College 101: The guide to helping college student’s excel

By Samantha Helmold

College is not only a time to have fun and experience life as an adult, but a time to study and learn all that you can before you enter the real world. For some, that experience is smooth sailing and a great time, but for others, bumps might be hit every now and then and guidance becomes necessary. Sometimes it even gets to the point where you fall off the wagon and need to re-evaluate your choices. With that being said, how do you determine if you’ve done everything correctly? Nobody can tell you how to be a perfect college student, but working towards becoming a better one is possible.

College is about finding yourself but sometimes we get off track and need some help getting back to where we need to be. Outside sources, inside sources, and even life; sometimes things happen and it can make college a bit more challenging.

When it comes to some study tactics and working on getting a better grade, Hood College professor, Donna Bertazzoni, said, “First and foremost, come to class, pay attention and ask questions. That’s half the battle. Beyond that, time management is the bottom-line skill. Don’t wait until the last minute. At the beginning of the semester, use your iPad calendar to note assignment due dates and test dates. And then start the work in advance. And again, make an appointment with the instructor and ask questions if you are unclear about something.”

College can be pretty challenging sometimes so University of Maryland student, Vas Blagodarskiy, said that when it came to his biggest struggle in college it was, “Letting go of people who I no longer see eye to eye with as a function of difference between my life’s progress and their lives’ progress. As you get older, great people tend to leave your life more than they tend to enter.”

Another college student, Emily Thorne, said, “When it came to the biggest struggle that I dealt with, it was how it can be tricky to decide what classes you need to take (and how to read the credit requirements): the list can be long and confusing. It’s only until this year of school that I’ve finally gotten the hang of reading them on my own.”

College graduate, Doug Raftery, said, “When it came to my biggest struggle in college, I would have to say it was the struggle of getting through some of the liberal arts classes. I went to Hood partially due to liberal arts, but I struggled in some categories, like Probability and Statistics and the non-western civilization courses. Some professors weren’t very understanding when it came to athletics and class, as they wouldn’t excuse an absence because of a game, even though I was representing the institution.”

Even college graduates had tough times getting through college, and it just shows that students are okay to make mistakes, because it shows that they’re human. And while struggles are very much real, there are also moments that provide students with more than they could even bargain for.

Hood Junior, Tara Biser, said that when it came to the most memorable moment so far at Hood, she said, “I got the opportunity to work at NIST over this summer and then present my work with fellow students in a professional setting to Ph.D.’s, which was a big learning experience. Plus I get to go to Dallas in the spring to present my work at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting.”

Shepherd University college graduate, Matthew Fowel, said, “My most memorable moment while I was in school was playing in a professional orchestra with my trumpet teacher and having him say how proud he was of my playing in the ensemble. Looking at the other faculty members in the brass section and seeing how impressed they were is something I will never forget.”

Being a better college student isn’t always about working harder or performing better; it’s about dedication and putting in the time to be the best that you can be, even with the bumps along the way. Nobody can predict the outcome of life, it just has to be followed and worked at. And sometimes, advice is simply all you need to help put into perspective how wonderful college can truly be and how you can do it and make it through.

Hood College’s Provost Dr. Conway-Turner said, “If I could provide any advice for underclassmen transitioning into upperclassmen, it would be that you need to learn to separate from your family, build your own solid foundation and do it yourself. See coming to college as a transition and putting yourself on a path, you’re an adult. It’s time to do it yourself. Also, find your footing, don’t delay the process.”

Dr. Anita Jose, Hood College Management Professor said, “Get the best return on your investment in yourself by being the best that you can be in academics, extra-curricular activities, and co-curricular activities. Be passionate about your studies; take courses outside your major/comfort zone. In addition to your classes, get involved in extra-curricular and co-curricular activities to develop your leadership and team skills. College is a great time for your personal development. Volunteer, and make a difference.”

It’s not always the easiest time, and it certainly isn’t always the hardest time either. College provides many students with multiple opportunities to discover who they are and to excel at what they are passionate about. While student’s can do exceptionally well with what they are studying, some need help. It’s never a bad thing to ask for it and when you get it, use it well and go forward from there. You may never get another chance to be a college student again.

Last Train of Thought to host discussion panel

By Tatyanna Hunter

Last Train of Thought will host a discussion Nov. 17 to bring successful leaders from Frederick to campus to network with students.

The panel will be held at 3 p.m. in Hodson Auditorium. The club’s goal of having the panel is to help students get internships as well as provide job opportunities for them.

These speakers are professionals and will help get students on the right track in their major.

