"The perfect word to describe me as a freshman was “naïve.” I went to Jewish day school my entire life, so I grew up around people who were like me, who came from the same or very similar backgrounds. UAlbany prides itself on diversity, and having people of different colors, creeds, shapes, sizes, religions, ethnicities, etc. So coming here I was naïve in the sense that I was closeminded in what I knew and believed in. Where in the past I would only be part of Jewish organizations, freshman year I joined clubs and the Pitch Please acapella group where I was the only type of person who was like me. It was very different. I lived with people and went to class with people who weren’t like me. I wasn’t naïve to the point where I didn’t know these things existed, but I just never experienced it.
I grew up in Brooklyn, and my dad used to say, “Grant, people are people.” My dad is in business with people who are Pakistani, Iranian, Iraqi, Afghan, Jewish, every type of people who you would think would be enemies. The kind of things that he’s shown me is that there’s differences in everyone. Whether you agree with them or not, at the end of the day, everyone lives and everyone’s gonna die. When you’re alive, respect the people that you’re living with. You don’t have to agree with them, but respect them. I read the news, I watch the election cycle, with such hatred coming from every side. There is a basic amount of respect that people need to show each other. And watching how that isn’t shown is making me grow and say “I do not want to be that.” I see my dad as my real role model of how to orient myself in this world and how to be an overall decent human being.There’s always a goal in business. So social agendas shouldn’t come into it. That’s how I plan on leading my life. There shouldn’t be any social agenda that leads to fighting coming into my business deals. It’s about simple, respectful discourse in a business world.
My long term plan is to just keep growing and working my way up as far as I can possibly go, and to continually learn from different people. If the opportunity shows itself where I could do what I love, which is music, and combine that with the business world, then that’s the ultimate goal. Accounting came naturally when I took it Sophomore year, so I decided to stick with it. There’s a strong ceiling that you hit if you’re not certified, so next semester I plan on beginning studying for the CPA exam. Once I have that foundation, I can do almost anything in business with a CPA. I’m going to work for a year or two, then go into an MBA program.
I get all the Handshake emails and saw a mid-sized accounting firm looking for a full time employee for the next year. It didn’t require a cover letter, and I hate writing cover letters, so I plugged in my resume, and a few days later I got a response. I met them at the UAlbany Career and Professional Development Career Fair, went to the informational, had a few interviews here and in the city, and then I got the job. I graduate in May, and the job begins next November. I signed up for Handshake last year because I was looking for an internship. I didn’t really think anything would happen with it, but I usually go with the mentality, “What do I have to lose?” If I have nothing to lose, then why not?"
Majors: Accounting and Music
Hometown: Woodmere, New York
Photo by Naomi McPeters
Taken from the BuzzFeedYellow Video, "What is Privilege?"
My husband is an Eagles fan. We are a "Fly Eagles Fly" home and are currently in a state of mourning and confusion. That does not stop us from appreciating Cam Newton's athleticism and his history. When this video was shared with me, I thought about you (student who may be reading this) and every person that may be discouraging you from your goals when you know that you are doing your best - or like Cam, that you are at the top of your game. When I saw Mr. Newton smile while getting tackled during the last game against the Cardinals , I wanted to do a happy dance because I instantly saw this as a metaphor for life. Disappointments will come. You will make mistakes. Back-biters are always hungry. Nay sayers are always talking. What are you going to do about it? Be the best you. Come out of your room. Face the scary, the unknown and the difficulties of life. Press on.
Struggling in a class, but you never needed help before? Get over yourself and get the help that you need. You will be better for it. Nervous about going to your professors' office hours or speaking to a professional in a career that you want to pursue? Acknowledge your sweaty, nervousness and do it anyway. Do not be your own detractor, there are enough applicants for that position. Press on. Just press on.
Today (Sunday, January 17) , I met a man who might be one of our future students at UAlbany. Retired from a local law enforcement agency in his late 40s, this man is heavily involved in perfecting his skills in various forms of martial arts. Perfecting includes regular trips to Japan to study with his Sensei. He also teaches these skills to students who apply to his program by invitation only. As he spoke about his craft, I started to think that I was just introduced to a local version of Michael Weston (reference to the show: Burn Notice).
Our conversation did not begin with martial arts, but with fine arts. This man is an avid painter and has begun to show his works at different galleries as well as teach courses in the community. He spoke of painting with the same passion and fervor as he did martial arts and justice. He hopes to earn his degree in Fine Arts at UAlbany one day and has already spoken to admissions counselors. There was such a glimmer in his eyes when he spoke of his future in the fine arts, that all of us in the conversation were smiling.
