Dec 17

A different place…

Hi all,

This week, I was working with a student one-on-one at my internship and I had the craziest epiphany! The student expressed having some difficulties forgiving people who have wronged him and having “resentment” toward them. Everyone can relate to forgiving those who have done something to them. But this conversation was different than any other I’ve had with a student. This young man expressed feelings of anger toward former “love interests” in his life who had conducted a form of “cheating.” I’m sure we’ve all been there, and dealt with those types of feelings at some point. Myself included. This conversation really hit home for me. But where this conversation went really surprised even me. INSTEAD of this conversation bring up thoughts of my OWN feelings, I used ideas and concepts with this student that people have taught ME.

This session took place on a Monday and the day before that, on Sunday I attended church where the sermon was about forgiveness. While, I did NOT use religion ideas with this student, I used a strong concept that hit home for me. When someone wrongs US and we hold on to feelings of resentment, anger, and frustration with those people. But when WE do that, what happens to THEM? Nothing. Those who have hurt us are UNAFFECTED by what they have done to US.

After I brought this to his attention, the student seemed almost stumped by my statement, but agreed it was true. Giving students concepts like this to think about, is what internships like mine are all about. As a former professor said to me last semester in Practicum, “It’s about planting seeds.” And I feel that is EXACTLY what I did.

 

I was able to use something that I was taught through someone else, and that was an amazing feeling!

Be well, Griffs and STAY WARM!

Dec 16

Secret Santa Exravaganza

 

As Kevin from The Office says..

 

 

 

Time For Secret Santa..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finals week is over! I survived!! And it was dreadful! Grad School finals week is like undergrad…but instead of cranking out a bunch of 12 page papers you have actual exams.  (Boy, do I miss those papers!)

 

 

 

Channeling some good luck with finals!

 

 

 

Don’t just wear your Accounting Society shirt for good luck! (I tired haha) Make sure to take good notes and keep up with the assignments throughout the semester.  (Including the reading)  And learn to reserve study rooms in the library early, because of fighting over a study room or even a table on the quite floor is no fun!  And go to the quiet floor if you actually want to study!  But beware….there are tons of undergrads who never study in the library except for the blue moon of finals week and have no clue on how to control their volume..  But on the noisy main floor is a whole bunch of undergrads who think the library is a place to party, so don’t plan on studying down there! On the plus side, Tim Hortons is open extra long!!! (YAYYY CAFFEINE!!!)

 

Anyways, instead of a post about how to tackle the craziness of finals week..I wanted to update you on my love of gift giving!  I have been channeling my inner future house wife and have gotten into the holiday spirit!  The best part of the holidays, besides sending out Christmas cards, is to give gifts!!  This year, the Business School office exchanged gifts and I received some wonderful earrings and necklace from Lena which are great for every-day wear and at work!  Plus, they were really pretty.  Sorry…I lack a photo! *sad panda*

ROAR I'm A Present!!

 

 

 

Gift Wrapped Kitty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beyond Secret Santa at the office, I bought a whole bunch of gifts for family and even the Bestie!  My best wrapped gift was one that I was inspired from an Imgur post, and wrapped it as a dinosaur!  (see cool photo) Norah, my darling Norah, wanted to be wrapped as a present too, but I won’t give her away after 4 years!  She really liked the cellophane wrapping!!

 

But what was awesome this year was my participation in Reddit’s Secret Santa.  I was part of the online Secret Santa match up for 2014 and was a part of over 192,000 matches across the globe.  I signed up to be a Reddit Elf so that I would be matched with people who were just as (hopefully) reliable with sending gifts.  The day after Thanksgiving I received my gift recipient’s info and I was super excited!  I bought all of their gifts around finals week when I was on a break from studying.I just sent out their gifts after wrapping them.  Today, I received my own gifts from my Reddit Secret Santa!  It was awesome to receive some presents and they were great!  I got a nice scarf and hat, a nifty painting of a lighthouse he made, some TARDIS socks, and a gumball machine!  (the gumball machine was obviously a re-gift but I can totally bring it to work)

My Reddit Secret Santa Rocks!!

 

I hope you get in the giving mood from this post.  If you are looking to make a difference this holiday season I totally suggest donating to a charity like the local SPCA or organization’s making a global contribution like Heifer International.

