Friday, April 27, 2012

Happy Things

Hey everyone! Hope you all had a great week.  Mine went by so quickly - I can't believe it's already Friday!  This week was the last full week of classes, so everyone is getting ready for finals, which start next Friday.  So crazy to think that my first year of college is almost over!

Anyway, I wanted to share some of my favorite things from this past week.  On Monday, Emma, Vick and I caught up on the latest episode of Once Upon a Time, which is a show we all love.  Tuesday was definitely a library day for me.  At one point while working I looked out the window (I always make sure to get a spot by a window so I can look outisde occasionally and see the beautiful campus) and took this picture of the sunset:
It totally made my day and reminded me to appreciate how beautiful Vermont is!

On Wednesday I had Lit Choir, which is always a great time.  Also on Wednesday, my friends and I spent most of the day decorating our shirts for P-Day, which is this upcoming weekend.  P-Day stands for Preparation Day, which basically means it's a day for everyone to take a break from studying and relax before one of the craziest weeks of the semester.  My friends and I all love The Hunger Games, we decided to make that the theme for our shirts.  I will post a picture once they're all done soon!  But just so you get the idea, we decided to dye our shirts camo colors and write District 12 on the back, because obviously District 12 is the best, and it's 2012!  We're pretty happy with how our shirts are turning out.

One more thing about Wednesday!  My friend Vick unfortunately lost her phone, so she was a bit worried about that.  However, on Wednesday night we figured out where it was, so on Thursday we went to pick it up.  Someone had found her phone on the library lawn and picked it up and kept it safe.  Eventually we got everything straightened out and Vick got her phone back!  She was so relieved and happy that someone found her phone and immediately notified her they had it.  Just shows how nice the people at Saint Mike's are!

Thursday night means Zumba night for my roommate Emma and me!  We had a great time, and afterwards Emma decided she wanted to stop by Alliot to fill up her water bottle.  Once we got there, we both looked at each other questioningly because we had seen the waffle makers out and were thinking about having one.  We ended up splitting one and it was absolutely delicious!

As you can see, we put cinnamon sugar as well as powdered sugar on our waffles to make them taste even better.  In addition, I got some honey and dipped my waffle in it to see how it would taste because I used to always have honey in my waffles.  It was just as good as I remembered it and I was so happy!  I would've taken a picture of Emma and I to capture our happiness, but we were all sweaty and gross from working hard at Zumba, so we decided my readers could do with just a picture of our yummy food :)  Anyway, I would have to say last night was the best roomie date ever!

Today I don't actually have class because philosophy, which is my only class on Fridays, was cancelled since my professor is away at a conference.  I started the morning by having a relaxing breakfast in Alliot and then came back to my room and caught up on the latest episode of Private Practice with Emma.  Now I'm off to get some work done before my crazy weekend, which I'll be sure to blog about ASAP!

Hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and thanks for reading, as always!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

This Weekend!

Hey everyone! I had an absolutely fantastic weekend which isn't quite over yet, so I thought I'd tell you all about it!  Since SMC students didn't have class on Friday (due to the research day), my weekend started on Thursday night.  A few of my friends (Alex, Emma, and Vick) had a surprise birthday party for our friend Caitlin.  It took a lot of planning and a bit of stress, but we managed to pull it off!  We all worked together to get supplies, make cupcakes, and set up Eddie's lounge upstairs in Alliot.  Earlier in the afternoon, Vick, Emma, and I made cupcakes in the Center for Women and Gender which is a cute little house right on campus, fully equipped with a kitchen and various rooms for hanging out or studying.
So delicious!
Victoria washing dishes - future housewife?!
Once the cupcakes were done, we secretly brought them back to Vick's room and then went to dinner with Cait.  Since Emma and I go to Zumba every Thursday, we had to pretend that's what we were doing so Cait wouldn't suspect anything.  So we actually ate in our Zumba clothes and then pretended to leave.  Cait had plans to go to Ben & Jerry's with her friend Danny, so Emma and I waited until she was off campus, and then we proceeded to change into regular clothes and go decorate Eddie's.

Alex, Vick, and Emma blowing up balloons!

