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As I write this, I have Microsoft Word open with nothing more than a title on the page. Even the title isn’t sitting well with me. It’s the beginning of a 5-6 page paper due next Friday for which I have a topic, enough background information, and websites for citation purposes. The words are just hard to come by. I’m writing here to vent my frustration with the sometimes overwhelming process of putting thoughts to paper.

In another Word window, I have some sentences down for a project I’m a bit more excited about, though there’s no grade given for that. That’s a personal project. Ideas came to mind, and it was best to write them down. I’ve always dreamed of making a film. Not for fame or fortune because I’m too much of a realist for that, but because it’s the best way I can think of to express some of life’s sensibilities. A diary. I’m not talking about some three hour epic, but something short; 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Maybe several 10-minute sequences over the course of time that add up to feature length. I can post them on a website dedicated to the project. YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram play a part in promotion.

It’s all a struggle. It’s like sometimes your mind just becomes a cloud. The type of cloud with nothing going on inside. No lighting or thunder, no rain or snow. I write, not because I think I’m any good at it (I give myself credit for being pleasantly mediocre), but because it can be very rewarding. Here, I vent my frustration. On another page, an idea comes alive. That’s when I love it. The screen in front of me becomes a form of therapy. Getting started is the hardest part. Then I get started, and the first 500 words become the issue, though once you get into a groove, it can be an infectious feeling. One idea follows another and suddenly you’re several pages in without feeling like you’ve really tried.

What’s the best ending to your story? Forget the story, what’s the best ending to a paragraph? How do I make the simple thought a powerful one? I should let more prolific authors answer those questions. It’s possible the answer isn’t the same for everyone. We each get to a specific point in our thoughts, but go in different directions.

Despite all that, I’ve always been capable of a good paper. Give me a 5 page paper any day of the week over a 50 question multiple choice test. Studying for weeks for a test is arduous at best, excruciating in general. Writing is such an important part of being a student at CUNY SPS. Its helped me view my strengths and weaknesses in equal measure, and with time, improve those deficiencies.

One tip I can give that’s been helpful to me as of late is to find a song, or a type of music you like; something that helps you relax, or puts a smile on your face. Play that music when you write. Not so loud that it’s a distraction, but loud enough so that you feel whatever emotion you’re looking for in the moment. I’d always heard that classical music was a great motivator in the process. I tried it. I liked it. I also find inspiration in a terrific film score. Sometimes it’s dark and creepy, sometimes it’s melancholic, and other times it’s the uplifting sounds that might push you to a place of triumph, so to speak.

Some will use big, thoughtful words, and speak in terms you might not understand. I find as much value in that as someone who just writes what they think in even the simplest of ways. I’ll go back to my open Word windows now and try to piece it together bit by bit. I know it will get done, and done well. It just takes time.

Robert is a current student here at CUNY SPS, pursuing a degree in Communication and Media. He is interested in platforms of media, especially those related to digital media; and a fan of serious film as well as this current golden age of television.

Marcy Lewis graduated from the CUNY School of Professional Studies with a B.A. in Psychology just last week. She shares advice for new students, and talks about how she overcame many obstacles on the way to completing her degree.

Marcy Lewis is a recent graduate from the Psychology program.

1. What was your motivation/inspiration for completing your bachelor’s degree? Why did you choose to continue your education at CUNY SPS?

I have had so many things that have motivated me to complete my bachelor’s degree. Coming from a broken family of low socio-economic status and having my first child when I was very young created a desire for me to show my children that stereotypes do not define who you are or what you can accomplish. I wanted to do better for myself as well as my children and to inspire them that even in hard times you can still achieve your dreams.

I chose CUNY SPS because it offered me the complete package of what I was searching for in a University: flexibility, accreditation, affordability, positive reputation for online programs and a strong background in the academic success rates.

2. What is it like to earn a degree fully online?

Earning a degree online has been a mixture of ease and difficulty. I find that I learn better using this method of instruction yet when speaking with those who attend “traditional” classes it seems there is often a greater work load in online classes. I have found that it is crucial to be somewhat ahead of the game; slacking is just not an option as it will pull you behind faster than you could imagine. It really takes commitment, self-discipline, and structure to stay on top of all of your assignments. Being late can really affect not only your work but the work of the entire class. However, despite these difficulties I would not have taken any other route in getting my degree as it truly was the best fit for me.