 

This has so far been an eventful break!  And I will keep you updated as to what will happen next!

 

 

Family Xmas Photo Circa 2012 With Furbabies

 

 

 

 

Also, I break from my norm funny videos to provide you with an awesome remix of 2014 pop songs that sounds really cool and you should give it a listen (mainly because it is my latest obsession, yusssss!!!!)

Dec 04

The small things

I know that I already blogged about thankfulness a few months ago, but with Thanksgiving approaching us, I figured I’d write something special again!

Things to be thankful for: family, work, food, shelter, heat, friends, clothes, the fact that our needs are being met… the list continues.

A few weeks ago, I was doing a group activity at my internship with my students centered around thankfulness. When asked what they were thankful for, some said “family, friends, food, etc.” However, I was BLOWN away when some students said “I’m thankful that I get whatever I want” or “I’m thankful that I have nice clothes.” In today’s students, that is all they see. They only see material possessions. As counselors, it’s important that we show students to see BEYOND these things without forcing our value and opinions on them. Ask students about what they value in their lives and encourage them to think about the impact these things have on their lives.
BUT what are some things that we don’t always THINK to be thankful. (This list MAY not be applicable to everyone).

The love you give to others- no matter how much money we have or what is going on in our lives, we express love. We express love to our family friends, we lift each others spirits, and we help those in need.

Your freedom- We have the freedom of religion, speech, etc. We can go to the store when we want, and buy what we want.

Your motivation and drive for success- Canisius students, specifically, we are here in Buffalo, receiving a great education. But WHAT got us here? We have goals and ambitions of becoming something. We can be thankful for that.

I am thankful for my own mental health and wellness. I am by no means perfect, but I am lucky. When things are tough in my life, I HAVE coping skills, I HAVE a support system, and I am able to manage. I am thankful for my own ability to forgive.

What is something unique you are THANKFUL for?

Dec 03

Volunteering With VITA

 

Ben Wyatt of Parks and Rec

 

Accountants may be “bad to the bone”, but we do love to give back to the community!

 

 

 

Even as an accounting student, you can volunteer your time to help your community.  This year will be my first year with volunteering with VITA.  VITA is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program offered through the IRS.  The program offers free tax basic income preparation to low-to-moderate income wage earners, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English speaking taxpayers.

 

The VITA program that I am volunteering through is organized by the Buffalo Federation of Neighborhood Centers Inc., which provides tax and financial assistance to the Buffalo community all year long.  The Free Tax Preparation offered through their eight local sites prepared over 8,500 federal tax returns last year.  Those tax returns resulted in $13.5 million in tax refunds and $5.4 million in Earned Income Tax Credits brought back into the local economy.  Thus, volunteering with VITA is a great way to help the local community and economy.

 

The tax preparation for volunteers is completely free!  The IRS and United Way sponsors the program offered through the BFNC, so all of the course materials and training courses are free.  As a volunteer, you can be a greeter, screener, tax preparer, or quality reviewer with basic tax prep certification through the IRS.  You are also encouraged to certify (passing the tests at above 80%) as advanced, military, and international if you wish to learn more. Don’t worry, the BFNC has site coordinators and site supervisors who will be certified in the most current year and there to help you when in the field!  As a volunteer you can give as much or as little of your time to the program.  Of course, the more the better since there is such a large need for the assistance.  The training and certification happens now and the volunteering begins during Tax Season of January to April.  The volunteer sites have various times that they will be open, and the site coordinators are willing to work with your availability as a volunteer.  This is great for busy students and those with full-time jobs to still volunteer!

 

 

As a student new to the accounting world in the MBAPA program, I highly suggest volunteering your time with VITA.  Even if you are an undergraduate student or considering an MBA in a non-accounting field, you are just as encouraged to volunteer.  VITA is a great way to gain professional experience and people skills.  Plus, you’re giving back to the community and encouraging the growth of the Buffalo economy.  There’s still time to sign up for VITA volunteering for next year!

 

 

You can call 716-362-0744 or go fill out an interest form or contact the BFNC for more information. :-)

 

PS: An adorable cat video for your enjoyment. Awwwww!!

 

Dec 02

Snow Day!

Hi everyone!