These leaders hold numerous degrees and will help students majoring in communications, education, business, and many other majors. By the students questioning these successful leaders in the Frederick community, Hood students are gaining insight and knowledge about what their future can hold, Ari Gonzalez, president of Last Train of Thought said.

She hopes that “the discussion motivates more of my peers to become successful leaders within the community.” She also thinks students should bring resumes to the panel.

If students bring their resumes, possible new jobs and/or internships will be available for them. The mission of Last Train, created by the executive board, is to positively change the world through leadership, education, social awareness, and service.

Gonzalez said she that this opportunity the club is providing for students is very important. “Last Train is proud to host this event and we believe that we can establish very important connections between students and leaders, she said.


Ishmael Beah speaks to the freshmen class

By Stacey Axler

Ishmael Beah arrived to campus on Wednesday, Oct. 23 to culminate the First Year Reads program for the 2013- 2014 academic year.

First-year students at Hood read Beah’s book “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of A Boy Soldier” prior to coming to campus for the Fall semester.  The students received the opportunity to meet Beah, hear him lecture to the campus, and get their books signed.

“Seeing my book being used as a teaching tool in places like Hood College is a great thing.  It provides an educational opportunity to learn about child soldiers,” Ishmael Beah said.

Beah began the day speaking privately to a political science class, where the conversation ranged from child soldiers to rap music.  Beah hopes to educate many people about his experience as a child soldier in the Sierra Leone Civil War, which began in 1991 and ended over 10 years later in 2002, in order to provide understanding to the experiences and challenges children face when recruited to act as child soldiers.

Beah explained that his main motivation to write his memoir stemmed from “a deep frustration.  Before [“A Long Way Gone”] there were many books written about us.  But there were no accounts written by actual boy soldiers.”

Beah’s memoir chronicled his experience in the civil war, his indoctrination into the life of a boy soldier, and his subsequent redemption and strive to educate others through UN efforts.

After his class lecture, a reception for Beah occurred in the library porch of the Beneficial-Hodson library, where students could both speak to him informally and get their pictures taken with him.

The last event of the day occurred in Hodson Auditorium, where Beah spoke to the Hood Community as a whole.  Beah recapped his book and spoke in detail about his experience as a child growing up in the civil war that plagued his country.

After Beah was removed from the war, he eventually moved to New York City after being adopted by a woman he met while speaking to the U.N.

He detailed his adjustment to American culture, including an anecdote about education:  “In my country, we loved going to school.  I discovered that here it was ‘not cool’ to care about school or your grades.”

Along with this realization, Beah faced stigmatization from other classmates due to his past as a boy soldier.  This frustrated him, and fueled his desire to write about his experiences.  This writing turned into “A Long Way Gone.”

“I didn’t originally want to write about [my experiences].  I didn’t want to go back to [that time].”  But Beah continued to write.

After high school, Beah went to OberlinCollege,  he graduated in 2007, the same year he published the memoir.

After his discussion, Beah stayed on campus for over an hour to sign books for students.

This is the third year of First Year reads, and the third author to come to campus.

Beah hopes his lecture will inspire others to promote knowledge about the plight of child soldiers around the world, a practice that still continues today.

“When I finished my book it was hard to pick a title.  Nothing seemed to fit.  We had many, many options.  Finally, my publisher and I both read it over, and “a long way gone” popped out to us.  Just because your are a long way gone, not everything is lost,” Beah said.

Recent induction ceremony honors academically driven students with disabilities

By Joe Denicola

Students proceeded into the Coblentz Seminar Room and took their seats as they waited to be inducted into Hood’s newly founded academic honor society.

They come from varying backgrounds, are majoring in different subjects, and participate in multiple campus clubs and events. What links these students is that each one has a documented disability.

This international academic honor society known as Delta Alpha Pi (DAPi) was created in 2004 to celebrate the achievements of individuals with disabilities. Since its inception, it has spread to colleges across the country, helping improve how others perceive people with disabilities.

Eileen Rudnick, a graduate student at HoodCollege and founder of the Gamma Gamma chapter of the honor society, stands before the gathering and begins her speech. She describes the struggles and stigmas faced by those with disabilities, delineating three major stereotypes affecting the audience members: an “innocent” who is a poor and unfortunate person suffering in every way; an “inspiration” who has super-enhanced abilities that compensate for the disability; and an “evil” who has a visible deformity that reflects a dark nature. She notes that individuals “who have disabilities are no more or less likely to be innocent, to be inspirational, or to be evil than the rest of society.”

