I didn’t even notice. For a solid three months, I was constantly doing, doing, and going. I did everything to establish RIT as my home and my environment, and I didn’t think twice about it. Unknowingly, keeping myself busy became my method of not allowing myself the time to feel homesick, to cope with how big of a life-change college was. I was always looking forward to my next assignment, club meeting, or dinner with new friends.  

The problem was that none of these things alone were inherently bad in nature. I was doing very well in school, I had a solid group of new friends, and I was involved in clubs. As far as I knew, this was the perfect execution of the perfect recipe of the perfect college experience. Sense the sarcasm yet?

I was so in love with the routine I created for myself that it became even more important than the individual tasks and events within it.

Then Thanksgiving week rolled around.

Everything around me was slowing down as professors and students looked forward to the promise of three blissful days off work with their friends and family. My world was not getting any slower though. I pushed on with my tight schedule and added even more tasks for myself. Soon enough, my brain was making plans faster than my body could even begin to complete them.

So, I crashed. Now, I know what you’re thinking, this must be the great climax that I have been building up to, and using the word “crash,” you will think I’m referring to some unfortunate car accident on my way home. Well, that’s just the thing, I didn’t get to go home and take that break, and that realization was precisely what brought me into a flood of tears.

Our bodies have a unique ability to tell us to stop and slow down. This was my body telling me precisely that. I spent the whole semester making myself so busy that I wouldn’t have time to internalize the huge life-change that college really is. I tried my very best to follow everything I had read about what makes a successful college student. Yet somehow, that wasn’t enough.

No self-help article could actually prepare me for the unique challenges that college had for me. As I sat down to write this, I realized that I, too, could never successfully address all the struggles a college student could face, but that’s just it. College will hit each individual person with a personalized set of challenges that can all be equally overwhelming and all feel equally isolating. So my advice here is simple.  

Take a break.

For me, that meant changing my environment by taking a trip to Highland Park and for just a day, being away from RIT. It meant allowing myself the headspace to process my new reality of life in college. Whatever taking a break means to you, do it. Get coffee at the cafe you have been meaning to visit or maybe just take a walk around campus to process and take in everything that is happening around you.

Facing your reality will work much better than trying to run from it.

RIT Campus Hot Spots

Anyone who goes to RIT knows this campus is huge. 1,300 acres of land, athletic facilities, classrooms, and lounges can be overwhelming. Therefore, with the vast quantity of choices, it is easy to stick to your usual spots: around where you live or where you have classes. RIT has so many noteworthy spots on campus, some of which are larger and better known to students. However, smaller, less glamorous spots can be refreshing and interesting to check out. Big or small, here are the top spots at RIT to hang out with friends or to utilize for some quality study time.  

Major Study Spots:

The John Peter Innovation Lounge

This lounge is a fairly quiet and it is an aesthetically pleasing place to do homework. The modern looking lounge has a soothing waterfall and plenty of comfortable seating. It is right outside of Student Innovation Hall.  

Java Wally’s

The beloved coffee shop Java’s is a great place to study. On your way to finding a table or comfy cushioned chair in the back, you can grab a delicious pastry and a coffee. Java Wally’s is located inside the main entrance of the Wallace Library.

Gordon Atrium

Located on the second floor of James Gleason Hall, is the Gordon Atrium. Although they can fill up quickly, there are a lot of study tables. It is a very focused environment with a lot of collaboration among students.

Gosnell Atrium

The Gosnell Atrium has the best of both worlds. Because there are a lot of big tables, is a great place to study with a group. However, there are also a lot of comfy chairs along the window to study alone.

 

Wallace Library

The library, an obvious choice, is one of the best places to study on campus. Aside from there being many different choices for study spots just within the building, there are also a lot of great learning resources, such as the Writing Commons, to help with your studies.

Hidden/Little Study Spots:

Thomas Golisano Computing & Information Sciences Atrium

In this atrium, there are plenty of tables not only on the first floor, but on the second and third floor as well. Grab a bite to eat at Ctrl Alt Deli before picking a table.

College of Applied Science and Technology

The staircase to the right of the main entrance to the College of Applied Science and Technology has a table located on each break of the staircase, all the way up to the top floor. The windows allow for a lot of natural light. There is only one table per floor; it allows for a good amount of privacy, especially at night when there are not a lot of people traveling up and down the staircase.

First Floor of College of Health Sciences and Technology

Walk into the College of Health Sciences and Technology from T Lot and head straight on the first floor to find this little study spot. There is interesting seating: a high top counter and an array of couch seating. All of the couches have outlets, making your study experience a lot easier.  

