Monday, December 19, 2011

'Tis the Season: Final Grades, Christmas Tree Decorations, and the DMV

Enjoy this Storify! Have questions?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

SMC Tradition: The Alliot Cup Drop

This the second of many SMC Traditions (or quirks, if you prefer.) If you missed the first, read SMC Tradition: The Alliot Crush.

The Alliot Cup Drop is a phenomenon that starts when a plastic Alliot cup drops to floor, piercing the ears of all the diners. (Alliot Hall is where the Green Mountain Dining Hall is located. Students simply refer to the dining hall as Alliot. Pronounced: Al - ee - oh) The important part comes next. Someone else must intentionally drop their cup next and start the chain. Now, these things can go either. Sometimes there will be 5 cups and then it will fizzle out. Sometimes they are truely epic. The best ones are generally during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.

According to the "Alliot Cup Drop Makes Me Smile" group on Facebook, the rules of an official cup drop are as follows:

1. One cannot pick up their cup just to drop it again.
2. It needs to be accidental.
3. Make sure cup is empty for best performance.
4. Dishes do not count as a cup drop.
5. It's called a cup drop for a reason. (NOT a cup throw)
6. Try and spread out frequency of cup drops rather than all at once. This will maintain a long cup drop.

The Alliot Cup Drop isn't rare, but a long and steady one is worth savoring. Don't be afraid to participate. Just remember to make sure your cup is empty! (A side effect of the cup drop is the sudden need to chug your full glass of juice, water, soda, ect.) Also, don't forget to retrieve your cup off the floor. Be respectful :)

Questions? Ask me on VYou! You can do it anonymously and nothing is off-limits.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

SMC Tradition: The Alliot Crush

We all have them. The cute guy you see as you walk to class everyday, but don't actually know. The girl who always has coffee and studies at the same table everyday. They are crushes.

Here at SMC, we take these crushes pretty seriously. The must-have crush at St. Mike's is the Alliot Crush. (Please enjoy David Archuleta singing "Crush" while you read this post. See video to the right.) You may be thinking "Now, that is just silly." Well, you will understand when you get here. Surprisingly enough, Alliot crushes end up together. My roommate, Maria, was her boyfriend's Alliot crush until he asked her out last year. (Oh, true love.)

The Alliot Crush is generally someone you see everyday at a meal because your schedules overlap. They generally have a weird name because you don't know their actual name. You will probably learn their name soon. (SMC is a small community.) However, you will continue to call them by their nickname because you have to speak in code. (Girls, am I right?)

I asked around via Twitter and Facebook to find out what students look for in an Alliot Crush? Sharon Rhodes, Class of '15, gave the best answer:

Someone who's tastier to look at than the Alliot food.
Alliot crushes are such a big deal here that there is a Formspring account dedicated to students professing their "love" anonymously. Here are some examples:

Anonymous: Don't know your name but I've seen you twice in Alliot with bright red Burton jacket and white ski pants. You've totally got that tall, dark, and handsome look going.

Anonymous: Tom Ward, the only thing sexier than your voice is you.
(Side note: Tom Ward in our resident British basketball player.)

Anonymous: To the guys who gave me their change in the Cashman laundry room, thank you for helping me free my skittles. :] It totally made my night to see people so kind!

This is one of many SMC traditions that I want to share with you. Who will your Alliot crush be?
Have questions for me? Ask me on VYou! (You can ask anonymously!)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

4 Reasons to be a Digital Arts and Media Studies Major

9 times out of 10 when I say I am a journalism major to a stranger, they say "Oh, there is no money in that." True. Journalists don't live a glamorous lifestyle unless, perhaps, you are host of Good Morning America. (I'm not giving up on that dream.) Here at SMC being a journalism major is about learning so much more that how to write a story in inverted pyramid.

In fact, when the academic system here switched from mixed credits to the 4x4 system, the name of the major changed to Digital Arts and Media Studies with the optional emphasis in journalism. When I tell people I am a Digital Arts and Media Studies major, I generally get more approving head nods. Plus, I believe it more accuratley describes the major which incorporates web design, the study of technology's influence on society, print writing, video editing, and photography, just to name a few. If that isn't enough to convince you to declare, here are 5 reasons to be a Digital Arts and Media Studies major:

1) Developed writing skills.

Writing skills are invaluable. I would argue that the ability to write concisely is equally as important. People don't have the attention span for long stories and speeches. In the MJD program, you learn to say the best ways to express a story in writing (or video).

2) More than just writing news stories.

Interested in photography? Take photojournalism. Interested in being an anchor? Take Acting for the Camera. Interested in designing websites and animations? Digital Arts 2 is for you! This major provides you with so many skills!

3) The professors.

Traci Griffith + Class
 Have you met Tarah? She came to Saint Mike's all the way from Switzerland after sitting in on a class with Traci Griffith. David Mindich is my advisor and my Media and American Politics professor. While sometimes I strongly dislike the professors for assigning all their projects at once, they have been so good to me over the past three years. They have worked my my ski schedule. They have answered all my questions. They have made the MJD experience really fulfilling.

4) The students.

As I sat in the lab yesterday, I ran into so many friends. I supposed when you all live half your college career in a building, you really have something to bond over. If you are sitting in one of Bergeron's two computer labs, you can look over your shoulder and ask for help with a program. Chances are someone knows how to do it. Of course, that generally starts a conversation about something else entirely. The point is that we are all in this together and we help each other. The friends I have made in this department are sometimes the only people who understand why I spend hours in a computer lab or talking to strangers for a story.

Have questions about the department? Feel free to ask me here:


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tips for Working on Group Projects

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges in college classes is group projects. It can be even harder if you can't pick your group members and get stuck with students with varying work ethics and schedules. Unfortunately, it something that you have to deal with in college and in career. I am here to offer a few tips on getting through group projects and scoring an A!

1) Start early.

If you have 2 weeks to complete a project, chat with your group right after class and determine the times that work for all of you. Meet at your earliest convenience to pick a topic, create an outline, and divide the work.

2) Divide the work evenly.

