Tag Archives: college

How social media plays a role in anxiety and depression for college students

Some would say when you reach college, you start to reach that phase of your life before adulthood. If you’re stressed, should you blame it on teachers, blame it on yourself, or blame it on social media?

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, some factors that cause social media anxiety disorder are interrupting conversations to check your social media accounts, telling people how much time you spend on social media when the reality is another story, using your phone in class and avoiding work to share posts on specific websites. Thirty percent of college students spend more than 12 hours per week and this could lead to them isolating themselves from their work, friends and family.

A study by Stanford’s Children Health found that suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds. There are 25 attempted suicides to one suicide that happened. Females are more likely to commit suicide than males. The study found that 34 percent of students suffered from cyberbullying and only 38 percent admit it to their parents.

Limiting social media usage

A 2018 University of Pennsylvania study monitored 143 undergraduates reducing their use of social media to 10 minutes per platform, per day. The results showed reductions in loneliness and depression.

Research also shows that using social media more than usual can’t just cause anxiety, but also attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, problems with mental functioning and paranoia.

Studies by the American Psychological Association show that college students who use Facebook show signs of psychological disorders like staying away from family members and not being involved in group activities. Students who checked Facebook at least once during a 15-minute period got lower grades.

For one student, social media
is a positive ‘getaway’

Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major is his second semester at Suffolk, said he believes social media can be a getaway from stress.

“Whenever I’m thinking of a test grade, I go on Twitter or Instagram to watch some videos to help me laugh and forget about the test,” Pelaez said. “I definitely don’t think it solves all my problems, but it sure helps me get away with problems in college and life in general.”

Although social media may have negative impacts, it would be unfair to not look at the positives it may provide. Social media provides a method of communication for students and an easy way to message each other through apps like Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram and iMessage. Another advantage that social media provides to college students is being able to gain more knowledge, there’s easier access to relationships.

According to Techjury.net, the use of social media, college students can also feel belittled by watching others party or be intimidated by others for their grades, which leads to cyberbullying. For example, if there’s a party happening, and you didn’t get invited you’re going to feel some type of way. Instead of trying to get invited to the next one, you shut yourself off and don’t make an effort for it because you have accepted defeat.

Photo: Jonathan Pelaez, 18, a liberal arts major.

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As teachers use other tools, students find they are not using their textbooks

Photo: Mike Gaisser (April 11, 2018)

SCCC students are finding themselves not using textbooks they purchased at the beginning of a semester as more professors move to using presentations or other resources as replacements, according to numerous interviews.

Samantha Manco, 18, and Kelli Alfredson, 18, both in their second semesters, get their textbooks from the SCCC campus bookstore, where students can go to buy and return textbooks.

Alfredson has four textbooks. But she finds herself only using her laboratory book.

“I looked on the syllabus and then I bought them and then I found out that I didn’t need them,” she said. “Everything’s PowerPoint and online.” She has kept her books but said she is going to rent more next semester.

Manco also owns four textbooks. In the past, she found that she did not need some of them and returned them to the bookstore within the “first two weeks” because professors put the information on a PowerPoint.

“I don’t think they’re needed,” Manco said of the books. Now, she said, “I wait to buy them [and if the teacher] doesn’t say anything, I’m not gonna buy them.”

Kelly Lynch, one of the textbook managers at the SCCC campus bookstore at Ammerman said students  “typically” return textbooks at the end of the semester.

“We have a standard return policy that’s on their receipts. They have a week or two in the beginning of this term and then after that, they only have a couple of days. And then they should check in their books at the end of term if they rented them,” Lynch said.

They are other places students could go to get their textbooks, such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Danny Mazariegos, 18, who is currently in his second semester, opted to get his from Amazon. But he feels he “wasted money for no reason” for his classes last fall.

“Last semester, I bought four books and I didn’t use any of them,” he said. “All the assignments were online.” This semester, the only book Mazariegos uses is an English book.

Rosa Gambier, a biology professor at the Ammerman campus, said she doesn’t think students read the books that much in introductory-level biology courses. And while she does assign books, she admits students can get away with not using them if they pay attention to the lectures, which includes PowerPoint and YouTube videos, along with study questions.

“If you grab the materials in the lecture without reading the book, it works for you and you can pass the test,” Gambier said.