Meeting this retired law enforcement officer, Buddhist, painter, martial arts student and instructor, father, husband, and handy man reminded me that one does not have to silence parts of themselves in order to succeed. Success might simply be defined by being the best you in every moment, rising from the ashes when you fail, and ever striving to learn more and to grow. I believe that this man will ever be perfecting his skills in the martial and fine arts and I think that he will live a longer and happier life because of it.
his week, my Facebook feed shared news of a new children's book that depicted happy slaves making a birthday cake for President George Washington, Oh, how I wish I had taken screen shots of the establishment reviews of this book praising its contribution to children's literature. As I prepared to write this post, I went to Amazon.com and the editorial reviews that were there two days ago have mysteriously vanished. In case you have no idea of what I am speaking, check it out here.
Everyone is buzzing about the president's birthday! Especially George Washington's servants, who scurry around the kitchen preparing to make this the best celebration ever. Oh, how George Washington loves his cake! And, oh, how he depends on Hercules, his head chef, to make it for him. Hercules, a slave, takes great pride in baking the president's cake. But this year there is one problem--they are out of sugar.
This story, told in the voice of Delia, Hercules's young daughter, is based on real events, and underscores the loving exchange between a very determined father and his eager daughter, who are faced with an unspoken, bittersweet reality. No matter how delicious the president's cake turns out to be, Delia and Papa will not taste the sweetness of freedom.
New York Times food writer Ramin Ganeshram and acclaimed illustrator Vanessa Brantley-Newton serve up a slice of history in a picture book narrative that will surely satisfy.
I found out about this book after reading a post entitled, "Why I'm Absolutely an Angry Black Woman!" Once you get over every sentence beginning with "because", you can feel the power of the essay. There were many heart-wrenching and provocative lines in the post, but the line that hit me was, "Because when I was 7 months pregnant my neighbor asked me to help him move a dresser up a flight of stairs. Because I am not seen as a woman. " That statement reminded me of Abbey Lincoln's essay, written in 1966, "Who Will Revere the Black Woman?", June Jordan's "Poem about My Rights", Nikki Giovanni's "Woman Poem" and so many other works of literature like Ta-nehesi Coates, "Between the World and Me" talk about how we are valued as humans and how we value ourselves rather than being seen as ancient beasts from another world - or perhaps, not seen at all.
When, in the 21st century, a major publishing company does not see a problem, not even a historical problem with publishing a book about happy slaves and text book companies are still trying to put peroxide on the past. The relevance of Dr. Kings statements in the video above become very clear. "Believe in yourself and believe that you are somebody." Nobody else can do this for you. Sign your own emancipation proclamation!
While King's message was given to an audience of Black people for their edification, you, whoever you are, can apply this to your life. Protect your heart and your mind from those who belittle your abilities and your dreams. I am not speaking of not being able to enter a major because of poor grades. That is a repercussion of academic performance. I am speaking about failure to move forward or to simply move because you have accepted myths about your abilities and possibilities. Sign your own emancipation proclamation. Nobody else can do this for you. Dream. Climb. Thrive. RSM
P.S. - Below is a speech by Dr. King on how to deal with your enemies. For the purposes of this blog post, how to deal with those who have fed you the aforementioned myths about who you are, those who have sought to dehumanize you, belittle you, or cause you any harm.
Check out this article in USA Today:
50 questions to ask if you’re disappointed with your fall grades.
By Billie Streufert December 31, 2015 6:30 pm
Fall grades got you down? Stay calm and persist on. You were admitted to college because your institution believes in you. All students encounter difficulty at some point. Faculty and staff are eager to support you. Consider the first set of questions below to affirm your strengths and assess your values.
Now that you have celebrated these things, take time to identify the choices you made and the action you can take to perform even better in the future.
Next, brainstorm your future strategies and goals in consultation with academic advisors or learning specialists. Ask yourself and these consultants the following questions:
If you feel discouraged, reframe this as a valuable opportunity. Whether you aspire to be a nurse, teacher or counselor, you will have more empathy with your clientele who are also facing difficulty because you coped with setbacks yourself. Plus, you are exerting grit and refining your study strategies, which enhances your ability to be a life-long learner. Stay optimistic and persistent. Another semester and a clean slate is ahead of you!
Billie Streufert serves at Augustana University, S.D., as the director of the Student Success Center. With more than 10 years of experience in career and academic advising, she is eager to help students discover and achieve their goals.
Welcome! My name is Rachel Moody. I post weekly announcements and messages to motivate and inspire my UAlbany advisees, and any one else who visits. Comments are welcome! While you are here, have a virtual cup of tea!