Monday, December 31, 2012

Highlights of 2012!

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had wonderful Christmases filled with peace, happiness, and love.  Seeing as it's New Year's Eve, I thought I would write a post about this past year, specifically about some of the lessons I've learned and the especially great times I've had at Saint Mike's.  I'll try not to make it too long! :)


smc purple and yellow knights joyce lights winter friends smiles smiling
Me sporting my new hat with Alex!
Believe it or not, last year at this time I was dreading going back to school.  Fall semester of freshman year was pretty rough for me in terms of dealing with being away from home.  I left for winter break having the foundation for some solid friendships, but, as I know all too well, friendship takes time.  It was hard for me to accept the fact that while I had great friends from home, those kinds of relationships do not form automatically.  So, when I returned to school in January, the first night back was really fun because I got to see everyone again, but the next day it really hit me that it was back to reality, which meant lots of schoolwork and a significant amount of time before I got to go home again.  Phone calls definitely helped, but more importantly, I specifically remember my friends Vick and Emma being there to give me hugs and to listen to me talk through how I was feeling.  And of course, a care package with a hand-knit hat from my best friend Paige couldn't hurt!


liturgical choir meal plate scarf nice clothes dinner couch house maine
The smiling trio, as Jerome likes to call us :)
We always have such a great time at
Lit Choir so we can't help but smile!
Getting back into the groove of college took some time, but it got better each day.  I had my first Lit Choir trip to look forward to, which I posted about here.  I had an absolutely wonderful time and what made it even better was that my mom got to come see us perform, and when we came back it was time to watch the Superbowl!





The next big event for me happened over spring break in March - as a belated birthday present my mom and I went to go see my absolute favorite celebrity Nick Jonas on Broadway.  It was a big adventure getting into the city (my mom doesn't like cities at all) but we made it and had a great time.  And of course I got to see some of my friends from home who had the same break as I.  Before I knew it, it was time to go back to school.  The day I got back it was really warm so I ended up changing into shorts (keep in mind, this was in March) - it was crazy!  It was warm enough to wear summer clothes the entire first week back, which was very exciting for me because I'm a huge fan of dresses!  Throughout the week students brought blankets outside and laid on the grass in the quad, soaking up the sun.  At some point during that week, my friends and I bought tickets to go see Christina Perri at Higher Ground (a small venue about 5 minutes from campus) - best decision ever!  And of course, that was something else to look forward to and help myself feel a little better whenever I felt the homesickness start to come on.
preparation day hunger games camoflague emma vick cait merrill alex 2012 peeta katniss joyceApril was probably my favorite month of spring semester.  If you don't already know, P-Day is arguably one of SMC's biggest events.  It happens just before finals of spring semester, and is basically a stress-free day to relax and just have fun with tons of food, bouncy houses, and MidKnight Breakfast in Alliot.  Just about everyone makes themed t-shirts.  My friends and I decided to make Hunger Games shirts using various types of fabric paints.  It was a long process but very fun and definitely worth it!  Also in April, my friends and I had a surprise birthday party for one of our good friends Cait.  It was really difficult not to spill the beans but we didn't and she loved it!  To top it off, Ben & Jerry's had their annual Free Cone Day which was very exciting and delicious of course!

christina perri concert cait emma alex sunny windy may 5 south burlington higher ground venue sleeping at last openerAs you probably know, most college students finish their spring semester in May, and I would definitely say that I packed in as much fun as possible during my last few weeks at SMC.  I finally got to use those tickets I bought in March to see Christina Perri!  My friends and I loved the concert so much that we decided to start planning a trip to see her again in Montreal in the fall.  A few days and a whole lot of studying later, it was time to say goodbye and head home for the summer.  I was obviously very excited to be done with schoolwork, but I was surprised at how long it took me to transition to being back at home.  Clearly I was used to Saint Mike's!

The majority of my summer was spent babysitting, being with friends and family, and going to Maine.  It was absolutely wonderful and when it came time for me to go back to school in August, I was a little nervous but mostly very excited to get to see my friends again.  On the drive to school, I surprised myself by being a little upset that I was once again leaving my family and everything that I love in New Hampshire behind.  But when I pulled into the SMC parking lot, I couldn't wipe the ear-to-ear smile off my face.  My first thought was "I'm home!"  I hadn't realized how much I truly missed SMC over the summer and how attached I'd become.  I couldn't hope to feel any more positively about my school than I do about SMC!

canada montreal quebec posing christina perri jason mraz belle centre nice outfits converse merrill caitlin alex emma candlewood suites hotelIt was a little challenging getting back into the school routine during the first week of classes, but I managed pretty well.  I was just so happy to be back at school and happy with the fact that I wasn't feeling homesick!  In addition, I was getting really excited about my trip to Montreal at the end of September!  As I mentioned, my friends and I went to see Christina Perri open for Jason Mraz.  While the trip was filled with fun, it definitely taught brought us closer together as friends because we were truly on our own - from finding our hotel to getting to the concert to locating the nearest grocery store.  I have great memories from that trip that I'll never forget!
 
room of requirement costumes pacman watermelon batman robin catwoman red riding hood linnehan saint michael's college shuttle danceThe best part about October was probably the Halloween Dance.  I usually hate dances, but my friends encouraged me to go so I decided to give it a chance and I'm so glad I did!  I never thought I would have as much fun as I did and it was so fun to see all of my friend's costumes!
 
The highlight of November was definitely my roommate and friend Emma's birthday, which we decided to turn into a holiday because it lasted for so long between our celebration, her family sending gifts, and her dad coming to visit.  You can read more about it here!

December was a combination of fun and stress.  Right after everyone got back from Thanksgiving break, we started decorating and preparing for Christmas.  It was a bit difficult to balance decorating, exchanging presents, and all things Christmas with studying for upcoming finals.  Thankfully though, I made it through and have now been enjoying all the comforts of home for the past two weeks. 