3. What is the greatest piece of advice you received while at CUNY SPS?

Many of the professors I had here at CUNY SPS offered a similar piece of advice that I found to be quite crucial throughout my college path; taking care of yourself is vital to not just the body but the mind as well. Being someone with a chronic illness, Multiple Sclerosis, this can be quite difficult but I was able to incorporate much of the knowledge and skills I gained through my studies in increasing my overall wellness. By doing so I was able to significantly decrease the stress of being ill, taking care of a family, and taking a full course load each semester. To me, this was crucial in completing my degree.

4. What advice would you like to extend to someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS?

The greatest piece of advice I could offer someone considering entering the Psychology program at CUNY SPS would be to interact as much as possible with your professors and classmates as this is how you will get the most out of your academic journey. Asking questions for clarification or direction as well as checking in regularly and participating in the class or group discussions are all vital in achieving greater learning in the online Psychology program. One of the main focuses I found in my online classes was concept of learning not just from the professors but from fellow classmates as well; we learn from each other and we succeed with each other.

5. In which ways have you grown as a result of your studies at CUNY SPS?

As a result of my studies at CUNY SPS I have grown intellectually through the new knowledge I acquired from professors and classmates. I have grown more confident in my abilities and with myself, not just in a professional manner but in personal matters as well. Most of all, I have learned that living with a disease that I cannot control does not mean I have to succumb to its disruption. It is empowering to know that you can take control over something so destructive and that is something that I do not know if I would have learned had I not continued pursing my education here at CUNY SPS.

6. What does earning a bachelor’s degree mean to you?

To many people earning a bachelor’s degree means a higher salary and greater prestige. Those, after all, were some of the reasons that enticed me to start undergraduate school. However, during my second semester I became ill and everything changed. I could have just quite when my doctor said I was unable to work. Why continue if I will never be able to use a degree? The answer is this; a bachelor’s degree meant so much more to me. It meant showing my children that no matter what life deals you to never give up. It meant keeping faith that maybe I can beat the illness and not let the illness beat me; maybe someday I CAN put it to use. It meant showing those nay-sayers that people can overcome adversity no matter how big or small and to never underestimate the underdog. It meant proving to myself that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.

7. What kind of impact do you think your degree will have on your professional and personal lives?

Having my bachelor’s degree will most definitely have beneficial impacts on my professional and personal life… if I am able to return to work. Before school I was a waitress, working long hours/weekends/holidays, constantly missing out on my children’s lives, living day to day on tips never knowing how much I would make; thankfully, those days are over. A bachelor’s degree in Psychology increases my job prospects in such a wide array of professions. Living in North Carolina I am able to take the needed exams to secure a teaching license or I can opt to work in my chosen field and assist with grief counseling for military families in my area… the options are quite plentiful as a Psychology degree is so versatile and can be beneficial in social work, business management, customer service, education, mental health etc. etc. etc… My degree has also benefited me personally because I have been able to incorporate skills I have gained to help family and friends during difficult times.

8. What do you hope to do after graduation?

After graduation I would like to work on getting stronger both physically and mentally so that I can return to work. I am hoping to either work with children and families in crisis or become teacher at the elementary level. Perhaps one day I will return to school; however, for now I would like to focus on my health and re-entering the work industry. But first I am going to take a little R&R and enjoy life, my family, and yes… the beaches of Coastal North Carolina.

The following message is posted on behalf of David Mordkofsky, SPS student in the Project Management (PROM 210) course.

Hello SPS Community!

We wanted to let you know that a group of SPS students will be taking part in a worthy event on Oct 21st, and we invite you to join us!

Team Busibodies, David Mordkofsky

As part of a class assignment for Project Management (PROM 210) CUNY School of Professional Studies, our team of 6 students (Ayanna Cassanova, Tenaya Randolph, Jennifer Pagaduan, Marco Vasquez, Debra Daniel-Sealey, and David Mordkofsky), have decided to participate in the 2012 Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk/Run, in association with the American Cancer Society. The event will take place on Sunday, October 21st 2012 at 8:30AM in Central Park, NYC.

As part of the course curriculum, we needed to choose a project to manage. Our team decided to take part in a “real” fundraising project where we could help to make a difference in our community, and felt that Making Strides was the perfect choice. We call ourselves Team Busibodies!

