Thursday, November 17, 2011

North Campus

Some people may not know this, but Saint Michael's owns several buildings on Fort Ethan Allen, about a mile up Rt. 15 from main campus. There are three residence halls and four apartment buildings, as well as the art rooms, a dining hall, the faculty daycare, and some maintenance buildings. There is a shuttle that runs 7:45 to midnight (2am on the weekends) every half hour between north and main. North campus is something that you can't really explain unless you've lived here, and some people on main give it a bad rap.   A common excuse for not wanting to live on  north is "I don't want my life to run around a bus." What people don't realize is that the bus is one of the best parts of living here.We have three full time drivers, Jim, Gary, and Zvovko who are all so nice. Jim makes it a point to learn every student's name so that when you get off and on the bus in the morning you hear "Good morning Amy! Have a good day Amy!" I've never felt like the shuttle was inconvenient, and when the weather was warmer I would often ride my bike to main. The school also just helped fund a new road which runs away from Rt. 15 and comes out near the back of the townhouses, which will make the ride even shorter.

I live in the smallest building on north, Linnehan (above). We have about 50 students and I know all of them, many from last year. Part of the building was opened up for honors housing, and we have a great mix of people. The girls on my floor are especially amazing- we do things like organize a "cup drop" in the hallway where we leave compliments to each other, or put paper up in the bathrooms to leave silly notes.  We also organized a sponsorship through Women for Women International, so every month we raise $30 from the floor to send to our sister in Iraq.

Some of the ladies of Linnehan in our pink onezies purchased for $2 from the Salvation Army<3

Linnehan is as far as you can physically live from main, and we love it that way. The rooms on north are larger and have massive windows. All the halls on north have kitchens, and next week we are hosting a Linnehan "family dinner" before Thanksgiving break. They are the most considerate girls and everyone respects our living space. The janitors have complimented us on being one of the best groups ever in this building. It really does feel like a big family sometimes- a community within the St. Mike's community. The people on main don't know what they are missing.

Some of the residents of Linnehan at our recent Halloween Party (I'm the one leaning on the column in the white dress in the center, to the right of Peter Pan).

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What it's like

I try to blog about things that are relevant to Saint Michael's and also give a personal sense of what it's really like to be a student here. So this is what it's like, for me, right now.

I'm currently in the middle of a family emergency at home that has dominated all my thoughts. I live three hours from home and it really has been the ideal distance. I always said, "I want to be far enough that I don't have to come home, but I can go home if I need to." Right now, I need to be home, at least for a few days. I received some bad news last Thursday (and more on Sunday) and have felt torn all week. It's almost like being two people; I have my amazing Saint Michael's support system, and then my Milford family. I don't really want to get into details here, but I can speak to the outreach available on campus. 

  I love my friends so much. I live next door to my two best friends (and have a best-guy friend downstairs) and I know that they are always there. I've had friends offer to drive and fly me home, and I know I can go to them any time of day or night. I was so lucky this year also to get a roommate for the first time. There's something about having someone in the room while you sleep that helps you hold it together. She has been so understanding and I really appreciate her company.

  I'm very close with my professors, especially my advisors for my English and Religion majors. They are always there with doors open, ready to listen. When I nearly crumbled my poetry workshop on Tuesday, my adorable Irish professor was completely understanding. My work-study boss in the library has also been incredible. She's more than just my supervisor, she's one of my biggest sources of support. This weekend she is even meeting my mom half-way to get me back to school for classes next week. I don't know how to thank her.
  In addition to these people, I also spoke to the assistant dean this week, who made sure that all my professors knew why I would be missing class. She was a discreet and supportive resource.

Residence Life
  Last weekend two members of the Residence Life staff stopped by my room to introduce themselves and make sure I was doing all right. I also spoke with my resident advisor who has been so wonderful and involved with the girls on my floor. We do nice things for each other, like an anonymous compliment 'Cup Drop.'

Walk-In Counseling
  I have been never been to the Walk-In Counseling, which is available a few nights a week, mainly because I have so many other sources of support. We have several on-campus counselors available at specific sessions, in addition to services available through the switchboard 24 hours a day. There are many support services available in the Klein building. Here is a link to the personal counseling page.

Campus Ministry
   The Edmundites on campus have a definite presence, with offices in Alliot and a residence hall near the Hoehl Welcome Center. I have done community service with one of them and we constantly cross paths. Last year at a very difficult time I found it very comforting just to go to the empty chapel and sit quietly for an hour; it's a peaceful place.

The copious resources available to us on campus have really helped me out. Situations like this are not something you plan for when choosing a college. As much as I may feel like no one can understand what I'm going through, it's nice knowing I have such a tightly woven safety net beneath me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Hometown Love

College is the most wonderful place in the world,
but don't forget the people who got you here.

Thanks to all my friends, professors, and employers 
who are getting me through this week.

Sending love to my hometown,
I'll be there soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Oh, I'm going to miss this

This is what Lyons 316 looked like on August 26th last year.

Onto bigger and better things! Linnehan219<3

Want to feel smarter?

