Master Port Authority by afederoff

I know, that same old woe, Duquesne University students do not get to use their student IDs as bus passes while Pitt and CMU students experience that luxury. Over the years, I have seen students try to show their DU IDs to bus drivers, protests signed and the like, yet no action has been taken for reasons I am not educated on.

Though it is not free, I feel the Port Authority bus system in Pittsburgh is a must for students in the city. Because many of us do not have cars and though campus is beautiful, the bus system offers a great opportunity for students to get to know the city and take advantage of what Pittsburgh truly has to offer. However, a tricky question arises… how does it work?

No, I am not a master of the Port Authority bus system but I may be able to help clear a few things up.

  • The most basic thing to understand is the difference between Forbes and Fifth. These are both one-way streets; this much I am sure you know. However, here’s an easy way to know which street to pick up a bus on: if you’re going INto the city (a.k.a. downtown, a.k.a. Duquesne) you want to pick up a bus on Fifth because it has an ‘I’ in it for “in.” If you want to head OUT of town to Oakland, Squirrel Hill, the Waterfront etc. you want to pick it up on Forbes because it has an ‘O’ in it for “out.”
  • To get back to school from Oakland, the Waterfront or Squirrel Hill, the easiest thing to remember is the ones. Any 61 or 71 will drop you off at Fifth and Stevenson, with just a 3-minute trek up the hill to the residence area of campus. You can also pick up a 500, which will drop you off in the same location. I would steer clear of just hopping on a bus that reads “Downtown” because there is many areas it may drop you off, but if you are in desperate need of a bus it is usually a safe bet.
  • Try a transfer. Because, as Duquesne students, we do have to pay for the bus (just a small disadvantage in a universe of opportunities) this is a trick that many freshmen still haven’t figured out. Most bus trips cost $2.00 each way. However, you can get a transfer ($.75) and use this as a ticket for your return trip. While there is a time frame involved, in most cases a transfer gives you more than enough time for your trip.
  • If you are waiting for the bus at a popular stop, you may notice an orange sign under the usual blue “bus stop” sign. This is a great feature the city has for planning your ride. Simply text the name on the sign to the number 25252, and the system will return a text message with all the upcoming buses and departure times. This can be extremely useful for obvious reasons. If you’re feeling really ambitious, save the number and the name of the stop and you can wait for a bus without even leaving your room.

Remember, if you are traveling on a weekend, try the Loop Bus.

Good luck,

Alyssa

P.S. feel free to leave individual questions in comments.



Move In Day by afederoff
08.22.10, 6:10 pm
Filed under: AlyssaF, Bloggers, Class of 2013, Duquesne News | Tags: ,

Though it is my second year on campus, I once again got to experience move-in from a freshmen’s perspective. I was all ready for St. Ann’s move in day on Tuesday, nervous and excited, very much like last year. However, I already had my stuff unpacked and situated in my room on the first floor… let me explain. As I mentioned last semester, I have been granted the privilege to be a Resident Assistant (a.k.a. RA) for this upcoming school year.

So, after a week and a half of intensive training, move-in day was our big day. We all reported to the lobby about 11:00 A.M. in our matching maroon polos, exhausted yet excited. Our GA assigned jobs hourly for the entire day, quite intimidating. The jobs varied between checking people in, handing out room keys, and just “floating” around the building, looking for anyone who needed help. As I circulated the building, I popped my head into a room just to check in. When I introduced myself, I was welcomed warmly into the good-humored family by a jest, “Hey, it’s the sheriff.”

Though I was in no way insulted by this comment, it is the perfect opportunity to dispel such rumors. While part of being an RA does involve duty and enforcing dormitory rules, it is not nearly the only aspect of the job. Instead, RAs design bulletin boards, facilitate floor programs and truly care about the well being of their residents. Bulletin boards take a lot of time and effort, as well as planning. (It truly is a slap in the face when the letters are rearranged or ripped off totally.) Similarly, floor programs take a lot of effort and can be very rewarding. With topics ranging from faculty to service, they can offer a fun and fresh way to meet new people. So, my first floor social will be bracelet making and ice cream. However, this is just an example of the variety of activities you can do at floor programs.

