Students Don’t Always Know what to Expect

Anytime we go into something new, we always try to predict the outcome. Even though we know there is no way to control it. For example, it may be something as big as entering a college event; that we all wish we could control.   To get a feel for the difference between expectations and reality.

With the many restrictions and changes caused by the coronavirus pandemic over the last nine months this can be particularly true for students who are early on in the college careers.

Mia Lochasvio, a sophomore I interviewed said

“Nothing too out of the ordinary was different for me this semester,” Loschiavo said. It was pretty much how I expected it to go.”

For Brooke Klein, the shift has been more drastic.

This semester is a little different than I expected,” Klein said. “Of course no one could have predicted COVID to change our lives this much, but it just seems unreal.”

COVID-19 most definitely had a huge impact on everyone’s lives and how I go about our day-to-day routines, Katherine Pappas said.

It is a little bit different than I expected.”

With any big change comes strong emotions, Lochasvio said.

Overall, my semester was pretty good and surprisingly seemed to fly by.”

Everyone seems to be overworked and tired from everything happening in the world, a little peace might be nice, Klein said.

My semester has been pretty easy considering the circumstances,” Klein said. “Definitely would have been a little smoother without COVID.”

For Pappas things turned out a little different.

My semester was pretty average overall, but towards the end kind of went downhill,” Pappas said. It seems like everyone’s stress levels have gone through the roof, including mine.” 

Even though these stressful circumstances quickly came out of nowhere, people were curious if these students would have done anything differently this semester.

Loschavio said

“I don’t think I have any control to change anything that happened this semester.Although we may get stressed out about the things we can not control, considering these circumstances during the pandemic, there is absolutely nothing to do about the changes, Klein said.

“If I knew this big change was coming this semester, I would have stayed in online classes from the beginning.”There is nothing anyone could have done to predict these extreme changes and stressful events of 2020, Pappas said.

“I wish I had been a little bit more organized this semester.”

Overall, everyone’s stress levels have been crazy, and no one really seems to know what to do anymore. There is no way to predict what will come next, and things may get worse or better in the near future, Lochasvio said.

This semester was most definitely one of the hardest ones for me, especially for my mental health.” No matter what type of stressful situation is occurring in our lives, it is almost impossible to determine how our minds will react, Klein said.

“School has always stressed me out a little bit, but nothing like this,” she said. I have been so extremely stressed this semester and just completely drained mentally and physically.”

Especially when a stressful event changes something that consumes most of our life, it can be even harder on our mental health, Pappas said.

During the beginning of the semester, it wasn’t too bad, and I felt prepared for school as a whole.

Internships an Important Part of College

 High schoolers’ minds are racing from the beginning of their freshmen years, deciding what they want to do after graduation, where to go for college, and what kind of career they want for the rest of their lives. At any age, making these types of life changing decisions are difficult, especially when you start thinking about them at 16 years old. 

When being told to make the decision for your career choice, students are often told to choose something that interests them, or that is similar to what they are used to or good at. However, some interests do not always offer the best opportunities in careers post-graduation.

Sarah Kobler, a sophomore at Hilbert College, is studying political science.

Mia Loshiavo, also a sophomore, studies criminal justice.

Jake Pericak, a freshman at SUNY Geneseo, studies biology and pre-med. After graduation, all three students will have several opportunities when making a career choice. 

With a degree in political science, Sarah Kobler will be qualified to work as a paralegal, legislator, lobbyist, or analyst, among other opportunities. “My goal after my first four years of school, I plan to go to grad school, and eventually become an attorney,” Kobler said.

Mia Loschiavo, a sophomore criminal justice major, said … paraphrase what she said.,

“Once I graduate I will be able to pursue a career in law enforcement, an investigator, a correctional officer, and many other positions,” Loschiavo said. “I plan on doing something with law enforcement or joining the FBI.”

Jake Pericak, a freshman at SUNY Geneseo studying biology, said that he has a lot of plans for his future.

“When I graduate from med school,” Pericak said. “I will have several opportunities, I could go into any job in the medical field, from a nurse to a neurosurgeon. But I want to take it a step further, go for more schooling, and become an eye doctor.” 

Sometimes, when students major in something that requires less qualifications, to get ahead of the game they will get a job during school that relates to their career later in life. In these students’ cases, all careers require more schooling and a degree beforehand. In other majors, like art or music, it is easier to find a job during school to gain more experience. 

When it comes to majors that require more schooling, it is recommended or required for students to complete an internship for experience and more job opportunities, Kobler said.

