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!

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! 

Ways to be Productive During Winter Break

Somehow, it’s the end of the semester and just like that, four months just passed us by. Whether it’s your first year as a freshman at RIT or you’re one semester away from graduating, you’re going to wonder where all that time went. But right now, you’re looking at a month of time away from brick city and even though many of us feel like sleeping for the next few weeks, it’s good to be as productive as possible! Use your time wisely while you still have it because being in college is something you’ll definitely look back on one day and think about everything you used to do or could have done. It’s important to be productive over break and to use your time off to be as constructive as you can!

Now, you may just want to take a break and relax – and that’s perfectly fine! Everyone needs a break and having just taken a plethora of final exams, presented a ton of projects, and written countless pages of papers, you definitely deserve a few days to sleep in and put the stress behind you. However, the more productive over break you are, the more prepared you will be for the next semester.

Something most students are beginning to focus on is their resume. Whether you’re trying to find a co-op/internship for a semester or the summer or are just looking to find a part time job, a good way to use your time over break is to focus on your resume! Begin to build it, start to find examples of how to make it stand out, email your advisor for their advice because they want to help and watch you succeed! RIT’s Office of Career Services and Cooperation Education has amazing information on how to help as well!

College students are known to (stereotypically, of course) live off of ramen and load up on caffeine. A good way to use your month off would be to find a part-time or seasonal job where you can save up some money for your own funds during the new semester! Like time management, managing your money can be hard when you’re an undergraduate and learning how to save up over break can do you wonders when you return in the spring.

Another option for how to be productive over spring break is to look into travel options. Maybe you already have a vacation planned with your family, but that may not be enough. After college, it’s unlikely you will ever have a break as long as you do now and so you should take this winter to go out into the world, or at least research how to do it! If travelling is something you really want to do, you can start looking into study abroad or work abroad – RIT provides a lot of information to students on how to either study or work in different countries around the world and encourages students to go! This break may be a good opportunity to start looking at that information and take some time to go over it with your family to see if there’s something that is right for you!

Winter break may be a bit shorter this year, but you still have a month to take some time off. Though a good number of students will most likely just want to get rid of all of their alarms and stay in bed for a few days, it’s not a bad thing to get a head start on what’s coming next. It’s almost 2018 and time doesn’t seem to be slowing down! So, be as productive as possible, make sure to relax, and have an amazing, well-deserved time off, Tigers!

Let’s Get Ready for Winter Break

It’s that time of the year. The weather grows colder, the holiday season approaches, and the study grind for finals begins. One thing to look forward to post-finals, is winter break. From December 20 to January 15, you’ll have no obligations, and some time to relax before the spring semester craziness begins. But before you head home, on vacation, or wherever you may be spending your break, it’s important to ensure that your dorm/apartment is prepared for your time off.

Housing Closing Procedures

Residence Halls

Residence Halls close on Wednesday, December 20, and all students must leave their rooms during the entirety of the break. For students planning on staying close to campus, don’t fret, rooms at the RIT Inn and Conference Center have been reserved for
you, just ask your RA for more info. If your roommate this semester is planning on moving out (or if they already have), it is important to ensure that your room is prepared for someone new to move in. This will consist of removing your personal belongings from their side of the room. In the hustle and bustle of finals week, many students forget to empty their garbage prior to leaving for winter break. We’re sure you can imagine how lovely the room will smell upon your arrival back to campus if you forget to do so! Aside from throwing out last minute trash, it is imperative that you close, lock, and pull down the shades on all of windows in your room. This will help prevent pipes from freezing. Just like your garbage, it’s just as important to remove all leftover food in your mini fridge prior to your departure from RIT. Lastly, don’t forget to unplug all electronics, and lock your door when you leave!


Just like the residence halls, on-campus apartments also need to be prepared for your absence during winter break. Aside from preparing for a new roommate, locking windows, taking out garbage, and moving unplugging all electronics, it is important to adjust your apartment’s temperature prior to your departure. Your heater should be set to automatic, and the room temperature should be set to at least 65 degrees. While adjusting your apartment’s temperature, be sure to leave the HVAC covers in place, and do not turn off the valves to the HVAC unit. With most campus apartments having multiple roommates in one unit, it is important that you create a comfortable living space to ensure new roommates are welcome.

