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!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Nearly Wordless Wednesday: Fall



Fall has finally arrived at St. Mike's.

The air is crisp. Alliot has had pumpkin cookies. The leaves are getting crunchy and ripe for stepping on-- one of my personal favorite fall activities on campus.

Yesterday, I took my first trip to the nature trail, located behind the 300s Townhouses. It's a beautiful trail, and well removed from campus. I went into the woods for the purpose of taking pictures with a group, but left feeling very refreshed and in awe of the beauty of my campus.

I am so very lucky to get to spend fall somewhere so beautiful.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leading my first Dessert and the Divine!

Hey there everyone!

I know I've neglected the blog a bit lately- sorry! This year started and work was on full speed from day one. Luckily, after two exams and a paper due at the end of last week, I get a bit of a breather this weekend and I can finally update!!

This year, I've been incredibly lucky to become a part of the VITA team. VITA is the peer to peer ministry group at St. Mike's and I joined them as the new co-leader of Dessert and the Divine! Dessert and the Divine meets the last Wednesday of the month and includes yummy desserts and discussion about God in a "family table" setting. It's a lot of fun and I am having a great time working with my co-leader, Kate!

Kate and I leading Dessert and the Divine on Wednesday! (photo cred: the lovely Alex!)
For the theme of the first Dessert and the Divine, we discussed how we spend our time and if we have a good balance. The first month back at college can be a huge adjustment: to your classes, your living situation, to the schoolwork. It can be easy to balance all of that with a strong relationship with God, so we got a chance to discuss how to work on that and eat delicious cupcakes.

Cupcake construction zone
 We had over 70 mini cupcakes, 4 colors of frosting, and various toppings like sprinkles and M&Ms. The cupcakes represented our weeks and the different frosting colors and toppings represented how we spend our weeks. The purpose of this activity was to reflect on what we fill our time with. We had to ask ourselves if we were spending too much time with friends, or not enough time on schoolwork. It was a chance to consider if we were doing a good job of bringing our relationship with God with us to every part of our week.
L-R Katie, Mary-Kate, Kristen, Jake, Amanda, Ellen
I feel really blessed to be leading Dessert and the Divine. VITA has been such a positive influence in my life over the past year and I'm happy to give back. It's nice to help provide a space that can give to others what I received. On Wednesday, I was a little worried that no one would come to Dessert and the Divine. It was a busy week and seemed like everyone was working on some project or studying for some exam. But in the end, fifteen people came out and I think everyone had a good time.

Just wanted to do a quick shout out to my grandmother for letting me borrow her hand mixer to make frosting- thanks Mammie!

Anyways, hopefully updates from me won't take as long here on out. If you have any questions about campus ministry or SMC life in general, feel free to contact me! Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Summer Recap!

Hi everyone!

As you can see, my blog has been completely redesigned! It's a new school year and I thought a new look was in order. The summer is winding down and I'm getting ready to move back into school in a few days... so I thought I would do a quick recap of what I've been up to this summer.

May

I got to visit my friend Charlie! He's in the Army and was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. My first trip to the south!

Fort Benning entrance



National Infantry Museum, Columbus, GA


I met my nephew, Ayden, for the first time.

I'm a proud Auntie :)
I got to go to my high school's graduation ceremony!
Congrats Emily and KJ!


June

I worked. A lot.

I also got to see my little sister get an Academic award for her achievements in French!

Yay, Jessie!
July

I got to see Colleen while she was in Massachusetts for Fourth of July!
Colleen and I got lunch!
Said goodbye to my friend KJ before she left for CityYear DC.
Emilysx2 and KJ, aka The Breakfast Club
I got to go back to Georgia to help Charlie move! He was being transferred to Fort Lewis in Washington state, so I helped him pack up and accompanied him on the road trip. It was my first chance to see America outside of the east coast and it was absolutely awe inspiring. I think everyone should take a cross country road trip at some point!

Tennessee River

While driving through Kansas, we saw a huge windmill farm. It was beautiful at sunset.

View of California from Klamath Falls, OR

August

Every year in August, my family takes a vacation to Laconia, NH. We had a great time this year, and I got to spend plenty of quality time with my nephew before I go back to school. When I see him again, it will be Thanksgiving!

Sunset over Lake Winnipesaukeee!

Ayden's rocking his Saint Michael's bib!

While I was up in NH, I got to see my friend and fellow SMCer, Taylor!

Then, most recently, I had to say goodbye to my friend Emily who is off to Loyola Chicago. Sadness :( but I'm so proud of her!

Emily x2
As you can see, it's been a busy summer! But I'm ready to get packed and on my way back north to Vermont! Look for a post soon about surviving Orientation.

Hope you have a great week, everyone!



Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Family Weekend 2013!