Team Busibodies would like to invite you, (CUNY students and facility members) to join us on Oct 21stand walk with us! Friends and family members are also welcome! This is a great opportunity to help support a worthy cause, showing support for CUNY SPS and the American Cancer Society.

Team Busibodies, Ayanna Cassanova

I welcome everyone to visit our team’s home page on the Making Strides website. From here, anyone can view our mission, track our progress, read our personal stories, and make a donation.

There is no cost to walk with us, although we welcome donations, and encourage you to ask your friends and family members to help support you.

We will even provide free Busibodies t-shirts and water (while supplies last).

The Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk/Run starts at 8:30am on Sunday, October 21, 2012.

Here is the detailed information:

1. Meet at 72nd Street and 5th Avenue at 7:30am (on the corner)

2. We will give out T-Shirts (while supplies last).

3. We will walk in together to the start (72nd Street Bandshell)

Directions – 6 train to 77th Street & Lexington Avenue. From there you would need to walk to 72nd & 5th Avenue. This is the closest train to the park entrance.

If you would like more information, please email David Mordkofsky.

Thank you!
Team Busibodies

Team Busibodies, Tenaya Randolph

Why We are Making Strides:

We are participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event because we, along with most people, have been touched or have been affected by breast cancer in some way. As a team, we know that we can, and will make a difference in the fight to end breast cancer.

This cause is personal to us. Some of us have lost loved ones–friends and/or family members–some having not even reached the age we are today.

We look forward to days of better treatments and lasting cures. As a team, we believe we can help get there. We aim to inspire hope, and to help raise awareness. The awareness we hope to bring about deals not only with how important fundraising efforts are in reaching a cure, but also relates to the importance of preventative measures, helping to stop this deadly disease in its tracks.

We are also walking to honor breast cancer survivors, and let them know we stand with them in their fight.

We thank you, and invite you to join us!

Who are We Making Strides For:

We walk for our sons and daughters, parents, grandparents, friends, and all loved ones we know who have been or might be affected by this deadly disease.

Team Busibodies, Jennifer Pagaduan

Why We Support the American Cancer Society:

Today 1 of every 2 women newly diagnosed with breast cancer reaches out to the American Cancer Society for help and support. The donations our team raises will enable investment in groundbreaking breast cancer research, free information and services for women diagnosed with the disease, and access to mammograms for women who need them. Our donations will help more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors celebrate another birthday this year!

Saving lives from breast cancer starts one team, one walker, and one dollar at a time. We know that the American Cancer Society is the leader in the fight to end breast cancer. We know that supporting them will ensure that if you need someone to talk to anytime of the day or night, they’ll be there. If your friend is losing her hair from chemo, your mother needs a ride to treatment or a loved one needs a place to stay when treatment is far from home, they will be there to help.

Please join us and together we will walk for a world without breast cancer.

Lisa Poelle, faculty member for the Child Development Associate (CDA) program at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, is author of the soon to be released book, The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators.

Lisa’s twenty-five years of experience in the field of early childhood education include counseling families, pioneering a mentoring program for teachers, applying her expertise to the architectural design of child care centers, as well as serving as a consultant for corporations and government organizations. She has also provided consultation to childcare centers and programs through the Children’s Health Council. Her experience with this multidisciplinary agency inspired her to write the book. “That’s when I started getting so many requests to help with biting, and it is how I had a chance to practice and perfect my method,” Lisa says. “My case studies in the book came from this period. This was quite a unique opportunity.”

Here at the CUNY School of Professional Studies, Lisa shares her knowledge and experience with students in the Child Development Associate (CDA) program. The CDA program, offered in partnership with the NYC Early Childhood Professional Development Institute, offers students an opportunity as early childhood professionals to master the knowledge base, application of theory to practice, and qualifications to create effective learning environments for children. Lisa teaches Child Development: Birth to Five and Observing and Recording Development of the Young Child.

In her book, Lisa provides realistic advice to help caregivers devise effective plans to solve children’s biting behaviors. She provides seven questions for caregivers to consider before establishing a plan to describe the problems and design the solutions to curb children’s biting behaviors. Using her method, “Stop the Fighting and Biting,” Lisa emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in developing positive and effective solutions for aggressive behavior problems.

