Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Halloween Post

Holidays are a big thing in my family, Halloween especially. So last week, I was wondering, is Halloween at school going to measure up to Halloween at home?

Oh, it did. I had the best weekend so far.

Because it falls on a Wednesday this year, Halloween became Halloweekend and the celebration lasted all weekend long! For me, it began on Friday afternoon with VITA Pumpkin Carving. It was an awesome way to begin the weekend because I got to hang out with some of my favorite people, eat donuts, drink cider, and decorate my pumpkin!

Colleen painting her pumpkin

I decided to go the route of painting mine since I don't love the gooky feeling of pumpkin guts. I went with my friend Colleen and we are both HUGE Doctor Who fans, so we both decided to decorate our pumpkins in the spirit of Who! She carved and painted her pumpkin and both of our pumpkins came out awesome!

Side 1 of Colleen's pumpkin

Side 2 of Colleen's pumpkin, the TARDIS!

My pumpkin!!! (It's a Dalek, a DW thing)

Later Friday night, it was time for the Rocky Horror Concert Show! The Drama Club was putting on a concert of all the songs from Rocky Horror, so Collen, JLo, and I decided to go. JLo and I had never seen it before, but we had a great time. The Concert Show was being held at Turtle Underground, a concert space in the basement of one of the Halls on North Campus. Friday night was my first time taking the shuttle up to North Campus and it was super easy. It didn't take long at all and we were super early. The shuttle was clean, the driver was friendly and even wearing a costume!

Rocky Horror cast doing a lighting check before the crowd arrives!

Quickly, Turtle Underground started filling up. They had a huge crowd come out to see it! It started a little late, but everyone had a great time singing and dancing to some music while we waited. Then the show started and it was awesome. I even got to dance the Time Warp with my fellow blogger Sarah who was in the show. It's just a really fun show that has you up on your feet dancing or participating for most of it. After we caught the shuttle back, we were pretty exhausted and decided to get some sleep.

Saturday, Colleen, JLo, and I woke up early because we wanted to go to Walmart. To get to Walmart, it takes about an hour and fifteen minutes via free, public transportation, so it's not really something to do every week. However, it's a really pleasant bus ride on Saturday because it wasn't very busy. Since I was with my friends, it went by pretty quick.

We were a little sleepy... JLo rested on the bus ride

Colleen and I on the bus!

  Walmart was a little crazy because it was the Saturday before Halloween and we were expecting a hurricane, but we got in and out pretty quickly! We stocked up on Halloween stuff, snacks and food, and they bought some clothes. Then we caught the bus back to campus.

Me, Colleen, and Ashley zombified/in costume for the Haunted House!
Colleen and I had to be back on campus by 4pm because we wanted to participate in the Haunted House that the Drama Club puts on every year! I was really impressed with how well done it was. They turned the basement of Alumni Hall (a building on the quad) into a 5 room haunted house! The theme of the Haunted House played off the construction that's happening on campus. Colleen and I ended up being zombie construction workers! The Haunted House was open from 7-9 and I think we gave a few people a good scare! Here's the video if you want to see how we did:

After the Haunted House was over, we helped break down the set and went on our way. Most people headed to the Halloween Dance, but I was tired and wanted to sleep! I had a great time this weekend. Saint Mike's has really become my home :)

I hope that everyone is having a great Halloween and has made it through Hurricane Sandy in one piece! Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Health Services!

So today, I took my first trip to Health Services!

Don't worry, I am not sick! I just wanted to get my flu shot. For about a month now, they have been offering flu shots. I kept putting it off because I hate shots and needles, but today I finally gave in. One shot would not be as bad as a whole week (or more) with the flu. So after I finished my last class of the day, I decided to head over to Health Services.

Health Services is located in the basement of Alumni Hall, one of the residential buildings on the quad. They are open every day and were super friendly in there. It looks like an actual doctor's office. I filled out a form that asked if I was sick, if I had allergies, if I had a blood transfusion this year, etc, and told them I needed a flu shot. It cost $10, but I just took the money off of my KnightCard (student ID). I only had to wait a minute before one of the nurses called my name and took me back to a room.

My nurse was super friendly. She asked if I was planning to go to the Halloween dance this weekend, and my other weekend plans. One of my favorite things about Saint Mike's is the community-- even the nurses are really nice! She told me it was a great idea to get the flu shot, since it's so easy to catch germs in dorm. Then, she gave me the shot, and it didn't even hurt that much. I was in and out of Health Services in less than ten minutes.