As we were finishing up our decorations, we spied Cait and Danny through the window of Eddie's, so we all prepared for Cait and Danny to walk through the door.  So nervewracking!

We learned later that when Cait saw the door, she actually said to Danny "We shouldn't go in there, someone's having a birthday party!"  But Danny encouraged her to go in anyway, and we all surprised her.  She was so excited and so were we!

The rest of the evening was spent opening presents, eating delicious cupcakes, and just hanging out.  It was so much fun!  One of the most exciting presents was the remote-control balloon shark that Alex, Emma, Vick, and I got Cait.  She decided to name it Karen, and you can see her flying it here!

So crazy and cool!
One of my favorite pictures from the night:
Danny, Alex, Shawn, Emma, me, and Cait
Overall, it was probably the greatest start to a weekend I could've asked for, but that was only the beginning!  Like I mentioned before, classes were suspended on Friday for a research day.  This means that a lot of different research was displayed, as well as my favorite part, some dance performances.  Alex is currently taking a dance class, so Emma, Vick, and I all went to watch her perform.  I'm sure she'll blog about it soon, so look for that!
Friday also marked the beginning of Family Weekend.  My parents didn't end up coming because I've seen them for the last two weekends in a row (since I went home for Easter and then went to Boston/home last weekend).  However, Alex and Cait's parents came!  I had met Alex's parents in August, so it was nice to see them again.  I had never met Cait's parents, so it was great to meet them because I've heard so much about them!

Saturday morning was really awesome, because I got to give my FIRST TOUR EVER!  Saturday was an Accepted Students Day, so all tour guides (new and old) were there to help out.  Cait and I gave a tour together, which was so fun.  The families on our tour were awesome and made me so excited to continue giving tours in the future!
After our tour, I did some homework and then went to Emma's chorale concert.  The theme was 100 Years of Broadway, which was awesome! Check out a video here:

Afterwards, Mike Check, one of the a capella groups on campus, performed as well.  They were awesome!

Following the Mike Check concert was the Dean's List Reception, specially for students who made the Dean's List last semester.  It was a very nice way to recognize students for all their hard work!

Alex, me, Cait, and Emma
After the reception, more fun awaited!  Alex's parents were nice enough to take Vick, Emma, and me out to dinner.  We went to The Three Tomatoes in Burlington.  It was absolutely delicious and it was so much fun to spend some time getting to know Alex's parents.

Since I had such an awesome time this weekend, today has been dedicated to homework.  I have a lot to do with finals coming up, but I'm happy with my progress - the library is so great for getting lots of work done!

It's almost time for dinner, and then Alex, Emma, and I will be going to Lit Choir at 5:30 to practice and then perform at Mass at 7.  I'm so excited!

Hope everyone had a fantastic weekend and thanks for reading my blog!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Living at Saint Mike's

Hey everyone! So yesterday I walked into the bathroom on my floor and was greeted by some lovely sticky notes on the mirror and door.  Here are some pictures:

This is just one indicator of the pure awesomeness of the girls who live on my floor.  My room and my floor have really become my home away from home this year, and I could not have asked for a better group of girls to share it with.  Although we only had floor meetings during the first semester, they were seriously some of the best times I've had at SMC.  Each meeting focused on a different topic and created great conversation that allowed us to become closer and learn things about each other that we hadn't known before.  I ended up sharing some things about myself that I never imagined I would've talked about in front of almost 30 girls.  The best part was that I didn't feel forced to talk, and I knew that everyone respected me for what I said.
As mentioned, we only had floor meetings during the first semester, but that doesn't stop us from socializing with each other!  One of my favorite parts of living on a floor (rather than in a secluded room with just my roommate) is the random interactions my floormates have with one another.  Last semester especially, most of us had our doors open all the time, which made it really easy to say hi and make connections with the people we lived with.  Now that many of us have established a group of friends, we spend a lot of our time with them.  However, I always love when conversations sporadically start when a few girls happen to be in the hallway at the same time.

While we're on the topic of where I live at school, I thought I'd show you a few pictures of my room!

Here's our door, decorated with a spring-colored paper chain! The sign says "Welcome to the Purple Palace" because Emma and I both love purple!  The white board says "Welcome home Merrill! We missed you!" since I was gone this past weekend. Such a great thing to come back to!

