4 Essential Tips to be Prepared to Come Back to School

With winter break coming to an end, most RIT students are ready to come back from their month off. Some may believe it went by too fast, but ready or not the new semester is here! Whether it’s the second semester of your first year at RIT or possibly your last, preparing for another semester of college can still be a little taxing and time consuming. Here are a few tips on how to best prepare for coming back to campus!

  1. Make sure you’re getting yourself as organized as you possibly can. That doesn’t mean start color coding everything and creating an intensely documented planner, but more so making sure you have everything you need and in order for the next few months of school. When you get back, clean out your room and take inventory on what you still need. Being organized can help lower stress, which affects a large majority of college students. If you happen to get your syllabus before class has started (some professors may post theirs on MyCourses), try to go over what you will need from the class. Barnes and Noble @ RIT has a good way of keeping track of what books may cost, what materials you need, and so on. Many students put off buying or renting books before the first day of class, but by reading the syllabus, you may figure out quicker which textbooks will be utilized.
  2. Start marking your calendar. Also in the syllabus, to stay organized be sure to mark dates of importance to see what projects, exams, or papers may overlap since those are the times when college can be at its most stressful – when you have three papers due on the same day and a midterm the next.  Being able to plan beforehand may help you figure out how to keep track of your work and keep you from getting too stressed.
  3. Adjust to a new schedule and have a plan to stick to. Your classes last semester may be completely different this time around. You may have to suffer from eight o’clock classes or be stuck in a lab until late at night because there was no other way to schedule your courses. This may be a little overwhelming at first, but time management is something all students learn to get better at. Don’t stay up studying all night or drink loads of caffeine to try and balance out your work – rather take time to adjust to the new schedule and try and establish a good routine for juggling your workload and social life. Set some goals for yourself to try to accomplish this semester to help keep yourself focused.
  4. Research ways to get involved. Lastly, whether it’s your first year or last, coming back to RIT is always fun because our campus is full of activities, clubs, events, and so on. There’s always something happening here and it’s never too late to get involved! Whether it’s a club, a sport, something local, and so on – college is your time to do what you want to do! Look into opportunities on campus to be involved at the campus events calendar, check out The Link to find all of RIT’s amazing clubs and organizations, and try to remember that these are your college years – don’t be afraid to get involved and try something new!

Enjoy your last few days of break, you’ll definitely miss it in a couple weeks. However, also start to get excited to come back to school, because spring semester, we are ready for you!

How to Set Realistic Goals for a College Lifestyle

It’s finally 2018! With the turn of a New Year, just about everyone is thinking it might be time for a change in their life. Unfortunately, New Years resolutions can be tricky. Although it is good to be ambitious, many people set their goals too high. Setting realistic goals can be particularly hard for college students; we already have a hefty academic workload and many of us participate in extracurricular activities as well. But don’t let your new aspirations fail: here is how to set realistic goals for a college lifestyle.

Take a Step Back and Define Your Goal

Before you set a goal, take a step back and evaluate what you’re satisfied and dissatisfied with in your life. Although this may sound silly, actually write down what you hope to change: define it. Without writing it down, your goal may not be as clear and defined, therefore, making it harder to achieve.

Don’t Be in Such a Rush

You won’t be able to achieve your goal overnight. Come to terms with the fact that your goal is going to take effort, time, and attention. If you truly are committed, you won’t want to rush.

Don’t Procrastinate

On the other hand, none of your goals will be reached if you don’t take action. Don’t waste any time! Set a goal and stick to it. If you’re not ready to work for it, you won’t reach it.

Ask a Professional for Advice

Whatever your goal may be, there is an expert willing to help. They may be able to help you set a realistic time frame for your goal, and talk about what roadblocks you may have to overcome along the way.

Decide on How Much You Want to Do Each Day

Organization is key. Evaluate how much you have on your plate already, and see how much free time you have to squeeze something else in. Then, set a realistic amount time to commit to your goal each day.

Mark it on the Calendar, but Be Generous

Set a timeframe for achieving your goal based on what you want to get done each day. However, it is important to give yourself a generous amount of time. Life can be tough. If anything sets you back from your goal, you will have some leeway.

Find a Goal Buddy

Everything is always easier if you have someone to motivate you. If you are able, try to find someone else that will work towards this journey with you and can celebrate with you at the end.

