Tag Archives: college

SCCC congratulates the class of 2020 with ‘celebration boxes’

Suffolk County Community College is making sure students are recognized despite the cancellation of the commencement ceremony 

Graduating students of Suffolk County Community College will not be having graduation ceremonies this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic  

And while SCCC will not be conducting a virtual ceremony like some other colleges, it does plan to distribute a “SUNY Suffolk celebration box” to graduating students, acccording to email from the school. The box will include, “a congratulatory letter, the Suffolk County Community College alumni pin and decal, as well as a commemorative gift.”

“It’s an appreciated gesture, especially with all the stress we went through this semester,” said 21-year-old computer science major, Elijuwon Mitchell, of Mastic.  

“That’s really cool,” said Gio Hernandez, 21, of Shirley, who is studying architect technology. “Something’s better than nothing, so it’s nice that after years of work students can get something from the school as an award since they’re not getting the experience of walking across the stage.” 

Liberal Arts major Thomas Piña, 19, of Centereach, was overjoyed. “I think it’s great! During this time especially, it’s nice that my hard work is getting recognized and now I’m able to look forward to something else.”  

According to the school’s email, SCCC is in the process of creating an online frame for students to use and interact with on social media. They are also producing a video along with a collection of photos that can be viewed on a site for the 2020 graduation once completed. This website will also feature a scrolling list of the graduates’ names.   

“I think Suffolk did a very good job at communicating with students during this unusual time,” added Piña.  

The current crisis has taken a toll on many individuals and their families around the world. While most students understand that not having a commencement ceremony is for the safety of others and not the most severe repercussion given the conditions, graduating is a milestone that deserves to be celebrated with or without a ceremony.  

“Ultimately, I never imagined that my journey at SCCC would end like this,” Piña says, “but it goes to show that anything can happen life.” 

SCCC rejects a pass/fail system

Suffolk County Community College decided on April 29 to reject a pass/fail system that could have replaced letter grades, with officials saying such a move would negatively affect students’ transferring to four-year schools.

The decision followed an online petition set up by SCCC students asking for clarity on the college’s position of transitioning to the new grading system, while also pushing for it to be put in place, after SUNY system sent out guidance to SCCC on how to adopt the new grading system if they chose to do so.

Executive Dean Wesley Lundburg and the administration believe the decision is most beneficial for all students.

Due to the shift of in-person learning to online, many colleges, such as Farmingdale State College and Binghamton University, initiated an optional pass/fail grading system. The pass/fail system gives the student either a pass or fail grade in place of a letter grade. 

“Once we became more educated on the topic, we began advocating for it with all three campuses SGA’s and our student Trustee,” said Ammerman campus Student Government Association President Erin Winn.

Lundburg gave multiple reasons why this system does less for students than it would benefit them. The main reason mentioned was the difficulty of transferring credits if the school were to switch over to a pass/fail system.

“Many of the institutions going to P/F are 4-year universities whose students are unlikely to transfer to other colleges,” said Lundburg.

Being a two-year community college, most students apply here to attain an associate’s degree and then transfer to a four-year university. The pass/fail system states that any grade above a D would constitute a pass, yet most four-year universities do not accept grades below a C. 

Daniel Linker, president of the Ammerman Faculty Senate, added, “You could not transfer classes in your major, and many other classes, like writing classes, would not transfer at all if pass/fail.”

Along with the uncertainty of transferral, “Financial aid, health insurance, GI bill, student visas and other things could all be affected,” Linker said.

SCCC administration has advised professors to be more lenient during these times, as students are dealing with the transition of online school, as well as out-of-school issues. 

More support is offered during this time as many are adjusting to online learning.

“Tutoring and other online support for specific classes have been increased to support students, as have student services such as academic counseling,” Lundburg said.

Linker emphasized that he believed this was the best decision for SCCC students and their futures.

“Nothing like this has ever happened and there are so many moving parts and complications… It’s morally hard to enact a policy that you know will hurt the students, even if it looks good to them at the time.”

the great american debate of the presidential forum at suffolk community college

On March 12, 2020, a presidential forum took place at all three campus at Suffolk Community College for Kevin Law on his presidential nomination. The debate was simulcasted from all three campus via cameras and the internet. Law spoke behind the podium at the Riverhead campus in front of an audience of faculty and students at the same time, staff members and students were watching on a video screen in the She Theatre at the Ammerman Campus in Seldon and staff members and students from the Grant Campus in Brentwood. It went on for almost two hours. He spoke of many issues on subjects such as education, changing of staff, hiring adjutant professors instead of full fledge professors and the outbreak of COVID-19 also known as the coronavirus.