Next Emily Kraatz, vice president of DAPi, explains to the crowd that this honor society was designed to “recognize the academic accomplishments of HoodCollege students with disabilities, facilitate the development of leadership and advocacy skills, and provide opportunities for members to serve as mentors and role models.” She also emphasizes that membership in DAPi requires more than merely having a documented disability. Each undergraduate “must have completed a minimum of 24 credits and earned an overall quality point average of 3.10,” while graduates “must have completed a minimum of 18 credits and earned an overall quality point average of 3.30.” These requirements also reveal another important message of the honor society: that having a disability does not mean that a student cannot achieve exceptional academic success.

Finally, secretary Caitlin Presley reminds the assembled of how important advocacy from within the club is to other students with disabilities at HoodCollege. She explains that due to “the negative stereotyping associated with disability, students have been reluctant to identify themselves publicly.” By showing what people with disabilities are capable of achieving, members of DAPi can challenge the stigmas associated with disabilities and help other students feel less ashamed of that part of themselves.

At her speech’s conclusion, the speakers light three candles with each one symbolizing a different honor society goal. The first is lit for leadership, so that members will understand that the way they act and take charge affects the way in which others view those with disabilities. The second is lit for advocacy, so that members know that they need to speak up about these issues and that doing so will help change harmful, preconceived notions that others may have of students with disabilities. The third and final is lit for education, so that members realize the importance of not only maintaining academic success but also taking the time to teach others about disabilities and what they mean for those affected by them.

With each candle lit, the officers of DAPi are officially sworn in and the member students are given certificates to recognize their acceptance into the honor society. Each new member departs in a single-file line, inspired to represent the disability community on Hood’s campus and to help improve the views that others have of individuals like themselves.

Campus already gears up for annual alternative spring breaks

By Kerri Sheehan

Hood plans to sponsor the annual Alternative Spring Break Program again this year, providing opportunities for students to volunteer in local and out-of-state locations.

Catherine Brown, graduate assistant to the office of the dean of the chapel, said the program allows students to participate in various elements of service during fall, spring, and winter breaks.

“Students can get involved by contacting our office…by responding to posters around campus, or replying to the informational emails that are sent to all undergraduate students by Rev. Beth O’Malley,” Brown said.

Some of the trips available this year include a Frederick area “Staycation,” a trip to Earl’s place; an organization in Baltimore that provides housing for homeless men; a trip to North Carolina; and two trips affiliated with Habitat for Humanity that are traveling to New Jersey and Alabama.

A fairly new aspect of the program includes a service trip to Haiti, organized by the Provost’s Office.

Brown will participate in the Earl’s Place trip on Oct. 15.  “Participation in the Alternative Break programs is a reminder to the participants that all people, regardless of their situation, deserve respect,” she said.  “I believe that the common outlook among participants is that if you are in a position to offer help, then it is a privilege to do so.”

Melissa Johnson, a senior biochemistry major at Hood, has been participating in the service trips since her freshman year.  “I don’t have a job at home and I decided my freshman year I didn’t want to spend a week at home doing nothing,” Johnson said.  “I decided that I really like volunteering and found that I love the work that Habitat does.”

Johnson plans to attend the Habitat for Humanity trips to New Jersey and Alabama over both fall and spring Breaks.

“Hearing people’s stories of losing their homes during natural disasters leads me to have a better appreciation for the people and opportunities I have had in my life, along with gratitude for having a house over my head when I am not at school,” Johnson said.


Upcoming Career Center events address issues of poverty and homelessness

By Elaheh Eghbal

On Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. the Hood College Career Center and Office of Service Learning and the Dean of the Chapel with the Frederick County Coalition for the Homeless will present the Fall 2013 Social Visionary Speaker Series, Addressing Poverty: Creating a Collaborative Community.

This event will kick off the November events in honor of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. The Hood community, Frederick County Coalition for the Homeless, and local organizations, businesses, and government leaders will join together to discuss working to create community solutions to poverty.

Speakers include Lisa Klingenmaier, Maryland Hunger Solutions; E. Kevin Lollar, Housing Authority of the City of Frederick; Josh Pedersen, United Way; and T. Sanders, National Coalition for the Homeless.

For more information, contact Yvette Webster, Community Service Coordinator, at or 301-696-3583.

Other events throughout the month include a film screening of A Place at the Table, poverty awareness information tables, the Campus Sleep Out, and Frederick-wide events including the Interfaith Prayer Walk and dinner for the hunger/homeless.

For more information about these events, contact Elaheh Eghbal, VISTA Coordinator, at or 301-696-3583.