Reading Room

Up on the second floor of campus center, there is a room resembling a small library. When there aren’t meetings in this room, it is a great quiet place to get some work done. If the Reading Room is occupied, there is also a great array of seating right outside of it.

Tunnels by Department of Chemistry

Outside of the Department of Chemistry in the tunnels below the College of Science, is a small little study area. Although the space isn’t glamorous by any means, there are a few tables and chairs. Don’t worry about getting hungry; there are 7 vending machines, including a coffee making vending machine, and a microwave.   

Community Study Room

On the second floor of the Student Development Center, the Community Study Room is a great study spot especially in the wintertime. Cozy up by the fireplace and get some work done!

College of Liberal Arts Student Lounge

Located on the first floor of Eastman, the College of Liberal Arts Student Lounge is spread down the hallway. The large windows provide a lot of natural light, there are a lot of outlets, and there are many different places to sit.

Major Social Spots:

Beanz

Outside of Gracie’s, Beanz has a great seating section. Grab a snack or a drink, lounge around, and hang out with friends.

Global Village

Arguably the most beloved spot on campus, Global Village is an ideal place to hang out, especially in the warm weather. Even in the cooler weather, Global Village has a fireplace. There are multiple choices for food including Midnight Oil, Salsaritas, and Crossroads.

Fireside Lounge

Located conveniently in Campus Center, the fireside lounge is a popular place to hang out with friends. You may get lucky and someone will be playing the piano while you’re there.

Ritz

Possibly one of the best places on campus to hang out with friends, Ritz has plenty of activities to keep the whole squad happy. Eat, watch sports, play pool, or battle each other in a classic arcade game.

 

RITchies

In the tunnels under Gibson Hall, RITchies is a great place to hang out at night. RITchies has billiards, ping pong, fuse ball, air hockey, and video games. To add to the fun, RITchies hosts special events such as video game tournaments or free food nights.

Hidden/Little Social Spots

Gannett 3rd Floor

Right by the photo cage on the 3rd floor of Gannet, there is a little area with couches. It is a great place to lounge around and hang out with friends.

Crossroads Library Room

Off to the side of Crossroads, there is a room filled with books and tables. Play checkers, chess, grab dinner, and hang out with your friends in this quaint little spot.

Above the Green Screen

On the first floor of Gannett, a modern lounge sits above a large production room with a green screen. It is a fun place to hang out with friends; sometimes you will get lucky enough to see some action going on down below.  

Bottom Floor of Campus Center

Right outside of the Commuter Lounge in Campus Center, there is a lounge area next to the old campus pool. It is a convenient spot to meet with friends.  

MOSAIC Center

This center, located on the second floor of the SAU, is an inclusive environment, aimed at multicultural community building. It is a great place to meet new people.

Switch up your usual environment and explore these places on campus. Try to find new ones, as well. RIT’s campus is beautiful, take advantage what it has to offer! To find out about more locations on campus, be sure to download the RIT Mobile App!

The Importance of World Mental Health Day

A majority of our time as a student at RIT is spent going to classes, catching up on homework, studying for quizzes and tests, and busying ourselves with extracurriculars that largely consume our days. Have you ever woken up just truly feeling tired from it all? It’s extremely important to acknowledge the truth about mental health and how it is just as important as your physical well-being. World Mental Health Day is just one day out of the year where we can spread awareness of mental health and advocate for mental health education and against social stigma.

Years ago, many people were not really aware of mental health and how negative experiences and constant strain could really wear a person down. It’s significant to note that since 1992, World Mental Health Day has been observed around the world, while many countries celebrate an entire week dedicated to spreading the awareness of the importance of mental health.

At RIT, there are several places on campus to go if you or someone you know needs someone to just talk to. The mission for several groups is to provide every student with a safe place so that you never feel alone and provide a great amount of resources. Mental health is incredibly important and if any student ever feels like they cannot talk to someone, if the stress of school is weighing them down, or anything in between, RIT has several different groups to assist any student that reaches out for help.

On campus, RIT’s Counseling and Psychological Services located in the August Center is just one of the places a student can go to talk to an assigned therapist. In their own words:

Counseling & Psychological Services (CaPS) provides short-term counseling to registered full-time undergraduate and graduate students on the Henrietta campus as well as registered part-time matriculated students.  Services provided are based upon a determination of your goals for counseling.  If CaPS is unable to meet your needs, they will work with you to identify an appropriate resource.