Or nicer, or more tolerant, or just a better person all-around?
Or, do you just want to have another excuse to ridicule Michele Bachmann?
If you answered yes to any of the above,
check out this link from my blog, Warring with Trolls.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tips to Stay Healthy

Hey Baby Knights!

  So I know you're in planning overload stage, but I wanted to write about something that's kind of hard to plan for, but usually preventable. One of the worst things about being at college is being sick at college and missing your mom and your couch more than anything. This year I managed to stay abnormally healthy, but I watched a few friends suffer through the flu, strep, stomach bugs, and colds. Being sick away from home is never fun, but what's even worse is paying for classes that you have to miss. Plus tissues are expensive. The main point is to avoid getting sick, so here are some tips to stay healthy:

1. The most important thing to maintain a healthy immune system is GET SOME SLEEP. I had a major issue adjusting to the college sleep schedule (mainly because I decided it was more productive to clean and get ahead on homework instead of sleeping... maybe I'll blog about this later) and trust me, if you're not sleeping you will feel like absolute POOH.

2. Keep a pump-bottle of hand sanitizer near your door to use whenever you come home. Keeping the germs out is important. You can also bring a travel size for Alliot, or use the sanitizer-stands provided near the door.

3. CLEAN YOUR ROOM. Pick up laundry, throw away trash, do your dishes. Letting trash and grime build up on your surfaces is nasty, visually and bacterially (yes this is a word. I'm an English major and I can make them up).

4. The Res-Life staff might yell at me for this one, but... open your windows every once and a while. Dorm rooms can get really stuffy, and circulating fresh air is important. You need to be careful about this in the winter, because if you leave your windows open, the PIPES WILL FREEZE (it happened last winter and did major damage in Founders).  Last year I tried to open my window a little for an hour or so while I was in the room to make sure it didn't get too cold. If you're worried about forgetting to shut your window, leave the door open and angle your fan so that it will blow in fresh air in from the hall.

5. VITAMINS! As a vegetarian, I'm a big fan of my vitamins. I take Vitamin C, Calcium with Vitamin D, and Iron (I can't take a multivitamin because they make me sick). Taking your Vitamin C is important, even if you drink orange juice because most of that stuff in Alliot is from concentrate and mainly water.

6. Speaking of Alliot, eating healthy is SO important. I'm really bad about remembering my veggies, even as a vegetarian, so it's good to make a rule for yourself like "eat one salad a day at lunch or dinner" or "grab a banana in the morning to eat during class" (I follow both). Before I went to college, I NEVER ate a banana- the texture grossed me out- but now I eat them almost every day. My friend Derek would also want me to add here that eating yogurts with ACTIVE LIVE CULTURES is really good as well, something like Stoneyfield, or a greek yogurt (YUM).

7. Wash your hands! The dorm bathrooms DO NOT provide soap, but most RAs will collect money to buy a community soap bottle. We do have alcohol sanitizer, but don't settle for that. Keep on your RA's butt about replacing it, or bring your own- the huge refill bottles at Walmart are really cheap. Some RAs will also provide a hand towel, but I recommend avoiding this. Usually I brought my own towel to the bathroom or waited until I went back in my room.

8. Don't be a make-out monster. Yes, kissing is lovely, but do you know how many mouths that mouth has been on this week? Oral hygiene is an entire blog post in itself, but the basics are: Take care of cold sores, use a good lip balm for chapped lips, BRUSH YOUR TEETH, and don't kiss everything with a tongue. On a similar note, DON'T SHARE CUPS, BOTTLES, FLASKS, CANS, GLASSES, OR STRAWS. Do I need to say more? Please refer to Health Services for more questions, located in the basement of Alumni.

9. Change your sheets, especially your pillowcases, regularly. Beds can get really nasty, especially when they also serve as couch for your friends. Getting sleep is important, but so is having a germ-free bed.

10. Finally, some basic supplies to keep around: I recommend a can of LYSOL (spray everything down when you move in, before you start setting up), a household surface CLEANER like Windex (I used mine to clean my mirror as well as wiping down my desk and bureau), and an air-disinfecting spray. As far as medical supplies, in addition to vitamins and hand sanitizer, I kept a bottle of Aleve or Ibuprofen. I also have friends who swear by Emergen-C. Another really important item is SHOWER SHOES. Last year I remember hearing that a bunch of girls had gotten some kind of un-mentionable fungi and... ugh, just wear shower shoes, okay?

  I hope this helped remind you of anything you may have forgotten! Maintaining sanitary habits means that you are less likely to miss class, and make your mom cry because she can't take care of you.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Shameless blog plug. Just read it.

If you like a good rant every now and then, CLICK HERE!

See, that so bad, was it?

I don't mean bad in the sense of whether or not you agree.
What I mean is, did it make you think?
Did you like it?
That doesn't matter.
Get used to it.
Welcome to college.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Alliot: a Nine Step Dining Guide

I think now might be a good time to give some Alliot guidelines, as the dining hall can be one of the most intimidating places on campus when you first walk in. Here are some step by step instructions on how to survive this thrice-daily ritual.