Happy fall- though it’s looking a lot more like winter here in Buffalo!  I’m on snow day number 3 from work.  The phone call on the first snow day was super exciting, but this storm is C-R-A-Z-Y!  I’m getting a little antsy being cooped up inside! The snow is pretty wild here, but as always, Buffalo shows what a great city it is in the midst of a huge storm.  There’s so many stories going around about neighbors helping neighbors, and people helping complete strangers.  People are helping out by making grocery runs for food on snowmobiles, firefighters are carrying people to hospitals, and neighbors are shoveling/plowing/snowblowing their neighbors driveways and their streets.  It makes me VERY proud to say I’m from Buffalo!  It also makes me take a step back and think about everything I usually take for granted, and be thankful I have a roof over my head, plenty of food in the refrigerator, and of course my family.

Backing up before all of our crazy snow, I was welcoming fall by going to the Holiday Valley Beer and Wine Festival.  Holiday Valley is located in ski country- Ellicottville, NY, about 40 minutes away from Canisius.  It’s a beautiful place with lots of things to do.  My friends and I have made this festival a tradition, and you should check it out next year if your in town!  You can sample over 100 beers from New York State, and enjoy fun music and great food.

The great thing about the snow days is that it’s given me a lot of time to catch up on school work.  Last week I registered for my classes.  The registration process was easy, because of our great advisors at Canisius.  Without that support I’m not sure that I would be as on track as I am.  I found out I should be graduating in August, WOW, time is flying by!

Hope your enjoying your fall!

-Mary

Dec 02

Back to the Grind!

Hello Everybody,

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving Break and ate lots of turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes!  Oh, I cannot forget pumpkin pie! Yummy! Well, now that break is over, it is time to get back to the daily grind to finish off the rest of the semester. It sure is going to be alot of work but will be worth it in the end. As a graduate student in the College Student Personnel Administration program, this time of the semester can be stressful because of all the papers that are due and more expectations with presentations. As a grad student here at Canisius College, there is always going to be support from your fellow cohort members in the program to help get you through to the end, which I feel is pretty awesome about this program.

As a student, working on all these papers and giving class presentations, made me realize the passion to succeed in this program and how much commitment is involved to the classes and to the institution. This time of year as a graduate student can be stressful, but also very exciting because the daily grind is soon coming to an end in a few weeks and the wonderful holidays are soon approaching. I am really excited about the end of the semester because this gives me the chance to put my feet up and relax. At the end of the day, all of us graduate students need to take a break. Also, time management is also key to being a graduate student.

Being a graduate student at Canisius College can be stressful, but is also great because students in the CSPA program only have classes two days a week and the rest of the time is work and homework. I just wanted to blog a little about the end of the semester craziness and that we all sometimes need a break as grad students when times get stressful at moments like these. To relieve some of this stress, On December 3rd from 7pm-10pm, Canisius College Student Programming Board will be hosting Christmas in the Quad in Palisano and all students are welcome to attend! Hope to see you there!

 

 

Nov 27

#Snowvember

Ice Bucket Challenge!!

 

 

 

Snownado? Snowpocalypse? Knife? Elsa?

Nooooo….it’s Snowvember!

 

 

Even in grad school, weather can wreak havoc!  I grew up in the Buffalo area, and spent undergrad in Rochester, so I was decently prepared.  I just wasn’t expecting…this much snow!!

On Monday night when the storm was brewing, I was in complete denial and spending the night studying late on campus.  It started snowing around 9pm, but still in complete denial.  It’s Buffalo!  You can’t expect a few flurries to cause any problems! Ha!……then came the thunder snow…

Stuck in my car!!!

Digging out my car!!!

By 11:30 I was heading home finally.  Walking to my car, the roads were icy but still did not think it was too bad.  Maybe just a few flurries would slow down my driving?  Ohhhhh!  But I was DEAD WRONG! You see, I live in the Southtowns….so by the time I got close to the 400 entrance on the highway…it was so bad of driving that I couldn’t even take the exit!  By then I have already avoided a few cars who had done 360′s and spun right into the ditch!  Thankfully, I was able to get off at a later exit and head back toward my destination.  Once I got into my town though….it was NO VISIBILITY!!! It was like the world in a video game was just completely failing to render…could only see snow pelting itself against the windshield!  Well, when I finally made it into my driveway (after almost getting stuck in town twice!) I got stuck!  At the bottom of the driveway! (It’s long and uphill)  Thankfully, living with my supportive parents during graduate school means the cavalry arrived shortly.  And we were able to finally push the car to a shoveled out spot on the side of the driveway, since there was no way it was getting up the driveway that night!

