Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Grogan Christmas

A day late but, MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

I hope everyone is enjoying what time they have off and spending some quality time with there family and friends.  I know I'm having a good break.  Christmas is a nice break from campus life but I miss my friends.

So, what is a Grogan Christmas like?  We are a very crazy bunch, especially when we are all together.  (side note:  If you ask my friends I'm not quiet, ask my family and I'm one of the quiet ones.)  My dad is one of five boys and they have one sister.  I am one of nine first cousins ranging from 16-28.  This year was the first time in awhile that the entire family, minus my uncle serving oversees, was actually in one place.

It was nice to see all my cousins and aunts and uncles together.  However, it was a bit crazy.  If you got out of your chair chances are it was gone when you got back.  With 23 people walking around was a bit hectic too.  We spent the first four hours reminiscing, talking, and laughing.  Then after dinner we all gathered around my grandma's three foot high tree buried in presents and began distributing them.  It became a game of pass the presents (luckily nothing broke).  It was sad to say good-bye but hopefully we will all be together soon!!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Some Firsts...

So during this week of preparation for finals I had some experiences that I were my First.

My very own gingerbread house
  • Last night at LINK I built my very first gingerbread house.  When Lauren, Alex and I were planning our last LINK, we wanted to do something fun.  Alex came up with this great idea and I became super excited!!!  I had never built one and this was the perfect opportunity.

  • Tomorrow I'm taking the bus to the UMall for the very first time.  I was always told how easy it was but never has the occasion to go.  Burlington has so many great stores where I did most of my Christmas shopping.  I figured a Friday afternoon would be the perfect opportunity to go and get some specifics that I couldn't find in Burlington.
The view from my window

  • The first snowfall while I was on campus happened last night.  Now I know this isn't a real first but it was for me this season.  Vermont also got some snow over Thanksgiving break, while I was in New Jersey.  And New Jersey got snow in October, while I was in Vermont.  I loved waking up and seeing everything covered in white.  It reminds me how beautiful everything is.
 
  • This morning was the first time all semester I slept in on a week-day.  It was really nice not having to get up super early and get moving.  I let my alarm go off and I just snuggled under my covers for another half hour.  It felt so refreshing.

I hope you enjoyed my hearing about some of my firsts!! Now on to prepare for my 3 finals next week.  Wish me luck!!

p.s. If you are in the area on Saturday, the Acabellas final concert is at 4 pm in McCarthy, which our very own Student Blog Coordinator, Gabbi Hall will be singing in!!!  Good Luck!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giving Thanks

I've always loved Thanksgiving.  Growing up,  it was the holiday I got to see family and enjoy good company.  I always love seeing family and hearing the stories from the past.

What is really fun is that St. Mike's throws a Thanksgiving Dinner the Thursday before Thanksgiving.  They serve all the normal fixings:  turkey, gravy, mash potatoes, corn, peas, and stuffing.  They serve a ton of different desserts:  pumpkin pie, apple crisp, cheesecake, and moose. 

My over stuffed plate...yum!!
I always am thankful for this delicious dinner.  My family recently started a tradition where we have homemade lasagna and meatballs.  My aunt makes really good lasagna but I do miss the traditional food.  To make up for it my mom made turkey shaped cookies.

Gobble Gobble Gobble
I'm also grateful for this Thanksgiving break because it is the first time in the semester I make it home.  Living about 6 and a half hours away I don't make it home usually for the four day weekends.   I was so grateful to see my parents and sleep in my own bed.  Coming back to St. Mike's was a bit hard but I got to see my friends and hear stories about their trip.  And now I'm refreshed for the two week push before finals!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Luck of the Irish

St. Mike's offers a varieties of clubs on campus, and it is hard to pick which clubs to join and participate in.  Last year I jumped around a bit and figured out where I belonged and what I liked to do.  One club that I learned more about at the end of last year (but wish I had joined at the beginning) was Celtic Knights, the Irish Step dancing group.

The nice thing about Celtic Knights is that you don't have to come with any pervious dancing knowledge.  (I speak from experience).  A friend of mine teaches everyone the steps and helps those who are struggling to learn.  She'll even have an experienced member teach a smaller group some steps.  Everyone is very encouraging and helpful which makes the learning experience more fun.