If you are like me, you want everything to be perfect and the idea of leaving someone else alone to complete a segment of the project is terrifying. It has to be done, though. Tackling an entire project solo will put to much on your plate. If you have four people in a group, divide your outline into four sections and have each person tackle the research for that section. At that time, schedule your next meeting to start that writing. (In most my classes, presentations include a paper.)

3) Take charge when necessary.

I am sure this has to do with my type A personality, but as I have told my friend, blogger-buddy, and first choice for group project partner, Liz Murray, "I just tell people what to do." Now, that sounds a little aggressive. I do have an idea behind it. At some point during a project, you may find that the group needs direction and organization. You may need to be that person. Don't be over bearing, but be the person that reminds the group of meetings or organizes tasks at the meetings. For example, assign 2 people the task of editing the paper and have 2 people work on the presentation. You don't need to do EVERYTHING, but make sure everyone is doing something productive.

4) Do the best you can with your section.

There is only so much you can control and people are particularly hard to control. At the end of the day, if you have put your best foot forward for the group and have your section of the project at A+ quality, it will be obvious to the professor. You will be able to confidently address the class while the less motivated group members may stumble. I have found that professors are generally fair and they don't ignore what they know about vs. what they know about your group members.

So, good luck! Remember, keep calm and carry on!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Christmas Party

Student Volunteers + Allison Sherman, Alumni Office
'Tis the season of final projects and holiday parties! I've decided not to focus this post on the stress of my week including extra AcaBellas rehearsals, Media Law group projects, and ski team workouts. Instead of stress, I am going to focus on the Alumni, Faculty, and Staff Christmas Party!

My Wreath
This event is put on by the Alumni Office with the assistance of Mike J, the Alumni Coordinator for the Founder's Society. This event wouldn't be possible without student volunteers, all of which were Founder's Society members.  Students were from all class years and surprisingly, there was a great mix of both genders. Usually there are more girls than guys.

Students were assigned different craft stations like face-painting, Santa pictures, and wreath making. The idea is that the students would man the stations assisting the kids of the alumni, faculty, and staff with the projects. As a coordinator, I moved from station to station assisting when I could and of course, taking pictures to tweet about the occasion. :)

The best part about the part was making decorations. Obviously, I am artistically gifted, so I made the wreath pictured to the right. Our common room was lacking in Christmas decorations, so I took it upon myself to make several decorations and ornaments to hang on our Angry Bird Tree. Now, our common room is much more Christmasy.

The christmas party was bumpin'!
For the kids, I am sure the highlight of the day was Santa's arrival. Santa listened to all the kids. Requests included cell phones and veterinarian kits. Guess whose kid was there? Traci Griffith, my Media Law professor. She totally rocks! I don't even think it is weird seeing professors outside of class any more. It's just my life. Also, Traci is just hysterical. Her son was wearing reindeer antlers, so when we looked for him, we would just look for antlers.

'Twas a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon and forget about all the things I have to do in the next week. Don't forget, we have the final KnightChat of the semester this Tuesday, Dec 6th from 7:30 pm to 9 pm!

Friday, November 25, 2011

A @SMCAlpineSki Thanksgiving

I feel I should start this post with a disclaimer: This Thanksgiving and Ski Team Camp is atypical of most years.

That being said it's been a great 3 days! Since the dining hall closes for the Thanksgiving break, I had/got to go grocery shopping and prepare to cook for a few days. I invested in my usuals: ravioli, soup, hummus, crackers, cranberry juice, eggs, and bacon. When I was done with the shopping, I picked up my teammate Shannon (meet her in the video to the below) for dinner at Don Pedros, a new Mexican food restaurant in Winooski Circle near Tiny Thai. Shannon and I were very happy with the food there. (We are both particularly spoiled in terms of great Mexican food because we are from California.) I had a California burrito with carnitas, refried beans, guacamole and sour cream! Yum :)

The next day, we woke up for opening day at Stowe Mountain Resort. As I posted on Facebook, "Nothing like the first day back on snow to make a girl feel really out of shape." It was wonderful to get back out there with Head Coach Gus, Heidi, Nate, and Shannon. We spent the morning simply getting back on our feet. For me, it was 8 months off snow and it took me all morning to get comfortable again.

Thanksgiving day was no different! The gang headed up to Stowe for a more time on the Forerunner quad. Let me tell you, that is one LONG run. My legs were pretty beat from day one and Gus had us doing one ski drills, so it was... interesting? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right? Sarcasm aside, one-skiing does do wonders for my balance and it makes two skis seem like a breeze. For Thanksgiving dinner, Heidi, Shannon, Gus, and I headed to Suzanne's B&B in Cambridge, VT. Gus is good friends with Dale and Suzanne and they were kind enough to include us in their family festivities! We really can't thank them enough for feeding us amazing turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and all the other Thanksgiving staples.
Gus and Heidi at Stowe

Today we got lucky with some gorgeous weather. The sun was shining and temperatures were warm. So warm, in fact, that I skied in my fleece most the morning and the snow was pretty slushy. It was almost most like being back home in Tahoe. Gus had the group (Shannon, Heidi, Nate, Kevin, and I) doing one-ski and no poles skiing. I always feel ridiculous doing that especially on my right leg because I suddenly think that trying to swim with my arms is going to make it easier to turn. It doesn't Never has. Never will. Of course, when we got to put our other ski back on, I felt like a total champ. :)

I hope you all had a very happy Thanksgiving and an excellent start to the holiday season!

Have questions about SMC? Ask anonymously on Formspring! 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

Keeping Busy In College - Exams, Meetings, and My Movie Debut

I like to be busy. It makes me use my time well. I like having places to go and people to see. It certainly makes me appreciate my bed at the end of the day. This past week was on steroids. With only 3 weeks left in the semester, final projects are creeping up as well exams, final concerts, and end of semester meetings. The pre-Thanksgiving week is usually particularly busy.

Behold my planner (left). My week included Obscenity Day in my Media Law class, photos for Student Spotlight on the new SMC website (to be launched in late January), a trip to Williston, an arraignment, a Founder's Society meeting, a KnightChat (attend our last one of the semester on December 6th at 7:30 pm), and filming for the new SMC Admissions Housing video.

Yup, we look awesome!

