The Best Part About Being A Student At St. Thomas Aquinas College

The Best Part About Being A Student At St. Thomas Aquinas College

Thank you

One of the biggest obstacles high school students face is choosing where to go to college. With a variety of colleges all over the country, it’s hard to choose just one.

First and foremost, if you’re unsure about attending college or don’t know what you want to major in, my first recommendation is Community College. Community college is a great resource to help those who are struggling to figure out their next step. College in general is far too expensive, so why not save a little and go to community college to try different things? In the end it will benefit greatly and save you thousands!

Now if you’ve finished community college or have an idea of what you would like to do, it’s time to think about choosing a college to pursue a Bachelor’s degree. If you’re a Rockland native like I am and want to stick close to home to save on room and board, St. Thomas Aquinas college is a great choice. Not only is it close and safe, but the campus has so much to offer. The people here are nothing less than wonderful, the school provides an excellent education, and the vast variety of clubs, sports, and activities STAC offers will never leave you bored.

But there is one main reason above the rest as to why I’m glad I decided to come to STAC (St. Thomas Aquinas College)...

While there are many important factors involved in choosing the right college, we must not lose sight of the main reason we’re going to college - to pursue a higher education in a specific field. So when choosing a college, it’s important to get a good grasp of the professors in your field and the curriculum you’ll be learning for the next 4 years. The professors STAC has to offer are the main reason I’m extremely grateful I decided to pursue my Bachelors Degree here. I’m a Business Marketing major and while I mainly have experience with the business professors, I’ve gotten to know some other really great professors STAC has to offer as well.

Considering my major is Business Marketing, I have gotten to know Dr. Deirdre Engels quite well over the past 3 years. Dr. Engels is my advisor and my main professor for my marketing courses here at STAC. Aside from being a wonderful person all around, she is also a phenomenal profesor. While her classes can be challenging at times, she’s fair and is always willing to help anyone who requests it. As a previous marketing employee for the famous drink Snapple, Dr. Engels uses her experience and education to give us an inside look at the marketing world. Dr. Engels has not only helped me in the classroom but outside as well. With her help and the help of Maureen Mulhern and Mary Vota (we’ll discuss them more a little later on) I have gained many internships and learned proper interview skills. She has not only helped me write my resume, but has also given me advice and guidance to better help push me out of my comfort zone and experience different careers. My college experience would have been very different without her help and guidance. Dr. Engels is just ONE of the many professors here at STAC who has helped pave the way to my success.

Professor Pamela Derfus is the Management professor here. With her experience in management, she uses her stories to give students a look at the management side of business. She is hands down, one of the easiest professors to talk too, and very understanding. I’ll be the first to admit, when I first had her, I slacked off a little bit and didn’t do as well I should have. I went to her office one day and explained I wasn’t doing well. Without ever making me feel bad or judging, not only did she give me a second chance to make up an assignment and do better, but she had also set a little bit of her free time to help me one on one and walk me through a project I didn’t understand. She is a prime example of the lengths the professors here will go too to help you succeed.

Professor Christine Cahill is the Business Law teacher and she is probably the chillest professor here at STAC. Her laid back attitude makes class fun and enjoyable. Straying away from the stereotypical boring college lectures, she likes to have class discussions sharing our own stories about the law that we may have seen or heard of. As a former lawyer, Professor Cahill ties her own past experiences into the lessons you discuss in class. Her examples range from her own experiences to famous court cases such as the O.J. Simpson case, and Marbury vs. Madison. Now aside from being the Business Law professor here, she is also the Assistant Dean. So if there’s ever a problem outside of class, you can always go to her for help. Professor Cahill has helped me out of a jam or two!

Professor Mariellen Murphy-Holahan is the accounting teacher here and I will be the first to say her classes are challenging! Professor Holahan who formerly worked in the Finance/Accounting department of Verizon uses her experiences to tie the curriculum into the real world. I can confidently say I am not a strong accounting student AT ALL (haha), but Professor Holahan always made time to help me and recommended me to tutoring. The best part about her is she believed I could do it and did everything in her power to help me, and that’s a nice feeling. Knowing your professor cares and believes you can do it, even when you doubt yourself.

Professor Mihal is the Economics professor and she is probably the smartest person I’ve ever met. With her vast experience and background in Economics, she takes the time to slowly explain each component to make sure we understand how supply and demand works. She takes her time to explain the curriculum and uses drawings in her lessons which helps a lot for visual learners. Her attitude in the classroom is always super positive and bubbly. Professor Mihal always praised me when my work in her class improved which was a big help to me!

