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 (, 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!

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!