Dining Services

All of the dining halls will close December 20th, 2017, and will re-open at the start of spring semester 2018. For a full list of hours and operation, please visit the RIT Dining Servies website. 

Good luck on finals, and have a wonderful winter break. See you next semester!

Ready or not, here winter comes!

By now, you’ve already trudged through the snow and winter doesn’t even start officially until December 21st. But that’s the typical Rochester weather: cold, and unpredictable. We haven’t even gotten close to the worst of it. The average high temperature in December is 37°F, the average low is 24°F, and the average snowfall is 22 inches. Already dreading it? Well, ready or not, here winter comes and here’s how to prepare.

Think About Your Wardrobe

If you’re living in Rochester, you need a whole separate winter wardrobe. The most important thing is having a warm winter coat. Quality boots are essential. More pairs the better, to match all different kinds of styles and places you’re heading to. Having a set of hat and gloves is also important to keep yourself warm as you’re walking to class. Gloves are specifically a must, especially if you are carrying anything. Touchscreen winter gloves are the smartest to invest in, so you don’t have to take them off to use your phone.

Need to go shopping? Stock up on RIT winter gear at the bookstore at Barnes and Noble. Another option is to take the RIT Retail bus to Marketplace Mall in Henrietta. However, don’t clear out your existing closet just yet. Rochester weather can be quite unpredictable. Although it is usually cold, sometimes it can rain or be a little warmer. You might want to keep your umbrella, raincoat, and light jackets around, just in case.

Most importantly, during the cold Rochester winter, it is important to remember to dress in layers. You’ll want to bundle up when walking outside, but the minute you sit in a heated classroom, you’ll be sweating. Layers are the perfect solution to this problem.

Prepare Your Living Space

It is important to also prepare your living space for the Rochester winter ahead. Stock up on food and snacks at the market, in case you get snowed in. Investing in a few blankets is never a bad idea, especially because dorm rooms can often get cold in the winter. You might also want to invest in a humidifier: it will prevent you from getting chapped lips, dry skin, and sore throats by bringing moisture into the air. Lastly, you won’t regret purchasing a boot tray. It prevents slush and mud from getting all over your apartment. With these essentials, you’ll be ready to conquer a Rochester winter in your apartment.

Load Up on Tiger Bucks

Next, load up on Tiger Bucks for the winter. You’ll want to use them for flu season, when you desperately need to stock up on tissues, lip balm, and medicine. Also, on those cold, brutal days, you’ll crave a big cup of Java Wally’s hot chocolate (with extra whipped cream and sprinkles). If you have enough Tiger Bucks on your account, you won’t have to worry about having enough cash in your wallet.

Decide on the Best Way to Get to Class

On the snowy, blowy days, you’ll want to avoid walking to class as much as possible. The tunnels can often come in handy. If you don’t know how to navigate through the tunnels, you may be interested in our past article, The Ultimate RIT Tunnel Guide.

If the tunnels can’t get you to where you want to go, there are other transportation options. Once you master the timing and routes, the RIT Busses can also come in handy in the winter, especially if you want to travel across campus. If all else fails, bikes can reduce the time you have to be outside. However, they’re tough to ride if it is very snowy.

Alternatively, take some time to figure out how to cross through buildings to get where you need to go. This will limit your time outside when you can’t use a bike, the bus, or the tunnels.

Be Prepared for Winter Driving

Driving to class in the winter can be a whole new struggle. The most important thing is to give yourself extra time to get to class. There will be more open parking spots and you will be able to park closer to your building. Although RIT does a good job at keeping their roads and lots clear, the brutal Rochester weather can often make it tough. Accidents in the winter happen when people rush. Give yourself plenty of time to drive slowly and to get to class safely.