Professor Winship is the Communications professor and probably the happiest person you will ever meet. I don’t think there has ever been a time where I haven’t seen her smiling! As a previous recruiter, her stories will have you crying laughing. From ridiculous interview stories, to gross office habits she’s seen, it’s needless to say her lectures are never boring! Professor Winship has a large experience in the world of interviewing and will use her stories and experience to guide you to land your next job. Don’t avoid doing her work because in the end, you’re only damaging yourself. Everything she teaches you are things you will take far beyond graduation.

Outside of my business professors, there are so many other great professors and people I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn from.

Ms. Mulhern is the Director of Career Development, she has helped me so much in the world of internships and interviewing. Ms. Mulhern took time out of her busy schedule to sit down and practice interview questions to prepare me for an upcoming internship interview I had. In addition she also set me up into a KPMG mentor program which has also helped me with my interview and job searching skills.

Mary Vota is the Experiential Learning Director here at STAC. Ms. Vota has helped turn my internships into school credit and has always praised my work and drive to do well. She is such a big help to anyone who’s looking to gain experience outside of the classroom and always super nice. She was a huge supporter in my internship process! Thanks to her and Ms. Mulhern, I completed 3 internships during my time at STAC.

Professor Daly Flanagan is one of the art professors here. Professor Flanagan will remind you how fun art can really be while teaching you the history of art as well. As we grow up, sometimes we push our artistic creativity side to the corner. Professor Flanagan helps bring that piece of you out again and reminds you of how fun art is. There was never a class I wasn’t excited to attend. From simple drawings, to photography, to sculpting, her class was never boring. She encouraged me to continue my journey into photography and reminded me how fun art can be! Who knew I’d miss being assigned projects?

Professor Meghan DeWitt is one of the math professors here on campus. Professor DeWitt’s class is challenging but she is a great professor. She shares some pretty cool math facts you’d never think of, and shares how gambling works with her lesson in probability. In addition, she always gave opportunities to pick up your grade, and the best part of her class was my final project. Remember in elementary school when your teacher gave you a project to do and told you to be creative? Well that’s what Professor DeWitt does. With the choice of our creativity we can do almost anything to tie something we’ve learned during the semester into a project. I remember I spent days designing a game incorporating everything we learned and even designed a t-shirt as the prize. While this project took a long time, it was so much fun to do. Hands down my favorite final project of my entire college experience.

There are so many other professors I didn’t get the chance to learn from but wish I did!

All of the professors in my list have one goal, and that is to teach you and help you succeed in college. I have had friends who sit in a lecture hall of 300 students where the professor doesn’t even know their name. Here at STAC, my professors know my name and so much more.

So for any High School student looking into college whether it’s St. Thomas Aquinas or not, ask about the professors. Your education is important, and the people teaching you are equally as important. A true professor will want you to do well and succeed. I will remember each of these professors long after I graduate.Thank you, to each professor who has not only helped me grow as a student, but as a person as well!

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Why Nursing School Is Different Than Any Other Major

Because most other majors can't kill someone accidentally by adding wrong.

College is hard. Between studying for numerous amounts of tests and balancing eating, working out, maintaining a social life, and somehow not breaking your bank account, it’s no wonder a common conversation among students is “how many mental breakdowns did you have this week?” Every major will pose its own challenges; that’s truth. Nursing school, however, is a special kind of tough that only other nursing majors can understand.

SEE ALSO: Quit Bashing Radford University

Nurses are the backbone and unsung hero of healthcare. Their job is to advocate for the patient, collaborate care among all other healthcare team members, carry out physician orders, recognize and report patient progress (or lack thereof), run interference for the patient with any unwanted visitors, research and validate evidence based practice, all while maintaining a certain aurora of confidence for patients and their loved ones that “everything will be okay” and “I’ve got this under control”. If that sounds like a lot; that’s because it is. The majority of skills that we learn that make good nurses cannot actually be taught in theory classes. It’s the hours of actual practice and a certain knack for caring for people- all people- that makes a good nurse great. The countless, unrelenting hours that are spent on the floor in clinical humble us, we know that we’re not great yet, but we’re trying.

Our professors expect us to be humble as well. Nurses do not seek gold stars for their actions, instead the precedence that is set for us to that we “do the right thing because it is the right thing to do”. Most nursing programs grading scales are different. To us, a failing grade isn’t actually getting a 69 or lower, it’s an 80. And that makes sense; no one would want a nurse who only understand 70% of what is happening in the body. We have to understand the normal body response, what happens when things go wrong, why it happens the way it does, and how to properly intervene. We want to learn, it interests us, and we know that the long theory classes and the hard days on the floor are just to make us better. However, any triumph, anytime you do well, whatever small victory that may feel like for you, it just what is supposed to happen- it’s what is expected, and we still have much to learn.