“I have already started internships and I am currently applying for more to complete before graduation,” She added. “I have been doing internships with different politicians around the area, and soon I will be starting an internship with a lobbyist. This gives me more experience and a better feel for what I am in for once I graduate.”

For Loschiavo, it is a little different.

“I am currently not completing any internships and I do not think I am ready to,” Loschiavo said. “However, sometime next year I plan to research the different options I have and pick one that really interests me.”

Pericak said he will get plenty of professional training in the medical field as he moves through his education.

“I am currently not enrolled in any internships either,” Pericak said. “I have twelve years of school ahead of me, and I have a lot of time to research and decide on the best fit for me.” 

Most times, because we are told from such a young age to choose a major we have always been interested in, students will decide on something and stick with it. Although there is nothing wrong with changing your mind or switching your major, it is usually something we have been interested in since a pretty young age. However, all three interviewees stated that even before high school, they knew their major choice was something they wanted to do.

Besides students having jobs relating to their career choice, they can also form hobbies to educate them more on what they are studying.

“Some hobbies I enjoy outside of school are being an activist for different movements and topics that I am passionate about,” Kobler said.

Loschiavo said her outside interests also fall in line with her major and career plans.

“Outside of school, I love watching different crime shows and learning about and researching different, interesting cases,” Loshiavo said.

As you can see, there are so many different career options no matter what major a student may choose, the hardest part is just being able to pick which one you want to pursue. On the other hand, there is always time to change direction, and at no point in time are you stuck with one career for the rest of your life. 

For Pericak, his hobbies fall outside the purview of his working future, he said.

“I don’t really have many hobbies that pertain to my major right now, as it is still my first year of college and there are not many hobbies and activities relating to things in the medical field,” Pericak said. 

Mental Health and the Stress of College

Have you ever taken a step back and thought about the current state of your own mental health? From avoiding their problems and feelings to not ever realizing something may be wrong, billions of people suffer from mental health problems, and many  do not know there are ways to get help. 

In today’s world, it seems the people affected many by mental health problems, the most common being depression, anxiety, and excess amounts of stress, are students.

Brooke Klein, a freshman at Hilbert, previously attending Daemen College and Erie Community College. She said …

Hamm is also a freshman who transferred this year from University at Buffalo.

“Before I started college and even before COVID-19, I had experienced anxiety, which I think has only gotten worse for me since my first year of college.” Klein said.

Klein said her mental health state is influenced greatly by her workloads.

Katherine Pappas, a Hilbert Sophomore, said she has experienced similar mental health issues.

“I have experienced mild depression for a while, and even though school always affects my moods, some semesters can be worse than others,” Pappas said. “It all depends on the amount of stress pushed onto us as students.”

On the other hand, Alesia Hamm is a freshman who transferred this year from University at Buffalo tells us she is able to deal with her stress easier,

“I have definitely experienced mental health issues in the past, but I think I am much better now,” Hamm said. “I do not think college has too much of a negative effect on my mental health.”

As the years go on there is a continuous increase in rates of mental health issues,  especially since the ages affected keep lowering, schools have tried to make counselors and resources more accessible.

Hilbert offers help to students such as counselors and comforting teachers.

Klein said she was surprised to learn the Hilbert offers mental health counseling services.

“I was not even aware that Hilbert offered mental health resources to students,” she said.

Even though these resources are offered, they may not be advertised enough to the people who need it the most.

 Pappas said she would be more like to use the services if the hours were more expansive.

“I knew about the resources offered, however the office hours of the counselor on campus are very limited.,” Pappas said. “I am not even sure when he is around.” 

When it comes to mental health, everyone is different because everyone thinks and feels differently. While one student may be super stressed about a project due in a week, another student may be able to schedule their time out and calmly deal with it. Others avoid their stress and just get things done, even though they may have some feelings bottled up. This means everyone does something different to cope with stress, depression, anxiety, etc.

When these students were asked what mainly contributes to their mental health issues, the only common answer was stress from school. 

Klein said getting away from school can help her feel better.

“When I’m feeling stressed or having a bad day mentally, I like to take a day off and really focus on myself,” she said. “When I have a day off it brings me to a more peaceful, happier mindset.”

Hamm said writing and going on drives alone are helpful for her. Pappas said driving is also helpful for her. “Sometimes I just drive around randomly, and it clears my head completely.” Pappas said., “I also like going on drives alone, but also love walking, reading, seeing my friends, or listening to music. Anything to take my mind off the stress or anxiety for a day or two really helps me.” 

