Sunday, January 29, 2012

Dancing the Night Away

Last Friday night helped start off this semester with a bang!  VITA hosted their annual Snowflake Semi.  Being part of the leadership team I helped with some of the planning.  I do have to say that most of the credit goes to my two great friends, Alex and Kate.  They planned the decorations, food, and music for the entire evening.  I don't think it would have been a success without them.
Kate, Me, Katie, and Alex <3
 The week leading up to this event was probably the most exciting.  It was when everything started flowing together and we couldn't stop talking about.  I had my dress picked out and shoes ready for the night.  I couldn't wait!!
The Center Pieces - hand crafted by Alex

The night of the event started out with us running around trying to make sure we all looked pretty.  It was a bit hectic.  When we arrived at the event (after Alex and Kate did a marvelous job decorating) we realized the fondu fountain wasn't working :-(  Oh well, we just had a big bowl of melted chocolate instead.  Once we got the music started and guests arrived we hit the dance floor for the rest of the night.  Kate put together an awesome playlist and our lovely faculty adviser, Anna, kept the appetizers stocked.
Dipping veggies in the chocolate
 I would have to say the night was a success.  I can say this for myself because I slept really late on Saturday (and I normally don't).

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Catching Up and Scheduling

This past week was the start of second semester.  I decided it will be a good time to give you an update of how it went and what I will be looking forward to this semester.

The first week of classes to me feels like longest week, especially the first week of the second semester.  When coming back from break all I want to do is hang out with my friends, catch up with people who came back from abroad, and figure out what is going to be happening this semester.  It is basically a week where I don't stop moving.  I tried scheduling most meals with friends I haven't seen or just unintentionally running into them in Alliot for an impromptu meal.  Also this week is a major schedule figuring out week for me.  I meet all of my professors and tried to judge what my course load would be like for the semester.  This is also the week I figure out what clubs I will participate in.  And since I'm on the VITA planning team, we all have to agree on our weekly meeting time slot (which may be challenging because we all have such busy lives).  But by the end of the long week, my schedule is just about set and I'm looking forward to a great semester!!

What I am looking forward too:
  • The VITA Semi-Formal (Friday, January 27th)
  • Liturgical Dance Group
  • Performing more with the Celtic Knights
  • Skiing
  • Trying a new winter sport through the Wilderness Program
  • Applying for an internship
  • Applying for Study Abroad (I'm hoping on Wales!)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

New Orleans

So one of the great opportunities that is offered at St. Mike's are the MOVE Extended Service Trips.  This year I participated in the trip to New Orleans where I worked with Habitat for Humanities painting the inside of houses for homeowners.  I was so grateful for this opportunity and highly recommend it.

One of the nice things about the New Orleans trip was that I got to see a lot.  On the first day down we took a driving tour of the lower 9th Ward which has been mostly redone but still had a lot of houses with the X that described what was found in the house.  Also, we drove around the city and saw the comparison between the two areas and how different the areas really are today even though they are right next to each other.

On our second day we attended mass at St. Peter Claver in New Orleans.  The Edmundites, who founded St. Mike's, founded this church.  It really cool to see the how the community came together and was really welcoming to those visiting.  They even sang us a song!!  After mass we enjoyed some time in the heart of the city where we ate Beignets at Cafe du Monde and dinner at Mother's.

Monday was are first day of service work.  We took down the decorations at the Peace Mission Center, where we were living, and decorated it for Mardi Gras.  It was so much fun looking at all the different decorations and learning more about the holiday because we don't celebrate it nearly as much as they do down south.  Also, we took a trip to Mississippi and saw what damage the hurricane had done.  I know it has been a little more than 6 years but you could still see some aftermath.  One of the most interesting things was most of the houses destroyed or damaged were gone.  You would see random pieces of  a home left, like a chimney or stairs.

