Monday, September 29, 2014

Darkroom Photography

Happy Monday!

Top: underexposed print
Bottom: slightly less underexposed print
Sometimes it takes a couple of tries!
My Darkroom photography class is quickly becoming a favorite this semester. I took it on a whim, wanting an art class that fit my schedule. I took a digital photography class in high school, but had no idea how to use a 30mm camera. I had never even seen one before class this semester. Luckily, Professor Douglas had us using our cameras proficiently before the end of the second class.

The class meets from 9:45-12:45 on Monday in Sloane Hall on North Campus. I live on North in Purtill Hall this year, so Monday is great because I can wake up at 9:30 if I wanted. Class is just two buildings down for me! In class so far, we have learned the history of photography (so interesting!), how to use a 30mm camera, how to develop film, and we have just started making prints.

Contact sheet of a roll I shot! featuring my sister
This class has been a challenge for me. I am definitely not the most precise person, and working in the darkroom requires a lot of precision. You have to have your water at 68* and a 1:9 ratio of developer to water and agitate at precise intervals. There are many variables at play and at first I found it overwhelming. I can mess it up in so many ways, by creasing the negatives which ruins the image or exposing the paper for too long and it turns black.

Working in the darkroom was also daunting. Everything just seems so much tenser because the lights are off and you're relying on your hands to tell you what needs to be done. However, I have come to really enjoy the rhythm of working in the dark room with the radio on. After awhile, your eyes adjust to the darkness and it is just SO gratifying to see a picture develop when you place it in the chemicals.

My favorite picture so far, a candid of my friend Laura
Developing in the darkroom has also instilled a sense of delayed gratification. I'm used to using my phone to snap quick photos of things I want to remember. I pull my phone out and in an instant I can get a sense of the photo I just took. Is it too light? Too dark? Should I try another angle? Can I put a cool filter on it? Instead of this instant developement, I wind my film into the sprocket holes and go outside to take a picture. I have to make sure the lighting is sufficient and there's a balance of white and black. If not, my meter will suggest I let more or less light in. I have to make sure that my camera is steady if my shutter speed is low. I take the picture, and another, and another with slightly different settings, hoping that one will be good enough for a print. But I am so proud when one comes out that looks okay!

I'm really glad I got the chance to take this class this semester. It's a challenge but I'm coming up with some great art that I can't wait to show off! If you have any questions, please contact me!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Eating "Out" on Campus: Sloane

Hi everyone!

I can't believe I'm already a junior. I've been on campus for almost three weeks and have just about settled in to my new routine of classes and work. The first few weeks are always an adjustment period while you wait for activities to start up, but this semester seems to be shaping up to be a good one :)

Last week, my friends Colleen and Erica and I decided we wanted to take a break from eating dinner in Alliot. Luckily, there is another dinner dining option on campus! "Knights at the Round Table" AKA Sloane is located on North Campus. I'm living up North this year, so this is especially convenient for me :) The best part about Sloane is that it doesn't cost anything! It's included in our unlimited swipes to the dining hall.

Sloane is open Tuesday through Thursday from 5pm to 7pm. To go to Sloane, you have to make a reservation, which you can do by calling 802-654-2253 after 2pm. Last Thursday, I didn't have an afternoon class so I was able to call and make the reservation. I knew that my friends wanted to eat dinner early because we had activities going on later in the evening and I was able to grab a 5pm reservation.

At 5pm, I had the luxury of walking from my dorm (Purtill) to Sloane which is only a two minute endeavor, and met my friends who had taken the shuttle up from Main Campus. The shuttle brings people from campus to campus all day. It's less than a mile and a nice walk when it's nice out too! Sloane is a building that also houses some art classes, but in the back there's kitchen and a large dining room. You check in with Ann who swipes your card and then get to sit at your table. A waitress always brings by fresh rolls and butter... which I forgot to take a picture of because they were gone so quickly.

There's a menu at every table (and you can see the current menu here) which lists four options each for appetizers, entrees, and dessert. There's always a vegetarian option too. My friend Colleen does not eat meat and still finds plenty of stuff to eat at Sloane :) For my appetizer, I picked Pork Pot Stickers which were delicious.

A++ potstickers with Ponzu sauce 

Entrees were next. Colleen got a Caesar salad, Erica got the Chicken Parm (a Sloane specialty) and I got the Flank Steak. This was really good and I loved the Peach Habenero BBQ sauce they drizzled over my steak. The food at Sloane is most definitely restaurant quality. 
Flank steak with Edemame succotash and fries
For dessert, my friends and I all ordered the same thing: apple pie. There's nothing better than apple pie made with fresh Vermont apples... especially when it comes with vanilla ice cream! This was a great way to end our dinner. 
Apple pie with vanilla ice cream
Sloane is an awesome bonus dining area on campus. My friends and I definitely take advantage of it when we want to do something different or hang out away from Alliot and the hubub of Main Campus. We always leave super full of delicious food, and the best part is that it's free! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Welcome Home, Class of 2018

Welcome to your home for the next four years, Class of 2018.