Hilbert Basketball Hoops with Kanye Brown

In early March, a week before the school closed in response to the pandemic, country music star Kayne Brown came to Hilbert to unwind and play shoot some hoops. Student athlete Jesse Price was on the court when Brown arrived with his large entourage.

“Kayne was amazing,” Price said. “It was an awesome experience. After we hooped, he gave us tickets to his concert and backstage passes. Such amazing people and had a very great time.”

If back on that Saturday in March Kayne had expected to leisurely just shoot hoops, he was wrong.

Born in New Zealand, Jesse has called Australia home since he was 6 years old. In high school Jesse played varsity basketball.

“I have been playing basketball since I was six,” he said, “I love and embrace the journey to get better every day.”

With relatives in Los Angeles and Seattle, Price said he is a Seattle Seahawks fan. He said once he wore his Seahawks jersey on campus and “talked trash” about how they would beat the Bills. He jokingly said afterwards, he couldn’t leave his room for a few days for obvious reasons. He now knows he’s in Bills country.

Price is a criminal justice major who plans on attending law school.

Outside of basketball and school, Price enjoys playing golf and watching football and baseball. He also enjoys relaxing in front of the TV as well as an occasional movie. Of course there is always the fun of hanging around with fellow students.

When asked about his decision to attend Hilbert, Jesse said coach Andrew DeGranpere played a major role.

“I formed a great relationship with Coach DeGrandpre and that was a big part in me coming to the college,” Price said.

Sisters From Vietnam Find a Home at Hilbert

One may have had the opportunity to meet them personally or see them on campus adorned in habits and veils. They are Sisters Thu Pham and Doan Tran from Vietnam. Since their calling to Holy Orders up to the present, both are here at Hilbert to gain a valuable education which will enable them to perform their ministry in Vietnam. 

Before their journey to Hilbert began, both Sisters received their calling to Holy Orders in a distinctive way. Sister Thu described her calling as “Very strong and clear”. The strong part revealed itself when her friends set their sights on careers in the bustling city of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital. For Sister Doan, she credits her father’s encouragement but, in the end, she said “God called through my father”.  Both Sisters come from agricultural communities in the rich rice fields of Vietnam.

When asked about the work or ministry they will perform upon return to Vietnam, Sister Thu said, “Do what our nun superiors asks us to do” however ministry assignments are often based upon one’s education and skills. Sister Thu Pham is a Human Services major. Her goal is to minister to victims of domestic violence, pregnant women, homeless persons, and the elderly.  Majoring in Psychology, Sister Doan Tran looks forward to applying her skills towards counseling others.

After undergoing years of theological studies and discernment, often through isolation and strict prayer, both Sisters took their final vows and received rings symbolizing betrothal to Jesus Christ. Once complete, together they travelled to the United States in furtherance of academic study. Following time at a junior college in Indiana where they studied English, they applied for scholarships through a program for Vietnamese sisters and priests.

The head of the program, A Vietnamese priest named Father Bao Nguyen, had the following to say when asked why Hilbert College was chosen “Srs. Thu Pham, Doan Tran, and I knew Hilbert College through Dr. Michael Brophy, the President, whom I have known for the past decade since he was the President at Palos Verde Marymount College in California. We have kept in touch for a long time, and Dr. Brophy invited the Sisters to study at this beautiful college. Instead of selecting large universities, the sisters want to have a better community life where the Hilbert college can provide hospitality and friendly intimacy.”

When Fr. Bao was asked about how familiar he is about Hilbert, he said “Hilbert college is a small college where people know each other and enjoy human development through social interaction and inner circles of classmates and faculty. Near the city Buffalo, the college has attractive location where students can contemplate the beauty of nature at Niagara Falls or cross the the border to explore Canada with the big city Toronto about two hours away. With its Catholic Franciscan heritage and values, Hilbert college is a good educational environment for the religious like Mrs. Pham and Tran from Vietnam to nurture their religious tradition and Catholic involvement in social justice. Hilbert truly is  what the sisters hope to accomplish formal education here in the U.S. and prepare them for the global leaders with competent skills of discernment, responsibility, and leadership. “

According to statistics released by the U.S. Department of State titled Government Committee for Religious Affairs, approximately 7% of the Vietnamese population is Catholic (2019). Sister Doan and Thu’s ministry will be a lifelong commitment of serving their fellow citizens regardless of religious denomination and their Hilbert education will play a key role in fulfilling their service to others.

