Saturday, August 31, 2013

Here Comes College . . .

So this is it--the last weekend before the curtain goes up on the next chapter of your life. 

Excited?  Nervous?  If so, no surprise.  It's not every day you start college, after all.  And even if you've been in school most of your life, this September will be different from all of the previous ones.

But remember that there are plenty of people at NCC who care about you and who are willing to help you succeed in your classes.   If you attended Orientation this week, you met some of them.  You'll meet others in the months ahead.

And as you get ready for Tuesday, here's some sound advice about college from Nassau faculty.  Their words are worth remembering.  File them away! 

"The ability to focus on the challenge at hand--paper, test, whatever it may be--will make you successful."
                                                                              Prof. Bob Rubin, Student Personnel Services Dept.

"Be organized.  Keep your notes all together.  Above all, enjoy your classes."
                                                                               Prof. Silvia Albanese, Foreign Languages Dept.

'"Make the commitment to learn.  Buy the textbook.  Come to our office hours.  Use the learning centers."
                                                                                Prof. John Despagna, Accounting/Business Dept. 

"Whatever you're doing, give it 110%--whether it's your job, your relationships, or school. .  . . And be in control of your impulses.  Fight those impulses that interfere with your success as a student."
                                                                                                       Dr. Bernie Katz, Psychology Dept.

"Come to class with curiosity.  Find something interesting in whatever that day's activity is."
                                                                                Prof. Chris Berg, Reading/Basic Education Dept.

"Surround yourself with people who support your dreams.  Take control of your education; you're doing this for you."
                                                                Prof. Genette Alvarez-Ortiz, Student Personnel Services Dept.

"Learn when it's time to study and when it's time to party. . . . Don't go to class and just go home.  Be active and be involved."
                                                                                             Prof. Trent Webb, Communications Dept.  
"Read newspapers, go to films, have conversations, bring [that knowledge] back to class."
                                                                                                 Dr. Lisa Korman, Psychology Dept.

Congratulations on starting Nassau!  Here's to a great college experience . . .

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Skip Orientation? No Way

It happens every August: a small number of students call our office and ask what's going to happen at Orientation and whether it's really necessary for them to attend.

I'm always okay with the first question, which is pretty understandable.   

But the second?  Asking if they have to attend their college orientation? 

Come on guys!

At Nassau, Orientation is where students' college experience begins to take shape.  It's where students meet other students, get a feel for the campus, catch a glimpse of college life, and go home with some tips about handling the first weeks of classes.

Orientation is also about learning to make connections--through classes, clubs, sports, campus services, community service projects, and other experiences that provide a sense of community and belonging.  Such connections matter: they play an important role in students' overall happiness and success in school.  They sometimes even lay the groundwork for life beyond Nassau. 

That's not all.  Orientation introduces students to the promise and possibilities of college.  Its message to students: "Here's your chance to see what the world is all about, to discover (or re-discover) yourself, to be whatever you want, and to pursue dreams and goals that once seemed out of reach."  Romantic notions?  Maybe.  But if people can't dream big in college, when can they?

All this happens at Orientation.

So if you're one of those people still wondering if it's okay to skip Orientation this week, the answer is NO.

See you there.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Driving on Campus: Rules for the Road

Come Sept. 3, tons of new drivers will descend upon the NCC campus, many unsure where they're going but anxious, nevertheless, to get there in a hurry.

Some will do not-so-smart things, like park in nonexistent spots, drive the wrong way on one-way streets, ignore stop signs, and go way too fast.

Don't be one of these drivers.

Even if you manage to avoid running into another car (which sometimes happens when people are in a hurry), ignoring parking and traffic signs on campus is a sure way to get a ticket, if not right away, then soon after.  And tickets are serious money, often $90 and up.

So here are a few tips to keep the commute from ruining your day.

  • Register your car before school starts.  No matter what you're driving to campus (car, SUV, motorcycle, etc.), you'll need to register your vehicle with Public Safety (  Otherwise you risk getting a ticket, which can wind up costing plenty.

  • Leave enough time to park.  Don't arrive five minutes before the start of your first class and expect to find a space next to your classroom building.  Instead, leave at least 45 minutes to park, get your bearings, and walk to class.  NCC may be big, but it's not an impossible place to navigate on foot. 