Looking back, there is no doubt that 2012 has been a great year for me.  I have come so far in terms of truly being comfortable at SMC and being able to call it my home away from home.  I have my family and friends from home as well as all the wonderful people at SMC to thank for that.  My various roles at Saint Mike's (tour guide, blogger, TA, VITA leader, etc.) have pushed me to become more comfortable with myself and to grow as a leader and a person.  As you can probably guess, this post barely scratches the surface of everything that happened for me in 2012.  There were definitely some hard times both at home and school, but the important thing to remember is the lessons they taught me.  Being away from home has taught me to appreciate every second I get to spend with my friends and family there.  I am so thankful for the opportunity I have to attend SMC and participate in everything it has to offer.  The friendships I've developed there are some that will truly last a lifetime.

A special note to the Class of 2017 readers - within the next few months you'll be making your decision about where you want to attend college.  Whatever you decide, I wish you the best of luck - the upcoming year will definitely be one to remember!  And if you decide to make SMC your home away from home, I hope that you come to love it every bit as much as I do.

If you've read this whole post, all I have to say is wow and thank you so much!  I hope it was worth it!  Have a happy, healthy, and safe New Year everyone!!
Merrill

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Horses & Healing: First Year Seminar

Hello everyone!  Are you ready for Christmas in just 3 days?  I'm so excited!! 

If you're confused as to why I'm writing about a first year seminar even though I'm a sophomore, no worries!  As you may know, I took Horses & Healing last year as a first year, and this past semester I was lucky enough to be a Teaching Assistant (TA) for the class along with four other girls who I have absolutely loved working with (shout out to Alex, Lauren, Meaghan, and Devan)!

Horses & Healing was one of my favorite classes last year.  I first heard about it in the New Student Guide I received in the mail after I officially decided on Saint Mike's.  There was not one class I wanted to take more than Horses & Healing.  Unfortunately I didn't get into the class on registration day, so I emailed the professor, Bridget Kerr, to be put on a waiting list.  I still hadn't gotten in when I arrived on campus last fall, so I talked to my academic advisor and he suggested I go to the first class meeting and see if there might be any space.  I went with Alex, who was also on the waiting list and really wanted to take the class.  Luckily, when we got there, there was one open spot and Bridget, seeing how much we both wanted to be in the class, decided to make an exception and allow both Alex and I to take the class.  I could not be more grateful!

While the main focus of first year seminars is on solidifying writing skills, a huge part of the course is the service learning component.  Everyone who takes Horses & Healing gets the opportunity to go off campus once a week to a barn called Champ in South Hero.  Champ has many therapy horses and depends on volunteers to keep everything going smoothly.  They are always so grateful to have Saint Mike's students come help them out.  This year, both sections of the course went to the barn at the same time.  Once we got there, the general protocol would be to meet as a group to discuss our tasks for the time we were there (an hour and a half) and then split up into our "barn groups," each of which had a TA leader.  Usually one group would get the opportunity to help out with a lesson by being a sidewalker or helping the rider get on the horse.  My group ended up in the Champ barn a lot, where we mucked in and around the barn.  It might not sound fun to some, but we always had a good time with it!  Sometimes we would have some downtime where we would get to play with the horses or talk about things like registering for classes or just general topics about Saint Mike's.  Because each TA was assigned to a specific work group, I was able to get to know the students in my group.  I loved this aspect of going to the barn because, as you may know, I love giving advice and sharing my opinions and awesome experiences about Saint Mike's!

In addition to getting to know the students in my group, I definitely felt closer to my fellow TA's as the semester progressed.  We always had tons of fun on the bus rides to and from the barn, and we even had a few "TA Sloane Dinners."  Sloane is the cafeteria on SMC's North Campus (where I live this year), about a mile up the road from Main Campus.  Sloane is only open for dinner, but it's especially fun because it's set up like a restaurant - everyone sits down and indicates what they would like for an appetizer, entree, and dessert, and the food is great!  My fellow TA's and I always had a great time.

To top off a great semester at the farm, we decided to take some pictures during our last farm class.  We tried to be serious, but it was sort of difficult :)

Lauren, Alex, me, Meaghan, and Devan
I absolutely love my group of friends at SMC, but it never hurts to have more.  I'm so happy I got to know these girls better this semester!


I could not be happier to have had the opportunity to be a TA this semester.  Alex, Lauren and I had a meeting with Bridget (who teaches the class) before we left for break to talk about how smoothly everything went.  She even wants to have us over to her house for dinner sometime in the spring - I'm so excited!

So, if you decide to come to SMC next year (shout out to everyone who recently received acceptance letters!) and you're interested in horses or service learning, I definitely recommend taking this course - you will love it!

As always, thanks for reading my blog!  Have a great weekend!  And if you still have some last minute Christmas shopping to do, good luck!
Merrill

Friday, December 14, 2012

Finals Week

Hello everyone!  Hopefully by now my fellow SMC students are done with finals and safe at home.  I arrived home yesterday and couldn't be more excited to have an entire month off to spend with friends and family, free of schoolwork!  But of course I will be excited to return to SMC and start my new classes next month!

I feel like finals week can have a bad reputation, but I'm here to tell you that while it can be stressful at times, it is definitely manageable if you plan/spend your time wisely.  This semester, I had one final/day.  Fortunately, two of them weren't cumulative, which definitely helped with the amount I had to study!  But before my tests started, SMC had comedian John Hodgman (the PC guy from the Mac commericals) come and perform for students to relieve some of the pre-finals stress.  He was hilarious, as was his opener, Eugene Mirman.  I think he provided everyone there with some much needed laughter!

comedian mac pc guy apple commercial saint michael's college ross sports center eugene mirman opener

Sunday was when my intense studying began.  My first test was for Anthropology on Monday.  It was only on material we'd covered since our midterm, so that definitely lessened the material I had to study.  I was surprised and impressed with how much we were able to cover in just half a semester!

