Peer Mentors Blog



Peer Mentors for First-Year Students


  • Tips for 2nd Year!

    by Andrea Glogowski | Apr 27, 2014

    Congratulations for making it through your first year at ACPHS!!  Your second year on campus will be a lot different than your first year.  You’ve already made friends on campus, eaten the worst food in the dining hall, and experienced how difficult the course work can become.

    Organic

    Despite what you might have been told, Organic Chemistry doesn’t have much in common with General Chemistry.  So even if you didn’t do well in General Chemistry this class might come easy to you.  For the lecture portion of this class you’ll need a notebook or binder, because no computers are allowed.  In the fall semester you will have Dr. Ludeman. I recommend paying attention in class, and then reading the corresponding pages in the book that she assigns.  She teaches pretty much in sync with the text, and also assigns some book questions that are helpful.  If you can understand what the book says and you do her old practice exams you will do fine on her exams!  In the spring you’ll have Dr. Hass.  Paying attention to her lectures is absolutely necessary!!!  You don’t really need to read the book because she pretty much covers everything she wants you to know, but if you don’t understand something in lecture reading through the topic in the book might help.  Try to begin doing old exam questions early so that you can go to her office if there is a question you don’t understand.

    Physics

    Dr. Kholodenko assigns “informal” and “formal” homework.  The “informal” homework is a list of questions from your textbook.  (It is very helpful to do these practice problems because he draws concepts from the textbook for the exams)  Your “formal” homework is a few problems he takes from the “informal” homework that you submit on blackboard for a grade.  Reading the textbook can also be very helpful if you’re having difficulty with a particular problem type.  The book typically approaches problems different than Dr. Kholodenko, and sometimes just seeing it from a different approach can make everything click!

    Microbiology

    Microbiology is a one semester class.  I would recommend keeping up with the textbook readings as you go along because a lot of material is covered throughout the semester.  Dr. Malik typically incorporates ResponseWare (a computer polling program) questions into her lectures so make sure you attend lectures!

    Statistics

    Stats is a spring semester course.  Dr. Racz pretty much covers everything in class that you need to know.  Make sure to do all the assigned practice problems!  It will be very helpful to do all the practice problems that are available when it comes to taking exams!

    Bio Selective

    In the spring semester you’ll take a biology selective class.  In the past they’ve provided 4 different options – Anatomy & Physiology (A&P), Cell Biology, Genetics, and Virology.  Each of the classes is designed to help you with a class you’ll take during your P1 year.  A&P helps with Pathophysiology, Cell biology helps with Biochemistry, Genetics helps with Molecular Biology, and Virology helps with Immunology.

    Feel free to reach out to any of the mentors if you have any questions!


    Andrea Glogowski

    Peer Mentor Student Coordinator

    Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class of 2017


    Go comment!
  • PCAT Advice from Mentor Risa Robinson

    by Brianna Luft | Apr 16, 2014

    Now that your second semester is winding down, you are probably starting to think about the PCAT. The PCAT, pharmacy college admissions test, is a requirement for entry into the professional program. The dates for this year’s PCAT are July 17/18, September 3-5, October 6, 16, or 27-31, and November3-7. You can find these dates and the registration deadlines online at http://pcatweb.info/ .

    When is the best time to take the PCAT? This is up to you: many people choose to take the July test to get it out of the way. Students would rather take the test when they are not burdened with school work. It’s important to remember that the PCAT test is designed to test you on subjects from your pre-pharmacy years. So taking the test in July puts you in a place to take it before your second year of pre-pharmacy. However, most students find that this is not a problem and the emphasis of the material is on first year pre-pharmacy. The benefit to taking the test early is that you have time to retake the test if you are unsatisfied with your score.

    How do you prepare? The nice thing about the PCAT is that it’s all material that you have already learned. Utilize PCAT prep books to help refresh your memory. Even looking through your general chemistry or biology notes will be helpful! The best way to prepare is practicing. At 4 hours long, the PCAT is lengthy and requires your attention for longer than most of you are used to. There are multiple choice sections involving mathematics, biology, general & organic chemistry, and verbal ability. There are also two essays. Don’t be alarmed if you cannot finish the sections in time on your first practice test. This is a skill that takes practice so I advise starting your preparations early.

    The PCAT may seem intimidating, but remember, you have seen all this material before! Get a good night’s sleep, eat a healthy breakfast, and pace yourself on the day of the test. If you are stuck on a question, guess and move on. Many of the questions are experimental questions meaning that they are not graded. No points are taken off for wrong answers so it’s better to guess than to leave questions blank. You will get your scores for the multiple choice sections immediately after the test. Your score for the writing section will come a few weeks later. If you’re not happy with your score, don’t be upset! You can always retake the test and each time you take it, you will be more experienced. 


