11 Things We Wish We Could Change About Shippensburg University

I’m not saying these things make Shippensburg University a less desirable school to go to, but if we had the chance to implement some change, the next 11 things would definitely make that list.

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Where is the suggestion box for campus updates?

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on April 24, 2017.

Everyone has a million great things to say about their college because if you don’t love it, why are you here? However, there’s always room for improvement. I’m not saying these things make Shippensburg University a less desirable school to go to, but if we had the chance to implement some change, the next 11 things would definitely make that list.

1. The heavy doors.

Even the doors in the elementary school on campus weigh a ton! Also, what’s with the library doors? How come they’re like a foot wide and only open halfway?

2. The weird stairs by Shippen.

Implement a ramp. Last year, they played an April Fool’s joke on us and said they were going to replace the ridiculously wide stairs with a moving sidewalk, and we were all seriously bummed that they were kidding.

3. That class that could be from 3:30-4:45 p.m.

The 3:30 slot is when professors have meetings, clubs have socials, and no one wants to be in class. Eradicate this class time.

4. Kriner’s limited hours.

If we wanted to eat at Reisner, we would choose Reisner. Kriner can’t really be the finer diner if they’re closed on weekends.

5. The random-roommate system.

We fill out those preferences on the housing portal, but where do they go? Random-roommate has seriously ruined some people’s living situations. It wouldn’t take much effort to create a more refined system. Make us fill out a survey or something!

6. “No string lights in the suites.”

The key to the ultimate dorm room is string lights. Listen, I know it’s a fire hazard, but I’ve never had to evacuate a building due to string lights. It’s most microwave and smoking-related incidents. Let us have the lights!

7. Desire to Learn or Brightspace or whatever it’s called now.

First of all, when I go to d2l.ship.edu, why does it ask if I want to log into Ship or Millersville? I’m at a Shippensburg web address. Second, d2l mobile is the worst application to have ever existed. Finally, when it crashes, professors and students lose everything; it’s time to switch up the program.

8. The fact that you need a key to access the elevator in DHC.

The floors aren’t even equal! Hiking up to the third floor is a sin. We should have an open elevator like Grove does.

9. Limited food options in the CUB.

Not that we don’t totally love the fast food thing in the CUB food court, but some more options would be cool. More snacks, like soft pretzels or churros, anything small that we could meal, would be much appreciated.

10. The fact that we can’t meal chips or bottled soft drinks.

If you can make a deal to meal Papa John’s…why can’t you make a deal with Pepsi to help bundle some of that stuff?

11. The inconsistency of room numbers in Old Main.

Look, if we have to go anywhere in Old Main, you better hope we don’t get lost while we’re there for official business. Why can’t we keep all the evens and odds on the same sides?

Don’t Go To Shippensburg University For A College Education

Attend Shippensburg for the Raider Bowls on Wednesdays, the tacos on Tuesdays and the multicultural nights at Reisner.

Go for the whole experience.

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on January 23, 2017.

On paper, Shippensburg University looks like any other state school. There are highly commended professors and even more highly commended academics. You could spend hours looking at the awards the school has received for its facilities, its residence halls and its dining halls. While those appreciations are lovely and wonderful to look at, they shouldn’t be the reason you attend the school. Don’t attend Shippensburg University for the award-winning college education they have to offer you. Instead, attend Ship for a unique college experience you won’t find anywhere else.

While you’re attempting to embark on the long and confusing road that choosing a university is, remember to look at more than what they market to you. You’ll have a great meal at every school you visit, simply because of your tour. You’ll see a clean campus and beautiful architecture. You’ll also see the award-winning perks that Shippensburg has to offer you. While I’m not encouraging you to overlook these amazing accommodations, make sure you look beyond them as well.

While you’re in the dining hall, pay attention to the dynamic that surrounds you. Pay attention to the way the students speak to and address one another. Especially notice how hard the food faculty work in order to ensure perfect service for you and others dining there.

While you’re roaming about campus, look closely at the students in classes. Notice how they take notes, how they listen and more importantly, how the professors project the academics at their students.

Take note of all the amazing opportunities there are lying in each academic building. Notice the fliers for internships, clubs, apartments, study abroad opportunities and future jobs. Stop at the tables in the CUB, or the Ceddia Union Building. Look at the ceiling and how many floors we have dedicated to different offices, different clubs and departments and different services.

While all of this may seem like a one-time experience, as you leave campus, smile at the students taking pictures by the Old Main fountain. Look back at the restaurants you won’t find anywhere else but our quaint little town.

Don’t attend Shippensburg University for the award-winning education. Attend Shippensburg University for the blaring student section during a football game, during which we cheer for both the team AND the band. Attend for the endless Ship puns that may annoy you at first, but will bring you pride and joy soon enough. Attend for the late-night french fry runs, the seasonal bingo games and the music playing in the amphitheater during the day. Attend to witness the diversity Ship has to offer in theater, in dance, in clubs, in Greek life and in athletics. See the unity each student embodies as students gather to support a local cause or a friend in need.