Hello everyone! I hope your week is off to a lovely start!

Last weekend was family weekend here at St. Michael's and I was lucky enough to have my family come up!! They came up on Friday and hung out with me all weekend. I saw my family a few weeks ago for Easter, but it was really nice to have them on campus. They haven't been up here since October, and it was cool to show them around campus now that I really know it!

Friday night we pretty much just went to dinner and hung out because my family had been in the car all day. They were tired!

Hanging out with my mom in the hotel!

Saturday morning, it was an Accepted Student Day!! We had about 250 families on campus checking out the school. I also gave my very first tour! I became a tour guide in March and have been training by shadowing tours ever since. Shout out to Alex, Lauren, and Lauren Loy for letting me shadow your tours- you guys are awesome!!! On Saturday, I was able to show some families around campus and answer their questions. I was nervous but I hope they were able to see just how much SMC means to me!
Pre-tour nerves!
Alex snagged this picture of me giving my very first tour!

After the tour, my family joined me on campus and we went to Alliot for brunch. My mom and sister have eaten at school before, but it was everyone's first time for brunch and they were pretty pleased with it! It was Breakfast Pizza day, one of my personal brunch favorites :)

Family brunching in Alliot!

On Saturday afternoon, we took a drive down to the Waterbury/Stowe area and checked out the Ben and Jerry's factory. If you're looking for something to do in the area, I really recommend it! You get a great half-hour tour and history of Ben and Jerry's, and a great sample! After our tour, we took a walk up to the "Flavor Graveyard"- check out the view!

I suggest clicking on the picture to make it bigger!
That night, my sister got to sleep over in my room. We did not do too much, just ordered take out and I did her nails. It was great to have some quality sister time because it is still kind of weird that I don't see her every day!

Sunday morning, my family knew they were heading out early, so we went out to a nice brunch. We went to Athen's diner in Colchester and had one of the best breakfasts ever. Seriously! I had a cheeseburger omelette with a home made biscuit and had enough food to eat for lunch too. The diner is way up on a hill so you get an awesome view too.

That's my kind of hot chocolate!

Another beautiful view of Vermont.

Overall, it was a busy weekend, but we had a great time. Now, I'm buckling down for the last week of classes and finals! I will update again soon!

Hope you're having a great week, everyone.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Study Abroad Planning!

Hi everyone! Hope your week is off to a great start.

Since I've started looking at colleges, I've known I want to go abroad. St Mike's has a great study abroad program and it's something I definitely want to take advantage of while I'm here- about 30% of our students do! The price of your study abroad program is even covered by your normal semester tuition, so it won't cost any extra! Semesters abroad are typically taken during Junior year, though at St. Mike's. It's far off, but since I really want to make sure it happens, I decided to schedule a meeting with Peggy Imai, the coordinator of study abroad.

A few of my friends have scheduled meetings with Peggy recently and all had great experiences. So yesterday, I went on the Study Abroad website and set up an appointment with her. Luckily, she had an opening today! I was able to make a 2pm appointment, so after I ate lunch I headed over to her office in Klein.


Klein! This building houses Human Resources, Personal Counseling, and Study Abroad.
Peggy was super helpful! First she gave me an overview on study abroad itself. St. Mike's has programs everywhere- seriously, the only place there isn't a program is Antarctica! I was really impressed by all the different options.

We talked about what I was looking for in a program. I did a little research before I showed up today, and decided I was looking for a program in London where I could do an internship. This helped to narrow my options down some, and Peggy gave me information on three different programs that met my needs- BU, AIFS (American Institute for Foreign Study), and Arcada. She gave me some information about how to "shop" around for a program that really gets me all I want from my study abroad experience. She gave me some awesome program books that contain all the information I need to select a program!

AIFS has a great program right in the middle of London!
BU's Study Abroad program has some seriously interesting sounding classes!

After we talked about the programs themselves, Peggy gave me an overview on how the application process works. Since I want to be abroad in Fall 2014, I will start my application process next January. I have to do two applications- one to St. Mike's and one to the program itself. Then, she went over how the classes abroad will fit into the courses I need to graduate. I know that there will be a lot of information sessions for this next year, but I'm really glad that I was able to get a head start on everything. Peggy is a fantastic resource!

If you have any questions about study abroad or St. Mike's in general, please feel free to contact me!

Have a great rest of the week, everyone!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

What I've Been Up To!

First of all,  I am so, so sorry about not posting here in awhile! I've been crazy busy. Spring semester is still in full swing. We only have a few weeks left, but things aren't winding down yet!! I wanted to tell you all about what I've been up to this week:

Tuesday- FREE CONE DAY!