Value your RA, they can be a great resource and supply of insight.

Alyssa



Summer Update! by x3erica1037

Hope everyone’s having an amazing summer so far!  These hot days have been flying by and it’s already July so I figured it was about time for a quick post now that there’s an entire new class of Duquesne freshmen and transfer students.

If you’re new to the blog, you should know that my name is Erica, I’m an upcoming sophomore in the McAnulty College, and I write for this blog to share my experiences at Duquesne with anyone whose interested.  Right now I’m just offering a chance to get questions answered or clear up any confusions about McAnulty, Duquesne, move-in…pretty much anything Duquesne related.  If I don’t know the answer off-hand I’ll do everything I can to figure it out so everyone has as smooth of a transition as possible. Get ready everyone, because you’re gonna love the Bluff! 🙂

Please feel free to submit any questions or comments to this post and hopefully I’ll be able to get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.  So ask away!

-Erica



Major Decisions and More by afederoff

After twenty-four full hours of totems, charisma (as in “deep truth revealed by cosmic order, recognized by social adherence”), and modernity, I thought I would officially commence the summer with one last blog as a freshman at Duquesne University. Finals sucked, I’m not going to lie. Luckily, I only had four finals (instead of the dreaded five) and I think I did well on all of them. My classes were awesome, my professors helpful, and my experience wonderful!

Let me tie up some odds and ends:

I think I’ve finally decided on a major… sort of. I entered Duquesne as a journalism major, enrolled in the Narratio learning community. Although I have decided to not pursue a career in the journalism field, I could not be happier with the path I took. Besides the obvious elements (such as making great friends, having awesome professors, and fun opportunities…like blogging!), I have found many of the classes I have taken this past year will be helpful in building my future curriculum. For example, Media and Society has been a great stepping-stone to future classes I will be taking. So, without further ado, I have decided to make my own major. The liberal arts college offers this incredible program in which a student literally makes a major of their own. With the help of my adviser, I decided this was the best path for me because of my future goals (to go to NYU and get a MSW/JD). If you have your heart set on Duquesne, but the liberal arts college does not have the exact major you are looking for, I would suggest looking into the program. In order to do this, I must compose my curriculum plan to our dean along with my reasoning for this course of study (major summer project). What do I plan on studying exactly? I like to call it a degree in feminism… it will be a unique combination of media studies, sociology, women studies, and conflict resolution.

That brings me to my next point: you’re never too new to get involved. Though countless advisors, interviewers, and peers have told me I am way ahead of the game, I think I am just trying to stay on the right path, following my passions. So, as my summer plans shape up, I will be working for an OB/GYN Monday through Thursday, and Fridays and Saturdays will be devoted to my internship, the first exciting leap into my career path. I briefly mentioned it before, but since it began in January, I have hardly had the time to blog about it. Anyway, I will be an intern for Ms. Courtney Martin, feminist activist and author. The Women’s Center Therapy Institute, in NYC, has asked to be the frontrunner for their international campaign against distorters of body image. The campaign, entitled Endangered Species: Preserving the Female Body, is scheduled to occur in March of 2011 and I am ecstatic to announce that I have currently been working on the guest list!

In terms of getting involved on campus and in Pittsburgh, I would encourage new freshmen to step out of the comfort zone and just try everything. Organizations I have become heavily involved with are CONTACT Pittsburgh, Strong Women Strong Girls, the Liberal Art blog, and Residence Life, as well as Phi Eta Sigma (the freshmen honors fraternity) and Lambda Sigma (the sophomore honors fraternity). Becoming involved was one of the best decisions I have made all year. Sure, it took guts to attend all those initial meetings, but luckily I have them. J If you don’t, please, please take me up on this offer: email me, comment me, ask me questions etc. Being involved is key, especially as a Duquesne student!