1.              Drop your bags. There are no bags allowed in the Green Mountain Dining Room, so at mealtimes students line the walls of Alliot with backpacks, athletic bags, LAX sticks, skis, umbrellas, longboards- anything you can imagine. Don’t be freaked out about leaving your stuff. It’s an honor system that everyone holds to (insert St. Mike’s plug: I think this is one of the greatest examples of what a community our campus really is).
2.              Get out your Knight Card and give it to the Alliot worker at the door, typically the notorious Rosemary. Smile at her every time, even if she doesn’t smile at you. Rosemary is a legend.
3.              Now you’re heading to the buffet style conundrum that is Alliot dining. On the outside, clockwise starting at the left you will find: Condiments, beverages, the Grill, pizza, juices, toasters (with breads), coffee/lattes/hot chocolate, hard and soft serve ice cream with toppings, the big skillet (eggs in the morning, grilled cheese and burgers at lunch and dinner), a station that usually features some kind of home-style meat and potato dinners (not really sure what it’s called), more beverages, then the vegan station, and on the far right, the Salad station (my favorite). In the middle there is also a make-your-own salad station, various lunchmeats and sandwich materials, a soup and pasta island, a milk and cereal dispenser, and a GIANT desert station. Silverware can be found near the salad station and grills, and spoons are near the soup. I apologize if that was overwhelming.
4.              The key to actually acquiring food is to take a quick glance around and choose the best option. Always take a survey before you decide. Last year Alliot went tray-less, and it’s really not as bad as it first appears. It not only saves water in dishwashing, but also keeps people from taking mountains of food and wasting a it all. Don’t worry, you’ll soon master the balancing act of plate, cup, and silverware… and pray that someone else is the unlucky one to spill their dishes to a round of applause from their fellow diners.
5.              If you’re with friends, it’s a good idea to meet by the silverware before heading to a table. The worst feeling in the world is standing abandoned in Alliot and staring around at a room full of unrecognizable faces, desperately searching for your friends. Slightly less embarrassing but still terrible is the awkward walk in which you pretend to know where you’re going in the hopes that you will spot your terrible, terrible dinner companions.
6.              If you are not with friends, this is a great opportunity to utilize those greeting skills that I talked about in my last post. If you recognize someone, don’t be afraid to sit down, reintroduce yourself, and join in the conversation. I promise promise promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. Likewise, if you do spot some poor soul sitting by him or herself, invite them over! They will forever think of you as the nicest person EVER, and you’ll feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
7.              After eating your meal, gather your dishes and scrape any leftover food items onto one plate, in preparation for the next step: compost. The dishwashing and composting station is near the front of Alliot to the left. It’s pretty simple- food in the bins, plates and cups on the conveyor belt, silverware down the chutes. Be courteous to the staff in the back and put things neatly where they belong.
8.              On the way out of Alliot there’s a suggestion table where students can leave messages and the staff will respond. Let them know what you think, good or bad, and request new items if you have an idea! Also don’t forget to say goodbye to Rosemary!
9.              Lastly, grab your bag! It’s really embarrassing to be walking out- or, God forbid, all the way to class- and realize that you’ve forgotten your stuff. Also make sure it’s your own (not kidding, there was a girl in my class last year who realized halfway through class that she had someone else’s bag which was identical to her own).

I know that no matter what your first few meals in Alliot are going to be nerve-wracking, but I promise it gets better. Don’t panic, be courteous, and choose wisely!

ps. Keep a firm grip on that cup, or be prepared for a show! (you’ll see soon enough)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Summer Readings

Interested in what I've been reading this summer?

Half the Sky by Nick Kristof
The Taliban Shuffle by Kim Barker
The Golden Cage by Shirin Ebadi
Jerusalem, Jerusalem by James Carroll (I must admit I'm stuck in this one)
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie (currently halfway through, loving it)

Might I also suggest:
Last August before I left for school, I re-read the entire Harry Potter series in a month because I knew I'd never have time for fun reading again. That turned out not to be true- I read the seventh book the weekend before the last movie came out- but it was still a nice send-off before college.

Send offs and Greetings

hey hey
So I know, I’ve been so bad about updating my blog this summer. No excuses.
BUT I’ve been doing this intense Summer Reading List, and working 35 hours a week at the Rivier College Library, and going somewhere fun basically every weekend. I’ve been up to Vermont twice, and to the NH lakes region, where I am currently spending a week’s vacation with my family. The wifi here is pretty shoddy- the neighbors should probably update that.
Next week when I come home I’m going to the Send Off party in Windham for SMC students coming from New Hampshire. I didn’t attend one last year so I’m not really sure what to expect. I guess this is the point where you guys have already committed so we don’t have to convince you anymore. This is like… the reassurance stage. I remember this time last year I had just returned from my SOAR orientation weekend and I was absolutely pumped about coming to school. My biggest reservation had been that I didn’t know a single person, but after attending SOAR I felt like I already had a group of great friends and there was nothing left two worry about. As the fall semester progressed some of our group split off and made new friends, but I’m happy to say that two of the people I met at SOAR are still my very best friends at school. It’s not uncommon for groups to shift and rearrange themselves as everyone settles in, but it’s also really nice to walk around campus after that and be able to say hello to people that I probably would never have met otherwise. That’s probably my biggest piece of advice to newcomers on campus: SAY HELLO. If you recognize someone, and especially if you remember their name, use it! Greeting professors, other students, Alliot staff, and custodians will help them remember your face and can build relationships for the future. Saint Mike’s is a small campus, and you’re bound to run into people you know all over the place; the greetings might become exhausting, but they’re worth it.
            So, how do I go about reassuring these freshmen that they’ve made the right choice next week? I think that one of the best things for me to see last fall was the weekend after orientation when everyone came back. I can’t even describe the buzz of that first weekend on campus. You can just sense how excited everyone is, and it’s infectious.  Certainly expect a plethora of “cup drops,” as well as other shenanigans. It will be loud, but don’t let that discourage you from joining in.