 Due to the recent changes in the tour route--tour guides no longer show dorm rooms-- the Admissions office is creating a housing video that displays all the different housing available on campus. I was asked to be a host along with a freshman named Peyton (We will most certainly be receiving Oscar nominations). We did all of the filming on Friday, starting at 6:45 am outside the First-Year quad where the new Student Activities Center will be built. My only non-filming times were from 10 am to 12 pm when I was in class.  I am happy to say that the skills I learned in Acting for the Camera last semester came in handy.

The housing videos will feature first-year dorms, suites, and townhouses so that prospective students and parents can get a feel for residential life through the entire college experience. I really enjoyed the opportunity to work on this video with Peyton and the SMC Admissions crew. Later that night, I joined the AcaBellas to sing the National Anthem at the Men's Basketball game in Ross Sports Center. The Acabellas are working  on a lot of new music for our semester-end concert on December 9th. Did I tell you I got the solo for King of Anything by Sara Bareilles? I am so excited about it :D! We are also learning Don't Speak by No Doubt and will hopefully learn a plethora of Christmas Carols!

As for my weekend, it was relatively relaxing. I have been writing a paper for Media Law as well as a profile for the New Yorker (The class, not the actual magazine... yet.). I have had lots of sleep which is obviously important. Now I am back the the grind until Thanksgiving break starts on Tuesday afternoon! Woot Woot! Have questions about SMC? Ask me here. Talk to you all soon!


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My First FOIA Request and Arraignment

 As part of my Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age course, we are asked to write a paper on our experience attending a meeting that is protected under the Sunshine Act (every portion of every meeting of an agency shall be open to public observation) and make 2 FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests. I am currently through the 2 FOIA requests:

  1. Retrieve information on a home in Williston.
  2. Attend an arraignment and retrieve the public files.
So, yesterday I went to the Williston Town Hall Clerk's office to get the housing information. Turns out you need to go to the assessor's office for that info. Did I mention that while the Town Clerk is there until 5 pm, the Assessor's office is only open from 9 am - 1 pm? Needless to say, that trip was a bust.

Today, I attended an arraignment with Liz and Pete. I should say we attended 4 or 5 arraignments. Arraignments are really quick and there were 5 in about 20 minutes. There were no serious crimes; the worst offender sold alcohol to minors. The most interesting thing I witnessed was the Waiver of Counsel form that two defendants signed. This means that they waived their right to representation and chose to represent themselves; Neither of them had previous experience with law. After the arraignment, I walked over the the Court Clerk desk to retrieve the public file on one of the cases. I chose a case of an young girl charged with underage drinking. It was a small file and in all honesty, I have yet to look through it.

If you don't know what an arraignment is, enjoy this clip from Law and Order to the right. While VT court is more mellow, you can get the basic idea. Arraignment is the first time the defendant hears their official charges and enters a plea of "guilty" or "not guilty."

After court, I attended Meteorology before trekking back to Williston to get the housing information. Thank goodness the second time around was a breeze. I walked up to the Assessor's office, a very small room with a computer and a lot of filing cabinets. My address was 29 Read Rd, a home sold Oct. 9, 2011 for $178,000. According to the Assessor's Office, that was about $24,000 less than it was assessed for. It has 5 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms plus and 11' x 28' garage. The real world scenario for this exercise? Someday you will want to place an offer on a home. Get the information on similar houses in the area to get an idea of what they are selling for. Then, you won't overbid! Isn't college practical?

Now, I need to go do more practical college things like get some sleep. Tomorrow is a Student-Blogger/Founder's Society extravaganza.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

You Are What You Tweet (Especially to Employers)

Sitting in the library considering the pros and cons of studying for tomorrow’s exam, you decide a more pressing matter is updating your Facebook status. Maybe you are the music-lyrics type or maybe bitch-and-moan is more your style, but either way, it’s more important than your exam. If you are one of the over 145 million people on Twitter, nothing is better than a tweet about your recent move to the library with the #collegeproblems hashtag. Oh, and you can now use that hashtag on Google+, so you share your predicament with over 10 million people there.
            What you may not be considering in this seemingly harmless rampage through the Internet is the effect it could have on your job search. Beware that a search engine’s usefulness can fuel your academic research just as well as it can fuel a potential employer’s research on you. In fact, while I went through the process of finding an intern to fill my position for the Fall semester, I used social media to get a better look at the applicants. Taking into account the type of company I was working at – no visible tattoos at the office – I had to eliminate two candidates before scheduling interviews. I also eliminated a candidate based on scantily clad photos posted to a public Twitter feed.
            A recent article on cited a study by Reepler and Lab42, which talked to 300 random individuals involved in the hiring process of a company. “A massive 91% of the employers polled use social networking sites to screen prospective employees,” the article states. 69% of the people surveyed say they rejected a candidate due to things they saw on a social media platform.
            Don’t worry. All hope for your future career in the uptight, Gucci-wearing, office setting is not lost. 68% of people in the Reepler and Lab42 study say they have hired someone because of what they saw about them on social media sites. When asked why, they said the following: 39% thought it “gave a positive impression of their personality and organizational fit,” and 33% believed the profiles showed good communication skills.
Now is the time to start covering your bases. Don’t have a Linkedin account? Sign up. It is the social network for professionals and allows you to display your resume, recommendations and updates all in one location. Think your Facebook profile photo is giving off the college-party-kid vibe? Pick a simple headshot to replace it and then make your profile visible to friends only. Wondering whether the tweet you wrote in the 300’s field on Saturday is sending the right message? Start using your Twitter to boost your image by sharing articles of interest, communicating with people within your industry, and using proper grammar. Remember, you are what you tweet, so make yourself look good!
 An Op-Ed I recently submitted to the SMC Defender.

Friday, November 4, 2011

@SMCvtAlumni Career Symposium 2011

Today was a day for considering the future. I'm sure that isn't nearly as nerve-wracking for me as it may be for some seniors, but it was intimidating nonetheless. Here is the schedule of events:
Diane Darling

Diane Darling – Networking
4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m.
Life After St. Mike’s and Internship Information
5:15 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Industry Panels
6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m.
6:50 p.m. - 7:35 p.m.
Networking for All Attendees
7:35p.m. - 8:15 p.m.

