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.

Special weekend

Happy Friday! I have some free time and it is an easy pace for me! Super Bowl LI is coming soon on this Sunday. I am so looking forward to it, since Atlanta Falcons finally enter the Super Bowl and will play against New England Patriots. The last time Atlanta Falcons played in Super Bowl was in 1998. But I’m a true fan of New York Giants, by the way.I will be going to my friend’s house for a Super Bowl Party.

College Activities Board (CAB) is student-run organization and also one of several Major Student Organization (MSO) at RIT. CAB will host a Super Bowl Party as well and provide free t-shirts and pizza/beverages. It’s a very deaf-friendly and social event. In addition, this weekend my friends and I will go to the Chocolate on Ice event, one of RIT’s annual and most popular events. There are a variety kind of candies with chocolate provided by different clubs and organizations. A popular dessert is the fondue of the chocolate with strawberries. It’s a delicious dessert. My best memory of this event was an MSO-created activity that was called “chocolate mustache” or “beard.” Students had to literally paint mustaches or beards on their faces with chocolate, and then take a picture of each group or individual participants. This was a fun activity. An additional activity at this event  includes ice skating. I had a blast there. This year, Latin American Deaf Club (LADC) will have a table and serve a Spanish dessert called Choco-banano.

This month, I am celebrating Latin Americans with African descendant, which is called Afro-Latinx on Black History. I learned the fact that a black and male indigenous in Mexico once became Emperor of the Aztec empire, Tenochtitlán (within Mexico City). His name was Moctezuma II (from 1466- June 1520). He was the ninth emperor and last one of the Aztec empire before the Spanish conquest. This is an interesting piece of information in Afro-Latinx history! Clubs and organizations host many activities in February to celebrate Black History.

“Identity and dignity are the noble treasure in moral value”. Ciao 🙂

Happy February!

Hi everyone,

Hope everyone had a great holiday and New Year’s break. I know I did! I went to visit family in Massachusetts for the holidays and had friends down in Philly visit, where I’m from, for New Year’s. I also went to NYC to visit friends and spent some time at my family cabin in the Catskills. It wasn’t all fun and games though – I was furiously working on graduate school applications to lighten the load for when I returned to RIT.

Now it’s week 2 of my final semester and things are picking up quickly. I’m only taking four courses, but they are pretty intense already! I’m taking Global Political Economy, Politics through Film, The Congress and my Political Science Senior Capstone course. There is a lot of reading and writing involved, but I’m enjoying the classes and material so far.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of, “Oh my, I’m graduating in May…” to spur me into action despite my encroaching senioritis. It is very tempting to say, “I’m done” – but I know how important this semester is for now, and for my future. I’m currently finishing the last of my grad school applications, so it can be challenging to balance school work and applications. I’m learning a very valuable lesson in time management!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be wrapping up important classes related to my major, political science, and will continue my work as a student ambassador. Most crucially, I will make a decision regarding my future. My top choice currently is a master’s program in security and diplomacy at Tel Aviv University in Israel! I love to travel and hope to get this opportunity to study abroad for my entire degree program. I would be living and studying in Tel Aviv for a year, with some trips home to see friends and family. Stay tuned!

Survive through first week of school?


It’s been a while since I did a blog post. I hope you enjoyed your winter break. I know I did because I slept a lot and I needed the rest to be ready for spring semester.

Wow, it is already the second week of school. Where did all the time go? The first week was hectic for me because of my new courses. I already have homework to do. Also, I am currently a Deaf Volleyball Association (DVA) commissioner (president), and sign up for DVA happened during the first week of school as well. It was CRAZY! Now that the first week has ended, it has finally calmed down.

I am trying to balance my school work with working as a student ambassador and as a DVA commissioner. But I still want to get involved with other activities during spring semester. Currently, I am exploring the different clubs at RIT and figuring out what I like to do. Also, I am checking out all the events that are happening on campus. I like to try new experiences, and RIT gives me the opportunity to learn and grow through these activities. I am never bored at RIT. Check out the events and clubs at RIT. You’ll find something that you like to do.

That’s it for now, adios! =)

It’s only week two?

Hey everyone! Welcome back to the second week of the new semester! It’s good to be back from winter break and be back at RIT for my last semester in the interpreting program! Over break I got some much-needed rest (maybe a little too much), read some great books (my favorite author is Jodi Picoult), and visited family in Chicago! By the end of break, I was definitely ready to come back! This winter break was the last long intersession RIT will have before it’s academic calendar changes next year to shorten break a bit! 