I hope to see some of you next Thursday in Windham, and next month at St. Mike’s!

ps. Coming soon: A guide to eating in Alliot

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Reaction to Half the Sky; Guilt and Passion

(Read this post on my blog)
I’m on a self-imposed guilt trip right now. I just finished Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s book Half the Sky. I have to say, it was literally life-changing. Not only is it extremely well written, it’s informative and intriguing. I’ve spent every lunch break for the past two weeks poring over its pages, and tonight I sat in the bathtub until the water was cold, reading. Now that I’ve reached the end and the appendix pages, which offer a plethora of outreach programs, I feel like I need to do something. I had a vague idea of some of the problems addressed in this book, but the in-depth personal stories make me more aware and more passionate. 
Tomorrow my best friend is leaving for South Africa to work with orphans for a month. Why aren’t I doing something like that? I love my job at the library, but it feels so mundane when women are dying every minute from preventable causes. I feel like I need to take this awareness and react. I mean, obviously I’m reacting right now. I just want more action in my reaction. I feel so ineffective.
After I finished the book I logged onto Plan International, one of the sites recommended in the book. I looked into sponsorship a ten year old girl in Pakistan named Mariam. It’s $30 a month and I would be able to write letters to her (which is what I really want to do the most). But when asked for my credit card information, I hesitated. Why? It’s not at all that I don’t trust the site. It looks legit and I believe wholeheartedly in its purpose. But I asked myself, can I afford to do this? It’s a commitment, and I would feel terrible if I went back to school in September and decided that I could no longer spend the $30 a month to send Mariam to school. I’m already guilting myself before it happens… and yet here I am now, feeling terrible for not signing up to sponsor! 
I think about how much I spent today. I got my paycheck, so I was feeling braver than usual. I spend $5 on an ice cream at lunch with my co-workers. On my way home I stopped at Walgreens and spent $27 on makeup, nail polish, and headbands that “needed” restocking. Then I put $40 of gas in my car, and tonight I spent $10 on a CD on iTunes (which, in my defense, I rarely do). See, here I am, torn. I could have sponsored over two months for this girl already with what I spent today. How American. I’m embarrassed to write this and see the numbers.
Whatever I decide to do, I know now that I need to be an advocate for oppressed women. Today I had the opportunity to leave my house and go to work, on my own. I am fortunate enough to be able to buy ice cream and wear makeup, and I have the fiscal ability to put fuel in MY OWN car. I even have the luxury to lie in a bathtub for 90 minutes and read about women in far away places, while I listen to my laptop and text on my Blackberry. The most dangerous thing I did today was drive on a five lane highway.
I have so many things that millions of people do not, and my awareness of that makes me so much more appreciative. A friend told me today that I’m different. Why should I be? I don’t want to be a minority in this effort, and I don’t need to be special. New Hampshire is a wonderful environment to grow up in, but sometimes I worry that the shelter of this place is breeding ignorance. Living in a state of oblivion doesn’t make the problems go away. These should not be FOREIGN issues, or just women’s issues. Henrik Ibsen says it perfectly: “I am not even quite sure what women’s rights really are. To me it has been a question of human rights.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Update

Just posted this on my tumblr:

Hello Tumblr, I’ve missed you! I’m sorry to have been away, but I worked 35 hours this week at my new job, started a class at Rivier College, and I just got home from cat-sitting!

First, my new job:

So I’m working at the Regina Library at Rivier College as the assistant to the Director of Technical Services. Basically my job consists of adding new records to the catalog and getting the books ready to go out on the shelves. I code, print, label, laminate, cover, stick, stamp and scan. I feel like I’ve already learned so much, and my boss has been great about training me to learn the library lingo so I feel smart (I have a notebook). I have my own desk and computer, and a fancy scanner. I love that beeping barcode noise.

My boss keeps asking if I’m bored, because so much of the work is repetitive and detail-oriented. But if you’ve ever met me, you know that I like routine and organization, so this job was designed for me. My second day at work I spent 15 minutes dusting and re-organizing my desk. I work Monday through Friday, 9 to 4:30 and I get a half hour for lunch. Most of the other librarians are older, so I typically eat on my own outside and read. It’s been beautiful weather and today I realized that my bench has a direct view of the volleyball court, where a few shirtless men just happened to be playing. What a fortunate coincidence…

Anyway, my favorite part of my job is probably getting to be the first one to open a book. I love that sound when the spine cracks and the smell of new paper. Ice cream Thursdays with the girls from upstairs are also fun.

