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!

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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!!

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!

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!

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!