Diane Darling is an expert on networking. Her presentation was a great start to a networking event because she talked us through "How to Walk Through a Networking Event." My three big take aways:
  1. My hand shake is a little aggressive.
  2. Don't be afraid to approach 'big wigs.'
  3. Using "Tell me about..." is a great way to start a conversation with a new person. People love to talk about themselves.
After her presentation, current SMC students doing internships and alumni of the school talked to us about their experiences and life after SMC. Because I have done an internship, none of the intern experiences were particularly new to me. However, I found the Alumni stories interesting especially those who had internships turn into full-time positions.

The part I was particularly interested in was the panel discussion for Sales and Marketing. (Other panels included Science and Engineering, Not for Profit, and Human Resources amongst others.) Sales and Marketing featured 3 female SMC alumni: Kara Cleaver, CEO of Influency Group in Texas, Carol Bullock, the VP of Sales with Dolce Hotels and Resorts, and Deborah Ryan, the Marketing Director of Harvard Business School Executive Education. They all shared their stories about life in the world of marketing and answered my questions about what I should know going into an interview, particularly if it is for an online marketing position. Their answers in a nutshell?
  1. Know the platforms and how to use them.
  2. Know how to read and understand analytics, as well as their correlation to sales.
I am sad to say that I missed the networking session after the panels. My head was pounding and I had to get some Advil. (Not before getting some business cards, however.) All I can say is THANK YOU. Thank you to the Alumni Board, the Office of Career Development, the Internship Office, and the Alumni Office. The event went off fantastically. 

Questions about Career and Internship resources here? Get in touch: or


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Class Registration #4 - Goals and a Plan

  1. Take Global Communications. This is my last MJD requirement aside from Senior Seminar.
  2. Have no classes on Friday. All of the NCAA races take place on Friday and Saturday.
  3. Take interesting classes that allow me to train with the ski team everyday. I still have to take 16 credits to be on track to graduate, so I need to pick 3 interesting class.
The Plan:
  1. Wake up at 6:45 am and make coffee.
  2. Open KnightVision and make sure my classes are in queue. (Check out my post: How to Use KnightVision)
  3. Register for classes promptly at 7 am.  (Tip: When you register, give yourself about 10 seconds before clicking 'Register.' It would be annoying to hit register and see 'Registration is not open.')
  4. Go back to bed for an hour in a state of bliss because I don't have any classes on Monday or Friday! Here is the schedule I want:

No class!


1:10 - 2:40 pm - MJD-205: Global Communications w/ Professor Jon Hyde

In this course we will be mapping-out world communication and the cross-cultural outlines of our so-called "global village." We will take a macro-look at the rise of international communication systems and the development of this thing we call "global culture." We will examine a series of case studies which reflect the ways in which media techniques and technologies-computers, satellites, the news, language, digital imaging, fiber optics-impact national and cultural development among different populations around the world. Finally, we will take a critical look at the future-the future of global mass audiences; issues of inter-and-cross cultural media ethics, privacy, global policy, and intersections between science and science fiction.

2:50 - 4:10 pm - GS-230: Gender Issues in Society

Explores the significance and intelligibility of gender by examining, from an interdisciplinary and global perspective, how gender differentiation is experienced, understood, expressed, valued, and lived out in cultures.

6:30 - 9:20 pm - MJD-210: Photojournalism w/ Adjunct Professor from Champlain College

This digital-based photography course introduces students to the skills, theory and ethics of newspaper, magazine and Web-based photojournalism. Through in-class discussions and hands-on demonstrations, students learn manual camera techniques, and image editing using Photoshop software. Analyses of historical and contemporary photographic work help students apply techniques and theory to create storytelling photographs suitable for publication.


6 - 9 pm - AR-205: Drawing 1: Portraits w/ Professor M. Brandt 

Students will develop skills in mark making, formal visual principles, and abstract thought through assignments that survey different approaches to Drawing.


Repeat Tuesday without Photojournalism


No class!

That's the nice part of college. A flexibility to pick your schedule. You can choose all morning classes or no classes before 10 am. While there is no guarantee in registration, I've been very lucky so far and I hope that keeps up! Now, I am off to Media and American Politics.
Questions for me? Ask anonymously on Formspring!


Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year At #smcvt

You might be thinking: "Gabbi, you have your seasons confused." To which I'd say "Nee" (Nee is No in Dutch. I can also count to twenty! A benefit of Ambassador housing.) Halloween is my favorite on-campus holiday.

Let me break it down.

Friday Afternoon

At 3 pm Friday, some members of the Alpine Ski Team - men and women - headed to Colchester Paintball for some well-deserved stress relief.

I hadn't been paintballing before so I had mixed feelings anxiety and excitement. I think that is justified. First, you are getting pelted with paint balls. (I have some great war wounds.) Second, guys can be wicked aggressive and I think skiers have more aggression than most.

We paid $35 for 500 paintballs and played until we ran out. It took us two hours to run out, which was the perfect amount of time. We played on several courses including Trees and the Village. Trees was hard because you are in a field of Christmas trees and to see you have to look at the base of the trees.

I would definitely go again. It's really close to campus and if you go with the right group it is really fun.

Saturday - Day Time

I woke up and drank a lot of coffee as per usual. I'm a zombie if I don't just start my day with coffee. After I had a Dark Magic from my Keurig, Fleur and I went to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast sandwiches. Normally, I would go to 11 o'clock brunch in Alliot, but that would've meant waking up earlier to get dressed and look "normal" for my 12:30 pm tour.

This time of year is especially fun for tour guiding because people are really narrowing down their applications or some have already applied and already love St. Mike's! I was lucky because I had a tour that asked a lot of questions. After my tour, I was told that a family arrived and missed the tours that went out at 12:30, so I gave another tour. Single family tours are really nice because you can have a great conversation with the families and really get to know them. On this tour, I found that the student and I had a lot in common and therefore I felt like I could really recommend some fun classes for her.

Saturday - Night

The rule of thumb at SMC is: When it's dark, it is acceptable to be in costume. That's in reference to Halloweekend, of course. (Although, if you want to dress up every night, more power to you.)

