Drama Club Thanksgiving

As we reach the end of the school year, there is no doubt that life can be stressful. From projects, to exams, to extracurricular activities, a student’s plate can overflow pretty fast. Thankfully, at St. Mike’s there will be people there to help you get by.

People were cooking throughout the day.

People were cooking throughout the day.

Last week after a long stretch of classes, homework, and shows, many members of the Drama Club were feeling worn out.  The Theatre Department’s main stage production of the play Proof went up last week and was incredibly well received. After four nights of performances everyone was definitely fatigued. That’s why last Sunday was exactly what we needed. The 16th marked the annual Drama Club Thanksgiving. Every year before break, the Drama Club comes together and has a Thanksgiving of their own. Members cook in the various ovens around campus and then come together for a giant feast.

Look at those beautiful faces.

Look at those beautiful faces.

This year we had an especially large group of around 60 students at the dinner. While I was initially worried we’d run out of food, I was thrilled to find out I did not need to worry. There was so much food from turkey, to stuffing, to potatoes, to casseroles, that I couldn’t fit it all on one plate. Plus there was a ridiculous variety of desserts at the end of the table. Everyone was able to eat and eat, all while enjoying some down time with their friends.

One of TWO turkeys!

One of TWO turkeys!

Who brought the KFC?

Who brought the KFC?

I made pumpkin whoopie pies with my friend Pat.

I made pumpkin whoopie pies with my friend Pat.

 

 

 

 

 

So many people came to dinner!

So many people came to dinner!

I am so thankful that the Drama Club was able to come together during such a busy time of the year. After four years with the club, it was so great to hear so many underclassmen say that they felt at home here. It was fantastic to just relax and enjoy the company of this huge group that has become my family.

The Drama Club circled up to say what they were thankful for.

The Drama Club circled up to say what they were thankful for.

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Halloweekend

One of the most memorable weekends for any college students occurred just a few days ago. What am I referring to? Halloween weekend of course! This year was especially exciting because Halloween fell on a Friday; allowing everyone to fully celebrate and embrace the holiday. A variety of clubs and organizations at St. Mike’s hosted a number of events to get people into the Halloween spirit.

We had a crew doing makeup  for the Haunted House.

We had a crew doing makeup for the Haunted House.

Halloween started early in my Digital Film & TV class. My professor had every student bring a film clip into class of the scariest movie scene they have ever seen. We watched the clips and later voted on which was scariest. I brought in a scene from The Sixth Sense. I watched a number of horror films as a kid, but that movie was one of the few to give me nightmares. I suppose it’s because I was a little boy watching a little boy be haunted by ghosts. Too much potential to be real!

The line waiting to enter the Asylum.

The line waiting to enter the Asylum.

The next day was officially Halloween! Each year the Drama Club puts on a haunted house and this year I teamed up with my friend Julia Crisman to organize the event. The theme was a 1960’s Asylum with various rooms inside the asylum such as the reception area, common room, operation tables, and isolation chambers. It was so much fun putting on a frightening show with my friends. The event happened at the International Commons and we were fortunate enough to have a line of students waiting the whole time to enter the house.

My Garth costume. I wish I had gotten a photo with Wayne!

My Garth costume. I wish I had gotten a photo with Wayne!

Because it was Halloween, a number of us wore costumes and dressed up as our favorite characters. Boates and I were Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World, which is always an excellent! time. Later that night I ate more candy than one would think possible and prepared for the final night of Halloween weekend.

On Saturday night the Drama Club put on yet another event. At Turtle Underground (the student-run concert venue on North Campus) we performed a Halloween concert show. While I can barely sing, I had a blast dancing on stage as my fellow Drama Club members sang their hearts out. It was the perfect conclusion to a weekend full of laughs, screams, and chocolate… lots of chocolate.

A scene from the Halloween concert.

A chaotic scene from the Halloween concert.