Over the past couple of weeks we've been working really hard for our first performance.  We performed this past Saturday at the International Festival run by the Diversity Coalition and the Applied Linguistics Department.  There were so many amazing performers and food from all different backgrounds and cultures.  It was exciting that I got to perform for my first time at this amazing event.


Rehearsals leading up to the event were a lot of fun.  Most of us aren't professionals and it was our first time learning Irish StepWe would all meet and work on each of the dances.  If we messed up we would laugh it off and try again. The members who performed last year lead the cheering and encouraged everyone every step of the way.


Performance night was very nerve racking.  I was literally shaking.  As we lined up to walk on stage, a ton of my friends walked by and wished me luck.  It made me even more nervous knowing they were in the audience.  But it the end it was rewarding because I received a ton of hugs and congrats on our performance.

Below is some of our videos of the performances:
video 
The Beginners 3 Hand Reel 
(I'm second from the left)

video
  Walls of Limerick
(I start off as the couple on the far right)

video
Siege of Ennis

video
Bonfire
(I'm on the far left of the circle)


When going to college, it hard to know what to join.  Even after your first-year don't be afraid to join something new.  I know I'm glad I did.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

How to deal with Homesickness

I think one of the hardest things about going to college far away from home would be getting through those phases of homesickness.  I knew I wouldn't be able to go home whenever I would want; I could only go home over the long holidays.  I was worried about missing home and wanting to go home easily. 

Last year, coming in as a first-year I kept myself busy and barely noticed not having my family and friends nearby.  The first time I felt homesick was when I got my concussion.  It happened the weekend after my parents came to visit so I knew I wouldn't see them for awhile.  It started out as this moment when all I wanted to was go home but turned out to be a good thing.  I learned who my friends were and who would be there for me.  I also learned how to get through a difficult situation without my parents holding my hand, which is a hard lesson to learn.

Second semester started off smoothly and I began to make more decisions on my own without calling home and trying to get my parents to make decisions.  It also had me feeling the most homesick at the end of April.  It was the hardest week for me at St. Mike's.  Back home a close family friend died, 2 people went into the hospital, and I pulled my first all nighter.  I couldn't go home and wouldn't be able to until after finals (probably about 4 weeks).  My friends were very supportive and checked in on me every day.  They ate ice cream with me and sat with me if I needed someone to talk to.  They gave me hugs and helped me to smile.  They helped me through my time of need.

This year started off much easier then as a first-year.  I knew I would have friends to turn too if I needed to lean on them.  I had people I could turn too.  If I began to feel homesick I'm able to hang out with friends who I liked, I could call home and talk to them, or I could 

My suggestions for beating the feeling of homesick are:
  • hang out with friends
  • try something new (through the wilderness program, MOVE, or club or activity)
  • call home to say "Hey!"
  • plan an exciting day (like making a trip to the UMall or Burlington)
  • tackle a project you've been trying to get done (like cleaning your room, or scrap booking)
There is so much to do on campus at St. Mike's that you won't want to spend all your time going home (even if you live close to campus).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Stress Relieving Ideas

A couple of stress relieving ideas my friends and I came up with:

Singing and dancing with a friend:  For one the LINK meetings we decided to talk about stress.  At that night Alex and I busted out a song and dance to "Lean on Me" by Bill Withers.  We had so much fun that I was able to go back to my room that night and bust out a paper I had to write.

My friend with the 3-inch heals on. 
She is actually 3-inches shorter than me.
Trying on a pair of really high heals: A friend of mine bout a pair of 3-inch heals.  I'm one of the taller people in my suite and my friend put them one.  She ended up being my height so we joked and played around with the heals for awhile.

Spending an hour alone with nothing to do:  I love relaxing in my room for about an hour in my room or the Chapel without anyone or being productive.  It helps to clear my mind and re-energize my batteries to be productive.  I was lucky enough to have a weekend of this at the beginning of the year through campus ministry which was super relaxing.
Making a inanimate object talk:  One very random thing my friends and I sometimes do is make an inanimate object talk.  The other day I made a pumpkin talk and sing to my friend.  A couple of nights ago I made my rabbit hop in front of my friends door.  I know this may seem a bit weird but my friends and I end up laughing for a while which helps us relax.

