Accessing Academic and Career Services from Home

Being away from campus doesn’t mean going without academic and career services. Over the past few weeks, Siena’s various resource offices have been working to develop new ways of aiding students remotely. These campus resources have made accessing support services easy for students to do from the comfort of their homes. 

The Writing Center

The Writing Center, a safe haven for when you need help composing an essay or creating citations, is now online! In place of in-person peer tutoring meetings, the center is now offering Zoom tutoring sessions. Zoom tutoring sessions can be with a professional or peer tutor and can be scheduled for a 60-minute time slot. After making your tutoring appointment with the Writing Center, your tutor will send you an email with further information. As we approach the due dates for final papers, make sure to schedule your tutoring appointment to hand in your best work!

SASE Tutoring Services

While group tutoring sessions have been canceled for the semester, individual tutoring with a tutor from the SASE office is now available through GoBoard. GoBoard acts as a free online tool that combines video conferencing with an interactive canvas, designed to help students collaborate one-on-one. Following your tutoring appointment, you will receive a document outlining all of the material shared on the screen throughout the session to keep as part of your notes! Questions regarding virtual tutoring services should be directed to tutoring@siena.edu

CEPD and Internship Programs Offices

Continue your career development journey with virtual counseling appointments through the CEPD and Internship Programs offices. To accommodate students from home, the offices are offering individual counseling appointments via phone calls, email, Google Chat or Video. The Office of Internship Programs even created a how-to video on requesting counseling appointments. Students are still able to receive assistance in their job search, creating their resume, and filling out internship applications. Even Mock Interviews are still available, for those looking to brush up on their skills, through Career Saint’s Interview Simulator tool. Be sure to visit Career Saint to access these virtual resources and email careermail@siena.edu for more information. 

During these strange times, we could all use a little support. So utilize these helpful academic and career services from the comfort of your home. Make sure to check in next week for another new blog post! In the meantime, follow our FacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedIn pages to stay up-to-date on all things Siena liberal arts. Stay well, Saints!

A Beginner’s Guide to Online Courses

As we wrap up our second week of distance learning, let’s do a quick self-check in: How are you handling the transition into an online course load? Do you find it hard to focus? Are you struggling to keep track of assignments without formal class meetings? Is having more free time actually making it more difficult to complete work on time? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of those questions, please know that you are not alone. Making the switch from in-person to online learning can certainly be challenging, especially if you have never taken an online class before. Here are a few easy ways to successfully manage your new online course load:

Create a NEW Schedule 

Maintaining a schedule is key for many students in their on-campus academic success. Of course, continuing with some aspects of your on-campus schedule, like sleeping times, can be helpful during this transition. However, it is important to realize that remote instruction requires students to design their schedules much more independently than in-person learning. If your classes no longer have designated meeting times, you now have to create time slots to learn the material you usually would learn in class. Try using this Free College Schedule Maker to design a new schedule that not only sets-aside time to complete assignments and study, but to also participate in discussion boards, watch virtual lectures, etc.

Recreate your Study Space

I know it can feel nearly impossible to focus on school work from home after living on campus. With that being said, try to think of the study environment you usually found yourself in at school. Was it quiet or did you enjoy background noise? Could you focus at a table on the main floor of the library or did you prefer working from your dorm room? Did you usually have a friend sitting with you or did you find yourself distracted when friends did stop by? Compile the characteristics of your favorite study spot and recreate it, to the best of your ability, at home. Depending on what works for you, this could include having a friend study with you via Skype or turning your dining room table into a make-shift workspace. The key here is to make sure that you are comfortable and feel confident in your ability to focus wherever you are studying. 

Keep in Touch with Professors

Without seeing them multiple times a week, it can be easy to fall out of touch with your professors. Not to mention, as the layout of your courses have been adjusted for remote instruction, it makes sense that you may have questions about your courses moving forward. If they have not already expressed it, email your professors and ask what is the most convenient way to contact them with any concerns you have. Your professors are your allies in this transition, so do not hesitate to reach out. 

