Saturday, December 17, 2011

End of the Year Christmas Shananigans

Merry Christmas from Suite 220!
From left to right, Jill, Adrianna, me, and Leah.
The first semester of my junior year is officially over! Here is a little recap of the last week of the semester:
Even though finals were the main priority, my suite mates and I found some down time to celebrate Christmas and do some last-minute bonding before we left each other.  Three of my suite mates (me included) will be traveling abroad next semester, so spending time with them and my friends was much needed since I will not be seeing them for about five months.  I will miss all of my friends at St. Mike's so much, but I am excited to be traveling to Florence, Italy.
I really bonded with my suite mates this semester, so leaving them was really difficult.  (I already miss them!)  One of my suite mates even began to unpack my things as I was packing up my room!  It was really weird to move back out of my room completely after I had just moved in a little more than four months before.  I also had to say good-bye to my friends who are currently seniors since they will be graduating right after I come back from Italy.  Though saying good-bye is always sad, Italy is definitely going to be an experience.  I will be leaving on January 11, so stay tuned for later posts about my Italian adventures!
In the meantime, here are some pictures from the end of the year!  If you have any questions about my life as a student at St. Mike's, feel free to email me (, tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or formspring me (lizmurray3).
The first snow on campus! 

Presents from my "suities"! 

My friend Tori on Church Street! 

Church Street at Christmastime! It's beautiful! 

From left, Jill, me and Riko on a winter outing to Church Street waiting for the bus! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Where's the Snow?

One thing that everyone seems to say when I tell them I go to school in northern Vermont is, "Ah, so you get a lot of snow, huh?"  Usually that's pretty true, but this year, all we've gotten up here is flurries that don't stick!  Well, that's a lie.  It snowed during Thanksgiving break, but all the snow melted by the time everyone returned to St. Mike's.  It's December 6th now, and there still has been no snow aside from a few cases of flurries.
I have to say I'm a little bit disappointed in the Vermont weather right now.  Not that I mind not bundling up, but I love snow on campus right before Christmastime.  It gives a pretty unique mood to the campus.  Just this past Friday, it started snowing and as I walked past the quad, I heard someone playing Christmas music out their window.  People also build snowmen, snow forts, and other snow figures all over campus when it snows.  You can hear the laughing as students have snowball fights or just go out to play in the snow.  Church Street is a beautiful sight with snow, Christmas lights, the giant Christmas tree and the church at the end of the street.
Snow brings new life to campus upon its first appearance.  I am still waiting for that first big snowfall before I go home for Christmas.  With less than two weeks left on campus, we're running out of time.  Step it up, Mother Nature!
Taking winter adventures was one of the highlights of my freshman year on campus! 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sharing Thanksgiving Traditions

   This Thanksgiving turned out to be very interesting as I brought my Japanese friend Rui home with me to experience the American holiday with a "typical" American family.  I believe that since the international students are here to learn from experiences, they should get as many different cultural experiences as possible.  It was also a really cool way for me to get to know Rui better and learn about her culture as well.
   The experience was definitely worth it, and I am really happy I got to share my family's traditions with her.  We did everything from make hand turkeys and make apple pie from scratch to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and have a home-cooked family Thanksgiving dinner.  She also got to meet some of my family members and friends at home, and I think that enriched the experience even more.  I was able to teach her about American culture as well as teach her some common phrases.  We were both saying "Hey man" and "thanks man" by the end of the weekend.  My friends taught her about Taco Bell and American fast food restaurants in general.  I was also able to learn some words in Japanese and about her family and school in Japan as well as about some of the different customs.
   I only described about a fifth of the whole experience, but I think every student should try to get to know the international students on campus.  It enriches their experience as well as improves their English, and the native speaking students can get a taste of another culture and learn about different customs and traditions.  It's a really interesting experience, and you can end up making a friend for life.  This was my favorite Thanksgiving yet.
We made hand turkeys! 

Rui with peeled apples while making apple pies.

A finished pie.

From left, my brother John, me, Rui, and my sister Katie.

Rui with my parents on our last night at home.

Rui and I played on photobooth! 

