And the countdown begins

What am I counting down to? spring break & summer! There are 11 days until spring break and 82 days until summer and when I leave for my trip to Italy! This semester has gone by really fast and has definitely kept me busy!

The past couple of days in Rochester weather has been crazy, so it has been nice to get outside and spend some time in the sun especially after the long winter months. I recently went to Toronto, Canada to visit one of my friends from KODA (Kids of Deaf Adults) Camp at Camp Mark Seven. While in town, I got to eat some delicious food (pictured below). While in town, of course, I got some poutine and I also got a Chimney Cone (“Doughnut Cone”) with ice cream in it. It was heavenly! I probably gained a couple of pounds on my trip to Toronto for the weekend, but I guess that is what the gym is for;)

Recently I also screened at a local interpreting agency and I am now an official freelance interpreter! I am looking forward to picking up some assignments off campus within Rochester. It is nice to think about how much I have grown within the program and I am curious to see where I end up post-graduation!!

Now back to getting some homework done! My ultimate advice as a student…get a passport and head to Canada for some great food!! Throughout the year RIT even has a fair that allows students to apply for passports!

Catch ya later!

FreezeFest recap

Hello everyone!

Last weekend was the RIT annual FreezeFest event! All over campus there are games, shows, and a 5K fun run throughout the weekend. This year I went to the comedy show hosted by the College Activities Board (CAB). This year RIT hosted the comedian and actor in Silicon Valley and Deadpool, TJ Miller. I had a great time during the show and had memories of the comedians I went to see last year during FreezeFest.

Miller made the whole crowd laugh with jokes about the social aspect of college life and the reality of what happens after college. He even talked to us about existential crises and how to become more o.k. with death all while juggling! It was definitely a unique form of comedy that I haven’t seen before live or through websites that have comedy specials available to stream.

The show was how I celebrated FreezeFest, but many others participated in the 5K fun run event and the games that we had on campus with prizes available to win! Every year we also have a live ice sculpture outside on campus that is put on display for the whole weekend! This year in Rochester it’s been getting warmer faster, so I was concerned for our frozen RITchie, but he made it through the weekend:)

FreezeFest is always a great time, and I’m excited for SpringFest later in the semester when the weather warms up. There’s something for everybody during our yearly celebrations! What would you participate in?

Week 4 already?

Hi everyone! It’s week 4 and the semester is in full swing. It’s amazing how time flies for us busy college students. As my time at RIT draws to a close, I think back on my almost 4 years here with a lot of nostalgia, while simultaneously looking forward to graduate school with a lot of excitement. I just found out last week that I was accepted into Northeastern University to pursue a master of science in global studies and international relations. I’m happy to have the political science foundation that I have received here at RIT. It’ll be a good bedrock of information and knowledge going into my future program.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at RIT thus far and aim to make the most of my final semester. Whether it’s in class, or at lunch with my friends, I’m happy with how this semester is unfolding. I’m looking forward to April, when RIT hosts several Open Houses for prospective students. I greatly enjoy talking with people and am excited to show people who were in my position 4 years ago why RIT is such a great place.

Some words of advice for prospective students: come visit RIT with an open mind. When I first came to visit, I liked it, but I didn’t love it the way I do now. I saw the potential that RIT had to offer however, and decided to make that leap and come here. Now that I’m here and have been here for almost 4 years, I wouldn’t change a thing. The RIT community is a warm and welcoming one to all people. I was also struck by the way professors paid attention to us–I had this image of professors being aloof or holier-than-thou, and that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are a lot of misconceptions about college, and RIT shattered all of them for me. One final note: college is said to be some of the best years of your life–and that has certainly been the case for me.


Happy Red Heart Day! Thank you for your presence in my path! Red Heart Day is not necessarily about relationships like girlfriends and boyfriends, that’s not it! On that day I am very grateful for all my loved ones, all my friends and my single mother who make a difference in my life. And I love all of us who make our community shine and be beautiful! Putting our red hearts together into unity does wonders. It allows us to overcome many obstacles and make the impossible, possible! Look out for the people with quiet hearts because even though they can make big and loud opinions, quiet hearts deliver an overwhelming caring for each soul. Red Hearts use instict in marvelous and mysterious ways and communicate with you before you know it. Just pay attention to the little rhythm of beat and pulse.

“Dare to be a Rare,” a slogan by the NTID Student Life Team, means any of you have and should demonstrate pride in your rare skills, abilities that nobody else in the world can possess. If you don’t know what your rare skill is yet, then you just wait and be patient. There is no way to make it happen immediately.