Hilbert Women’s Soccer Coach Sees Bright Future

On any given NCAA Division 1 team, there can be a multitude of staff delegated to perform certain roles. But for Hilbert College Women’s Soccer Head Coach Jenna Castricone, most of it falls on her.

As a division III program Hilbert doesn’t have the funding or staffing of big programs so, like many of her colleagues at that level, she needs to wear many hats to keep her team going

“It’s a lot more than I assumed coming in, but I’ve been grateful,” Castricone said.

It shows.

In speaking of her return to the Hawks in 2019 Castricone, a Hilbert soccer alumnus, said returning to her old stomping grounds has been great.

“I was excited and glad to be back here,” Castricone said. “I love the school and I love the atmosphere.”

Castricone, who also played softball and earned her bachelor’s degree in Sports Management went on to get her Master’s in Sports Administration at Canisius College. Along the way, she was an assistant coach.

“I’m very appreciative to be given the chance to get the team on track,” she said.

During her first season, Castricone faced several challenges. First and foremost, she knew a re-build was in order, with the number of players dwindling. Second, some of the players were new to the game and came onto the team as walk on’s. Towards the end, Castricone said the team made improvements

“Offense scored nine goals last season,” she said. “Even that slight improvement is the right way up”.

Still, defense was identified as a critical area.

Castricone has spent a considerable amount of time scouting and recruiting. It is the kind of work that makes the part time job seem full time and her efforts show a promising season.

“I have a strong freshmen class and they’re even challenging the seniors,” Castricone said.

The freshmen class includes five experienced players whom she is confident will help, as well as one Sophomore walk-on.

“Four additional recruits would have been on the roster but circumstances surrounding COVID prevented them from playing,” She said. “Even so, the next class that will be brought in for 2021 is going to be even better and I’m looking to get the team back into the playoffs.”

From Thanksgiving break until February, it will be up to the individual players themselves to maintain peak physical conditioning. Castricone said.

“(The players) need to be fit and touching the ball at least 4 days a week,” she said.

In terms of overlap, some student athletes participate in other sports such as volleyball and basketball which makes injuries and fatigue a concern, let alone COVID, for Castricone. To help, Castricone prepared a work out package which consists of weight training, endurance skills (sprints, tempo runs), and ball drills.

Castricone said the off-season improvements look promising.

And there’s one adage she believes sums up the situation: “Small improvements help in the long run.”

Switch to Remote Learning Improving, But still Difficult

Towards late November, Governor Andrew Cuomo moved Erie County into the Orange Zone. This order placed new restrictions on businesses and educational institutions. Hilbert College was scheduled to transition to online courses after Thanksgiving, but Cuomo’s mandate forced the college to suddenly make the move two weeks earlier.

Due to this early adjustment, many students were caught off guard which resulted in increased stress. As the end of the semester draws closer, many students typically have final projects and papers due. With the onself

Mia Sanchez, forensic science major at Hilbert College, explained how her professors were almost completely ready for the switch, but with her final projects and papers coming up, it was still difficult to meet their guidelines.

“I have a final paper and project in every one of my classes, and I was prepared to ask my professors questions when I saw them face-to-face”, Sanchez said. “It is a lot more difficult to email a professor asking a question when compared to a face-to-face conversation. You have to think about all of the emails that professors are getting regarding their classes, and the time it takes to get back to each student”.

Claudia Wrate, forensic science major at Hilbert College, also found the transition to be difficult. She was not prepared for the switch so soon and found herself struggling to balance her schoolwork with work and her home life. “I was not expecting classes to move online so soon”, Wrate said. “I am taking 6 courses this semester and it is really difficult keeping all of my classwork in order along with working a full-time job”.

Andrew Cuomo’s decision to move Erie County into the Orange Zone was a smart decision for the health and safety of the community, but made things much more difficult for college students who were attending in-person classes. With the use of masks and social distancing, the county should move back into the yellow zone sooner than later.

Election Causes Added Stress During Strange Semester

As the semester begins to wrap up, college students are finding themselves more stressed than usual due to the ongoing pandemic and current presidential election.

The fall semester of 2020 has been a semester like no other. With students transitioning to online classes, and some already fully online, it has been a challenging semester. Before there was even talk about the presidential election, students were already beginning to stress about the changes in their learning. “Since the beginning of the semester in August, things have been so different from last Fall”, Forensic major, Claudia Wrate, said.