Ben and Jerry's is pretty big in Vermont- their factory isn't too far from here and their Scoop Shop on Church Street is a pretty bustling place. Even more bustling when the ice cream is free!! On Tuesday, they were giving out free cones from 12-8pm and I had to go check out it. After our meeting, the HerCampus SMCVT team went down for some group bonding. Alex, Lauren Murphy, Laura, and I were in one car and made it down there first. When I saw that the line was almost a full block away from the store, I was imagining an hour wait... but nope! Ben and Jerry's have it down to a science and we were through the line in under fifteen minutes! It was a great afternoon pick-me-up.

The line at Free Cone Day

Laura, Alex, and Lauren!
Me and my free cone- Candy Bar Pie!


Wednesday- RED CROSS BLOOD DRIVE!

I don't have that many pictures of this one because, let's face it, no one wants to see blood, but it's so worth mentioning. I had never donated blood before earlier this semester when I signed up to work at the snack table and ended up donating.  Since then, I found out I'm an O+ donor, one of the highest in demand. So this blood drive, in addition to working registration for an hour, I gave a double red blood cell donation. My friend Colleen volunteered with me and our friend Katie met us there to donate. The Blood Drive had a great turn out!

Colleen gives two thumbs up to the Red Cross!

Thursday- SLOANE!

There are two dining options at SMC- Alliot (Green Mountain Dining Room) and Knights at the Round Table, in Sloane on North Campus. They both take our swipes so they're included in the meal plan, but I had never gone to Sloane before! On Thursday night, Alex, Lauren Murphy, Laura, Colleen, and I made the trek up to North to enjoy some delicious food. You get to pick an appetizer, entree, and dessert and they even serve you at the table! It was a great way to go out to eat without having to spend any money. Here are a few pictures of what I had:

Fried ravioli as my appetizer

Chicken parm for my entree


Cappucino brownie for dessert!
Friday- DEAD MAN WALKING!

Every semester, the Theatre department at SMC puts on a main stage show. This semester, they put on Dead Man Walking. It was interesting to go and see the show because about a month ago, Sister Helen Prejean, whose life the play is based off, came to speak about her experiences. The cast and crew did a great job of bringing the show to life. I definitely got emotional towards the end! I really recommend checking it out if you're in the area, it's going on next weekend, April 18-20 at 7pm and it's free!

The set of Dead Man Walking

As you can see, I've been super busy! But I'm busy doing things I love and that what makes being busy fun. I promise to update again soon! Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Housing and The Masquerade Ball!

Hi everyone! Hope your week is off to a good start.

I just wanted to update you on my housing situation for next year...

I'M LIVING IN QUAD COMMONS!!!!!!!

My new home as seen from my current home!!!!!!
How exciting is that?! I bid for Housing last Thursday, with the other people that are in G.R.E.A.T. Housing. My lottery number was not that low (1224) so I was expecting to try for a single on North Campus, not have the pick of the lot!

A quick explanation on how housing works for GREAT (it's similar for Honors too). Everyone that was G.R.E.A.T. this year and wanted to remain in it for next year bid for their housing last Thursday. We all had to be in Alliot after dinner. People that wanted singles had to be there at 6:25, people that wanted doubles had to be there at 6:30, and the people that wanted to go into G.R.E.A.T. Housing for the first time were after that. Everyone lined up by their lottery number. I was super surprised to find that I was ninth in line. We lined up in first floor Alliot and waited for them to tell us we could go upstairs. When we went upstairs, we had to wait outside the Vermont Room (a conference room) where they had floor plans of all the buildings set up. A handful of people were let in at a time and allowed to choose where they wanted to live. There were singles set up for G.R.E.A.T. on North Campus, some in Cashman (one of the Suite buildings), and a few in Quad Commons. I was psyched and after hearing my options, decided I wanted to live in QC! They initialed my room and then I got to sign for it and hand in my housing contract.

I will be in a four person suite next year! It's four single rooms, two bathrooms, and a common room on the third floor. I will be the first person ever to live there! I'm SO excited! Two of my suite mates are girls on my floor and I think we will get along well. I will be connected to the New Student Center which means I don't have to go outside to get to a fitness center, two restaurants, and a ton of other awesome amenities. I'm SO excited!!!

~
The other thing I wanted to write about today is the Masquerade Ball that took place in Alliot last weekend! I don't usually go to dances but since all my friends were going and I wanted to dress up, I decided to go to this one.

Candid! Alex doing Lauren's hair
I went over to my friend Alex's apartment and she helped Lauren, Rynne, and me by curling our hair. She's so talented with a curling iron!!! I got ready at her apartment and then we went over to Founder's Hall to Lauren and Rynne's room to take pictures with a huge group of people. Here are some of the pics:


First year girls: Colleen, Katie, Erica, Kristin, Lauren, and me!
Group panorama (I recommend clicking to enlarge!)
Colleen didn't go to the dance but she came to take pictures!

