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The Lodi Rampage

Teacher/Student College Connections

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Gia Manno

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Our seniors have committed to their respective colleges, and as they prepare for this next chapter in their lives, they are faced with many questions about life on their new campuses. Adjusting to a new home and lifestyle will not be easy to adapt to at first. The Lodi Rampage talked to teachers, and asked them to share some words of wisdom about their alma maters. We got the inside scoop, and top tips for students attending the same college that their teachers once did.

Ms.Policastro: Montclair State University

Q:Did you dorm at Montclair ? If you could relive your college experience again, would you rather dorm or commute? I did not dorm at Montclair State.  I loved how quick the ride was from Lodi to MSU.  When my brother was dorming at Ramapo, there were times I wished I had that experience but overall I would say I was happy with living home.

Q:Were you involved in clubs at  your college? I was not involved in any clubs, but being a Physical Education major, there were events and class activities outside of class that I had to attend where I made many friends.

Q:How did you keep up with your schoolwork? Was it as hectic as you expected? Living home I thought helped me focus on my school work rather than living on campus.  Depending on the semester, some classes were more difficult than others.  I was always creating lesson plans and presentations for class. I had to work extra hard in some classes because I found the material much harder and needed to spend extra time on it.

Q:What quick fast food area is best to eat on campus? The Redhawk diner was popular when I went to school as well as going to the student center where you were able to make your own sandwiches. I also went to the Starbucks a lot that was on campus. From what I hear, there are a lot more food options now after I gradated!

Q:What spot is the best area to study on campus? I used to go to the student center where they had this lounge for commuters.  It was filled with couches and chairs.  I would hang there and wait for my class, study and sometimes take a quick nap!

Q:What are some things that I should experience before I graduate from Montclair? Definitely attend an athletic event! They are much different then high school games.  Enjoy the campus and walk around on a nice day,  Attend a show at the theater.

Q:Why did YOU choose Montclair versus other schools? I chose Montclair because it was close to home and because it was well known for its Teachers Education Program.

Q:What was the one complaint about your college? I really hated the parking situation. My first year at MSU, I had to park at the parking garage that is off campus and take the shuttle to where my classes where and it was such a pain!

Q:What was your favorite class? And which professor stood out the most? One of my favorite classes that I will never forget was swimming.  I was assigned a student with special needs that was petrified to go in the water.  I had to create weekly lesson plans on how I would try and get them to be comfortable with the water and teach them to swim.  At the end of the semester they were jumping into the pool.

Q:How can you stand out in the college classroom? Participate, raise your hand, ask questions.

Q:Is it easy to get around campus? I thought it was.  Once you know where all the buildings are, you’ll know where to go and what is the quickest and easiest way to where your class is.

Q:Overall, what advice would you give for an incoming freshman students? To take college seriously or you’re wasting your money.  In college you don’t get multiple chances.  Do your homework, study and don’t miss class because you will fall behind.  Also, get involved and make friends.

Mr.Sudol: William Paterson University


 

Q:How did you keep up with your school work? Was it as hectic as you expected? Keeping up with my work in college required a lot of sacrifice of my social life. I worked 35 hours a week and had a very difficult work load. I had to choose between hanging out with friends and school and considering I was living on my own at 19 and was also paying for college I chose to put everything I had into my studies. It paid off and I’m grateful for the sacrifices I made.

Q:What quick fast food area is best to eat at on campus? I was into body building when I went to William Paterson so I ate a very healthy clean diet. I found a Trader Joe’s a few miles off Campus and made use of there pre-made grilled chicken salads and the variety of protein bars they carried. To this day Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places to food shop.

Q:What spot is the best area to study on campus? I would narrow down the best study spots on campus to the a quiet spot upstairs in the library, a sunny spot on a bench outside on a nice day or the driver’s seat of my car.

Q:Why did YOU choose William Paterson versus other schools? William Paterson appealed to me for several reasons. Most importantly it was we’ll known for its exercise science and physical education program.

