Organization Leads to Success

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I was not the organizing type before I made my return to GCC last fall. I quickly learned that I had to get organized fast. In high school, I was never organized because every teacher wanted you to organize differently and this had me confused and unorganized. Everyone has their own way of getting organized so I picked the best ways to get organized according to my needs. By the end of week one of Fall 2013 I devised a plan and stuck to it. To my surprise, it worked! Here’s how I organized my academic life:

Time Management

A major factor of being able to stay organized is time management. I don’t like to be rushed so I have to schedule my life. Everything is so much easier when my bag is packed the night before, coffee’s ready in the morning and outfits are laid out and ready to wear. I’ve also found that if I plan out specific times to write that paper or study for the big test then I will actually do it. This is where Google Calendar and my weekly planner are extra helpful. The GCC Career Service Center will be hosting a Time Management Workshop from 12:45-1:45 on Tuesday, September 23. For more information and to register for the workshop please visit our website. I’ll be going because there isn’t a time management tip I’m not ready embrace. Join me!!

My Weekly Planner

I like multifunctional things so it’s only fitting that I found a three in one organizer. I have a zippered pocket for pens and highlighters, a notebook and a pocket for business cards and other loose items. Each week, I made a to do list and crossed items off as I finished them.

Online Organization

I am a Google fanatic. Gmail is a must and, in my opinion, a far more professional email platform. Google Drive is Google’s version of “the cloud” where you can store your Google Docs, Sheets, Drawings, pictures, and other Google and Microsoft Office Apps. You are allowed 15 gigabytes for free and, if you have a Gmail account, you have a Google Drive. I use Google Drive and Docs to type up all of my homework and papers. It’s a simple way to have everything you need in one place without a thumb drive. The last way I stay organized online is with Google Calendar. At the beginning of each month I sit down and make events for every homework, test, and appointment. This way I’m reminded via email (and push notification on my phone) that something is due or I have somewhere to be.

Class Notes and Handouts:

Many of my classes had their powerpoints posted on Blackboard. I made sure to have them printed out and ready to go. I chose the option that lets you print three slides on one half of the paper and three spaces for notes. I kept separate two pocket folders for each class so I could keep the powerpoints and handouts exactly where I needed them. Finally I used a three subject notebook for the classes that didn’t have powerpoints available on Blackboard. I made sure to take great lecture notes and even better book notes to ensure success in each and every class.


School Locker

One thing I truly dislike is carrying all my stuff around all day long. So I decided to rent a locker for the year from Student Activities. Its only $30 for the year or $15 for a semester and you get a portion of your money back at the end of the year. I loved being able to drop nearly everything off at my locker before classes. A locker at GCC is a must.

So there you have it. That is how I organized my academic life. Check out our Pinterest board about getting ready for classes for more organization tips. Do you have any tips or tricks of your own?

 

Ten Reasons Why I’m Excited for Fall 2014 at GCC

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I have to admit. I’m going through GCC withdrawal. I go to the store to pick up some pool supplies and I find myself battling through the back-to-school supplies to find the clearance pool floaties. Part of me gets mad because we haven’t even gotten through July yet, but another part of me becomes nostalgic and I suddenly can’t wait to get back in the swing of things. So I thought I would share a list with the top ten things that I am excited about for the Fall 2014 semester.

10. The GCC Child Care Center

This one is for my daughter. She talks about her classroom, teachers, and friends daily. It is such a relief to know that my daughter is well taken care of at the GCC Child Care Center and she loves every minute of it. Last fall I was beyond nervous about putting her in school but I really had no other choice. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my little lady.

The center has structured schedules, wonderful teachers, and spotless classrooms. Their services are available to children ages six weeks to preschool aged children. Children of students, staff, faculty, and the community are able to use the facility. Visit their website to learn more and to find the contact information for Staci Williams, Director of the Child Care Center, to see if they have openings.

9. Seeing Old Friends and Making New Friends

When I came back to GCC I decided that I would not be a wallflower and that I would force myself to socialize. I encourage everyone to do this. I have made some great friends at GCC and I cannot wait to see everyone. I am also excited to meet a whole new round of friends.

I think everyone should have that genuine college experience. You won’t keep the same circle of friends from high school forever. This is the time to get used to the unknown and learn to put yourself out there. You may not make friends right away but before you know it, you will find a great group of friends.

8. The Student Union

The Student Union is a great place to relax and hang out with friends between classes. My personal favorite thing about the union is the smoothies in the cafe. The cafe also offers subs, pizza and other great food. While you’re hanging out in the union with friends there is usually a few games of pool and ping-pong being played. I’ve never played but I do enjoy watching the seemingly endless games!

The Student Union is also home to the Student Activities Office. Student Activities plans a wide variety of fun events throughout the year like movie nights, dances, and pizza parties. They also run a Leadership Certificate Program to help students develop their leadership skills. This is a great program that is open to any student. To learn more about the Student Activities Office and the Leadership Program please visit the Student Activities website.

7. Clubs!

Fall 2014 Club Fair

There is a wide variety of clubs and organizations at GCC. There is something for everyone and joining one of the clubs is an awesome way to make great friends and memories. Each semester during WOW (Week Of Welcome) Week Student Activities holds a club fair where you can learn more about the clubs from their representatives in the Forum. You can find a list of all the clubs here. Some of the clubs are for certain majors and others are open to the public. All of these wonderful clubs are welcoming new members so feel free to contact the club advisors or meet them in person at the WOW Week Club Fair.