Welcome to the place where you'll learn more about yourself than you'll ever know possible. Where you'll discover new interests, meet new people, and pursue things that you are passionate about. Where you have an entirely clean slate to make the next four years what you want from it.

Welcome to the place where you'll join a new family: your chosen family. You'll form tight bonds, with the people you cling to in so as to not have to go to dinner alone this first week, to the best friends you will still have many years from now. You will meet new people, who come from lives so very radically different from your own. You will learn so much about people from the friends you make, and you will be so much better for it.

Welcome to the place where you will find your passion. Where you will discover a love for medieval art, multi-variable calculus, mitosis, or peace and justice studies; a love you never knew existed. Where you will be encouraged to invest your time and self into the things that make you happy and enrich your life.

Welcome to the place where you will look back on so fondly. Where you'll look forward to the simple things during summer break. Where you'll cherish the person holding a door for you wherever you are on campus, the camaraderie of the extra difficult classes, the super long Alliot trips, the late nights at the grill, P-day.

Welcome to your new home, Class of 2018. Be good to yourself this weekend.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Founder's Hall!

Hi all!

Today I wanted to talk about Founder's Hall. 

Founder's Hall from the front (image from here!)
First, I'll start off with a fun fact. When St. Mike's opened in 1904, Founder's Hall was the entire college. It contained classrooms, the dorms, and the dining hall! Hard to believe that we have expanded so much in the past one hundred and ten years!

Founder's Hall is still in use today. It contains offices like the Registrar, the Dean's office, and the President's office.. These offices may not be something we think about every day, but when we need them they can be a huge help!!

This yellow building is attached to Founder's Hall and called Founder's Annex. In this building, you will find an assortment of offices, including the Financial Aid office.

Founder's Annex!
The top part of the building actually inspired the Saint Michael's College logo. The tower with a cross can be seen in many of the SMC insignia.


Most students visit Founder's Hall to visit the Registrar's office. The Registrar's office is where you go to declare a major or minor, change your adviser, or get a copy of your transcript. You can also talk to the Registrar about transferring credits and registering for classes. 

Outside the Registrar's office, they have a bulletin board with lots of helpful information. This bulletin board includes information like every professor's office, and which classes have seats available in them. 

A festive Founder's bulletin board!
The door on the right is the Registrar's office!
Hope that gave you some information about a really important building on campus! As always, if you have any questions about Founder's Hall or SMC life in general, feel free to contact me!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Campus in Winter

Founder's Hall covered in icicles
Before I was a student at St. Mike's, but after I had decided to come here, many people asked me where I was going to college. I would tell them, and the reaction was usually the same-- both "Oh, my niece/uncle/best friend/acquaintance's aunt's best friend went there and they LOVED it!" and "Wow, I hope you like the cold!"

A very snowy view out my bedroom window
Lucky for me, I do like the cold! On my tours, a lot of people ask how we survive the cold up here, and really, I too once thought that the nonchalance to the cold was weird. I can remember on my Accepted Students Day when I was a high school senior, it had just snowed. As my mother and I were walking across campus, I saw a kid walking around in shorts, a T-shirt, and sandals. In snow. I thought he was about the craziest person ever, and I still would never brave the cold without my coat and boots, but I kiiiiiiind of understand where we was coming from. After you're subjected to the long winters of Vermont for a few months, it really is not so bad.

Winter sunsets are the best
And winters up here are just so darn pretty. The sunrise and sunset seem impossibly vibrant shades of pink and orange against the cold sky, and I love the way the sun glimmers off the fresh snow in the mornings.

A nice sunset over the 100s
So today, I thought I would just share some of my favorite pictures of the St. Mike's campus covered in that powdery white stuff... 

Sunrises over fresh snow make the cold walk to my 8am class worth it.
As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! Happy Wednesday, everyone :)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Spring Semester!

Spring semester is finally in full swing! I've been back on campus for almost two weeks and have been adjusting to classes, campus life, and the cold!

The view out my window: a winter wonderland

This semester is going to be really busy, but I'm excited for what it has in store. Here are a few examples of what I'm excited for...

1. Classes

My classes for the semester seem really interesting so far. Here's my schedule for the semester

Insects and Society: M/W 11-12:05, LAB M 1:30-3:30
Intro to Cultural Anthropology T/TH 8-9:35
Teaching Writing T/TH 9:45-11:20
Aztec Goddess/Christian Madonna T/TH 1:15-2:50

This semester is kind of all over the place-- I have a biology class, a religious studies class, an English class, and an anthropology class but it's really keeping things interesting.

The Insects and Society class is to fulfill the lab science component of the liberal arts curriculum here at St. Mike's. At first I was really nervous to take a science class because science is SO not my thing, but I'm finding it really enjoyable and actually kind of interesting. I'll definitely be posting more about taking a science class as a non-major.