Q:What is one complaint you have about your college? THE PARKING WAS AWFUL!!!! Bring an umbrella on a rainy day and give yourself an extra 15 minutes to walk to class if you have any classes between 9:30 and 3.

Q:What was your favorite class? And which professor stood out the most? One thing I learned about myself in college was that I actually enjoyed learning so I enjoyed many of my classes. One of my favorite courses was anatomy/physiology 1&2. I’d say it was the most difficult and time consuming class I took in college and my Professor, Dr. LeRoche was really tough and made us work very hard, but she earned my respect early on and I excelled in the course.  

Q:How can you stand out in the college classroom? ALWAYS SIT UP FRONT, ask lots of questions, build a report with professors, and manage your time wisely. Also GO TO YOUR CLASSES!!

Q:If you could change one thing about your college experience, what would it be? I would like to have experienced going away to school but I wouldn’t change anything about my experience.

Ms.Getrajdman: University of Delaware

Q: Did you dorm at the University of Delaware? If you could relive your college experience again, would you rather dorm or commute? Yes. I would choose the dorms every time. I think it’s important, where possible, for students to get the experience of living with people they don’t know.

Q: Were you involved in clubs at  your college? I was part of a club called Best Buddies my first year, which was similar to Interact. Lots of volunteering and spending time at nursing homes. I also played club and intramural volleyball.

Q:How did you keep up with your schoolwork? Was it as hectic as you expected? Fall semester freshman year was a really difficult adjustment for me. I wasn’t used to having to work to do well in school. I got my butt kicked fairly quickly and my mom threatened to make me come home, so I started using the campus tutoring center to get myself on track. Things got easier when I finally accepted that you can’t simply coast through your college classes, and that’s how I learned to manage my coursework.

Q:What quick fast food is best to eat on campus? Freddy’s Wings to Go. Great sandwiches and obviously wings. They also make stir fry bowls.

Q:What spot is the best area to study on campus? Most people choose Morris Library. Really pretty, plenty of private study rooms available, open 24 hours in the weeks leading up to finals, has a cafe with food, coffee, etc. if you need it.

Q:What are some things that I should experience before I graduate from University of Delaware? Duck Donuts. Custom donuts with whatever toppings/flavors you want. I could cry knowing that it’s there and I am not.

Q:Why did YOU choose University of Delaware versus other schools? The campus is gorgeous and the English program is really strong. They also gave me a solid scholarship. Money is important.

Q:What was the one complaint about your college? It’s getting really popular, so things are started to get a little crowded. Graduating class sizes have pretty much doubled since I was there.

Q:What was your favorite class? And which professor stood out the most? A sociology course called Social Deviance. It was about why people deviate from “normal” patterns of behavior. For example, what motivates crime and what prompts suicide/homicide. It was so fascinating.

Q:How can you stand out in the college classroom? Participate during discussions and attend your professors’ office hours.

Q:If you could change one thing about your college experience, what would you change? I wish I had studied abroad. It would have put me behind for graduating on time because no program really fit my major, but I wonder a lot if maybe I should have just sucked it up and done it anyway.

Q:What is a typical day at University of Delaware? Wake up, walk to Newark Deli and Bagel to get the closest thing to NY/NJ bagels, go to class and try to take notes as quickly as your professor is speaking (college professors wait for no one), eat a small lunch at any of the numerous food options nearby, attend your afternoon classes if you’re wildly unfortunate or start getting ready for work (part time jobs are smart and flexible with class hours!), go home, figure out whatever homework assignments are a priority and do them, go out for dinner or be adventurous and cook, then pass out on your couch. Standard life. Sometime stressful, but I miss it terribly.
**Side note: the town is spelled exactly like Newark, NJ, but it’s pronounced New-Ark and Delawareans get REALLY mad if you mess it up.)