If you have any questions, feel free to email me (, tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Journalism is a Lifestyle, Not Just a Major

   So I thought I'd give a little update on what I've been up to lately in the journalism world (aka Bergeron).  Last Tuesday, our staff put out our 8th issue out of 9 total.  I can't believe it's almost over!  It was our best issue yet - and I'm not just saying that because I happened to have a front-page article.  We truly worked our butts off on this issue and produced a great product.
   The issue contained one of the biggest articles I've ever worked on/written.  It involved 8 interviews, a survey, and 17 pages of quotes (single-spaced).  I wrote it about studying abroad and some of the different aspects that accompany it - culture shock, drinking culture, making friends, and difficulty of classes.  It was very interesting to both write and report.  At one point, I was concerned for the accuracy of the story because I was not sure some of my sources were being completely truthful with me about some parts of their stories.  However, it worked out because the statistics were able to balance out what people said.  I ended up having a lot more information than I needed, so I had plenty to work with while I wrote.  The hardest part of writing my story was actually weaving all the different parts together.  I'm really proud of the way it came out and SO excited it landed on the front page!
   The issue as a whole was really well-balanced and the stories were expertly reported.  It was the best product we've produced so far.  I'm bringing about four copies home during Thanksgiving break to show... well, everyone!
Me with this week's issue of The Defender!

   Now, you may wonder what we Defender staffers do every Sunday before an issue is printed.  Everyone spends from 10 a.m. until about 5 p.m. in Bergeron laying out the paper, toning pictures, editing pages, listening to Pandora ambient music station and more.  Time flies by as each page is completed, looked over, edited, corrected on screen, and printed for the managing and executive editors to edit after everyone else has gone home.  The best part is we get Leonardo's pizza at 3 p.m.  We have a deal with Leonardo's that if we put an ad in our paper, we get free pizza.  By that time, everyone is usually done with the first drafts of his or her pages, and the pages are printed and edited while everyone eats pizza.   It's a very long, but worthwhile day.  I can't help but say Defender has become my life during this semester, which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing.  I genuinely love writing and reporting stories, and working on The Defender has increased this love tenfold.
   If you have any questions about working on The Defender or the journalism in general, please don't hesitate to contact me via email (, Twitter (@LittleLizzie33) or Formspring (lizmurray3).

To view this week's issue of The Defender online, click here.
To view an online PDF of this week's issue, click here.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The International Festival

Sorry for the lack of blog posts in the past few weeks! My schedule has been super busy and I've had projects galore.  One thing I did manage to go to on Saturday was the International Festival.  This festival is put on every year by the Applied Linguistics Department and the Diversity Coalition.  It's really awesome because you get to sample foods from different cultures (cooked by many international students) as well as watch performances by various student groups, like the Celtic Knights, and other multicultural groups from around Vermont.  It's a pretty well-attended event, as many professors bring their children and people from around the area as well as St. Michael's students all come to enjoy what is our own taste of the global world.  Below are some pictures from the festival.  I hope you enjoy them!!
My friend Mary Jo, of the Celtic Knights (the Irish Step Dancing group on campus) waits for her turn to perform.

Hard-shoe Irish steppers!

The line of food containers - so delicious!

An Indian dancer who performed at the festival.

A martial arts drumming group.  They had some really intense drumming.

One of the Akoma drummers at St. Michael's.

The Akoma drummers under the direction of Joss Price, a fine arts professor at St. Michael's. 

A woman takes a picture of a performer on her iPad.  Check out the technology!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Being on the Other Side