Additionally, make sure you have a windshield brush and scraper. The last thing you want after a long day of classes is to walk out to a car with a mound of snow on top, and have no way to get it off. It is always smart to carry emergency items in your car in the winter. Tools, jumper cables, an extra coat, a can of gas, and anything else you can think of. You never know what will happen, but you’ll want to be prepared if something does. Keep in mind that RIT Public Safety is always happy to help if you have any issues this winter.

Have Fun in the Snow

If you don’t make the most out of the cold Rochester weather, chances are you will be miserable. There are many hilly parks in the area; a great way to enjoy the snow is to go sledding. In the city of Rochester, there is a small outdoor ice skating rink in MLK Jr. Memorial Park. It is cheap, fun, and will get you into the winter spirit. There are also a few ski resorts in the area. Take a day trip and try skiing or snowboarding. If you don’t already have your own equipment, the ski hills have rentals.

If you’re interested in staying on campus but still want to enjoy the snow, gather your friends for an epic snowball fight. Also,make a list of winter movies to watch with your friends, get cozy, make some hot chocolate, and start binge watching. On the weekends, embrace your RIT hockey 

spirit and support the Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams in the Gene Polisseni Center. If watching hockey puts you into the skating mood, the Ritter Ice Arena has open skate multiple times per week: check their website for each week’s times.

The College Activities Board also offers some special events open to students in the upcoming winter months. RIT SpiRIT Skate is on December 2 in the Ritter Ice Arena. It is a free open skate for those that wear RIT hockey apparel. There is a trip to see The Nutcracker in Buffalo on December 2. Also, the movie, Office Christmas Party, will be playing in the Ingle Auditorium on December 7.

Most importantly, don’t constantly complain about the cold. Mostly everyone feels the same way. It may be overwhelming, but the winter in Rochester isn’t so bad. There is an upside: the possibility for a snow day.

10 Inventions that Make Winter Wonderful

RIT is a school that prides itself in innovation, so much so that we have an entire building dedicated to the craft. Besides being known for its brilliant students, RIT (and Rochester, in general) is known for its brutal winters. If last year’s weather patterns are any indication of how this winter is likely to turn out, let’s take a moment to honor the brilliant minds that made winter not only bearable for us hairless apes, but who also made it fun!

Before anything, we need to be warm. Jackets, boots, and mittens have been around since prehistoric times; without those basics, the native people of northern Canada would have frozen before you could say “mammoth.” When did people decide to give winter the finger and invent gloves? According to Fashion Time, the first remnants of gloves were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb. Considering he died in around 1323 B.C.E., that makes the oldest known pair of gloves somewhere in the ballpark of  3338 years old!

Granted, Egypt isn’t exactly known for its brutal winters, but you know where is? Central Asia; and you know what came from Central Asia? Snowshoes! More than just tennis rackets for your feet, snowshoes allow the wearer to move across deep snow with ease by spreading the wearer’s weight out over a larger surface area than their feet alone, keeping them on top of the snow instead of knee deep in a drift. Snowshoe Mag dates the invention of snowshoes to sometime between 4,000 and 6,000 years ago.

Let’s jump even farther back in time, now, for a look at skiing. The term “ski” comes from the Old Norse word for — surprise — a stick of wood, “skíð.” The oldest ski remnants were found in northern Russia and date back to roughly 6,000 B.C.E.

, on the other hand, is a much more recent invention. It was invented in 1964 when a young surfing enthusiast named Sherman Poppen decided to make a surf board for the snow so he could shred it up in the Rockies. Initially, the invention, whose prototype was made of a pair of skis bolted together, was called a “snurfer” — a clever shortening of “snow surfer.” The popularity of the idea grew and manufacturing began shortly after its conception. Sadly, Poppen’s idea died out about as quickly as it had taken root, and it wasn’t until 1970, when another surfer from upstate New York, Dimitrije Milovich, decided to redesign Poppen’s model. Milovich’s inspiration came in the form of a lunch tray and a new, shorter model of surfboard. His design featured a shorter board with gravel and glass laminated to the top to give it some grip and nylon straps to keep your feet in place. His idea was better, but still not quite right. In the following years, several other snurfing enthusiasts tinkered with and improved on the design until it eventually became what we know it to be, today.

