Monday, October 27, 2014

Update on the SMC Bucket List

Though I look forward to every weekend at Saint Mike's, I had been looking forward to this one in particular for a while.  The girls I nanny for at home in New Hampshire during the summer and their mom had been planning a trip to come visit me at school, and this weekend it finally happened.  In addition to having fun just spending time with them, I got to do some things that are unique to Vermont.  On Friday, I met them at the Ben & Jerry's Factory in Waterbury.

 We took a tour of the factory and of course received free samples at the end - Sweet Cream and Cookies was the flavor of the day.  It tasted just like cookies & cream (one of my favorite flavors) and was absolutely delicious.  Since it was Ben & Jerry's, I would expect nothing less!

After the tour, we went to the scoop shop and got a few more samples.  I tried one of the new Saturday Night Live flavors called Gilly's Catastrophic Crunch.  It was absolutely delicious!  Once we finished our ice cream, we had some fun exploring, including playing on the playground and walking through the Flavor Graveyard.

It looks even better with the fall decorations and mountains in the background!

Genevieve, me, and Grace, all smiles :)
Next, we headed to Burlington to have dinner at American Flatbread.  I was especially excited for this part of the weekend because I make frozen American Flatbread pizza for the girls quite often when I'm taking care of them, and because it has been on my Saint Mike's Bucket List for a while now.  Sure enough, the pizza was absolutely delicious, and so were their salads!  It was really cool to be able to see the oven where the pizza is made - it contributed to the overall fun, cozy, Vermont atmosphere.  We even made room for some dessert.  I have to say though, the ice cream didn't compare to what we had at Ben & Jerry's earlier!

The next morning, we went to Sneakers for breakfast in the Winooski circle - just down the street from Saint Mike's.  I had heard of it before but never gone.  Some of my friends from my Practicum class strongly encouraged me to check it out.  Unfortunately we had to wait a while before we were seated, but the food was totally worth the wait!

Once we were full of delicious breakfast, I took the girls back to Saint Mike's to show them my townhouse and some of my favorite parts of campus.  It was really cool to be able to show them what I've been talking to them about for four years now.  We spent a lot of time hanging out in the word garden - I think that might have been the girls' favorite part of campus!

Me (holding "Believe"), Grace (holding "Glad"), Genevieve (holding "Thankful")
One of my creations - inspired by the many hugs I received
this weekend as well as in general - SMC is a very huggy place!

 Once we were done exploring campus, it was time for the girls to head back home.  I was sad to see them leave, but I'll be able to see them in a few weeks when I go home for Thanksgiving break.

Though I know I could've gotten more homework done this weekend, I'm really happy that I gave myself a break (I had to hand in a partial draft of my senior thesis last week!) to have fun AND check off a few things on my Saint Mike's Bucket List.  To be honest, finding a balance between work and relaxation is always a challenge, but hopefully it'll all be worth it in the end!

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email me or contact me via Twitter.  Have a great week everyone!


Saturday, October 18, 2014

"So, What Are Your Post-Grad Plans?"

Throughout my time as a college student, but especially now that I'm a senior, I constantly get asked what I want to do after I graduate.  It has simply become a habit to respond by saying that I want to be a school counselor.  This was my intent when I came to college - I chose Psychology as my major because I wanted to be "the next Brian" (Brian was my high school counselor).  Now that I'm getting closer to the end though, I'm not so sure.  This is partially terrifying, but it is also liberating to know that I'm not tied down to any one thing yet.

So, where do I go from here?  This semester I have been thinking a lot about what I might want to do next year, not in terms of specific job positions, but about what I might want out of my career.  If I know anything about myself, it is that I love connecting with people.  Even though I might be shy in some situations, I have come to realize that I do not feel fulfilled at the end of every day unless I've had meaningful interactions with the people around me.  A few weeks ago in my Practicum class, we took the Myers-Briggs Personality Test.  I was surprised to see that my results indicated that I was a slight extrovert - something I never would've classified myself as before.  But after having one of the wonderful career counselors, Chris Clary, come in to my class and help us further understand our results, considering myself a slight extrovert made sense to me.

Here are the different categories that the test rates you on. (Photo source here)
A few weeks ago, I got an email from Career Development about a workshop called "Right for You, Good for the World: Aligning Your Skills With Your Passion."  This could not have come at a better time for me and I was very excited to attend.  Career counselor Ingrid Peterson and Joan Wagner, Director of Community Engaged Learning, presented information they had learned from a conference they attended this summer.  The workshop centered around thinking about my "head" (the abilities I have/that others see me as having), my "heart" (what I care most about - people, issues, what I want out of life, etc.) and combining these two things to form my "hustle" (a job or position that I would get a lot out of).  While I didn't come away from the workshop with a solidified idea about what job might be best for me in the future, the diagram I filled out/notes I took definitely gave me some material to continue my thinking.