Here's my desk - where I do all the work I don't do in the library!

My mom got me a mattress pad at the beginning of the year, so I have to say this is the most comfortable bed in the whole world!  As you can, I really like to decorate my walls!

Here's my closet - lots of room as you can see! I have bed risers under my bed, so I take advantage of the storage space as well.

So there you have it! I absolutely love living in my room and with the girls on my floor!  Let me know if you have any questions about living at SMC.  Also, at the end of every tour there is a great video showing the different housing options we have, so be sure to check it out if you tour!  Thanks for reading, and have a great day! :)

PS Be sure to check out my friend Lauren's blog about the sticky notes!

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Week in the Life

Hello everyone! I'm all settled back in at school after my crazy weekend! If you read my last post, you'll remember that I went to Boston this weekend to visit my friend Val and go to a Hot Chelle Rae concert with her. I had SUCH ga reat time! But summer's not here yet, even if the beautiful weather today made it seem that way.  This morning I got up and went to class, just like a normal Monday. 
Before choosing a college, I know I wanted to get a glimpse into what a typical day would be like. So I decided I would share with my wonderful readers what a normal week looks like in the life of Merrill:

  • Wake up around 8, get ready for breakfast at 9:15
  • Intro to Philosophy class from 9:50-10:50
       Even though I had some philosophy in high school, this class has been particularly challenging for me.  The beginning of the semester started out smoothly, but unfortunately I did much worse on our first exam than I would've hoped.  However, I had talked to my professor about the situation and we brainstormed ideas for me to both do better on the next exam and earn some extra credit to bring my grade up.  You may remember from my last post that I did well on my most recent exam, so my extra effort paid off!
  • Concepts of Chemistry from 11-12:50 (This is longer than a normal class period, but it's only held twice a week!)
  • Lunch around 1:15
  • Middle School Mentors (MSM) from 3:15~5:45
       MSM is a program sponsored by MOVE, which stands for Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts, the volunteer organization on campus.  At the beginning of the year, I applied to be a mentor and was accepted!  Every Monday afternoon, I mentor a middle school girl, which basically means we spend time together doing whatever she wants - from hanging out with her friends who also have mentors to doing things like painting our nails, watching tv, or coloring (who doesn't like to color?!).  I really enjoy my time with my mentee and feel good about giving back to the local community.
  • Dinner (with my mentee) then more work until bedtime!

  • Wake up around 8, get ready for breakfast at 9:15 (so nice to be able to wake up at the same time every day!)
  • Macroeconomics from 9:50-11:20 (with one of my favorite professors, Reza)
       One of the reasons I wanted to take econ was because Reza was a guest at all my floor meetings last semester and he seemed like he would be a really helpful professor.  Although econ has probably been my most challenging course this semester, I'm so happy I took it because Reza has taught me to think logically and ask for help when I need it.  I have really taken advantage of Reza's office hours this semester, which is something that all professors are required to have so that students can meet with their professors if needed.
  • Aftermaths from 11:30-1
       Aftermaths is basically an English class, something I decided to take in order to fulfill one of the Liberal Studies Requirements (or LSRs) that Saint Mike's, being a liberal arts school, has their students complete.  The class gets its name from the fact that we study the aftermaths of 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and the Great Recession.  I wasn't sure I wanted to take this class, but it has actually ended up being my favorite class this semester.  I have really enjoyed just about all of the books we've read and the discussions we have in class are always interesting.  To be honest, I didn't talk much during class discussions in my English class senior year, but for whatever reason my Aftermaths class has really pushed me to be comfortable in expressing my ideas, which I'm very happy about!
  • Lunch around 1
  • Library, the place where I get the most work done, for the rest of the afternoon!
  • Dinner, then more work until bed
       I never really spent much time in the library when I was in high school, but since being at college, it's my favorite place to get lots of work done.  I always go to my favorite spot on the third floor to work.  There's just something magical about that desk that helps me get so much done!