Faculty members from each campus took turns asking questions regarding issues of educations, the hiring of professors and the declining enrollment of students. He gives long answers and how he will address it as college president. He admits to being a non traditional since he wasn’t a dean or professor as oppose to a traditional who has served as a professor, dean and with a PHD. After a long debate, they went on a recess and went on another debate in an hour later.

There was a lot of mixed reactions among the audience. Katherine Aguirre, 38 who works on campus as an assistant dean of students services. “Not a very true candidate with credentials.”

Anthony Wilson, 48 who works as one of the professional assistants. “well delivered” he said “good to hear a lot people involved, will qualify.”

Tiana Velazquez, 42 a college director for the college association. “I think he’s good for a presidential candidate.”

The outcome of it was well received but his nomination is still yet to be determined. Because of major circumstances with the outbreak with the coronavirus, it will be awhile to find out if Kevin Law will be the president of Suffolk County Community College.

The necessity of parking permits on campus

Have you ever gotten a ticket on campus for not having a permit? As a commuter school, parking is almost a guarantee for students at Suffolk.  If you’re a student, faculty or staff member, parking permits are a requirement to park.

If not, you risk getting a fine up to $50. Despite this, students often ignore this policy and usually prolong registering their vehicle, if at all.

Tickets can cost usually $25 and can go up to $50, depending on the violation.

Some students may take action right away to prevent this. But on the other hand, some don’t even seem to be fazed by the potential consequences.  

Returning student Anthony Copple, 18,  admitted that he has yet to get a parking pass. 

“I wasn’t sure where to get one,” he said at first. But even when he was told how to get one through Suffolk’s website, Copple said, “I don’t feel like I need one, though,” since he hasn’t gotten a ticket. 

Others try to address the policy immediately.

First-semester student Samantha Perez, 23, said she requested a parking pass once she found on the website that one was required.

“I ordered it a month ago and it hasn’t arrived,” she said, “It’s my first semester, so I haven’t gotten a ticket on campus.” 

Suffolk’s website breaks down the process of obtaining a parking pass works.

Students and also staff have their own procedures “Non-Credit ESL and GED students can obtain their permit on campus. Faculty, Staff and Administrators can register and obtain parking permits through their MySCCC Portal Account.” 

When on campus, students can order their parking pass from public safety. If a student already has one from a previous semester, they can have it renewed via their student bill for the next semester. 

“If you have paid the annual registration fee with your semester bill, you will be able to renew your previous permit or register your vehicle.” 

Should a student or staff member feel they received a ticket unfairly, they can file an appeal at Public Safety said department aide Jericha Daoff,  “They have to appeal the ticket. So they would come in here and file an appeal, fill out the form, and our captain will take a look at it and see if it will be appealed or not.” 

A Smithtown Community College parking permit is required to be placed on the lower right-hand side of a windshield in a location that is clearly visible from the outside, according to the website.

Is college necessary to be successful? SCCC students weigh in

Here’s a common scenario: go to college straight from high school, graduate, get a good job, get married, have a family and retire somewhere down South. But is college, in particular, a necessary path for everyone?

According to a 2018 WGBH News/Abt Associates poll, 68% of Americans said they feel college is still worth attending. But, when asked if attending college is necessary to get ahead in life, 55% of participants ranging from 18 to 65 said they believed college was not.

Jake Napolitano, a 19-year-old liberal arts major, agrees with the people who say it isn’t worth it.

“I don’t think [college is] necessary for two reasons,” he said. “It’s very possible to find your own success separate from school and education seriously isn’t for everyone.”

In the age of technology, many people find success online through social media platforms, such as Instagram, Youtube, and Twitter. The accessibility and reach that a person can get through self-promotion is nothing compared to what has been seen and/or done in years before.

Mauricio Narvaez, a 20-year-old graphic design major said, “College is a decision. In order to become successful, you must be willing to put that time and effort to be where you want to be.”

There are many benefits to not going to college, such as “more time for leisure activities and/or work,” said Napolitano. “You also feel a sense of freedom and less stress.”

Narvaez adding that going to college doesn’t ensure that any graduate gets an automatic job, “especially when your major is one with a lot of competition.”