Take Advantage of Helpful RIT Resources

If your goal is to lose weight, RIT has great recreational facilities such as the Gordon Field House. If your goal is to get better grades, we have a great Academic Support Center and amazing professors. RIT has an infinite number of different resources. You find almost anything you need to help you with whatever goal you are trying to achieve.

Don’t be afraid to set goals. With the proper planning and attention, anything is possible. Happy New Year, Tigers! Let’s make 2018 a great one.

Embracing Winter: Winter Activities to Check Out Around ROC

Winter is upon us. Whether you’re a Rochester native, sitting around knowing it’s only going to get colder and snowier, or whether this is your first time seeing snow, the winter can be a time where going outside feels like the most daunting task in the world. It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark – bleh – we get it, not exactly shorts and tshirt weather.

However, cabin fever can be a real thing, so if you’re feeling cooped up or you actually love being outside, winter snow sports and activities are your answer. Rather than trying to hide away from the winter (it’s not going anywhere anytime soon) – embrace it. What better way to do so, than to take advantage of the cold and snow and participate in activities that require those conditions.

Ice Skating

Ice skating is probably your quintessential winter sport, the first thing that comes to your mind. It’s a great option for most people because even if you have never ice skated before, it’s not too expensive to try and you can usually figure it out before too long.

Your easiest option, if you don’t want to leave campus, is our very own Frank Ritter Ice Arena. You can visit their website for public skate hours as they change weekly. If you decide to go – the arena is only $2 for students and $3 for rental if you need them – what a steal! Make sure you also keep your eyes peeled because they sometimes offer free skate during the year. If, however, you are feeling more adventurous, you can go downtown to skate at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park outdoor ice rink. It’s located in the East End District of Downtown Rochester and adjacent to the Strong Museum. You can get there by bus 24 that runs from RIT, so you can get there even if you don’t have a car. An ice skating pass is $5 and skate rental is only $3, so the trip won’t break your bank and it’s a great opportunity to get to know the city better. Bonus points if you get to ice skate while it’s snowing outside – it really starts to then look like a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie. The park also does special events like free skate on NYE with live music.

Snow Tubing

Finding this activity was such a great surprise! Glacier Ridge Sports Park in Spencerport offers Glacier Hill Snow Tubing. It’s only about 20 minutes away from RIT and you can get 1 hour passes starting at $12. The hill is open mostly on the weekends only, but it seems like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon with some friends, gliding down snow-covered hills. It’s also a great option if you’re not feeling particularly sporty that day but still want to experience some great winter snow fun. You can visit their website to book your adventure.

Downhill Skiing

This list would not be complete if we didn’t mention skiing. Would winter even be complete without skiing? Whether you’re a seasoned skiier or you’re just looking to dip your toes in for the first time, Bristol Mountain is probably your best bet for skiing close to Rochester. It is only about a 50 minute drive from RIT. They currently even have a Friends & Family Night special where a group of 3 can ski or ride for $75 from 4pm-close on Saturday & Sunday nights ($25/person). That also includes discounted rentals and an advertised free 5pm lesson which is based on terrain and instructor availability – so while we cannot vouch that they are always available, it still seems like a very good deal. 

Cross Country Skiing

If the thought of downhill skiing terrifies you or if you’re simply looking for a more low-key outing, you could consider cross country skiing. It’s way less intimidating and the boots are way more comfortable. Cross country skiing is also a lot easier and faster to pick up. This sport can be tricky, however, because not all places have ski rentals.

Mendon Pond trails are highly regarded because they get groomed for the Pittsford-Mendon high school team. However, they don’t provide any rentals. The Genesee Country Village & Museum also has cross country skiing on Sunday afternoons and although they encourage to bring one’s own equipment, they usually have some on hand. For a full list of places to cross country ski in ROC visit this website.

Winter Running

Winter is often the time when even those of us who love to run tend to fall off the bandwagon because it’s just so cold and dark. On top of it, the gym is stuffy; there are numerous excuses. So if you’re looking for some mid-winter running motivation, you should check out Yellow Jacket Racking. This year, they have organized the Snow Cheap Winter Trail Series, a series of short mid-week races that happen through January and beginning of February. Each trail race is 2-4 miles each,  and locations alternate between Seneca and Webster Park. The races occur in the dark (headlamp required), snow or no snow, so come prepared. You can sign up for all the races at once or just a few individual ones on their website.