The Biting Solution: The Expert’s No-Biting Guide for Parents, Caregivers, and Early Childhood Educators will be published in the fall of 2012.

Lisa Poelle is also co-author of the book, Growing Teachers and several parenting articles. Lisa’s website can be found at:

Alumni Spotlight
Nelson Franco

The Alumni Spotlight feature highlights one of SPS’s proud graduates. We asked Nelson Franco (B.A. Communication and Culture, Class of 2012) five questions about his experiences before, during, and after SPS.

1. What was your background prior to coming to SPS?

I had only taken one college course back in 1980. The second course was 24 years later (2004). I’ve had no change in career since 2004, but this was not my objective when going after a BA.

2. Why did you choose SPS and your program?

50% of my coursework was done at John Jay. The remaining courses needed to complete a political science degree were difficult to fit into my schedule. While searching for other CUNY colleges, I found SPS. Of course online courses worked perfectly for me, but I did change my major. This ended up being a closer fit to my current career so it turned out to be a double-bonus for me.

3. What is your favorite memory from your time at SPS?

Prior to being this year’s student speaker, my favorite memory was visiting the mosque at Ground Zero for a research project.

4. Are you currently working in your field of study? What are your current career and /or life goals?

My current career as Logistics Manager certainly exposes me to various business cultures around the globe. With my degree in Communications and Culture, this knowledge has certainly widened my tolerance of cultural differences with working others around the world. In addition, new technological tools experienced with my coursework have certainly helped in my current career.

5. Is there a message you want to share with your fellow SPS alumni?

I believe that I could have completed my degree without the help of fellow students’ encouragement and support. However, it certainly would not have been as inspirational and fun. Thanks and congratulations to all!

The CUNY SPS Online B.A. in Communication and Culture offers an interdisciplinary curriculum focused on critical issues related to communications, with special emphasis on new and traditional media. Students examine and evaluate social and organization culture, preparing them to launch or advance their careers in management, media and communications, social services, and international organizations.

Find out more about this and other SPS programs by visiting our website or by attending an in-person information session. The next Online Baccalaureate Info Session will be held Wednesday, September 12th 6-8pm at the CUNY Graduate Center. Click here to register

With the start of the Fall 2012 semester this week, those of us who took the summer off are quickly reminded of the juggling we will need to do in order to maintain our family responsibilities and jobs. Schedules need to be re-arranged, social outings declined or cancelled, and sometimes we have to ask others for help. I’ve already had to ask my brother to spend time with Athena, my daughter’s Chihuahua, because we are both keeping long days with work and school, and in my case, training for the marathon too.

Asking for help has become a new talent of mine. It is how I have been able to raise over $2,500 for the American Cancer Society and how reaching the goal of $3,500 is attainable. Since the CUNY School of Professional Studies has an opportunity to fundraise for Komen’s Race for the Cure, I thought it would be fun to share a few of my fundraising secrets that have made “asking for help” a lot easier than it sounds.

Social media has been my number one source for donations. Using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Google+, LinkedIn and blogging, I make the opportunity available to many potential donors. I engage my audience of friends, family and colleagues by making meaningful posts about my progress, set-backs, victories and challenges. I invite others to comment, share, and get involved. I offer opportunities to support me with either financial support, moral support—or both.

One of the most engaging tools I’ve used is MapMyRun. While running, it tracks me and my friends can watch me live on the app. (Feel free to add me if you use MapMyRun, user name: xahndra.) One of the coolest features with MapMyRun is that when my run is complete, it posts a map and a custom message with my mapped run. I set the program so that it will automatically post to Facebook and Twitter after my run with a link to my fundraising page. My online community sees that I am doing the work and that their funds mean something to me. (It also socially holds me responsible to stick with my program and training days… Win Win!)

I try to think of gimmicks and mini-goals. For example, the hashtag on Twitter, #FF stands for FollowFriday. Many Twitter users actually search for that hashtag to see what fun people to follow on Fridays. Also, people pay attention to the #FF in their Twitter feed. So, I made #FF stand for something else. FUNDRAISING FRIDAY!