    About a week ago, I was interviewed by a USA Today reporter about my trip to New Hampshire with my Media and American Politics class.  As a reporter for The Defender this semester, I am used to being on the question-asking side of things.  It seems like the less-stressful position during the interview.  This time, it was my turn to be in the hot-seat.
    I had been interviewed before by my local newspaper, but this seemed so much more intimidating! I was really excited to be interviewed, but really nervous at the same time.  I know how annoying it is as a reporter to have a source who does not completely articulate his or her points.  I wanted to try to be as articulate as possible, something I have trouble with as it is often very difficult for me to think on my feet when answering a question in almost any situation.  I am the kind of person who likes to take a minute or two to formulate my answers before saying them out loud in an attempt to sound intelligent rather than like a bumbling idiot.  I am much more articulate when I write my answers.
    I spent a lot of time the night before and the morning of the interview trying to think of the questions the reporter might ask and the things I might say to answer those questions.  I seemed pretty well-prepared until the reporter actually called and started interviewing me.  A lot of questions I did not think of before the interview.  By the time the interview ended, I was not sure whether or not I had completely gotten my point across or if I actually gave the reporter usable quotes.  I actually apologized to the reporter after the fact explaining how little I actually am on that side of the interview.  He was very nice and understanding though, which gave me confidence that I may have done better than I thought.
    Whether I'm on the side of the questioner or the side of the interviewee, interviews are always a learning process.  I think being on both sides of the process helps reporters improve by giving them a better understanding of how to frame questions and what kinds of answers to look for.  This time, as well as the other times I've been interviewed, have been very beneficial to how I go about my interviews.
    To view the USA Today article, click here.
    If you have any questions, feel free to email me (, tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

More Coverage from the Debates!

Check it out! A clip from the Romney event our class attended even made it onto The Daily Show with Jon Stewart last night! One of our classmates was the person who asked the question about the Wall Street protests!  There are also some SMC students standing in the background of the clip.
To view the video, click here. Enjoy!

NH Debates: Up Close and Personal

    Last week on Monday and Tuesday, I took a trip with my Media and American Politics class to New Hampshire to attend several candidates' town meetings and the Dartmouth debate.  The point of the trip was to see the relationship between media and politics on the campaign trail as well as exercise our First Amendment rights in questioning the candidates at the town meetings.  It turned out to be one of the best and most interesting field trips I had ever been on.
Two other bloggers, Tarah and Gabbi, and me in front of the St. Michael's bus!

    At 8 a.m. on Monday, the 60 students both from our class and from SGAC (Student Global AIDS Campaign) boarded the coach bus and van, both bearing the name of our college, and started on our way.  SGAC had a different mission, bird-dogging during the town hall meetings so they could get the candidates  to commit to funding the eradication of AIDS in foreign countries.  They dispersed their members throughout the audience, asking the same question, but framing it differently each time to try to make it one of the major issues for candidates.
    Our first stop was Tilton, NH, where we saw Jon Huntsman speak and answer questions.  We were told he was the most moderate GOP candidate.  My classmates and I made up most of his audience, so we were the ones mostly asking the questions.  We focused on a lot of social issues, like global AIDS and gay marriage, and he answered each of our questions as many times as we asked them.  Even though he seemed to dodge certain questions at times, he told us he would look into the issues about which he had limited knowledge so he could try to solve them if he became president.  Huntsman actually turned out to be my favorite candidate after the trip.

Dan Quigley, one of my classmates, asks Huntsman a
question during the town hall meeting in Tilton.  
Huntsman speaks to the audience in Tilton, NH.

Huntsman shakes hands of people in the audience
on his way into the town hall.

    Next, our class went to the Concord Monitor, one of the bigger news publications in New Hampshire, to speak to the online editor, Meg Heckman.  She spoke to us about how the coverage of the campaign trail has changed with the increased use of online media and social networks.  She said the main issue she has encountered is in verifying sources and information.  Since there is so much information online, it is difficult to find where some information comes from as well as distinguish between fact and fiction.  "Breaking news" can sometimes just be rumors in this day and age. 
    Our final event of the day was going to Mitt Romney's town hall meeting at the Hopkington, NH town hall.  Our classmates basically repeated what we did at the Huntsman town hall, asking about social issues and asking multiple questions about the same issue to push Romney to explain his positions.  The difference was that Romney and his audience (half of which was my classmates and the rest middle-aged and elderly people) began to get annoyed with us.  After one of my classmates asked the third question regarding his opinion on gay marriage, he refused to answer, saying he already answered the question, and moved onto the next question.  He seemed to avoid questions from anyone our age for the remainder of the town hall meeting. 
Mitt Romney addresses his audience in Hopkington, NH.

Romney during his opening remarks.


