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     If you know me, you know I’ve had a knack for music for as long as pretty much anyone can remember.  Music makes sense to me- I can pick up a beat, hear if a note is wrong, figure out if two songs can be played together, and I can anticipate what notes or chords should come next in a song.  It wasn’t until high school that I realized there’s science behind music and that I could learn exactly why songs can be played together or why the next notes and chords can be predicted; unfortunately that was something I never had the time or patience to learn.  Serendipitously, I found the solution to that problem about half an hour ago.

Hooktheory Logo.

Hooktheory Logo.

     I was just browsing Facebook in my hour of free time before AbingTones and I came across a link to an amazing website called Hooktheory.  The purpose of the site is to educate people about music theory and music analysis in a way that doesn’t involve sitting in a classroom watching a teacher lecture about it for an hour.  It has a few different tools that help musicians (and anyone for that matter) write songs better by allowing them to choose chords and then showing which chords would typically come after the one they’ve chosen (This is called chord progression and if you don’t know what it is then Hooktheory is a great place to learn).  

     Another awesome feature is what they call “Trends”.  It allows you to choose individual chords in a progression and shows you a constantly updating list of popular (and not-so-popular) songs that use those chords.  Perfect for anyone like me who loves mash-ups!  

     Even if you’re not that into music, Hooktheory is still a cool site to check out and play around with to at least see why you think of “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson when you listen to “Die Young” by Ke$ha.  Bam, music.

“GET INVOLVED!”

     When I was in elementary school my parents told me that waking up early would get easier as I got older.  Well here I am 19 years old in my sophomore year of college having to set 4 alarms with reminders every few minutes just to roll out of bed by 7:00 AM.  My parents were wrong about it getting easier to wake up early but what I’ve found out on my own is that the older I’ve gotten, the more I look forward to in my day.  That’s the beauty of college; I’m still having trouble dragging myself out of my coma-like slumber at 7:00 AM but once I’m up, I don’t dread going to school anymore.  The fact is, there’s enough clubs and activities and things to do in college that you’d need more than just 4 years to do it all.

Could it be a future AbingTone!?

Could it be a future AbingTone!?

     At Penn State Abington, we showcased our clubs and groups during the Involvement Fair this past week, encouraging new and returning students to, well, “get involved”, like everyone in the world tells us to when we start college!  Stopping by and checking out all the various club posters under the gigantic tent was one of the best
 decisions I made freshman year and got me to participate in some awesome groups.  If you were interested in going but couldn’t, or didn’t even know it was happening, have no fear!  All the clubs and organizations can be found at https://getconnected.abington.psu.edu/ along with events taking
place around campus.  Definitely take a couple minutes and check it out.

We saw a lot of potential future AbingTones!

We saw a lot of potential future AbingTones!

     If you WERE at the Involvement Fair on Tuesday or Wednesday, you may have noticed the AbingTones table in the back corner!  If you’re interested in singing a capella music on campus and at some cool events (plus getting credits) then consider auditioning Friday, August 29, 2014!  Check out our Facebook page for details @ https://www.facebook.com/PSUAbingTones!

Involvement Fair Selfie!

The AbingTones Involvement Fair selfie. Like the Oscar selfie but a little cooler.

Doing Life Together!

Me and some of my friends from Penn State Abington

Me and some of my friends from Penn State Abington

Friendship is a beautiful thing.  I don’t have to tell you that finding true friends is often a lifelong event – sometimes you find them, sometimes you don’t.  So it is an incredible gift when you find those that are supportive of your weirdness, those that are genuinely interested in your wellbeing and those that will walk alongside you – through good and bad times.

I have been incredibly blessed to find some truly amazing friends in my life.   I may not see them every day.  I may not even see them every month.  But when I do see them, they fill my love tank right on up.  They inspire me, challenge my thinking, teach respect and liven up the giggles in my life.  Those we have read my older posts know that “my angels” live in the Netherlands. They are my best friends, my soulmates, BUT I have been incredibly lucky in the United States too. Being involved with the  International Cultural Alliance-club at Penn State Abington was amazing in a lot of aspects but there is one thing in specific I am the most grateful for: FRIENDSHIPS.

A couple weeks ago was my birthday and I spent it in New York City. My sisters made me come to Philadelphia and drove me to a restaurant where we were going to have dinner. Me, not being aware of anything,  walked into the restaurant. The restaurant was a really nice Italian restaurant with live music. The walls were decorated with flags from countries that played in the World Cup and I was counting how many flags I could recognize… Till my eyes caught a table with 15 people covering their faces with the menus. My friends had planned a Birthday Party for me!! Surprise Surprise!!! I could have never guessed it and they made me the happiest person right there and then!

Being surrounded fake people, I had times where I believed I only had true friends in the Netherlands, but right there and then these wonderful people showed up in my life and proved me wrong. Especially Ana Marta, who is my Big Baby, has been an amazing friend for me. Without even realizing, we had formed a very special friendship with her and I will always cherish it. She, and many others from ICA, have now been added to my “Keepers” list :))

Tomorrow I am moving to University Park and I am honestly having mixed feelings about it. I am excited, worried, sad, and happy at the same time. I am totally ready for a change and I am excited about meeting new people but I also know that I am going to miss my friends from Abington. A further post about my moving is following very soon…

I have added some pictures from my birthday weekend below and for everyone that is suffering from the fake-friends disease: Get rid of the rotten apples and don’t let them spoil the bunch!

 

Best picture of the night!

Best picture of the night!

Alina, My Big Baby Ana Marta, Me

Alina, My Big Baby Ana Marta, Me

A birthday is not a birthday without a selfie!!

A birthday is not a birthday without a selfie!!