I spent Sunday studying, and then going to the last 7pm Mass of the semester.  I will definitely miss my faith community at SMC over the next month!  I'm especially excited to return because our annual Liturgical Ensemble trip is coming up at the end of January/beginning of February!

But back to finals - I had my anthro test on Monday afternoon and it went quite well (I got an A-!).  Once I was finished, I headed to the library to meet with my friend Theresa to study for our chem final.  My chem professor posted all our previous quizzes and exams for practice online, so I printed those out and did as much as I could, which allowed me to figure out exactly what I needed to study.  While I was in the computer lab, some of the library staff came in and gave everyone candy canes and little notes of encouragement as a little pick-me-up:

Just one of the many little things that makes SMC such a special place!
Once I was done with chemistry for the day, I moved on to Research Methods.  The in-class part of our final mainly focused on intensely analyzing a study on EMD - Eye Movement Densensitization.  In the midst of studying for that, the fire alarm went off in Linnehan because somebody burned some popcorn - oops!  I didn't midn though because right as everyone was filing out of the building, the shuttle pulled up, so many of the girls who live on my floor got on and took a ride with Dragon, the driver, to main campus and back.  Once we got back to North Campus, everything was fine and we were allowed back in the building.  It was definitely a fire alarm I'll never forget!

Tuesday morning was my Research Methods final, which I think went well!  After that test, I started working on the take-home portion of my final, which involved testing some data we were given and figuring out whether the results were significant or not.  Once I finished that, I moved on to more studying for chemistry, specifically reviewing the material that I didn't know from the quizzes and exams I took on Monday.

On Wednesday morning I took my chemistry final.  I was surprised at how much I knew and I'm excited to see what my final grade will be!  After that, it was time to study for my Social Psych exam.  Studying was going well, so I decided to take a break and go into Burlington with my friend Cait, who was bringing out friend Sharon to the Burlington Free Press for an internship interview.  While Sharon was in her interview, Cait and I went to Starbucks and Phoenix Books, right off of Church Street.  I had never been to Phoenix before - it was adorable!  After Sharon finished her interview, we went to My Little Cupcake to celebrate.  Then it was time to head back home so I could continue studying and pack to go home!

Yesterday morning I did some last minute studying while getting ready and eating breakfast, then took my exam.  Social Psych was my favorite class this semester, so I was glad to end on a high note!  Once my exam was over, I headed back to North Campus to do some last minute packing, then headed home to New Hampshire.  I've been home for about 24 hours and I'm loving every second!  I'm especially excited for my best friend Paige to come home this weekend - I haven't seen her all semester!

SMC kids - congratulations on being done with finals and enjoy your well-deserved break!
Sending good luck to those who sent in their Early Action I applications - so excited for you to hear from SMC very soon!

Also, thinking of those affected by the events at Sandy Hook Elementary this morning.  My thoughts and prayers are with you!

Hope everyone has a great weekend and thanks for reading my blog!
Merrill

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Being a Psych Major

Happy Saturday everyone!  With finals week almost upon us, I wanted to take a few minutes to remember why I'm on the way to getting my psychology degree at Saint Mike's and to remind myself (and everyone else) that all the hard work is totally worth it!

I arrived at Saint Mike's having already declared my psych major.  During my junior and senior years of high school, I developed a great relationship with my counselor, which is what helped me decide that I wanted to become a school counselor.  Naturally, I declared myself a psych major, and couldn't be happier!  I took General Psychology during the fall semester of my freshman year with Ari Kirshenbaum.  Although it was challenging (partly because of the class and partly because I was still getting used to college life in general), it was very rewarding and I learned a lot.  This semester, I took Research Methods I with Dr. Boynton, which is a requirement for all psych majors (see a complete list of requirements here).  In the spring I'll be taking Research Methods II.  Together, these classes fulfill the SMC Quantitative Reasoning LSR (Liberal Studies Requirement).  They also teach you the fundamentals about psychological statistics and evaluating/conducting your own study/experiment.  I took stats/AP stats in high school and loved it, but I'm a little nervous about RM II (as I like to abbreviate).  However I'm confident that my professor (Ari's wife, Professor Millwood) will be a great support!

In addition to Research Methods I, I also took Social Psychology this semester with new professor, Kacy Pula.  I absolutely loved this class - it was so interesting!  Since Kacy is new, I hadn't heard anything about her teaching style before registering for the class.  But I ended up absolutely loving the way the class was set up in terms of her powerpoint presentations, videos she had us watch, and various activites/opportunities to earn extra points to boost our grade.  We covered a number of different topics, including persuasion, aggression, and love, and we finished the semester with helping (when people help, why they help, etc.).  Everything we covered relates to how people interact with and perceive each other, which is something that can definitely be applied to everyday life.  Every week, my professor required us to complete a journal entry which defined a concept we learned in class and then described a real life example.  This assignment helped me to be on the lookout for applications of my classwork in the real world, which is very exciting for me!

As I mentioned, one psych class I'll be taking next semester is Research Methods II, to get my requirement out of the way.  Hopefully I won't forget what I've learned this semester over winter break!  Next semester I will also be taking Cognitive Psych, with the same professor I have for Research Methods I right now (Dr. B).  I've heard great things about his Cognitive class so I'm very excited!

Overall, I am extremely happy with the psychology program at Saint Mike's.  All of my professors have been wonderful - especially in terms of making themselves available during and outisde of their office hours if I ever need anything.  My Social Psych class in particular makes me more sure of my decision to be a psych major every day.  And if I ever have any doubts or want to try something new, I know that the Saint Mike's Liberal Studies curriculum has many different options for me to consider.  I don't have a minor right now, but each semester I take a variety of classes to see if I can find anything that interests me (in addition psychology) and that I might want to further pursue.  I just finished an Intro to Anthropology class which I found to be very interesting.  Next semester I will be taking an Intro to Sociology class, so maybe I'll decide to minor in one or both of those!

