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!

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