    In comparing Huntsman's and Romney's styles, it was apparent that Romney seemed much easier to make uncomfortable with questions.  Both candidates seemed more prepared to talk about economic issues rather than social issues.  The difference was that Romney seemed to have more people from the demographic he was preaching to in his audience, and he was trying to keep them on his side.  It almost seemed like our questions made him nervous and he was willing to do anything to keep the room on his side, including ignoring questions he said he already answered.  We made up most of Huntsman's audience, so he really had no choice but to answer our questions if he wanted to keep the room on his side.  

One of my classmates asks Mitt Romney about his position on
gay marriage.

    The next day we attended the debate, getting to Dartmouth early to meet journalists and campaign officials.  Among the most notable people we met was Fox Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron, who answered all of our questions from what his job was on the campaign trail to if he thought Fox news was biased.  I asked him whether he had a prediction as to who would win the nomination, to which he answered that he hasn't yet collected all the information that will help him make his decision so it was too early to tell.  He also talked about how the GOP candidates are people too and they are just as fallible as the rest of us.  The campaign trail was the prime place to see their flaws and decide which candidate would be the best president.  

Carl Cameron from Fox News speaks to our

The entrance to the debate at Dartmouth.


    Finally, we attended the watch party for the debate, which was right down the street from the actual debate.  An audience made up of mostly college and high school students was able to watch the debate on a humongous screen in the middle of the gymnasium.  The energy was fantastic, as people cheered and boo'd at certain parts of the debate.  The favorite phrase of the night seemed to be Herman Cain's "9-9-9" plan, and as the debate went on, there were very audible groans from the audience whenever he mentioned it.  After the watch party, Huntsman, Michele Bachmann and Newt Gingrich came by and greeted the audience.  This is where I was most impressed with Huntsman.  Not only did he recognize our classmates and the name of our school when he saw us, he mentioned AIDS funding in his speech to the entire audience.  At that moment, we knew we made some sort of an impact on Jon Huntsman and possibly other candidates as well.  
Dartmouth gym where the watch party took place.

Newt Gingrich after the watch party.
Michele Bachmann greets watch party attendees.
    I am so proud of my class as we made the national news and were able to respectfully exercise our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and take part in the democratic process.  This trip was DEFINITELY worth it.  I learned so much about the different politicians as well as journalists who cover them.  Click on some of the links below to see some of the news sites that covered our participation in the town hall meetings: 
   Two of my classmates and I were even interviewed by USA Today College!
   If you would like any other information about the New Hampshire trip, or have another question regarding college life, academics, etc, feel free to contact me via email (, Twitter (LittleLizzie33) or Formspring (lizmurray3).  

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

One of the Best Things About College

Lately, I've been working on an article for The Defender about conversation partners, which is when American students pair up with international students in order to learn about each other's cultures and help the international student study English.  As a student at St. Mike's, I've had the privilege of becoming not a conversation partner, but a friend to a few international students.  One of the best things about college is you never know who you'll meet - or where they come from.
I've been friends with another student named Riko since freshman year.  Riko comes from New Zealand, but she has family ties to Japan so she is often conversing with many of the Japanese exchange students. Riko is what you can call a genius. She is 17 and a junior in college, but you'd never know it because of the maturity she emulates.  Riko has become one of my best friends in college, and we can talk about basically anything normal friends talk about.  The difference is, however, that she has a huge understanding of three different cultures now and she is constantly teaching me new things.  A few weeks ago, I was in her room and she pulled out a Japanese "Seventeen" magazine.  "Seventeen" is very popular in America as many girls get advice on hair styles, make-up, clothes, relationships and more from it.  Looking at a Japanese version, I was able to learn a lot about their culture and what the gender roles are like as well the way men and women are portrayed through their media.  I was surprised to find that one of their fashions, as Riko translated for me, was called "American Casual".  Riko said it is very fashionable in Japan for girls to wear jeans and a t-shirt and successfully "pull off" the look!  Here in America, it is very common to wear jeans and a t-shirt every day and not think anything of it.
Riko and me playing with photobooth on my computer!