    Risa Robinson
    Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class 2018 
    Peer Mentor Coordinator 

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  • 5 under $25, Things to do in Spring

    by Jarrett Lykins | Apr 09, 2014

    Restaurant Week

    Though this event is currently happening, you still have until the 11th.  Eat a three course meal at any participating restaurant for just $20.14.  This is a great opportunity to get off campus and try some new eateries around Albany.  For more information, including the list of participating restaurants and their menus, check out http://downtownalbany.org/events/downtown-albany-restaurant-week

    GE Presents: The Mystery of the Albany Mummies

                    Egypt comes to Albany!  Check out Egyptian mummies and their coffins in this exhibit.  Learn about the culture of these mummies and what their daily life may have been like.  This exhibit is located at the Albany Institute of Art and History on Washington Ave and costs $8 with a student ID.  For more details on this opportunity, check out http://www.albanyinstitute.org/ge-presents-the-mystery-of-the-albany-mummies.html                

    Farmers Market

                    The Troy Waterfront Farmers Market is a great option for fresh produce, baked goods, and other homemade products.  Buy direct from those growing and making what is being sold.  The Farmers Market is open every Saturday on 4th Street in Troy.  For more information, check out http://www.troymarket.org/

    New York State Museum

                    Take a look at our state’s history!  The museum has exhibits ranging from wildlife to the ways of the Native Americans, a section on the 1920s to minerals found in New York, and an area devoted to 9/11.  This interesting look at our state’s past is free!  For more information, check out http://www.nysm.nysed.gov/

    Tulip Festival

                    End the semester with a bang?…or perhaps with a bloom!  The annual Tulip Festival takes place on May 10th in Washington Park.  Stop by for the food, the fun, and all the beautiful colors!  For more information, check out http://albanyevents.org/index.cfm

    Take advantage of some of these opportunities and others around the area.  There is also bowling, laser tag, the movies, shopping, sightseeing, and much more.  Enjoy the final weeks of your Spring semester here in Albany!!

    By Kelley Kritz, Intern in Academic Learning Services

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  • A (Easy!) College Guide To Eating Healthy

    by Brianna Luft | Apr 08, 2014

    Hello everyone!

    I know it can seem challenging to eat healthy when you aren't cooking yourself, but it can be accomplished! Here are some tips to help you out. 

    The first bit of advice is from the blog nerdfitness.com which is "doing good, not being perfect." You are bound to order that pizza or Chinese when you are on that study grind and don't want to walk to the dining hall, and you should give yourself that freedom! If you tell yourself that you are going to eat healthy every day, you will actually tempt yourself to eat unhealthy foods more often. So, using the "doing good" mindset will keep you on track better than actually "dieting." 

    Making smarter options at the dining hall and the snacks in your room is the easiest way to improve eating habits. Grabbing a grilled chicken sandwich at BYOB instead of the chicken strips or a salad instead of the pizza are simple techniques! For a side get vegetables or an apple rather than chips. Right there, you are on the right track to healthy eating. Rather than buying the huge bag or chips and all of the cookies, spend a few extra dollars and get some yogurt, fruits and vegetables. It is worth the splurge! I eat yogurt with granola for breakfast a lot and it is must healthier than the bacon/sausage/hashbrowns that I used to get at the dining hall. 

    A great way to help you stay on the path of healthy eating is to get your friends and roommates involved. The way that keeps me on track for eating well is telling my roommates that I am only eating healthy and inviting their encouragement or help. When we go grocery shopping we (sadly) skip the cookie aisle, I don't eat the brownies that are inevitably in our suite and I'll choose water over soda. When I want to pick the sugary drink or snack but they remind me of my goal is great motivation. For a while I even conned my roommate into eating healthy with me, but she missed dinosaur chicken nuggets so fell off the bangwangon. She has stayed on the path of eating fruits and veggies though! 

    My last tip is to hit the gym! Working out is an amazing stress reliever and it also helps you be able to eat more things that you want :) I wake up about an hour before I normally would, get in a quick half an hour run, head back to my room to shower/get ready and then go to class. I feel a lot more awake and I feel a lot better about myself when I go to the gym.

    With a crazy last month of school coming up, you can use these tips to eat better and feel better!

    --Bri Luft
    Peer Mentor Student Coordinator
    Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate Class 2016  

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  • Effectively Using Tutoring Services

    by Jarrett Lykins | Apr 03, 2014

    Hello, Jarrett here again!  As the semester progresses you may notice that you need some assistance in certain courses.  However, you may not exactly know the way to approach your first tutoring session.  Here are some tips for using tutoring correctly.