Maria and I
Saturday night is the night of the Halloween dance, so its the night that people really go all out with their costumes. My roommate, Maria and I were Moulin Rouge dancers. We curled our hair which took 4 and half hours total with a half hour Wings Over break. Then, of course, we had to get in our corsets and do our make-up. It was a good thing the dance didn't start until 10 pm.

Yup, we matched and we looked awesome. I had some giant feathers in my hair, which Maria's boyfriend cut off in the photo. (Gosh darn it, Kyle)

My friends were a lot of different things this year:

Fleur - Nurse
Sarah - Masquerade
Kate - Vampire
Teresa - Pirate
Kyle - Lt. Dangle of Reno 911
Joe - Caveman

Of course, we all had a amazing time and this morning we are back in true form: college students. On my list today? Op-Ed revisions, a response for The New Yorker, and Media Law reading.

Questions? Ask away!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Study Tips for College

In the past few weeks, I have taken a meteorology exam and a media law exam, which means a lot of study time.

Some students prefer to settle down in the library to get ready for exams. I find the library somewhat distracting because I seem to run into everyone there. Classmates, suite mates, and athletes. Everyone in one place. Understandably, you can get a little distracted by conversations about weekend plans and upcoming events.

My preference is for my desk in my room. I have the space of my own room. I can study in my pajamas. I can listen to my music and I don't have friends walking by all the time. This leads me to my tips for effective studying.

1) Find your happy place. Whether you love the library, Eddie's Lounge, the Colchester Room, or your dorm room, find the place that allows you to focus in on your work. (See a virtual tour of the library to the right)

2) Make a playlist (or wear ear plugs). Don't pick your Friday night playlist to study to. You'll end up singing along and not studying at all. Don't pick your bedtime playlist either. Your chemistry book might actually put your sleep. Many people find that classical music or other music without words is the best way to go because there are no words to sing with. Not a music person? Ear plugs aren't  a bad idea. It helps you to focus in.

3) Acronyms. Now that you are settled in, its time to figure out how to memorize all those facts. This year, I have discovered the miracle of acronyms. Example: SECCA = Statutory, Equity, Common, Constitutional, Administrative (Types of Law) or maybe SPAMAMA = Self-Realization, Prefered Postion Balancing, Ad hoc, Mieklejonian, Access, Marketplace, and Absolutist (Theories on the First Amendment) These acronyms seem silly, but they really work.

4) Rewriting Your Notes. My Spanish teacher in 7th grade always said that writing things was the best way to learn them. I didn't particularly like this teacher and he said some pretty ridiculous things. Every time he said that, we laughed. I now know that this is true. I have found that going through my notes and rewriting/reorganizing them allows me to organize my thoughts in a nice flow. I can visualize the connections and better understand the material. It may seem tedious, but it works. It will also come in handy to have clean notes when it is time to study for the final.

Those are my latest studying recommendations. Have questions? Ask me on VYou. You can ask anonymously and I'll give a video response!


Saturday, October 22, 2011

Balancing on a Tight Rope

Who doesn't like the idea of running away with the circus? A life of travel. A life of performing. A life of freedom.

My talent would be probably be on the trapeze. (In gymnastics, I was always more comfortable doing flips on the trampoline than the spins on the beam.) However, for the purposes of this blog, let's pretend my balance is really something to write home about.

College is like balancing on a tight rope. Imagine you are thousands of feet in the air, one for every dollar you spend on tuition. and you are carrying a bar. (See photo) The weights on each side of the bar need to be balanced in order stay safely on the wire.

You may have a little more wiggle room in college than a thin wire, but the point remains: Students struggle to maintain a balance between academics, athletics, extracurricular, and social lives. We walk the line between boredom and overly involved. We say "I have three hours on Wednesday, maybe I should sign up to volunteer." Half-way through the semester, we realize that while we love volunteering, we need those 3 extra hours for studying, projects, and a nap.

I've been there. I am there. I walk the line. (Spotted: Johnny Cash reference.)

I've been asked on numerous occasions: How do you do it? Why do you do it?

Good questions. The truth is that I don't have a definite answer. I like to think that I have a good self-control and time management. The truth is I am just as prone to get distracted by Facebook and Twitter as everyone else. I am equally as prone to getting sucked into a conversation with my suite mates and avoiding some reading. I believe that trick is using the hour that I can sit and focus to really bust out some work. The work doesn't take too long if I do it distraction free.

From DePaul DeBlogs
The other savior is my planner. It sounds cliched and so easy, but when it comes to scheduling there is nothing better. For really important events like AcaBellas performances and special tour times, I set alarms on my phone that alert me an hour before the event.  Planners let you layout a schedule and also physically cross things off the to-do list. (I recommend crossing out using red pen. It's really satisfying.)

Of course, you can't cross 'have a life' off your to-do list. I'd argue that 'having a life' is one of the most important parts of college. Having a friends  gives you people to talk through your struggles and triumphs with. They are often going through similar stresses or can give advice on handling awkward social situations. If you are a girl, you know there is nothing like a good boy-talk with your closest friends. Some days you just need those. Always make time for your friends whether its a meal or a shopping outing. Make the time.

I can't say it enough. Organization is key.
Have questions about walking the line?


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Journalism Students in the News

If you have been reading Tarah, Liz, or my blog, then you know that we recently trekked to New Hampshire to get immersed in the world of political campaigning. Our group of about 60 got media coverage, mainly for the "controversial" questions we asked of Romney, a Republican presidential candidate. However, this particular article was simply highlighting our trip and three journalism majors were on the other end of the tape recorder. The full article is featured below!


Election 2012: From the classroom to the campaign
By:  Jordan J Fraiser, a Collegiate Correspondent for USA Today

Every four years the presidential campaign cycle converges with campaign operations and front-porch politicking.

The media, ranging from local newspapers to national television, goes along for the ride, highlighting the interdependent relationship between politics and journalists.

It’s the perfect atmosphere for college students studying political journalism and an opportunity to get out of their lecture chairs and take-in the process.

And that is exactly what is happening right now at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Every four years the college offers Media and American Politics, a class that coincides with presidential elections. The highlight for students is a two-day trip to New Hampshire to see behind the headlines and sound bites and look at both the candidates and media with their own eyes.