Health Services doesn't just do flu shots- they can see students for a variety of reasons. They are open every day of the week, and have awesome services like Nutrition Counseling and Psychiatric Services. Here is their page on the St. Mike's website. Have a great rest of the week!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Six Tips for Surviving College Admissions Season

Hello everyone! I've seen a ton of high school seniors on campus lately touring Saint Mike's! I even saw someone from my high school here the other day, which was especially exciting. It's hard to believe that it's been a whole year since I was in their place, living in the crazy, stressful, and exciting time that is college admissions season! I've compiled a few tips for anyone going through it:

1. Stay organized! When you are applying to schools, there is a lot to keep track of! Paperwork, visits to schools, interview appointments, and deadlines will start taking over your life. Do what you have to in order to maintain order! Buy a planner or a calendar to mark off all the due dates for your applications and make sure you are on top of things. It will save you from freaking out two days before an application is due and it isn't completed.

2. Schedule down time! The fall of senior year is stressful, there's no doubt about that. On top of your normal course work, you have all these applications and supplements to work on. In order to stay sane, schedule in some time that is fun and relaxing. Whether it's an afternoon out shopping or a movie marathon with your friends, you need some time to decompress and stay sane!

3. Start your applications early! I filled out my CommonApp in August, before school began. I knew that I would be super busy once school started and wanted to have it out of the way. The earlier you can get your applications and supplements out of the way, the sooner they are out of your hands and you can focus on other things!

4. Check out as many schools as possible! Even if you don't think you're going to be interested in a school, it doesn't hurt to do your research. Things like some time on their website, hearing what their students have to say, even a visit if they're close, can completely change your view of a school. I didn't want to apply to St. Michael's, but once I came and visited campus, I fell in love.

5. After you visit, write your initial thoughts down! Chances are, when you are making your school decision, you haven't visited in awhile. It's a good idea to write down exactly what you thought of the college shortly after you visit, to preserve the memory for when you have to pick. I still have my initial thoughts for all the schools I visited!

And most importantly...

6. Enjoy the moment! In just a few months, you will be off to college and most likely heading in different directions from all your friends. It can be easy to be so wrapped up in all of the stuff you're doing and forget how important the important people in your life are!

Hope everyone has a great rest of the week! If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!

Friday, October 12, 2012

How I Got Here

So I realized I never really told the story of how I ended up at Saint Michael's. It's kind of a long story, but here goes :)

In the spring on my Junior year of High School, I started to look at colleges, as many do. It's a good time to do it. My advice to anyone who is looking at colleges is to look at as many as you can. It's a good way of determining what you do and do not want in a school. What I wanted was liberal arts and small. My high school was small, there were about 300 girls, so I knew I would do well in a small classroom environment. I also knew I didn't want to be in a city, but I wanted to be near one. I toyed with the idea of an all girls college but decided that ultimately I wanted to return to a co-ed school. I met with my guidance counselor in March of my Junior Year and we drafted my college list... there were eighteen colleges on there.

In June of my Junior Year, I was awarded the Saint Michael's College Book Award. The book award is given for "Academic Achievement with Social Conscience". I received First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung, a Saint Michael's graduate. To be honest, I was not super excited to have gotten the award from Saint Michael's. It had not been on my radar of schools to look at.

The book I got for my Book Award, we're actually reading it in my First Year Seminar!

My aunt Carol went to Saint Mikes and graduated in 1996. She had done incredibly well here, she double majored and minored, was in the Honors Program and played varsity sports. She was really successful here, and I didn't want to have to follow in her footsteps. Sometimes it is intimidating to follow on someone else's path. I thought it would be much better to make my own.

However, I still came to look at Saint Michael's. My mom and I came up in August, and we toured. I was a little overwhelmed by the tour (this was not unique to Saint Michael's, though, it happened on all the tours I went on) until we got to the Dailey Room of the library. The Dailey Room is on the second floor of the library and has this amazing view of campus because it has a huge window. You can see the academic buildings, the quad, and across to the chapel. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I just remember thinking what a beautiful place to spend four years. My love was cemented by the fact that everyone just seemed so friendly. It was the beginning of August and students had not moved back in yet, but there were some students living on campus. I remember how everyone we ran into knew my tour guide and they said hello and knew each other's names. I got a really great vibe from the campus and could tell there was a strong community.

