Thursday, August 21, 2014

No Excuses: Come to Orientation

It never fails.  Every year about this time a handful of students call our office and say, "I just received my invitation to Orientation. Do I really have to come?" 

The question makes me cringe.  

Here's what I want to say: "You're kidding, right?  You're starting college next month and you're thinking of not attending your orientation?  Is this any way to begin the next part of your life?" 

Let's get serious: If you miss Orientation, you're missing something vital.

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

Orientation is about learning to make connections--through your classes, clubs, sports, campus services, community service projects, and other experiences that will help you feel welcome and at home here.  These connections matter.  They'll play an important role in your overall happiness and success in school.  They may sometimes even lay the groundwork for life beyond Nassau.

What's more, Orientation introduces students to the promises and possibilities of college. Orientation's basic message: "Here's your chance to see what the world of higher ed is all about, to discover (or rediscover) yourself, to be whatever you want, and to pursue dreams and goals that once seemed out of reach."

All this happens at Orientation--which is why you ABSOLUTELY have to attend.    

So no excuses: come to Orientation.

See you next week.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

S-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g Yourself

Okay all of you soon-to-be-Nassau students: Time for some advice on stretching.

I'm not talking about calisthenics here, but about a different kind of stretching--the kind that will broaden your understanding of yourself and others, help you discover a talent you didn't know existed, teach you something important about the world, and maybe help you see life's big picture.  

Your professors will do their best in class to stretch you, of course, but you can also stretch yourself (in ways you've never imagined) outside the classroom walls.  Being part of campus life--joining a club, attending a lecture, seeing a theatre production, being part of a campus/community service project, even going to a social event--can make your college experience richer and more interesting. Participation can also make you feel more connected to Nassau (an important thing at a large school) and expose you to people and ideas you might not have otherwise encountered.

And if that's not enough, involvement in campus life can be FUN, a word you might not associate with college right now, but one that--trust me--is definitely important.

You might be thinking that between your classes and the rest of life (work, family, etc.), you probably won't have a whole lot of free time for anything else this fall.   Understood.  But remember: no one's asking you to join every club at NCC or attend every campus program.  Nor is anybody suggesting you spend every waking minute on campus, ignoring job, family, and classes.  Balance is important.  Making all of the pieces fit is critical to your success in college.

But somewhere during the fall semester, find at least a little time to see what campus life at NCC is all about.  Be selective--choose something that interests you or that at least looks promising.  Check out NCC's 100+ clubs at the Activities Fair in September; drop by the Firehouse Art Gallery to see your classmates' work; enter the chess tournament or the Edgar Allan Poe contest sponsored by the Office of Student Activities; listen to Ernest Cline, author of "Ready Player One" (NCC's common reading for 2014-2015), talk about the potential and perils of the digital age; drop in on the Halloween Film Festival in the College Center in October; write a poem or short story for Luna, NCC's student literary magazine; or peer at the heavens through the Physical Sciences Department's high-powered telescope on Astronomy Night.

Nothing here grabs you?  Keep searching; there are plenty more campus activities taking place at NCC this fall. 

But whatever you do, avoid racing for the parking lot or bus stop immediately after your last class every day.  Don't shortchange yourself by walking around campus with your head down, bypassing opportunities to widen your world and make your life more inspired. There's a great education--and a great time--to be had outside the classroom at NCC, provided you're open to it.

September's almost here. Get ready to stretch.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Making Your Voice Heard

Like journalism?  Interested in politics?  Want to make your voice heard at NCC?

If so, the Vignette and the Student Government Association (SGA) want to meet you--and soon.

The Vignette (pronounced Vin-Yet) is NCC's official student newspaper.  It offers members--students like you--opportunities to be involved in every aspect of publication work, from story development and writing to editing and layout and design.  It also gives you the chance to learn photography, gain experience in advertising and business, and see how a newspaper comes together.

Maybe best of all, the Vignette provides a forum for you and other students to express your views on issues (campus and off-campus) that matter.  Besides reporting the news, the Vignette encourages students to speak their minds.  The paper is not the only student voice at NCC, but it's definitely one of the most influential.

So too is the Student Government Association, an organization that oversees student life at NCC and that also speaks up on behalf of students.  SGA members serve on campus committees and other groups--NCC's Board of Trustees, for example--where the student perspective is essential.

If you join SGA, you'll gain practical experience in budgeting (the group manages a student fee budget of more than a million dollars) as well as a host of organizational skills--committee work, conflict resolution, and campus outreach.  It's the place to be if you're interested in a career in politics or public service.

Though the Vignette and the SGA differ in their work (and sometimes in their views on things!), both have students' best interests in mind.  They're similar in another way too: both need interested and energetic members, students who have ideas and who are willing to work, speak up, and make life better for their classmates.

If that's you, come look them up when school starts!  You can find Vignette editors in Room 347 of the College Center and the SGA leadership just down the hall in Room 341.  Stop by, introduce yourself, and see what's cooking.  Find out how you can get involved and how you can make a difference.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Before September Arrives . . .

I know what you're thinking: Why's this guy talking about September already?  Isn't there still a month of summer left?

Of course there is.  And there's no need to rush August (a great month) away or to act like school is starting any minute and you're already behind.

But in fact, there are some NCC things you'd be smart to handle before the curtain rises on the fall semester.  None will gobble up all of your time, but they're better taken care of sooner than later.

Sometime over the next few weeks . . .

. . . get your NCC 1D.  You'll need an ID to use some campus services, enter the library (and take out books), and get into NCC concerts and other events.  You can get an ID, which is free, from the Public Safety office.

. . . register your car.  It doesn't matter what you're driving to Nassau (car, SUV, motorcycle, etc)--you'll need to register it through Public Safety.  There's a fee (sorry), but it beats getting a County ticket (which can run into serious money) for parking an unregistered vehicle.  You can register your car online at

. . . check out NICE. NICE (Nassau Inter-County Express) buses make regular stops on campus.  If you're traveling to Nassau by bus, download a schedule from 

. . . get to know NCC's campus. Though you'll get a good tour of the campus at Orientation, there's no law against visiting NCC on your own and getting a feel for the whereabouts of things.  If you can't visit in person, take a virtual tour at

. . . keep up with us on Facebook and Twitter.  Both Nassau's Facebook page and Twitter page will help you stay on top of life at NCC.  And while you're exploring, visit NCC's First-Year Experience link for info about "Conversations About College" workshops, our common reading (Ernest Cline's Ready Player One), our Day of Service, and other interesting campus happenings. 

See?  There really is some NCC "business" to think about between now and New Student Orientation later this month.  And while you can still have a great rest of August, definitely give some attention to these things in the weeks ahead.  Summer's still got some life in it . . . . but September's coming.