Tuesday started our work with Habitat.  We ended up painting mostly and by the end of the week we were experts.  By working with others, I can say I learned a lot.  I am not the most confident on ladders but by the end of the week I was scrambling up and down them without much of a hesitation.  I also learned how to paint up to a corner between a wall and ceiling and how to use power tools.  On our final day we got to meet some homeowners and hear their story.  At first it was kind of disappointing to realize we had to paint all week but when we got to see how happy the homeowners were at the end of the week, it was worth it.

The group of us celebrating after a successful week on roller skates

This week reminded me a story I heard and I'll leave you with that: 
You are walking along the shore. While wandering down the shore you see a man in the distance bending and throwing as he walked.  As you draw near, you see that he was throwing a starfish, abandoned on the sand by the tide, back into the sea.  When you draw close enough to him, you ask why he was working so hard at this strange task.   He tells you that the sun would dry the starfish and they would die.  You say to him that you thought he was foolish.  There were thousands of starfish on miles and miles of beach.  One man alone could never make a difference.  He smiles as he picks up the next starfish.  Hurling it far into the sea he says, "It makes a difference for this one."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Figuring out Your Next Home

So now is the time when high school seniors are finishing up college applications and beginning to  receive the acceptance letters.  You are also beginning to question which college is the right one for you.  To help you through this process I'll tell you the steps I took in choosing St. Michael's as my final decision.

Step One:  Gather all the information you have from each of the colleges you are considering and sort it by college.  Next I personally made sure I had information on their Computer Science department (since it was my intended major).  I also checked to make sure I had the tuition cost and any other costs that the school required.  An option to add to this may also be any specific clubs or sports you may be interested in.

Step Two:  I made a generic document on Excel that had specific information to fill out about each college.   A lot of information on it helped me throughout the application process.  My first column said "College/University."  Then the following columns read in order:
  • City/State
  • Anticipated Major
  • Application Sent (date)
  • Application Submit Date
  • ACT Code - St. Mike's is 4312
  • ACT Scores Sent
  • SAT Code - St. Mike's is 3757
  • SAT Scores Sent
  • Guidance Sent - any information your guidance office needs to send, this was the date which I checked to confirm it all went out
  • Response - this line contained a smiley face to tell me if I was accepted by the college
  • Tuition
  • Room/Board
  • Miscellaneous Fees - any other fees that the college has
  • Scholarship - if I received a specific amount of scholarship from the college
  • Total Cost - the cost of tuition, room/board, and miscellaneous fees added with the scholarship subtracted
  • Number of Students - St. Mike's:  2,000
  • Visit - dates I visited the school
  • Web Address - 
I suggest something along this line so it is an easy comparison between the colleges and then you have everything in one place too.

Step Three: Then make a pros and con sheet for each.  This step is sometimes tricky because you really don't know what you should put.  Depending on your own factors some ideas I have would be:  size, location, cost, sports, clubs, and perks.  Perks is probably the hardest because you are thrown so much information about a school that you really don't know what may be considered a perk.  For an idea, some of my perks for St. Mike's were:  Housing for 4 years, Smuggs Ski Pass, MOVE and Wilderness Program, and a Chapel on campus.  Your perks will probably be different but they should be something that stands out at you and will make your experience enjoyable.

Step Four:  This is an option, but a highly suggested one.  Visit the colleges again.  You don't have to visit all of them again but the ones that are top of your list are highly encourage.  When you visit this time you will most likely retain more of it because you are more interested.  Also, you may come up with more questions based on the information on your lists.

Step Five:  Hopefully you've narrowed down your choices and maybe even have made a decision.  If you haven't then this is probably going to be the hardest step.  My suggestion is look again at your lists, update the pros and cons, and let it sit for a day or two.  If you can't stop thinking about a specific college or have more questions make a note.  Get those unanswered questions answered.  Then look again at your options and go with your gut.  That is what I did and I love my school.

I hope these steps help and if there are any questions I may be able to answer you can post a comment or formspring me by clicking here!!  I wish you the best of luck :-)