Sunday, October 28, 2012

Happy Halloweekend!

As we all know, Halloween is coming up this week, so this past week and weekend were jam-packed with Halloween preparations and festivities! Starting last Friday, my roommates and I (and also my PAL Suyeon) decorated my townhouse with lights, streamers, wind socks, and whatever other spooky decorations we could find!

Suyeon decorates our windows! 

Hannah and Leah figure out the outdoor decorations! 


Pretty lights!

Front end of our house!

Back end of our house!
Henry the Scarecrow in the corner!

This Friday, we had trick-or-treaters from the mentoring groups on campus come around to the townhouses in their costumes to get candy! My friends and I loved handing out candy to all of them! Two of my friends who live next door to us even dressed up as a devil and an angel for the occasion. All we had to do is put the sign that was given to us on our door so the trick-or-treaters knew it was a house that was ok to come to. It was a ton of fun, and it really put us in the festive Halloween mood.

The sign!

Hannah and Tori (the devil) wait for trick-or-treaters!

My wacky wonderful neighbors :) 

Totally in character, of course! 

To finish out the 'Halloweekend', there was a Halloween dance held on Saturday night on campus.  My friends and I all dressed up in our costumes to attend! The Halloween dance is, in my opinion, one of the most fun events of the year! This year, I dressed as Twiggy, the model from the 60's/70's.

Me (left) and Twiggy. What do you think?? (Photo from

Leah and Atlas :)
Fun fact: My dress is made out of tee-shirts, thanks to Mary Jo's help! (Click here to see a tutorial!)

TH 208! (Me, Jill, Leah and Hannah.)

Last year's suite! (Adrianna, Jill, Leah, me)

Me and Riko! 

Happy Halloween from TH 208! 

If you have any questions about my life as a student at St. Michael's College, feel free to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on Formspring (lizmurray3).

Happy Halloween!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Wait... I'm a Senior... in College?

So, if you're a senior at Saint Mike's and you recently got this in the mail...

                         ... you may or may not have had a reality check moment like me.

For those of you who do not know what these colorful forms are, they are the materials given to students so they will start thinking about registering for their spring classes.  Now, if you're a senior like me (and not on a 5-year plan because of an engineering major or something), getting these forms this year was really weird.  It automatically dawned on me that it would be my last time registering for classes as a student at St. Mike's.  Holy. Canoli.

Before registering for classes, students must meet with their advisors in their respective majors so the advisors can discuss the students' choices and ultimately approve them for registration.  Since I'm a double major, I will have to meet with my advisors for both of my majors (Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts and History) and I will have to be approved by both.  Usually the professors put sign-up sheets on their office doors so students can sign up for an available time to meet for the advising session.  I will be meeting with Professor Dungy, my history advisor, on Thursday Oct. 18 and with Professor Griffith, my MJD advisor, on Tuesday Oct. 23.

Since it is my last semester and I created a graduation plan before travelling abroad, I pretty much already know what I need to take in order to graduate.  There are a few things, like an internship, that are not required but for which I left space in my schedule just because I thought they were too important to miss out on.  My list of potential classes looks like this:

1st choices:

  • MJD 460 A – Senior Seminar 
  • MJD 413 A – Internship in Media Studies 
  • HI 395 A – Deviant Women 
2nd choices:

  • MJD 219 A – Social Media Theory and Practice 
  • HI 465 A – Haiti 
I am currently leaving the fourth space open in my schedule since I am still waiting on proper credit for a history class I took while I was abroad.  If I get the proper credit, I can take the social media course.  If I do not, I will take the second history class.  I will discuss these things with my advisors when I meet with them during then next week or so.

In other news, I've been working like a mad woman on both of my senior seminar projects!  Gabbi – my partner in crime for the book we will be writing throughout the school year for MJD – and I have been meeting in the library a lot lately to work out the critical literature project we have due on Monday (5-7 pages, 10 pt. font and 1.5 spaced).  I have also been sorting through all the material I have for my history thesis – due at the end of this semester – and have begun to write.  I am about 4 pages in after teaching myself Chicago style and getting into a little bit of a groove.  It has been a little daunting so far, but I've started now so I'm confident that I'll get it done in a timely fashion. My first rough draft of the paper is due on November 2.  Here are the topics I have chosen for my projects:

MJD: We will redefine media events, as originally defined by Daniel Dayan and Elihu Katz in their 1992 book Media Events: The Live Broadcasting of History, but using social media and new media technologies instead of television as our base for the definition.  The final product will be a book.

History: I am comparing television effects on presidential elections to social media/new media effects on presidential elections to see which is more effective on the overall election and explore the ways in which both effect both the candidate and the electorate.  I will explore other forms of media in my introduction (like newspapers, radio, etc.) since these later converge on the Internet and are still used to cover presidential elections.  The final product will be a 40-50 page thesis paper.