  • Same class schedule as Monday!
  • After class, I usually go to the library until dinner at 6
  • Liturgical Choir at 6:30 - one of my favorite times of the week!
       I always have a blast at Lit Choir.  We practice every Wednesday for an hour in preparation for Sunday Mass.  Everyone there, including the choir director, Jerome, is so nice.  I never thought I could have such a good time at church, and find myself looking forward to Wednesdays every week!  Also, one of the most exciting parts of Lit Choir is our annual trip.  Every year Lit Choir/Band goes on a tour of sorts, usually to New York City/New Jersey or the Boston area.  This year, we went to two high schools and two churches in Portland, Maine.  My family has a house not too far from Portland, so my mom was able to stay at our house and then attend one of the Masses we performed at, which was awesome!
       Overall, the trip was really tiring (we didn't get too much sleep because of all the fun we had) but so amazing and I can't wait to go again next year!!
Here's the whole group at one of the high schools we sang at.  Like the "Nun Better" in the background? :)
Some of my wonderful Lit Choir friends - Amelia, Emma, and Alex (and me on the end!)
  • Same class schedule as Tuesday!
  • After dinner, I go to Zumba from 6:30-7:45
       I'm not a huge fan of exercise, but Zumba is SO MUCH FUN!  The instructor always has a great music for us to dance to.  Here's one of my favorite Zumba songs:

FRIDAY (One of my favorite days of the week!)
  • Wake up around 8, breakfast at 9:15
  • Intro to Philosophy from 9:50-10:50
  • FREEDOM! (Since philosophy is my only class on Fridays, I have the rest of the day to do whatever I wish!)
  • Homework or other odd jobs in my room until lunch around 1:15, then back to homework for the rest of the day until dinner
  • After dinner, my friends and I all do something together.  Depending on the weekend, this could be something as exciting as going into Burlington or just relaxing and watching movies in our room.  If we're not sure what we want to do, we alwyas have the option to go to one of the dorm socials that are held every weekend by different RA's.  The socials have activities ranging from different kinds of food to tye-dyeing to Easter Egg Hunts in the dorm buildings.
  • Hopefully sleep in!
  • Brunch whenever we feel like it (usually around 11 or 12)
  • Homework until dinner, then something fun just like Friday night!
  • Hopefully sleep in again, unless we decide we want to go out to breakfast.  My friends and I normally like to treat ourselves to breakfast in Burlington about once a month.  It's really nice to get off campus and have some delicious food out on the town!
  • Homework until dinner (depending on how much I have)
  • Dinner at 5
  • Lit Choir practice at 5:30, then Mass from 7-8
  • More homework or some relaxation before bed in order to get ready to do it all again!
So there you have it.  You should know that even though it may seem like I do homework every free second I have, I do find time to relax and have fun.  I'm currently reading Catching Fire, the second book in the Hunger Games series, so I definitely do my best to make some time for that.  Also, I have a few favorite TV shows that I never miss, which include: Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, Once Upon a Time, and Make It or Break It.  My TV shows serve as great motivation for me to get my work done so that I can relax while I watch them.  It's a great way to de-stress after a long day of hard work!

Hope reading about my weekly schedule was helpful, and don't hesitate to ask me any questions by commenting at the bottom of this post!  Have a great week everyone!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Crazy Week!

Hey everyone! This has been one of the craziest weeks of my semester so I thought I'd tell you all about it.  Since Sunday was Easter, SMC students got to have a long weekend!  I love going home to visit my family, so that's what I ended up doing.  On Monday afternoon I drove back to Vermont and went right to the airport to pick up my roommate Emma who went to Washington D.C. to spend Easter with her sister and family.  I had never been to the airport before, but I followed the signs once I got off the highway and found it very easily.
Right as Emma and I pulled into campus, I realized something horrible. I forgot my keys (to my room and my mailbox) AND my Knightcard at home in New Hampshire.  After a moment of freaking out, I called my mom to see if she could ship my keys overnight.  She said she would, and I was so thankful!  I was also extremely thankful that I was with Emma because if I wasn't, I wouldn't have any way of getting in my building or my room!
After Emma and I unpacked, we went with our friend Alex to pick up our friend Caitlin at the airport.  When we all got back, we went to Alliot for dinner, and Emma very nicely used one of her guest swipes for me.  Each freshman's meal plan has unlimited Alliot swipes for themselves and five guest swipes per semester for any visitors they may have (or someone like me who forgot their Knightcard!).