Fundraising Friday works best when you have some sort of mini-goal associated with it. For example, a few Frundraising Friday’s ago, I was very close to the 50% mark. I needed just a hundred dollars or so. By the time #FF Fundraising Friday was almost over, I needed just $19.25 to hit 50%. I sent out a tweet and status update requesting that amount and instead I received two more $25 donations pushing me well over 50% of my goal. It’s fun because now some of my teammates are using #FF Fundraising Friday and having success as well. Try using #FF this Friday as a member of the CUNY SPS team for Komen’s Race for the Cure. Let me know if it worked for you too!

In all my tweets and updates through social media, I try to engage others. If I can get a well known handle to retweet me or donate their status update for me, it’s a good day for my awareness. I always tag organizations on Facebook and Twitter. I’ve actually been retweeted by authors, sporting good stores, and the American Cancer Society. When this happens, it’s a great day for my awareness campaign! I’ve even asked for a status updates and tweet donations from my friends and followers. It’s really helped me reach the friends of my friends. In the last 3 months, I’ve actually doubled my number of Twitter followers. This will really help me for the next time around.

Outside of social media, I write bi-monthly email updates to all my contributors, family, friends and colleagues. This keeps them engaged and aware of the huge impact they’ve made in my life and reminds them of the good cause they have contributed to. I write updates to the blog on my fundraising page regularly, reporting my progress and milestones. I’ve held two happy hour fundraisers with friends and colleagues and I plan on doing a bake sale in the office. There really are so many little things that a #CharityRunner could do to raise big money without costing too much time.

So, here’s my personal challenge to the CUNY SPS community. As a team, let’s try to raise some serious cash for the Susan G. Komen #RaceForTheCure! So far we have 17 team members. If each of us raised $100, we would be making a huge impact with $1,700 raised as a team. That’s almost half of what I am raising on my own for the American Cancer Society. Can we do it? I think we can! To join our team and efforts, please visit

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.


In early June, on my very first group run with the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNation team, I ran for 10 minutes and wanted to cry. Not even 3 months later, through practice and DetermiNation, 10 minutes turned into 10 miles.

Last Sunday, I ran for 10 straight miles for the first time through my participation in the Jack Rabbit Battle of Brooklyn race in Prospect Park. The course consisted of three laps around Prospect Park. Each loop was just a little over 3 miles making the total course 10 miles. It was generally a nice course, mostly in the shade with only one doozy of a hill.

While the change “on paper” seems miraculous, there is no miracle about this great accomplishment. Getting here took practice, persistence and preparation.*

*Please note: This is a personal account of my experience and would like to recommend that anyone wishing to make drastic life changes first consult with a physician on the best course of action.


Currently, my practice consists of long runs, short runs and cross training. I adhere to the following schedule, religiously:

Long Runs, Saturdays
Long runs are all about time on your feet. It’s not about the distance, but more about how long you are running for. When thinking about completing a marathon, it’s not about getting to a 10 minute mile… it’s about conserving energy and practicing running for long periods of time.

Short Runs, Sundays & Tuesdays
Short runs, for me, are about getting in a good workout that strengthens me as a runner. Currently, my short runs are anywhere from 3-6 miles. Initially, they were 1-3 miles. My Tuesday short runs are with the American Cancer Society team. As a group, our coaches teach us running techniques, such as correctly running up and down hills. It’s amazing the amount of detail that goes into a runner’s form!

Cross-Training, Mondays (at a minimum)
I spend time doing yoga, swimming , free weights or sit-ups during my cross-training. Monday is a requirement, but I add more days when my schedule permits.

Beginner Training
In the beginning, I practiced running twice a week and cross-trained once a week. Since I never ran before, I needed to start slow. Through the excellent guidance of my volunteer coach from the American Cancer Society, I learned how to set mini-goals for myself while running. Whenever I felt I must stop, I picked a landmark. I would say to myself, “I will only walk to that lamp post, and then I will start running again.” I would allow myself that amount of time to recover and then begin running again as far as I could. When I would feel like quitting again, I would pick a stretch goal and say to myself, “I can stop when I hit the top of that hill.” As soon as I stopped, I would immediately pick my landmark to make myself start running again. That’s really how I got through the first two weeks of running and that practice helped me with my stamina, and truthfully my mental game as well.


Your mind plays tricks on you while you run. I am always having to talk myself through and encourage myself to keep going, even when my mind is tricking me into believing it’s time to stop; or that I can’t go any longer. This is the “mental game” that a runner must win.