Last year, I also became good friends with Mai who is from Osaka, Japan.  Even though she was at St. Mike's to study for only a year, we still keep in touch via skype and send regular messages to each other via Facebook.  She was a wonderful person to get to know and I really treasure the bond that we formed.  I learned a lot from hanging out with both Riko and Mai, including onomatopoeias in Japanese ("peta peta peta") and facts about Japanese food, culture, and music.  I even learned how to make paper cranes from them, which is a beautiful and very complicated art form (I was definitely not good at it).
Me and Mai last year on Halloween.  A bit of a switch of
cultures since I'm dressed as a Pokemon character
(Japanese) and she's dressed as Little Red Riding Hood (American).
This year, I have another friend named Rui from Tokyo, Japan.  I have just started to get to know her, but we are becoming fast friends.  Rui asked to hang out with my group of friends because she thought it would be a better way to learn English.  I really hope that we will be able to form a lasting friendship as well as learn from each other and about each other's culture until she has to leave in December.
Rui and Riko on a recent outing to Burlington! 
Students do not need a conversation partner program if they want to get to know international students on a more personal basis, though it most certainly helps those international students who want to perfect their English skills.  I have learned so much from the few international students I have gotten to know, and I hope to get to know more students during these last two years that I have at St. Mike's.  I think some students forget that getting to know international
students is a very valuable and worthwhile experience.  Who knows?  You may even find a life-long friend.  I love my international friends just as much as I love my American friends, and I am so glad I to have the opportunity to meet people from so many different backgrounds.
If you have any questions regarding international students or my life as a student at St. Mikes, please feel free to email me at

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living In a Four-Person Suite

Last year, I lived in an 8-person suite in Pontigny.  Living with 7 other girls had its perks, but sometimes was just too much.  This year, I'm living in a 4-person suite in Canterbury.  The suite is much smaller, but we still all have our own rooms and we're getting along very well.  My suite has become something like my own personal posse.  Now, I'm not saying we're a clique, but it's nice to have a tight-knit group that I can eat my meals with, watch TV with, do homework around, and just hang out with.  We still have our own separate lives so we don't do everything together.  However, whenever the four of us do hang out, it's always a blast.
From left: Adrianna, Jill, Leah, and me! 
One of the secrets to our success is our suite contract.  At the beginning of the year, we sat down together and drafted a list of ground rules for our suite in order to maintain a respectful and relaxing atmosphere.  So far, it has worked out well.  By drafting the suite contract, we know each other's boundaries.  This way, we can solve minor disagreements and avoid big problems.  For example, it is understood that things put out in the common space are free to be used by everyone.  Certain things that are either labeled or otherwise specified to be someone's property can be used with the permission of that suite mate.  In the common room, "majority rules".  So, if the majority of people in the common room are studying, the suite mate who wants to Skype or watch TV (for example) should go into her room.   As far as cleaning the bathroom and buying certain groceries goes, we rotate that responsibility so it is not the same person doing those things every time.  
Now that we're into our fourth week of school, things are still running really smoothly.  As I'm writing, Leah and I are sitting in the common room together doing homework and occasionally chatting.  Jill is in her room doing homework and Adrianna just walked in to join us.  Our suite is fun, comfortable, and just plain wonderful.  I love it!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back to School!