Throughout my life I have found my rarity and identity slowly. I was born 23 years ago, and I didn’t know what my red heart was capable of until college when I found an article about the connection between heart and emotions/vibes. The heart does react to emotional vibes from other people. For example, your heart can feel and react to a person’s emotion. Then, you can either go against or join in with other people’s emotions. That’s a cool scientific fact. Quantum physics or atoms are not as big a mystery as is the Red Heart and its abilities. We also thank our Red Heart for beating and keeping us alive on Earth. That’s our life lesson, y’all . 🙂  <3.

My friends and I gave out chocolate candy to people for this holiday. The clubs sold roses and small bags of kisses. We learned that selling a rose is an effective method to get the customer’s attention.And, it worked well for fundraising. The next project for Latin American Deaf Club is to host a Chilean dodgeball game for our general meeting. The Sports Director and I are working together to make this event successful. I am looking forward for it.

Fun Fact for “February is Black History Month:: In 1893, the first successful American open-heart surgery was performed by a black surgeon, Dr. Daniel Hale Williams.

See you soon.


So far this week has been crazy and it is only Tuesday! I have job applications, group projects, tests, and homework piling up, but with all of that said I am actually really enjoying this semester so far. One of my favorite classes that I am taking right now is preparing me for my study abroad experience in Italy this summer! I’m going on the trip with NTID and get to explore several cities throughout Italy like Rome, Verona, the Vatican City, Venice and more! During our trip we not only get to sightsee, but also get to meet individuals from their Deaf community. We are going to visit several deaf schools and even meet some deaf business owners. I’m counting down the days to this trip (and the food)!

In class we focus on writing & reading Italian and learning Italian Sign Language. Learning some Italian Sign Language has probably my favorite part so far. I love learning different sign languages like over the summer I got to learn some Haitian Sign Language during my trip to Haiti. In class we also focus on learning more about their culture, history, and day-to-day lifestyles. This is all to prepare us as much as possible upon arrival. Can’t wait to share more information about my trip! 

Guess I should get back to doing some homework and my group project on the Colosseum… Check out my study spot for today at the library!

Remembering the past

Hello! Hola! Ahnnyonghaseyo! Bonjour! Ciao!

For those of you wondering, these are ways of saying hello in different languages. I honestly don’t know what week this is for school, because I literally lost count, but I am looking forward to spring break! Anyways, back to the point.

I have been thinking a lot lately these days about my past and started to have flashbacks, because I am going to graduate in the next year. Time is getting close and going by fast. When I give students and families a tour on campus, it reminds me of my past. To be honest, I didn’t get a campus tour at RIT/NTID, but I did get campus tours at other colleges in my hometown. I remembered I was nervous and amazed at how every college I saw was different. When I first came to RIT/NTID, I was overwhelmed, because this campus was big and I got lost couple a few times trying to find my classrooms. It was okay, because I was a “newbie.” I felt alone, because I didn’t know anybody on the campus, but I did know this. RIT/NTID has a big Deaf community here. In my hometown there were only few of us that were deaf. Now at RIT/NTID I get to meet many different people who are deaf from different races and backgrounds. I remembered that the faculty and staff were very welcoming to us and telling us it was okay to be nervous, excited or scared. Some students were scared because it was their first time away from home. Some students were nervous because they didn’t know what to do. But these feelings soon disappeared.

Through the college years, I learned how to be independent instead of relying on my parents all the time. It’s been good practice for the future and real world because sooner or later, I have to learn how to cook or how to do laundry on my own. I learned a lot of things about myself, too, because in my freshman year, I didn’t know what I wanted to do or who I was. Through my years at RIT/NTID, I learned about my identify and what I want to do. Now I have goals to aim for in the future. I have so many new friends, and many I can call my best friends. For one of my best friends I was asked to be her maid of honor. It is amazing to see how we all grow up to be adults,and start to prepare for the real world. It is okay to be scared of the real world because you are not ready. Don’t worry. It takes time!

I guess that’s it for now!






Starting the semester strong

Hi all!

As a senior and approaching graduation, I’m going to list the 5 things I wish I knew before I enrolled in college.

1. If you procrastinate, find ways around it, or learn to work with it!

Is it perfectionism? Feeling overwhelmed? Exhaustion? Whatever it is, be sure to find out what it is and address it! This is an awful habit many college students don’t know how to break. Try to dig deeper and work around your procrastinating habits.

2. GPA is important, but it’s not the most important thing. It won’t make or break you.

Remember that it is just a number.

3. Make study plans for your finals

Not sure how? Go to: and see how Sara made her way out of the exams!

4. Learn how to write well

Don’t just take notes and not process them throughout the lecture. Be clear and concise, and avoid clichés. Not only are class notes important, but email etiquette is also extremely critical.

5. Avoid eating alone

Close your laptop and push aside the Netflix, and go grab lunch with a friend. This is a great way to get to know others around campus! Speaking of not eating alone, I went out with my boss’s daughter, Emma for a yummy Macaroon date! Here are a few images below.



Now over to you–what is something you do to help yourself become more prepared for college/semester back to school?