If you are unsure if CaPS is a right choice for you, there are more answered questions in their FAQ – CaPS has been a helpful group on campus for students. Whatever you need to talk about, CaPS will work with you or help you find another group at RIT that is more suited to you.

One group is the Center for Women and Gender located in the Campus Center, room 1760. Their mission is to “foster an educational environment in which all community members can be personally, academically, and professionally successful without regard to gender, racial/ethnic origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, or spiritual beliefs.” Some people may not know that the Center for Women and Gender can provide counseling and/or refer you, if appropriate, to another group on campus such as CaPS, the Student Health Center, or Planned Parenthood. Unlike CaPS however, the Center does provide some counseling for relationship concerns.

In school, many can struggle with stress in the face of challenges such as moving to a completely new place and being away from home. Students may have problems with roommates, they may feel like crumbling under a heavy class load, or you’re feeling under pressure from becoming more independent. It is difficult to handle that kind of stress – feeling insecure, having relationship problems or problems at home, especially as students are trying to find their place. The most important thing is to know to never give up! Stress management is difficult for college students, and acknowledging your mental health is just the first step to learning how to handle whatever is in your way.

To find more resources on campus, check out the Tigers Care page!

If you need help, or are concerned for a friend, reach out to Public Safety at:

Call: (585) 475-2853 | Text: (585) 205-8333| Emergency Only: (585) 475-3333

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month at RIT

 

Katerin Salgado, 3rd year Psychology Major with Pre-Health, Residential Advisor, #TigersofRIT

The importance of Hispanic Heritage Month is that collectively, from September 15th to October 15th, is the celebration and recognition of the contributions that Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish Americans to the North American culture. Behind the Bricks is celebrating the month through the representation of Hispanic students and leaders in the #TigersofRIT and #MondayMotiviation segments on our Instagram.

Here at RIT, students and faculty are honored to be living in an exceptionally diverse community. Together for this month, we commemorate and observe all of the achievements and contributions of Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish Americans as we celebrate with events on campus hosted by the Latin American Student Association (LASA) and the Latin American Deaf Club (LADC) who have members in both clubs that celebrate what it means to be part of the Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish American culture.

Nicole Badia, 5th year Industrial Design and President of Spanish Club, #TigersofRIT

Anna Reyes, a member of the LADC, is very excited about Hispanic Heritage Month. So far the club has hosted Latin Deaf Week from September 11th through the 16th. They’ve also collaborated with the Deaf International Student Association (DISA) for the Mexican and Central American Independence Day, and have also have worked alongside the Latin American Student Association (LASA) on September 29th for “Dia De Los Ninos (Day of the Kids).

LASA’s President, Danel Ruano, said that the club will be will be ending Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting a Hispanic Heritage Jeopardy Game Night on October 13th in SDC 1300/1310. They will have members learn some trivia about our heritage and spend some time together as a family. Some other events that are happening during this month are Lambda Alpha Upsilon Fraternity Incorporated’s DACA Information & Awareness on Oct 9th in the Bamboo Room 2610 and Lambda Sigma Upsilon Fraternity Incorporated’s Indigenous Peoples’ Day on Oct 11th in the McKenzie Commons.

Ronald Moralea, 2nd year Advertising Photography Student and International Student, #TigersofRIT

Hispanic Heritage Month has many different meanings to each and every individual. For Danel, he said, “Hispanic Heritage Month is a way for me to re-immerse myself into my culture. Since I am not home due to school, I miss being reminded about my heritage. I miss the décor, the sounds, the enticing smells that that are in almost every Hispanic household. Being able to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month here at RIT gives me a taste of what it’s like being back home with my family. Hispanic Heritage Month is so important because it allows us to learn more about our cultures, other cultures and how they are all interconnected.”

With Hispanic Heritage Month ending on October 15th, look out for many future events at RIT with LASA, LADC, and DISA and other events around the Rochester area as we celebrate the lives and contributions of Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish Americans to our society and culture!

National Techies Day

It’s National Techies Day, and since we go to Rochester Institute of Technology, we thought it was beyond appropriate to celebrate! As our campus is packed with countless technology majors, technology buildings, and technology computer programs; Information and Technology Services helps students, faculty, and staff on a daily basis.

What is Information Technology Services (ITS)?

Information and Technology Services’ mission is simple. They want to deliver quality services to members of the RIT Community, improve customer value through service management, and advance our institution’s vision. Not only will ITS provide users with solutions to their IT needs, but they will ensure it is customized to the specific situation at hand.

What services do they offer?