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Study Abroad: Worn Out Shoes

old shoesLast week marked an important milestone in my life. I got new shoes. Now while this may not sound like a big deal, I grew quite an attachment to my old pair. I have had those grey and black shoes for over a year now. They even went with me on my semester abroad to Florence, Italy. We traveled around Europe together, walking throughout cities such as Paris, Berlin, and Barcelona. I had to rush to take them off in order to get through airport security. I soaked them in water and while trudging through the rain in Rome, and then proceeded to dry them using a hotel hairdryer. And so, although these shoes have acquired several holes and the soles are warn away, it’s quite sad that I have to stop wearing them. However, I fortunately do not have to hang up the memories with them.

The view outside of my apartment in Florence.

The view outside of my apartment in Florence.

Now that I have new shoes, I figure it is as good a time as any to pass on some information about study abroad so that you too can wear out your own pair. The first thing I suggest is to just think. Do you want to practice speaking another language? Would you like to return to another country for an extended period? Where does your family tree trace go back to? What places have you always wanted to explore? Brainstorming answers for these questions will help you come up will a variety of potential locations to study abroad.

The next step to take is to schedule an appointment with Peggy Imai. Peggy is the director of the Study Abroad program at St. Mike’s and she can help you find programs that match your interests. Having a list of potential countries you’d like to study in, or courses you’d like to take, will help Peggy narrow down the programs she gives you information on. However, even if you have no idea where you want to travel, she has a number or resources that will help you start deciding.

After meeting with Peggy it is time to start researching study abroad programs. There are so many different types of programs you can participate in abroad. Whether you prefer to take traditional college classes, live with a host family, study in multiple cities, and/or have a more experiential learning experience, there is a program out there for you.

I had always wanted to visit Venice since seeing pictures of the canals as a kid.

I had always wanted to visit Venice since seeing pictures of the canals as a kid.

In summary, finding the right study abroad program requires a mixture of research and following your dreams. I know that sounds cornier than a maze in the fall, but it’s true. For as long as I can remember I wanted to go to Italy. Since I was about 12 I put a little money aside each year to save up for the day I could travel abroad. When I made it to St. Mike’s, Peggy gave me information on a number of programs in Italy and after looking them over, I found that API was the program for me. I lived in an apartment in the middle of Florence and was able to take classes a few days a week while traveling on the weekends. It was just the experience I wanted.

Good luck with your search for the right study abroad program. I hope you wear out your own pair of shoes on whatever continent you chose to explore.

One the best views I had while exploring Italy.

One of the best views I had while exploring Italy.

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My Favorite Course: Digital Film & TV

I’ve blogged about my MJD major in the past and the different classes I have taken. While I have enjoyed them, this semester I am enrolled in a particularly exciting class. Digital Film & Television is a course taught by Professor Hyde that explores the art of filmmaking and analyzes different films and the techniques they use. The film classes at St. Mike’s are my favorite because they give me the opportunity to get out of the classroom and create something of my own.

In Digi Film, we recently completed an assignment that asked us to go off campus and create a short film about someone who has an interesting hobby or passion. At first I had no idea what to do, but then I thought of my friend Sam Shuster. In his spare time he is a woodworker, making various items such as pens and bowls. Thankfully he was on board to be filmed and I had a subject for my video. Filming was a lot of fun. His equipment was set up in his friend’s dark and dusty basement and it was really cool to see him transform a few blocks of wood into an amazing bowl.

I am glad to be taking this class because it gives me some practice before next semester when I begin working on my Senior Seminar project. For my MJD major, I will be creating a documentary film about the topic of Voluntourism. This will be the longest film I have ever made and I hope it will give me opportunities to work in the film industry after I graduate. For now, I will continue to make short videos to prepare for next semester.

I hope you enjoy the film!

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Autumn in Vermont

After an unusually warm September, the temperature has dropped here in Burlington and it finally feels like fall. The change in weather and activities hosted here on campus make it easy to get into the fall mood. Here are a few key elements that make autumn in Vermont special.

Pumpkin Carving

Jack-o-Lantern

My friend Bizzy made this hipster jack-o-lantern at an RA event.

