Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Fun With Founders

Hello friends.  As I write this, I am trying to process the fact that today was my last day of classes.  Ever.  (Except for that little thing called graduate school, which will hopefully come eventually).  Anyway, I can't quite wrap my head around it.  As much as I am excited to be done with work (I unfortunately have a lot to do in the next few days), I seem to keep forgetting that once my work is done, so is my time at Saint Mike's.  
If you told me on move-in day of my first year here that I would be sad, nervous, terrified even, to leave when it was time for me to graduate, I probably wouldn't have believed you.  I remember the day well, and even though I knew I would eventually come to love SMC, adjusting to life here definitely took some time for me (being the homebody that I was).  I know I've said this before, but I'll say it again: Saint Mike's is truly my second home.  I can't imagine my life without SMC and the people I've met here.

As I wrote about in my last post, I've done a lot during my time here.  However, something I don't talk about as often is how much I've loved being a tour guide and blogger for the Founders Society.  This semester, I've given a tour every Monday morning.  I'll admit that sometimes I wish I had the extra time to get some work done, but after each tour I give, I am reminded just how much I love sharing my SMC experiences with prospective students.  Yesterday, I had a new tour guide shadow me and it was such fun to see her enthusiasm right from the start.  It made me realize how much I'll miss giving tours next year.

As for blogging, I can't talk about it without mentioning my lovely friend Alex.  As an incoming student, I read Alex's blog regularly to get a glimpse into what life was really like at Saint Mike's.  She seemed so cool, and I was so excited when I finally got to meet her. :) She was my go-to person whenever I had any questions about something SMC related.  I was even able to ask her questions about what psych classes to take, since she was a psych major too.  In addition to all this, she was the person who inspired me to begin blogging, and I'm so happy I did.  Not only have I been able to connect with prospective students, I now have a way to look back on the highlights of my SMC career.  So thank you Alex! :)

Alex and me at a Parachute/Plain White T's concert at Higher Ground
This past Monday was my last Founders Society meeting (Monday was my last tour as well.  Still can't believe it!).  I had a wonderful time celebrating the year's accomplishments and eating dinner from Moe's.  While I am so proud of all the work everyone in Founders has done this year, I am especially proud of the girls I live with (yeah I know I'm biased).  As a house (TH214), we were given the Founders Society MVP award.  We allowed prospective students to tour our home many times this year (special shout out to Caitlin for doing a wonderful job welcoming everyone).  We are all tour guides, and three of us are bloggers.  It is a widely known fact that everyone in my house loves cheese, so we were given this wonderful cheese basket:

We are still working out the details of who gets what.  Don't worry, we'll figure it out. :)

Alex, me, Lauren, Caitlin
To end (is it really the end already?), I want to thank everyone who has supported me along this journey.  I will genuinely miss being a student ambassador, but I am confident that the students who will be returning to Founders next year will do a fantastic job :)

Peace, love, SMC.

Monday, April 20, 2015

What If...?

Hello everyone!  With another weekend gone and graduation just around the corner, I've been thinking a lot about leaving Saint Mike's (as nervewracking as it is to say that).  I've also been reflecting on why I chose to come to SMC, and how different the past four years would've been if I hadn't come here.  It's impossible to imagine all the things that could've been different.  I'm sure I would've done just fine had I picked somewhere else.  But I think the fact that I was so easily able to come up with a list of experiences that Saint Mike's and the surrounding Vermont community has provided me is a testament to how important my decision was, and how it will continue to impact me even after I leave campus next month.

I can't rank my experiences in order of importance, because I think they each serve a different purpose depending on the time and place.  But here are a few of the thoughts that come to mind when I ask myself "What if I didn't chose to go to Saint Mikes?":

1. I wouldn't have met some of who I consider to be the greatest people on earth.  Before coming to SMC, I was beyond nervous about making friends, especially because I was very comfortable with my friends at home.  But living here for four years has allowed me to meet some people who I know I will be friends with for life.  Last weekend, I attended my best friend Cait's induction ceremony into Beta Beta Beta (the National Biology Honor Society) and the professor who spoke talked about how he has been involved with many institutions, but he talks to his SMC friends the most.  I know I talk about them a lot, but I seriously love the friends I've made here.  Each of them has impacted me in a unique way and I couldn't be more grateful.
My roommates and me on the first day of class last semester
Amelia, me, and Cait
2. I probably wouldn't have discovered how much I love to sing.  My first attempt at getting more involved with Mass at SMC was actually through piano.  My style didn't really mesh with what would've been expected of me, so Jerome, the director, asked me to sing a few notes instead.  I was very nervous...before that, I had never really had experience with singing beyond elementary school chorus or in the car.  I distinctly remember calling my mom on the way home from the chapel that day to tell her that I had somehow managed to become part of the Liturgical Choir.  Being in choir has probably been the highlight of my entire Saint Mike's experience and one of the things I have no doubt I will miss the most once I graduate.
2.5 - I wouldn't know nearly as many "kid jokes," as I like to call them.  It has become a tradition that I tell a kid joke at the beginning of every choir practice (Ex: What size does a clairvoyant wear? A medium).  Needless to say, I now know quite a few of these (which is very helpful when I babysit)!

The Fab 5, as we like to call ourselves. I love these crazy choir kiddos.
3. I might not have gone to Ireland.  When I decided to go abroad, my friends, family, and everyone in the Office of Study Abroad (shout out to you Peggy) as well as the people who work with API (the program I went through), were really supportive and helped to make my experience as amazing as it was.  I can't wait to get back to Galway someday!