    1. Come prepared with questions—Take the time to go over the material you want to review before you go to the appointment.  If you’ve done a practice test, come in with the questions you’ve gotten wrong.  A tutor is there to help you become and independent learner, so it’s important that you do the work.  You shouldn’t not go to an appointment and expect to passively participate.
    2. Find the tutoring that’s right for you—Do you like to learn in a group?  Are you better one on one?  Do you feel more comfortable with professional tutors or peer tutors?  Ask yourself these questions to find the best tutoring experience. At ACPHS we offer professional tutors in the Science Assistance Center if you don’t feel comfortable meeting with a peer.  We also have drop-in schedules, group tutoring schedules, and one on one appointments available through the peer tutoring program. Since students have many different learning styles and preferences we try to offer as many types of learning assistance as possible.
    3. Come with a friend or classmate-If you feel more comfortable going to tutoring with a friend or classmate—bring one along! Tutors generally don’t mind having more than one student at their appointments.  Just try to let them know ahead of time.
    4. Use drop-in hours—If you run out of time to make an appointment—use drop-in hour tutoring.  When a tutor has drop-in hours you can show up without an appointment and work on problems, talk through concepts, etc. The tutors are there for you! They get lonely without students to help!
    5. Set up a regular appointment—If you’re really having difficulty in a particular course, set up a regular time to meet with a tutor.  Even if you find you don’t have any questions one week, you’ll still feel accountable for making the time spent with the tutor productive.  This may influence the amount you study before the session and overall it will help ensure your success.

    All tutoring appointments can be scheduled through albany.askonline.net.  Login using your blackboard username and password. If you need any assistance setting up a tutoring appointment or finding a time to attend a tutoring session that works for you—email peertutoring@acphs.edu.

    -Jarrett

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  • Advice on Taking Summer Courses

    by Zachary Hecox | Mar 31, 2014

    As the end of the semester looms, what better way to avoid thinking about finals than to contemplate taking summer courses? To help you with your decision, the Peer Mentor Program offers the following pros and cons of extending your college experience into the dog days of the summer.

    First, the pros:

    • The classes will be smaller. It’s not at all uncommon to see classes that usually have 250 students being offered over the summer with only 25 students. Avoiding the monster classes at ACPHS is a real plus. You could actually be able, for a change, to see and maybe even get to know your professor really well. Now, that’d be a first.
    • Summer courses have a more relaxed atmosphere. Everyone tends to loosen up a little during the summer, ever professors. Some might shed their tweed jackets or pencil skirts and show up in shorts. Whether these are fashion faux pas or not, what’s not to like about a more lad-back instructor?
    • You’ll get a more intensive study of a subject. Summer courses run for six weeks, which is fewer than half the number of weeks of the regular semester, with classes meeting several hours every day. As a result, you get a rare chance to truly concentrate on the subject you’re studying, which is great if you’re really interested in the topic of the course.
    • You can tame requirements that are difficult for you. Some students who have trouble managing the math and science requirements find that it can help to take summer courses. That’s because students usually take only one course per summer session and can have an easier time learning the material when they don’t have to get their mind around other subjects at the same time.

    Sound great? Ready to trade in your summer in paradise for the lecture hall of the Student Center? Now consider the cons:

    • It’s too intensive. Summer courses are very compressed: They almost always meet three hours a day, three days a week. For some people, having class and homework every day as well as quizzes and tests due at more frequent intervals is just more than they can happily swallow.
    • You might not get the regular faculty. Many faculty members, especially the well-paid ones, don’t want to be bothered teaching summer courses. So it’s quite possible that there are folks teaching summer courses that aren’t on the regular staff—and might not be as qualified as the regular staff (think faculty from other colleges in Albany).
    • Summer school costs extra. You’ve already paid thousands and thousands of dollars for fall and spring (and, at ACPHS, can take as many courses as you like then). So why pay extra? Tuition is $973 per credit hour and housing is $840 per session.
    • You deserve a break today. After two long semesters, you may be much in need of some R&R. In this case, you may want to give summer courses a pass. Don’t worry: No one will hold it against you. And you’ll still finish in the six years you had planned.

    For more advice on taking summer courses, please contact your respective Peer Mentor or any Peer Mentor Coordinator. Thanks in advance!

    -Zach
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  • How to Form Effective Study Groups

    by Jarrett Lykins | Mar 21, 2014

    Hello all! Jarrett here, as we approach the end of the semester it’s important to maximize your study times. Study groups can be a great way to learn with your peers but you need to make sure they run effectively.  Here are my top 5 tips on forming an effective study group:

    1. Choose peers who are serious about studying—It may be tempting to study with your friends, but if you know this time won’t be productive then this is not study time.  It may be a better idea to study with acquaintances from class who you know are serious students.
    2. Set expectations and goals for the study session— It is important to come to a mutual agreement on the goal for the session. Are you going to go over chapters 1, 2, and 3? Do you want to do practice problems?  Go over and old test?  However you’d like to structure the assignments for the group, make sure all of the group members are on board with idea and collectively decide on how to proceed.
    3. Use group learning techniques—There are many ways to conduct an effective group learning session.  If you incorporate active group learning into your study group, all of the members will be more likely to retain the information discussed in the group.  Click this link to explore some group learning strategies: http://www1.umn.edu/ohr/teachlearn/tutorials/active/strategies/
    4. Choose a time that is productive for everyone— Make sure the time you choose to meet regularly is a time that works for everyone in the group.  Also it might be wise, to take into account the course schedule/test schedule and plan out the topics you’re going to cover in advance.  This way all of the group members will be prepared to discuss the agreed upon topic before the session starts.
    5. Assign clearly defined roles/duties— Make sure everyone in the group knows their responsibilities.  Assign each person in the group a task--e.g. someone to keep track of time during the group session, someone to be the study session leader, someone to be the faculty/tutor liaison (ask questions on behalf of the group), and someone to schedule the meetings (times, dates, locations). This way everyone has a stake in the group's success.

    If you follow these basic strategies, you are sure to be successful in your study group.  For more information on study groups come visit on the third floor of the library building in LIB 303 A.

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  • Getting Involved On and Off Campus by Mentor Risa Robinson

    by Brianna Luft | Mar 12, 2014

    After we all come back from spring break it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed with the remainder of the semester. While studying and doing your work should be a main priority, try and take the time to do things both on and off campus. Meetings for clubs, student government, and professional organizations are open to all students at any time of the year. It’s not too late to join these organizations and it’s not too early to think about what you want to be a part of next year! Being involved on the campus helps you with time management, networking, and appreciating the school even more.

    Do you feel like you want to get away from campus from time to time? Find a job around the school to pick up some extra cash. Volunteer at local hospitals and pharmacies if you can’t find a job. Any type of experience at these kinds of places will help you with your future careers. Also remember that there are plenty of volunteer or job opportunities right here on campus. ACPHS Academy, the charter school located in the Holland/Princeton building, is a great program to get involved with if you enjoy helping younger students. You can work for this institution or simply volunteer your time. Currently, the writing center and peer tutoring are looking to hire tutors next year. If you are passionate for a specific subject consider applying as a tutor and sharing that passion with other students who are struggling. The student ambassador program run by the office of admissions hires students to give tours and interact with prospective students. It’s not a huge time commitment and it allows you to share your appreciation for the school with future students.

    You may think that you don’t have time to do anything else except school work, but even one hour per week of extracurricular activity is refreshing. Keep an eye out for some of the fun events coming up. Springfest in April is a great opportunity to relax with your friends and enjoy the weather as it gets warmer. You will be able to get your mind off of your stress and meet others who may be in the same situation as you. Don’t be afraid to try new things, you won’t regret it!

    Risa Robinson
    Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate, Class 2018
    Peer Mentor Coordinator 

    Go comment!
  • Mentor Application and Group Interview Process Demystified

    by Julianne Messia | Mar 03, 2014

    So, are you wondering why we combined the Orientation Committee application with the Peer Mentor application?  The reason is simple – we wanted to make it easier for you to apply for two great programs that are so vitally important in welcoming new students to our campus.  The application, including your answers to the questions, is your first impression to the selection committee so be sure to be neat, organized, answer honestly, and PROOFREAD before you hand it in.  Consider it as practice for applying to graduate school, medical school, residency, or a job – and do your best!

    Once your application is done, the interview will be next.  The interview will be a group-based interview taking place on March 7th from 5pm – 8pm in Holland 200.  That may seem like a really long time, but trust me, it will go by very fast.  While I can’t give away any of the questions that we’ll be asking, I can give you some tips for how to approach the interview.

    Many of the selection committee’s decisions are going to be made based on your performance during the interview.  With that being said, my advice to you is to BE YOURSELF.  If any of your answers are what you think we want to hear but are not actually how you feel, we might make a decision that doesn’t suit you – and that wouldn’t make anybody very happy, would it? 

    It’s okay if you tend to be reserved in groups.  Between Orientation Committee and Peer Mentors, we’re looking for a variety of personalities, traits, and skills – from leadership to friendliness, spontaneity to insightfulness, empathy to resourcefulness.  Variety is the spice of life; let your light shine!

    Returning Peer Mentors, you’ll have a greater burden during the interview process.  We’ll be using your performance during the interview, your application answers, and your participation in events this year to make a decision to have you back.  In order to have the best, most effective group, we might have to make some tough choices.

    Finally, sometimes the best way to find out if you’d be a good mentor or orientation leader is to put you in that situation.  The group interview design is the closest we’ll be able to come to doing just that.  Use the time to get to know your peers and the group leaders – the Peer Mentor Coordinators and the Orientation Planning Committee Leaders – and ask questions so that you know just what you’re getting in to.  And if you change your mind, that’s perfectly okay too – you’ll at least be able to make a well-informed decision after having gone through the interview process.

    We are very excited for this new endeavor and can’t wait to meet all of you!  See you March 7th!