Q:Is it easy to get around campus? Yes. The campus is considered medium-large, so you can walk from one end to the other in probably about a half hour. If you’re too lazy for that, there are consistent buses.

Q:What makes University of Delaware students unique? There is a solid mix of people from the northern and southern states which creates a lot of diversity on campus, and we have a large population of international students.

Q:Overall, what advice would you give for an incoming freshman students? Go to class, stay humble. You don’t know nearly as much as you think you do about academics (or life in general), so be ready to learn.

Mrs.Orosz: Rutgers University

Q: Did you dorm at Rutgers-Newark? If you could relive your college experience again, would you rather dorm or commute? I actually commuted my first year at Rutgers and then lived in a dorm the following year. While I loved living on campus, it is definitely more expensive to do so.  I recommend students take all factors into consideration when making this decision. Living on campus can be a wonderful experience but you have to be sure you will not incur a great amount of debt by doing so especially if commuting is a possibility.

Q:Were you involved in clubs at  your college? Yes, I was a Peer Mediator, Member of the Spanish Club, and I played softball.  I highly recommend getting involved in college. It’s a great way to meet people and explore different interests outside of an academic setting.

Q:How did you keep up with your schoolwork? Was it as hectic as you expected? I tried my best to stay very organized and not procrastinate.  I think that is key.  Keeping up with work can be hectic if you don’t have an organization method in place.  

Q:What quick fast food is best to eat on campus? We ate at a place called Danny’s for breakfast that had the best taylor ham, egg and cheese sandwiches.  I’m not sure if it’s even there anymore!

Q:What spot is the best area to study on campus? Libraries and computer labs have the least distractions.

Q:Why did YOU choose  Rutgers-Newark versus other schools?  Rutgers-Newark has a great reputation and a diverse population. I also had the opportunity to play softball there which was very important to me at the time.

Q:How can you stand out in the college classroom?  Participation in class is key!  Also, seeing your professor during office hours shows initiative and dedication.

Q:Is it easy to get around campus?  Rutgers-Newark is very small so getting around is very easy.

Q:Overall, what advice would you give for an incoming freshman students?  Make the most of your experience by getting involved early and taking advantage of all opportunities afforded to you. The time goes by fast!

Mrs.Garcia: TCNJ

Q: Did you dorm at TCNJ? If you could relive your college experience again, would you rather dorm or commute? Yes! I lived in the freshmen and sophomore dorms my first 2 years and then moved off campus for the last 2 years since housing was not guaranteed to upperclassmen at the time. If I could relive my undergrad. experience, I would absolutely dorm again. It was such a huge learning experience and I’ve made lifelong friends from it.

Q: Were you involved in clubs at  your college? I was involved in the College Democrats Club and Intramural Basketball. I was also in a sorority for a year but felt it wasn’t a great fit for me and eventually left. If I had to do it over, I would be more involved in clubs since I don’t think I really took advantage of what was available.

Q: How did you keep up with your schoolwork? Was it as hectic as you expected? It was definitely as hectic as I had expected. It takes a bit to adjust to the different teaching styles of your professors and to manage your time appropriately. I tried to start projects with a few weeks left before the deadline so that I wasn’t pulling all nighters for each assignment. My binders for each class were also very organized.

Q: What quick fast food area is best to eat on campus? I always liked the cafeteria in the basement of the freshmen dorms, Travers and Wolfe. When the weather was bad, all you had to do was take the stairs or elevator down and grab food without venturing outside. I could go in my pajamas if I wanted. But now I know that TCNJ has added a lot of new restaurants on campus like a Mexican grill and a Red Mango frozen yogurt place. A lot has changed!

Q: What spot is the best area to study on campus? Honestly, I always studied in my dorm and in later years, my own houses that I rented with my roommates. I was never a student who spent a lot of time studying in the library or another building.  I always preferred to study either at my desk or in bed. Comfort was key! But as a psychology major, we did have a nice, updated building and it had some great study nooks for studying and meeting for group projects in the lobby area. I just preferred staying in my room!