As part of this year’s trip, the students made some of their own headlines.

Media outlets characterized the students visit to a Mitt Romney town hall event in Hopkinton, where they peppered the candidate with social-issue questions, by reporting headlines such as, “Romney badgered on same-sex marriage questions” and “Romney avoids reporters, but not tough questions.”
“I think we were really just asking the questions he didn’t want to answer,” Elizabeth Murray, a junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major at Saint Michael’s, said.

Murray said Romney told the audience the ideal climate for children is a home with one man and one woman. She said the students weren’t happy with some of those answers because they wanted to know more reasoning behind his thoughts, not just his positions.

“When you know why a candidate feels the way he does, it’s easier to get to know them,” Murray added.

In addition to the Romney event, students also attended a Jon Huntsman campaign stop in Tilton, where they also pitched social-issue questions.

The Media and American Politics students were not the only Saint Michael’s students on the trip. Their fellow travelers were students with the Student Global AIDS Campaign who went with the purpose of advancing their cause.

Junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major Gabrielle Hall said there was a clear division on the trip between the activist students wanting to bring attention to their cause and the media politics students looking to get first-hand experience with the election process.

As part of the trip, students also visited with reporters to discuss campaign coverage and spoke with an online editor of the Concord Monitor about how social media and online news impact election reporting.

On the second day of the trip, students attended a debate and had quick encounters with candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Huntsman.

Hall said she was surprised when meeting Bachmann because she found the candidate short in height. She said in class they had discussed how taller candidates often have an advantage and she thought about that upon meeting them.

Furthermore, Hall said when Huntsman approached the group after the debate he referenced some of the students social-issue questions from the day before. She said it was interesting to see questions they asked stick with a candidate.

For Tarah Srethwatanakul, a foreign student with Thai and Swiss citizenship, the experience of observing her first American election was something quite memorable.

“I feel like this type of campaign is really unique to America,” she said of the United State’s emphasis on candidates as people, something she hasn’t seen in elections overseas.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grocery Shopping 101 for the College Student

Most of us eat in the dining hall. It's convenient. Grab and go. No dishes. No mess. No cooking. However, this can also mean minimal variety and a lot of pizza and pasta if you are in the midst of midterms and an athletic season. Sometimes being busy doesn't fuel culinary creativity. This particular weekend at Saint Michael's College is a 4 day weekend and therefore, dining hall hours are minimal. This was the perfect weekend to be more domestic and grocery shop and cook. In the suites, we have access to kitchens on each floor so it was time to make use of the facilities. I have compiled a few ideas for shopping on a budget and getting only whats on your list (hopefully).

1) Make a list.

Make a list of the essentials and buy items that can be multi-purpose. For example, on my list was cheddar cheese, bacon, and tomatoes. For dinner last night, I made a grilled bacon, tomato, and cheese sandwich. This morning, I made an omlette with pesto (left over from a pasta night), tomato, bacon, and cheddar cheese. The list also keeps you focused in the store. You know exactly what you are getting and then for each item you can take the time to find the lowest priced item.

2) Find the lowest price.

Now that you have your list, you can take the time for each item to find the lowest priced brand. Generally, I'd say it's the store brand. You don't need to buy the Ritz crackers, you can buy the Shaw's brand and save the 30 cents. As you go down the list, that 30 cents will add up. I saved $11 on my shopping trip. Doesn't seem like much? Think of it in terms of a movie ticket or a dinner with friends. It's worth the extra effort to find the lowest prices. Also, adapt. You put frozen dinners on your grocery list and you see that Lean Cuisine pizzas are 4 for $10 while the Hungry Man dinners are 4 dollars a piece. You can save $6 right there by purchasing the Lean Cuisines. (Also, Lean Cuisines are probably better for you.)

3) Get the discount card for your store of choice.

Whether you are Shaw's guy or a Hannaford's girl, get the discount card for that store. I have my Shaw's card and as you walk through the store you'll notice that having the Shaw's card provides additional discounts. I'd also get a Rite-Aid Wellness Card. There is a Rite-Aid down the road from the school and one right off of Church St. With the Wellness Card, you build up points and build up to getting things like 20% off your purchase. It's useful for buying things like shampoo and cleaning supplies. The bottom line is save when you can and where you can.

My final tip is to try to find items that with a long shelf life and don't need to be refrigeration. One of my recently found items was V8 soup. High in vegetable servings (yay healthy!) and doesn't need to be refrigerated. It comes in a box (no need for a can opener!) and it can sit on my counter instead of taking up room in my fridge for butter, milk, and juice.

That's my advice for grocery shopping in college! Have questions? Ask here.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Republican Economic Debate - Dartmouth College (Quick Reflection)

Hi All!

Bachmann and I
The Media and American Politics class just left the watch party for the Economic debate for the Republican candidates! It's late and I'm honestly exhausted, but I wanted to post quickly!

We watched as candidates made jokes about Cain's 999 Plan, claiming it sounds like a pizza price. Obviously a play on Cain's current employment.

Newt Gingrich
We watched the candidates debate where to cut funds and if/how to raise taxes. We laughed, clapped, and booed. Let me tell you THIS has been an eye opening weekend into politics. I'm seeing the system in a new light and am now more aware of the relationship between media and politics.

Before I write my formal post tomorrow, enjoy the photos below of Jon Huntsman, Newt Gingrich, and Michele Bachmann! (Note: I am not affiliated with a political party and have not taken an official position on anyone at this point in time.)

Hope you had a nice Columbus Day!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Work Day with the Ski Team - Cochran's Ski Area

Happy October, Everyone!

Ian '14, JD '12, and Matt '14
Ashley '12, Kelsey '13, and Shannon '14

Hauling wood
Ski team workouts are in full-force now and Gus is doing a great job getting us all into shape. However, last Monday we took a break from the usual dry land to do a work day at Cochran's Ski Area. As you may know, we train at a few locations including Smuggler's Notch, Stowe, and Cochran's. We try to give back to those who are great to us and part of that was assisting in the clearing of brush (or whole trees) in order to create a new ski run!

Gus broke out his chain saw to cut up the wood and Jimmy Cochran (of the US Ski Team), along with other members of the Cochran family, started up the fires to burn the brush. Just consider the afternoon a mix between weight lifting and hiking, with some agility training mixed in as the team maneuvered around the brush.