However, that doesn’t mean we should completely ditch the idea of college altogether. There is a reason why 77% of people believe that college is worth attending.

According to an article on collegecovered.com, there are many benefits to attending college. The article stated that the attendance of classes can add to your resume and can be a life-changing experience.

“I’ve taken classes that I feel like I get something out of other than credits towards graduating,” said Napolitano. “It’s also an easy way to meet people.”

The ‘college experience’ is usually a big selling point for a lot of high school graduates when it’s time to choose their life path. The idea that you’re missing out on life if you choose to follow your dreams straight out of high school rather than spend another four plus years in the same environment.

There are also many career paths that require a degree, such as a nurse, doctor, lawyer, and other high figure jobs. They require a plethora of knowledge that you cannot learn anywhere else.

To be able to really answer this question, however, was to get to the route of what ‘success’ really meant. According to Webster’s dictionary, success means a favorable or desirable outcome, which could be attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. 

To Napolitano, however, “success is finding a balance between personal acceptance and monetary gain.”

Many students struggle with the concept of success, thinking it means solely monetary when it really means whatever they choose to have it mean. When a person completes a task or goal they had set for themselves, that is success. 

If obtaining an associate’s, bachelor’s, or even a Ph.D. is your ultimate goal, then yes, college is necessary to be successful because there’s no way to gain that without going through the process. However, if your end goal is to be happy and debt-free, then maybe college is not necessary. 

“There’s no true path to becoming successful, especially in a country like this country, where the opportunities are almost limitless,” said Narvaez.

For Napolitano, “Success to me is being happy with where you are in life.”

RateMyProfessors.com: ‘The last piece of that puzzle’ for some students

A poll posted to the Compass News Instagram page asked Ammerman campus students if the reviews on RateMyProfessors.com, the website in which students rate and post comments about their professors, play a significant factor in their decision when registering for classes. With votes from 53 students, the poll showed a 100% response in one direction: yes, it does.

“If the reviews are not good and the ratings are lower than a 4, I do not take the class,” said Marissa Buchanan, a liberal arts student. It is not only about ratings or if the course is easy to pass or not; students want to learn from someone who cares about their academic life.

“Starting college is already a stressful occasion and adding to that stress is the pressure of selecting the right courses and professors,” said computer information systems major Faiz Rahman. “Before registering for a class, you should know if the professor will help you want to learn more. RMP is the last piece of that puzzle.”

Founded by John Swapceinski, a software engineer from California in May 1999, RMP allows college students to rate their professors based on different categories.

“It is your turn to grade them!” the website says, as it prompts ten questions about the professor you have decided to give an opinion on. Students can rate the professor’s level of difficulty, mention the really necessary textbooks, select up to three tags that best describe the class, and be honest if they would ever take that course again.

According to its social media accounts, RMP includes “more than 19 million student comments and ratings of over 1.7 million professors at over 7,500 schools.” Its impact has become unavoidable and a regular step of the class enrollment process for students all over the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

Like every other online review site, RMP has its cons.

“Some reviews can be misleading, so you have to consider the outliers,” Rahman emphasizes.

Ciara Shepherd, a liberal arts student, agrees. “I have found the website to be inaccurate sometimes due to the emotions and opinions of the students being very sensitive instead of factual.”

Hence, the importance of reading the reviews, not only looking at a rating from 1 to 5. It is easy to spot comments from someone that showed a lack of care and effort for a course, especially if there are many good comments about the same class and professor.

The fear of being misled by such comments have stopped students like Tanya Cepeda, a biology major, from checking the website, although she might be reconsidering that. “I never really looked at RMP. I have always been skeptical about their reviews. However, I have had a bad college experience so far, and I am seriously considering going over their ratings before enrolling for the fall semester.”

RMP discourages reviews mentioning a professor’s trait or anything not related to their teaching methods. The website promotes the slogan “with content for students, by students,” and expects its users to be respectful and mindful.

Suffolk County Community College students know what they are looking for, but it is critical to understand that leaving a review on a professor’s profile is not as effective as talking to them in person, professors say.

Professors like Stacey Whitman in the physical education department are open to listening, perhaps even open to making changes, if students share their concerns.

“I wouldn’t go off of RMP. But I do ask for input in my classes,” she said. “Everybody is a different learner, so if there’s something they are not getting and they suggest a different method, I would absolutely take that into consideration. At the end of the day, it’s about their success and how they are receiving the information.”

Photo by Anna DeAssis

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.