While I hope these tips were useful, it is understandable if your academics are not your top priority during this crisis. Many of Siena’s support offices, like the Counseling Center, are now virtually available for students at this time. For more information on Siena’s response to the spread of COVID-19 and more information on remote learning, please visit the Siena Coronavirus Update page. Stay well, Saints. 

3 Reasons to LOVE Liberal Arts

Love is in the air, Saints! With Valentine’s Day approaching, let’s share some appreciation for our liberal arts studies. Here are 3 reasons to LOVE being a liberal arts student: 

1. The Emphasis on Humanity

In studying liberal arts, students are faced with issues regarding the human experience. Whether it be reading moral arguments in philosophy or reviewing the ethical treatment of participants in psychological research, our work consistently emphasizes the importance of humanity. To be a liberal arts student entails approaching problems with the improvement of the lives of everyday people in mind. Our inquiries, discussions, and research regarding human experiences are crucial in the betterment of the greater good. 

2. Strengthening the Most In-Demand Skills

According to Linkedin’s list of Skills Companies Need Most in 2020, the top soft skills employers want to see in new hires are creativity, persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, and emotional intelligence. Even if students do not realize it, we are constantly improving on all of these desirable skills through our coursework. Persuasion abilities shine through when political science students pose arguments in papers and copious amounts of creativity are put into every showcase, performance, and musical production that comes out of the creative arts department. Education students know how to quickly adapt to new classroom environments in their field placements while those studying communications learn how to collaborate effectively to accurately report on current events. Emotional intelligence is a staple of sociology and social work classes as students master reading and reacting to social situations. What’s not to love about gaining some of the most employable skills while also studying your passion?

3. Provides Room to Explore Interests and Career Paths

I have switched majors, traded minors, and even transferred schools. I have never been the type of person that has a clear academic or career path. It has been a frustrating journey, but being a liberal arts student has provided me the opportunity to explore my interests thoroughly. Liberal arts has allowed me to combine everything that intrigues me while working towards my degree. Looking to the future, having my B.A will help me explore multiple different career options as well. If you are a person that takes interest in many areas of study, you probably love (or will love) the freedom to grow that a liberal arts education provides. 

What do you love about your liberal arts program? Our SOLA Instagram (@sienaliberalarts) followers weighed in on the topic as well! When asked what they loved most about their field of study they responded…

  • @jordanglazier12 (economics major) : “The econ department at Siena is second to none and I’m confident that majoring in economics will open many doors and prepare me well for the workforce and/or grad school.”
  • @kaiti.hope (creative arts major with minors in English, psychology, and film studies: “I love how, with the Creative Arts major, I was able to tailor it to what I’m really interested in.”
  • @diannaapro (social work major with a pre-law certificate): “My favorite part of my field of study is that all of my professors are passionate and encourage us students to be our best!”

The day-to-day coursework can be stressful, but remember, there are so many reasons to love your liberal arts education. Share some liberal arts love and have a happy Valentine’s Day, Saints!

Spring 2020 Career Fair: Let’s Prep!

We are only three weeks out from Siena’s Spring 2020 Career, Internship, and Graduate School Fair. Whether you are a first-year student exploring career options, a sophomore or junior hoping to land an internship, or a senior applying to jobs and grad school, get excited for all of the opportunities the fair has to offer! If you are at all nervous about attending, check out these pre-career fair events. These events are designed to help diminish any nerves and to get you career fair ready.

Before you do anything else, let’s register! Don’t worry, it only takes a minute. Log into Career Saint, click on the “Events” tab located on the left-hand side of the screen and select “Spring Career Fair”. Proceed by clicking on “ 17th Annual Spring Career, Internship & Graduate School Fair 2020” and then hit “RSVP”. Now you are good to go! If you forget to register by the deadline, Wednesday, Feb. 19th, don’t worry! You can still partake as a walk-in. Ok, now onto the pre-fair prep events. 

