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!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Day 4: Friends of the Semester.

Hello everyone! Although it looks like I'm getting sick I slept nearly eleven hours last night because of that, I am still alive somehow. Last night, we got the first big snowstorm of the winter season! Even though I'm not a huge fan of being cold all the time and I have no coordination whatsoever, I love the look of snow and how you can use it as the perfect getaway from homework.

Looks like some students got a little too carried away...
Winter snowstorm aside, I wanted to use this post to share some of the new friends I've made this semester with you all. I always find it funny how drastically different each semester is for me, and just when I think I've met pretty much everyone on campus, new people come along in a slew of different ways.

This is my friend Casey and I back in September. I knew who she was last semester, but being 21 has led me to go out more often and we've hung out more that way.

Shannon and I have been friends for a little while, but I feel like our friendship really took off this semester since we have a class together.

Jessica and I met over the summer through a mutual friend, and I was surprised to learn that she goes to Saint Michael's because I'd never seen her before! Ironically, we have a class together this semester too. Go figure.
So, I guess the point of this post is just to always be open to making new friends or becoming closer to people as time progresses. As small as Saint Michael's is, I'd say I meet someone new and become friends with them at least once every week or two, and it's not always through having a class with them. In a community like Saint Michael's, everyone tends to know everyone, but there are always great people out there that you still haven't met. That's one of the many reasons I love going here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Day 3: The Holiday Season at Saint Mike's!

Hope you've all been enjoying your Tuesday despite this awful weather. I literally can't even walk one step outside without falling flat on my face. I can only imagine what my car will look like in the morning.

Speaking of winter, the lights have officially gone up at Saint Michael's for the holiday season! For those of you who may not know, every winter when students return from winter break, staff at Saint Michael's decorate some of the larger trees around campus with lights to commemorate the holiday season, and I love when they go up not only because they signal that finals will be over soon (how did we get to the end of the semester again by the way?), but also because their presence just makes the campus feel that much more vibrant.

Blurry lights by the chapel.
Personally, Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. I love how happy everyone is and how I get to spoil my friends and family and not even care how much money I'm spending (to a reasonable extent...I mean, come on, I'm still a college student). But presents aside, I just love the mood of the holiday season more than anything else. Despite the cold, people always seem to be happier to talk to you and more excited about life in general, which are two qualities I could really use in a person right around this stressful time of finals studying and no sleep.

I'm sad to see the semester coming to an end so soon, but I'm also stoked to take on my last semester at Saint Michael's and a whole new variety of courses! I'll have to keep you all posted on those, but I think it's going to be my best (and busiest) semester yet.

I hope you all have a great holiday season. While dealing with the chaos that is finals week, make sure you try to get outside, look at the lights, and de-stress!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Day 2: Environmental Journalism.

Hey everyone, happy Monday!

So today, I thought I'd share what I've been working on in my Environmental Journalism class with you all. This class has been one of my favorites this semester not only because I am interested in the topic, but because Professor Williams makes the class that much better. His teaching style and enthusiasm about the environmental journalism field really brings the class to life for me and reinvigorates my interest in the topic that much more. It's a great MJD elective class for those of you who may be interested or need an elective to take!

For my final project, I made a blog about wind power in Vermont and the controversy surrounding it. I'm sure that for many of you, you likely share the same opinion that I did going into this project. Wind power sounds like a great alternative energy source that doesn't require a lot of production to make, so what could possibly be wrong with it? As I found out, there's actually a lot more controversy surrounding it than one would think, and many of these controversies stem from environmental, economic, and health-related issues.

Windmills on the Lowell Mountain ridge line in Vermont.

A breakdown of windmill statistics in Vermont.
While it's true that wind energy doesn't cost a lot to produce and doesn't have nearly the same environmental impact as fossil fuels or other mainstream sources of energy, it still has its flaws as well. I talked to a Vermont state senator, a representative from Green Mountain Power, a a few other people from around the state about the issue, and they all brought to light some things I never knew about wind power. Industrial-sized windmills, like many of the projects in Vermont, have the potential to disrupt wildlife patterns in the area as well as decrease property value for those who live near them. Furthermore, there has been talk that the acoustics of windmills cause those who live close to them to suffer from constant headaches and nosebleeds, effectively forcing them to move if their health becomes worse.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that wind power is bad altogether. On the contrary, I think that wind power has some amazing benefits and could work in Vermont wonderfully as long as it is established correctly. These industrial-sized projects seem to be the main issue in my opinion. Many of these projects are built this way because ridge lines are where most wind comes from, and so the grand size of the windmills in these locations allows for the most wind power to be harnessed. However, I think that if the state were to invest in several smaller wind projects rather than these industrial-sized ones, it would be a bit more costly, but it would create the same benefits while reducing environmental, economic, and health impacts.