Time to credit one crafty kid. The invention of earmuffs goes back to Farmington, Maine, in 1873 and Chester Greenwood, who decided he’d had enough of the cold and that something had to be done about it. To chase the chill away, Chester created his “Greenwood Champion Ear Protectors,” which were made of beaver fur on the outside of the earpiece, velvet on the ear-side, and a band of soft wire connecting the two pieces. He later refined the model to include a thicker band and spring hinges at either end to hold the fabric parts more snugly to the wearer’s head. His idea was patented March 13, 1877, and the rest is history.

Sleds and Toboggans
The word “toboggan” is a funny-sounding word that likely comes from the Mi’kmaq word for sled (tobâkun) or the Abenaki word for sled (udãbãgan). According to Canadian Icons, the French Canadians adapted the word sometime in the early 1800s to “tabaganne,” from which today’s “toboggan” evolved. While toboggans have been around longer than the Internet seems to know, they are thought to have originated in Northern Canada as the brainchild of the aboriginal groups living there. The Mi’kmaq or Micmac lived in what is now Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, a part of the Gaspé Peninsula, and eastern New Brunswick and the Abenaki inhabited parts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

Sleds as we know them today differ from toboggans in their steerability and the runners on the bottom of the sled, and are a much more recent invention. Samuel Leeds Allen, the inventor of the Flexible Flyer, patented his steerable sled August 13, 1889. You may have seen these kinds of sleds hanging up somewhere in your grandparents’ garage — the wooden sleds with metal runners, just like something out of an old fashioned winter scene. They may be a bit slow compared to newer sleds and toboggans, and they may be a little on the fragile side, but if you ever get the chance to ride one of these sleds, it sure is a treat.

Cough Drops
As fun as winter is, there comes a time for almost everyone where the weather gets to you and you find the cold to be both inside and out. You wake up, your throat hurts, then it turns into a tickle and eventually a cough. Fortunately, someone made cold and flu season a bit more bearable for us all, and that “someone” is James Smith, of Poughkeepsie, New York, and his two sons, William and Andrew. James Smith was the father of “cough candy,” which appeared in an advertisement in a local paper a few years after its invention, in 1852. His sons inherited the business after their father’s death, in 1866, and carried on the recipe, though there were many impersonators who tried to butt in on the profits. Eventually, they developed a distinct package that became one of the first factory-filled products in history.

Facial Tissues
Before we had the wonders that are disposable facial tissues, people used handkerchiefs, which, I imagine, when someone came down with a case of the sniffles, wouldn’t last too long before you needed a new one. Now, of course, many people prefer the disposable option of the little bits of soft paper we call facial tissues. Who decided to create these little wonders, and how long did humanity have to wait for a trusty ol’ Kleenex? As it turns out, disposable facial tissues have been around for centuries, in Japan, where they are called washi. It wasn’t until 1924 that Kimberly-Clark introduced Kleenex, though their original intended use was for removing cold cream, rather than blowing one’s nose. Consumers, however, were having none of that cold cream business, and by 1926, somewhere in the ballpark of 60 percent of users were using the Kleenex for wiping their noses, while the other 40-ish percent used them for other tasks, such as napkins and toilet paper.

Hot Chocolate
Winter just isn’t complete without hot chocolate. It’s the perfect pick-me-up after a long afternoon of whizzing down hills on your toboggan or a brisk walk back from class. Although our favorite lady, Swiss Miss, didn’t join the party until the 1960s, hot chocolate has been around since 2,000 to 1,000 B.C.E., when the Olmec of Mesoamerica, in what is now southern Mexico. Their practice for making the chocolate beverage they called “xocolātl” was to grind cacao beans into a paste, mix it with water, and pour it between bowls to make it frothy. The drink gave sustenance and provided a pick-me-up, leading the Olmec to believe that the drink possessed mystical qualities. From the Olmec, the drink was passed to the Maya and the Aztecs. When Cortes conquered the Aztecs and their chocolatey drink, he brought it back to Spain, where it spread throughout the rest of the world.


And the rest, my friends, is history. Happy winter!