My mental game was definitely a “battle” during the Battle of Brooklyn. I hated myself during miles one and two. The entire time I was fighting with myself and telling myself that my plan to run a marathon was ridiculous. I seriously felt angry. A runner accidentally brushed past me, grazing my arm and I wanted to scream. I realized that there was no way I would get through the race if I kept up the bad attitude. Fortunately, just as that thought was crossing my mind, I saw a friend on the sidelines cheering me on. I was so grateful for that external aid which helped me snap right out of that bad attitude and run strong…for a few more miles at least.

By mile four, I started seeing people pass me who were likely on their final loop of the race. It depressed me. I think that’s the hardest part of being in a race. I am so slow, and I know by the time I finish the party at the finish line is over. It was right then and there that I saw one of my volunteer coaches who had come out to cheer me and my teammate on from the sidelines. Amazing how things like that happen to make you feel strong again!

So, I remembered coach’s words of encouragement during training: “This is YOUR training, this is YOUR race. Don’t worry about their training and their race.” I hung onto those thoughts until I hit mile five, the halfway point. I was so excited. I basically kept thinking how every step I took was closer to the finish line, more than halfway closer. That’s how I got to mile eight.

At mile eight, I was convinced I wanted to quit. I was tired and every step was laborious. I remembered my coach again, “Don’t say you can’t do it, say you are doing it!” And that’s how I made it through miles nine and ten. Because I was running in my American Cancer Society t-shirt, strangers in the park would call out at me, “Go ACS!” and “Stay Determined!” This also helped me a great deal.

While it’s so great to have strangers or friends cheering me on from the sidelines, I have to be prepared for the times when they are not there. Running can be very solitary at times. Staying positive and persistent is the only way to get through those times. Practice is not only for physical strengthening, but for mental strengthening as well.


It’s so important to stay hydrated and get proper nutrition prior to and during a run. Some marathon runners actually seek the advice of a sports nutritionist in order to put together a personalized plan. It’s important to try these plans out while training instead of surprising your body on race day.

I prepped the night before this latest race by being sure to hydrate and have a nice big dinner. I woke up at 4:00 AM for the 8:00 AM race and ate a big breakfast: potatoes, oatmeal and a banana. I brought with me some Jelly Belly Sport Beans, Gu Energy Gel, and some EFS powder for my water.

Overkill? Yes, I think so! I definitely did not need all of that; and in fact, I regretted putting the entire EFS packet in my bottle of water. I use Nathan’s Quickdraw Elite which is a handheld water bottle that holds 22 oz of water. I think because I wasn’t used to it, it was way too sweet and too salty and I was just craving real water. I ended up mostly drinking the water from the water stations and hardly drinking any of my 22 oz of EFS water…maybe 4 oz total. I didn’t really care for the Gu, so I ditched that and stuck with the Jelly Belly beans. Even though I plan to continue to modify the fueling plans for myself, the way I fueled this time worked. I didn’t feel nauseous after running I had plenty of energy and was completely hydrated after the race. The only discomfort after race was the muscle fatigue (and soreness).


Whether or not there are bystanders cheering you on at the finish line, it’s so rewarding to make it to the finish line of a race. I am always overwhelmed with a great sense of accomplishment; that often emotionally moves me. Whether a part of a race or part of a practice; every run is a milestone and something to celebrate. I constantly congratulate myself, and that’s how I make it to the next practice or run.

Celebrating at the finish line!

When you are part of a community, it’s impossible not to have others jump in to celebrate with you. For example, when I finished this latest race, I was 100% certain there would be no one at the finish line when I got there. What a huge surprise when I arrived, I saw two people still at the finish line cheering. It was my teammate, Rachel (who ran the race as well) and her roommate. After Rachel finished the race, they stayed and waited for me at the finish line until I got there. Their wait was at least 45 minutes, yet they still stayed.

Out of 739 finishers, I came in 737th place running the 10 miles in 2 hours 22 minutes and 2 seconds. Perhaps that’s not the most impressive finish, but for me it’s a huge victory that I am putting in my pocket. I plan on putting another victory in my pocket very soon, the 2012 Komen Greater New York City Race for the Cure on September 9th in Central Park. Please visit to sign up, see who is on your team and learn more about the Susan G. Komen foundation.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

On Sunday, September 9th, we at CUNY School of Professional Studies will participate in our first Komen Greater NYC Race for the Cure in Central Park. We are honored to run and walk among over 21,000 breast cancer survivors and supporters to build awareness for this very important cause.