But Gambier said students will not pass the more advanced biology courses if they don’t read the books. Even with good lectures. But the textbooks are “really readable and interesting,” she said.

“You’re a college student. You’re supposed to read the book,” Gambier said. “In most bio classes, you have to memorize a lot of terminology.”

Currently in his second semester as well, Alex Mecklosky, 19, is using two textbooks he got from the bookstore.

“They’ve served a purpose,” he said. The professor is saying “go to the book.” However, last semester wasn’t the same situation, as Mecklosky has more books and didn’t use them as much. “We read one of the books in my class and other book, we didn’t get to.”

When students register for classes, the SCCC website will tell you what books are needed for a particular course. “If [we] don’t need it, then don’t put it on their site,” Manco said.

Dean Lundburg: Drills, communication top priorities for campus safety

Recent events such as the threat of an active shooter on campus last fall and the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have inspired changes to handle emergencies at the SCCC Ammerman campus.

I sat down with Executive Dean Wesley Lundburg to find out more.

Lundburg, a former Coast Guardsman, said he is taking what he learned during his service to help this campus. He said a big focus would be drilling.

“When you have drilling, you have muscle memory. You can’t have people rely on a placard on the side of the doorway, that they go to and say, ‘Oh, what am I supposed to do?’” Lundburg said. “You need to get them to a place where they just automatically know what to do.”

Talks of change have been happening since an Oct. 30 incident in which an active shooter was thought to be on campus. It was quickly found that the student was carrying two toys guns as part of a Halloween costume. But the recent Parkland shooting has lit the fire.

The administration has brought Associative Dean Dave Bergan from the Eastern campus on board to help with the plans for change.

On March 13, a Professional Development Day was scheduled, during which faculty staff would receive emergency preparedness training. That was canceled due to inclement weather and has been rescheduled for April 6.

Lundburg said the Oct. 30 incident was a huge learning experience for the campus. The college was able to pinpoint exactly what needs to be improved. The biggest component is communication, he said.

As for current campus-wide communication, a PA system is in place throughout the hallways of the buildings on campus. NY Alert, a statewide emergency alert and notification system that the college uses to alert students in the event of an emergency, is a big part of that. There is an effort to switch over to Shark Alerts, a similar program that’s focused on SCCC.

The current PA system used on Oct. 30 sends out alerts in two parts. A lack of communication caused only half of the system to send out an alert to the campus of the threat. The system operator who was told to send out the alert sent it to the first half of the system and then was told not to send the alert because police were already on the way.

Because of the lack of proper communication, only half the campus was alerted that there was an emergency.

Currently, public safety is pricing out options for a PA system that will be outdoors. Speakers outside will be able to reach more people in the event of an emergency.  Lundburg is not sure how much that would cost.

The change will not be happening overnight, but the ball is rolling for an improvement of safety at the Ammerman campus.

“There hasn’t been resistance… it’s just there are a lot of priorities and things get kind of shoved aside,” Lundburg said.

Despite success, SCCC’s baseball team lacks coverage

After winning the district championship in 2016 and coming in second last year, the Suffolk County Community College baseball program is moving into the new season with nothing but confidence.

The Sharks had an overall record of 26-11-1 in 2017, finishing the season with a conference-best 20 wins and only two losses. However, most people on campus, let alone the region, aren’t aware of the team’s success.

It’s about time for that to change, according to the current and past coach, as well as observers.

“Our boys deserve more recognition from both the college and the local news networks,” said former head coach Eric Brown, the longest-tenured coach in the college’s history who retired last year. “These boys have talent and have proven it. There is not a good reason why they do not get more coverage.”

New head coach Brian Klammer, who started at the conclusion of last season, says he has confidence in the program and players, and that news outlets should give the team the attention it deserves. Without the press, players can get overlooked for future possibilities, he said.

“I know in the past watching these guys perform, they’ve had guys that have wanted to transfer to higher-level programs and even go pro, and they haven’t been given a fair shot,” Klammer said. “It isn’t even just this school or even Long Island. Truthfully, it’s the entire Northeast. None of these players get the same respect as some down South who get to play year-round.”

The team’s season opened on March 1. It has a 3-2 record.

Vinny Messana , who started aXcess Baseball, an online publication specifically dialed in on covering local high school and college baseball on Long Island, is one who believes there’s a real demand for coverage of Suffolk and other schools.