Mendon Ponds Winterfest

Now if the thought of winter sports just makes you shudder and you can’t think of anything worse than winter running, fear not – we have an activity for you too! On January 14th, Mendon Ponds Park is holding their annual Mendon Ponds Winterfest. The event is FREE – always great for college students and you can go to learn about and try out winter activities such as ice fishing, snowshoeing and ice boating. You can always just go for the nice winter walk too.

Those are our recommendations for winter activities – have you visited any of these places? What are your favorite winter activities? Let us know in the comments on our Facebook page! 

What to do around Rochester for spring break

Rochester_picture

So you are staying in Rochester for spring break. Maybe you need to do homework and stay at school. Maybe you blew all your money on Chipotle instead of saving for that trip to Mexico like you wanted. Whatever the reason, staying in Rochester does not have to be dull. There’s tons to do around town all week, it’s just a matter of knowing what’s out there. There’s a whole world of music, food, museums and entertainment for the discerning RIT student to enjoy.

Museums

If you are looking to enrich yourself, Rochester has a number of museums that are always showing something new. For example, the George Eastman Museum will be holding a tintype photography workshop, where participants have their portraits done using an early camera. The Eastman Museum also has several special exhibitions on display right now.

If you’re looking more in the realm of the sciences, Rochester Museum and Science Center always has some interesting exhibits and events. This weekend, March 11, the Cumming Nature Center will be having a demonstration of how to tap a maple tree for sap. For something a little more out of this world, the Strasenburgh Planetarium has various shows going on all week. It’s not all educational material, either. On Saturdays in March, the planetarium runs laser shows based around the music of Radiohead and the Dave Matthews Band.

The Strong Museum of Play is great for those who want to indulge the inner child. Their collections include all sorts of exhibits totally devoted to play, and are entertaining whether you are 2 or 22. Especially interesting for many of us here at RIT is the simply massive collection of video games from every era.

There are plenty of other historical landmarks and museums around Rochester. Some good spots to check out are Mount Hope Cemetery, the Susan B. Anthony house, Memorial Art Gallery, and Gallery R. These are all open throughout break, and often have special exhibits depending on the time of year.

Parks

While it is supposed to be cold this weekend, a thick coat and some hot coffee can get you through a walk in one of the many City and State Parks in the area. There are over 3,500 acres of parks in Rochester. There are also a number of beautiful New York State Parks in the region, such as Watkins Glen, Letchworth, or Stony Brook. These are all open this time of year and offer some great hiking opportunities, no matter what the temperature is.

Events

Even though RIT will be mostly closing down for the week, this is far from the case for the City of Rochester. A number of events will be happening over the course of the week. One major event is the Rochester St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which is happening Saturday, March 11. This will run along East Ave throughout the morning. Other events in the area include Amerks games and concerts, if parades aren’t your thing.

Night Life

Rochester has plenty to offer if you’re looking for entertainment after dark. Areas like East and Alexander and the South Wedge have a number of restaurants, bars and clubs to go to. Popular spots include Murphy’s Law, Butapub, or The Daily Refresher. Even closer to campus in places like Lovin Cup, Shramrocks, Texas BBQ in Park Point offer some fun within walking distance to campus. Many places will be doing St Patrick’s Day specials that Friday as well, offering food and drink specials. Just remember, you should always designate a driver or take a cab if you plan on participating in the festivities. The luck of the Irish will only get you so far, but certainly not out of a DUI charge. 

Music

Rochester has a lively music scene, with a number of concerts happening around town every single night. These range from huge acts at the Blue Cross Arena to small bands playing venues like the Bug Jar. Even Lovin’ Cup in Park Point hosts regular shows, hosting both local and national bands. The hard part is sifting through the dozens of concerts to find the one you want to go to, and trust me you will find one. Great resources for finding concerts are sites like bandsintown.com, which has a pretty exhaustive list of all the bands coming to Rochester and the surrounding areas. As you can see, the period between March 11 and 19 takes up quite a bit of space. On top of sites like this, it’s always a good idea to keep your ears open online as well, regularly checking band social media pages and the events pages of local venues. You never know when your favorite band might be coming to town. On top of popular music acts, you can never go wrong with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, which performs regularly in downtown Rochester.