Sorry for the delay on the blog post! I've been busy getting moved-in and situated back here at SMC! Here's a bit of a re-cap of the past few weeks for me:
- I moved in with my brother on Thursday, August 28.  I am living in a four-person suite Canterbury Hall this year (one of the suites) and I am loving it! My suitemates are great.  I have been friends with all of them since freshman year, and since I started living with them this year, we have become even tighter (if that is even possible).  One of my suitemates, Adrianna, is the RA of our floor in Canterbury.  We all keep pretty busy with our schoolwork, but we make time to hang out as a suite too.  So far, we're having a lot of fun!
- I am working for Defender this year.  Today, we laid out our second issue.  It looks like the paper will be coming out bi-weekly for the most part.  It is hard work, but so much fun! Since I'm now in my junior year, most of my classes are focused in my major.  That means I'm in Bergeron A LOT.  I feel like I'm in my own little world.  Not only are 3 out of my 4 classes held in Bergeron, I also spend most of every other Sunday laying out the paper (from about 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.).  It's a lot of work, but I really like it.  Our staff is starting to become pretty close, and we've really learned to work together to get the paper done in time. The best part is we get pizza from Leonardos while we work! YUM!
- Like I said, most of my classes are journalism classes.  This semester, I'm taking Media and American Politics, Media Law and Ethics, Publication Editing and Design, and Honors Colloquium.  All of my classes are pretty busy, but VERY interesting.  My professors are so knowledgeable, and I am learning a lot already (and we're only in the second week!).  As usual, my planner is pretty full of assignments, interviews, reminders, etc., but I somehow find a way to get it all done.  Time management is key in college.  Now that I'm in my third year, I'm getting the hang of it pretty quickly.
- There have been some pretty awesome activities both on and off campus recently.  Last weekend, my suitemates and I went to the Champlain Valley Fair.  The fair is just up the road from school at the Champlain Valley Exposition and is usually happening right when students are moving back into school.  There are rides, animals, craft fairs, art demonstrations, food, and tons more! It is a lot of fun to go there for the afternoon.  The downside is that the rides are pretty expensive to ride, but there are so many other things to do that it is not that big of a deal.  While I was there, I saw all the animals, got a maple creemie (YUM!), and went to the craft fair.
This sheep tried to stick its head through the fence when I was taking the picture! So cute!

My three suitemates (from left, Leah, Jill, and Adrianna) at the fair!

This weekend, we all went to the Art Hop in Burlington.  The Art Hop is a weekend-long event where local artists put their artwork on display.  It is a pretty big event, and there are musicians and food vendors there along with the artists.  This year was the first year I attended the Art Hop, and I had a lot of fun! The art was really interesting, and the artists were all very nice to talk to.  Some of the artists were even doing demonstrations of their art form! It was a really fun and interesting event to attend. 

We took our picture in one of the mirrors hanging from the ceiling! Look at all the art around us!

Leah and Jill look closely at a piece of art.  It was a peacock made out of different kinds of paper. 

A spinning light in front of the building of lights!  There was easily over 200 different lights in the rooms.

Jill, Leah, and Adrianna turn to pose for a photo on our way to the next exhibit! 

This weekend was also the "Welcome Back" weekend on campus.  On Saturday afternoon, we had the Welcome Back Bash on the 300's field.  I performed with the tap club at the event, and the Acabellas and the Celtic Knights performed as well.  There wasn't a huge turn-out at first, but as the performances went on, more and more people came outside.  Saturday night was the night of the Hi-lighter Dance.  This dance is a black light dance, and everyone dresses in white t-shirts so they can be written on with hi-lighter.  The shirts look really cool in the black light! The dance was awesome! I went with a bunch of friends and just danced the night away! It was a blast.  

Well, there's the re-cap! I promise to post pictures of my suite soon so you can all get a glimpse of what upperclassman housing looks like.  I may also post a few pictures of my brother's room in Joyce so you can see some freshman housing as well.  Please feel free to email me ( with any questions or comments! Thanks! 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Let the countdown begin!

With nine days until I return to SMC's campus, I thought I'd finally write about why I love this school so much.  As many of my close friends know, I CAN'T WAIT to get back to campus.  There is so much to look forward to, and I am really excited to jump right back into everything.
First, I am really looking forward to seeing all my friends.  The community at Saint Mike's is one of my favorite things about the school.  I have made some of my best friends in college.  The best part about Saint Mike's community is that everyone is so friendly and willing to help one another.  I have found that Saint Mike's is not cliquy like high school.  Another big difference is you are living with all these people so you are forming much different (and sometimes tighter) friendships.  I love all the friends I have made at Saint Mike's and I can't wait to see all of them.
I can't wait for my classes this semester! I am taking three journalism classes and honors colloquium, so I will have a full schedule, but I am really looking forward to diving into all my studies. (Some would call me a geek, but I just think I have a good reason to be this way.) The professors at Saint Mike's are awesome and so personable.  The best thing about them is they are more than willing to help their students out, but the students need to ask for the help.  I think I've only had one professor that I haven't really enjoyed at my three years at Saint Mike's, but this professor was teaching the wrong sized class.  That's pretty good if you think about it that only 1 teacher out of probably over 20 that I've had was less than satisfactory.  I really enjoy the classes at Saint Mike's so I'm looking forward to delving into everything.
The surrounding area is wonderful as well.  There is always something to do in Burlington, whether it be eating at one of the restaurants, going to the Saturday morning farmer's markets in the fall, grabbing some Ben and Jerry's ice cream, or just hanging out at the lake front.  With all of the activities on campus on top of that, you will never be at a loss of things to do.  As a girl who loves to be busy and go on adventures, I am totally psyched to get back up there.
Finally, I'm excited for all my extracurricular activities.  I am the co-president of the tap club at SMC, so I am excited to share the tap steps I learned this summer with all the members.  It has been such an awesome experience to be the founder and leader of a club at SMC, and I really love how dedicated all the members are to the club.  I'm also excited to be an editor on The Defender staff.  I LOVE writing and reporting and I'm excited to be able to take on somewhat of a leadership position on the staff.  Being a blogger this year is also very exciting, as well as taking part in some of the community service activities MOVE offers during the year.
As you get closer to starting your 4 years at Saint Michael's, I just want to say this.  Your college experience is what you make it.  Don't be afraid to try new things or talk to people you wouldn't normally talk to.  Dive right in because Saint Mike's has so much to offer.  I hope you love it as much as I do.