Me at Saint Mike's when I came for my tour!

One of the things that drew me in the most was the size of the school. I had never gone to a large school, my pre-Kingergarten through Grade 8 school had about 400 students and my high school had about 300 students. I loved that Saint Michael's had 2000 students and very small class sizes. My classes range from 15-30 students, so I know everyone's name and get to form a relationship with my teachers. Just from my tour, I could tell that it might be a small college, but it was a very tightly-knit community.

That fall, I decided to apply to two other colleges in addition to Saint Michael's. The other two schools were both small Catholic colleges in New England. One I had visited and liked, and the other I had not visited. I knew that I wanted to go to Saint Mike's, so I really just applied to the other as back up. I applied early to all my schools so I would know where I was going by Christmas.

While I was waiting for my acceptance letters, I wanted to get as informed about the school as possible. So I went to a KnightChat, which is an online chat where current students answer your questions. Also, I read the Student Blogs often. I thought it was a super neat way to get to know more about the school. As a prospective student, I read Alex's blog a lot, because we have a lot in common and I was interested in the psychology department (she's a psych major).

Finally, on December 19, I received letters of acceptance from two of the schools. I was ecstatic- I had gotten into college!! But I really wanted my letter from Saint Mike's. The next day, I was on Christmas vacation from school and willed the mail to come early. At my house, the mail comes around 2:45, and I had to leave for work at 2:30. I waited and waited, and the mail had not come, so I had to leave. I checked my email before I left, and found an email that said I had been accepted! I was SO happy that I did not want to go to work, I just wanted to stay home and celebrate. But of course I went to work because I knew I would get my physical letter in the mail when I got home.

When I got home, my purple envelope with a gold seal was waiting on the kitchen table. It even had a hand written message from Jerry Flanagan, who is the VP for Admissions and Enrollment Management about my college essay. It was a nice personal touch. And with that, it was official, I was going to be a Purple Knight!

Now that I am here, it seems silly I was so hesitant to look at Saint Michael's. It has become my home. My aunt and I have totally different college experiences, and that is completely okay. I have forged my own path and gotten involved in my own activities. I feel like going to Saint Mike's has only brought us closer, because we have it in common now. She came to visit for Alumni Weekend about a month ago, and it was awesome to get to walk around campus together and see what has changed since she was here.

My aunt and me, Class of 1996 and 2016
Anyways, I hope everyone has a great weekend. We have Monday and Tuesday off, so I am home for the weekend! It's so awesome to get to sleep in my own bed and eat my mom's cooking. If anyone has any questions about anything, please contact me!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Classes So Far

I am almost halfway done with this semester! It's crazy. Time is really flying by. I am busy with classes and homework, clubs, and hanging out with my friends. I am definitely being challenged in my classes, but so far I am doing well!

Here is a run down of my classes:

The two main books we use
Christianity Past and Present
The first week of school, I ended up switching sections of this class. It fit my schedule better, and from looking at the syllabus, I could tell I would do better with my new professor's structure. I have Father David Theroux. He is so nice and always happy, he says good morning to everyone by name when we walk in to class. His class is early in the morning, from 8:30-935 on M/W/F, and even though sometimes I am still waking up, I enjoy it a lot. You can tell he puts a ton of work into his slideshows because they are really informative and fun to look at. We have already covered the Old Testament and the New Testament, and we have moved on to the early Church!  Every student at Saint Mike's has to take a 100 level religion course, so this class fulfills that requirement. I am also considering adding a Religious Studies minor because I am enjoying it so much.

My Psych text book- it cost $8 on!
General Psychology
General Psych is probably the most challenging class I am taking. It's not anything I can't do, it's just that we cover a lot of information. My professor, Professor Adams, is really straightforward with the material we are learning and the evaluations, and really helpful if we have questions. I have this class right after Christianity, from 9:45-10:50. His slide shows are also really well done. They usually have some amusing sound clips or videos to demonstrate the concept we are learning about. He also puts all his slide shows on eCollege, which is the class website, so we can download them to take notes on or study from. He starts every class with a little music and a comic on the overhead, which is a really cool way to begin. Because I am a Psychology major, this is a required class.

