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:
The Beginners 3 Hand Reel 
(I'm second from the left)

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

Siege of Ennis

(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).