4. I wouldn't have added a Sociology minor or become a Chemistry tutor.  To be honest, I didn't even know what sociology was when I first got to Saint Mike's.  But thanks to the liberal studies curriculum, as I talked about in one of my recent posts, and the recommendation of one of my friends, I decided to take a Sociology course and loved it enough to minor in it.  Also thanks to the liberal studies curriculum, I got to take General Chemistry I (which doesn't have anything really to do with my major or minor) and become a tutor the following semester.  It was a great way for me to pursue my interest in chemistry without having to commit to majoring in it.

5. I wouldn't have gotten to see Macklemore, Christina Perri, or Parachute in concert.  Macklemore came for our spring concert my sophomore year, and it was awesome.  I talk about it on each of my tours.  Christina Perri and Parachute, some of my favorite acts, have both been to Higher Ground (a small venue a few minutes from campus in South Burlington) in the past few years.  Also, when I was a sophomore, my friends and I decided to take a trip to Montreal for the weekend, one of the reasons being to see Christina Perri and Jason Mraz.  I had a great time on that trip; it showed my friends and I that we were becoming mature and responsible enough to take care of ourselves for a weekend (always knowing that we had people back at Saint Mike's if we needed anything while we were away).

6. I wouldn't have had my year-long internship as part of my Practicum class.  For this entire academic year, I have been interning in an alternative therapeutic classroom at Winooski High School.  While it has been stressful at times, overall it has been a wonderful learning experience and I will certainly miss my students once I say goodbye to them next week.

I know this is getting long, so here are some a few more quick thoughts I had:

7. I probably wouldn't have gone skiing as much (thank you SMC for the $65 Smuggs pass!).

8. I wouldn't have tried painting (thank you to my creative friends for inspiring me).

9. I wouldn't be as happy and wouldn't understand the true meaning of the word "community."  I could go on forever here, but I'll just say that I really consider Saint Mike's to be a second home.  I love the people and my life here.  Even though I get stressed (more often than I'd like to admit), I wouldn't trade my experience here for anything.

10. I wouldn't have an appreciation for the saying "Home is where the heart is."  Even though I won't ever be an undergrad at Saint Mike's again, I know that I can always return and be welcomed with open arms, and that is the best feeling in the world.
A greeting you may or may not hear quite often from the residents of TH214. :)
 Thanks for bearing with me through that list!  I hope this helps any prospective students trying to make their decision about where to spend the next four years of your lives.  Whatever you choose, I wish you the best!


PS Quick birthday shout out to my best friend Caitlin.  You rock dude.
PPS Can't say I've been listening to any song or artist in particular lately - mostly a lot of country because the warm weather recently is getting me in the mood for summer!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Choosing to be Happy

Happy belated Easter!  Even though I've had a four day weekend (thank you Saint Mike's!), if I'm being honest, I could definitely use a bit more time off to catch up on all my work.  As the semester starts to wind down, I have major assignments to complete and/or exams to study for in all my classes.  I'm not going to lie - this is a bit overwhelming, especially when I consider the fact that in just over a month I'll be graduating.

If you've read just about any of my posts, you can probably tell that I really love Saint Mike's.  I've taken some fantastic classes during my time here and had some priceless experiences (with my friends, as part of the Liturgical Choir, studying in Ireland, etc.).  So thinking about leaving this place I have come to call my home is a bit scary.  I will no longer be living with my best friends, nor will they be a two minute walk from my house.  I won't get to celebrate Mass in the Chapel every Sunday night with my favorite crazy people.  Soon I'll have to say goodbye to the students I've been working with at my internship every week since the end of August.

Despite all of this, I have a choice to make.  I can choose to dwell on the fact that many of the things I love about Saint Mike's will soon be merely memories of "the best four years" of my life, as they say, or I can choose to be grateful for the friends I've made, the experiences I've had, the lessons I've learned, and how much I've grown.  All of these aspects contribute to why I truly believe my time at Saint Mike's is priceless (though I know it does have a price...thanks mom and dad for helping me out with that :)).  Maybe more importantly, I can choose to just smile and be happy, especially despite all my stress and work, I have friends who can make me laugh.

Whether or not I'm excited about graduation depends on the day, and sometimes even the moment.  I'm not excited to leave behind some of the experiences I've gotten used to having on a daily basis, but I am excited to put the skills and lessons I've learned both academically and about myself to good use.  I'm not exactly sure where I will end up, but I do know that I want to be a counselor.  Being a psychology major has helped me to solidify that decision, and now I need to decide what age group I want to work with (I'm currently debating between kids and married couples).

I've tried to include songs that I've been listening to at the end of most of my posts, so I want to end by sharing a song with you that I've known for a few years, but that I feel really applies to me right now.  It's called "93 Million Miles" by Jason Mraz.  The point of the song is basically to express that no matter where you are or where you go, you can always go back home.  For me, "home" no longer refers to just my house in New Hampshire.  It means Saint Mike's, it means Galway (Ireland), it means the Maine coast, and it's a feeling I get when I hang out with my best friends and my mom.  I have no doubt that in a few years, I will have places to add to this list of where and what I consider home.

Okay, time to remind myself that I still have a few more weeks and quite a lot of work to do before graduation, so I'm off to try and be productive!

Thanks for reading, as always! Feel free to email me with any questions or find me on Twitter. Looking forward to the Accepted Students Day this coming Saturday!

PS In addition to the Jason Mraz song, I've been spending a lot of time listening to Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I just finished it last night - it was crazy but so good!!