Next, my class.

You didn’t think that a full time job would be enough, did you? I’m taking a 300-level Religion class called ‘Challenge of Peace’ on Monday and Wednesday nights and so far it’s really interesting. At the end of the term I’m doing a research project on Shirin Ebadi, who is amazing, and right now we’re covering Gandhi. This is the course description:

A critical study of the human and economic costs of violence, non-violent alternatives, conflict resolution, the peace and justice connection, the role of the individual, family, school, and organized religion in developing an orientation for peace and social justice. Special emphasis is placed on Catholic social teaching and the quest for peace in the major religions. Individual, spiritual, and educational perspectives on peace and social justice are experienced through discussions, role playing, teaching, and community service. Multicultural issues related to peace are delineated and explored.

The class is small, like St. Mike’s, but it’s kind of weird being with adults. I think they offer a different perspective (as do some other students in the class), and this is good because I am learning how to listen to different ideas and formulate intelligent and thoughtful responses. The 3 credits will transfer as a pass or fail (I plan on passing) and will count as one of my required 300 level classes for my Religious Studies major.

Ironically, my professor Brother Paul is a St. Mike’s alum. They’re everywhere! When I went to IT to get my Rivier Staff badge, they guy who worked there was an alum as well. I guess the St. Mike’s spirit is contagious.

Oh, did I mention I’m also going to be volunteering on Thursdays at the Wadleigh Memorial Library? I helped there for two years in high school and worked with the Children’s Room librarians. They’re going to set aside special projects for me this summer (like re-labeling the book bins). The librarians there are so nice, I love helping out.

I’m excited for the long weekend- Monday I’m going to the beach with my best friend Liz. It’s weird to think that a year ago we were going to Hampton for senior skip day… So much has happened since then!

Good night! I’ll again post soon, I promise.

ps. I’m desperately missing VT (I made a vanilla milkshake and put maple syrup in it) and my best VT friend, Derek. I can’t wait for him to come home from France next week! He’s studying there with a group of St. Mike’s students and I haven’t talked to him in almost three weeks. Love you Derek!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Getting ready for the Nook

No, not the electronic reader. The cute kind that's nestled in a corner and makes you want to read- that kind of nook.
Let me explain. Next year, I'm living on the North Campus in Linnehan hall, an old firehouse converted to a dorm, which is being used as sophomore honors housing. My room is in the middle of two other rooms, and we (the other girls on either side of me) have named this grouping our 'nook.'
I'm absolutely thrilled with my room and my neighbors. I'm also looking forward to meeting my roommate, most likely a transfer student who will be placed with me. Normally as a sophomore you live in a double with a friend or (if you're lucky) in the suites with 3 or 7 friends. My situation had a few hiccups, but the people at Res Life are amazing and sorted everything out so that I'm in a room alone for now and I will choose a roommate from people who are looking this summer.
Today, the sun finally appeared, so I took the opportunity to paint this sign in my backyard for 'our nook.'
I can't wait for August 27th!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Unpacking

Note to incoming freshman: don't bring so much stuff! Moving in is great, because all these orientation leaders run around like crazy people up and down the stairs. There are more strong boys than you could ever ask for who are very handy when it comes to carrying things like fridges and chairs. BUT when you move out, you're on your own.

Another note: don't bring stuff up throughout the year without bringing stuff home. Equal exchange is the key. Cars don't grow while you're away at school. There were some seriously close moments when I looked from my pile to my car to my pile and didn't think everything would make it.

Also: vacuum sealable space bags are a godsend.

For any English majors, here's a comical photo.

I've acquired most of these books throughout the year, and my bookshelf at home is already full. The Norton Anthologies were for my Brit Lit I and Brit Lit II Honors classes- they are very expensive but great compilations. Unfortunately, books don't fit in vacuum seal bags. But would I rather have this gigantic pile stored digitally in an electronic reader? No way. Because I know that years from now I'll be able to look back through these books and see the notes I took during my first year of college, and that means so much more than convenience.

I end with a quote from Ray Bradbury:
"I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can't really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, 'If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we'll talk.' All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don't want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket." 

Maybe not all these books can fit in the pockets of my skinny jeans, but to me this pile represents all the accomplishments of my first year at Saint Michael's. Congratulations, me.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sometimes rain falls from the sun in NH

This is what my Mac told me today... not quite sure how to interpret this. I'm just glad I'm not at home.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

How well do you see color?

Bored? Check this out.
I scored a 12.

In a Vermont Minute

Last night, this was the view from my room. We had about eight hours of thunderstorms raging over the quad. Wifi was knocked out (thus why I couldn't blog) and the power was flickering all night. All  the dorms have generators, so if we do lose power it's never for long. Thunderstorms are rare for April, and this one was intense. 
Another thing that's rare for April is 80 degrees and humid, but that's what we have today! The air is still very heavy so we're expecting more storms- hopefully not as big as this one (I didn't get any lightning in the video, but we had a LOT).  The ground is really saturated, so everything should start getting green.... oh, probably around I'm freaking out over final exams and the three papers I need to write. I'm enjoying the weather while I can.

