Friday, January 30, 2015

Rottweiler Appreciation Post.

After a nice evening home last night, I felt obligated to do a post about my favorite boy - my Rottweiler, Duncan. I've had him for over 10 years now, and he's a huge part of my life that I often forget about when I'm going through the day-to-day minutia of college life (as I'm sure many of you all do as well when it comes to pets). So, instead of talking about classes or campus events or anything like that, I thought it would be a nice change of pace to give the spotlight to someone in my life who definitely doesn't get it enough.

When I'm home for the summer, sitting outside with my boy is one of my favorite things to do.

Look at that beard!
But really, I don't know where I'd be without this guy.

What's interesting to me is how often the topic of pets has been coming up this week for me. Whether it's in one of my writing workshops or because I'm home for the night and giving Duncan all my attention, pets have been everywhere this week and it's kind of strange.

Now to debunk the rumors you all might have heard about Rottweilers if you've never owned or seen one - yes, they do get a bit territorial. Duncan just growls at people he doesn't know, but once you let him sniff you and be around you for a minute or two, he warms up pretty quick. Rottweilers are fantastic because of how territorial they get in my opinion - they always bark when someone is coming (which can get annoying, but it beats putting in a security system), and they will probably attack if a stranger comes and is anything but friendly to them. Duncan's getting a little too old for that now, but you know what I mean.

In short, I hope you all are thinking about your pets often (if you have any) or if you live close enough, I hope you're taking some time to see them every now and again. Pets, especially dogs, are probably the only things on this planet that care more about you than they do about themselves, and that's a kind of connection you don't really find with anyone or anything else.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Always Writing.

Happy Sunday everyone!

Sundays are usually my homework days after a weekend of (attempting) relaxation and seeing friends, and that's still the true today. Still, as I was working on some assignments, I got to the homework for my favorite class this semester that I figured would make a great topic to tell you all about - Fiction Writing.

It's weird being back in a creative writing class here at Saint Michael's because I don't think I've taken one since I was a sophomore, but putting my Creative Writing minor on the back burner for a while does have its perks. Now I get to repeat this class with the same Professor Marquess, who is exceptional, that I took it with my freshman year. That's one of the beauties of the creative writing courses at Saint Michael's - they're repeatable!

I found that in my writing career, I personally enjoy fiction over any other genre. I love being able to just think of something in your head that's completely fabricated and roll with it, making it into a lengthy story that you can't anticipate, you just have to write and see where it goes.

This is the textbook for the class this year - it's the same book I used three years ago, but it's the newest addition with different short fiction stories and a new editor. It's a fantastic book for those interested in short fiction stories!
So far, I've had to write a 40-page autobiography that's completely free form and entirely private. I know that sounds like a lot, but it comes really easily once you just get on a writing kick and let it all out! Professor Marquess assigns this to us just to get us used to writing often and writing a lot, which will be all the more useful when we begin to brainstorm fiction stories in the coming weeks.

If you're a writing enthusiast or you just want to give fiction writing a try, I would highly recommend this course! If you want to look at the Creative Writing minor as well, here is a link to it! I'm not the world's best writer by any means, but I think the Creative Writing minor has helped me to hone in on my style of writing while teaching me some popular methods for writing and new vocabulary!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Cooking Life.

So this semester, I decided it would be best to be off the meal plan. As much as I miss going to Alliot every day and seeing all my friends, it's been an interesting and challenging experience that's also super rewarding. I'm not a cook by any means, but going off the meal plan has helped me to hone in on some cooking skills I never knew I had and divvy up my meals in my own way.

If you live in a townhouse at any point in your Saint Michael's career, you'll automatically be taken off the meal plan, but you can put yourself back on if you want. Last semester I did, but this semester I decided to try making my own food, and the results have actually been more yummy than expected!

My roommate Danny and I aren't on the meal plan, so we usually make meals together and combine ingredients. This is a sweet and sour stir fry we made a few days ago! It was delicious.

