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…)

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A glimpse into the summer sister-bonding trip

On March 25, I received an e-mail from Taglit-Birthright Israel that I anticipated but dreaded.

“Dear Israel Outdoors Applicants –

We have now completed the initial round of trip assignments, and unfortunately we have not been able to place you on a trip yet.

If you can be flexible, we encourage you to stay on the waitlist as spaces do become available…”

Waitlist? Who would give up a free trip to Israel? Taglit-Birthright Israel with the help of generous donors gives selected Jewish young adults an opportunity to visit Israel, educating them on the land of their ancestors.

There goes our plan to start off an adventurous summer… However, this email will not discourage me and Dana, my sister. If Israel won’t take us, maybe another country will. (more…)

He rubbed Q-tips around his mouth and saved a girl.

A drawing Marina sent to us in a letter.

Coming home from my summer job one night in July 2005, I heard an unfamiliar voice linger in the hallway. Walking closer to the origin, I saw my dad in the family room speaking with a dark-haired man I had never seen before.

He introduced himself as Jay Feinberg, the founder of the Gift of Life Bone Marrow Foundation. I still had no idea why he stood in front of me.

My dad said that Feinberg had called him at work the day before because he was a potential stem cell donor for a person with cancer.

Put into a national stem cell donor bank a few years prior, and never really heard from the organization since, my dad completely forgot about his simple cheek swab until this call.

Feinberg told my dad over the phone that he could potentially save the life of an 11-year-old girl with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, cancer of the blood or bone marrow. (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…)

Getting a D isn’t all that bad…

My black patent leather flats click quickly behind the physician, trying to keep up with her pace. Doreen DeGraaff, a

 

Vitamin D supplements . photo taken by me

 

doctor of medicine in obstetrics and gynecology (OB/GYN), glides from one patient room to the next in her office in Livingston, New Jersey.

This particular Monday in August, she endlessly examined more than fifty women, each of which she knew on a personal basis.

After meeting with each patient, she updates each file. Any new medications? How’s your son? Isn’t Argentina beautiful? Have you gone for a colonoscopy yet? Do you take vitamin D tablets?

The last question creates a pause in the conversation. DeGraaff listens for an answer as she does with her patients during every appointment. (more…)

All I want for my birthday is a 10-inch haircut.

MORRISTOWN, N.J.—I stood on the dance floor in front of 120 family and friends on May 5, 2006. Sixteen candles lit and one for good luck to go.

“Yes, everyone, I know I’m only turning sixteen,

Lighting my good-luck candle at my sweet sixteen

And this next candle is number seventeen.

There are two girls I would like to dedicate this candle to.

One is the girl my dad gave stem cells to.

The second girl I have never seen nor heard from,

But, through Locks of Love, my hair will soon be hers, at least some.

As good luck, this candle will be lit.

I will light it myself, so everyone can sit.”

While my auburn hair during my oh-so memorable candle ceremony flowed to midback, a few days later, it barely touched my shoulders. (more…)

Don’t hide it! Everyone’s obsessed with something.

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.—Buzz. Buzz. The front screen of a ­­­red LG cell phone lights up, waking up its owner, Divya Kurian. She reaches for the noisy gadget. Her roommate across the room in her fourth-floor Devereux Hall dorm at St. Bonaventure University stays asleep.

She presses “View Now.” A text from a friend.

Kurian dreads waking up at 3 a.m. and adjusting to the bright background light of the phone. Halfhearted but determined, she says she reads the text message, throws her phone back on her dresser and goes back to sleep.

The sophomore biology major says she cannot leave an unopened text message on her phone. She needs to know who sent her a message and about what. (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…)

Housekeepers have yet to replace a soap dispenser on campus

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y.—Vineeth Sankoorikal walks around the white-walled corner to the bathroom closest to his dorm room in Devereux Hall at St. Bonaventure University. After doing his business, Sankoorikal, 20, says he turns the gold-colored knob of the green bathroom door and leaves without washing his hands.

Gross, some might think. (more…)