Ever since I was a kid I have always looked forward to carving pumpkins each October. From basic three-tooth faces to fancy movie themed jack-o-lanterns ,the possibilities are endless when it comes to carving. On weekend nights the RA’s on campus host different events. Last weekend the RA’s of the townhouses organized pumpkin carving in the International Commons (the future location of the Drama Club’s Haunted House). I am waiting for the right moment to buy a pumpkin so that it will last until Halloween. Pictures of this to come soon!

Pumpkin Everything

You can buy pumpkin shmear from Einstein Bagels.

While we are on the topic, I think it is important to appreciate how everything is pumpkin flavored in the fall. First you have pumpkin seeds from the pumpkin you just carved. Then there’s pumpkin bread, pumpkin doughnuts, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin bagel spread from Einstein’s, and of course the infamous pumpkin spiced latte. Plus let’s not forget pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving. Both the dining hall in Alliot and Einstein Bagels in the student center fully support the pumpkin craze and because of that, I support them.

Horror Movies

Phantom of the Megaplex

While they are not for everyone, I personally love horror movies. This time of year gets me in the perfect mood to sit in a dark room in front of the tv for a good scare. I enjoy watching classics such as Psycho and returning to favorites like Scream. What’s even better is when you watch them with friends. One of my favorite memories from my first year at St. Mike’s is watching Insidious inside a crowded single room in Joyce Hall with a bunch of my floor mates. We are now forever freaked out by the musical stylings of Tiny Tim but have been bonded for life. This year my friends and I are coming together in our townhouses to watch American Horror Story and other horror shows and films. For the easily spooked who are still looking to get into the spirit of Halloween, I recommend the Disney Channel movies Halloween TownPhantom of the Megaplex, and Don’t Look Under the Bed.

Flannel

My closet's flannel game is strong.

My closet’s flannel game is strong.

Vermont is flannel. Flannel is Vermont. In fact, I think it is required to purchase a flannel shirt upon entering the state. It’s no secret that Vermont is cold for the majority of the year and warm clothing is essential. Students at St. Mike’s break out the flannel as early as possible and quite frankly, they rock it.

Halloween Themed Theatre

Dracula. Photo by Len Radin.

Dracula. Photo by Len Radin.

In two weeks there will be a performance of Dracula in the McCarthy Arts Center’s Trap Door Theatre. This production is directed by my friend Jill Hollland and the lights are being designed by my roommate Dee-Jai Cowles as a part of their senior seminar project for their Theatre major. I will be playing the role of Jonathan Harker, the first man from London to come in contact with Dracula. The play is very exciting and it has been a lot of fun preparing for opening night. Come see the show on Oct. 25th at 7 pm and midnight or on Oct. 26th at 7 pm.

The St. Mike’s Drama Club puts on a number of performances this time of year. On Halloween night, there will be a Haunted House inside the International Commons. The event is free and a great place to come for a fright. This year’s theme is “Asylum” and while you can expect to see nurses and doctors, who knows what else is in store.

Playing in Leaves

Leaves

Do it. You won’t be disappointed.

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A Fall Journey Home

A view from the car ride.

A view from the car ride.

This past weekend my girlfriend Evyn and I made the journey south to visit my family and new nephew Mason back home. The trip is about 3 and a half hours long down Vermont’s route 7. This drive through the mountains always provides some of the best views in the country. Evyn joked that it was hard not to stop at every flea market and apple orchard along the way.

 

Holding Mason for the first time.

Holding Mason for the first time.

As we crossed the border into Massachusetts and made it to my home in Clarksburg, we were quick to meet up with my family for a party. While there I got to meet my nephew for the first time (quietest baby in the world by the way) and my family made apple cider right in the backyard. It was a lot of fun meeting new family members and reconnecting with old ones.

The cider press.

The cider press.

That night we went back to my brother’s house for more bonding with baby Mason before heading home for the night. The next morning we ate a nice home cooked meal and hit the road back to St. Mike’s. Along the way we just had to stop at the Apple Barn in Bennington, VT. They sell the best apple cider doughnuts and apple butter. Plus I always get peanut brittle there too. Basically this bake shop makes every fall related food to perfection.