And on days when I don't feel like making food, I go out. Applebee's Shrimp Cavatappi!
I'm excited to see what new recipes Danny and I come up with and make this semester. Of course I've been scheduling my Alliot time accordingly with my 40 swipes as well, and who could forget about Sloane! We try to go to Sloane as a house every week for a family dinner - the food is always great and it's a nice atmosphere to just relax and talk.

I've also been obsessed with broccoli lately, as you can probably tell by the two pictures above. I would highly recommend trying out making a meal for yourself if you never cook - it's been a fantastic experience, and now I get to add my recent obsession to every meal in new and different ways!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Making the Most of Winter.

So, it's no secret that I'm not a huge fan of winter. I know what you're thinking - that's ironic because I go to school in Vermont and have lived here all my life. What can I say, the things I love about Vermont and Saint Mike's just outweigh my strong dislike of living in the cold. And that's just it - I love the look of snow and I'm a huge fan of sledding, but the cold is really what does me in.

However, instead of being negative about it like I have been for many years, I want to try to make the most of it. I took the opportunity to make this happen over the break since I had nothing to do for the first time in a long time, and I think I did a pretty solid job. Two major pro-winter events happened over break.

1. Driving

As I'm sure all of you know without reading this, Vermont has one of the most beautiful landscapes I've ever seen. It looks good in pretty much every season (but especially fall of course with all of the foliage), but a sheet of white looks gorgeous on Vermont forests.

This is on a road right near my house in Fairfax, Vermont after a fresh snow - it's so pretty!
This road was only one of the many roads I got to see driving across Vermont over break to see friends and go places. I know most people would never think it was a privilege to drive in the snow, but I think it was good for me to really appreciate my surroundings and look for the positive in times where all I'm seeing is negative.

2. Ice Skating

Disclaimer: I'm awful at ice skating. Like, really really bad, but luckily I had some friends who are phenomenal at ice skating that went with me and tried their best to show me the ropes. By the end of the nearly two hours we spent there, I was halfway decent, but I'm always too afraid of falling to actually get better. Gotta fall before you fly.

Jessica, Dana and I.

Tim rocking the Santa hat!

Mike, Jessica, Tim and I!
Although it was cold at Cairns Arena in South Burlington, I had an awesome time. For those of you who might be interested in ice skating around the area, I definitely recommend going there! It's super cheap to rent skates and get a ticket to skate at open rink times. Saint Mike's used to do a trip every month last Spring semester to go ice skating there for free too! I'm unsure if they're doing it again, but keep your eyes peeled.

I can truly say that after this break, I like winter at least a little bit more. I'm sure many of you like winter much more than me, but even if you do, I hope that after reading this, you try to find more positive in negative situations too.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Winter Break Shenanigans.

Welcome back everyone! If your break was anything like mine, those three weeks went by in the blink of an eye and you kept busy hanging out with friends and family. Since I live about 30 minutes north of Saint Mike's, I was around a lot, but it was also nice to be free of the obligations of class and work for a little bit to catch up with people and enjoy the night life of Church Street now that I'm 21. I did more than I thought I did over break, so I thought I'd share some of that with you guys!

A gorgeous winter night on Church Street!
I ended up going downtown a few nights over break with friends from the Air Force, high school, and even some new friends I made over break! New Years Eve downtown was probably the most memorable night - I went on a bar crawl with some great friends and everywhere we went it was so packed, but still a ton of fun. If you're ever around Burlington for the holidays, I would recommend you go down to church street on New Years, it's a blast!

Made these from scratch!
I also found myself doing things I don't usually do over break since I had a ton of free time, which included baking oddly enough. I am definitely not a good cook, but the sudden urge to look up a recipe and make chocolate chip cookies from scratch came over me one day and I went at it! Luckily I didn't burn them and they were actually pretty good.