This makes up only a fraction of what is going on over the break. Make sure to keep an eye out for more events, concerts, museums, and more. Rochester has a lot to offer no matter what you want to do. Whether you want to quietly reflect on a piece of art or dance the night away, the only thing you need to do is get out there and find it.

College Cooking — Corner Store Edition

Tasty veggie and egg Ramen

Eating in college can be tough. After a while, you may want to mix it up from the dining halls, and dorm cooking is kind of limited. It doesn’t have to be dull, though, nor does it have to be expensive! I’ll walk you through a really simple and fast recipe for some souped-up (ha) Ramen. The coolest part about this is that all the ingredients for this recipe can be found at RIT’s own Corner Store (located on the A level of Nathaniel Rochester Hall, across from the post office) and it costs about $5 for a meal for two.

You will need some cooking utensils that you can’t buy at the Corner Store, but which you can find at Wegmans or Wal-Mart (behind/around the corner from Wegmans), and for pretty low prices. You can get to those places either by asking a friend who has a car or by taking the RIT Weekend Shuttle.

What you’ll need:
Microwave safe bowl (for boiling water and cooking the Ramen)
Two smaller bowls (for serving, unless you want to save on dishes to wash and just eat out of the bowl you cooked everything in)
Microwave egg poacher (you can and should buy one of these for about $2 at Wal-Mart. Not only do you need it for this particular recipe, but I’m a fourth year and I still use mine, just saying.)
Knife
Cutting Board
Measuring cup
Microwave
Water
5 Sticks of celery
10 Baby carrots
2 Packages of Ramen Noodles (I used chicken flavor for this recipe)
2 Eggs

Now that you know what you need and have washed your hands (I assume you know to do that before working with food, after all, you’re an adult now), let’s get cracking. Well, not cracking quite yet; the eggs come later. First, we need to get chopping. For those readers who aren’t quite sure how to chop veggies, you want to hold the knife in whichever hand has the most control, use a smooth sliding motion from front to back, focusing around the middle of the knife (think of the circular motion of the bars that power the wheels of a locomotive, but running in reverse). The hand that isn’t holding the knife should be holding what you’re cutting, at least a half an inch in front of (ie. on the majority of the food to be cut) your knife, with your fingertips curled down, so you’re holding the food with your fingertips/nails. That way, if you get a little too close, you snag your nail and not your fingertip.

Chopped celery and carrots

Got that? I know that was a lot of logistics, but bear with me here.

After you’ve chopped the carrots and celery into ~1/4 to ~1/2 inch pieces, toss them in your microwave safe bowl and get your Ramen. Add the brick(s) of Ramen to your microwave safe bowl, along with your veggies, and add enough water to submerge the noodles. Microwave the noodles for three minutes on high. Take it out, add the seasoning packs (I used about 1 1/2 packets, because I wanted to taste the veggies and not just salt, but that’s my preference), and stir. Let the seasoned water sit with the noodles and veggies for a little while (the time it takes for the eggs to cook is sufficient) before draining some of the liquid off, so it’s not completely soup. If you really, really like it soupy, go ahead and leave it all in. Draining it is my personal recommendation.

After the Ramen has cooked, get out your egg poacher and follow the instructions that came with the cooker and make two eggs. Since it’s an egg poacher, you’re going to use water. I recommend using some of the seasoned water from the Ramen for some added flavor. Once the eggs are done, toss them on top of your Ramen and, voilà, dinner (or lunch or breakfast or second breakfast or Elevensies or whatever) is served! Feel free to add more veggies or eggs if you think you’re going to want more. I happen to be a small person with a small appetite. Think of other things you could throw in here, too, such as actual chicken (Wegmans and Wal-Mart both have rotisserie chickens, which are great to toss into Caesar salad mixes for a quick dinner; I recommend using the leg and wing meat for that and saving the breast meat for sandwiches, snacking or occasions such as this).

What it really comes down to is this: Cooking isn’t all that hard. With a little bit of practice and a pinch of ambition, anyone can become a cook. If you’d like some easy recipes to start out with, check out my personal blog. Please note that I’m not a registered dietitian, but if you’d like official advice on nutrition, you can contact Mary Anne McQuay, RIT Dining Services’ registered dietitian.