The team worked for over 2 hours clearing off the top of the run and made some serious progress. They didn't leave the mountain until the sun was down. Just another day in the life of a skier, right?

We were excited, not only to assist with creating a new run, but at the prospect of getting to shred turns on it as soon as possible. We are all wondering: when will the snow fly?

Temperatures are starting to drop here in Vermont, so our fingers our crossed! We hope that you are enjoying that fall and remember to pray for snow!

- Gabbi

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Basics of the New Facebook Profile

Good morning!

It seems that we are hearing about the new Facebook at every corner of the web. Some users, like myself, have been more anxious to experience these improvements and found a loop hole or two to go through. Now, I am going to share some thoughts on the new profiles with you in hopes that it will make your transition to the new (and I think, fantastic) Facebook profile.

(Click photo for larger image)

(Above) Meet the new header for your profile. On the left, you see your profile picture and basic info: job, education, 'lives in', and 'is from.' The most obvious change is the new 'Cover' photo which sits at the top of the profile behind your profile picture. With the new 'subscribe' option for profiles, I am curious to see if the cover will become a location for personal logos, making Facebook more of a personal branding tool. Replacing the "Photos of You" bar at the top of the profile are four boxes: Friends, Photos, Map, and Likes. All the way to the right is the TIMELINE, a year by year breakdown of Facebook activity. The timeline isn't limited to the lifetime of your account.

(Below) Facebook's new timeline will now take you back to when you were BORN. You can even add an adorable baby photo if you are so inclined.

(Click photo for larger image)

Now onto your wall...

(Click photo for larger image)
(Above) The new Facebook has taken on a Tumblr-esque layout. I realize that not ALL Tumblrs are collages. Mine isn't. However, I do see similarities in the calculated chaos of the new timeline. It's never a dull moment when you are scrolling the time line and old embarrassing photos are popping up in either column as you scroll back in time.

(Below) You may have noticed the somewhat new status bar in the upper left corner of the above image. I have zoomed in in the image below. Users have the usual status update options, photo posting and check-ins. However, Facebook may have just become more personal. Click on any of the blue icons and a scroll down menu appears, allowing you to add personal events like 'Got Married' or 'Add a Child.' I am curious whether users will really use these more 'official' life updates or if they will continue to use cliched quotes and music lyrics to talk about their lives.

There you have it. The BASICS of the new Facebook profiles. Like I said earlier, I am sold on it. I think it is a really awesome new look. Have more questions for me? Ask me here!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Start of Fall

The Farm
Hey All,

Quick note to seniors who are making application decisions: If you have any questions as you make your choices, you can ask me here.

It is hard to believe that Fall has arrived for a number of reasons. A) This means that we've been at school for a month. B) It's still in the mid-70 degree range, so it doesn't feel like Fall aside from the changing leaves.

This weekend, my roommates Fleur and Maria, along with her boyfriend, Kyle, went spontaneously apple picking. I've never done that before and neither has my roommate, Fleur. She's from Holland. It's a very Vermont Fall festivity along with leaf peeping.
Fleur, Maria, and Kyle

We paid $5 a bag (I think it was like 8 apples) and it was the perfect amount. We trekked we through the fields and goofed around. There was admittedly some apple throwing. We are a mature bunch. :) After we'd filled our bags, we went off to the farm store to get some apple cider, cider donuts, and an apple pie.

Later that evening my friends and I planned a Sex and the City movie and mocktails night. It was SO much fun! I absolutely adore the series and movies.

All-in-all, we don't have a TON of opportunities to get dressed up, so this was a really fun evening to break out our heels and take the dresses out of the closet. That's Maria and I to the right. We all looked fabulous, if I do say so myself. It was great way to spend a Friday night with friends. Seriously. It's never a dull moment with them. :)

Now the week is starting up again! On the agenda, the ski team is going to Cochran's Ski Area for a work day tomorrow and some new music for AcaBellas. Talk to you all soon!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Why Losing the @SeventeenMag #Freshman15 Competition Was A Great Thing

I think I can guess what you are thinking.

1) Does the #Freshman15 have to do with weight gain?
2) What is the competition all about?
3) When is losing EVER good?


1) No, this contest had nothing to do with weight gain.
2) The @seventeenmag competition is a contest for incoming freshman college students to become bloggers for Seventeen Magazine. They are given the opportunity to blog about their college experience for a very large audience.
3) I believe that all things happen for a reason. In this case, not being chosen for the Top 15 was a great thing.

Let me explain. 

At the end of my senior year of high school, I discovered this contest to be a blogger for Seventeen Magazine. My first thought, "This could get my foot into the door of a major magazine." Generally speaking, I don't go into online contests or sweepstakes with high expectations. Like I said, I believe everything happens for a reason and so I just let things take their course. (That being said I believe that good will come to those who work for it. I don't think I am going to be famous by sitting on a couch with a bag of potato chips.)

In fact, by July of 2009 I had forgotten that I had even entered the contest. Yup, completely slipped my mind. I was in Hawaii with my family for the month and all I was concerned about was whether the surf would be good in the morning, if I would see a see turtle, and the progression of my tan. That's when I received an email that I had made the finals. As I recall, there were about 100 girls on the email list. Yes, there could have been multiple emails, but I figure that there must have been thousands of applicants. The assignment for Round 2? Create a video under 60 sec long telling us why you should be chosen.
Ah yes. That gem to the right is my audition video. Admittedly, I probably could have done it fully clothed, but like I said my only concern was my tan and I was in HAWAII. I don't think I expressed myself as eloquently as I could have, but I was going was 'raw honesty.' Documentary style. :)

Long story short: I lost. Or I didn't get picked. I had temporary "I should have won, I had the most views" moment. (I even shamelessly promoted my video on the SMC Class of 2013 page.) Then, the lovely @MalloryWood asked me if I want to be an SMC Blogger. While SMC Blogs isn't Seventeen Magazine, I saw it as my first opportunity to get involved at SMC. I was in.