Q: What are some things that I should experience before I graduate from TCNJ? Bond with the students on your freshman floor (if you dorm)! It’s really a once in a lifetime opportunity to live, hang out with and potentially form a very tight knit community. I loved living on a floor with maybe 30 + people. We all left our doors open throughout the day (when we were in our rooms) so that we could drop by each other’s dorms and hang out when we weren’t studying or in class. I miss that experience more than any other that I had during my time in college. Also, check out the museum and zoo in Philly since it’s about a half hour away and Princeton University is really beautiful, too!

Q: Why did YOU choose TCNJ versus other schools? I wanted to go to a small college, well known for its academic programs and where I wouldn’t feel overlooked or get lost in the shuffle. It’s about an hour and 20 minutes from Lodi, so it was far enough away to dorm and experience more independence but close enough to go home when I wanted.

Q: What was the one complaint about your college? At the time, it would’ve been that you had to leave campus a lot  to experience better restaurants and other activities but they’ve vastly improved that with the addition of Campus Town which has added a Barnes and Noble bookstore, new restaurants serving sushi, Mexican  and Italian. There’s a few more wifi cafes and a Panera, too. They’ve also added a nail salon as well as a Spencer’s Savings Bank. It’s just made life much more convenient and enjoyable for both residents and commuters.

Q: What was your favorite class? And which professor stood out the most? Psychology of Women was so interesting and empowering to me and my professor for that class, Dr. Karen Howe, who’s since retired, was just so bright, friendly and engaging. She attended Harvard University decades ago when it was still separated by sex and her personal experiences with sexism and the feminist movement, in general, were very eye opening and very relevant to the course’s objectives.  I had her for Social Psychology as well and we kept in touch after I graduated. She even wrote me a letter of recommendation for graduate school. She was fascinating and just a wonderful, inspiring human being.

Q: How can you stand out in the college classroom? Be engaging! Visit your professors during their office visitation hours and establish strong (but genuine!) relationships when you can. It is so helpful to form a rapport with your professors so they get to know you a bit and understand how much you care about your education and are willing to reach out to the whether you need help improving or just want to get their feedback about something.

Q: If you could change one thing about your college experience, what would you change? I would’ve played basketball. I regret not sticking with it bc I loved the sport. I just felt a bit homesick at first and overwhelmed by the idea of the sport consuming so much of my time.

Q: What is a typical day at TCNJ? Walking to and attending your various classes, stopping at a nearby cafeteria for a quick breakfast before class or a longer lunch with friends after class(es). Then we’d typically spend the rest of the day between the student center and our dorms just hanging out (playing volleyball outside when it was nice out or watching movies together in our rooms) when we didn’t have to study or do work.

Q: Is it easy to get around campus? So easy! It was one of my favorite aspects of the campus. It’s relatively small so there are no shuttles or buses and it’s also very well maintained (and quite beautiful)  so it was always pretty enjoyable walking everywhere (except during the winter months).

Q: What makes TCNJ students unique? Many are from NJ so most of your peers are from in state as well and the first thing people do is breakdown where they’re from by county and where they are relative to Parkway exits. Also, mostly everyone is nerdy – everyone cares about their academics, it’s usually the main reason students attend TCNJ bc the programs are so strong and the faculty are excellent. You’re getting a fantastic education there – at least I believe that I did.

Q: Overall, what advice would you give for an incoming freshman students?  Just be open. Be open to new experiences – new clubs, new friends. Go to the activities fair and see what’s out there for you! Maybe take some classes (if it works within your schedule and tuition costs) that aren’t related to your major and take advantage of not being a full fledged adult who has a mortgage, full time job, family and other responsibilities that would normally get in the way or hinder your ability to be the most selfish that you’ll ever be in your life time. This is a time for exploration and self-discovery. Don’t take it for granted bc it’s easy to do that when you feel overwhelmed by your classes. Enjoy!

 

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