    Go comment!
  • Relay for Life by Mentor Mai Mowaswes

    by Brianna Luft | Feb 26, 2014

    Relay for Life, an event hosted by Colleges Against Cancer, is an opportunity for the entire campus to come together and raise money for cancer research. Fundraising for this occasion begins months before the actual 12-hour event. Individuals, clubs and organizations form teams and put their creative minds together to attract attention to this important cause. In the week leading up to the main event, we color the campus purple to keep the event on everyone’s minds. This leads up to the all-night event! This year, Relay for Life will be held on Friday, February 28, 2014 from 6pm-6am. It will start with a kick-off which includes speakers who remind us why we all come together and then the walking begins! Each team is associated with the theme, which is Mardi Gras this year, and must have at least one person from their team on the track at all times. Each team has a string that they add a bead to every time they walk/jog/run/dance one lap—it’s fun to see how many laps you can get throughout the night! The track is lined with luminarias that represent the lives of those who have been affected by cancer. The teammates that are not going around the track will have the option of running their own table to continue to raise money throughout the night or enjoy all of the other activities that will be offered. In the past there have been inflatable sumo wrestlers, casino tables, delicious bad-for-you-but-good-for-your-soul foods, and, of course, late night dance parties. It’s always a blast! Accept the challenge, see if you can stay up the whole night! 

    Have you signed up for relay yet? If not, go to: relayforlife.org/acphsny

    Go comment!
  • Is it better to pull an all-nighter or get some rest before the exam?

    by Brianna Luft | Feb 24, 2014
    It’s the night before the huge chemistry exam and you haven’t done any practice problems.  You walk to the student center, buy the last five energy drinks and plan on pulling an all-nighter. The study session starts off strong but as time passes you find your brain is not focusing even though your heart is racing from all the caffeine. You struggle to keep your eyes from closing and your mind on task. You find yourself accidentally dozing off only to be awoken by the alarm you set to leave for the exam.  

    What are the outcomes associated with all-nighters? 

    Lower grades: Sleep deprivation has been statistically linked to lower GPAs. St. Lawrence University showed that students who never pulled all-nighters had an average GPA of 3.1 which those who did averaged a 2.9 GPA. 

    Less functional memory: In order for your brain to store and keep those chemistry memories safe, you need adequate sleep. With sleep deprivation your mind’s efficacy, attention span, information recall and reasoning skills are significantly decreased.
     
    Less effective study methods: All-nighters are notorious cram sessions.  Cramming material is considerably less effective than studying a little bit each day. Studies have shown that we remember the first and last things we hear in a given time period, while the stuff in the middle gets hazy. Imagine how little your mind retains in an 8-hour cram session on no sleep!
     
    Increased stroke risk: Healthy adults who get fewer than six hours of sleep per night are 4X more likely to suffer a stroke than their well-rested counterparts! (scary) 
     

    As you can see, there are many downfalls associated with pulling all-nighters. Although an occasional cram session may be necessary, I suggest planning ahead and studying a little bit every day before exams. 

    Good luck everyone :)

    Apryl Jacobs
    Doctor of Pharmacy Class 2016 
    Peer Mentor Coordinator 


    Go comment!
  • How to study actively!

    by Apryl Jacobs | Feb 19, 2014

    When it comes to pharmacy school, it is imperative that you learn to study actively. In order to retain the information in your long term memory, you need to do more than just read your notes. I found a really helpful article on the fundamentals of active studying and I would like to share an excerpt of it with you.

    “Four active processes will be used in the steps of any active study pattern and any study time that does not involve one or more of these steps is almost certainly passive and inefficient!

    1. Identifying the important information – answering the eternal question of “what’s important here?”

    2. Organizing the information – start with the “big picture” to create a framework that facilitates memorization and access appropriate for differential diagnosis.

    3. Memorizing the information – this requires frequent review to keep it available for use!

    4. Applying the information to more complex situations – practice questions, quiz questions, clinical applications, etc.

    Everyone will develop their own “high volume” study methods eventually, but the majority of medical students benefit from a starting strategy – and one generally successful starting point uses five basic steps:

    1. Finding the "big picture" by skimming the information before lecture – identifying and memorizing the four or five major topics will keep you on track during lecture.

    2. Creating a complete rough draft of the material by annotating the lecturer's slides  – notes emphasizing the lecturer's context are supplemented as needed from other reading materials. Don't rewrite this!

    3. Creating summary charts, lists or diagrams that organize the needed material to emphasize patterns that facilitate memorization.

    4. Actively memorizing the charts, etc., as they are created, then incorporating quick and frequent review during later study to nail the information down – you'll still need the fundamentals after finals are over.

    Practicing application using practice or quiz questions during the study process – and not to test yourself just before the exam.”

    I found this article to be very insightful, so you should take a look at it too!