Intro to Cultural Anthropology is certainly going to take me out of my comfort zone. The entire purpose of the class is to challenge the way we look at things and examine culture. My professor has done field work in Nepal and South Sudan, so it's really neat to hear her talk about her experiences. The class seems like it's going to involve a lot of interesting articles and documentaries and I'm excited for it!
Founder's hall in the snow! Love the icicles...
Teaching Writing is the class that you take before you work in the Writing Center on campus.  The Writing Center is located in the library and is open for any student to go receive help with their writing. We're learning a lot about learning styles and how to coach people into becoming successful writers. This class includes spending 2 hours outside of class in the Writing Center getting hands on experience.

Aztec Goddess/Christian Madonna is a religious studies class that I'm taking to fulfill the religious studies requirement. I grew up attending Catholic schools and this is, roughly, my 14th religion class. Yet, it's about mesoamerican goddesses which is something I have never learned about before. I like learning about different religions and am excited to see what I learn in this class!

2. Giving Tours!

I'm lucky enough this semester to have a weekly tour spot! I will be giving tours every Friday at 10:30am. I know that my tour at St. Mike's is what really sold the school for me, and I really enjoy giving tours to prospective students. It's a great chance to show people how awesome it is to go to school here and see if it's a good fit for them. I give my first official weekly tour tomorrow and I am pumped!
Sunset over a snowy campus

3. Vermont Weather

This is going to sound weird, but I am actually enjoying the very, very cold front we are experiencing this week. Now that I've been living in Vermont for a year and a half, I know how to deal with the cold. A big puffy jacket, a hat, scarf, and some mittens and I am good to go. It's cold, but the far edge of the St. Mike's campus is a 10 minute walk in any direction so there's no reason to be outside for too long.

There's a weird sort of kinship that comes from living through this level of cold. I also find myself lingering with friends longer, because I would rather hang out than go face the cold. It's great to be reunited with my friends here after a month apart.

Also, campus looks so pretty covered in snow!

Anyways, this was just a quick update to let you know what I'm excited for over the next few months. I'll be sure to update again soon! If you have any questions about SMC, please contact me!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Finding My Faith at SMC

Hello blog!

Today I want to blog about something I've been thinking about for awhile: my faith journey at St. Mike's.

Growing up, I went to Catholic schools. My family isn't very religious, but I received the sacraments and was Confirmed. Religion was always there, but I did not have to seek it out. I had periods of really liking the religious presence in my schools, and periods of really disliking it. My faith relationship before college was really all over the board.

When I came to college, I wasn't sure exactly what role my faith was going to play in my life. Would I ever go to church? Would I be actively involved in the faith community? Would I ever go to mass?It was really up to me.

On my tours, I get asked a lot, "how religious is St. Mike's really?"

Well, the answer truly is that you get to determine how active faith is in your life. College in general is all about becoming an adult and learning to make your own decisions and your faith is not excluded from this.

When it came to my personal decision, I decided I would see what VITA, the campus ministry group, was all about. VITA had a social the first week of my First Year and I decided to attend it. It was held in the Upper Room of the Chapel, and we had snacks and learned exactly what VITA did. It was a community unlike any I had experienced before: VITA can be described as a "faith in action" group.

Me (right) at the very first VITA social I attended!

I was so warmly welcomed that I knew I had to come back. Most of VITA's programming is on Wednesday night with LINK and Dessert and the Divine. LINK meets most Wednesdays and is a large faith sharing group. On any given week, about 10-20 people gather to talk about their week and reconnect with God. Dessert and the Divine meets once a month to share some delicious desserts and come together as a group to have a discussion. Connections, which meets on Thursday evenings, is a small, scripture based, faith sharing group. VITA also puts on socials throughout the year like Pumpkin Carving and a Girls' Night!

VITA Girls' Night family style dinner!

All dressed up for Halloween at LINK!

I quickly made great friends in the VITA community and found myself in the Upper Room most Wednesdays during my First Year. VITA is perfect for me for a few reasons. It is student led, which I particularly like. Though my faith is stronger than it has ever been, it is nice to be surrounded by people who are on their own faith journeys. VITA is made up of my peers. They are some of the kindest, most welcoming people I have ever met and I am so happy to be friends with so many of them. It's a diverse group of people: we have people in all parts of their faith journey in all years. We even have some people who don't identify as Catholic or Christian who join us for the conversation and it's always a great time.  I see God so easily in the friends I have made here.

This year, I was given the opportunity to be on the leadership Team for VITA. I lead Dessert and the Divine (along with the super awesome Kate!) once a month. I feel so blessed to be able to help lead the group and create the awesome environment in which my faith blossomed. I was super nervous before leading my first meeting but everything worked out and I'm really excited to lead one again next week. I find myself really blessed this year to have such a phenomenal team to work with.

VITA Team 2013-2014
(L-R) Tim, Maura, Colleen, Emily, Kate
Kelly, Lauren, Alex, Katie

I hope this (somewhat long-winded) blog post sheds some light on what your faith life can look like at Saint Michael's College. I would love to chat with you if you have any questions about it, so feel free to contact me!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!