  • Scout out parking in advance.  Finding a space will be easier if you know where to look.  If you're entering campus from Endo Boulevard via Stewart Avenue, there's the East lot (the largest on campus).  If you're coming from Earle Ovington Blvd. via Hempstead Turnpike or Charles Lindbergh Blvd., there's the West lot, which also has plenty of spaces.  There's also parking behind Clusters A-D as well as near Building H, on the western part of the campus.  P.S.  If these directions seem confusing, you can download a campus map that shows the parking fields ( and click "Map and Directions") and how to reach them.

  • Read signs carefully.  Most parking on campus is available to students, but some spaces are reserved for employees and people with disabilities.  Park in one of these spots and you're likely to get a ticket--again a costly mistake.

  • Pay attention to campus speed limits (and traffic signs).  The Nassau campus is a busy place--no shortage of traffic and pedestrians at times.  Speed limits and traffic signs try to ensure safety, yours and others'.  Be smart here. 

  • Be careful coming in and out of campus.  Nassau County's red light cameras dot the roads around NCC.  They pick up drivers who run lights or fail to stop on a red before turning.  You may not get pulled over on the spot if you're careless, but you could find a County ticket in your mailbox a few weeks later.

Is commuting to Nassau always stress free?  No.  At certain times of the day, the campus is busy, with a good number of people either looking for a parking space or trying to leave one.  But if you plan ahead--and use your head!--driving (and parking) on campus doesn't have to be a hassle. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Connecting to the NCC Community

Club meetings, sporting events, guest speakers, parties, workshops, concerts, trips, films, plays, poetry readings: interesting things take place almost every week at Nassau.

But given the size of this campus (we're really a little city in many ways), how can you get a handle on all that's happening?  And how can you keep up on academic news--registration dates, scholarship deadlines, new college policies, etc. etc.--that you absolutely need to know about? 

Here are some ideas:

  • Read your College email.  Like pretty much the rest of the planet, Nassau does a ton of business online these days.  To stay in the loop, check your NCC email at least every other day. 

  • Read the NCC homepage (  It's the place to go to learn about "here and now" events--speakers, theatre productions, scholarships, and other happenings.  Give the homepage a weekly once over to see what's going on.

  • Follow NCC's First-Year Experience on Twitter (  Daily tweets, many with links to other NCC pages (and interesting articles), will help you stay up on campus events and other NCC news.  Be a Twitter/FYE follower!

  • Read the Vignette.  NCC's student newspaper (see page 2--Happenings) is information central for news about campus parties, concerts, club meetings, intramural sports, off-campus trips, film fests, and other fun stuff.  Look for the Vignette in newsstands around campus.

Feeling more connected already?  Of course.  But even so, don't stop reading this blog!  You'll get timely information about NCC, advice about college, and neat ideas to kick around as you go through your semester.  You can even respond to posts and tell us what's on your mind.  

Don't be a stranger . . .

Monday, August 5, 2013

Before September Arrives

Give yourself an A+ in the "College Prep" department if you've already gotten your NCC ID, registered your car (or whatever you're driving to campus) with the Public Safety Office, and memorized your MyNCC Banner ID and PIN number.

But if you haven't gotten around to taking care of these things, you have some work to do before classes start.

Here's how you can tie up those loose ends:
  • ID card: You'll need an NCC ID (issued by the Public Safety Office) to use certain campus services, get into many campus events, and take out books from the College library.  To find out about getting an ID, visit or call 572-7100.
  • Car Registration: NCC requires you to register your vehicle (car, SUV, motorcycle, etc.) with the Public Safety Office.  There's a small fee, but it's nothing compared to what you'll pay if you get a County ticket ($90 and up) for parking an unregistered car on campus.  You can register online at
  • Banner ID/PIN: You'll need your MyNCC Banner ID (aka your N number) and PIN number to register for classes, make schedule changes, and look at your records on the Banner system. If you're having trouble remembering these numbers (or if you can't get yours to work), remember that the Banner Help Desk (572-9980) is just a phone call away.  
So there you go--three small but important tasks that, once completed, will make life easier come September.  There will be a few more "must-do's" coming your way soon, so check back again.