Well, now I'm off to interview for a spot on the core team of editors for next year's Onion River Review! Wish me luck!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

City of the Future, and of Cat Naps

In the spring of my junior year I am going to study abroad in Istanbul, Turkey- I want to not only study Islam, but also be immersed in this beautiful culture. Istanbul is a rich crossroad of intricacy and grandeur, ancient and modern, East and West. In this tumultuous political climate, it is important to cultivate an appreciation for that which is different from ourselves.

Read this article from National Geographic called Istanbul: City of the Future.

Photo by Dave Yoder, National Geographic

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A sampling of my poetry

I do not sing in the shower

I do not sing in the shower;
Instead, I compose poetry.
After the final rinse I scamper,
half dressed [half naked?]
back to this compartment,
flinging warm droplets on the walls,
my skin still steaming.
I am clinging to those verses
that only come to me in water.

This is what I remember.

Earlier this evening
In the cyclical, mechanical motion
there is my need to push you away
[farther or further?].
If it is geographic distance I seek,
my pedaling feet are moving me nowhere
and this precious sweat is wasted.
Perhaps these muscles I’m building
[tearing and healing, stronger now]
are in resistance to the memory
of your touch that lingers in my tendons.
My bones have no say in the matter.

More recently
After I have regained my breath,
I seek refuge under water, in a sheet of
shock that curls me back toward the curtain,
until my nerves recognize the heat.
[They are too impatient to pause and
appreciate the luxury of pipes].
I comb my hair with straight fingers,
just trimmed and soon to be polished.
The crevices of my hands that might
have still held follicles of you
are sliced off and filed down
to the very tips.

Just a moment ago
Finally I feel clean, and in this element
[where water penetrates air]
poetry seeps into my pores like lotion.
One last drenching, and I step out
to face the frosted window.
How much of my peach silhouette
is discernable from the other side?

I wrap my head in terry-cloth
[such a comforting texture]
to contain the damp verses
heavily coating my hair and
already dripping down my back,
and suddenly I find myself
stretched in these sheets
[cooling in the air that dries my ink],
pressed against the fibers that have
yet to be washed of you.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Not Soon Forgotten

Last night I saw Iron and Wine perform at Higher Ground (10 minutes down the road). The show was sold out and I was second row! I ordered my ticket months ago for about $30. They were incredible, plus one of my favorite singers, Marketa Irglova performed backup with them. If you've never heard of them, you should hear them.

I can't upload the video I took, but here's a better one.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A typical weekend

This is how it goes.

Class in the morning
Burlington for some shopping- I have to pick up a birthday present for my friend.
Possibly checking out some music on the library lawn?
Alliot for dinner
Downtown with my British Literature class to see Jane Eyre
Out or in with friends?

My best friend's birthday!
Accepted Student Day- Tour shadowing! and Honors Program panel?
Dubstep show in Eddie's Lounge (upstairs in Alliot)

Earthfest- free food and BAREFOOT TRUTH (great band)
Iron and Wine concert at Higher Ground!!!

It's over already?
That's okay, because next weekend is Easter,
and at Catholic school it's a four day break!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Oh fine...

I suppose I'll post some photos from Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry's.

That's right. You actually get a FREE ice cream cone (no toppings, one size for all). All you have to do is:
1. Get out of class
2. Take the CCTA bus (for free) to Burlington
3. Get off the bus
4. Get in line. When you get there, the line will be about two blocks away from B&J's, near Rite Aid. It's perfectly okay to get out of line and buy stickers in Rite Aid while waiting, although you may miss an opportunity to answer a trivia question and get a pass to the front.
5. Enter the store
6. Order ice cream
7. Eat ice cream
8. Pretend you are Ben & Jerry. Except don't think about all the profit you lost on Free Cone Day, because then it will be hard to smile.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Some Tuesday night debate from the Durick Mezzanine

I was going to write my blog post today about Free Cone Day at Ben and Jerry's, and post some lovely pictures of my friends and I making goofy faces in line, but after my study session with a boy from my American National Politics Class, I've had a change of heart. The political environment in this country at present absolutely disgusts me, and I usually post my criticisms on my other blog, but I feel like this topic is relevant to prospective students just to give an idea of the intellectual atmosphere on campus. Saint Michael's is a Catholic college, but we are also a very accepting and politically diverse campus. It is this diversity which allows for discussion to arise between two students studying together for an exam the following morning. The discussion of which I speak has inspired in me a desire to present my case here.