Leaving random facebook videos on friend's walls:  Missing my friends from back home, I will leave a random video on their wall which may not be relaxing now but I know it helps them.  And sometimes I will receive one from them and it makes me laugh and I have it for any time I need a laugh.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Time Management

I would have to say my biggest problem this year would be time management.  Last year, I was good about getting all my work done and fitting in all my activities.  I think it helped, especially being away from home, to have a roommate.  Any time I saw her studying, I would feel obligated to study or be productive.  Now having a single in the suites, I don't always have that feeling - I have to make that feeling.

I believe one of the hardest things when coming to college is learning to budget your time.  Living in the dorms, you don't have a parent there making sure you do your work or help you figure out your schedule.  You pretty much decide what you are going to do and when you are going to do it.  Yes, class times and clubs are scheduled, but when you study and how long you study all depends on you.

It felt pretty easy to me last year so I thought it would fall into place quickly.  Unfortunately it did not.  I got my homework done on time and that was my main focus.  I wasn't hanging out with my friends as much because what I didn't take into account was the new routine I had to make with being in leadership roles and upper level classes.  This year I took on a leadership role with VITA and the LEAP retreat team.  I love being apart of these two programs but it is like adding other classes to my schedule, which means more homework.  I don't regret making these choices but it means another schedule to work out.

I finally had to sit down with my list of events.  I made a schedule for myself and now I have specific times for meetings and activities.  I even schedule times for hanging out with my friends.  My suggestion when starting college is to make a schedule for your classes and see where you have free time.  In those time slots think about when you would be most productive:  when you would study, when you would like to hang out with friends, or when a certain club meets.  I find sometimes staying up late one night a week (when I don't have class the next morning) and work until I catch up/get ahead.  All it takes is some time to get used to it.  Once you figure it out you will be able to really enjoy your time in college.

Friday, September 9, 2011

VITA

Tracy, Me, and Katie on the beach!!
One of my favorite groups that I am part of is VITA.  This is my second year part of this wonderful.  Most of my closer friends are also part of this group.  For those of you who don't know what VITA is, it is a group of students who are adamant in their faith and want to deepen it through prayer and discussion.  We run programs throughout the school year.  

Along with two of my good friends, Lauren and Alex, I help run one of the large weekly group meetings called LINKLINK is a group that combines discussion, meditation, music, and prayer to help bridge a gap between out faith lives and our personal lives.  It is a way to find help to bring God into our busy college lives more throughout the week.  LINK is a community, and we are here for one another to talk, learn, and listen.  It does not matter where you are in your spiritual journey; we are all in different places.

Me and Katie Candle Stick Bowling

This summer through VITA I was lucky enough to participate in an Evangelical Retreat on Cape Cod
While there I got to meet many amazing people from other colleges in the area whom helped us come up with ideas for VITA this year.  We also had time to spend on the beach and go candle stick bowling which helped in our bonding experience.  It was my first time candle stick bowling and I loved learning and did pretty well for my first time.
I’m not much of a beach “go-er” but I loved spending time there bonding with everyone and building more lasting memories.  The first day we walked and ended up walking back in the rain, getting drenched :-P The rest of the week we drove ourselves as not to let that happen again.

Our Drenched-ness

One other cool thing about this retreat was we stayed in a house built in 1766.  It was a bit creepy at first because the walls, windows, and floors were slanted but we all grew to love it and didn’t want to leave in the end.  It also had a huge front yard that was large enough to let us have an exciting game of kickball on our last full day there.

I know this week will help me next bring more insights to VITA and I’m so glad I took advantage of this opportunity.  I'm excited for more opportunities like this one to come like the retreat at  Saint Benoit-du-Lac in Quebec this weekend.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Back at SMC!!

Hey All!!!

So it was a very busy and exciting summer but I am glad to be back at St. Mike’s.  I got to see only a small group of my St. Mike’s family this summer and I missed them all so much.  I think the first thing I did when I got back on campus the first thing I did was start looking for friends.  Every time I saw one I basically ran to wherever they were and hugged them.  Most end up doing the same thing.

