Delicious Downtown Food

Walking into downtown Scranton is one of my favorite things to do. Even in a week where the temperatures dipped into the single digits, making the short walk to historic Courthouse Square to Northern Light Espresso Bar is worth it. Situated just past the University of Scranton’s new occupational therapy building that will open in the fall of 2015, Northern Light is always frequented by Scranton students seeking to enjoy a hot cup of coffee, freshly steeped tea, or a sweet pastry snack. Northern Light has carried on the tradition of “Steamtown” in the twenty first century but has substituted traditional black coal and steam trains for black coffee and steamed milk!

Curling up on one of the many couches reading a book or play for one of my English classes with soft music playing over the speakers is an exceptional environment. The cute little coffee shop is filled with crisp aromas and warm colors. At Northern Light I always seem to run into friends, classmates, or even one of my professors! With the close bonds of friendship and camaraderie forged at the University of Scranton it is not out of the question to even meet a professor for coffee after class or outside of office hours!

Another place to meet up with friends is City Market and Cafe on the walk to downtown. The City Market just around the corner from the University of Scranton and Northern Light is also a favorite of Scranton students. A former restaurant, City Market is new to Scranton last year. With no cars permitted on campus until junior year, City Market was a welcomed addition to the community last year. The store provides an establishment within close proximity to campus for students. Just a block past Hyland Hall, sandwiches, snacks, Dunkin Donuts, or grocery items are mere minutes away. There is something for everyone with a full service deli that is filled with entrees named after local Scranton things. Daily Scranton students and local Scrantonians are found daily buzzing in and out for a hot lunch or the quick errand.

In addition to Northern Light and City Market, Scranton offers Osaka, a hibachi restaurant, Eden Vegan (tofu never tasted so good!) and Kildares Irish Pub. There are plenty of other options in addition to these, and I definitely recommend that you check all of them out!

I love Scranton’s downtown area offers so many delicious and convenient options for students. Even though DeNaples and the POD markets on campus offer great food for students, it is nice to know that there are even more locations in such close proximity to the U!

A Busy Girl’s Guide on How to Stay Organized

College is stressful. From classes, to clubs, to work-study positions, students often find it difficult to find a balance and still manage to find time to see their friends. As a crazy, always-on-the-run, and overly involved college student, I want to take the time to provide a few tips and tricks for keeping organized, keeping on top of your work and commitments, and keeping from going insane :)

Like I said, I’m constantly busy. I am a double-major, taking a full course-load. With that full course-load comes twenty hours of education observations at a local high school and ten hours of educational service learning. I have three on-campus work study positions, two of which are leadership positions that require me to put in extra hours and always be readily available. I am in various clubs that meet weekly.  I am in two honor societies that meet regularly.

My days start early and end late – but I LOVE it.

If you are like me and LOVE being busy, then you know how important it is to stay organized. My first piece of advice: Get a planner! And post-it notes! Or use your calendar in your smartphone! Whatever your method, PLAN AHEAD, and write down all of your commitments for the week. On top of that, check your schedule regularly to ensure that none of your commitments clash with each other.

Second, always make sure to eat regularly. Never skip out on a meal as you bounce between meetings and classes. You need energy to keep you going, and energy stems from a healthy diet. Luckily, we have some amazing food options on campus in the DeNaples Center, the POD, and scattered throughout our academic buildings. If you are in a rush or on the run, there are plenty of grab-and-go options for you.

Third, never over-commit yourself. This one seems like a no-brainer; however, if you are like me and never turn down extra work or a new opportunity, saying no is not that easy. I always remind myself that if I spread myself too thin, then I will not be able to give my best effort in my commitments. So only take on new responsibilities you can handle.

My fourth bit of advice goes hand-in-hand with the third. Only commit yourself to majors, minors, jobs and activities which you are passionate about. If you don’t care about what you are doing, then you are wasting your time. Academic advisors are excellent resources in helping you find a major or minor which is meaningful to you. Communicating with your work-study employer or club leader prior to taking on the new job or club membership will help you determine if this opportunity is something you want to grab hold of. Never be afraid to change your mind or change your interests.

My fifth and final piece of advice is this: When you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s nothing that coffee with a friend or a movie night with your buddies can’t fix. Lucky for us, we go to The University of Scranton – a school where people will go out of their way to be your friend. I have made my closest friends at The U, and I know that whenever I am stressed, my friends and classmates are the first people I turn to. So take a study break, catch up with a friend, and remember to cherish every busy, chaotic, beautiful moment and memory you make here at The U.

Until next week!

Sarah :)

Home Sweet Scranton

Starting a new semester at the U after coming off of an incredible semester abroad made me nervous. Would I be able to readjust to the work-load? Would my professors remember me? Would my classmates remember me? What has changed at the U since I left? I did not really had a huge culture shock upon my immediate return from my semester in Cape Town, but may have had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t trying to jump back into the craziness of a semester. Would I feel the shock more intensely once I returned to campus, I wondered?

I should have known that I had nothing to worry about. The University of Scranton welcomed me back with open arms, and my first week back has been nothing but exciting. Of course I notice differences between Cape Town and Scranton – the first difference being that there are giant piles of snow up to my waist here, whereas Cape Town was an endless summer! But I feel like Scranton absorbed my culture shock, and replaced it with the coziness of home. Friends eagerly made plans to get together and catch up; I fell back into the comforting pattern of going to work and giving tours; I dove head-in to my new job as Managing Editor of the Aquinas student newspaper, and was welcomed by my co-workers; classes have been captivating; former professors reach out to meet and hear about my experience abroad. My little Scranton community has made coming home from such a life-changing adventure easy, and for that I am so grateful.

I miss Cape Town and the people I met there so much. I get hit with waves of nostalgia every time I think about my time there. But being back on campus is a reminder that it is possible to have multiple homes to miss. As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, yes, Cape Town became my home. But Scranton is my home too, and it is SO good to be back. Cheers to a great semester ahead :)

Until next week!

Sarah :)