Resume Critique 

Have your resume critiqued by professionals before handing it out to potential employers! On Feb. 19th from 12-2 pm, the Foy Hall Lobby is the spot to gain outside perspective on your current resume. The Resume Critique Hour also gives students the opportunity to make a good first impression with employers before the career fair even begins. If you can’t make it to the Resume Critique Hour, be sure to check out the CEPD’s office’s weekly drop-in schedule so that you can get your resume reviewed in time for the fair!

Dress for Success

As an underclassman, I did not own a single article of clothing that would pass as business professional attire. I didn’t even know what a business professional outfit really looked like. If you can at all relate, attend the Dress for Success Fashion Show on Feb. 19th at 9 pm in the SSU conference room. At the show, watch students and faculty model business-appropriate attire and get inspiration for your own career fair look. Can’t attend the fashion show? Check out this Siena Her Campus article where Emily Roehl ‘15 provides some helpful tips on how to dress to impress employers. 

Stand Out!

Stand out from your peers by brushing up on your career search knowledge on Feb. 24th in the Standish Library, room L26. During free period, employers will be present to provide resume, job search, and general professional advice that has helped them in their own careers. Not only will you improve your own professional abilities, but this event also serves as a great way to become more comfortable speaking with business professionals.

In addition to attending these events, don’t forget to check out the official Spring 2020 Career, Internship, and Graduate School Fair list of attending organizations prior to the fair. The career fair is on Wednesday, February 26th from 12 pm-4 pm in the MAC and after polishing up on your professional skills at the prep-events, you will be ready to meet your future employer. We hope to see you there, Saints! 

Developing Your Career Over Winter Break

Students have approximately five weeks away from Siena coming up. Yes, that means it will be a month of having to open doors for ourselves. 

I cherish my time off from coursework. After losing a decent amount of sleep throughout the semester, I make sure to catch up on all of my rest during the first week of winter break. However, after sleeping for a week straight, I am ready to do everything that I don’t have time for while classes are in session.

With little time to do so during the semester, here are a few ways you can develop your career over winter break:

1. Don’t 

I was not joking about sleeping for a week straight. Students spend 15 weeks each semester working diligently to balance courses, jobs, internships, clubs, organizations, sports teams, etc. We NEED to take time to relax on break. Get enough rest, spend time with loved ones, and do whatever else it is that makes you feel at ease. If you want to work on developing your future, you need to first take care of yourself in the present.

2. Volunteer 

Organizations are always looking for new volunteers, especially around the holidays. Volunteering can serve as a way to give back to a community or to help the less fortunate. In the process, volunteering can also help you develop skills that are often sought after by employers. Many volunteer positions include collaborating with a team, managing limited time and resources, and communicating effectively to complete a task. Helping out at a local organization this break can help you support those in need while gaining valuable skills and building up your resume in the process.

3. Create or Update your Resume 

If you can before break, make an appointment with the Career Education and Professional Development (CEPD) office on CareerSaint. Whether you are making your first resume or just looking to update your existing one, the CEPD office can help! You can take the notes from your appointment home with you and implement them into your resume during break. If you are unable to make an appointment, use the CEPD’s resume section in the 2019-2020 Career Guide as a template for improving your resume from home.

4. Apply for Spring and Summer Internships

One of the most important aspects of preparing yourself for a career is having internships. Internships are a great way to network, learn how to navigate a specific work environment, and to figure out if the career path you are on is right for you. Login into CareerSaint to see what recent postings there are for upcoming positions that spark your interest. Applying for internships can be a little time consuming, depending on the company. Some employers require your resume, a cover letter, a writing sample, a separate application, and more to apply. Completing internship applications during break is a great way to plan for your future career without having the stress of coursework distracting you. Visit the Internship Programs page to learn more about applying for internships.

5. Search for or Apply to Graduate Schools

If you are considering continuing your education, use winter break as a way to get ahead and to get organized! If you are still on the fence about going on to graduate studies, check LinkedIn to see the education level of individuals currently holding the job you want. If you are sure you want to go to grad school, but not sure which school is best for you, try using Peterson’s or The Princeton Review to compare programs! If you are a senior like myself, this break will serve as a time to finally send out applications if you haven’t already. All grad programs are different and can require different materials for applicants to provide. A spreadsheet can serve as a helpful tool to organize what each application requires. 