A Place at the Table

Sunday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. | Rosenstock Auditorium

This event is a  documentary that investigates incidents of hunger experienced by millions of Americans and proposed solutions to the problem.

It is sponsored by HEAT and the CareerCenter and Office of Service Learning.

For more information, contact Yvette Webster, Community Service Coordinator, at or 301-696-3583.


Poverty Information Tables

Nov. 4-5, 11-12, 18-19 | 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. WhitakerCampusCenter

Stop by the table and learn about poverty in America and around the world, play games, and see what meals are like around the world.

This table is sponsored by Alpha Lambda Delta and the VISTA Program.


Canned Food Drive Challenge

Nov. 5 through 15 | Campus Wide

Items needed for this event include: Canned Fruits, Canned Vegetables, Canned Meats, Canned Fish, Canned Drinks
All donations go to the FCAA.

This drive is sponsored by the Student Social Work Organization and the VISTA Program.

For more information contact Elaheh Eghbal, VISTA Coordinator, at or 301-696-3583.


Regular Dinner for the Hungry

Nov. 17 | meet at Hood | 4:30 p.m.

Volunteers are needed to shuttle food from Coblentz Dining Hall to the FCAA.

During this event, members from the Frederick community will be serving dinner to the hungry.

This is sponsored by the Frederick County Coalition for the Homeless.

For more information contact Joey Hoffman at


Interfaith Candlelight Prayer Walk

November 17 | 6:30 p.m. | Begin at Frederick Community Action Agency

During this event, prayers will be offered by many faiths on walk throughout the downtown Frederick area.

This is sponsored by the Frederick County Coalition for the Homeless Advocacy Team.

For more information contact Joey Hoffman at


Campus Sleep Out

November 21 | 6:30 p.m. | Residential Quad

Hear from a member of the Frederick community, take part in activities, and experience what the night is like for someone without a home.

For more information contact Elaheh Eghbal, VISTA Coordinator, at or 301-696-3583.

Senior Student Profile: What will you do after graduation?

Blue and Grey staff reporter Heidi Marino interviewed senior Geneva Denney.

What’s your major?

G: I am a communications arts major with a concentration in public relations and a minor in biology.

What’s the first thing you’ll do after you graduate?

G: The first thing I’ll do after I graduate is jump for joy-because I’ll finally be done. Following that, I plan on continuing to work at Bath and Body works until I get a real job offer based on my degree. I would like to have saved up enough money in the first year following graduation to move out of my house and start my own life.

Where do you picture yourself in 5 years career wise?

G: In 5 years, I hope to work in a PR position for a Bio Tech company, or something along those lines. I want to do this as a way to tie in the biology and chemistry background I truly loved into PR and communications which I truly enjoy on a daily basis. I feel it will be a great position to find because biology and chemistry people often find it hard to communicate their research and promote their company. I think finding a PR position for a company like that would be an extremely amazing opportunity because not many communications majors have a background in biology like I do.

What’s something you’re excited for this last year at Hood? Any school activities in particular, trips, etc.?

G: We are trying to start a Hood College chapter of PRSSA which would be amazing to start, not only for my resume, but for networking. If the seniors involved now can get it started it will be very easy for underclassman to take over next year. I’m also looking forward to the spaghetti dinner for seniors during senior week at Hood. We get all you can eat spaghetti, wine and beer. It’s the last moment that all the seniors will be together before graduation- which is pretty cool. Of course, there is also May Madness which is amazing in itself. It will be the last one I attend and I hope to goodness they pick cool activities for this year. Finally, my parents said I can go anywhere I want as a graduation present. It’s hard to pick anywhere because there are so many places. I would love to spend a week on a tropical island soaking up the sun, but I would also love to go to Australia. I was fortunate enough to have traveled out of the country a lot as a child but it will be a completely different experience as an adult who can go out and drink and experience things on my own.

What’s the best thing that has happened to you at Hood thus far?

G: The best thing that happened to me at Hood was finding my friends. We have a “fam” here who I would not give up for the world. My friends are the best place for me to find advice and support in the decisions I make. They helped me through changing my major junior year, getting through a break-up with a horrible boyfriend and through the struggles with other friendships. They helped me become myself-because I was certainly lost for a while. I will walk out of Hood with a connection to these people I know will last the rest of my life. I mean, they’re already talking about coming to my wedding.

Blazer swimming teams begin winter season with a win and broken records

By Katie Misuraca

This past weekend, The Hood College Blazers swim team started off the season right with the first win of the season, swimming against Division I opponents, Towson Tiger and Howard Bison.