    Here’s the link:

    http://meded.ucsd.edu/index.cfm//ugme/oess/study_skills_and_exam_strategies//how_to_study_actively/

    I suggest printing out the four fundamentals of active studying and taping them above your desk. That way you can review them before you start studying, so you will really master this approach! They will help you succeed in all of your years here at ACPHS!

    I hope you all are having a wonderful spring semester!

    Good luck :)

    Apryl Jacobs


    Go comment!
  • Clubs and Organizations on Campus

    by Brianna Luft | Feb 12, 2014

    Hello, everyone!

    You may be interested in getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus now that you have excelled in your first semester. Don't know what there is for you to join? Here is a list!

    If you have any questions about clubs or organizations, make sure to ask your mentors!

    Sports:
    Soccer (Intercollegiate)
    Cross Country (Intercollegiate)
    Basketball (Intercollegiate and Intramural)
    Volleyball (Intramural)
    Ultimate Frizbee Club
    Golf Club
    Ski and Snowboarding Club
    Tennis Club
    Karate Club
    Dance Team
    Equestrian Club

    Professional Organizations:
    APhA-ASP
    SSHP
    AMCP
    ACCP
    NCPA
    AAPS


    Some Other Club and Organizations:
    Biomedical Technology Club
    Craft Club
    Multi-cultural Club
    Peer Connections
    Student Government Association
    Outdoors Club
    Colleges Against Cancer
    Orthodox Christian Student Association (OCSA)
    Christian Pharmacists Fellowship International (CPFI) 
    SPACH
    Karate Club
    Amnesty International 
    African Student Association 
    Another Creative Perspective
    Student Coalition for Academic Integrity (SCAI)


    Go comment!
  • Fighting the "Winter Blues" by Intern Kelley Kritz

    by Brianna Luft | Feb 06, 2014

    It may be time for the “winter blues.”  No, I don’t mean feeling down because there’s snow on the ground and the sky is gloomy.  I’m talking about homesickness.  Sure you may have been a bit homesick in the fall semester, or maybe you weren’t.  It is possible that even if you were not homesick prior to now, it may creep up on you at the start of the spring semester.  After all, your most recent experience with college was finals week, and you’ve most likely been home enjoying your free time with friends and family.  It can be difficult getting back into the swing of things.  So what do you do?  The following are some tips on combating homesickness in your spring semester and keeping on task.

    • Getting back into a routine

    You probably had some type of a routine in the fall, so be sure to have one this semester too.  Keeping a routine can make each day feel a bit more normal.  It will be different from what you did over break, but as time goes on you will get used to it and it will become natural as it did in the fall. Plus, keeping up on your studies and activities each day will allow you to accomplish what is necessary and keep busy.

    • Keeping motivated/focused

    There was probably at least one, if not a few, ways in which you kept motivated and focused last semester.  Evaluate what did and didn’t work.  Use what worked again, and modify other tools in order to be productive this semester.  Keeping motivated and focused should alleviate some stress and allow you to get all of your work done in a timely manner.  NOTE: It may not be the best idea to continue working to the point of overdoing it.  While you absolutely need to keep up on your studies, you need some downtime too.  Allowing yourself breaks to stretch, listen to some relaxing music, exercise, have a snack, or chat with a friend, can allow you a chance to reenergize and refocus.  This will allow for quality work rather than just working until it is done.   

    • Keeping connected with friends from home after you’ve returned

    After having seen friends from high school during break, it may seems strange to leave them as you did back in September.  Who said you can’t stay in touch?  This can be part of your routine if it isn’t already.  Have Skype or FaceTime chats.  Call or text each other.  Make plans to visit each other once in a while.  Visits even allow you to connect old friends with new friends so everyone can hang out together.   

    • Making new friends/more new friends

    You may have become friends with your roommate, people in your class, and/or other students in clubs or athletic groups.  Don’t stop there.  Continue to build those friendships.  Create new friendships as well.  Perhaps there are new people you are encountering on campus or people you saw last semester that you never got around to having a conversation with.  Now is the time to get to know those people.  Remember, there’s no such thing as too many friends!

    • Keeping/getting involved

    If you are a part of a team or club, be sure to stay involved this semester as well.  This is where you can build new friendships and enhance existing ones.  If you were not involved or would like to become more involved than last semester, now is the time to do it.  Being a part of something outside of classes and homework will allow you to distress and refocus in order to put your all into your school work.  Plus, the spring semester is when many clubs have their elections.  If becoming a club leader is your goal, don’t miss out on the opportunity! 

    Keeping these tips in mind will hopefully reduce any homesickness you are experiencing as you return from the winter break.  However, don’t forget that homesickness is normal and there are most likely others going through it as well.  The transition back into school can be tough, but there is always someone there for you.  You probably still have connections at home, you may have created connections on campus as well, and if necessary there is always the counseling center. 

    Welcome back and have a healthy, happy, and productive semester!