This is my first (and best) friend Mike on pre-orientation day before our freshman year.  He will be a freshman RA in Lyons hall this year. 
This is my floor and me on one of our floor outings at the beginning of freshman year.  We went to Papa Frank's for dinner in Winooski.  I lived with 7 of the girls from that floor last year and will be living with 3 different girls from the same floor this year.

This is me and my freshman roommate Sam.  We became fast friends during freshman year, and we are still very good friends.  This was taken on a "roomie date" we had during the fall.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Adjusting to Living With A Roommate

For many of you, living on campus as a freshman is the first time you will be living with a roommate.  I already had experience when I was coming into freshman year since I've shared a room with my sister since I was 4 years old.  Sometimes transitioning into sharing a room can be difficult, especially if you have never shared a room ever.  Here are some tips to make living with your roommate a good experience:
1. Get in contact with your roommate before you move in on August 25th.
Start getting to know your roommate.  Find them on Facebook, call them on the phone, or email them.  Start to get to know each other as you plan what to bring for your room.  Figure out what you have in common and work off that.  You don't have to become best friends before you come to school, but communicating with them a little bit is a good start to your "roomie" relationship.
2. Make a roommate contract.
Every set of roommates will need to do this and hand it into their RA.  Don't blow this off though because this will shape the kind of relationship you want to have with your roommate for the entire year.  Spend some time hashing out a set of conduct rules that you and your roommate should follow in order to have a pleasant year together.
3. Communicate.
If you are having someone over or you're going to be out late, let your roommate know so they aren't surprised at 2 a.m. when you return to your room.  If you have a test the next day and your roommate is known for staying up late, let them know that you need sleep that night and you would appreciate it if they would try to be quiet.  Communication is key to having a good roomie relationship.  It shows respect for your roommate and keeps the air clear of any problems or issues.  If you and your roommate have an issue, talk it out.  The RA's are always there to help you as well, so if you and your roommate need help settling an issue, seek out your RA.  It's what they're there for.
4. Make boundaries clear.
To avoid getting into any arguments or disagreements with your roommate, make sure that if there are any boundaries, make them clear.  (This could also go along with the last tip: communicate.)  If there is a certain snack in the fridge you don't want your roommate to eat, either mark it some way or tell them that it's yours.  You will be sharing a lot in your room so if there is anything in particular (like a hair dryer, a snack, etc.) that they'll need permission to use, let them know.  This will prevent misunderstandings during the year.
5. Get to know your roommate.
Ok, so not all roommates become best friends.  In reality, some just don't get along.  So, I'm not telling you that you NEED to become best friends with your roommate.  You'll be living with them all year though, so get to know them a little.  It makes living with them that much more pleasant, and it can be really fun sometimes (for example, my freshman roommate and I would go into Burlington on "roomie dates" and take pictures together or grab some drinks from Starbucks).  Having a roommate is all part of the freshman experience so be open-minded and have fun with it.  You could end up making a life-long friend!
If you have any burning questions about living with a roommate, please let me know! You can find me on Twitter (LittleLizzie33) or email me (  I'd be happy to answer any questions you might have!