ITS is equipped to offer a variety of services to the RIT community. If you are in need of software assistance such as RIT computer account or Google applications troubleshooting, ITS is here to help. For more service listings, check out their website.

How do I contact ITS?

The ITS Service Desk is located in Frank E. Gannett Hall, room 1113 on the first floor. Open Monday through Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and both weekend days from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. ITS Residential Networking (ResNet) is another Service Desk option available to RIT students. Another part of the campus-wide ITS organization, the office i located in Nathaniel Rochester Hall (NRH), room 1034. Lastly, ITS offers services in the Wallace Library at their walk-up help desk on the first floor when the fall and spring semesters are in session. If you are unable to stop by a service desk, ITS can be easily contacted at servicedesk@rit.edu, or by phone at (585) 475-4357.

Can I work for ITS?

Are you a techie interested in working for ITS? Well, there are a variety of part-time and co-op positions available for students! As for part-time, ITS is currently filling positions for a Communication Specialist Assistant, Service Desk Representative, and Tech Services Technician. If you are interested in technology as well as engaging with campus life, the Communication Specialist Assistant position may be a good fit for you. If you are interested in more of the technology aspect of ITS, apply to be a Tech Services Technician! Interested in being even more than a part-time employee? Check out ITS’s current co-op positions listings, and apply!

Wonder Workers: Our Custodial Staff

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are over 2.3 million janitors in the U.S. today. Unfortunately, because custodial work is “behind the scenes” it often goes unappreciated. Yet, custodial work is often very difficult and is vital the success of all public buildings. Colleges, stores, and hospitals depend on their custodial staff for their daily operations. Today, October 2nd, is National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day; if you see a custodian around campus, show your appreciation!

Unknown to many, our custodial staff workers are pretty cool. Check out this Q&A with Charles VanMaldeghem, a Building Services Supervisor. Charles is known for implementing robotic equipment into his work and takes great strides to enhance his team’s custodial operations at RIT.

How long have you been the Building Services Supervisor at RIT? 
“I have been at RIT for 13 years. I oversee 13 custodial staff mainly over in the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences as well as the Bausch and Lomb Center.”

What is the toughest part about being a custodian?
“It’s very routine, mundane. It’s the same thing day after day. So, we try to develop methods and procedures that alleviate some of the most strenuous portion of the job: automated and in some cases in the robotics. We are able to have machinery doing a lot of that heavy work that is fatiguing to the staff. It eliminates some of the injuries and potential problems with that.”

Do you find this job to be rewarding?
“Absolutely. Last week we hadthe inauguration and the tours that were associated with that. A large number of people came through our building. So having the place look really nice and the floors looking clean and shiny, and restrooms clean and presentable and appealing is important, and we get great rewards off of the feedback we get from those.”

Custodial work is often “behind the scenes.” Do you think people take your work for granted or are very appreciative of the work you do?
“I often see a lot of positive feedback from the faculty staff and from students as well. Our custodians, because we are here during the day, develop those relationships with individuals. A lot of my staff has great connections with RIT staff and our students because they see them everyday.”

Why did you decide to go into the custodial workforce?
“I started very young in high school. Actually, before that I worked for my father cleaning his offices at the age of 12. As asupervisor, I feel my job is to further develop individuals because I know the business and I know the individuals. I get great reward out of enhancing their lives and making them better.”

Why do you think National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day is so important?
“Having been in it for 40 years, I like to make sure I am appreciating my staff everyday. I don’t try to limit it to one day out of the year, but the recognition that the staff get from people appreciating what they do on a daily basis I think is important.”

Be sure to thank the next custoidal worker you see, and share your apprciation on social media by tagging us at Behind the Bricks, along with the hastag #RITBTB. On behalf of Behind the Bricks, thank you to all RIT custodial workers as well as Facilities Management Services, for keeping our campus clean and beautiful. Happy National Custodial Worker Appreciation Day!

300 Ways to find your fit: Join a club today!

Didn’t make it to the club fair? Not a problem. You can join most clubs at any time of the year, just show up. With approximately 300 student-run clubs on campus, there is potential for any Tiger to find something they’re interested in.

Previously, theLink was the system used to manage all clubs, organizations, and events here on campus. Now, RIT has moved to a new system called Campus Groups, which has the same functions as it’s former system, but makes information more transparent and user friendly. You can also see thousands of upcoming club events, promote your own club events, register for events, reserve meeting spaces, and check into events.