As I sat with the male in question, our discussion of interest groups such as Planned Parenthood developed into a friendly debate over women's rights to healthcare, particularly those to prevent and alleviate unwanted pregnancy. I feel very strongly about this topic, as I once was a naive high school girl and remember clearly the pressures placed on me by society and my personal relationships. What infuriates me is that the people making decisions for teenage girls like myself are affluent politicians, dominantly male, who have never and will never understand what it's like to be a fifteen year old girl. The pressures are immense, and the support systems are inconsistent.
One of the arguments that my counterpart made was that as a taxpayer he should not have to pay for a girl who made a poor decision to receive a treatment that he believes to be unethical (I believe here he referenced a vacuum and made the coinciding sound effect- charming). I had a similar discussion with my mom this weekend, who (less graphically) argued that decisions should be made in concordance with the family or support system. I see her point, and agree that for some girls this is an option.
To a demographic of upper class politicians, it may be hard to conceive that these support systems are lacking. If Sarah Palin had her way, our public schools wouldn't educate young women about safe, self-respecting decisions. Instead, society would leave it up to the parents, who often (not always) don't have these important discussions with their daughters. To a girl who doesn't have access to this information at home or school, options like Planned Parenthood are the only places to go. Associating this organization with abortion as the only method of birth control is not accurate or fair. Centers like these work to educate the public about safe sex and provide the necessary resources.
You may not ethically agree with your tax dollars funding an abortion for a fourteen year old girl who was manipulated into an emotionally abusive relationship by her older boyfriend, but would you rather have those tax dollars funding the protection of that girl when she's kicked out of her house, and supporting her and her child when her baby's father won't pay child support and she has to rely on welfare because she never graduated high school? How many lives could have been saved, socially, if that girl had received the education and support that her situation couldn't provide for her after one simple mistake?
My study buddy stated that avoiding those kind of mistakes is common sense, and if a girl falls victim to such folly then she is clearly stupid. I argued passionately that teenage girls are not stupid, merely naive and often insecure, and apt to fall into difficult situations in an attempt to feel loved; He condescendingly referenced Taylor Swift as one of these malleable teenage girls, and he's exactly right. One of the reasons her music is so wildly popular is because young women can relate to her struggles and desires and tragedies, however trivial. To them, these pressures are not as easily resisted as a twenty year old male might imagine.

This topic is obviously much more heated than Free Cone Day, but its an important discussion that needs to, and does, take place here. If I were to write about how much fun I'm having here, I would be telling the truth- but that's not all I do. I'm engaging every day in intellectual discussions with people who have different beliefs, and at the end of the night I can still say that I respect my counterpart (and I apologize for making him the antagonist of this post- let me instead label him the inspiration). Is St. Mike's a fun place to go to school? Absolutely. It's also a brilliant place to pursue an education, contribute to the community, and learn how to be a student of life.

Good night reader.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Five items you might underestimate

The purpose of this post is to identify some items in my dorm room that are small and non-essential, but really nice to have. Might be useful in August...


First, my thermos. It's insulated for hot liquids and super stylish! One of the great things about St. Mike's is that we have unlimited meal plans (except for seniors who live in townhouses with kitchens). That means you can go to Alliot seventeen times a day -if you want- but no one really does. I eat three meals a day there, but I also run in quickly sometimes to fill this mug with coffee before a meeting or grab a sandwich on the way to skiing. Quick options like this save me time and money, and the caffeine keeps me going.
*Fun fact: The necklaces in the background are hand made from recycled trash. Once a month I volunteer with MOVE at a men's independent living shelter- we go to a grocery store, cook dinner, and just chill with the guys. They're so appreciative, and one of the men makes these for us every time we go. I have a collection.

Next: Vitamins (in bottles and lotion). Vermont winter is nasty and really sucks the life out of my skin. A pump bottle of lotion is easily accessible and more affordable.  I also take the vitamins every morning at breakfast. I need them especially because I don't always eat a balanced diet in the dining hall, plus- I gave up meat for lent, which means I'm not getting any iron. Last week we had a blood drive on campus and these iron supplements saved me.
*Fun fact: Yes, that is my window screen behind this stuff. I took it out because my neighbors and I like to communicate by sticking our heads out the window. My room faces into the quad so there are always exciting people to shout at below.

My Brita Pitcher is the best (my fridge, not so much). Vermont tap water is probably some of the best stuff out there, but it's nice to have cold filtered water in my room when I'm thirsty instead of buying bottled water.
*Note to the future fridge purchaser: Don't buy this fridge. It's from Target, by Emerson- it has a whiteboard on the front and costs about $80. It runs perfectly fine but the setup is terrible. The door shelving is awkward, and it's so short that I had to take the middle rack out as well as the lid off of my pitcher off just to fit it inside. It can only fit on the middle shelf because if I put it on the bottom the door won't close. Terrible design!

This picture was intended to be of my reed diffuser, but my nightlight snuck in there too. I can't really complain because my room is awesome, but dorms can get a little stuffy in the winter when we can't open our windows. The diffuser isn't too strong but keeps things fresh.
*Another suggestion to keep your room fresh is to buy a standing fan rather than a window fan- in the winter you can prop open your door and turn on the fan, which helps with ventilation (and visitors!).

My whiteboard = my life. I'm really really organized but also really busy. I need to see what I'm doing or I get overwhelmed. My whiteboard lets me visualize the week and keeps me from stressing. This one is a calendar board (from Target). I also have a second whiteboard on my door for messages.
*Fun fact: The item with the star next to it says "Study Arabic." The IT department set me up with network access to the Rosetta Stone program to learn Arabic on my Macbook, which we get for FREE through the Language Learning Resource Center. It's something worth taking advantage of and is a nice break from homework (just like blogging)!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Roommate

Meet Legolas, my roommate in Lyons Hall. Typically all the housing on campus is not co-ed, but for me the Res Life staff made an exception. This is a picture of Legolas on move-in day. He was so excited for orientation, but also a little nervous about meeting new people. I had to convince him not to be so stiff.