“People don’t realize that Long Island wants baseball,” Messana said, whose publication has grown to the point where he now holds an awards banquet at the end of every season.  “I created this outlet because of the lack of coverage these players were getting and I never expected the results to look like this.”

The next time the Sharks will see the field is March 11 in a double-header against Orange County.

Advice from advisers: the process of priority registration

Walking into the adviser office was a dreary sight. The waiting room was lonely and cold, with no student waiting anxiously to see an adviser about their academic future. Most of the action came from the secretaries themselves and even they were just sitting at their desks, eager for a student to come in. Although inactive now, the traffic will surely shift when priority registration season begins.

The empty advisor center waiting area during off-seasons.

Students tend to complain about the process of priority registration, but the job of advisers must not be taken for granted. Academic advisers are located upstairs in the Albert M. Ammerman Building and serve to build schedules, plan for college transfers, assist students in making the most of their academic future, etc.

Returning SCCC students know the frustration and chaos that goes into priority registration season; from the slow-moving lines to see an adviser, to fighting over minimal class spots. New students do not have it any easier, as they have to go through a longer process to register.

“Advisers are people who will do prescriptive work,” said Ben Laudicina, an adviser and counselor at the Ammerman building. “As an adviser, the scope is large and everything is time sensitive.”

Academic advisers do a lot more than create schedules for students. During off-seasons, advisers are hands-on with a variety of events on campus, such as transfer day and on-site college visits. They also write recommendation letters for students. Aside from academics, advisers additionally serve as career and mental health counselors when needed.

On a typical off-season day, up to 100 students come to the advising office per day. Students can schedule 45-minute appointments to discuss future plans at SCCC and beyond.

During priority registration season, however, that number reaches upwards of 200 students a day. Due to the great volume of people and a small staff of only seven advisers, open door policies are in place during the three-month priority registration season to help students at a quicker rate.

“From my own perspective, the priority registration process is very overwhelming. We often have 25-30 people in the waiting room regularly,” said Laudicina. He says the biggest issue in the advising center is understaffing.

“It’s important to take mini breaks in between seeing each student. The job can get overwhelming, but it’s always a rewarding feeling at the end of the day,” Laudicina said.

The Honors college, located in the Southampton building, has an advising center as well that is strictly available to honors students. Although students in the Honors college typically have earlier access to register, they still experience the stress of registration, especially when it comes to picking classes.

Nicholas Grasso, a fourth semester Liberal Arts major, has been a part of the honors program at SCCC since he started his education in the Fall of 2016. He finds honors registration and regular registration rather similar in their roles and organization, but he noticed a significant challenge when registering for honors classes.

“The registration is well-organized. However, in my experience, it seems the Honors classes fill up exponentially quicker than regular classes,” Grasso said.

The biggest issue in both regular advising and honors advising is the under-staffing of advisers. With a campus enrollment of over 14,000 students, it becomes difficult for academic advisers to fully help students with all their needs and get them into the exact classes they need.

The counseling center at the Ammerman building. This is home to academic, career, and personal counselors for students of SCCC.

Due to the under-staffing, it is encouraged by advisers that students go see an adviser in their declared major, or a trusted professor that also does advising. Doing this can significantly help relieve the burden of overcrowding.

“Be proactive, not reactive. You can meet with an advisor and prepare your schedule far in advance to avoid the long lines,” said Laudicina. “It’s never too early to start planning. It only makes life easier.”

Save the date: Summer/Fall 2018 Priority Registration starts April 9.

I attend SCCC’s Ammerman and Grant campuses. Here’s why I like Ammerman better.

I have been at SCCC for three full semesters and this is my last. I live in Commack, about a 35-40 minute drive from the Ammerman campus in Selden.

I’m one of the 15,420 full-time students going to Ammerman, because I’m majoring in journalism. If I desired, I could schedule more of my non-journalism classes at Grant in Brentwood. But there are several reasons why I chose not to after having three classes there during my first semester.

There is no plaza at Grant

At Grant, there is no plaza, quad, or central meeting place outside for students to go. It looks like the college may have tried with this:

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At Grant, areas to sit are scattered across campus. I barely feel a sense of community at Grant even though I live in Commack 15 minutes away.

At Ammerman, Veteran’s Plaza seems to serve as a common place for SCCC students to congregate and hang out in the spring. Whether it’s talking with friends on one of the “pony walls”, playing frisbee on the grass, or a band playing, I feel an overwhelming sense of community and college life there.

