From Bonaventure to GWU–My transition and passion for the schools

My hands shook. My eyes welled. My neurons fired in directions I had never before felt.

My smile consumed my entire face.

I held my acceptance letter to the St. Bonaventure University/ The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences dual-degree, B.S./M.D. program. At the age of 17, I had a conditional seat in the most-applied-to medical school in the country. With my Bonnie pride and medical school excitement, I signed the necessary documents.

The letters M.D. after my name–my dream becoming a reality. (more…)

Cotton swabs, phone calls and saving lives

Scott glances at his phone for incoming texts during class and sees an unfamiliar number calling him.

“A Florida area code?” he thinks to himself.

Ignoring the call but keeping his phone on his lap, a white blinking light catches his already curious eye. Before opening the e-mail, he sees “Important message from Gift…”

He feels his heart beating faster.

And faster.

Is he a match?

Can he save someone’s life?

He opens the e-mail and sees that he could be a potential bone marrow match for a man with lymphoma. (more…)

Mackowski does more than just teach.

Pens contact paper throughout the room as the professor explains the next assignment, a personality profile.

Fine.

About the professor who will read and grade the story you write…

Oh.

Narcissist. This professor must really love himself to read 16 stories about him. (more…)

Brooke preps for her piano recital

Brooke Blazius hunches over from her backpack overstuffed with biology notebooks. She’s not headed to lab now, though. Instead, she darts towards a room with the only one piece of furniture—a piano. (more…)

Some students fantasize instead of study.

Scott adds dashes of rosemary, salt and red pepper flakes to his marinating chicken pieces for lunch. He stirs the ingredients in a pan on the hot electric coils of his stove, tossing some pasta into the mix.

The chef returns to his kitchen hours later, standing in front of the stove once again. His townhouse now filled with nine other men, they expect the best out of him as they all stare at their laptop screens.

The stove coils slowly heat up though never reaching a temperature hot enough to cook. However, the competitive fire in the room warms the area.

The timer counts down on the computers… 3, 2, 1.

This timer does not indicate a cooked meal, though. Instead, a voice echoes from the laptops. “Are you ready to get started? 2011 NFL draft is officially open.”

With his laptop roaring and battery continuing to warm his stovetop desk, Scott Wozer the chef becomes the manager of Laces Out.

The fantasy football draft begins. (more…)

Use active verbs.

Active verbs are not soccer players. Active verbs dribble the ball down the field, smack the dripping sweat away from his eyes, feel the rush of the approaching defender and sweep the ball backwards to his teammate.

Active verbs are not girls. Active verbs untwist the mascara brush, lean her stomach over the bathroom counter, close one eye and gently shake the brush in a horizontal fashion while moving towards the tips of her eyelashes.

Active verbs make a noun do something, according to Feature Writing: The Pursuit of Excellence by Friedlander and Lee. (more…)

My journalism class exercises my brain and legs. Does yours?

Freshman year, sophomore year, junior year. For three years, I have sat in Room 104’s rolling, spinning chairs—whizzing back and forth between the table and computer—frantically writing timed stories, researching writing topics, sneaking in Facebook before class.

Slumping over to withstand the textbook weight in my backpack, I head in once again hoping no one has claimed my normal seat.

Earlier in the day, I walked into a classroom and sat. Notebook and assignment pad in front of me, I took notes from a PowerPoint. Welcome to memorizing biology.

However, this rote process does not happen now—not in this class. As journalists, students, distracters, we walk. (more…)

Beware of friends bearing gifts.

Danielle Schenone, a senior biology major, talks to a freshman class about sexually transmitted infections . photo by taken Kristin Sotak

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.–St. Bonaventure University freshmen fill the room for their University 101 class, a first semester course to transition students from high school to college life. On the white projector screen blanketing the blackboard, a YouTube video plays.

She sits with her ponytail high atop her head. Her anonymous silhouette tells her story to the class.

During her year-long relationship with her boyfriend in high school, the topic of having sex came up in conversation. While she would not be his first, he would be hers.

Avoiding the awkwardness of asking her boyfriend if he had gotten tested for sexually transmitted infections, she made the worst decision of her life. She trusted him.

And they had sex without a condom. She thought she had nothing to worry about. (more…)

Got organs?

Nancy Matthews and her daughter, Hannah . photo taken from blogspot: nancymatthews.blogspot.com

ST. BONAVENTURE (Sept. 17)–From around the corner, I can hear the smile on her face—happy to breathe, happy to walk, happy to be alive.

Once an active member of the Journey Project at St. Bonaventure University, Nancy Matthews walks into the Thomas Merton Center, a home of the past.

Familiar Thomas Merton Center faces, excited to see her for the first time in years perhaps, compliment Matthews on how healthy she looks.

Formally meeting her for the first time, I courteously reach out my hand to greet her.

“I am sorry, but I can’t shake hands with you,” says Matthews, a mother with cystic fibrosis. (more…)

Bonaventure students know how to handle their sadness. Some tips to follow

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.—Phone in her hand and dorm key on a wristband, Sinead Coleman runs toward the Allegheny

Sinead Coleman . photo taken by me . what Coleman uses to keep her grip: http://www.yaktrax.com/products.aspx

River Valley Trail on the west side of St. Bonaventure University by the tennis courts.

Bundled in a hoodie, yoga pants, ear warmers and gloves, her snow-treaded running sneakers grip the path.

No friend by her side, no headphones blasting music, Coleman, 19, says she listens to her breathing.

She uses a yoga technique—big breath in, very slow breath out—says the sophomore biology major.

One of Coleman’s best friends told her that she would move away from home soon.

With tears held up inside, Coleman runs.

(more…)