Sunday, February 22, 2015

Global Eyes!

Happy Sunday! After a weekend of a little fun and lots of homework, I find myself here not wanting to do anymore. Go figure. I can't believe the semester is basically halfway over already! Time has been flying by and it's been kind of scary/kind of awesome/kind of off-putting. In eight weeks, I'll no longer be a college student...how does one "real life"?

Let's drop that scary thought. The original intent of this post was to talk to you all about the Global Eyes competition that Saint Michael's has every year. It's a competition where students who have studied abroad submit up to three photos that Saint Mike's will display around the school if they are selected! The various categories of photos that they choose from range from artistic to photos that show the politics and political tensions of another country. It's an awesome opportunity to share your study abroad experience through photos with the greater campus community!

For my study abroad experience, I took a short three-week trip to England last summer through a course offered by the college on Shakespeare. It was an amazing experience, and I believe that Saint Mike's is planning to offer it again for anyone interested! It was taught by Professor Clary in the English Department for those interested.

So of course I decided to submit a few photos to the competition. Fingers crossed. Take a look!

This is a window in a crypt under St. Edmund's Hall at the University of Oxford. It was a surreal experience to be in there because it's not open to the public very often!

Believe it or not, I actually experienced more good weather than bad when I was in England, which led to this amazing shot of the London Eye!

This is a picture of Wroxton College, the school I stayed at during my time in England. It was a giant castle that was so much fun to explore and call home.
Although the deadline for this year's Global Eyes competition has already passed, it's a good thing to keep in mind for next year! If you want to know more about it, click here. Also, I would highly recommend studying abroad in England. The locals were always friendly and it was better than I could've imagined before going there.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Senior Seminar Adventures.

Hey everyone! I hope you've been getting through this ridiculous cold weather and staying warm. I'm definitely ready for winter to be over.

But anyway, onto other stuff - so I realized that I've neglected to tell you all about how my senior seminar project is going now that it's the semester that I'm going to see the finished product. My partner Tara Keady and I are writing about perceptions of gender and sexuality on a global scale through various subtopics such as law, gayborhoods, travel, and the military. So far it's been such a rewarding and informative experience! We're in the stages right now where we're finishing up interviews, putting down our ideas for how we're going to break the book up, and then we're going to start writing in just a couple of weeks!

I think the most interesting part of this project so far has been how social media has had such a huge impact on it. Seriously, I don't think we would be able to do a project like this if social media didn't exist. It's been paramount in landing us interviews with people from other countries, such as England, Spain, and South Africa, and I think the global perspective on this project is what makes it so intriguing. For example, do you think that the U.S. is the most accepting country of LGBTQ people? Think again - it's actually Spain!



These are a couple of the visual graphs Tara and I made for the book - we got feedback from some of our classmates that these would be some of the figures they would be interested in seeing in our book. Our working title is Glorious Gray: Finding Your Color in A Black and White World. We're even planning out trips to New York City and Provincetown in Massachusetts to compare the gay cultures and gayborhoods there. I'm so pumped!

I'll keep you all posted as it's coming along - the finished product will be done by April 1st! In the mean time, I'd love to hear what any of you think about it in terms of what you'd be interested in seeing, pictures, graphs, etc. All suggestions are welcome!

Friday, February 6, 2015

New Project!

So I know I've been MIA for the past few days (I actually don't know how long it's been since the last time I posted, but I don't think it's been longer than a week...let's hope). Anyway, things are moving quickly as usual and I got an interesting offer to do a project for Saint Michael's that will hopefully last for years to come, so I figured now was the time to tell you all about it...

I'm going to be making a video for the college about the MOVE program!

For those of you who don't know what the MOVE program is, it stands for the Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts, and it covers everything from extended service on a volunteer basis for students over breaks to working with youth. Events are happening all the time throughout the year through MOVE, and I think it's awesome that the school reached out to me and asked me to put a video together for it for future students to see!

Students volunteering! Photo courtesy of Saint Michael's College.

There's always little kids running around campus, and that's because of the awesome students that volunteer to work with them! Photo courtesy of Saint Michael's College.
I should be recording and taking photographs of my first event within the next week or two, and the video should be done around June. Keep your eyes peeled for it!

In the mean time, if you want to check out more about the MOVE program, click here!

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.