I look back on my decision to take on nursing school, and I often find myself questioning: why? There are so many other majors out there that offer job security, or that help people, or would challenge me just as much. But, when I think of being a nurse- it’s what fulfills me. There’s something that the title holds that makes me feel complete (and that same fact is going to resonate with anyone who wants to love their job). I wouldn’t change the decision I made for anything, I love what I am learning to do and I feel that it’s part of what makes me who I am. The other students who I have met through nursing school are some of the most amazing people I have ever come into contact with, and the professors have helped me understand so much more about myself than I thought possible.

Nursing is treating and understanding the human response. Meaning that it’s not just the disease process, or the action of the medication, or the care that we provide, but that nurses treat the way in which people deal, react, feel, and cope with good news, bad news, terrible procedures, hospital stays and being completely dependent on other people. And the fact of the matter is that all people are different. There is no one magic treatment that will always work for every patient. In addition to course work, the clinical hours, the passion and drive to want to be a nurse, and the difficulty that comes with any medical profession, we have to understand each individual patient, as people and not their illness. And, in order to do that so much self discovery goes on each day to recognize where you are and how you are coping with everything coming your way.

What is taught in nursing school goes far beyond just textbook information or step by step procedures. We have to learn, and quickly, how to help and connect with people on a level which most struggle to accomplish in a lifetime. It's a different kind of instruction, and it either takes place quickly or not at all. The quality of nurse you become depends on it. Nursing school is different, not harder or better than any other school, just different.

SEE ALSO: Stop Putting Down Radford University

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Sociolinguistics Series: Part 49

Language is a powerful tool.


Welcome back! We made our way to a meeting with Dr. Shikaki, a Palestinian demographer--basically, that means he takes polls to see what the population's opinion is. It also means he can see how the opinion changes, as the polls started decades ago.

Again, as I talk about his message, keep in mind that this is his unique narrative, and it is different from other narratives out there--both on the Palestinian and Israeli side. He does give a very factual talk, though, due to the nature of his job. He essentially takes all the narratives of everyone else to craft a blanket-statement narrative; however, we should keep in mind that blanket-statements are almost never 100% accurate.

In addition, because he is able to write the questions being asked in his polls, there could be certain narratives left out. Of course, if you've taken any statistics class, you know about nonresponse bias and other biases that come out of censuses and samples. To my knowledge, Dr. Shikaki's polls are only in the West Bank, so Gazan Palestinians aren't even included here.

The first thing he tells us is that a majority of Palestinians in the West Bank are dissatisfied with their government, the Palestinian Authority. The approval rating for the PA is only about 20-25%, and 80% of Palestinians surveyed said that the government is corrupt in some way. A large group of secular Palestinians said that they support the liberal values that are associated with democracy, such as press freedom, gender equality, minority rights, and most importantly, regularly-held elections.

Over the last 10 years, the percentage of Palestinians who support a democratic political system (because they are dissatisfied with the current corruption, as the current system is not giving them a very high standard of living) rose to over 80%.

Some liberal social values are not as widely accepted because many of these liberal values are a very Westernized way of living, and Arab culture differs from Western culture in many ways; neither is better than the other. However, Palestinians do want the freedom of press and less corruption in political parties. Currently, they do not think they have an independent judiciary.

Dr. Shikaki explained that Palestinians can be split, for the most part, into "nationalists," who are mostly secular, and "Islamists," who are mostly religiously observant and non-secular. Nationalists believe in a separation of the church and state, and they are first and foremost Palestinians (compared to Islamists, who are first and foremost Muslims--and Palestinians second). Fatah is the largest political faction within the nationalists.

Within nationalism, there are mainstream nationalists and leftist nationalists. The overwhelming majority of nationalists are mainstream nationalists. They believe that though there is a separation of church and state, there should be cooperation between the state and religion; both can work together. It is not an antagonistic relationship. 55% of the entire Palestinian public would identify with mainstream nationalism (15% would identify with leftist nationalism, and 30% would identify with Islamism).

The smaller section of nationalism is leftist nationalism. They believe that the state can eradicate the importance placed on religion if need be. On the other end is Islamism, which believes that state and religion cannot be separated. Parliament cannot rule in a way that is opposed to Islamic rule and Muslim values. Again, they are first and foremost Muslims, and after that comes their identity of Palestinians and Arabs.

They show more support for a rule by Hamas in the West Bank because Hamas tends to have similar values as them. In the West Bank, about a third of the population supports Hamas over the PA. In Gaza, there is higher support for Hamas, and Hamas was actually democratically elected after the second intifada.

The public in the West Bank sometimes blames nationalists for corruption, and since nationalists are associated with the current government, Hamas could actually win a popular vote right now--which is why the PA has been holding off elections (which, to Palestinians, is another sign of corruption).

Now that we've seen how Palestinians view themselves, we need to see how Palestinians view their Israeli neighbors--and how they view the possibility of peace. It's a lot to unpack, so this concludes this chapter, and I will be talking about it in the next section!

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