To taking your next best step.

Thanks for reading!


Kelly Jo


An introduction

Hello all!

Today marks my first-ever blog, so I thought I’d introduce myself! My name is Dan, and I’m a double major in ASL-English interpretation and psychology here at RIT. I’m a third-year student in the interpreting program and a second-year student in the psychology program. I know that’s a little confusing, but I’d be happy to explain more on a tour with you! In my free time I mentioned how I like to explore Rochester and the surrounding areas, so today I’d like to tell a story of one of those adventures, back when it was still warm!

Last semester, I got an apartment off campus and am now living with two close friends. With this newfound independence, I wanted to do something fun to celebrate, and what better time to do it than the fall! This takes me to my fun fact that I have about myself, that I’ve been in a hot air balloon. To celebrate, I decided to take my girlfriend on an adventure to a neighboring town near Rochester where they were hosting a hot air balloon festival. It was so much fun! We got to see all of the balloons go up into the sky, and even got to go on our own tethered balloon ride! I took several pictures, and I’d like to share some of them with you.

This was just one of the adventures that I’ve taken so far since coming to RIT. I’ve had many others that I’d like to talk about this semester, and many that I look forward to having in the future. What adventures have you been on? Anywhere that you want to go when you come to RIT?

Starting your college semester on the right foot!

Hey there, Tigers!

For some students, it may be a semester of first- and trying to find a sense of stability along with being away from close family and friends. For others, a new semester also means being one step closer to the ULTIMATE college goal: GRADUATION! Whichever struggle you find yourself facing, here are a few guidelines to get your college semester on the right foot!

1.) Make your mornings more successful and productive

  • Create a visual reminder of your larger goals; it can even be on your desktop/phone background. Having that little reminder can spark motivation in you like you wouldn’t believe!
  • Wake up 15-30 minutes earlier each day. Time-management is a huge piece to the puzzle.
  • Preparation is the key to success in anything, but especially when it comes to college life.

2.) Find time for school in your everyday task

  • Having your notes out while brushing your teeth or drying your hair gets your brain started for the day! Even in between commercials can really help you stick to what you learned during lecture earlier that day.
  • Have your “To-Do-List” written out and not your “Want-To-Do-List.”
  • Don’t set yourself up for failure. Be productive, but don’t kill yourself.

3.) Develop a great self-care practice

  • “Treat yo’self” by treating yourself with a simple cookie or a cup of coffee from your favorite cafe!
  • Spend time outside. There’s something about nature that does something that nothing else quite can!
  • Spend time by yourself. Taking the time to read a book or taking a longer shower than usual can really do wonders in order to feel more balanced. Sometimes the best investment in yourself is to just simply shut out the world in order to regain some balance.

4.) Set goals and achieve them regularly!

  • Create your goals and list them out at least 3-5 steps you can take to make that goal a reality.
  • Never settle for just average. Don’t be afraid to dream big! I’m talking about goals that you actually have written down, and not just in your head.

Speaking of dreaming big, I actually just went on my very first Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic for Christmas break to help with the kids at Hato Mayor School for the Deaf. Being a girl who is brought up in a small town and having the desire to travel and get out of a small town is borderline unheard of. I told myself that it’s hard to grow your faith inside of your comfort zone.

So #go, and off I went.

Here are some snaps that a very close friend of mine, David Brotzman, took. I hope these photos leave a huge smile on your face, as it did for me. Enjoy! 🙂

Much love! Xoxo,

Kelly Jo Hilleshiem


Is it already the second semester?

I had a great break and I hope you guys did too!

Mine was amazing, because I got to catch up on all that sleep I neglected during the semester (not a good choice, by the way)!

Anyways, the semester has started back up and I feel pretty good so far. I am able to manage all my clubs, school work, and work just fine. Everything is pretty fast paced, but if I can stay on top of it I know this semester will be a breeze. I’m loving all my classes, but I’m sure I will prefer some more than others as the semester moves along.

One class that I particularly enjoy and don’t see myself growing less fond of is Deaf People Global Perspective. I love this class so much already, because we have the opportunity to learn more about other Deaf cultures around the world. American Deaf culture is all we learn about in typical deaf culture classes, which is fine,except after a while you want to know more. This class is allowing me to do that. There are few classes I’ve taken that make me this excited, so I only see my fondness for it increasing.

Last semester was my first semester here (I’m a transfer student) and I finally feel at home. When I imagine how lost and alone I felt last semeste rI am amazed about how much that has changed. I know so many people on campus now, and that’s all thanks to the welcoming attitude everyone has here. I don’t feel out of place or isolated. I feel like I’ve known these people forever.

I’m so excited to see what this semester brings and the rest of my time here! I’ll talk to you guys soon, stay safe and please don’t neglect your sleep, it’s more important than some people *cough cough* (me) believe.