Matt's Corner

 

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As I come to the final month of my time at Anna Maria College, I find it almost overwhelming to reflect on my four years here. In 2010 when I was fresh from the classrooms of my high school, I found myself in a new era of my life that I had not adequately prepared for. During my first semester, I struggled to keep up with the increased demand of succeeding and I thought that I may not be able to reach my goals. However, being at such a small institution, I quickly found myself surrounded by the right group of students—both upperclassmen and those in my own class—who showed me how to get the most out of my Anna Maria College experience and turn myself around.

As the years went by, class-by-class, semester-by-semester, I finally reached my senior year. As I sat in my first class as a senior, I looked back and realized how much I had done in what seemed like such a short period of time. Through being an orientation leader alone, I had worked with various freshman classes and saw in a lot of them what I saw in myself when I was in those students’ shoes. Some were confused, some were prepared, and some were in-between. I was able to reassure them that even if they didn’t know exactly what they wanted to do in life, they had plenty of time, resources and support at AMC to help shape their future.

In addition to learning from my peers, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with various administrators at Anna Maria College. Many have become my mentors, as well as some of the greatest advocates for student success that I know. I remember vividly President Calareso’s speech on move-in day in August of 2010. He encouraged us to absorb everything and anything we could while at Anna Maria College. I’m certainly glad I took his advice.

Now, with graduation being merely a blink away, I look to the next phase of my education. I’ll be attending the Higher Education Administration graduate program at Merrimack College, where I’ll also be part of a fellowship program in the Office of Academic Enrichment. My undergraduate experience at AMC helped shape my intended future and I look forward to making a career out of helping students make their transitions into higher education.

I often remind myself that I more than likely wouldn’t have gotten to this point in my life if it wasn’t for my experiences, support and growth at AMC. It’s amazing how much can change in just four years. Between the friends you make, the ones you lose, the goals you reach, and the new goals you set, the Class of 2014’s upcoming commencement is a culmination of what each of us achieved as individuals over these critical last four years.

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As a senior at Anna Maria College with one semester left, you can imagine there is a lot on my mind concerning the immediate future. One might say that this time in a senior’s college career can be very stressful, but I’m glad to report that a lot of the stress has been taken away because of how AMC prepares its students for the future.   Since I was a freshman, my growth at AMC continued each year as I met new challenges that forced me to find new solutions. I went from being a general member of the activities board to eventually becoming a member of the student government association executive board. I learned a lot in and out of the classroom that I know I couldn’t have learned anywhere else and I am glad to be leaving this institution with the knowledge I obtained.

For about a year and a half now I have been determined to find a career in higher education, as well as receive a master’s in higher education administration; I am ready to do both. My final semester will include a lot of applying and waiting, applying and waiting, but at the same time it will be exciting beyond belief! It’s hard to imagine how four years of your life can go by so quickly, the friends you make, the people you meet, the people you lose, and the things you learn.

While being a student at AMC I have had the pleasure of working with many professors and staff in order to get the most out of my education. A number have had an instrumental impact on me that has helped me to become who I am today. When freshman come to Anna Maria College they are told how helpful the small community life style can be but they don’t really know how beneficial it is until they have actually experienced it. I have experienced it over and over again, and while I am sad to leave, I am excited to use what I have gathered at AMC and apply it to the rest of my life in whatever direction it may bring me.

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For this blog entry, I would like to talk about something that caught my eye in the news concerning the world of entertainment. Staying within the context of new media, I wanted to express my thoughts on another form of media that is making its way to the forefront just in time for the holidays: new video gaming technology.
 
For most of you growing up in my generation, I am sure you found yourself playing a video game at some point during your childhood. This forum has been a proven pastime, bringing together friends and family alike to compete and play in a fantasy world that allows our imaginations to run wild. Since the dawn of this technology, many childhoods have been shaped by the escapades of Mario and others. While many parents claim that video games can be distracting, and as a college student I know that they certainly can be, I believe that these products have come to define family recreation for this current generation, and will continue to be a part of the growth of the new media into the next generation.
 
For me, no one really takes the time to appreciate video games for what they are.....a form of art and media that allows us to escape into another reality. Most video consoles today are used like a computer, allowing us to connect with each other over the Internet similar to the way we do with Facebook, Instagram and other venues. Now I am sure there are those who feel video games can be less beneficial or even influential in bad ways, and yes like all forms of media, there are video games that shouldn't be available to our youth, but again, like all forms of media, video games have become a part of our lives, our Christmas lists, and to some...a hobby or past time . . . so we need to appreciate them for what they can bring to our lives.
 
As a technology that has invaded most of our households and has become a booming business, how can we accept this form of new media as a regular part of family entertainment and what ways do you think this tool can help us out other than providing a venue for great fun? Can it be used to educate us in College or as a marketing tool? Let me know what you think.

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With social media becoming a very popular platform, it is important to understand how to get the best use possible out of it and make it work for you! As mentioned in previous posts, social media has been able to aid faculty and universities in many ways to strengthen their relationships with students. However, there are always ways that YOU as a student can use social media to help better your life style and future.
 
When it comes to your own social media practices, you can always use them to improve your personal image whether you are using the tool to apply for a job, college, or just in general. When I went to a conference last year for undergrad students interested in the field of higher education there was a session on social media that made me look at it from a whole new perspective. The session talked about the importance of making sure your social media platform represents you in the best way possible. This means making sure there is never offensive material or anything that may portray any organizations you are affiliated with negatively.
 
How can you do this? To utilize your social media so that it works for you and represents you in a positive way, always make sure that you have your content set to private, such as, approving any posts made by another person. Just because you aren't the one posting it, if a friend posts something offensive on your wall or page and you don't delete it, you are basically saying that you agree with or have no problem with what he or she is saying. This can be just as harmful to your image as something coming right from you.
 
When I came to college, I knew Facebook was an easy and efficient way to keep in touch with my friends from high school or new people that I was about to meet in college. However, I realized that because I was going to start building a professional image of myself, it would be a good idea to delete my old Facebook from high school and start a fresh new page. The reason I did this was not because I had offensive material, but because the old Facebook represented a younger me as a teenager. Making a new one allowed me to restart my social media presence in a more mature way.
 
Small things like this are simple ways that can help you keep in an eye on how you look on social media. It is always good to make sure you present yourself well in all media outlets, no matter your age, profession, or how much or how little social media platforms you use.
 
Do you utilize social media like this? Have you ever experienced a situation where someone was reprimanded because of content on their social media platforms?

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Social media has evolved into a major communication tool with tweets and posts linking students in seconds. Social media supporters believe that the rise in its use by students beyond social relations is helpful, while others argue the opposite. So the question to explore is: Does social media help students?
 
Studies done by researchers at Michigan State University have concluded that students who have almost little to no experience with the college application process have shown to uncover the information they need through social media. The results of the study also concluded that the students who were applying to college who needed help with the process found most of their answers by looking them up on social media venues. Students also used Facebook to contact current students at the colleges they were applying to in order to get a better understanding of what the life of a student is like. With social media chiming in at moments like these, it shows how useful it has become beyond the point of entertainment and that it is also becoming an important part of our lives.
 
What can be learned from the social media explosion is that it is important that whenever a new phenomenon sweeps through our society, we consider it from all sides. Since social media rooted itself in our society we have acknowledged its downsides. However, over recent years, society as a whole has found ways to incorporate social media so that it is more useful and beneficial, rather than distracting and distasteful.
 
So, if social media can help students attain more information on the college application process as shown in the Michigan State study, then it stands to reason that it can continue to help students throughout the college years. Do you agree with this? How else have you seen social media exhibit positive outcomes in college or university life?