Since March, the corona virus pandemic has continued to change almost every element of a college students’ life. In March, students were abruptly moved to virtual learning, where they would struggle to finish the semester as they had no idea how to learn completely online. “My grades dropped significantly towards the end of March because my professors and I were not used to online learning, and struggled to adapt”, Criminal Justice major, Mia Sanchez, said. “The professors and students were hardly given any notice, and professors had no time to create an effective learning platform online”.

Along with COVID-19 adding stress to an already busy semester, there has been a lot of political controversy regarding the presidential election. Whether you choose to follow politics or not, there is no way to completely avoid the stress of the election.

The presidential election has created many more divisions when compared to previous elections. The controversy between the candidates and their supporters seems to be increasing, especially right now, while it looks like Joe Biden won, but it isn’t indefinite. Most students attending Hilbert College experienced this election as their first and it brought a lot of stress upon them, considering the importance of this election.

As Erie county moves into yellow zone, and chances going back into lockdown, most college students resort to panic mode. Finals will be coming soon, a new president, and students may have to return to virtual learning at any time. This semester has definitely been one for the books.

“Beginning move heavily around the middle of October, wherever you looked, there was something pertaining to the election,” Wrate said. “Personally, I do not share my political views with anyone, because I understand that most people struggle to see others’ views. I continually noticed people openly sharing their political views and opinions on social medias, which seemed like it was just asking for an argument”.

Hilbert Celebrates Life of Student

Cori Shearing, a cybersecurity major at Hilbert College, passed away unexpectedly on April 14, 2020.

Everyone at Hilbert College can agree on one thing:  Cori was a fun, loving and outgoing person, who was never afraid to be herself.  Cori touched so many people in the short time she was with us, and we all miss her dearly.

I first met Cori during my freshman year of college. I remember the first time she sat behind me in class and introduced herself. She talked about longboarding and some of her other interests. The minute I heard her speak, I wanted to get to know her better. The way she talked and carried herself made her different from everyone else, in the best way possible.

My sophomore year of college, my roommates and I were looking for another roommate to fill our suite. One of my roommates, Claudia Wrate, a forensics major at Hilbert College, was very close with Cori and immediately thought of her. We began talking with Cori about dorming with us, and although it never happened, it helped bring all of us closer.

Cori always had a smile on her face and it was completely genuine. “Cori just always wanted to make the world a better place and everyone around her happy”, Wrate said.  “She was very interested in cyber security and wanted to help people that way”.

Former Hilbert student, Reta Savory, also met Cori freshman year. The first night Savory met Cori, it made a lasting impression on her. “Hanging out with Cori that first night was enlightening for me because I learned about myself as a person and how to be a friend to someone from a different world than me” Savory said. “She taught me that life is hard but you smile through it and that’s all you can do”.

Cori was also very proud of her family, especially her mom. Savory and Wrate both vividly remember Cori sharing stories about her family. “Cori was proud of her family for sure” Wrate said. “Her mother and her were very close, and she talked about her so highly”.

“I think Cori was most proud of the people in her life” Savory said. “From the moment I met her, I could see that. She loved her mom”.

Covid Causes Issues for Real Estate Industry

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began this spring, many businesses either shut down, or strict guidelines were put into place. On March 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the real estate industry would be put “on hold” in attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Hunt Real Estate agent, Cheyanne Seelau, says the market has been crazy since the end of March.  “The coronavirus impacted us because we could only show our houses virtually, so more realtors were out of work until we were allowed to show in person with restrictions”, Seelau said. Late March, Governor Andrew Cuomo deemed real estate an essential business, but put many strict guidelines in place, only allowing agents to show their homes virtually. Many agents were unable to show their houses this way, and ultimately were out of work for months until their re-opening at the beginning of June.

“Prior to the shutdown in March, we were about to enter our busy season”, Seelau said. When realtors were finally able to begin showing in person again, things were busier than normal. Agents are currently experiencing a sellers’ market, as houses are going for over-asking price, explained Seelau. Don and Denuelle Meyer, clients of Seelau, said their experience selling one of their apartment complexes has been more successful than expected for this season. Because of the coronavirus, there are more buyers than sellers in the markets, and houses are selling much faster than normal, Seelau said. When the housing market slowed down drastically during the beginning of the virus, buyers became eager to buy, and sellers began taking advantage of this, by listing their properties, Denuelle Meyer said.

During the pandemic, some homeowners’ mortgages were modified due to the effects of COVID-19. Seelau said that there haven’t been too many foreclosures on houses yet, but soon there will be, when modified mortgages do not get paid. It is still too early to tell if the coronavirus pandemic will have any irreversible changes to the housing market, Seelau said.