Monday, September 23, 2013

Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary

Hello everyone! Hopefully this post finds you settled back into the school routine.  These first few weeks of the semester have been pretty busy for me, but I'm doing my best to enjoy every minute.  This past weekend I was able to get away from all the craziness and go on a retreat with the Liturgical Choir.

As some of you may know, I have been a singing with the Lit Choir here at SMC since my freshman year.  It is my absolute favorite activity on campus, not just because it got me to sing (something I never did much of before college), but because the group has truly become like a family to me.  Saint Mike's is known for its community atmosphere, and I consider Lit Choir to be its own community within SMC.

Last spring, Jerome (the Lit Choir director) began to think about having a retreat for the choir and he asked me if I would help him plan it and give a "talk" during the weekend about prayer.  (As you may remember from my last post, I returned to SMC a few days early to have a "team retreat" for the core group of students working on the retreat for the whole group).  After lots of hard work throughout the summer, everything finally came together.  The retreat was held at Saint Anne's Shrine in Isle La Motte, Vermont.  It was an absolutely beautiful location for the retreat.  Our group (along with the men's basketball team) was actually the first to stay at the Shrine.  All of the staff were extremely friendly and provided us with delicious food!  Here are some of the beautiful views from right outside the cafe:


As I mentioned, Jerome asked me to give the prayer talk on the retreat.  I honestly feel so blessed to have had this opportunity, especially because I never would've expected anything like this to come about from simply deciding to sing in the choir.  Being a part of the choir has shown me that something that seems so small can really have a big impact.  I look forward to Mass each Sunday because I know that I will see many familiar faces who all share my love of prayer and worship through music.  The choir is a place that makes me feel comfortable and confident expressing myself, through faith and through the silly jokes that I bring to the group each week (which usually involve pirates).

One of the things I loved the most about the retreat was that it brought old and new members together.  Some of the people in the group have been singing with Jerome for many years, and it's awesome to hear about their past SMC experiences as well as to know that even after I graduate, I will still be welcomed back into this SMC community.  The fact that a 2013 graduate returned tonight to play violin with us goes to show that once you are a part of the SMC (and Lit Choir, in this case) community, you never really leave it.  It comforts me to know that the place I've come to call my second home will always be there to welcome me back.

I hope that the Class fo 2017 is starting to feel like SMC is a second home and that those in the midst of the college search will come see what SMC is all about :)

Until next time, I'll leave you with some more pictures from the retreat.  Thanks for taking the time to hear what I have to say and have a fantastic week!
Marianne (one of Jerome's friends who helped us plan the retreat),
myself, and Jerome
My lovely roommate Emma, enjoying the sunset on the beach!
Group photo!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

SMC...No Place I'd Rather Be

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a fantastic summer.  Mine was jam packed with camp counseling, babysitting, math tutoring, vacationing, hanging out with friends, and of course getting ready to come back to Saint Mike's.  I absolutely loved being at home in New Hampshire, but I couldn't be happier to be back at school.

I was able to come back to Vermont a few days early because I'm participating in a retreat for the Liturgical Choir, so I've been here almost two weeks.  This past week was the first week of classes.  I have a lot of work to do, but I really like what I'm taking and I'm starting to get back into the groove of balancing studying with relaxation and time with friends who I haven't seen all summer.  Here are the classes I'm taking:

Religion and Science, which meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:45 - 10:50.  It is an honors course which also fulfills my upper level Study of Christian Tradition and Thought Liberal Studies Requirement (LSR).  I have always been interested in learning about how religion and science interact (or don't), and this class seems like it will be the perfect fit for me.  I have an Irish professor, which is perfect because I'll be studying abroad in Ireland next semester.  More on that later!

Adolescent Development, which meets every MWF from 11 - 12:05.  If everything goes as planned, I want to be a high school counselor.  The three class periods I've had so far are already confirming my plan to work with adolescents, which I'm really happy about!  Professor Susan Kuntz teaches the class, and while I've never taken a class with her before, she seems like a great professor who I look forward to working with.

Sociological Theories, which meets every Tuesday and Thursday from 9:45 - 11:20.  Last semester I decided to add a sociology minor to my psychology major.  This is the second sociology class I've taken so far.  We have been reading philosophy which is challenging for me, but the discussions we have in class have helped me to better grasp the material.

Abnormal Psychology, which meets every T/TH from 11:30 - 1:05.  I'm really enjoying this class so far.  We have been working on distinguishing between disease, illness, and sickness and applying these terms to mental disorders we are familiar with through everyday life.  From what I can tell, this class is really going to help me in thinking critically about how I as well as the general public view mental disorders and people with them, which I think is very important.

I love my schedule because I'm interested in what I'm taking, but also because I don't have class earlier than 9:45 every day.  Also, having my classes back to back works really well for me.  That's one of the many things I love about college - you are able to create a schedule that works for you.

As I've written about before, I believe that attending a residential college means so much more than just taking classes and getting a degree.  There is something unique and special about living with your friends around you and being able to participate in so many different activities.  I mentioned above that I will be participating in a retreat for the Liturgical Choir, which is why I came to VT early this year.  I couldn't have asked for a better start to the year than having the opportunity to come up early and spend time with other people (students as well as adults) who will be on the retreat.  I don't know how else to describe it other than to say I could feel myself growing (intellectually, that is) the moment I arrived back on campus.  I didn't realize how content I had become at home and how much being at Saint Mike's allows me to develop as a person.  I have met so many amazing people during my time here and look forward to meeting more throughout the next two years.  I can't believe I'm a junior already - it feels like just yesterday that I was moving into Lyons, my freshmen dorm.

Okay, enough with the reminiscing.  I would like to end by extending a huge warm welcome to the Class of 2017.  I have loved meeting some of you and can't wait to meet more of you as the year goes on.  Cherish your time here at SMC because it goes by way too quickly!  And for those of you who might be just starting to look at colleges, best of luck in your search!  I'm glad Saint Mike's has caught your really is a spectacular place.

I'm off to do a little more homework before getting ready for another week of class.  Thanks for reading my blog and have a great week everyone!