I ended up back on campus early to help VITA prepare for the year.  It was nice to move in before the rush.  No one was really here yet so my parents could pull right up to the door and we could unload the car easily.  I also had a chance to leave everything in the common room of our suite and bring things in as I unpacked.

I was so happy when my suite mates moved in and couldn’t wait to see them all!!!  We spent one of our first nights playing the board game LIFE.  Another night we just hung around and watched TV.  Tonight we are all planning on going to Sloane for dinner.

I am so excited for this year.  I know it will be great and my friends and I will have a blast.  So far I like my professors and classes and can’t wait to see what this year will bring :-)

I didn't take a picture this year of my car but this is from my first-year and I think it looked pretty much the same.

Friday, May 13, 2011

End of My First Year


So I made it!  I survived my First Year of College.  I’m sitting at home now staring at the piles of boxes from my dorm life trying to figure out what to unpack and what can stay boxed up.

This past week has been probably the most packed with things I had to get done:  studying, packing, and saying goodbyes.  It was one of the saddest times too because I’m not going to see my friends for a couple months, but it will fly by because in the end we exchanged Skype and began to make plans to visit one another.

I did discover some tips for finals week.  One important thing I realized is we need to take time for ourselves and do something stress-free.  St. Mike’s has a stress-free night the Friday before finals which is helpful.  There was music, messages, and henna tattoos (which I got as joke to trick my parents but they didn’t fall for it.)  Another activity my friends and I did was a frosting fight.  It was one of my friend’s birthday and we wanted to have some fun.   
We were covered with frosting when I realize we got locked out of my room and had to find the RA on duty to let me back in.

I was super excited to see my parents on Wednesday after my last final.  They brought me boxes to pack everything up.  My parents took my friends and me out for dinner which was delicious and a nice way to end the year.

On Thursday once all our cars were packed, we said out sad goodbyes and promised to call each other a lot over the summer.  And my friend Aubre and I held that true because once we started unpacking, we Skyped with each other.

Check back!! I’ll update you on my summer and post tips for college :-)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

P-Day

So this past weekend I experienced my first P-Day.  It was super fun!!!  Everyone had so much fun and got some color on their faces.  We lucked out so well with all the rain we’ve been having for it to be such a beautiful day.

Friday night started off P-Day with a BBQ on the 300s Field.  It was super nice to sit out on the grass and enjoy some good food.  After, there was a talent show in McCarthy hosted by the MLK Society which was loads of fun.  I’m so glad my friends and I got there early enough to get seats because people had to sit on the floor.  There were so many wonderful talents and performances that night, I’m so glad we went.  Some of the performers were the Celtic Knights, which is SMC Irish Step Dancing group (I will be joining next year); the Aca Bellas; a friend of mine, Maggie, who sang and came in second; and many more wonderful performers.

I woke up kind of early on Saturday because I was excited for the Tricycle Race!!!  I had won a trike at the Quad BBQ for freshmen on Thursday nights so I entered a team.  My team ended up losing miserably but we had so much fun doing it!!

Gearing Up for the Trike Race!!
One of my teammates and I with our trike after the race
Later, in the afternoon my friends and I headed out to the 300s Field for some food, inflatables and fun!!  I tried every inflatable and didn’t want to stop.  I felt like a five year old with all the inflatables and fun my friends and I had. 

One of the inflatables was an obstacle course and I decided to race my very fast, very agile friend.  She ended up beating so quickly that she was relaxing by the time I got to the other side.  Oh well, I had a bundle of laughs anyways.

Here is a video of my friend and I (in the yellow shirt) in a giant Q-Tip War:

video


After all that yummy food and inflatables, there was a comedian that night in Ross:  Christian Finnegan with Kevin Anglin ’08 opening.  I heard Kevin in the fall and he was very good and I’m so glad he came back.  Christian was also great and I’m glad we went.

Right after my friends and I headed to midnight breakfast in Alliot which was super fun too!! And yummy :-)  However, we realized we were exhausted and headed home for bed.