Four Year Strong at Higher Ground
Finally, I ended my break by going to a concert at Higher Ground in Burlington for a band called Four Year Strong a few days ago. They play rock and punk music and they were incredible! They were a band I listened to a lot in high school and I hadn't heard any of their recent stuff, but once I found out they were coming to Vermont, I spent a whole night listening to everything they've ever written to get hyped for their concert. If you've never been to a concert at Higher Ground, even if rock or punk music isn't your thing, you should go sometime! They always manage to get some great bands to come and play.

Overall, my break was whimsical and care free and a much needed de-stressor. What did you all do over break? I hope you had as much of a fun and relaxing time as I did!

Cheers to another great semester, which also happens to be my last

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Days 6 & 7: Reflecting on the Semester.

So it looks like I dropped the ball on day 6, I got to be a bit busier than I expected. Nonetheless, here I am for my final post for the semester, and what better to go into winter break than reflecting on all of the highlights.

Favorite Class

I had a lot of difficult classes this semester, probably because it's senior year, which made me want to just crawl into a hole and disappear forever at times. That wasn't always the case, of course. In fact, I would argue that I actually learned more than I ever have in any of the previous semesters of my college career this semester. That being said, I'd say my favorite class of the semester would have to be my Media Studies senior seminar. I got to research the LGBTQ community, which is a topic I'm very passionate about, expand my horizons about the topic, and go to class every day with great friends and even better teachers - Professors Hyde and Sultze. What more could you ask for?

Favorite Memory

It's hard for me to say that one particular moment of the semester was my favorite, so I'd say that anytime I got to go out on weekends around campus and hangout with both old and new friends were my favorite times. I've had such a drastic change in my outlook on night life at Saint Michael's from my freshman year to now, and I couldn't be more thankful for it. I used to go home pretty much every weekend when I was a freshman because I just felt like I didn't belong here, but by putting myself out there more and giving the campus a chance, I found that I actually love it here. It's a spectacular school, and I'm glad I realized it before it was too late.

Jesse, Paul, Kathryn and I on a Friday night - love these goons!
 Favorite Activity

This semester, I found myself getting more into biking around campus than I ever have been. When I was younger, I used to bike everywhere because I lived in a rural part of Vermont, but I forgot about biking pretty quickly once I got my license. When my roommate Paul brought his bike this semester, it just revived my love of biking and I rode it everywhere at least four or five times a week. It was a great way to de-stress and explore Saint Michael's campus and the surrounding area.

In my natural habitat.

Sweet rainbow over one of the suites that I took on a bike ride!
Final Thoughts

Going into winter break, I have some new friends, fun adventures, and more insight about myself and my future than I thought I'd have. I'm so excited to begin writing my book with Tara about the LGBTQ community next semester, and I'm stoked for the classes I'm taking in Spring 2015. For those of you who are curious, I'm taking Fiction Writing, Poetry Writing, MJD Senior Seminar, and Global Communication. It's going to be another busy and challenging semester, but it's also going to be my last one, so I'm definitely going to make the most of it.

Love these winter days.

I hope you all have a great winter break, and good luck on your finals!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Day 5: Campus Beauty.

Happy Thursday! Today, I decided to take some of my own advice that I shared with you guys a little while back, so I'm gonna share some pictures of campus that I've taken over the semester. Saint Michael's has a gorgeous campus, and I find that I often don't acknowledge that as much as I should.

This is a picture of the radio tower on North Campus that I took on one of my many bike rides around the area during the semester. I love this spot!

Here's a picture of cross on the campus green. It looks amazing on a cloudy evening.

Of course, who could forget the many massive evergreens across campus! I especially love when they get lights put on them - I call this picture "attempting to be artsy."
Looking back, I remember distinctly loving Saint Michael's campus on my first tour. It was one of the deciding factors for coming here, aside from the fact that everyone on campus is so friendly and that everything is basically within a five minute walk from any of the dorms. Now that I'm always in school mode, I don't appreciate my surroundings nearly enough, but I hope that this post has inspired you to get out and enjoy the campus as much as it has for me.

I see snow fort building in my future - keep on the lookout for that!