After loading up on treats, we finished our drive back up Vermont and arrived at our second home: St. Mike’s. I feel really fortunate that I live so close to my hometown and that the drive through Vermont is so beautiful. I would never complain about driving if I always traveled through the Green Mountain state.

Evyn and I at the Apple Barn.

Evyn and I at the Apple Barn.

The Apple Barn.

The Apple Barn.

My family at the cider press party.

My family at the cider press party.

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24 Hours of Insanity

A scene from Dead Pirates Society

A scene from Dead Pirates Society

Last weekend was one of my favorite weekends all year at St. Mike’s. Every September the Drama Club puts on an event called the 24 Hour Play Festival. In short, within 24 hours a number of plays are written, cast, rehearsed, and performed. Those 24 hours are crazy but a lot of fun and a great way to become close with a number of students. In fact, the whole thing is student run!

This year I stayed in the theatre all night writing a play called Roll Credits along with my friends Boates, Russell, Mckenzie, Melissa, and Demora. As director of public relations for the Drama Club, I also documented the event and recorded the final performances.

But that is all the reading about this you have to do. Below I’ve posted a variety of pictures and the video I made about the event. Enjoy!

My writing group.

Our script.

The effects of 24 Hour.

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College Life Hacks

Recent events have transpired that gave me the idea for this post. Like most other things, everyone has their own preference when it comes to the softness of their mattress. While some may love a firmer bed without much bounce, I personally love sinking into my bed at the end of the day. That is why I was very sad to learn that I forgot my mattress pad at home while packing for the new school year.

SO, in order to help you avoid mistakes like this, I have decided to make a list of often forgotten things to bring and do in college. I believe the Internet calls them “life hacks”.

I'm a little jealous of my roommate's mattress.

I’m a little jealous of my roommate’s mattress.

1. Mattress Pads

I’ve already made clear my passion for this first tip. Be it an egg crate, mattress pad, cushion, or whatever you may call it, these are essential for those who like a soft bed to sleep on.

You should be going for this effect.

You should be going for this effect. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

2. Air freshener

Let’s be honest. You’re going to be living in a tight space all year and no matter how hard you try, something will eventually come along and make the room smell stuffy. That is unless you purchase an air freshener or something scented. My friend complemented me the other day on how good my room smelled and I’m not gonna lie, it made my day. It’s always good to leave a nice impression.

 

3. No Brain Activities

There is plenty of work to do in college and combine that with the numerous clubs and work study job you may have, your brain will be running at Will Hunting levels for most of the day. That is why it’s important to make time in the day to unwind. Turn on some Netflix or walk across campus with your friends. Find something to do that is stress free and requires little effort. Hey maybe even nap… I’ve learned to love naps.

My desk decorations.

My desk decorations.

4. Room Decorations

The other day I couldn’t figure out why I felt so uncomfortable in my own room. I eventually realized it was because I had not decorated my space yet. White walls are no fun to look at. So throw up some posters and tapestries and bring some memorabilia to liven up your desk space. Trust me, it will make your room feel more like home.

Even the picture makes my mouth water.

Even the picture makes my mouth water. Image courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5. Order Out

Now I know first hand what it’s like for your bank account to be low and to keep constant track of your spending. Despite that, it is important to order some delicious, often unhealthy, food every once in a while. It’s nice to step away from the dining hall now and again, or in my case from cooking for myself, and it can be fun to explore the different delivery places in town. My favorite in Burlington is Wings Over, the place for wings and fries.

6. Keep a Calendar

Remember when I mentioned how much you’d be doing in college? That’s why having a calendar will help you stay organized. This way you won’t have to remember to attend that event 5 weeks from now that your friend mentioned in passing.

I like to imagine that this is what Boates does when he is alone.

I like to imagine that this is what Boates does when he is alone.