For the women’s team, a school record in the 200 medley relay was broke by Shannon McHale, Shannon Welch, Lauren Fogarty, and Caitlin Fey, which helped them get the win by Hood.

“We knew going into the meet that it was going to be tough, but everyone gave each race everything they could and it definitely paid off. Shake and bake,” McHale said.

For the men’s team, the new addition to the Blazers, BJ Daisey who finished in second place finish in the 100 breaststroke. He also finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke and fifth in the 200 IM.

“It was a great first meet to start my swimming career here at Hood,” said Daisey. Daisey was also named Athlete of the Week.

SGA Corner: Programming at All-Time High

By Caity Battey

Fall is definitely underway in Frederick, and with that comes a new semester! New semesters mean all types of new things, especially new leadership in student organizations. This practice is not wasted on HoodCollege’s Student Government; this year we are kicking things off at a run with Drake Halpern as President of the student body. Halpern and his executive board have already set some goals in motion in order to make Student Government an organization that actually serves the student body at Hood.

Halpern shared his main desire for his organization this year earlier this week; “I want SGA to be a stronger advocate for the student body and help with the training of young campus leaders to make to [the]campus an overall stronger and healthier place. Student Government is a vehicle for students to become campus leaders in a number of things and help make our Hood community better.”

Many SGA veterans are excited by the strong incoming class and the way that the first-years are already asserting themselves in the organization. Logan Samuels, a first year from Manalapan, New Jersey was elected Senate WHIP in the SGA Retreat on Sept. 22; Samuels is already showing excellent leadership. Another first year who is sure to make her mark on the organization is Rosemary Walters.

When asked why she joined Student Government, Samuels said, “As a freshman I wanted to get as involved as I could as quickly as possible, and SGA seemed like the perfect way to do it. I’m looking forward to a great year, meeting people and making Hood a true home for everyone!” These desires are a common thread between the majority of Student Government’s first years and very encouraging for the year to come.

Keep a look-out for events like the Holiday Dinner, Ugly Sweater Competition, and others that are brought to the student body by HCSGA! Also, check the LED sign in Whitaker for postings about events and upcoming meetings. The SGA Senate meetings are open to all students in the Hood Community; make your voice heard and help HCSGA make this campus a home for all!

A student analysis of Safe Harvest and trick or treating on campus

By Nick Bicho

On Oct. 31, children all over the country partake in trick or treating. They get to dress up in different costumes and go from door to door collecting candy from houses. This is a fun holiday enjoyed by many, however, the children of Fredrick are not able to trick or treat.

The township outlawed it in order to protect the children who are going trick or treating. Now, this is a very reasonable reason to cancel Halloween, especially since Hood College hosts Safe Harvest as a safer substitute to Halloween. Although Safe Harvest keeps the children of Fredrick supervised on the 29th, they don’t get to experience a true Halloween that other children who do not live in Fredrick get to experience.

As a veteran trick or treater with almost 15 years of experience, I can say that celebrating Halloween in the dorms of Hood College is just not the same as traditional trick or treating. Safe Harvest should not be the only option for children to trick or treat in Fredrick. Halloween should not be outlawed Fredrick; instead, the community should have rules when it comes to celebrating Halloween.

One of the reasons that Fredrick does not partake in Halloween is that the people who are trick or treating do not know who lives in each house giving out candy. The possibly of the person handing out candy being a sex offender or some kind of dangerous stranger is present, which makes trick or treating unsafe for children.

However, in 2011, Fredrick required sex offenders to post signs on their doors saying “No Candy” on Halloween. Instead of canceling the holiday all together, sex offenders should be required to do this within Fredrick Township. This allows parents to have an advantage in knowing which houses are safe and unsafe for trick or treating.

Another possibility that could make Halloween safer for children is to have specific hours for trick or treaters to collect candy. Going trick or treating during the day is much safer than celebrating Halloween at night. If the township allowed families to trick or treat from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., then the children will be a lot safer and have plenty of time to get their candy. Safe Harvest could also be held the same day as the actual trick or treating so there would safe activities at night for families as well.

Finally, it should be up to the parents of Fredrick to keep their children safe. If parents watch their children and are with them at all times during Halloween, then the problem of strangers will not even be an issue.

Taking Halloween from Fredrick seems like too drastic of an option when easier solutions are present. Children are able to trick or treat safely in Fredrick, as long as parents can be responsible and watch their children. Having day time hours for trick or treating and by hosting events like safe harvest can reinforce the idea of a safe Halloween and the festivities do not have to be canceled. Children should be able to experience a real Halloween and having rules like the ones stated above can allow this to happen.