I could go on and on about being a psych major at Saint Mike's, but I'll stop here.  Feel free to ask me any questions about being a psych major or Saint Mike's in general and as usual, thanks so much for reading my blog!  Have a great day!  And for those of you preparing for finals in the coming weeks, good luck!

PS - here's me being excited to go study psychology before my finals start :)

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Getting in the Christmas Spirit

Hello everyone! Hope you are all having a great weekend so far.  In between working on homework, I have spent most of this weekend doing what I like to call Christmasy activities.  Yesterday afternoon, some of my friends and I went into downtown Burlington to get some Christmas shopping done.  It was a very successful trip!  Today, a few of my friends and fellow members of Founders Society (the group on campus in charge of tours, blogging, alumni relations, etc.) hosted the annual faculty/alumni Christmas party.  My friends Cara and Lauren worked at a craft table where we helped the children make candy cane reindeer!


I'm not usually good with crafts, but thankfully this one was pretty easy to make, and super adorable!

Cara, me, and Lauren!
The highlight of my day was probably watching Elf with a few of my friends.  We all crammed into Emma's and my room and simultaneously talked and made snowflakes.  I also made a paper chain for our door:

Emma decided to finally erase the "Happy Birthday Emma" and write something else instead:
:) Elf is definitely one of my favorite Christmas movies, so I'm so happy I was able to watch it tonight.  What a great way to kick off the month of December!

Have a great rest of weekend, and Happy December to everyone!  As always, thanks for reading my blog!
~Merrill

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Decorating!

Hello everyone!  Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and are now safely back at home, school, or wherever your destination was!  I had an absolutely wonderful time at home and now I am back on campus, ready for the final weeks of the semester.  We only have two more weeks of classes, one week of finals, then it will be Christmas break.  I think most students here at SMC are feeling a combination of stress and excitement for the coming weeks.  As a way to help ease our transition back to school, my roommate Emma and I decided to spend some time decorating our room.  We did this last year and decided we must do it again this year!  Emma spent some quality time over break making some of the best paper snowflakes I have ever seen!  I also got a mini wreath when I was home.  Since our windows are pretty high, we had to move my bed and dresser around in order to hang up the wreath.  It was quite an adventure but definitely worth it!
 
Emma and I were very excited to finally be able to
put up our Let it Snow jellies that we bought a few weeks ago!

 We were very happy with our windows, but that wasn't the end of our decorating.  While going through decorations last year over Christmas break I found a huge stocking and have been saving it for our room ever since!
As part of our decorations last year, Emma and I bought mini stockings to go on our door:

Even though Emma's birthday was a few weeks ago, we're apparently still celebrating :)
 
Last but not least, every set of Christmas decorations has to have some bells!
As small as they may seem, these decorations definitely help to make our room feel even more like a home away from home.  Emma and I are so excited for Christmas and I hope you are too!

As always, thanks for reading my blog and have a great week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being Thankful

Hi everyone!  I hope that by now you are all safely at home or wherever you are spending the holiday.  Seeing as tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought it would be appropriate to take some time to think about everything I'm grateful for this year.  There are so many things, but here are some of what I think are the most important:

1. My family - As with many things, being away at college makes me appreciate my family on a whole new level.  For me, being home all summer made it easy to take for granted the fact that I lived with my family and could therefore see them whenever I wanted.  It also made it easier to get annoyed with them about trivial things that didn't really matter.  However being back at school for a few months has helped me to regain my appreciation for my family and everything they give me.  Those of you who know me know that I have an extremely close relationship with my mom.  I always keep in contact with her when I'm at school, but there is something special about actually seeing her face, being able to give her a huge hug, have sporadic talks, or just watch our TV shows together.  I've been home for a little more than 24 hours and already I'm loving it and am so appreciative of the blessing that my mother (and my family) is in my life.


2. My house - I'm pretty sure anyone who's ever spent a significant amount of time away from home can attest to the fact that there are simple comforts of home that cannot be found anywhere else.  Since I never moved growing up, I am thankful for my house in general and all its little quirks.  Being home again reminds me of all the things I love about it - my goats, doing as many loads of laundry as I want, the sound of my mom working in the kitchen (and preparing wonderful home cooked food), emptying the dishwasher (my favorite household chore, weird, I know), having a room to myself, and countless other things which are all unique my house, town, and the wonderful state of New Hampshire!


2. My friends - I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have such wonderful friends, both at home and at SMC.  Not much more to say except that I love them all and I'm so happy that I've been able to stay in touch with friends from NH as well as meet some absolutely amazing people at Saint Mike's!


Hiking Mt. Philo this past weekend...check out Alex's post about this!


Surprising my best friend Paige at the airport last year :)
3. My health/safety- As my mom always says, "If you have your health, you have everything."  I am so happy that I am healthy and can always go to Health Services if I ever need them.  And of course when I'm home my mom can take care of me!  I'm also so grateful that I feel safe both at home and at SMC.  At Saint Mike's, I know that Public Safety is always there if I ever need them for anything, even if it's as small as locking myself out of my room (which I have yet to do, knock on wood!).

4. Opportunities - I am thankful every day for the opportunities I have been blessed with, specifically in the form of higher education.  I know not everyone has this privilege, and going to school at Saint Mike's is more than I could've asked for.  There isn't anywhere else I would rather be.  I absolutely love it there and can't wait to go back on Sunday!

Oldie but goodie :) Getting ready to send in my deposit!
5. Last but not least, I am forever grateful to everyone who reads my blog!  After all, I wouldn't have it if there was no one to read it!