If you can think of a club that doesn’t already exist at RIT, you can create your own. Starting your own club can simple, depending on the resources it may need. First, the Club Review Board will consider the idea you submit, you’ll have to fill out a couple forms, find an advisor, and recruit members. If all goes well, then you’ll be good to go!

If you don’t think clubs are for you, think again. Here are the top six benefits to joining a club at RIT:

1. Finding people with similar interests

  • If you feel like you’re just not clicking with anyone you’ve already met at RIT, or if you want to expand your squad, clubs are a great way to relate to others.  

2. Something to look forward to

  • If you’re getting tired of studying throughout the week and need a good mind break, a commitment to a club is a great way of prying you away from your desk once a week.  

3. Employers love clubs on resumes

  • When interviewing for jobs or internships, employers love your various interests to shine through. Professional clubs are especially impressive because they add to your experience with your profession.  

4. Trying something new

  • Everyone has had one activity they’ve always wanted to try, but never pursued. Clubs at RIT are the best way to do it! With a variety of options, there is bound to be something you’d like to try.

5. Pursuing old hobbies

  • Clubs are the best way to get back into activities you have lost touch with. They’re low pressure and can ease you back into your interests.

6. Making connections

  • Knowing the right people can get you places. Club advisors and fellows students can help you receive various opportunities you’re interested in.

Behind the Bricks interviewed both Liz Vosburgh, the Director of Student Relations on Student Government, and the College Activities Boards’ e-board regarding their thoughts on joining clubs at RIT:

Do you think it is important for students to get involved with clubs on campus? Why?

SG: “Yes! Being involved with clubs is a great way for students to meet people outside of their major and meet people with similar interests. When I was a new student at RIT, I was very nervous about making friends.  After getting involved with clubs my first few weeks, I met so many amazing people and realized I could be myself here.”

CAB: “Getting involved with events on campus can have a big impact on one’s life at RIT and maybe even impact the rest of your life. Someone could try something new, find a passion that they’ve never even considered, meet new friends, meet someone special, grow a professional network through an interest, show off a talent, or even just have fun and create a memory. Events and entertainment are the cultural foundation of a community; they can range from a small poetry slam to a large concert, a gathering of small alike groups to collaborate and make something great to a celebration of some current event happening at the time. Events make a community stronger and closer, so if that means RIT grows stronger and closer because of them, then everyone benefits.”

What do you think the main benefit to joining a club is?

SG: “Even though there are many benefits to joining clubs, I believe the main benefit is all the leadership opportunities clubs offer for students. Each club has so many different things to offer and many different leadership roles within it. I am involved in many different clubs on campus and each one has contributed to my leadership style and made me the leader I am today. The other main benefit to clubs is that you could be a leader in a club at any point in your college career. A new student could hold an E-board position by the end of their first year here which is an amazing opportunity and great for your resume.”

CAB: “Getting involved provides someone with the experience and opportunity they may have not gotten otherwise. In class, there may not be any chances for leadership on extended projects and often times there’s no opportunity to learn how to work with a consistent team. Organizations, clubs, and jobs all provide individuals with those chances as well as potentially providing individuals with valuable experience in their fields. If not your field, than a hobby that you can try to relate to your field or a development of your soft skills to become a T-shaped professional. Furthermore, the people you meet, adventures you take, events you run, and collaborations you work on generate a stronger community within RIT that you helped make happen.”

How would you like to see clubs progress and advance at RIT in future years?

SG: “Currently, there are over 300 clubs at RIT which is amazing. Each club offers so much and brings something different to the RIT community. In the future, I would like to see clubs grow and continue to be more inclusive.”

CAB: “The past decade, RIT has had major strides towards more involvement across campus, increased student spirit, and developed many new opportunities for students here to really strive. We can agree that RIT has been and still is on the best trajectory towards an even higher greatness through diversity, innovation, and collaboration. The community of staff, faculty, and students are all committed to helping RIT reach new heights while sticking to a student-centered focus and providing them with the proper tools to enter the professional world. Areas RIT would need to focus in the coming future would be mostly infrastructure related to supporting the rapid increase in involvement on campus. For example, considering adding performing spaces and gala spaces to campus, or a campus-wide system for publicizing events and activities. They may also utilize organizations opinions more when making campus decisions. Saying that, RIT is doing amazing things and it doesn’t seem to be reaching an impasse any time soon, so we’re excited.”

If you’re interested in frequent updates and information about various clubs and their upcoming events, like Clubs@RIT on Facebook. Remember, there are over 300 clubs on RIT’s campus. Do some digging and find your fit Tigers!