6. Stress

I guess it’s a personal preference. I feel kind of lost without the challenges and stress that comes along with my coursework and extracurricular activities. This is my last semester before I graduate and I cannot wait for the challenges that are ahead of me. I’ve found that as long I keep my work life planned then life is good. One way I do this is by going through all of my schedules and combine them on my Google Calendar. I usually sit down and put about a month’s worth of appointments, exams, and homework into this online calendar. I even set email reminders so I don’t forget about an upcoming event.

5. The T-207 Computer Lab

The T-207 Computer Lab

Whenever I need to buckle down and get a ton of work done I go here. There are usually a lot of computers available and if you’re working on a project that needs a pop of color then you can use their color printer. Don’t go crazy with the color printing. There is most definitely a page limit. This computer lab is on the second floor of the T Building on main campus and their schedule can be found here. Staff at this lab can also help you find or reset your GCC username and/or password as well as help you with your Blackboard account.

 

4. Campus Centers and Online Learning

GCC Campus Center Locations

GCC offers a wide variety of courses online, at the main campus and at six additional campuses across the area. I’m taking full advantage of these conveniences this semester by taking a few online classes, classes at the main campus, and one class at the Medina Campus. If you’re considering taking all or some classes at one of our campus centers please take a look at the Campus Center website.

Did you know that you can earn some degrees with GCC completely online? Yup. It’s true! There are over a dozen degrees that can be completed online, plus another thirty can be completed almost entirely online. Check out this list to see which program fits your schedule.

3. The Alfred C. O’Connell Library

The library at GCC is basically awesome. There are four banks of computer stations, a technology classroom in the back of the library, quiet study rooms for groups, and an endless amount of resources. The librarians are friendly and are more than willing to help you find the proper resources you need to complete your coursework. The library will allow you to check out laptops and textbooks but you cannot take them out of the library. I like borrowing textbooks from the library because it helps me focus and get a lot of work done. One of the newest online resources available to students with a GCC username and password is Mango Languages. Thanks to the Alfred C. O’Connell Library students can now learn over 60 different languages. Check out a recent blog post about Mango Languages to learn more.

2. The City of Batavia 

Over the years I’ve become very impressed with Batavia’s growth. When I started attending GCC for the first time in 2005 there wasn’t much to do. Now the city is booming and there is a better variety of shops, restaurants, and fun times. The Batavia Business Improvement District has set up a great website and Facebook page with information on upcoming events and local businesses. Check out these websites to learn about the Batavia Farmers Market, Jackson Square Concerts, and more.

1.  Student Success Driven Professors, Faculty, and Staff

I truly believe that the biggest reason why I succeed here at GCC is because of the amazing professors and staff. They want to see their students succeed and are more than willing to give their students the tools for success. You can always find help on the Student OneStop website. This is a huge resource that is available to students that need help finding their advisors, learn how to get involved with clubs or sports, and even request your diploma.

photo-1Honorable Mention: The Spring 2015 Fashion Show Although I won’t be a student in the Spring of 2015 I am looking forward to attending the 34th annual fashion show. The talented students and designers work very hard to put together WNY’s longest running fashion show and they never disappoint. Check out our website to learn more about previous GCC Fashion Shows.

Why I chose GCC…

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Looking back about 5 or 6 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be in the position I am in now. I’ve successfully completed 1 1/2 years of study at GCC, I was selected for the Dean’s list, I am part of the Leadership Certificate Program, and I am currently an Orientation Leader for our new students attending this fall. It seems that so much has happened in such a short span of time, but despite the initial “butterflies” back in the spring of 2013, I feel that I have come a long way.

While I work a full time job for Wegmans, I do my part time studies at GCC. Fortunately I have had this summer off, but previously I had literally spent the entire last year and a half almost non-stop with my studies. I am currently striving for a Computer Repair Certification, of which as a full time student it takes about 2 years to complete, doing it part time, my goal is about 3 1/2 years to complete it. At that point, I will re-assess what has happened up to and including that point, and perhaps I will go for a degree as well.

But going back to why I had chosen GCC. At the time prior, I was at a point in life where I was very unhappy with things. The years would come and go, I would see friends and coworkers come and go at Wegmans, and I just kept thinking “Nothing changes for me”, and “Life is just passing me by”. It took me about 3 years to make the commitment to become a student again. Now keep in mind, I had never gone to college before, although I had taken a few night classes over the years, of which included learning ASL, commonly known as American Sign Language, but since then I have pretty much lost what I have learned since it was many years ago. So prior to that, after I had graduated high school, I was just going from job to job over the years, of which seemed like an endless nightmare of no direction.

At the time I graduated, I had originally thought that I would take a year off and then go back, but when I had started to see what I would qualify for as far as financial aid and etc, I hit a roadblock since I was still living at home and unfortunately my parents made too much money for me to qualify for any sort of help. So as a result of so many set-backs, i pretty much put my life on hold, and consequentially let my life pass by.

At the encouragement of some good friends, and my girlfriend of many years, I decided to take the plunge and give college life a try. Little did I know what was ahead, and yes I was pretty nervous at first. “What am I doing??” and “I must be crazy for doing this” were 2 things that had come to mind as I remember. I’m not much of a risk taker by any means, but I decided that I wouldn’t know anything unless I at least tried and gave it the best shot possible. The rewards thus far have greatly outweighed the risks that I had calculated in my brain.

So as my time At GCC transpires, I look forward to each step along the way, and I embrace the changes in life that will eventually come. New challenges equal new opportunities. My only regret is not having come to the realization sooner. Yes, I may have some regrets,  but in the same instance, if I hadn’t taken the chance like I did, those regrets would become more prominent, and my life would not have any meaning to it. I now have a clear direction, and will continue to follow wherever this path may take me.