By Halloween Legolas was coming out of his shell. Halloween is a four day event here, and requires four different costumes. Here Legolas is wearing the top hat that was part of my costume- I was a circus conductor. He went as an elf from Lord of the Rings.

Legolas and I decorated our room for Christmas (and he decorated himself). He got really into the holiday spirit. Every here decorates their door and a lot of people had Christmas trees. It really brightened the mood during finals week before everyone left for break. Of course, Legolas cheers me up no matter what season it is.

After break Legolas came back as a whole new man. He got really tight with my friends Derek (above) and Devin (below). He also took up skiing and is pretty smooth. I don't know how he does it with a quiver full of arrows.

Legolas is really excited for the spring time when he can run around barefoot and be a jolly elf in the forest. I picked this flower for him and he wore it all week. He's really in touch with his feminine side, which is one of the reasons why we're such great roommates.

Today Legolas was feeling some Middle-Eastern vibes. He keeps up on current events and is really passionate about the education and liberation of women in Arab nations. He shows his support by not only being a fashion icon, but also being the first one to welcome me home every night and tell me how proud he is. I can't wait to live with him again in Linnehan on North Campus next year. He really is one of a kind.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Basics

So here's a little information about me:
I'm from a small town in southern New Hampshire. There's not much to do when I go home, but there are some people that I love very much.
I'm double majoring in English and Religious Studies. I am fascinated by the potential of words and the power of faith on a global scale.
I am a coordinator for a program called Family Friends through MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts)  - We go to a temporary homeless shelter every week and play with the kids that live there. I love being able to get off campus and see another side of Burlington.
I am an auxiliary editor for the Onion River Review, SMC's literary journal, and this year I am having one of my poems published. You should 'like' us on facebook!
I have a work study in the library as the assistant to the Director of Interlibrary Loans. It's a great job because I'm getting experience and references for my resume. My work is really interesting and I know every nook and cranny of the Library.
I'm planning a study abroad during my junior year to Istanbul, Turkey, where I will study Islam as well as expose myself to an incredibly rich culture. I can't even express how much I am looking forward to my semester abroad.
I read the news every day.
My heroes are Anne Frank, Sylvia Plath, Amelia Earhart, Shabana Basij-Rasikh, and Hedda Gabler.
I am definitely a dog person and my goal in the next three years is to figure out how I can sneak one into my dorm.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

While waiting for the bus. . .

From left to right: Myself, Devin, and Marlee- the two people I love most here. We're living together on North Campus next semester and we're going to have the time of our lives.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's only Wednesday

Greetings readers, and welcome to my blog! The purpose of this page is to offer insights into my life as a Saint Michael's student to people who may be interested in joining the ranks of our noble academic league. I've been here for almost seven months now . . . and do I consider myself a Purple Knight? Mumkin ("perhaps," in Arabic). Maybe not so much in the armor, but I can certainly say I've felt engaged on campus this week. Here are some of the things I've done that make me feel like I'm in the right place, and it's only Wednesday:

1. Appointments with the Research Librarians
This is a tool that was recently added to our Library's website- we have the ability to search for a librarian by specialty and schedule a one-on-one appointment just to help with research. Now that spring break is over, it's crunch time for term papers/housing assignments/fall registration . . . it's all rather stressful. I have major papers due in British Literature II, Old Testament, and Anthropology, all due at the end of the semester which is quickly approaching. Meeting with the librarians not only helped me access resources, but also made me take the time out to do research that I might have otherwise put off. This is yet another tool available on campus to help us succeed (I promise I'm not just promoting the library- it's really great!)

2. Recommendations from Professors and Employers
Early this week I landed a job working in Technical Services at a college library near my house for the summer. Not only does it have the ideal schedule, but it also is in a field that I love. The woman who interviewed me told me that I had received "glowing" recommendations from all my references, which included my professor from last semester and current English advisor as well as my boss in Interlibrary Loans. One of the best things about Saint Mike's size is that our professors really get to know us, even after one semester, at a level where they can give a genuine personal recommendation on our behalf. I've had the opportunity already to form these valuable relationships, and to gain experience at a work study job that is completely relevant to a career that I might pursue after graduation (not to mention, I made my resume for this job at a workshop through Career Services!).

3. Open classes and Dialogue
One of my main interests is in studying Islam and finding opportunities for dialogue between Western culture and the Middle East. On Monday I attended an open Peace and Justice seminar which hosted Professor Saleem Ali, a native of Pakistan and a member of the Environmental Studies Department at UVM, who came to talk to us about Peace-building and Islam. His talk offered a basic foundation for the sources of extremism and how he believes the Muslim community, alongside the rest of the world, needs to overcome them. After hearing his perspective I feel not only more informed, but also more encouraged that through education and dialogue peace is possible.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my first post. It's no longer Wednesday, but Thursday, and I must head to bed. As I figure out this blogging conundrum, I hope that you'll bear with me and ask questions that can help me help you make this ever-so-important decision to step into the Saint Mike's suit of armor . . . or t-shirt. If I were you I'd go for the bumper sticker.