Wednesday, April 25, 2012

As Second Semester Comes To An End...

As it turns out, I am now one of those freshmen who can fondly look back several months ago and say, "Ah, it seems as if just yesterday I had begun my college education..." and then I can continue to flip through my scrapbook while I sip tea and listen to classical music.

All right, so maybe that's not exactly how it happens, but I can fondly look back on my past several months here and come to appreciate the independence I've claimed and the home that I've made here at Saint Mike's.

When I entered high school, I was sure that I was going to have the "best four years of my life". I was sure that I was going to be able to define myself and emerge from high school as a secure, confident adult. However, high school taught me many important life lessons, and lesson number one just happened to be that things don't always happen the way you plan or want them to. In high school, you go through so many changes, and between all the schoolwork, extracurriculars and teachers telling you who and what you should be, it is such a confusing time. I was so busy and so frustrated. I didn't have any time to think for myself. I didn't have any space to discover the world on my own and really take possession of the person I wanted to be. I saw my youth as a prison and I was dying to break free.

I wanted a much different experience in college. I wanted my independence, but I didn't know how to claim it. When senior year came around, it seemed as if the best way for me to truly discover myself was to go away. Two years ago, I never would have imagined myself in Colchester, Vermont, but by some great grace of God I received the Saint Michael's College Book Award May of my junior year and found the place I now call my home.

Being at Saint Michael's has been an amazing experience. I came knowing no one (although by some strange coincidence my cousin David decided to attend here as well, we're in the same class and we met at Orientation!) and almost nothing about Vermont, and I wouldn't have it any other way. It really gave me my own space to think about myself and the person I wanted to be, and there's just something about those green mountains that are good for the soul! I've met so many people here, both students and professors, that are so trustworthy and compassionate. I've never been around so many people that truly think about their lives and how they want to live it every day. I've really been able to live in each day and love the experiences that I have here.

The students here at Saint Michael's have such life in them. Their willingness to create change and their belief in themselves and in each other helped me to realize that my youth isn't my prison. It's my power. As second semester comes to an end, I find myself both invigorated by the moment and hopeful of the future. In less than a month, I'll be in Pontigny, France with other Saint Michael's students and faculty members for an amazing medieval history course. Next semester, I'll get my first start on my Psychology courses and I'll be a part of the VITA (campus ministry) team leading LINK along with Alex and Maura. This past academic year has been an incredible journey that has helped me to grow and experience things I never thought I would, and I am so blessed to call this place my home.

On a side note: For those of you who have already sent in your deposit
and decided to join us at SMC, congratulations!! Welcome to the family!!
I highly advise you to check out/consider our POW, WOW, Community
Service Weekend or any other summer programs that we have
for you incoming freshmen! I went on POW and had a
wonderful time, I'll probably blog about it soon
so keep an eye out!! :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So.... How's The Weekend Life?

Though I am sure that many of you are more than eager to learn about the academic life here at St. Mike's, I am also sure that many of you are bound to wonder about the weekend. What do we do? How much is there to do in Burlington? In Vermont? On campus?

While we do have plenty of opportunities for fun on the weekend, it honestly depends on what you like to do. This past weekend was pretty busy (and fun!!) for me, so I figured talking about my weekend would help to give you insight into the many opportunties we have here at St. Mike's and in Vermont.

Starting with Friday...
My friend Laura Dam has been dying to see Titanic... so this Friday we finally went! Freshmen are allowed to have cars on campus during their second semester so we drove to the Majestic 10 in Williston, which is only a 10-15 minute drive from St. Mike's, and saw Titanic in 3-D! I loveeeed the 3-D experience! If you don't have a car on campus and ever want to go out with your friends and see a movie, you can certainly take the Essex 2 Junction bus that comes right to Saint Mike's with your Knightcard and go right down to Cherry Street! You'll find the Roxy theater, one of downtown Burlington's many gems! It's really popular on weekend nights, so you're bound to have a great time!

Then on Saturday...
I woke up bright and early to go to the Jay Peak Pump House Water Park with DREAM!! For those of you who don't know, Jay Peak is typically a ski resort but they've just added a new waterpark!  The kids had SUCH a great time, and so did the mentors! There's this one water slide that drops you 60 feet per second! It's insane, so of course I was too chicken to go on it, but mentors and mentees did it multiple times and never seemed to get tired of it!