Clearly, I am very interested in this topic and I learned a lot from my research. It was surreal to talk to some big names in Vermont about this topic, and this class has been a rewarding experience. Writing in a journalistic style has been a challenge for me since starting the MJD major as well, but this class has really helped me to develop these writing skills.

If you want to check out my final project on wind power, click here!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The One Week Challenge.

This weekend has been very busy to say the least. From having drill to balancing homework and finals coming up, I've been burnt out and exhausted more than ever. That being said, I decided to give myself a little challenge since the semester is coming to an end so soon, and that is this: one new post every day for a week straight. Do you think I can do it? I'm not so sure, but I think it's worth trying!

Every day, I'm going to try to find something to share with you guys relating to Saint Michael's or my life in some way, shape, or form that isn't entirely boring (I'll try my best with this, I promise). To kick this off, I thought I'd talk about coming back from Thanksgiving break with my roommate and best friend Jesse.

Roommate selfie!

Jesse has been my roommate and best friend ever since I started going to Saint Michael's. We also happen to be taking a class together for the first time since we went to high school together this semester, which has been a blast and probably won't ever happen again since he's a Psychology major and I'm a Business Administration and MJD double-major.

When we got back from Thanksgiving break, I think we had both had enough of the home life and were more than ready to get back into school mode. But of course, since break had just ended, we had to spend our last night of freedom playing video games and hanging out all night, which was a night of relaxation and a vacation from homework that I needed desperately.

Luckily for me, Jesse will be attending Saint Michael's for a semester after I graduate due to the fact that he had to miss a semester for his Navy training, so I'll be able to visit and be on campus a little bit longer! It'll be weird being an alumni I'm sure, but hopefully I adjust quickly.

So, I don't really know what the point of this post was, as you can probably tell. Maybe I just wanted to express how thankful I am to have an awesome best friend, since it's the season for that sort of thing. Maybe I just wanted to do something more fun than homework, so I decided to write this post. Whatever the case may be, I'm just thankful to have great friends like Jesse around me all the time to make my Saint Mike's experience that much better.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving, Snow, Break, Life.

Happy Sunday! I hope you're all feeling as reinvigorated from this break as I am. This is the first time Saint Michael's has ever given a whole week off for Thanksgiving break, and needless to say I caught up on some much needed sleep. I also managed to do a good amount of work over break as well, so I'm feeling a little less stressed as we're coming toward the end of the semester in three weeks. How is it December tomorrow already?

Let's ditch that thought for now. I don't like to think about how graduation is coming.

On a brighter note, Thanksgiving with my family was a great time. My mom and dad had their best friends from work and their daughters come and join us, so we had about ten people including my Aunt and Grandma who also came. The food was amazing of course, and the fact that it was snowing on Thanksgiving made it even better.

My Thanksgiving feast! We add biscuits from Red Lobster to our meal every year because we're obsessed.

My backyard on Thanksgiving - it was beautiful!

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, so I said goodbye to my parents, cats, and dogs (which was particularly difficult) and headed off to campus once again.

My sunset drive back to school.
Although it was sad to leave, I'm glad I'm back on campus again. I missed my townhouse bed oddly enough, and I was glad to have a bit of space after being around my family for a week straight for long periods of time (they're great people of course, but you know how everyone starts to annoy you after being around them for a while).

I'm currently back at work writing up my research proposal for my Media Studies senior seminar, and I'm happy to say it's almost done! It's hard to believe two finals and a paper are all that stands between me and a whole month off. I have plans to visit a friend in Florida in January, so I can't wait to live in the sun for a bit and avoid this intense Vermont cold!

I hope you all had a great break and an awesome Thanksgiving if you celebrate it. I'm sure these next three weeks will be exciting and hectic all at once, so I'll keep you posted!