Friday, July 22, 2011

12 Things You Might Not Have Thought To Bring To College

As I've been helping my brother start with some of his college shopping, it's gotten me thinking about some of the things I didn't know would come in handy during my freshman year of college.  Dorm living is a whole new experience, so you should be prepared for anything.  Now, I'm not saying that you need to go out and buy all of these things right away in order to be completely prepared for college.  This is merely a list of things that came in handy during my freshman year.  I also found that if I didn't have some of this stuff, another person on my floor did.  Here are some of the things you probably wouldn't think of while making your list for school shopping:

1. Plastic Baggies/Tupperware Containers
Since you'll probably order out and have leftovers or take something out of Alliot for a snack later, it is a good idea to have plastic baggies or Tupperware containers to keep your food fresh.  It is good for storing food in your fridge or even bringing food you have in your room with you on-the-go.
2. Chip Clips (paperclips work too)
To keep open food bags in your room fresh, have some sort of a clip to keep them closed.  You never know when the urge for a mid-study snack will strike, and you don't want to be surprised with rotten or stale food. A paperclip or rubber band works just as well as a chip clip, but you want to make sure you have something to keep your bagged food closed and fresh. 
3. Bed Risers
For extra storage space underneath your bed and for a cheaper option than a loft, bed risers are the way to go.  More storage is always a good thing, especially when sharing a room with another person. Bed risers make it easier to fit shoe bins, crates, bags, etc.
4. Sponges and Dish soap
Since you'll probably be eating in your room and you'll have dirty dishes, make sure to keep sponges and dish soap on hand.
5. Command Hooks
For those of you who like to decorate your room, command hooks work best for hanging things on the walls or even providing an extra place to hang bags, coats, etc.  The dorm walls are not the easiest to stick stuff to, but command hooks go on easily, stay on as long as you want them to, and come off cleanly at the end of the year.
6. Wrinkle Release Spray and/or Tide to Go Sticks
Wrinkle release spray is the perfect alternative for the college student who doesn't know how (or doesn't have time) to iron.  I've used it many times myself for a quick fix to wrinkled clothing.  Tide to Go sticks also come in handy if you get a stain on a piece of clothing and you want to get it out before it sets in. They are easy to use and work like a charm.
7. Rechargeable batteries
To avoid having to buy new batteries every time old batteries die, rechargeable batteries really come in handy.  It is the more inexpensive option in the long run.
8. Holiday Lights
Holiday lights are great for decorating your room for the holidays or even just for some extra lighting. St. Mike's is all about going green, so if possible, get environmentally friendly holiday lights.
9. Extension Cords/Power Strip
Both of these come in handy if your chord is too short to reach an outlet or if there just are not enough outlets in the dorm room for both you and your roommate. These have really come in handy for my roommate and me in the past.
10. Travel Mug
A travel mug serves many purposes for the college student.  It is handy for bringing both hot and cold beverages to class or on the go.  You can even fill up your travel mug in Alliot, an easy and convenient way to get your daily coffee fix or just keep hydrated.  Water bottles are also great for this.
11. Box Fan
Dorm rooms can get pretty warm sometimes, so a box fan is a good thing to have for those warmer days.
12. Snow Pants
If one thing is certain about northern VT, it's that we get snow.  Sometimes A LOT of snow.  Even if you aren't into skiing, you may want to take a study break and go outside to play.  It's a good way to cure stress or cabin fever during the wintertime.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Hi Everyone!
My name is Liz and I am a member of  the Saint Michael's Class of 2013.  This is my very first blog, and I am really excited to be able to tell you all about my school, provide tips for freshman year, and answer any questions you might have.  I am a Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts/History double major and I am co-president of the tap club at St. Mike's as well as a member of the honors program.  I have taken part in activities with MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) in the past, and I will be a staff member of The Defender this semester.  I love Saint Mike's and hope you all will too after reading some of the student blogs and hopefully visiting the campus.  If you have ANY questions at all, please feel free to contact me at or even connect with me on Twitter (username: LittleLizzie33). Hope to talk to you soon!