And Saturday night...
I had a blast at the VITA  Girls' Sleepover! We stayed in the upper room of the chapel watching movies, eating tons of junk food, and we even had our breakfast made for us by the lovely Alex Byrne!! It was a great time to relax with some of my best friends and enjoy myself!!

And Sunday...
I went to the SMC Earthfest going on in Ross! There was tons of free food, including fair trade chocolates and Ben & Jerry's fair trade ice cream! There was also a smoothie bike and great music from Mission South! And finally, to finish off my weekend, I went to the 7 PM student mass. If you're ever on campus with your family, you should join us for mass and check it out! We'd love to welcome you!!

I had a lot of fun this weekend, and if you decide to come to St. Mike's, you will too! There's so much to do, both on campus and off, and I can assure you that no matter what you choose to do on the weekends here, you will always know that you are at home! :)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Hippity Hoppity... May Is On It's Way!

I'd like to start off by wishing you all a Happy Easter!!
(Well, belated, but I'd like to think it's still in the season!)

Courtesy of Joyce 3rd floor :)

While many of you may have been joyously celebrating your Easter, you may have also been contemplating the inevitable question you must answer on May 1st. Where do you send that pretty little deposit?

The answer seems quite obvious to me (*hint*SAINT MIKE'S!!!*hint*), but of course I'm biased and it's a very hard and difficult decision. I didn't confirm my decision until late April, after I visited for one of the Accepted Student Days. So I'm going to try to give you some pointers that worked for me and made me know that I was making the right choice.

1. Vist, Visit, and REVISIT: Choosing a college is hard, but it's even harder if you've never stepped foot on campus. Try your best to visit ALL of your options, and if you can, try to revisit them time after time. Try to sit in on classes, too. In the beginning of my senior year, I thought I had my first-choice pegged out from the start. However, when I visited the school for a second time and sat in on a number of classes, I realized that it was not what I wanted. I wanted to go to a place where I could be challenged and surrounded by students and professors who cared. That school, as it turned out, didn't seem to have any of that. Then for the next series of months, I made sure I visited every possible option. However, some of you may not be able to visit a college that's too great a distance away, so make sure you check out any online tours! Many colleges now have their tours on youtube, including Saint Mike's! If you're unable to make it to campus, make sure you take a look at our interactive tour!

2. Make a List of Pros and Cons: Trust me, it's corny but helpful. There are pros and cons to every choice, so make sure you know what they are. It'll make the process so much simpler. Whether being 300 miles away is a pro or a con for you, it would help to write it down and confirm your feelings about it.

3. Don't Tie Yourself Down: Don't completely disregard a school you like just because it doesn't have "your major". Do you know how many college freshmen, sophomores, and even juniors change their majors not once, not twice, but three times? Quite a lot! You may think you know what you want to do for the rest of your life, but the truth is that none of us know the future, so remember to take chances and explore your options! You don't have to tie yourself down to one thing just yet!

4. Talk to a Variety of Students: Tour guides are great for handing you information about a school and being cheery about all the positives, but if you really want a full picture, it's best to talk to a variety of students on campus so that you can get a variety of feedback. I did that for every school I visited and found it was a great way to explore my options. I talked to a number of St. Mike's students, and they all gave me their genuine input. They genuinely liked being here, and I'm glad I took their opinions to heart because now I like being here too :)

5. If you can afford it, Be Selfish: Of course, parents, teachers, and the like are going to try to influence your college decision.  However, know that this about you. What would make you happy? Where can you see yourself? While others may try to tell you what would be best for your future, don't make your decision based on what others are telling you to do. Go with your heart. We all know financial aid is also a primary factor, but there are plenty of scholarships and opportunities if you are passionate enough about a school to do the extra work and pursue them. Fastwebs is a great resource for scholarship hunting! Try it out or search for other scholarship hunting websites online. You'd be surprised what you can get money for!
*Tip: Even the smallest amount helps. $500 can help you pay for school books!

6. Don't Stress: I know, easier said than done but in the end you'll end up where you're supposed to be. Enjoy the rest of your senior year (study hard, too!!) and remember, you'll find it. You'll find that one college that fits your every dream. I really hope it's Saint Mike's, but if not, best of luck and you'll do great!

Wishing you the best of luck as you go on with
your senior year and final decisions! :)