So there you have it.  These are just some of the countless things I am grateful for this year.  I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and gets to spend some quality time with family and friends, and eat delicious food of course!

As always, thanks for reading my blog!
-Merrill

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Birthday Surprises

Happy Tuesday everyone!  Hope you're all having a great week.  As some of you may know, I had a hard time transitioning to life away from home when I first came to Saint Mike's, but my group of friends has helped me immensely and I now refer to them as my family away from home, or my SMC family.

As everyone knows, birthdays can be very special days.  Last week was my roommate Emma's birthday, so my SMC family decided to go all out to celebrate Emma and make her feel as special as we could.  The original plan was to go to dinner at Sloane, which is the cafeteria on North Campus, where we live.  Sloane is great because it's like a real restaurant - you have to make reservations, and once you get there you are served an appetizer, entree, and dessert!  On Emma's birthday morning (my friends and I have now decided that Emma's birthday is a holiday because the celebration never ends), my friend Cait secretly asked me at breakfast if I wanted to run to Shaw's with her after lunch to get a cake and some balloons to decorate Emma's and my room.  I of course said yes!  After we got out of class, we had the fastest lunch possible and then took the shuttle back up North to get Cait's car, then went to Shaw's.  We got Emma a cake and had one of the Shaw's employees decorate it (she was so nice!) as well as some balloons, apple cider (a drink we all love, especially in the fall), and flowers.  Once we got back, Cait and I raced to decorate my room with the balloons and some streamers.  We wanted to be finished before Emma got back from class so it was both stressful and exciting!

Fortunately, we were successful.  Emma was completely surprised by the decorations!  We had a great time at Sloane, and when we got back we had cake and spent some time together as a family.  Amanda, our wonderful RA, took some pictures for us:

Emma being all excited about our decorated room!
 
The fam :)


Fortunately, the fun didn't end there.  One of our friends, Vick, who transferred to Keene State, came to visit us this weekend, so on Sunday we all went out to breakfast at one of our favorite spots in Burlington, The Skinny Pancake.

Cait, Alex, Vick, Emma, me, Lindy
Today, Emma's dad was able to come up to see her and he was kind enough to take us all out for dinner at another restaurant in Burlington called Leunig's.  I had steak (my favorite food) which was absolutely delicious!!

Unfortunately Emma's birthday present from her SMC family still hasn't come in the mail yet, but that's okay because it gives us an excuse to keep celebrating until it does!  Emma has been so grateful for everything we've done for her, and it makes us feel so special that we got to spend her birthday with her and make it extra special.  Special events like these remind me how lucky I am to have found such a wonderful group of friends at SMC - I couldn't be luckier!

Best of luck to everyone with all their work this week - I know students at SMC are looking forward to our much needed Thanksgiving break next week!

As always, thanks for reading and have a lovely day!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Class Registration

Hello everyone! If you've been following other SMC blogs, I'm sure you've heard lots about class registration that went on this past week (shout out to my fellow blogger and friend Alex!).  It seems that everyone has their own personal story about registration, so I wanted to share mine with you! 

My process, like everyone else's, began with meeting with my academic advisor to dicuss what classes I might want to take next semester.  I was able to decide this by figuring out what LSRs (Liberal Studies Requirements) I still need to complete as well as what other classes I need to take for my psychology major.  After I got my classes and a list of alternatives together, all I could do was wait for registration day.  For me, this was on Tuesday.  Registration opens at 7am to make sure no one is in class when they're supposed to be registering, so everyone wakes up bright and early, and if they're lucky, they get to go back to sleep when the process is over!

Anyway, I have chem lab at 8:15 on Tuesday mornings, so I had to get up super early to register.  Around 6:50am I logged onto SMC's registration website called Knightvision to get my list of classes together.  When 7:00 came around, I made a huge mistake.  There was a button at the top of the screen that allows you to select the same option for all the classes in your list (register, withdraw, etc.) and I accidentally pressed register for all, which means that I was attempting to register for all of the classes I wanted, as well as my alternatives.  In other words, I was trying (accidentally of course) to make a schedule for myself that was completely impossible!  So after sitting at my computer for 12 agonizingly long minutes staring at the loading screen, I wasn't sure what to do.  I opened Knightvision up in a new tab and was only able to register for two classes (ideally you're supposed to register for four/semester), one of them being an alternative that I would rather take during a different semester.  I wasn't sure what to do, so my roommate Emma and my friend Cait tried to calm me down and tell me that everything would work out.  I had to continue getting ready for chem lab, but first I sat down and e-mailed all the professors who are teaching the classes I wanted to get into next semester and explained that I had trouble registering and asked to be put on a waiting list.

Thankfully I got out of chem lab earlier than expected, so I rushed to a computer in the library to check my e-mail.  I had responses from a few of the professors.  One of them, who I have this semester for Research Methods I, told me that a certain number of spots are set aside for majors/minors and that he would call the Registrar and have me added to his class.  Two other professors responded and said that putting me on a waiting list was the best they could do.  Although it was good to know I was on a waiting list, I was still a bit worried about my schedule.  Fortunately, next semester doesn't start until the middle of January, so I have some time to figure it out!  Also, you may have seen my tweet about my second chance to register.  Because of the way St. Mike's sets up the registration process, half of the sophomores are assigned to Group 1, and half are assigned to Group 2.  Since I was in Group 2, I registered on Tuesday, but registration was open to all sophomores on Wednesday.  Thankfully for me, a select number of additional spots opened up in some of the classes I wanted to take.  So on Wednesday morning, I was able to register for two of the classes which I hadn't been able to get into on Tuesday morning.  I was SO relieved!  As of now, I have four classes for next semester.  I want to be in three of them, and even though I'd rather take the fourth one later (just because I don't particularly want to have an 8am class), if I end up having to take it, it will count towards my psychology major.  Once my schedule for next semester is official, I will let you know!