This is my third year as an online ambassador and as you may now, I recently took on the role of Online Media and Communications coordinator for the Founder's Society, which means I manage the entire blogger program including faculty, clubs, and the other students. My experience with SMC Bloggers is what landed me a paid-summer internship in Los Angeles. (Blog post to come: Why Not Becoming @CharlieSheen's #tigerbloodintern was a fabulous thing!) The Freshman 15 experience, while I'm sure beneficial, probably wouldn't have turned into a job that I could hold onto for my college career or teach me the skills to better understand social media, marketing, and leadership. 

That's why losing @SeventeenMags Freshman 15 contest was a great thing!
Questions, comments, concerns? You can ask me anonymously on Formspring!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age

Media Law and Ethics in the Digital Age

Professor: Traci Griffith

Department: Digital Arts, Journalism, and Media Studies

Official Course Description: This course explores the political, historic and philosophical roots of the First Amendment. Particular emphasis is given to the legal and ethical problems of the new communications technologies; other topics include libel, privacy, obscenity, news gathering, copyright, and the free press/fair trial dilemma. The class also provides insights into how th legal process works and an understanding of the principles and philosophies that underlie the restraints on and privileges of the media. After analyzing what the law says journalists can do, the course moves into the ethical component of what the should do. Using basic philosophical theories, students analyze ethical dilemmas through the use of case studies. Using multimedia, guest speakers and current events the course considers media law and ethics and its impact of journalists' ability to fulfill the historic function of the press to inform the public.

My Added Fun Facts:

  1. Professor Griffith has worked as a journalist and went to law school at Notre Dame.
  2. Professor Griffith's class is very entertaining considering it is a law class. I find it fascinating and there is lively discussion through the hour and a half.
  3. One day of the semester is know as Obscenity Day. Every student is required to bring in something that is considered obscene to class and we have a whole day of craziness. Students who are uncomfortable can miss the class, however I won't be missing out on what I am sure will be a bizarre hour and a half.
  4. Professor Griffith has notoriously difficult exams. The kind of exam that seniors talk about to scare freshman journalism majors. I am very nervous for the class, but I do love the topic and I hope that will allow me to take in the information more easily.
Questions? Ask here: FORMSPRING


Thursday, September 15, 2011

The New Yorker

The New Yorker

Professor: Nat Lewis and Carrey Kaplan

Department: English

Official Course Description: All sections of EN 110 emphasize active engagement in reading and writing. With The New Yorker magazine as our central text, this section will study such literary forms as occasional, persuasive or descriptive exposition, poetry, short fiction, and criticism, with excursions into analysis of humorous writing, cartoons, contemporary culture and relationships between lay-out, format, advertising, and text.

My Added Fun Facts:

  1. This class does not have a syllabus and our text book is The New Yorker magazine to which we get a $15 subscription.
  2. This class is taught by both professors, so some days we meet in small groups and sometimes the two classes meet together.
  3. Kaplan and Lewis could be the funniest professors I have had at Saint Mikes. While the class is wildly entertaining, I also love the great discussions that arise from the reading. Did I mention that we literally just move the desks into a giant circle for class?
  4. This is a 100-level literary studies course and is a great option if long novels or poetry aren't you really your thing. I also think it is a great class for me as a journalism major.
Questions? Ask here: FORMSPRING


Saturday, September 10, 2011

@SaraBareilles and @SugarlandMusic at the Champlain Valley Fair 2011

Every year, the Champlain Valley Fair brings in big names to perform. Recent acts include Justin Beiber, Bruno Mars, and Lady Antebellum. On Sunday night, Sara Bareilles and Sugarland rocked the stage after weather delays due to heavy rain, thunder and lightening.

Braving the elements
I was lucky enough to go because my friend, Jazz, had an extra ticket. We were center stage in the pit and despite that fact that my jeans were soggy and my feet were muddy, I had an AMAZING time. Both of the artists are just phenomenal live. In a world of Ke$has, (Admittedly, I listen to her music, but I don't think her 'singing' is anything to get excited about.) I love to listen to performance by people who can really belt it out. I love to go to a show and leave thinking, 'That was better than the CD.'

That is EXACTLY how Sara Bareilles and Sugarland left me. They also left me surprised. Sara's voice was more 'soul' than I would have imagined. I thought she'd be more 'chirpy.' As for Sugarland, I didn't expect them to be funny, but their stage presence was great. They were funny and moved around and kept the audience engaged. That's something the 'Bellas and I are working on in our performance.

 Don't believe me? Check out the clips below. They are from my iPhone, so don't get to excited about quality :) Enjoy nonetheless!


Thursday, September 8, 2011



Professor: William Karstens

Department: Physics

Official Course Description: This course explores the basic concepts of the physical sciences, which include physics, chemistry, Earth science, and astronomy. A major goal is to provide an understanding and appreciation of the physical phenomena occurring all around us, from our immediate daily lives to the far reaches of the universe. Emphasis is also given to how the physical sciences affect the individual, society, and the environment. This is a lab-oriented course in which students are encouraged to learn by doing.

My Added Fun Facts:

  1. This class takes place twice a week. Two hour long classes + a 2 hour lab.
  2. Karstens uses Tegrity, a system for recording classes and presentations. This enables us to look back on lectures to review.
  3. Karstens encourages collaboration in labs. We have 5 people to a table and we use each other as a resource.
  4. So far, Professor Karstens has done a great job explaining the material in a way that I can understand. Yes, it is just the beginning of the semester and the material will get harder, but for now, I feel on track.
Questions? Ask here: FORMSPRING


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

4-Person Suite 2011

I'll keep the text short on this post. I wanted to give you an inside look at a 4-person suite at St. Mike's. A suite is equipped with 4 single rooms (or 8 single rooms), a bathroom, and a common room. I am part of the Ambassador Program so I live with my friend Maria. (She is a full-time student, but she is actually originally from Columbia.) My two international suite mates for the year are Fleur from Holland and Fumika from Japan. We are all about the same age which is fun and both the girls are very sweet. The Ambassador housing program is a great way to meet people from around the world and it is also an option for getting a suite if you don't have 8 people that want to live together or don't want to single into a suite. Alright, I am done chatting. Check out the videos below for a look at the decor for this year!

Questions? Ask here: FORMSPRING


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