I already can’t wait for next year when I’m going to convince my friends to make shirts!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Vacation

This Easter Break I spent at St. Mike’s.  It was the first major family holiday I spent away from my family.  I thought I would be miserable the entire weekend but I really wasn’t.

Thursday afternoon I cleaned my room.  I packed all my heavy sweaters and boots away in the back of my closet.  Even though we have been getting snow every so often, it hasn’t stuck to the ground or lasted very long for me to keep it out.  At 7pm I went to Holy Thursday mass at the Chapel.  It was a nice service and I got to sit with a few friends who were still on campus.

Friday morning I packed a couple things for my friend’s house.  I was spending the night there with her for some fun.  When she picked me up we went grocery shopping for lunch food and made sandwiches at her house.  After lunch we colored Easter Eggs with her sister. 

We went for a walk in the woods and attempted to climb trees.  (Unfortunately that isn’t something I can really do so - no pictures).  We also played on her neighbor’s rope swing which was lots of fun.  

Wee!!!
When we got back to her house, her brother had made a bonfire and we roasted marshmallows and made s’mores…YUM!!
Delicious!!
Then we got cleaned up for a delicious dinner her mom cooked.  I got to try squash, zucchini, and crème brûlée.  These were all first times for me and I was thrilled I liked them.  After, they taught me cribbage, which I loved, and watched the movie: Leap Year. 

On Saturday, my friend’s dad made us eggs for breakfast which was really nice.  He put my poached egg on a bagel with cream cheese and ham.  It was also something sort of new for me and it was delicious too.

For most of the morning we curled my friend’s sister’s hair with my curling iron for Easter.  Then she straightened my hair.  We also took a trip to the University Mall for some shopping.  We got a pair of matching shoes which will be fun to wear.

For the rest of the afternoon we played some games that she had.  It was a nice relaxing day for us.  It was also fun for us to relax and hang out without the worries of homework or other people hanging around.

After a delicious dinner my friend brought me back to campus.  I got some more cleaning done and fell asleep during Ella Enchanted.

Easter Sunday was a nice relaxing day.  I started out my day by calling my parents to wish them a “Happy Easter.”  I then followed the call by calling my grandparents and friends for Easter.  After those calls I realized I had missed Alliot breakfast so I whipped out one of my handy mini cereal boxes and ate that.

I then proceeded to get ready for 11am Mass in my Easter best.  I am so glad St. Mike’s has a Chapel on campus because I knew people who were there so I wasn’t totally alone.  After mass I was invited to a brunch in Alliot which was nice because I was hungry by then.  After eating I went back to my room and Skyped with my brother for about 2 and half hours.  That was really nice because I haven’t talked to him in a couple weeks.  I got some homework done too but decided to go to bed early.

Monday I woke up early, well rested, and did laundry.  I was able to get it all done without the worry of people moving it because no one was here.  Then I went for a short walk to enjoy the nice weather and waited for my friends to return to campus!!!

If you have to stay on campus during a break here are some tips:
            1.  Make a to-do list for yourself.
            2.  If a friend is on campus make plans with them.
            3.  Don’t be afraid to go to Burlington on your own and walk around.
            4.  Take advantage of local events.
            5.  Catch up on sleep.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

10 Tips to Survive College

1.  Get your work done early in the day so you can hang out with friends at night and/or sleep if you want to.

2.  You don’t have to go out every night.  Sometimes the most fun is hanging with friends and watching a movie.

3.  Professors are the nicest at St. Mike’s.  Don’t be afraid to talk to themThey are there for you outside of the classroom too.

4.  Get extra help if you need it.  Ask around, most likely there is an upper classman or a tutoring session available.

5.  Try every club and activity to see what fits for you; you may be surprised where you fit in.

6.  Don’t be afraid to try something new, you may enjoy it.

7.  Roommates aren’t for life, but be conscious of what you say and do.  It is a give and take relationship and any pair can make it work.

8.  Don’t think the first person you meet will be your best friend at college, you may not meet them for a couple weeks but they will always be there for you.

9.  Place sweats at the end of your bed in case the fire alarm goes off while you’re sleeping.  Trust me this helps especially on a cold night when your half asleep and aren’t thinking straight.

10.  Don’t be afraid to ask people who live near you for a ride, they most likely can help you out.