Grant needs some sort of quad or plaza to serve as a common area for students to hang out outside and host activities. As I was walking from the new Learning Center to the Health, Sports, Education Center, I stumbled upon this space, which would be perfect if there’s nothing underneath, like a cesspool:

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Grant doesn’t need to have a replica of Veteran’s Plaza at Ammerman, but this space is perfect for their own, unique version. Many students have classes in the HSEC and the new Learning Center serves as a common place to do work. Plus, it’s in the middle of campus.

Ammerman is more enjoyable to walk through.

Ammerman is prettier visually while walking in between classes, mainly because it is “situated on 156 wooded acres,” according to the SCCC website. In the springtime, the cherry blossom trees bloom with pink flowers. The birds start chirping. It’s more enjoyable to take a stroll just for fun or walking to your next class in a different building, especially in the plaza.

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In Grant, it’s dreadful to walk from class to class. There’s so much empty space that should be filled up with trees, plants, and flowers to make it more visually appealing and enjoyable to walk because it’s boring to look at.

I like the style and setup of Ammerman over Grant.

Personally, I like the style of Ammerman over Grant. When I walk into the HSEC, I feel like I’m walking into a correctional facility, with public safety having to unlock and lock the classrooms every morning, and not the teachers. With that gross smell of chlorine from the pool. I wouldn’t like having a physical education class in the HSEC gym because it’s too big and I hate big, empty spaces.

The smaller, older style gym in the Brookhaven Gymnasium at Ammerman reminds me of high school, with the hardwood floors and banners on the wall. I love the old, classic college look of Ammerman over the cold modern, new generic look of Grant.

In regards to the setup, I like how at Ammerman, the main buildings where students have classes are generally close to each other in one big circle, unlike Grant. The buildings where students have classes are more scattered in Grant, so there’s more of a chance one will have a walk quite a long way to get to their next class.

For some students, who prefer the Ammerman style and set up over Grant, scheduling more classes at Ammerman is a possible solution if they are willing to drive to Selden. But for many students who go to Grant regularly, going there isn’t possible. So, therefore, while Grant can’t change its modern style or set up, it can become a little bit more like Ammerman while still maintaining it’s unique features for its 11,111 full-time students.

 

Suffolk’s Diaz appointed to Mather Hospital board

Sylvia Diaz, Suffolk County Community College’s director of college foundations, was appointed to Mather Hospital’s board of directors in January.

Diaz grew up in the crime- and poverty-stricken South Bronx, where she discovered a passion was to help others.

“My interest in helping people probably emanates from very early childhood experiences in the South Bronx. It was a very difficult time and I was growing up in an area where there was a lot of crime, poverty and addiction,” Diaz said. “These experiences had a deep and personal effect on me and I specifically recall feeling tremendous compassion for the less fortunate. I knew I wanted to have a broader impact on the community.”

Diaz has worn many hats after receiving a doctorate in social welfare, a master’s in social work and a certification in parish social ministry. A few examples of her many hats include chief deputy commissioner for the Suffolk County Department of Social Services, special assistant for minority affairs for Suffolk, regional vice president for the American Cancer Society, and owner of Pathways Renewed Inc.

Diaz said being appointed to Mather Hospital’s board of directors could open some promising doors for SCCC. Mather Hospital, the newest edition to Northwell Health, is also known as a teaching hospital.

“One obvious connection is through our highly regarded nursing program. Our nursing students are well trained and highly sought after. There are also partnerships possible through our PTA, OTA, Human Services and EMT programs.” Diaz said.

The relationship Diaz brings between Mather Hospital and Suffolk County Community College is fairly new, but has potential for strategic advancements within the community , she said.

“Mather Hospital is smaller to compare with Stony Brook and this could be a crucial benefit for students because smaller groups of students have a greater possibility to learn more,” said Marta Popek, a nursing student at SCCC.

Mather Hospital under the control of Northwell Health would have astounding benefits to Mather’s teaching programs.

“I have never personally had the opportunity to work with Sylvia, but the work she does for the college is vital within the community,” said Jeanne Durso-Gunes, a professional assistant at SCCC for the continuing education department. “I believe the impact a potential relationship between Suffolk and Mather’s would be a life-changer for our healthcare students,” she said.