Last week, I had an appointment with my career counselor Aislinn Doyle.  Her office is in Klein, and it was the first time I'd been back since being in Ireland.
Here's Klein - home to Personal & Career counseling,
the Office of Study Abroad, Peer Tutoring, and Human Resources.
I was honestly a bit nervous to meet with Aislinn because I hadn't prepared anything concrete for her to look at or for us to talk about, but I walked away from the meeting feeling very successful.  She listened as I explained to her my thoughts about next year.  She agreed with my decision to take at least a year off before attending graduate school, especially because I'm not absolutely positive about what I want to do.  Aislinn also gave me a few websites to explore and suggested I start looking at job descriptions that might interest me.  Best of all, she reassured me that I was in a good space for the time being and encouraged me to come back at any time with questions I might have for her.  I was so happy I finally had an appointment with her (6 weeks into the semester...whoops!).

I am home this weekend because we had Friday off and I had to get my wisdom teeth out (this relates, I promise!).  Yesterday I was in the grocery store with my mom and we ran into my elementary school art teacher as well as a parent of one of my elementary school classmates who of course asked about my future.  Although I don't have a specific plan for after graduation, it was great to be able to admit this, yet also explain that it's not for lack of effort or thinking on my part.  I am so happy to be able to take advantage of all the resources Saint Mike's has to offer (including a GRE prep class, a graduate school fair, the Learn, Work, and Serve Expo coming up on Monday, the Career Symposium in November, and much more).  While I'm not excited to leave the SMC, I know I'll always be part of the community no matter how far I am from campus.  I'm excited to continue living with my awesome housemates, as well as after graduation, no matter where I end up.

Thanks so much for reading my blog, and have a great rest of the weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Home Away From Home

Hello everyone and happy Open House day! It seems like just a few days ago I was packing up and getting ready to head back to Saint Mike's for my final year (craziness!).  Although time is going by faster than I'd like, I'm keeping busy with my classes while also making time for some fun adventures with my friends. I will be giving my first tour after being back from studying abroad in Ireland in a little while, so I thought I'd write a post to get me even more excited to share all the things I love about SMC.

First of all, I absolutely LOVE my housemates.  I'm living a townhouse this year, which means I have my own room for the first time (in college, that is).  Downstairs we have a kitchen and living area complete with a big table as well as a couch and some of our favorite comfy chairs.  Upstairs we have a nice bathroom and each of our rooms.  This year I'm living with some of my favorite people on this campus: one of my best friends Caitlin, and my friends and fellow bloggers Alex (check out her post with some awesome pictures of our house) and Lauren (who has also blogged about our house).  I could not be more thankful to be living with these girls - they never fail to put a smile on my face, no matter how stressful my day has been.  Hanging out with my housemates is always a highlight of my day.
Cait, Alex, me, and Lauren
My housemates are more than just the people I live with.  They are there to support me in all that I do - on campus and off.  This semester I'm taking four classes, which have all proven to be a lot of work so far.  My weeks start off on Mondays at 9:45, when I have my Psychology Senior Seminar, called History & Issues.  I am really enjoying this class so far because I've never taken the time to look at how the psychology I know today has developed.  I have decided to write my senior thesis for this class on eating disorders and what causes them.  While I've written many papers throughout my time at college, I've never gone to the library specifically to have a reference librarian help me find articles relevant to my topic until this past week.  I was amazed at how quick, easy, and helpful it was and definitely plan on using that resource again.

The other psychology class I'm taking is called Practicum. While we meet for two and a half hours a week (on Monday afternoons), the majority of the work for this class takes place off-campus.  Each student in the class has an internship somewhere in the Greater Burlington area.  My placement is at the Winooski High School, about five minutes away from SMC.  I'm working in an alternative classroom helping children who, for a variety of reasons, work better when they are in a more individualized classroom environment.  Though I'm still getting used to the flow of things, I'm really enjoying this internship.  I love kids and want to eventually work with them in some capacity (related to psychology, of course)!

I'm also taking two classes for my Sociology minor this semester.  The first is Intro to Human Geography.  After having some practice reading maps during my traveling adventures abroad, I am much more interested in where different places are.  We have had two map quizzes so far (on Africa and Asia), and I'm amazed at how much more aware I now feel of places I've never been (though I know I still have lots to learn).  It is also really interesting to study the relationships between people and places, and how each of these affects the other.

My final class is called Race and Ethnic Relations.  I have to admit that I was pretty intimidated during the first week of this class - it seemed like it was going to require a lot of time and effort.  While I think that's true, it has also been extremely rewarding already.  Dr. Bhave has gotten me to look critically at how race has affected my life, especially in ways I wouldn't have considered on my own.  I am very much looking forward to the rest of the semester!

Here are some highlights of my semester so far:

One of the many beautiful trees around campus - I absolutely love red leaves!
Me, Cait, and our beautiful friend Sharon (who came to visit for Alumni Weekend)
Lake Champlain with the mountains in the distance; taken on
the way to St. Anne's Shrine in Isle la Motte
Sunset from the car (still pretty even through
the traffic lights!) on the way to El Gato to celebrate
Alex's completion of the LSATs!
As always, thanks for taking the time to read my blog. More to come soon!

PS Special shout out to all the prospective students and families that will be on campus today.  We're excited to welcome you!

PPS Since I listen to a lot of music (especially in the mornings - see Lauren's post about that!), I've decided to start a new feature at the end of every post: What I'm listening to now.  One of my favorite bands, The Script, released a new album this week.  I've had their song "Howl at the Moon" stuck in my head all week!