Me and one of my best friends Yezdan

Me and one of my best friends Yezdan

Alex taking a picture of us

Alex taking a picture of us

Summer on campus

Well, it is officially summer! But who said there is nothing to do on campus during the summer time? Although the majority of student are enjoying all the benefits of being out of school, a lot of international and domestic students decided to challenge themselves with summer classes. Unless you visited the campus this summer at least once during past 6 weeks, I bet you have only a little idea of how lively it is now! Constructions, meetings, open houses, prospective students tours and orientations!

Lion is taking sunbaths:)

As you may have guessed, I am spending my summer on campus this time. Of course it makes sense, because I am taking summer classes, working in Admissions office (under student work-study program) and greeting incoming class as your orientation leader, but there is one really important reason I decided on staying here.

Definitely beats Oscar Selfie, because it is Orientation Leaders 2014 Selfie! The most amazing and fun people on campus!

I am Alena Sadykova, a Russian student who was born in the United States and spent my early childhood in Chapel Hill, NC. My family decided to go back to Russia so I grew up in Moscow, graduated from high school there and returned back to Philadelphia last year. I expected it to be hard to experience separation from my closest friends and family, but, on the other hand, I would have never guessed how easy it was to make new friends here at Abington. I won’t lie, I was scared, and I was scared so bad that when I came to the New Student Day with my parents I insisted to leave even before registration. I was all by myself during the first week of classes, glued to Facebook and Skype to feel like being with my friends in Moscow.

My beloved parents and I at my High School Graduation last year! Mom and Dad are holding my High School Diploma and Awards. They were so proud of me:) (photo was taken in Moscow, Russia, Gymnasium #1514)

 

But it all changed when I attended Involvement Fair on campus and joined International Cultural Alliance coincidentally led by amazing Ana Marta, who happened to meet my whole family on campus during my advising session. Ana speaks my language, which turned my college experience in the whole new direction. I wasn’t overwhelmed by the language barrier (imaginary, indeed) anymore, and I felt way more confident, because since then I had a friend here, right at Penn State Abington.

During the past year I met so many great and inspiring people on campus, who made me feel I made a right choice joining Penn State family. Our small campus is open to everyone, WE want to hear from YOU, WE want YOU to make a difference. You may be international, or athlete, or traveled the entire States, or make your own music, or being academically exceptional and conduct the whole research, whoever you are, whatever is your background, we want you to be involved here. Because Penn State Abington is more than college, it is a community.

My girls and I! Ana, Emine, Nazrin, Inga, Ayano and Agar! I am blessed to have you in my life! (By the way, we are all international:)

 

I want to make a difference, that is why I assured my family, who are still miles away from me, that it is very important for me to spend this summer on campus, being involved and completing my integration into a new culture.

And finally, shout out to all FIFA 2014 followers: team Russia GOOO!!!

 

 

Penn State Abington provides couple of Faculty-led short-term study abroad program, such as the Networking in China (the program that I was in). This program is 2 credit hour course with one during fall, studying the cultural background of China and preparation for the lab project that we will be doing in China; we receive another credit during summer, visiting Bejing, and Hebei University of Science and Technology.

Me and my parents have lived in Beijing for five half years about couple years ago. However, this time it wasn’t same. In couple years, Beijing have developed so much, and I have realised that really missed living here!

We stayed in Beijing for 11 days it was truly amazing experience, no words could describe what we felt!

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– My selfie while Dr Duan trying to take a group picture ;)

For first three days, we stayed in Beijing—we went to loads of typical Chinese tourist destinations such as, the Great Wall of China, Tiananmen Square, the temple of heaven, local tourist market and so forth. And then, we went to the Shijiajuang, Hebei University of Science and Technology for the Networking Project.

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–Here’s the picture of our first meal at China—火鍋 (pronounced Huo Guo– Chinese Hot pot), with Chris and Dan cut behind!

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–Here’s the picture of me and our tour guide Eric who works at Abercrombie and Keith.

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–Professor Duan not feeling young :D

Oh, by the way the tour guide Eric told us that Me and My bud Anthony set up the new record for climbing all the way up to the tourist restricted point and down to the chair lift place with time of 42 minutes, since 2004!

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–and the Tourist-must part Group Selfie!  **(From left to right) Anthony, Chris, Amy, Me, Dan, Matt, Ethan (part of his face), Quadirah

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–Whether the Hard Rock Café exists in China or not—who cares? it’s just a shirt!

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–Me and some random (?) Middle Eastern Lady that I just met in China

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–the Super Expensive Chinese Restaurant that our tour guide led us….#touristripoff **Chris and Dr Duan

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–She’s not happy with the amount we got charged :/ The only place where Water’s at least 5 times more expensive than can of Sprite (CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT?!) **Matt (L), Amy(R)

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–Penn State Abington, that’s how it is in Chinese!!! on the side note,the Translator thought we were from the Penn State Altoona; the lady felt sorry after Professor Duan made the correction

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–My team working on the Campus Networking Setup Project **Chris (L), Lala (CL), Me (CR), and Malujia (R)

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–Professor Joe Oakes lecturing

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–And of course, the plane had to break down on the way back, so we had to stay at local hotel for one more day while me and my buds enjoy the spa, sauna and the pool (“Free” luxury China Trip for one more extra day yea!)  **Demetri waving like a kid :D

Overall, This short-term study abroad program was a fantastic opportunity for me to get to know all the participants, learn the Chinese culture, learn about the network, and get a hands-on experience with networking routers, and switches and so forth.

Before the trip I knew the names, and faces, of couple of people and Amy, but I wasn’t really close with any of them. Now, I feel like we’ve known each other for so long! I strongly encourage you all to apply for the Study abroad programs!

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