The point of me telling you all this is just to let everyone know that although the registration process can be stressful and you may not get into all the classes you want, there is hope!  All the professors I e-mailed were extremely nice to me and I could've ask for anything more.  Plus, if I do take an 8am class next semester, it won't be the end of the world and who knows, maybe it will end up being my favorite class!

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and as always, thanks for reading my blog!  Look out for another blog soon about some of my friends and our birthday mischief :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Halloweekend 2012

Hello everyone!  Hopefully this post finds you safe and well amidst all the craziness brought on by Sandy!  It hasn't started raining yet here at SMC, just lots of wind!  Anyway, I wanted to let you know how my weekend here went!  Seeing as Halloween is this week, my weekend was filled with Halloween activities.  It started on Friday with VITA Pumpkin Carving, which my friend Lauren and I co-hosted.  We had a great turnout and successfully feasted on candy, munchkins, and apple cider while simultaneously carving some beautiful pumpkins!

 
 
On Friday night, my roommate Emma and I painted our nails in preparation for Saturday night while also watching one of our favorite shows, Once Upon a Time.  The episode had pirates in it, which I absolutely loved because, for those who don't know, I'm obsessed with Jack Sparrow and therefore most other pirates!
 
Anyway, on Saturday I worked on some homework and then went into Burlington to buy shoes for a wedding I'm going to next weekend.  It will be my first wedding ever, so I'm very excited!  Getting into town was definitely an adventure, but I can now say confidently that I know how to follow the bus schedule, which is quite an accomplishment for me!
 
After dinner on Saturday, it was time to get ready for the Halloween dance.  It was great to have some girl time listening to music and doing hair, makeup, and getting dressed up!  Once everyone was ready, two of my best friends Cait and Alex had a little pre-dance get together in their room (which is conveniently right next door to me!).  We listened to more music which definitely got me excited for the dance!
 
 
I'm not a huge dance person, but I had a great time and it was awesome to see how creative everyone was with their costumes!
 
Sunday was spent doing homework (as usual) and, of course, singing at church with my awesome Lit Choir friends!  Jerome, the director, had me song lead one of the songs, which I was so honored to do because it's one of my favorites!  It's called Salamu Maria, which is the Hail Mary in Swahili.  Such a beautiful way to end my weekend!
 
As always, thanks so much for reading my blog!  Praying that everyone stays safe and sound as Sandy passes!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My Weekend!

Hello everyone!  Hope you're all doing well.  Since I last posted, I've been extremely busy - last weekend I went home for fall break (SMC students had Monday & Tuesday off) and even though this week was shortened, I had tons to do!

This past weekend was the first time I've been home this semester.  It was so great to be able to see my family and spend some quality time with them.  While I was home, I (of course) did some of my favorite New Hampshire things, which include going to the mall, getting my haircut (shout out to my hairdresser Emily - she's awesome!), visiting the girls I babysit for, catching up on some TV (I'm obsessed, as you may know), walking in the woods with my mom, seeing some of my friends, and going to (arguably) the best store ever - Walmart! :) In all seriousness, I do enjoy shopping at other stores, but since my local Walmart is open 24 hours, going there always brings back fond memories of late night Walmart runs!

Anyway, enough about Walmart.  I drove myself back to SMC on Tuesday night, which was great because it gave me an opportunity to listen to the new Script CD I just got!  When I finally got back to school, my friends and I all updated each other on our weekends.  Even though we were only apart for a few days, it was great to see them again!  Seeing them always reminds me how much I love them and appreciate their friendship.

Since the week started on Wednesday, I began with what I call my "crazy day".  On Wednesdays I have three back-to-back classes, then I go to a horse barn in South Hero with my fellow Horses & Healing TA's, then I have a little time to do homework (this week it was spent studying for my anthropology exam), then I eat dinner and head to Liturgical Choir, which is probably my favorite thing I'm involved with on campus.  Jerome, the director always brightens my day with his humor and good attitude.

Although we had a lot of work to do this weekend, my friends and I decided to get some errands done on Friday night (see Alex's blog!), which included getting supplies for our Halloween costumes, some grocery shopping, and (of course) a Walmart run.  It was pouring rain the whole time we were out, so I'd like to give another shout out to Caitlin for driving and getting us safely home!  Once we got home, the rain had stopped, but it left what looked like a mini lake in front of our building.  My friends and I decided we had to take advantage of this opportunity, so we ran upstairs, put our stuff down, changed into our rainboots, and ran back outside to jump in the huge puddles.  I'm not sure who started it, but someone kicked someone else with water, and our adventure quickly turned into a puddle war.  After we were all completely soaked, we decided we should go back inside.  While our "war" only lasted for a few minutes, I absolutely loved every second of it.  I was (and am) so happy to have found such wonderful friends at Saint Mike's who I can have fun with while doing the simplest of things.


Me, Cait, Emma, Alex, and Cara before we raced to the showers!
Fortunately, the fun didn't stop there!  On Saturday, some of our friends decided to have a fall party which included apple picking, lots of baking, and just spending some time together (see Lauren's blog!).  It was so great to take a break from homework and just relax for a little while.

Today was eventful as well - a couple who sings at Mass on Sunday mornings had their annual Lit Choir brunch at their house.  After the 11am Mass, we all headed to their house to enjoy some absolutely delicious eggs, pancakes, and sausages.  It was so much fun and I can't wait to go next year!

I'm off to church and then back home to finish up my homework and get ready to start another great week at SMC!