So, currently, my desk in my room looks like this:

All my research separated by major (and by sections of my thesis, for history).  #doublemajorproblems
Bring on the rest of senior year!

If you have any questions about my life as a student at Saint Michael's College, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).  I will do my best to answer any question you ask me!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

3 Hours in Montreal

Saint Mike's is pretty far north in Vermont, so one thing students can't miss out on is visiting Canada at least once during their time here.  Now, I'm a senior.  I've been overseas several times by now, but I have never visited Canada before now.  Why? I don't even know.  I guess I just never got the chance!

Luckily my roommate Hannah's family lives about 2 minutes from the border of the US and Canada (on the Vermont side, of course).  During our break this past weekend, she offered to drive my other roommates and me to Montreal for a night and let us sleep over at her house afterward.  It was the perfect opportunity to finally visit Canada and have fun with all my roomies! Unfortunately, Jill was not able to join us because she was sick, so Hannah, Leah and I made our way up to Canada on Saturday evening.

First, we stopped at Hannah's house to drop off our things and meet her family.  We spent an hour or two playing with Hannah's 2-year-old brother Max, petting the kitty Samantha, getting to know her dad and step-mom and eating a delicious home-cooked meal (spaghetti, homemade tomato sauce and fresh garlic bread).  Hannah's family made Leah and I feel right at home!

Hannah's view from her backyard! So beautiful! 

Leah (leaning left) and Hannah, my adventure partners!

Leah petting kitty, Samantha.

Soon, we made our way to the border.  The Canadian border police checked our passports, asked us a few questions like 'Where are you going?' and 'What are you doing there?', and then we were on our way! It was already dark out, and we were in the middle of nowhere for a while, but after about 45 minutes, we started to see bright city lights! The most beautiful view of the night (of which I was not able to snap a clear picture from the car) was heading over a huge bridge and seeing the city lights of Montreal reflecting in the lake water.  It was so pretty!

Once we got there, we found a parking spot and decided to walk around for a little while.  We walked to St. Catherine Street and explored a few stores.  Hearing French and other languages being spoken so regularly and seeing European-style clothing worn reminded me of my time abroad.  It was so nice to hear those other languages again and feel that same sense of adventure.  Finally, we stopped into a tiny cafe called "Second Cup" and drank cappuccino and chai latte.  Of course, a photo-shoot ensued! It was the perfect end to the night.

On the streets of Montreal! 

Awesome metro station.

Leah, in Second Cup cafe!! 

Yum! Cappuccino! 

Hannah and me in Second Cup.

Sipping our hot drinks and looking very classy.

Pooling our Canadian money.

Hannah on the street.

Hannah in front of a church on St. Catherine Street.

Hanging off a street pole! 

Leah looking adorable in front of a fence on St. Catherine Street.

The next morning, we had homemade pancakes and fresh bacon for breakfast and then took a trip to the Target in Plattsburgh, NY.  It was definitely worth the trip since I am obsessed with Target and there are no Targets in Vermont.  We also took the scenic route back to campus through the northern Vermont islands.  It was the best 24ish hours of adventuring I've had so far during this school year!

Mission accomplished! Photo courtesy of Leah Allen.

If you have any questions about my life as a student at Saint Michael's, please do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).

Ciao :)

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pre-Study Abroad: Tips for Success

Ciao tutti!
This year, I am doing my work study in the Office of Study Abroad as one of two students working with Peggy Imai, the director of Study Abroad.  Peggy only picks study abroad returnees for these positions since they are often able to help her with students who plan to go abroad sometime during their college careers.  I love my job, not only because it gives me a free excuse to chat about my experiences abroad (and get paid for it, no less), but it also allows me to help and bond with other students who want to study abroad.  Studying abroad is a GREAT opportunity if it fits into a student's graduation plan, and I would encourage anyone who can do it to definitely do it.  What other chance will you get to completely immerse yourself in a different culture for an extended period of time and not only get to personally experience the culture, but academically experience it as well? It's the opportunity of a lifetime, and I personally don't think that anyone should pass it up.

Most recently, there have been a lot of students coming into the office in Klein to start weighing options for future study abroad opportunities.  Many of them I know from having classes together or through mutual friends, so it's really great to hear what they would like to do and where they might like to go.  The process beforehand of choosing where to go and which program best fits your graduation plan can be a bit overwhelming, so here are some tips as to how to handle it best:

1. Start exploring on the Saint Michael's website. 
If you visit the Saint Michael's website on the study abroad page, you can learn more about studying abroad and view specific programs in different countries.  This is a good way to start looking at your options, especially if you do not really know what you might want to do or where you want to go. This will also give you more of an idea of specific courses you might want to take while abroad.

