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

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