Thanks for reading & hope everyone has a great week!
Merrill

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Friday Knight Dry

Happy Sunday everyone! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend.  It was a bit rainy here, but that didn't take away from the beautiful Vermont foliage!  My weekend started off with one of the most exciting events St. Mike's puts on during the fall semester - Friday Knight Dry.  It's a night filled with different activities throughout the Residence Halls and Alliot Student Center.  Some of these included Open Mic, Apples to Apples, dancing, Musical Chairs, a showing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and cupcake decorating.  Everyone who attends these events receives raffle tickets to be used later in the night.  The most exciting event for me was the performance of SMC's three a capella groups.  My roommate Emma recently became a member of the Acabellas (SMC's all female a capella group) and Friday was her first performance.  It went extremely well and I'm so proud of her!  After the Acabellas performed, I also got to watch the Sleepless Knights (male and female) and Mike Check (all male) - a campus favorite.


While the groups were performing, students were able to put their raffle tickets in baskets for various prizes which ranged from a digital camera to a Keurig.  My friend Alex actually won a gift certificate to the Outdoor Gear Exchange!  Unfortunately I didn't win anything, but I still had a great time participating in the various activites.  My favorite would have to be cupcake decorating:

My friends are skilled!
Also during the performances, some of my friends decided to be creative with their raffle tickets:

I was so impressed!
 Overall, Friday Knight Dry was just as fun as last year - can't wait for it to happen again next year!

After a wonderful night of sleep, I woke up on Saturday and gave a tour to students who attended SMC's Academic Preview Day.  I always love giving tours and getting to share my love of SMC with everyone.  Hopefully my tourists liked being on the tour as much as I loved giving it!

My Sunday was spent running some errands (which included getting some birthday presents for my friend Vick) and doing homework.  However, all in all it was another great weekend at SMC and I am now feeling refreshed and ready to start another week of classes.

Hope everyone has a great week and thanks for reading!!
~Merrill

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pushing My Limits

Hello!  Hope everyone had a great weekend.  I was able to get a lot of work done and still find time for a bit of relaxation - a collegiate miracle!  Anyway, I wanted to tell you about what I did this past Wednesday with my fellow blogger and friend Alex.  As you may know, we are both a part of Edmundite Campus Ministry, which we call VITA (it means "way of life" in Latin).  One of the many wonderful programs that VITA offers is called Dessert & the Divine (D&D for short), and Alex and I were lucky enough to be asked to lead this program this year.  D&D runs on the last Wednesday of every month, so this past Wednesday was the first one of the year.  I'll admit Alex and I were slightly nervous to be running the whole show by ourselves, but with a bit of planning and praying, I think we did very well!
 
The concept of D&D is basically to have a discussion that relates to God/our faith in some way, while also incorporating some delicious dessert.  This week, Alex and I chose to make sugar cookies. We also provided icing and sprinkles so that everyone could decorate their cookies.  We decided to focus our topic of discussion on how our relationship with God has strengthened since being back at school this year.  Everyone who attended was able to contribute to the conversation as well as enjoy a cookie or two, which was wonderful!  Alex and I were and are very pleased with how everything went and we can't wait to do it again next month!
 
Photo courtesy of the lovely Alex Byrne :)
 As I mentioned, I was a bit nervous about leading Dessert & the Divine this year.  I have had leadership roles in the past, but I have never been a huge fan of talking in front of people.  However, especially in this context, I relied on both God and the wonderful people around me who are part of VITA to help me get rid of my nervousness and have a successful night.  Alex and I decided to have a quote of the month at every D&D meeting, and this month's was: "Give your troubles to God, He's up all night anyway!" (Unknown).  I love this quote because it's fun and gets across the idea that God is always there for us.  Speaking of quotes, my roommate Emma (check out my post about her here) got us some magnets to go on our refrigerator, and one of them has a quote that says: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" (Neale Donald Walsch).  When I first read this, I wasn't sure I knew what it meant.  After Wednesday's D&D was over, the meaning really hit me.  I was really proud of Alex and myself for taking on a new challenge which turned out to be extremely rewarding.

Another situation that made me slightly nervous this week happened on Thursday.  I had a meeting right around the time I normally get dinner, so I knew I'd have to eat when I got out.  This may sound silly, but I get nervous about sitting by myself in Alliot (I'm sure at least a few of you can empathize!), but I had to eat, so I prepared myself for this possibility.  Once I got to Alliot, I immediately saw some people who I was comfortable sitting with and had a great time eating with them.  It was definitely something little, but I was really proud of myself for being able to go talk to people I don't necessarily see every day.  One of the great things about Saint Mike's is that just about everyone you meet is so friendly and welcoming - I really had nothing to be afraid of!

Hope everyone's Sunday is going well and for those of you at SMC, thank you for your smiling and friendly faces!  And as usual, thanks for reading my blog!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Roommate Bonding

Happy Saturday everyone!! Hope you all had a great week.  I gave my first tour of the year last Saturday and it was fantastic!  So happy to be able to share my love of Saint Mike's with prospective students.

As for the rest of the week, it was pretty crazy.  I went to Zumba for the first time this year - it was so great to get back into it after having missed it all summer!  But more importantly, I feel that amidst all the craziness of classes and activites, my roommate Emma and I were really able to bond this week.  Although we've been good friends (and roommates) since last year, I think that sharing the different things going on in our lives this week helped us become closer in a new and special way.  I have really realized this week that whenever I need to vent about something or just talk about my day, Emma is there for me.  This week I have especially enjoyed how we seem to become chattier once we turn off the lights and say we're going to bed. :)

Another great thing about being roommates with Emma is that we are very compatible in terms of our living styles, but we also do more than just live together.  For example, last night we had a "roommate date" which consisted of doing errands and going to see the movie The Trouble With the Curve.  We both loved the movie and it was so great to just hang out and talk since our lives are usually so busy during the week that it's hard to stop and take a breath sometimes.