 

7. Alone Time

I find this to be key. While you will likely be spending the majority of your time with people in class, with friends, or with your roommate, it is a great idea to spend some time alone. I like to ride my bike to decompress or marathon a bunch of YouTube videos. Find whatever it is that’s your thing and make time for yourself.

 

Proof that a calendar is super helpful.

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Billy Madison… Back to School

moveinday

My fellow O-Leaders and I on first-year move in day.

OK first off let me address the elephant in the blog. I have chosen to title this post Billy Madison because whenever I begin a new school year, I can not help but channel my inner middle-schooler and sing Adam Sandler’s song from the movie. This year is particularly terrifying exciting because it marks the beginning of my senior year at St. Mike’s. While the idea of this can be stressful, I have every intention to make this year the best yet.

As you can tell, one of my roommates is a master chef.

As you can tell, one of my roommates is a master chef.

One of the perks of being a senior is living in the townhouses. Townhouses are equipped with full kitchens, a common area, a bathroom, and single bedrooms (although some rooms are doubles). I have reunited with three of my roommates from last year and we have wasted no time in making the place feel like home. I feel like our random assortment of posters and ridiculous amount of cookware properly reflect the people in our house. The 200 townhouses seem like they will be a great community. Also, their location right next to Cumberland Farms (what am I saying, I mean Cumbies) does not hurt at all.

The cameras we get for Digital Filmmaking!

The cameras we get for Digital Filmmaking!

Along with moving in, this week also involved the beginning of this semester’s classes. Now I’m not trying to say I’ve perfected the art of making a class schedule, but after three years I can’t picture a better schedule than this semester’s. I am really excited to learn more aspects of theatre in my Directing and Lighting Design classes. I’m also taking another film class this year and yesterday felt like Christmas when Prof. Hyde handed out some gifts for us to have until the end of the semester.

Another part of my schedule this year is being on the e-board for the Drama Club. Keep an eye out for tons of theatre events in the future. For more info follow the Drama Club on Twitter @SMCVT_DramaClub or Instagram @SMCDramaClub.

Well since I still can’t get the song out of my head, you all might as well have it stuck in yours too. Enjoy!

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Playing Grown-Up: My Summer in Burlington

Homemade mac and cheese.

Homemade mac and cheese.

This summer has been the closest I have ever come to adulthood as it’s typically defined. I am living away from home, working a full-time job with another job on the side, and cooking just about every meal for myself.

I have returned as an intern in the Marketing and Communications department at St. Mike’s. It has been great getting back to making videos for the first-year students and working on other photography and social media projects. I was also lucky enough to land a gig designing projections for the Flynn‘s production of Carrie, the Musical. This opportunity is really exciting because it allows my Media Studies & Digital Arts major to mix with my Theatre minor.

The first video I made this summer.

Our living room/kitchen.

Our living room/kitchen.

While work-study students can live on campus in the summer, I opted to live off campus with my SMC friends Kristyn and Richie. We are subletting an apartment from UVM students and are being pampered in a place equipped with a dishwasher, washer & dryer, and… wait for it… AC! We feel incredibly fortunate and have fully accepted that our future living arrangements will only decline after college.

The mini golf crew.

The mini golf crew.

Summer in Burlington is gorgeous. Sunsets on Lake Champlain, the farmer’s markets, and creemees are not to be missed. A lot of St. Mike’s students are in the area this summer and we’ve had a lot of fun going to North Beach, mini golfing, and exploring the different restaurants around town. KKD‘s, with their breakfast sandwiches served all day, is one of our favorites.

Fishing for a lost golf ball.

Fishing for a lost golf ball.

We’ve also spent a considerable amount of time rooting for the U.S., Italy, and the Netherlands in the World Cup and watching movies (so many movies). In fact, a few friends of mine have made it their goal to watch every Marvel movie ever made. I’ve joined them through part of their journey, but not all of the way because I do not wish to sit through Ghost Rider again.

I’m interested to see what the rest of the summer will bring. I look forward to making more videos and the performance of Carrie in July. In the mean time, I’m going to continue enjoying my new place and views over Burlington like this one:

sunsetedit

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