2. Plan a meeting with Peggy Imai.
If you are really lost, or would just like to know more options for a country you are targeting, you can schedule a meeting with Peggy through her online appointment book.  Peggy can suggest different programs that might work best for the focus of your studies and provide you with catalogues and other information that may be useful in your research.  This way, you can also pick up an application for when you do figure everything out.

3. Meet with your advisor. 
Schedule a meeting with your advisor to help figure out your graduation plan and see if studying abroad fits in. Your advisor might also be able to recommend programs students have done in the past that will work well for your program.

4. Speak to visiting study abroad programs. 
Throughout the semester, representatives from specific programs come to campus and table in Alliot.  If you are interested in learning more about that program or curious as to what it offers, it may be in your best interest to visit these representatives' tables.  They're here to help you, and they give out cool pens and stuff (which is always a plus)! Also, there are sometimes former study abroad students from the school who table with these representatives, so you can hear directly from them about the pros and cons of their programs.  Look out for posters around campus and emails as to when these program representatives will be visiting.  There is also a study abroad program fair at least once per semester in Alliot.

5. Speak with students who have been abroad. 
Students, even though they may be biased about their specific programs, can give you one of the most honest descriptions of what they liked and did not like about their programs. They are usually really excited to talk about their programs too, so go ahead and pick their brains! (I'm always willing to talk about study abroad since it's a new person who has not heard any of my stories, and I LOVE talking about Italy!)  Also, if your parents need persuading, students who have already been abroad may be good people to have them chat with to set them at ease (or even the parents of these students).

If you have any questions about my life as a Saint Michael's student or would like me to write a blog post about something specific to student life here, do not hesitate to contact me via email (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Learning to be P.A.L.S.

One of the projects I have been working on most recently resulted because of my position as a work study student in the Study Abroad Office on campus.  As many of you know, I studied abroad in Florence, Italy, last semester, and I absolutely loved my experience.  I would absolutely go back in a heartbeat and take any chance I can get to talk about my experience or bond with others who have had or are having the same kinds of experiences.

My friend Kat studied abroad in Ecuador in the fall and Chile in the spring last year.  While in Chile, she decided to take part in a program called "TANDEM", where she was given a Chilean student partner who she could hang out with and experience the culture through, as well as practice the Spanish language.  Though she was not best friends with her partner, it was someone Kat was able to say "Hello" to or eat lunch with.  Her TANDEM partner also helped her find her way around the city, and attended cultural events, like shows at the theater, with Kat.  It helped to integrate Kat more fully into the Chilean student population - one that was much larger than our student population of 2000 at St. Mike's.

When Kat came back this year, she realized that she was a senior, but she did not know any of the international students who attended our school. She approached Peggy Imai, the director of Study Abroad (and my boss) who then recruited me and her other work study student Larissa to help Kat in an idea she had.  Kat wanted to create a program much like the one she did in Chile on our campus, but she wanted it to be student-run.  This program would come to be called P.A.L.S. (Partners Applying Language Socially).

The goal of this program is to better integrate international students on our campus by pairing them with a native U.S. student with similar interests who can be their friend for however long the international students attend St. Mike's. We recommend that the partners meet at least once per week for an hour minimum, but we will not keep track of the hours spent with the partners.  It is up to the students to plan times to spend with each other.  If they want to spend more time together, that's even better! The partners can spend that time doing whatever they want, from studying and eating lunch to visiting Lake Champlain and going apple picking.

Kat, Larissa and I all hope that this program will give international students a stronger tie to our native US students and that learning can happen on both ends. We're trying to get students who have been abroad more involved as well since they also know what it feels like to be isolated in a completely unfamiliar country.  This will help them relate to our international students more fully.  Through my almost four years here, I've made a few Japanese friends at St. Mike's.  I have had some of my favorite experiences with them, and I still keep in touch with both girls.  I think that making friends with international students is one of the best experiences a student can have.  It is a great opportunity to share your own culture while learning about a culture completely different from your own. Plus, it's awesome to keep in contact afterward.

We visited a few of the international student classes, and many of them are very excited to get started with P.A.L.S. This week, we will be sorting the P.A.L.S. and choosing partners based on similar interests.  I am so excited to make a new friend and to help others make new friends too! We were also featured in an article in the Defender, the school's newspaper.
Our poster on campus!  Join us now! 
If you have any questions about my life as a student at St. Michael's, do not hesitate to email me (, Tweet me (LittleLizzie33) or ask me a question on formspring (lizmurray3).  I would love to hear from you and will do my best to answer any questions!