Thinking back to high school, I still don’t enjoy being a freshman a.k.a. “fresh meat” and the like. But at Duquesne, faculty and peer leaders somehow manage to make it less scary then James Caldwell High School did. In fact, it’s not the kind of scary where you want to go home or eat lunch in the bathroom; it’s more like scary before a performance, a date, or a speech. Oh wait… I think the word for that is excitement.

Happy summer, see you all in August!

Alyssa



A few final freshman farewells by x3erica1037

Is anyone else unable to believe this school year is over already?!  It feels like I just got my acceptance letter, began writing for the blog, and experienced orientation, but its already time to move allllll of my stuff back home! This has probably been the best freshman year I could have asked for so I really am sad to see it end.

As I tried to hold back tears when my family drove away last August and left me standing alone in front of St. Anns, I could never even have imagined all the amazing people I now consider my best friends, the crazy memories we will always share, and the endless opportunities I have been able to take advantage of over these past months.

If Duquesne weren’t the perfect home for me, I wouldn’t be this sad to leave.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited to be mostly stress-free and spend hours in the sun, but it has been hard to see everyone go these past few days.  As my lack of recent blogging proves, I have been very busy with final exams and papers lately, just as everyone has, so we didn’t quite have enough free time to spend together at the end.  I’m not too worried about it though, because even though my new friends are headed back to various homes all over the country, good old facebook and texting will allow us to keep in touch until August when we’re onto our new home in Towers.

To incoming freshman, my advice would be to keep an open mind.  Attend whatever school gives you that gut feeling because you will really be spending all your time there.  It may be a little nerve wracking at first but once you settle in, give every new person and organization a chance, and you’ll sure to find a few lifelong friends, ways to get involved, and the chance to live out your dreams.  At this point in your life, really anything is possible, its just a matter of going after it.

As for classes and majors, you don’t have to be get locked into any direction right away; choose classes that seem interesting and fun.  With all the choices out there, there’s no reason for you to study something you don’t enjoy.  There are professors and organizations everywhere waiting to inspire you, so you’ll figure out the longterm goals eventually.

For now, everyone just have a warm, wonderful, relaxing summer. Work on the tan, earn a little cash, and get ready for next semester because I have a feeling Fall 2010 will be one we’ll never forget. 😉

Au revoir for now bloggers!

-Erica



College Preview Day by x3erica1037

This past Saturday was the college preview day for the incoming Class of 2014.  It was an afternoon packed with a lot of information about the college, life as a student here, and preparations for enrollment.  Students were able to learn more about the learning communities, (Check out Alyssa’s post explaining each community if you’re still confused) talk with students and professors from each community, take a tour of campus, and connect with various departments like Residence Life and Financial Aid.

I was happy to volunteer for the afternoon when Dr. Stoddard requested my attendance, and I actually ended up having a pretty fun time.  I really had no idea what I was getting myself into until arrived, but I was able to represent my learning community, Narratio (THE best community at the college) and also give a tour to a few potential freshmen and their families.  I then set myself up at a table in college hall to give further insight on my service project and community goals to anyone who passed by.  It was pretty strange when I realized it had already been a year since I attended the event with my own class, and now I’m on the other side of the fence.  Instead of trying to digest tons of new information, I was the one sharing my newly acquired Duquesne “expertise” with this year’s group of students.

I hope everyone who attended the event feels a little better about McAnulty as a part of their college decision-making process, but if there are still any unanswered questions or issues that aren’t quite clear yet, please feel free to ask anything in the comment box for this post and I would be happy to help!

*We also announced that we’re looking for a new freshman blogger to join us next year, so anyone who’s interested should fill out a quick application by taking a look at some of our older posts then sending us a sample post of around 350-500 words along with a short biography of yourself. Send all applications toliberalarts@duq.edu with “Blogger Application” in the subject line.

Good luck with your decision everyone!