    Go comment!
  • NIDA National Drug Facts Week

    by Brianna Luft | Feb 06, 2014

    Hello, everyone!

    Welcome back to campus. I hope your semester is starting off well!

    Last week was The National Institute of Drug Abuse's Drug Facts Week.First, I want you guys to take this Drug IQ Challenge and see how much you know. Here is the link:  http://drugfactsweek.drugabuse.gov/files/DrugIQFlyer_en_2014.pdf

    How did you do?! I didn't do as well as I had thought I would! It shows that there is a lot to learn about drug abuse, and that it is a bigger problem, especially in teenagers, than many of us realize.

    Here is a place to learn more facts:  http://teens.drugabuse.gov/drug-facts

    I hope you guys take a study break and educate yourselves about these drug abuse trends. They will affect all of us as health care professionals.

    Lastly, this is my favorite thing that I found! 

    Thank you for reading and have a great weekend! 


    Go comment!
  • "Why To Get Involved" from Mentor Sarah Cope

    by Brianna Luft | Nov 05, 2013

    Getting involved has got to be one of the best parts, especially here at ACPHS.  It is easy to get caught up in studying here and a common phrase that every student says is, “I don’t have time, I have to study.”  However, with a little time management, you can enjoy different activities around the school, while still having time to study for exams.  

    For me, one of the best decisions I made about getting involved was joining the basketball and soccer teams.  It gives me a release from school every day, something to look forward to, and has connected me with a group of girls that I have become very close with.  It is so worth it to give up some of my time to be on these teams, and usually practice/games allow me to refocus and study more efficiently.  Even if you do not want to be on a committed sports team, there are always intramurals to participate in with a group of friends!  A little friendly competition would be a great way to get your mind off of school.  The dance team is another perfect opportunity to showcase your skills and get involved on a team that everyone enjoys watching at basketball games and shows!  Outdoors club, ski club, golf club, equestrian club, Zumba and other fitness classes in the fitness center are just a few of the other ways to get involved and physically fit at the same time.  

    In addition, there are many other opportunities to get involved like colleges against cancer, ACPHS academy, volunteer opportunities, professional pharmacy associations, multicultural club, another creative perspective and others that provide different rewards than the fitness clubs.  These clubs provide a way to get involved in the community and give back.  Breast cancer walks, relay for life, teaching little kids, orientation committee, helping at the Special Olympics, or raking leaves around the city are all just a few examples of volunteer opportunities towards a good cause that will give you a sense of well-being and happiness that you might not find anywhere else.  Other clubs allow you to express your creative side that often gets left out while sitting in the library all day.  That is definitely worth a study break!  

    It is amazing to see the way the school comes together for different events and being involved in events like these have rewards that are like no other.  Another positive about getting involved is that it looks great on your resume! Next time you start thinking, “I don’t have time to do anything but study,” I suggest you get out of your dorm room/library/PCL and get involved.  I promise you won’t be disappointed, and it will make your time at ACPHS much more enjoyable!

    -Sarah Cope 
    3rd year Health and Human Sciences- Pre-Physican Assistant

    593 Comments
  • "What To Do In Albany" from Mentor Sean Daly

    by Brianna Luft | Oct 29, 2013

    The most common complaint I hear from students at ACPHS is “there is nothing to do in Albany.” The fact of the matter is: there is a TON of stuff to do in Albany. And now with the ability to ride the CDTA if you don’t have a car, there are no excuses for you to not get out and enjoy your weekends.

    Let’s start with the basics that I’m sure everyone knows:

    1. There are two big malls in Albany: The Colonie Center and the Crossgates Mall. Both of these have a wide variety of restaurants, including The Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Changs, Pizzeria Uno and Johnny Rocket’s. Both of these include movie theatres as well which show the latest movies. The movie theatre at the Crossgates mall is also the movie theatre that accepts the $5 discount movie tickets that are sold by the SGA at our school. With so much to do at these malls how can you NOT go?!
    2. Who likes games? We have a bowling alley right in our backyard right off of Ontario St, down the block from Chicken Joes. This is less than a 10 minute walk from campus. And the best part is: the games are cheap! Most bowling alleys charge $8-10 a game if there are no specials that night and this bowling alley is affordable and is a quiet place. Did I mention they have good food as well? You can’t go wrong at Playdium Bowling Center.
    3. With the closing of Jillians on Pearl St there has been a void in arcade games in Albany. Not anymore! Dave and Busters is now open at the end of the Crossgates Mall. With the Dave and Buster’s Eat and Play combo, you can affordably eat a nice meal and play some games afterwards! They also have a section where you can play pool and darts!