To prepare the CUNY SPS team for Race Day, we’ve summoned the help of our marathon runner correspondent and current student, Alexandra Hertel. Throughout the next month, Alexandra will serve as our official Komen Race for the Cure blogger during which time she’ll share her personal experiences and tips about race training. Remember, you can join the CUNY SPS team at any time from now until September 6th by visiting

We look forward to seeing you there!

I am grateful for my life.
I am grateful for the opportunities I have in my life. Because of opportunities like schooling at CUNY’s School of Professional Studies, I can be successful in many ways.

I am a Student:
I am a full-time student. I was recently awarded the Stephen M. Rossen Scholarship for the 2012-2013 academic year. I am excited to continue my studies and demonstrate why I received this award.

I am a Mother:
I am a single mother. In all areas of my life, I strive to demonstrate positive values to my daughter, who is now embarking on her second year of college at the College of Staten Island.

I am an Employee:
I work full-time selling event sponsorship and exhibits for conferences in the life sciences industry. My work is incredibly rewarding because ultimately, I am helping companies market and grow their businesses.

I am a Citizen:
I never thought I would be writing about the importance of getting involved in a cause. How can being a part of something bigger than myself change me? In fact, it has. It would be fair to say that allowing myself to be part of a larger cause has not only changed me, but also has saved my life. You’ll have to keep reading to find out how!

I’ve been invited to share my story as a student blogger and weekly correspondent. Our journey begins now as we prepare for the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure event on September 9th. I’m thrilled to be a part of it and for this opportunity to get to know our student community. I promise to be open, honest and unguarded. I will share all the good (and challenging) moments that I encounter as WE prepare for the Susan G. Komen race, and as I continue on in my journey toward the ING NYC Marathon on behalf of the American Cancer Society (Team DetermiNation) this Fall. Please visit to visit our team page and join. I promise, you won’t regret it.

Alexandra Hertel is an Ohioan living in Brooklyn, New York. She attends CUNY’s School of Professional Studies and works full-time in the events industry.

“Live Your Best Life”… is what Oprah says and everybody knows that when Oprah speaks, we listen, intently! What happens when we aren’t necessarily happy with our best lives? We think we’d be better off with our co-worker’s best and our neighbor’s best because their best seems so much better than ours.

Once you understand that happiness depends on your individual definition, then you’ve just won the first battle. Let’s say that you were to attain your co-worker’s and neighbor’s best life; would it really fit into the fabric of your life? Everyone is different, we’ve all heard that before, what makes your neighbor happy may not necessarily even keep you interested and vice versa. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” are our unalienable rights in accordance to the Declaration of Independence and for all intent and purpose our forefathers definitely had the right idea, LLPH gave us a guideline that is still followed to date. Today, I think the interpretation is much different; LLPH should now read: Life, Liberty and Your Individual Pursuit of Happiness.

As a young adult or adolescent, we all had some sort of vision of how we wanted our lives to be as an adult. That vision was what we looked forward to; we took steps to go down the road that led to our perceived happiness. As a teenager, I envisioned becoming an accomplished dancer (I attended dancing school from ages seven to eighteen), possibly dancing with one of the popular dance companies in New York City, Alvin Alley maybe, graduating high school and college and going on to law school and becoming a powerhouse attorney. I saw myself marrying an attorney like myself, living lavishly in an upper class neighborhood with two kids; one boy and one girl. Needless to say my life didn’t turn out that way, but it’s been an amazing ride getting to the point I am right now.

The truth is, there is nothing wrong with my life as it is, but my individual pursuit isn’t over by a long shot. How about you? What is your individual pursuit to happiness and how has it changed over the years?

Martine Chevry received her B.A. in Communication and Culture from the CUNY School of Professional Studies in June 2011. She currently works as an Assistant Editor and lives in Queens, New York. She is a devoted mom, daughter and girlfriend, as well as an up and coming indie writer. She enjoys kickboxing, shopping, reading, writing and her guilty pleasure is reality television.