After you have recovered from the demands of the semester, be productive this winter break. You will thank yourself in the future for taking the time to put work into your career goals. Above all else, remember to take care of yourself first this break, Saints!

Ms. Magazine Publishes Article by McKenna Donegan ’21

McKenna Donegan, a junior Political Science major and Pre-Law certificate student, recently had an article she wrote featured in Ms. Magazine. Her piece “Ranked Choice Voting Would Help Women Candidates in New York City- and Across the Country” delves into the research-based impacts that a ranked-choice vote election could have for candidates. Through her current participation in American University’s Washington Semester Program as an intern for RepresentWomen, McKenna has been researching the structural reform. 

RepresentWomen is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research hub that works to increase women’s representation in elected office and advocates for systemic reforms to the recruitment process, voting systems, and legislative practices. Since September, McKenna has been in Washington D.C interning and familiarizing herself with past research that the advocacy group has produced. “On Monday, November 4th, I was asked by my supervisor Courtney Lamendola and RepresentWomen Executive Director Cynthia Richie Terrell to write a short article about ranked-choice voting and how it helps women candidates, because the next day, New York City was voting on whether or not to adopt the measure” McKenna explained. 

With only a day before NYC voters would start arriving at the polls, McKenna quickly got to work. After leaving her internship that day, McKenna received an email from her supervisor stating that she thought the article was great and that she wanted to send it in to Ms. Magazine for publication. On November 5th, the same day that 73% of NYC voters said “Yes” to bringing ranked-choice voting to various elections, McKenna’s article was published. 

McKenna shared that what helped her most in composing her piece was a study done by RepresentWomen in 2016 that focused on women and people of color running for office in the California Bay Area after implementing ranked-choice voting. “This study was very helpful when I was writing the article because it showed that after the implementation of RCV, the California Bay Area saw an increase in the number of women and people of color running and winning local elective office.” In her article, McKenna further explains this shift, writing that “…the percentage of candidates of color for local elective office increased by 5 percentage points after the implementation of ranked-choice voting. To put this into perspective, neighboring cities that had not implemented RCV only saw a 0.3 percent increase in the number of candidates of color who ran for local elected office.” 

In reference to the publication of her piece and her research internship, McKenna expressed that “It was a great experience and one that I would have never had if it weren’t for the (American University’s) Washington Semester Program.” McKenna’s full article in Ms. Magazine can be found here. Congratulations on this awesome accomplishment, McKenna! 

Recovering from Schedule-Overload

To say that I was overly ambitious entering senior year is an understatement. I’m no stranger to a jam-packed schedule, so I figured the final stretch of undergrad would be fairly manageable. I was excited to be taking on leadership roles in a few clubs, working nearly full-time hours, and having a 15 credit course load. It felt good reciting my schedule to friends and family, completely proud of myself for taking so much on.

Like many other students, I identify with being an overachiever and take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way. Unfortunately, also like many of my peers, I was quickly introduced to my limits as the semester unfolded. I ended up feeling trapped in my schedule and was buried in the workload I was so proud to be taking on just a few weeks prior.

Digging your way out of the rubble that comes after an overloaded-schedule-meltdown is no easy task. You have to challenge yourself and most likely have to step outside of your comfort zone. Even though the recovery might be painful, the reward of less stress and more time to reflect is worth it. Here are steps to bouncing back after taking on too much in the beginning of the school year. 

Step 1: Sort out what matters the most 

Go through your schedule and determine what matters the most to you. Ranking the importance of each commitment might be helpful in this process. Question your motives along the way. Do you still find being part of that club rewarding? Has picking up extra shifts at work really been worth losing sleep? Did you give yourself any time during the week to attend office hours or visit the Writing Center for academic support? Before you can start cutting commitments off, it is crucial to think through why you are doing what you’re doing. Determine what actually is or isn’t worth a slot in your schedule. 