So far this semester, I am working on balancing my classes, multiple jobs, and sanity! I do all of this by carefully keeping track of everything in my planner. If you ask any of my friends, teachers or bosses they will tell you that I always have my planner with me everywhere! My advice to new students–find a way to keep yourself organized!

This spring will be my second semester as a student interpreter for the RIT Department of Access Services. Last semester I got to do a lot of cool observations and meet great interpreters within Rochester. This semester I will continue to do a mix of academic and nonacademic work on campus and observe interpreters within the K-12 and medical settings. I’m definitely looking forward to (finishing) this semester and getting a general idea of what I want to do post graduation!

Also this semester I am working on my senior thesis (Issues in Interpreting). Combining both interpreting and my role as a learning assistant this semester, I am planning on comparing student work across the semester with professional interpreters and analyzing common trends and patterns throughout the work. Right now classes aren’t too crazy, but just give me a couple of weeks.

I’m looking forward to all of the events coming up here on RIT’s campus like Freezefest and events hosted by the Center of Residence Life. This Friday is an event called Chocolate on Ice which is always a lot of fun…what could be better than ice skating and a wicked amount of chocolate? 

Catch y’all later 🙂 

Week two of my last semester

The campus is alive again after a much needed break and it’s already week two! I’ve enrolled in 16 credits while working 20 hours a week. I’ve got my hands full this semester! My classes are fairly laid back and I’d have to say my glass blowing class is by far my favorite class this semester, working with my hands forming pieces of art gives me a nice break from my other lecture-based courses. I’m involved heavily in sports this semester with intramural ultimate frisbee and Deaf Volleyball Association which is student run at RIT/NTID! Every week we have games competing against one another vying for a championship and bragging rights.

Week two also means another week of No Voice Zone (where students learn sign language and about Deaf culture), which I run along with my co-coordinator. We’ve seen steady numbers of students coming every week fall semester and we’re hoping those numbers will stay stable this spring. We’ve seen some students from local colleges in the area come to learn sign language, and it pleases us knowing that not just RIT students are eager to learn!

I’m currently browsing graduate school programs in higher education administration and every time I look at a program I get more and more excited about the future and what it holds. I’ve loved my time at RIT so far, so I decided I wanted to pursue a career in the college environment and help future students the way RIT has helped me.


Got nothing to do over winter break?

Hello tigers!

It’s been a while since I did this blog. I lost track of time with finals and everything. Now I am sitting here in my bedroom at home in Virginia. Finally it is winter break. Some of us will be traveling or already have plans. But if you have nothing to do over the winter break, I have some suggestions for you:
-call your friends to hang out and go out
-catch up with old friends back home
-go and see new movies at the theater
-research co-ops that you are considering
-plan ahead for next summer/spring/winter break
-apply for jobs.
-complete the FAFSA (this is important)
-watch Netflix and chill
– etc.

For me, I will be catching up on all my Netflix shows that I haven’t gotten a chance to finish. Also I will be catching up on my sleep. Spending time with my family and meeting up with all my all old friends in Virginia are also things I have planned. I also plan to do my own DIY projects to keep me busy and stop me from being lazy.

Enjoy your holidays and your winter break! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

The Final Stretch!

Since I last blogged I talked about different self-care methods here on campus… well it is time to put it all to the test with finals coming up soon! We just had Thanksgiving break last week and it was everything I needed to get motivated to finish this semester strong! I was able to go home to Maryland and see my family and do a bit of hiking!

It’s the final stretch with only two weeks left of classes and then a week of final exams. In my classes I have presentations, in-class interpretations, projects, and homework left to do until winter break! Only three more weeks! Also since I last blogged I registered for my classes for this Spring. This will be my last semester in the Interpreting program so it is important to finish strong especially with my capstone class! It’ll be a challenging semester but I am looking forward to it… maybe not the 8:00 am classes though!

This winter break I am looking forward to visiting some extended family in Chicago, but also catching up on my reading! Over this semester I have been adding books to my “must-read” list. Some books are like “Mother Father Deaf”, “I Am Malala” and “Because We Are.” I’m looking forward to catching up with some reading and also getting ready for the Spring semester. Maybe I’ll run another half marathon this Spring…hmmmmm 🙂

Catch up soon!