One of the books we use
The Examined Life
My first class on Tuesdays and Thursdays is The Examined Life, my First Year Seminar. I have it from 9:45-11:20. The class is longer than my M/W/F classes, but it doesn't feel like it. My professor, Professor Inness-Brown Monley (long name, long story) is awesome. In the class, we are learning how to write Scholarly Personal Narratives, telling a story and weaving in research we have done. It's great because we are learning how to locate and deal with sources while becoming better writers. There are only fifteen students in my class, so it is really small and we have all gotten to know each other really well. We do a lot of group work like peer editing so we can get feedback on our writing. Every First Year student has to take a First Year Seminar, so this class fulfills that requirement.

Media Revolutions
Our textbook!

I have this class on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1:15-2:50. It's a course in the Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts department, and I took it because that department also really interested me. My professor, Professor Griffith, has a ton of knowledge about media and journalism because she worked in it before she became a professor. I like that she runs our class in a discussion format. We are all able to discuss how media affects our every day lives. Each week, we focus on a different form of media, from newspapers to movies to the radio. Also, sometimes she has guest speakers come to talk to us about the media industry. Last week, our topic was Movies, so a professor she knows from Champlain College came over and talked to us about his experience in the industry. He talked about the stages of production in movies and how the industry works. It's really great to get a hands on perspective.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me! Have a great week, everyone! :)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Peace Pledge Ceremony

Happy Tuesday, everyone! I wanted to talk about the cool thing I went to tonight, the Peace Pledge Ceremony!

My friend Addy had to go for her Peace and Justice First Year Seminar and my friend Colleen was taking part in it, so I decided to go too! One thing I have tried really hard to do this year is to have all of my homework done before dinner. This enables me to go to all the club meetings and presentations I want to attend without having to rush home to get back to homework. So far, it's been mostly successful. 
The schedule in the program

I was a little unsure of what to expect at the Peace Pledge Ceremony, but it was actually pretty cool! First there was an introduction by Laurie Gagne. She's a professor and the Director of the Edmundite Center for Peace and Justice. She set the tone for the ceremony by talking about all the terrible, violent things we hear about on the news and all the peaceful things that get left out. 

Ten people then read the Assissi Peace Pledge. Five Muslims and Five Christians read it this year. My friend, Colleen, read the sixth part of the pledge, which read:

We commit ourselves to forgiving one another for past and present errors and prejudices, and to supporting one another in a common effort both to overcome selfishness and arrogance, hatred and violence, and to learn from the past that peace without justice is no true peace.

Colleen reading from the Peace Pledge

Then we read the Prayer of St. Francis. It's one of my favorites because we said it every day before my Calculus class last year, so it makes me remember my high school and my awesome math teacher. It's a really beautiful, peaceful prayer.

Colman McCarthy was this year's keynote speaker. He was a fantastic speaker. He has written for the Washington Post and The New Yorker, among other great newspapers, and he is currently a professor at Georgetown. He told us that he does not have any tests or papers in his class, that he believes in the idea of 'free learning', without the constraint of evaluation. It's definitely an interesting idea. I could tell from listening to him speak that he cared a lot about peace and peace studies.

His main theme was that we were not being taught enough about peace and conflict resolution. He demonstrated this by getting us involved. He gave us a little "quiz", offering $100 to anyone who could answer all six questions correctly. The first three questions were identifying people who were involved in conflicts, like Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. Most people in the audience knew who they were.  Then he named people like Jeannette Renkin and Barbara Lee. No one had any clue who they were. They were people who worked for peace. It was a really great way to show us that we don't know much about peace studies.

Behind Colman McCarthy, you can see the yellow GOT S.K.I.L.L.S.? banner. GOT S.K.I.L.L.S. is the campaign for Dignity and Diversity on campus. They bring a ton of really cool speakers to campus. Last month, I watched the documentary Without A Home and the film maker, Rachel Fleischer, was there for a Q&A. And two weeks ago, River Huston, spoke about "Surviving the Weekend". Another cool thing about GOT S.K.I.L.L.S. is that every time you go to an event, you fill out a survey at the end. This survey puts you in a raffle for prizes. If you get 10 tickets in the raffle, you get entered into a special drawing for one of the top three housing lottery numbers in your grade. That would be an awesome prize. 

Anyways, I hope you are all having a great week! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me! I have added a Formspring page to my contact page, so if you have any questions to ask, please do!