Step 2: Cut off what is least important

After prioritizing, it is time to let go of what no longer holds high enough importance in your schedule. For myself, this was easily the most challenging part of the process. The thought of letting down, friends, co-workers, or advisors terrified me. What’s important to remember here is that stretching yourself too thin hurts both yourself and the people counting on you. By cutting ties with a few commitments, you will be better able to manage the ones you deemed as most important. So type that email, explain that this is what is best for you right now, hit send, and take a breath. The worst part of schedule clean-up is over. 

Step 3: Stay committed to less commitments

Having free time is a necessary aspect of academic success and overall well-being for college students. With this in mind, that doesn’t mean I am any less of a serial schedule-filler than I was before. I needed to declutter my days, but every now and then I am tempted to fill my open time slots with new opportunities as they present themselves. For myself and anyone else in this position, the key is to stay focused on the priorities back in step one. Stay committed to your new core schedule. Instead of only giving a little bit of your energy to many commitments, give your all to your most valued few. 

As college students, it will always be tempting to load up our schedules to maximum capacity. How could we not want to? There are so many awesome opportunities everywhere we turn on campus. As we settle into midterm season, there is no better time to do some schedule decluttering.

In addition to these steps, utilizing on-campus resources can also beneficial in sorting out your commitments. Be sure to check in with the Career Center, Counseling Center, or School of Liberal Arts Office for additional advice in sorting out your workload. And most importantly, always remember to schedule time to take care of yourself first, Saints!

Welcome Home, Class of 2023!

Around this time four years ago, I remained undecided about where I wanted to go to college. I had applied to multiple schools but still felt uncertain about what I wanted to do with my undergraduate education, how far I would want to live away from home, and what type of college felt “right” for me. The universal “College Decision Day,” May 1st, kept creeping closer, and I felt the pressure of the decision weighing down on me.

My parents could tell I was struggling with the choice, so one day after school, we drove out to Albany to drive through some of the colleges in the area to help me visualize what living there would be like. We visited UAlbany and the College of St. Rose, but neither felt right; it wasn’t even a feeling I could put my finger on about why they were wrong. It wasn’t until we pulled onto Siena’s campus that I found somewhere I thought could feel like home. As we got out of the car and walked around campus, it became a place where I could visualize myself spending four years, making friends, growing, and I sent in my deposit to Siena shortly after returning home from that trip.

Now, four years later, I’m shopping for a graduation dress, studying for my last final exams, and preparing to leave behind the place that I have come to call “home.” I’m getting ready to say all those hard goodbyes  to roommates, to friends I met during freshman orientation, to the faculty who have pushed me to achieve my academic best.  I used to think it sounded cliche when other people would refer to their college as a “home”; it took me time to see it that way, but now that I think of Siena as my home away from home, it makes it even harder to leave. I’m excited to embrace the next chapter of my life with open arms, but I will miss Siena and the meaningful relationships I have made here.

The best piece of advice I can give any incoming freshmen is to embrace every aspect of the college experience. I remember feeling everything in-between scared and excited when I showed up for move-in day back in 2015. Sometimes college won’t feel fun – it’s a lot of hard work and sometimes you’ll fail test or sleep through your alarm or miss an assignment. Sometimes you’ll get homesick; I got homesick even through my senior year. But these things happen; they’re parts of the college experience. With these not-so-positive experiences come great ones — you’ll meet other students that you quickly become friends with. You’ll get to celebrate at the end of the semester with SienaFest, enjoy sunny afternoons on the quad, and feel on top of the world when you ace the test you were sure you’d fail. You’ll foster great relationships with your professors and they will push you to your best. You’ll find a club that you love. And little by little, these small great moments will stack on top of each other until you start calling Siena “home” without even realizing it. 

As a graduating senior, I would like to extend the warmest of welcomes to the Class of 2023 — welcome home! Siena is lucky to have you, and I hope you enjoy every moment of your four years here.