On Tuesday morning before breakfast, Emma came with me to the Student Life office to see what we could do about my lack of keys and Knightcard.  They were very nice and gave me a key to borrow until mine came in the mail.  They also gave me card that gave me access to the main doors of the dorm buildings.  I was so excited; I felt like I had my freedom back!

Wednesday was an important day for me because I registered for my classes for next semester.  I got up at 6:45 to be ready for the 7:00 registration.  I was SO nervous!  However after pressing the submit button and waiting for two minutes, my results came back and I found out I got into all the classes I wanted!  I don't remember ever feeling that much relief in my life.  The classes I registered for are: General Chemistry I (I'm considering minoring in Chemistry so I wanted to take another chemistry class next semester)
Social Psychology (which fulfills a requirement for my major)
Research Methods (kind of like statistics for psych majors, also fulfills a requirement)
Intro to Anthropology (fulfills a general Liberal Studies Requirement, or LSR)
I am very happy with my schedule and excited to start my new classes in the fall!

When I got out of class on Wednesday, I checked my e-mail right away and saw that I had a package in the mailroom.  I rushed over and explained my situation.  Normally you need to show your Knightcard when you have a package, but seeing as I didn't have mine, I was allowed to show my license instead.  As expected, the package had my keys and Knightcard and I could not have been happier!  I felt like I had my freedom back.  Also, this meant I would no longer have to use people's guest swipes in order to get into Alliot.
Also on Wednesday, I found out I got a 94 on my most recent philosophy exam, which I was SO happy about!  To top it all off, I had Liturigcal Choir practice, which is always a blast!  All in all, Wednesday was just a fantastic day!

Compared to the rest of my week, today wasn't too eventful, but that's ok with me!  After class I spent some time in the library doing homework, and then I went to Zumba, which was awesome as usual.  Afterwards, I relaxed and watched my favorite show, Grey's Anatomy and packed because this weekend I'm going to Boston to visit my friend Val and go to a Hot Chelle Rae concert!  Here's their latest music video for their song called Honestly:

As you know from my fun facts, concerts are one of my favorite things to do, so I'm beyond excited.  I'll be sure to blog about my weekend soon!

Hope everyone had a great Easter and a great week!  Thanks so much for reading my blog and let me know if you have any questions by commenting at the bottom of this post or asking me on Twitter!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

MFF's continued

Hello again!  I wanted to continue talking about Merrill Fun Facts because in my last post I left out a very important one - I love cows.  Naturally, I love the fact that there are cows in the Ben & Jerry's logo.  Speaking of Ben & Jerry's, you may have read my friend Alex's blog about Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's this past Tuesday.  During the day, the Ben & Jerry's truck actually visited Saint Mike's and gave out free frozen yogurt.  Alex and I love ice cream so much that we decided to take a trip to Burlington to the Ben & Jerry's shop that night.  Here's a picture of their awesome cow bench :)

There were a lot of people, but everyone was extremely nice and the line moved surprisingly quickly.  We were able to get our delicious ice cream in no time.  More importantly, the time we spent waiting in line gave us an opportunity to just hang out and talk, which is something we hadn't done in a while.

Happy as can be with our free ice cream!

For those of you who don't know, Alex is the first friend I made at SMC.  We met on POW, which stands for Pre-Orientation Weekend.  (You can learn more about the different summer programs SMC offers here).  If you read my last post, you will remember that I was concerned about maintaining my relationships with friends at home once I got to college.  Another one of my worries was making new friends that I could love just as much as the old ones.  Since coming to SMC, I have found great friends that I'm sure I will know for the rest of my life.  Alex is definitely one of these friends and I encourage anyone who decides to come to SMC to participate in one of their great summer programs to get a head start on the process of meeting new people while having tons of fun!

Thanks so much for reading and let me know if you have any questions.  And don't forget to follow me on Twitter!