 

 

Me trying to shovel!!

Fast forward a bit through the week.  And yes, it was an entire week of school being closed and a driving ban on my town.  The snow ended up at over 6 feet, with the lake effect snow storm hitting my town not once, but TWICE!  Thankfully, I was able to use the extra time to study study study for classes since finals are looming over our heads.  Also, did I mention I live in the middle of the woods?  So, we had the issue of trees coming down on the driveway.  And what was really scary was the lightning (yay! thunder snow! ..not) would flash in oranges and reds so it looked like the outdoors was on fire at night!

 

 

Thumper doesn't like the cold!

Over the course of the week, I was sent out a few times to snow shovel.  That was tough when you can barely walk because the snow is up to your hips!  Finally, the driving ban was lifted in my town by Saturday and the roads were clear enough to drive safely.  Though, we still had the weeee little problem of being stuck in my un-plowed driveway which had 3 feet of snow!  (It sounds little, doesn’t it??) We had a guy contracted to plow earlier when the storm began who’s truck broke, so we were still stranded!  After all the calls placed to find someone to plow the driveway, a plow guy with a bucket loader arrived to dig us out on Sunday!!  After almost a week of being trapped in the house, the excitement is overwhelming to finally be free to leave the house.

Bird feeders under 4 feet of snow!

Being trapped in the house for a week during a snow storm definitely teaches you lessons that you would not learn in a classroom.  You learn to be appreciative and thankful for having enough food to last the week, running water, and electricity.  I am especially thankful to have spent the week with my parents, who are much more knowledgeable and prepared for natural disasters than me.  I have definitely learned that while living in Buffalo, keep non-perishable food and water among other survival items that are super helpful so you don’t end up like the Donner Party.  Not just in your home, but to keep your car stocked with survival items is crucial.  I totally suggest keeping a snow shovel, cat litter, granola bars, water, and a blanket along with your typical stash of snow scraper and extra winter boots.  Because you never know if one night you will end up trapped in a snowstorm in Buffalo!

 

Finally plowing the driveway!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On that note of thankfulness, I leave you with this Fantastic Thanksgiving video!!! :-)

Nov 14

Class or an Investigation?

Hi Everyone!

The Forensic Accounting program has been living up to its reputation to say the least.  While the semester has been passing by extremely quickly, it is fascinating what we have done.  Whether its learning how to handle an investigation or hearing from an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering one of the largest frauds in recent history it has been great!

First off, let me describe the scene.  The students walk into class and see about ten IRS Criminal Investigators standing in the front of the room.  Mind you that we knew they were going to be there before hand so it was not a complete shock.  The IRS agents then walked us through a mock-investigation of someone committing a tax fraud.  This investigation started with the students questioning an informant, requesting information such as bank records and tax returns, and even digging through actual trash to find papers thrown away by the suspect that could be used as evidence!  With much help from the Agents, we were able to gather evidence on the suspect that could be used in court.  Also, after the investigation was over, the Agents stayed with us and answered any questions we had regarding IRS Criminal Investigation.  The questions spanned from dealing with the investigation to what a career with the IRS is like.

Walking into a room full of federal agents hasn’t been the only exciting part of the Forensic Accounting program.  In one of our classes we listened to an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering the Adelphia fraud.  Specifically the individual was hired by and worked directly for Tim Rigas who was the CFO of Adelphia Communications Corporation.  The speaker talked of how he was hired about six months prior to the fraud being First-hand Expeirence of A Frauddiscovered and then how he spent years working with auditors and investigators in discovering exactly what his former bosses were doing with investors’ funds.  The speaker stressed the importance of ethics in the accounting profession and supporting work with proper accounting standards.  Such practices helped to keep the speaker out of trouble as he was following proper laws and regulations.  Hearing form someone who had such great experience was an eye-opening experience.  The moral of the story was always support your work and be sure to document something if it seems incorrect.  Both of which helped to keep the speaker out of prison.  In other words, the investigators were able to see that he was following the rules and was not participating in the fraud because of his supporting work.