We went to the dance and hung out there for a few hours. They did an awesome job of decorating Alliot to make it look pretty. They had lights wrapped around the columns and ribbons around the ceiling. They even had balloons on the dance floor for us to play with.

After a few hours of dancing, we decided to go back to Founders and order some food- we were hungry! Alex, Lauren, Lauren, Rynne, and I enjoyed some pizza and cheesy bread. It totally hit the spot!!

The most delicious pizza ever

It's a really busy week but I'm powering through for Easter break. Hope everyone else is having a great week!!


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My First Vlog! (Spring Break, Alumni Appreciation Week, Housing)

videoHi everyone! I decided to vlog for you this week. Hope you enjoy!

If you have any questions, please direct them to my VYou page!

Have a good week!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

FAQ: What do you do on the weekend?

Hi everyone! Hope your weekend is off to a great start.

One question that seems to come up a lot in the Knight Chats (next one is  3/21- more info here) is "What do you do on the weekend?"  I think a lot of people are expecting parties, and like at every school, partying does happen. However, I am not a partier at all and I can still have an amazing weekend!

There is no typical weekend for a St. Mike's student. Some weekends we are locked away in the library working on projects or papers, some weekends we go on retreats, some weekends we have birthday parties for our friends, some weekends we have absolutely no preset plans and still manage to have a great time. Every weekend is different!

For instance, yesterday night I went contra dancing for the first time! A few weeks ago, we got an email for a contra dance with a live band on North Campus. If you don't know what contra dancing is, I suggest looking it up on youtube because it's really something that can't be explained with words. It's similar to square dancing but very different- and a LOT of fun! My friend Jake loves to dance so I made him come with me and we headed up to North Campus.

North Campus is about a five minute shuttle ride from Main Campus and the shuttle runs every half hour (around the 15 and 45 minute marks on North, around the top of the hour and the 30 minute mark on Main). We picked up the 8:30 shuttle from the Ryan bus stop and headed to the Elley-Long Music Center. I've never been in there before, but it's such a beautiful little music hall!

Since we arrived in the middle of a dance, we had to watch for a bit which was completely fine so we could get the hang of it. A caller goes through each dance before it begins, as there is a 64-beat dance that, while composed of the same steps, is different every time. Then, once that was over, we could just go ask anyone to dance! A lot of the people there last night were members of the community who were a lot more experienced in contra dance and they helped the newbies out a lot. Here are some pictures from the night:

Contra dancing!
Me, Jake, and some of his friends!


video
Here's a video- sorry it's short!

Over about three hours, we did probably ten contras, two square dances, and a waltz. It was a blast! The band was great and everyone I danced with was really nice. It was a great way to get out and have some fun on a Friday night. After it was over, Jake and I walked back to Main Campus (we missed the shuttle and did not want to wait) and saw that the grille was open. The grille goes from 11pm-1am on weekends and serves different food- hot dogs, hamburgers, BBQ chicken sandwiches, and last night, chicken patties!! It's all free and we can just wander over to get food if we're hungry and we were! I have no pictures of the chicken patties because we ate them too quickly, sorry!

After that, it was time to go home for the night, but it was an awesome night. I just wanted to give you a glimpse into what weekends are like at St. Mike's. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Having a Radio Show!

Hello, everyone! Happy Wednesday.

I just want to apologize for not posting in awhile... it's been a crazy week! I've had lots of papers and projects to work on. This semester is definitely keeping me busy! But I just wanted to write a quick blog post about something cool that I have been doing: I have a radio show!

A few weeks ago, WWPV, the radio station on campus, sent out an email with an application to be a DJ. I was interested; it sounded fun to have my own show! So I filled it out with info about me and what kind of music I would play. It was accepted! My show is called Humble Winds with Emily in the Monday 12pm-2pm time slot!

So far, I've played two shows and it's been an awesome experience. It's so cool to have your friends on and off campus tuning in to listen to your show! During my first show, I put out the request line phone number, and got a call from an alum. He was a DJ for WWPV in the 1980s and was on campus visiting. He requested a Beatles song that he used to play on his show all the time. He was really friendly and told me I was doing a great job even though I was super nervous. This is just another example of how the SMC community, including alumni, are so incredibly friendly!

My first show!
Here's a panorama of the station set up (sorry it's so dark!- enlarge for a better view)

If you want to tune into my show, I would be delighted! If you're on campus, you can turn your TV to Channel 4, or your radio to 88.7. If you're off campus, we stream online! Just go to here and you can set it up. Curious about what type of music I play? You can check out the playlist here.

If you have any questions, about WWPV or about SMC in general, feel free to contact me, or ask anonymously on my formspring!

Hope everyone has a great rest of their week!