MFF's :)

Hey everyone! So most of you are probably confused about the title of this post.  MFF's means Merrill Fun Facts, a phrase my best friend Paige came up with.  Whenever we're talking and we think of something random about ourselves, we preface it by saying "Mff" or "Pff" (Paige fun fact).  So as you might be able to guess, I want to share some MFF's with you guys, so here goes!
1. I have two brothers:

Brendan, who is 16 (in this picture we were both dressed up for spirit week at our high school)

and Connell, who will be 12 in June.  In this picture we are at Marshall Point Lighthouse, a place we visit on our annual summer vacation to Maine.

2. I have two pet goats named Jack (left) and Sonia (right) who I love to talk about:
3. I play the piano
4. I have always wanted a golden retriever
5. I am very organized
..and now for some fun ones!
6. I am obsessed with Bath & Body Works lotion
7. I absolutely love Harry Potter
8. Concerts are probably my favorite activity (my favorite band is the Jonas Brothers, embarrassing, I know)

In addition to telling you a bit more about myself, I wanted to bring up the phrase MFF because it reminds me to talk about something very important to me - maintaining relationships while away at college.  Before leaving for SMC back in August, I was worried about what would happen to my relationships with my friends from high school since none of our schools are extremely close to one other.  In the back of my mind I knew that we would remain friends, but I had a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that I wouldn't get to see my best friend every day.  Now that I'm almost done with my freshman year of college (so crazy!) I can honestly say that if anything, my friendships have gotten stronger.  Being away from my friends has made me appreciate just how much I love them and how extremely grateful each time I get to see them.  Here's a picture of Paige and me when I picked her up from the airport for winter break:

If any of you are worried about what will happen to your relationships when you go to school, don't be.  With a little effort, no matter how long you've been apart, when you reunite it will be like you never left each other.

Thanks for reading and feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

All About Me

Hey everyone!  My name is Merrill and I am currently a first-year student at Saint Michael's College in Colchester, Vermont.  Before coming to college, I lived in a tiny town called Mont Vernon in the good old state of New Hampshire.  I absolutely loved living in New Hampshire and, to be honest, I didn't really want to leave.  However, after almost a full year away from home, I can honestly say my decision to come to St. Mike's was one of the best decisions of my life.  After the normal adjusting period that every new college student goes through, I have found that I fit right in with the people here and I LOVE all of the great friends I've made. (Special shoutout to my roommate Emma, my friend Alex (you may have seen my name mentioned on her blog a few times), and my awesome friends Caitlin and Vick! <3)

So why Saint Mike's?  I was first introduced by my uncle who is actually an SMC alum.  He told me that a huge reason he came to SMC was because his best friend was here, and he really didn't know too much about the school.  Even still, he absolutely loved his time here.  So I figured that if my uncle could love the school without initially knowing too much about it, I could love it too.

My most memorable visit to Saint Mike's was last March.  My mom and I traveled up from New Hampshire on a Sunday night, hoping to catch a Mass before heading to our hotel.  Unfortunately, the snowy weather changed our plans a bit.  Once we finally made it to our hotel, we settled in and hoped that there wouldn't be too much snow when we woke up in the morning. (I personally LOVE snow, but I didn't want there to be so much that I couldn't get to the Academic Preview Day I planned on attending!)  Much to our surprise, there was at least twenty inches of snow when we woke up.  With the help of some very nice hotel employees, we were able to shovel enough snow for us to get our car out of its parking space.  When we were on our way, I called SMC to tell them we would be a little late, and the extremely nice woman at the front desk told me that the day had actually been cancelled (because of all the snow) but we were still welcome to come if we could make it.  My mom and I decided that since we had already traveled all this way, we should at least drive through the beautiful campus.  Once we got there, we ended up staying for a good portion of the day because the students and faculty quickly put together a mock-preview day for everyone that was able to attend.  Here's a picture of my mom and me in the car when we finally got to campus:

And here's a picture of the snowy parking lot!

The day was extremely informative and I was so glad my mom and I were able to make it.  As an added bonus, everyone at SMC was so grateful to those who were able to attend that they decided to give us $100 off our tuition deposit in recognition of the time and money we spent in order to make it to campus.

Obviously, I  decided to come to Saint Mike's and I am so happy with the decision I made!  I will definitely blog again soon about my personal transition to college life.  Feel free to ask me any questions and follow me on Twitter!

PS - quick shoutout to my blog inspiration, Alex, for encouraging me to start one of my own!