    Now we have some of the common options out of the way, let’s check out some other places that people may not have known about:

    1. For those of you who love music, there are plenty of venues with concerts daily. Upstate Concert Hall, formally known as Northern Lights, is one of the most popular in the area. Located in Clifton Park, NY, it is about a 25-30 minute drive from campus. This place is a common venue for the most popular bands and is definitely a place to check out if you’re into the music scene. A couple of other places around the area is The Egg and The Times Union Center in downtown Albany, Bogies on Ontario St, and Valentines on New Scotland Ave.
    2. How about some more games? There is Glow Golf miniature golf which is also located in the Crossgates Mall. And how about some Go-Karting? Fastrax Raceway is just a short distance from The Crossgates mall. Both provide an excellent time for a minute amount of money!
    3. There are some great parks around the area which are perfect to spend the day at. Washington Park is right at the end of New Scotland Road and has a ton of space to hang out. Down the opposite end of Delaware Ave is Normanskill Creek. They have a dog park, a golf course, really cool trails and to top It all off there is a Historic Bridge built over 150 years ago! This is a great option for all you history buffs!

    Don’t sit in your room all day, go out and do something! With plenty of places to choose from you will never be bored in Albany again!!

    -Sean Daly

    Pharm.D Candidate

    Class of 2015


    638 Comments
  • Avoid Homesickness

    by Brianna Luft | Oct 22, 2013

    1. Print tons of pictures with you and the special people in your life! Join a website like shutterfly.com or snapfish.com, and you can get free prints for joining! Decorate your room with these photos, and you'll feel like you are surrounded by your friends :) I do this every year :) Get creative! Make collages, get fun frames, and put the pictures wherever you want :)






    2. Set up times to makes skype or phone chats with your friends and family. I skype with one of my friends every Thursday, and talk on the phone with another every Sunday. Have a routine keeps you connected to your friends and knowing that you will have allotted to talk to them each week helps you to miss them less!

    3. Visit your friends! Figure out weekends when you're both free, and arrange a visit. There are trains and buses in Albany, so you  can get almost anywhere. Switch off who is going to visit who, so you both can get a chance to meet each other's college friends and experience each other's campuses!

    4. Don't be afraid to make new friends. You will meet some amazing people when you move in, so don't hesitate to connect with them! Having friends on campus makes adjusting a lot easier, and they'll get going through the same things as you.


    856 Comments
  • Happy Columbus Day!

    by Andrea Glogowski | Oct 12, 2013

    Columbus Day weekend is a great time to go home, see your family, and spend some time relaxing.  But don’t let these few days off make you forget about your classes!  Columbus Day is also a great time to get ahead and prepare yourself for the rest of the semester.  Take some time this weekend to finish up any loose ends.  If your humanities essay or presentation isn’t complete, finish it (you’ll thank yourself later when you’re overwhelmed with studying and other coursework).  Get caught up (or ahead) in reading or note taking for your core classes.  You don’t need to spend the whole time working, but spend a couple hours each day, and you’ll be all set!

    872 Comments
  • Midterm Grades

    by Brianna Luft | Oct 08, 2013
    Congrats! You have made it through half of your first semester as first years!! :) 


    This also means that you are going to be receiving your midterm grade reports. These grades are not part of your academic record, and are just a benchmark for how you are doing. If these grades are not as high are you were hoping or expecting - don't give up!! You still have half of a semester left with a few more tests, projects and finals to take to get your grades up!  And finals can actually really help your grades!! In chemistry if your final is higher than your lowest test grade, it will replace your lowest test grade AND count as a final, so this actually boosts your grade! The biology final will replace your grade completely if it is better than your average prior to the test, and doesn't count against you if it is worse. 

    But, in the meantime, if your grades or scores haven't been so hot, there are a lot of things you can do to be successful on the next assignment.

    1) First you should go talk to your professor and ask any questions and clarify any issues you have with the assigment. This could help you realize that you may have just studied the wrong material or your study system wasn't right for the test. If this is the case, modify your studying so that you will do well on the next test!

    2) If you're still having trouble, utilize peer tutoring! The first year peer tutoring schedule can be found here. There are many opportunities to get help because there is group tutoring, walk in hours and private tutoring. To get a private tutor, email some times that you are available one of the tutors listed under the different subjects, and they will let you know if they are available then. I usually email two of them at a time because it increases the likelihood that one is free! Make sure to contact them a few days ahead of time so that they have a heads up!

    3) For help with labs, scientific writing or homework problems, you can pay a visit to the Science Assistance Center (LIB 308). Professors help you out in here, and the schedule can be found here

    4)If you're doing fine in your main courses but are having trouble in POC or Humanities, make sure to stop by the Writing Center (LIB 307)! You can find the drop in and appointment hours here. The Writing Center can help you with any of your written pieces and presentations, and the tutors will even listen to your presentation and give you advice on how to make it better! All of the tutors available in these resources are amazing and are super helpful. 

    There is no shame in needing help, so use the resources that are available to you!! :) Good luck in the rest of the semester! If you work hard and believe in yourself, you will come out on top!! :)

    430 Comments
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