Attend Shippensburg for the Raider Bowls on Wednesdays, the tacos on Tuesdays and the multicultural nights at Reisner. Attend for the events you’ll only find being held by our clubs like the Homecoming Lip Sync, the spa days during finals or the surprise open-mic nights you’ll only stumble upon by chance. Come for the poetry slams, the cookie exchanges, the major-wide meetings where you know everyone in your department.

Come see the sunsets which are beautiful every day of the year. Come to feel the utmost relief after recognizing the water tower after getting lost in town. Come to experience the best wings you’ve ever tasted in town.

Commit to Shippensburg and you’ll experience all of this and so much more. Commit to becoming a Raider so that you can experience the best college experience possible. Join the red sea and see it roar like never before. Make a home out of Shippensburg and all of its amazing opportunities.

You can attend Shippensburg for its amazing academic qualifications, but know that you can get that piece of paper anywhere. Attend Shippensburg University to board the Ship and become a part of the crew. We hope to see you soon!

Your Worth Is Not Defined By Your Final Grades

You’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re feeling disoriented and out-of-place.

Your worth has never been measured in numbers. Why start now?

This article was originally published for The Odyssey on December 12, 2016.

Somehow the fall semester has flown past us and it is now time for finals season, once again. Tensions are high as we all finish up learning what we can in our classes and begin to cram. Stress is our new best friend, along with coffee, sleep and oh, don’t forget, anxiety. Remember that your worth is not measured in points. Your self-esteem should not be measured in letter grades. You are worth so much more than your GPA.

College is all about pushing yourself and challenging yourself. That does not mean you should push yourself to the ledge. Yes, the curriculum and the assignments are stressful and difficult. Yes, you will not get a healthy amount of sleep. Yes, even with prioritizing your work, finals week will provoke exhaustion that you never knew you had.

You’re stressed, you’re tired, you’re feeling disoriented and out-of-place. For as many calories you consume drinking coffee after coffee, try to equal that same amount in cups of water. Take naps, and showers. Please take a break from working so you don’t shut down.

Regardless of how you do on that paper, that exam or that presentation, you are worth so much more than your college GPA. You are not that number, letter, or pass/fail mark. You are not your effort, no matter how much or how little there is. You are not measured in papers, presentations or exams.

You are measured in love, in liveliness and in hope. You are measured in generosity, in positivity and in perseverance. No matter how you spend your time this finals week, know that no matter what, the sun will rise tomorrow. It will rise again the next day, and the next. Tomorrow is another day, and while your routine may blur time together, remember that this too shall pass.

If you find yourself in an environment that does not view your worth in this way, escape it. No one deserves to feel as though their life is measured by how well they do in college. College is not for everyone and that is totally OK. Someone once said, “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it’ll live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

You are not stupid, regardless of how you perform in college. Life has many paths for you, and if the sun doesn’t appear to be coming out on your end, seek another path. Know that you are invincible, that you will not stop until you find your calling and that you know yourself better than anyone else.

So, as we all embark on finals week, whether you’ve been here before, or this is your first, remember this: breathe. All you can give is your absolute very best. If that is not enough, so be it. You will not crash and burn if you do not pass a class this semester. You will not combust, you will not shut down, you will rise above it. You will get back on the horse. You will stand on your own two feet once more.

Your life, your dignity and your self-worth have never been measured in numbers. Why start now?

How To Survive That End-Of-Semester Slump

Skipping class to do work for another class is only really necessary if you have a major project or paper to finish.

We all struggle trying to get through the last few weeks.

This post was originally published for The Odyssey on November 14, 2016.

It is getting to be that time of the semester where we all feel like giving up. We struggle to get through the weeks; we spend our hours counting down the days until the weekend, so we can finally get some sleep. Many of us are coming down with colds which are mostly caused by stress. It is becoming more and more difficult to wake up to our alarms, go to class, and study for the exams that we wish would just end already. I know how hard it is to motivate yourself, but do not give up! Here are a few ways to survive this end-of-semester slump!

1. Nap whenever possible.

Some people say napping really is not an option for them, however, I think if you tire yourself out enough, you will find a way. Take that 30 minute power nap and nap on the weekends. Just do not skip class to nap and try not to nap in class.

2. Remember to eat.

When you do eat, try to eat something healthy. Shoveling junk food into your mouth and treating your body like a trashcan generally is not the way to keep energy.

3. Form study groups.

Talk to people you do not even know; ask them if they want to study with you. The only way you will survive this is if you do it together. Worst case scenario, you all go down with the same ship.

4. Keep going to class.

Do not skip. If you do, you will form an addiction. Skipping class to do work for another class is only really necessary if you have a major project or paper to finish. Do not let it turn into a habit.

