Final Days of the Semester

 

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Let it snow. Let it snow. Let it snow.

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The trees were layered in snow.

So the past few days have been quite eventful. Nonstop snow has hit the campus and it has been glorious. While I did not get any of my classes cancelled it has been lovely to walk around and see snow covered trees and people making snowmen outside of their townhouses.  I actually woke up in the middle of the night to hear screaming outside my house. While I was initially a little annoyed, I couldn’t help but smile when I saw my roommates and friends playing in the snow.

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A scene from Gendermat: a story about relationships.

 

 

On Wednesday there was a Christmas dinner in the Alliot dining hall. It was so nice to have the St. Mike’s faculty and staff serve a ham dinner to us and say Merry Christmas. Along with classics such as potatoes and cider, I also tried eggnog for the first time. My verdict: it tastes a lot like cake and I am not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

 

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A glimpse at my scene from Borrowed Parts. I get to eat lots of pretzels.

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My tie selection for Gendermat. I needed to borrow from my roommate.

In between staring at the snow and trying to stay warm, I have also been preparing for my final performances of the semester. I am acting in two One Act plays as a part of the Drama Club and I am directing a scene for my Directing Class. I am directing a scene from the play The Diviners by Jim Leonard, Jr. This is my first time directing anything and it has been a lot of fun helping my actors grow and develop the scene over time.  For more information about the One Acts check out Sarah Hoover’s blog.

 

 

I finished my final exam of the semester and now all that stands between me and Christmas are a couple of projects. If you are from New England I hope you are enjoying the snow. If not, I hope you can visit Vermont soon to see how great it is around winter time.

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Surviving Finals (as told by The Breakfast Club)

Simple Minds- Don’t You (Forget About Me)

Thanksgiving is over and only a few weeks separate college students from winter break. While three weeks may seem like nothing compared to the months of classes already completed, the last days of classes and finals are one of the busiest times of the semester.

You may go a little stir crazy…

…and you might feel like running away from it all.

You may even want to quit altogether.

BUT, you can survive this crazy time of year as long as you have a plan.

My biggest suggestion is to find your perfect study location. I like to study in a semi-quiet area where there is some background noise.  The main floor of the library and the Dion Student Center are great examples of this type of atmosphere. I typically stick to doing homework in my room but during finals, I find it best to relocate so that I can focus better. If you are looking for a quieter study space, the bottom floor of the library or the academic buildings are great places to go.

My next suggestion is to SLEEP…

… and EAT. (probably not like Allison)

I’ll admit to doing a few all-nighters in my time as a student, but what I have found is that my work suffers as a result. It is much better to start things early and to plan out your schedule to include sleep, than to try and cram in a couple hours a night. As for food, thankfully your unlimited swipes into the Alliot Dining Hall are there to help you fuel up. If you are a senior like me with limited swipes, I suggest saving swipes for the end of the semester. I do not have much time to cook meals in my townhouse so I am glad I can go to Alliot for dinner.

Finally, take time to unwind.

Although your schedule will likely be packed with studying, final projects, and exams, it is important to relax a little. Again if you plan out a schedule ahead of time, you can leave room for a movie or dinner with friends. I like to leave some time to watch the Patriots on Sundays or to watch t.v. shows on Netflix. Whatever you enjoy, it is important to relax and not let stress build up.

So remember, you CAN conquer finals week!

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Finding Percepolis: Fun St. Mike’s Traditions

Every school has its weird traditions and St. Mike’s is not exempt from this. A recent tradition started last year within the St. Mike’s Drama Club. Two graduation seniors, Kit and Alan, decided to hide an old prop inside the McCarthy Arts Center. The prop is basically an odd looking pheasant that they named Percepolis (pronunciation is questionable). The challenge is for Drama Club members to try and find Percepolis, take a picture with it, and then hide it in a new location for more people to find. It has been a while since the last pair found the pheasant so Boates and I decided to head to McCarthy and search!

Percepolis is only one of the many fun traditions that exist at St. Mike’s. Ask any club, major, or friend group and you are bound to find a unique game they play. If you find yourself involved with theatre or the Drama Club at SMC, be sure to keep and eye out for the fabled pheasant!

Our victory photo!

Our victory photo!

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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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