To top it off, Emma and I have our musical differences, but there are a good number of artists that we both enjoy.  This morning we listened to some Jason Mraz while getting ready for breakfast, so I wanted to show you one of my favorites:

 
In case you couldn't tell, I love having Emma as my roommate and I'm so happy the wonderful Saint Mike's Res Life staff paired us together!  I hope all our new first-years are having good rooommate experiences, and I hope that next year's students will have a great experience as well! 
Here's a picture of Emma and me from a few weeks ago:
 
 
Hope everyone has a great weekend, and as always, thanks for reading my blog!



Friday, September 14, 2012

People at St. Mike's

Happy Friday everyone! Just thought I'd give you an update on some of my particularly exciting interactions with the people of St. Mike's.  Before I arrived on campus, I'd heard from countless people how kind the people are, and that statement is proven more right every day that I am here.  I so appreciate getting smiles from friendly faces around campus throughout my day, but here are some people who have stood out to me in the past week:

The Custodians - It is not uncommon for me to see one of the SMC custodians in the bathroom when I go to brush my teeth every morning.  I usually say good morning to them and leave it at that.  But last week, good morning turned into a lovely conversation which included my name, my major, where I was from, how long she'd worked at Saint Mike's, etc.  The custodian I talked to seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me.  Even though it was something little, it was such a great way to start my day!

Shuttle Drivers - Since I'm living on North Campus this year, I take the shuttle to main campus quite frequently.  The morning /early afternoon driver, Jim, is exceptionally nice and reminds me of my old bus driver from home.  He makes an effort to learn everyone's name and always says good morning and wishes me a great day.  The late afternoon/night driver is very nice as well.  The other day I was the only one on the shuttle so he asked me where I was from and then we had a nice conversation about New Hampshire and different places to shop there (no sales tax!).  It was so unexpected, which made it that much better.  Nowhere in the job description of a shuttle driver does it say anything about forming relationships with the riders, so the SMC drivers definitely go above and beyond, and for that I am thankful!

Professors - The other day before class, I was filling up my water bottle and noticed that the door to my econ professor's office was open.  I hadn't seen him since last semester so I popped my head in to say hi.  He immediately remembered who I was and many of the little jokes we made when I would go see him (countless times) during his office hours last semester.  That little interaction totally made my day!
On a semi-related note, earlier this week I turned my car on to find that my brake light was on.  Being from New Hampshire, I don't know any mechanics up in Vermont, so I e-mailed my econ professor to ask who he used, and he responded very quickly with a name/number of who he uses.  I haven't gotten my car fixed yet, but I have faith that when I do everything will be alright.  Knowing that I could e-mail my professor and ask such an abnormal question gave me a lot of comfort to know that even if I'm far from home, I'm not alone.

Work Order - Unfortunately, the shade in Emma's and my room fell down when I was trying to put it up the other day.  When you need any kind of maintenance in your room, you are supposed to place a work order on the Saint Mike's website.  I filled out the form on Tuesday night and when I got home on Wednesday the shade was fixed and there was a little note from the man who fixed it (his name was Bob) wishing us a nice day.  I was so impressed with how easy it was to fill out the form and how quickly the shade was fixed!

If anyone reading this happens to need it, here's the work order link.

Knight Chat - If you follow me on Twitter, you may know that last week I participated in my first Knight Chat, which is basically a scheduled time for prospective students to be able to ask questions and chat with current students about anything related to Saint Mike's.  I was a little nervous at first because I didn't know what to expect.  In addition, my laptop was acting a little weird so I didn't have my own to use.  Thankfully, one of the SMC staff members at the chat brought me a laptop and assured me that I could always use it at future Knight Chats if mine wasn't working properly.  By the end of the chat, I was feeling a lot more comfortable and having a blast answering various questions.  Hopefully I'll be able to participate in another Knight Chat soon!  If you are thinking about doing one of these chats, definitely try it - it's very informal and a great opportunity to have your questions answered.

In the meantime, if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me (mpoor@mail.smcvt.edu), find me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter.  Have a great weekend!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Back at Saint Mike's!

Hello! Hope everybody's move-in and first week of classes went well.  I am absolutely thrilled to be back at Saint Mike's and wanted to share with you how my time here has been going so far!

I arrived here a few days early because I am a part of the peer ministry group on campus called VITA, which means "way of life" in Latin.  As I think I've mentioned before, my friend (and fellow blogger) Alex and I will be leading a VITA program called Dessert and the Divine this year.  We are both very excited about it, not only because it's a great faith sharing opportunity, but also beacuse we will get to display our wonderful baking skills :)
Coming back early, Alex and I got to spend some time with our fellow VITA Team leaders, who are all super awesome! 


We got to take some time to reflect on the upcoming year and to volunteer at a school called Rock Point in Burlington, which was very rewarding. 

Alex and me cleaning and organizing the game shelf :)

Anna Lester, the leader of VITA, even had us over to her house for a BBQ -- so much fun!  The weekend ended with the first 7pm Mass of the semester.  It was great to see all my Lit Choir friends again!

S'mores!
This week was the first week of classes.  It seems that most everyone had a lot of work to do, but there were plenty of smiling faces around campus.  This semester, I am taking Gen Chem I, Research Methods, Social Psych, and Intro to Anthropology.  I really like all of my classes so far and am looking forward to a great semester.

As the weekend winds down, I am ready to start a new week.  I spent most of Friday finalizing decorations in my room and hanging pictures on my walls (finally!).  It was so great to be able to relax after a week of hard work.  On Saturday, my friends (my SMC family as I like to refer to them) went out to dinner at a restaurant called the Three Tomatoes on Church Street in Burlington to celebrate my friend Alex's birthday.  The food was absolutely delicious!  It was so great to be together once again with such great friends.


Hope everyone had a fantastic orientation/move-in/first week and is ready for another great week at SMC!  Let me know if I can answer any questions and thanks so much for reading my blog!
~Merrill