5. Keep your head up.

Maintain a positive attitude, listen to all your favorite music, and take a break every once in a while. Take nice showers. Meditate. Do yoga. Watch an episode of Netflix every now and then (that does not mean every five minutes).

What I Wish Someone Had Told Me After Graduation

If you can survive four years of constant academic pressure, know and believe that you can survive four more years of anything.

“And now go, and make interesting mistakes, make amazing mistakes, make glorious and fantastic mistakes. Break rules. Leave the world more interesting for your being here.” – Neil Gaiman

This article was originally posted on The Odyssey on July 5, 2016.

Congratulations, you’ve made it through four years of school that pushed you to the edge and back more than once. You’ve made it through the heartache, the anxiety, the overwhelming pressure that your academics, your friendships and your relationships have caused you during those years. You’ve escaped the horror and panic of not knowing there was a test, not knowing how to do the homework, not knowing how you’re going to survive after graduation. The real world is kind of terrifying, and it doesn’t matter where you’re graduating from, reality is going to smack you in the face regardless. I wish that someone had told me just how things would turn out in the future. So here I am to pass what I’ve learned onto someone else.

People love to talk about your accomplishments. Your friends, parents, and family could spend an entire house party bragging about where you’ve traveled, how you achieved your grades, and who you’ve made an impact on. They will find the smallest victories to chat about with friends, co-workers, and sometimes even complete strangers. All that talk can chalk up a lot of pressure in someone. It can build expectations that you may not be ready to take on or ever fulfill. The first thing you need to know is that you control your future. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor thinks you’re going to cure cancer, or alternatively, if perhaps your mortal enemy believes that you’re going to cause the apocalypse. Your next step lies beneath your own feet. Trust yourself and only yourself to move forward. Know that you will make mistakes and maybe you’ll disappoint someone. Wouldn’t you rather disappoint someone following a dream of your choosing instead of making that same person proud while you’re unhappy?

That leads me to the next point, choose your own happiness. You are an adult now, and you may have been an adult for a while, but sometimes we all need a reminder. You have the freedom to make your own decisions, which can be both a blessing and a curse. This is not to say that you will not receive support and comfort when you need it; I’m sure your parents will be more than happy to wash a load of your laundry every once in a while. Know that you are in charge of your body, your well-being and your mental health. It does not matter how many restrictions your family places on you, now that you’ve graduated, you can make some decisions for yourself. You can choose to give up or survive. You can choose to wake up with a smile on your face. You can choose to relinquish all of your burdens, all of your hate, and all of your grudges. All of that sounds extremely overwhelming and very scary, but know that you are not alone. You are never alone, and there is always another hand reaching out at the same time yours is.

Know your worth. You are going to change so much after graduation that you might not even recognize yourself anymore. If you thought that you had changed during those four years, get ready for a new transition. Embrace change and be open. After graduation, there are going to be so many new ideas and challenges rolling your way, that you’re going to have to stay on top of everything just to keep up. Everything happens for a reason, even if you’re not entirely sure just what that reason is. Even if change seems to ruin everything, keep your head up and your eyes open. As one door closes, several others open. Remember that, and you’ll be OK.

You’ve just endured four years of complications, four years of obstacles, four years of ups and downs and merry-go-rounds, and you’re still here. Sometimes the going gets tough, and it seems easier to give up and start over. Sometimes it seems easier to give up forever. Fight for yourself. You may be so fortunate that you already have someone, or several someones fighting for you, fighting on your side. The most important thing to remember during this weird post-four-years-of-hell time period is that you have to look out for yourself. At the end of the day, some people stay, and some people leave, but the only person that has always fought for you is you. Fight for your survival, and fight for a better tomorrow. Don’t go down without a battle.

Finally, realize that time doesn’t stop for anyone, or for anything. Some will argue that each minute you waste on this planet being unproductive, is another minute you become closer to your demise, or your end. I think that’s totally depressing. As the former CEO of Twitter, Richard Costolo once said, “Don’t always worry what your next line is going to be.” Live in the present. Yes, you control your future and your happiness and your well-being, but don’t get caught up in all this future talk. Worrying about tomorrow before you even step foot into today can be seriously toxic to not only yourself but the people around you as well. Know all of the things listed above, but keep them in the back of your mind. You can’t predict the future, but there will always be consequences attributed to your actions.

You’ve already survived at least four years of school. If you can survive four years of constant academic pressure, know and believe that you can survive four more years of anything. If that seems entirely too overwhelming, take it down. You can definitely survive four months of anything, four days of anything, and at the very least, take it every four minutes. You’ve survived this long, and you can absolutely survive again, and you will survive again and again and again. I wish someone had warned me of how much everything would change, and how to battle that change because I was not as prepared as I thought I was. I truly believe that everyone can afford to be more prepared. I know even after I’ve experienced everything, I am still learning new things and will continue to learn as much as I possibly can.