Practicing Email Etiquette

In the age of social media, the lines between professional and informal, colloquial writing are blurred, which makes writing professional emails a worrisome topic for some students. With the semester winding down, you likely have some pressing, last-minute questions about a final exam, research paper, or project, requiring you to send an email to your professor. At this point in the year, you might have a great relationship with your professor from engaging with them in class or speaking with them during office hours. On the other hand, you might feel like you haven’t fostered a good relationship with them over the course of the semester. I never really sent emails to my teachers in high school, so I was largely unfamiliar with how to write formal emails when I came to college. Whatever the case, it’s important to know how to best represent yourself via emails not only in an academic setting but in the professional world.

1. Pay attention to grammar, punctuation, and capitalization. This may seem like an obvious one, but adhering to the conventions of standard English is important. You can even install a free service like Grammarly, which proofreads your emails for you and even makes suggestions for improvement. Proofreading your own emails can also help you catch a lot of these mistakes, so make sure you look it over before pressing “send.”

2. Include a salutation and signature. While emailing, be sure to include a greeting at the top of the email – “Hi [insert name here],” “Good morning [insert name here].” This is a friendly way to begin your email and also establishes that you view your relationship with your professor as a respectable, professional one. Make sure you spell your professor’s name correctly. At the end, include a signature or sign-off – “Best, [name],” “Sincerely, [name],” etc.

3. Make the subject line clear and informativeInstead of emailing your professor something vague (“help!”), make your subject line clear. If you have a question about the final exam, something like “Final Exam Question” will suffice. Including an efficient subject line will help your professor answer your question.

4. Keep your email informative. Don’t use your email as the chance to rant. Professors do not want to read paragraphs on paragraphs of how you’re struggling with your semester, failing all your classes, or just broke up with your significant other. Your email should not only be professional but also relevant to the concern you need to address – choose your words wisely.

5. Determine if your question would be better addressed during office hours. Professors have office hours for a reason. If your question concerns a personal problem or would require a lengthy response, it might be best to address it during office hours instead of over email. I can’t speak for all professors, but some may be more likely to help you if you make the effort to visit them during office hours and talk to them face-to-face.

6. Ask yourself – is this something I can look up on my own? This is arguably the most important tip on the list. As a college student, you should be resourceful, and your professor will often provide you with the resources you need to succeed – including the syllabus. Your syllabus should have information on test/assignment dates, a breakdown of the grading scale, and professor’s office hours. Be sure to check these resources before reaching out to your professor, as your question might be one you can easily answer on your own.

Crafting professional emails is an important skill that is relevant to both your academic and professional career, so be sure to learn patterns of proper email etiquette.

39 Days and Counting

Remember when we were graduating high school and we were bombarded with the dreaded question:  “So, what do you plan to do when you graduate?” It felt like everyone asked this same question – your guidance counselor, the uncle you see twice a year for holidays, the cashier at the grocery store – and they only asked out of interest, but it never seemed to end.

And now it’s almost here; graduation day is only 39 days away. So here comes the question again, only this time it feels harder to answer. There’s nothing wrong with someone being interested in your future, but it can feel frustrating to not have a certain response, especially when there are so many choices to make following college graduation.

Post-grad opportunities are endless. I know friends who are gearing up to move across the world to China, or who plan to travel and live off their savings for a year. I also know friends who just put in their deposits for law or graduate school. I know peers who already have a job lined up for the indefinite future. And I know people who aren’t sure, who hope to take a stab at the job market, work on paying off their student loans, just see what life after college is like. 

There is no wrong choice to make for your future upon graduating. Right now, it might seem like everyone has their plans together, that they know exactly what they’re doing – but they don’t. It’s okay to be uncertain and even feel scared about what will happen after you walk across that stage, move your tassel to the left, and become a Siena College alumni.

It’s okay not to have a definite answer to, “So, what do you plan to do when you graduate?” These choices don’t always happen overnight, and it’s important to remember, as we edge closer to graduation day, to enjoy the time we have left at Siena.