The past two weeks in the Forensic Accounting program have been packed to say the least!  The lessons and experiences the students have had are unique to the program and teach great lessons.  I am excited to see what is up next!

Nov 14

HarborCenter Opening Night

On October 31, At about 5:00, I stepped off of the elevator foot on the seventh floor of the HarborCenter, Buffalo’s new state of the art hockey facility, which now serves home to the Canisius College Golden Griffins Men’s Hockey Team. As I walked into the new facility, I was amazed at what I saw. I did not know where to start with my exploring, so I decided to take a lap around the main rink to check things out. I have been to many rinks in my lifetime, but this experience was different. Aside from NHL arenas, no other facility that I have been too was this state of the art. It is the little amenities that make the HarborCenter superior, and even the floor that you walk on going around the rink is soft and feels good on your feet. The lighting of the arena is incredible, and I can imagine as a player, it must feel like they are under the lights on Yankee Stadium for a night game.

By the time I arrived, the Harborcup, a tournament for teams with player 18 and under was wrapping up. I can’t imagine the feeling that these players had playing at this brand new facility for the first time, I was jealous. As the game got over, the ice crew began to prepare the ice for the main event- Canisius vs. Ohio State.
Fans began to pile into the arena early, looking to grab a good seat for the game. The student section filled up quickly, and it being Halloween, filled with many unique and festive costumes. The atmosphere during warm-ups and during the pregame ceremony was incredible, as thefans, families, and players were eager to take part in the inaugural game.

As far as the game is concerned, it could not have started out better for Canisius. The Griffs netted two goals in the first 1:49 seconds of the game. I would have to say that the electricity of the crowd and the atmosphere had a little something to do with the fast start. The game would end in a 3-3 tie, but it is a night that the players, coaches, fans, and families will never forget.

The opening of the HarborCenter represents a new sense of optimism in the hockey community in Buffalo. The plan is to attract the top players nationally and around the world to come to Buffalo and develop before they play at a higher level. With a facility like the HarborCenter, I see this coming a reality in the very near future

Nov 13

Off To NYC With Accounting Society

In the words of Marnie Michaels..

As the semester gets busier, you find more and more accounting students studying in the library.  It’s not all homework and tests for accounting students!  Last month, Canisius College’s Accounting Society ventured to New York City for a very exciting day trip!

Accounting Society is the undergraduate club on campus that offers professional and fun activities for the accounting undergraduates.  As a graduate accounting student, you are also welcome to attend the club events!  I am one of the MBAPA Representatives on the club’s executive board, so I get to help make these fun club activities possible!

About 20 students traveled to NYC with Professor Patricia Johnson, the club’s faculty advisor.  While it was mainly Seniors in the undergraduate program, there was a few Juniors and even some MSF and MBAPA students!

 

Accounting Students at AICPA

We flew in very early to the city on Friday morning, as we were expected at Ernst and Young for breakfast.  At Ernst and Young, we learned about careers at their company and met with recent Canisius College accounting alumni who work there.  Then, we navigated through the busy streets of NYC to the News Corp building to  learn about the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA).  The AICPA is the governing body for private, non-profit, and government auditing and ethical standards, as well as being the developer of the CPA exam.  After AICPA, we ventured over to IFAC, or the International Federation of Accountants.  IFAC is the international standards board for assurance, audit, education, ethics, and public sector accounting.

MBAPAs at IFAC!

Ernst and Young at Night

After such a jam-packed morning and afternoon, we got to go explore the city.  My group visited Rockefeller Center and Central Park! For it being only my second time visiting the city, those places were a must-see!  Following our tourist time, we all met back up for some dinner at John’s Pizzeria.  Finally, it was jet-setting back home to Buffalo!

Rockefeller Center

Central Park

Such a whirl-wind of a trip!  As a graduate student, it was great to visit the organizations that make the accounting world tick.  I also loved getting a glimpse of a Big 4 Firm located in a metropolitan area, which has a completely different working environment from the firms in Buffalo.  I totally recommend, as a graduate student, to take advantage of professional and fun activities provided by Canisius College!

 

Completely off topic, but here is a video of what happens when Corgi puppies go to college!

:-)

Corgi Puppies College Takeover

 

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