-Erica



Don’t Be Afraid of the Learning Communities!!!! by afederoff

Just about this time last year, I was attempting to choose a learning community for my freshmen year. I know I was a little unsure of how much weight this held, how it would mold my year, and how to decide. Let me try to remedy that:

First and foremost, let me say that Duquesne’s Liberal Arts learning communities are awesome! They all really help integrate students into the Duquesne community instead a blunt transition. For this reason, you are “safe” picking any learning community offered. Basically, being a member of this community entails a couple things – you will have four core classes with these students (three first semester and one second), you will work on a service project with them through out these semesters, and you will live on the same floor as these people. Each community features different classes and a unique service project. These range from organizing organ/blood donation to publishing a book for senior citizens of Pittsburgh.

There are several ways you can choose your learning community.

  • By Location: Each community lives on a specific floor in a specific building. I know there are many rumors about the two buildings, Martin’s and Ann’s, and some students pick their learning community based on these locations. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS because it is not guaranteed the community will reside in the same location.
  • By Professor/Director: If you have met a compelling professor featured in a specific learning community, you may be interested in joining that community. Before picking this community, however, speak with the professor about the community: they will have a lot of great insight to offer you!
  • By Curriculum: While I would not solely choose your learning community based on curriculum, it is important to look at the classes each community requires: in reality, this is where a large amount of your time will be spent. I would encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone if there is a class you have never taken or do not fully understand, but if one class appears totally boring to you, that is something to consider.
  • By Goal: Each learning community features several nouns and a catchphrase summarizing what will be achieved in this community. For example, as a member of Narratio, my phrase is “Create a story about your community”. This is what appealed to me, and as I continued to read about the courses and Dr. Sora on ratemyprofessors.com, I realized this was the right community for me.
  • By Others: I know that some people are afraid of not knowing anyone in their learning community and band together with friends or acquaintances in order to prevent this. I would highly advise against this – first, there is no need to worry about being alone; chances are most people will be in the same place as you. Second, the curriculum and service project will take up a majority of your time. If you are not particularly interested in these requirements, the learning community experience will not be as fun and beneficial!

Here is a quick synopsis of each learning community (you can find more information here: http://www.duq.edu/liberalarts/undergraduate/learning-communities/index.cfm)

RATIO (RAH’-TEE-OH)
reckoning, reason, judgment, method

Improve your analytical thinking skills.

Director: Dr. Michael Irwin, Department of Sociology

POPULUS (POE’-POO-LOOS)
people, crowd, multitude

Explore the dynamics of cultures and societies, masses and movements.

Director: Dr. Charles Hanna

PERSONAE (PER-SOH’-NYE)
parts, roles, characters, personalities

Consider how individuals and groups shape one another.

Director: Dr. Leswin Laubscher, Department of Psychology

ORBIS (OR’-BESE)
circle, the world, the earth

Study other lands, cultures, and states.

Director: Dr. Mark Frisch, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures

NARRATIO (NAH-RAH’-TEE-OH)
telling relating, narrative, story

Create a story about your community.

Director: Dr. Joseph Sora, Department of Journalism and Multimedia Arts

LITTERAE (LEE’-TER-AYE)
letters, literature

Explore literature and society.

Director: Dr. Stuart Kurland, Department of English

JUDICIUM (YOU-DEE’KEE-OOM)
trial, legal investigation, judgment, decision

Search for truth and justice through evidence in the public sphere.

Director: Dr. Ronald Arnett, Department of Communication and Rhetorical Studies

FIDES (FEE’-DES)
trust, confidence, belief, faith

Challenge and strengthen your most important beliefs.

Director: Dr. Jotham Parsons, Department of History

FIDES (FEE’-DES)
trust, confidence, belief, faith

Challenge and strengthen your most important beliefs.

Director: Dr. Jotham Parsons, Department of History

CIVITAS (KEE’-WEE-TOSS)
state, citizenship, city-state

Prepare to make a difference in community and governance.

Director: Dr. Tsekani Browne, Department of History

Good luck,

Alyssa