Archive for February, 2012

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

by
Vincent, Class of 2013

The semester kicked up last month and it’s certainly been a rush since getting back. I’m taking four courses this semester, two less than in the fall, and one of those classes is a graduate course in book history for the honors program I’m part of. Potsdam undergraduates who are invited to enroll in a departmental honors program are allowed to take two graduate courses in their junior and senior year. It’s quite a bit of work and most of it is self-initiated research. Graduate courses usually meet once a week and are in smaller classrooms with plenty of forum type discussion. In just the second week of the class, I had four books out of the library for my research topic along with a novel to read by the following week. Believe it or not, I’m enjoying it! Once you get moving up to the higher division courses the work becomes more specialized.

I still have some down time though. I’ve been rock climbing to ease stress, spinning vinyl at the radio station, and today I was able to go out to Birchbark bookstore on the outskirts of town. What an awesome place! It’s roughly five minutes of driving through the scenic North Country and the whole store is in a converted barn. There are over 55,000 books throughout the store with something for bookworms and casual readers alike. I found the poetry and philosophy section to be my favorite, even scoped out a few first edition books to buy when I head back up there again. There was also a large young adult and fantasy book section to browse in and an entire floor devoted to old magazines. If you find yourself up here for a visit, Birchbark is a must-see! There is also a satellite storefront located above ACE Hardware in town.

Birchbark Bookstore

Friday, February 17th, 2012

by
Tanasia, Class of 2013

This weekend was amazing! Things didn’t go as planned, but I am happy it went as it it did. Every Spring semester we have an event called Bear Pride Night. The day is all about showing your school spirit at our athletic games. Not only was I looking forward to Bear Pride, but I wanted to really get into the spirit by painting my face. But as luck would have it, earlier in the week a student from neighboring Clarkson University came to my class and talked about a program called Reachout here in Potsdam.  Reachout is a crisis hotline that serves Saint Lawrence County as well as anyone in need. The program has been running for many years and is sustained through volunteers that work the hotline. They were in need of new faces and training would be all weekend. I love helping people and this opportunity sounded perfect for me. I decided to apply and that Tuesday I had my interview with a callback on Thursday. I was excited and ready for this new challenge. Yet it was bittersweet because I wouldn’t get to see my Bears play on Bear Pride Night.

Over the course of training I learned so much about myself as well as basic skills to help others. One word popped up multiple times. That word was LISTEN. Listening is of course one of our senses that comes natural to us. However we forget to actively listen. In the time I have been here at Potsdam I have received many trainings, but this training was the most effective in getting many concepts to stay with me.

I believe that when you give back to your community you give to yourself. I got the chance to meet some of the nicest people here at Potsdam as well as some students came from Clarkson University and Saint Lawrence University. All of us came from a different background and walk of life, but came together to help others.