Monday, December 10, 2012

Preparing for Finals Week


Well, it's officially finals week, St. Mike's! Right now I'm studying for my Italian final that's on Tuesday. Luckily for me, that's my only final exam this semester! For investigative reporting we just had to write a feature article, and for photojournalism we (obviously) did a photo project. So, that means that all of my studying efforts are going towards learning this awesome language.

Here's my (updated) guide on preparing for finals:
(check out my post from last year here)

1. Do something fun and not school-related during the weekend before finals week. It's the perfect time to get away from the books before that's all you can focus on in the next few days. For me, this meant heading down to Church St. with my friends and doing some shopping!

2. Go see the comedian! This is an annual (FREE) event at St. Mike's, and this year we had John Hodgman come to give us a few laughs before the stress of final exams! (He's the PC guy from the Mac commercials) I can't think of a better way to relax and have some fun before the most stressful week of the semester.

He's on the left!

3. Alright, it's ALMOST time to hit the books. But first, what is studying without a snack and some much needed caffeine? Grab a quick bite to go at the KnightStand for those late-night study sessions...I know I can't focus without a coffee by my side!

4. Pick a study space that works for you! Do you like to have a lot of people around when you're studying? Go to the group-study floor in the library...or maybe even set your study space up at a table in Alliot. If you need complete silence, head to the cubbies in the basement of the library or try to snag a private room in the academic buildings. Personally, I either go to the children's room in the library or one of the rooms in the academic buildings. Usually I have a friend come with me, and this time we were able to get a big circle table room all to ourselves in St. Ed's to "camp out" in for a long night of studying! 

Galya at our circle table in St. Ed's!

5. It's all about the atmosphere when it comes to studying. Music can be a big part of that. I like to put on relaxing classical music while I'm chaotically flipping through flash cards and taking pages of notes (they even have a "classical for studying" station on Pandora radio)'s a great way to keep a calm environment when you're freaking out inside! For some reason, classical music always makes me feel more intellectual too...

6. STUDY! Yes, it's inevitable...stop procrastinating and hit the books! Flip through all of those flashcards you made over the semester, have a friend quiz you on vocab, or even write out notes on the chalkboard/dry-erase board if that's your style. I always end up doing a little of everything...

7. Take a break. Get your heart pumping and those endorphins flowing. Going to the gym, or even for a short walk, will put you in a better & less stressed mood. Hey, you can even stay right in that classroom and put on the new Ke$ha song to dance around to without any shame. I'm definitely going to do that now, why didn't I think of this sooner...

...and then get back to studying!

There are definitely a few things to avoid (which you probably already know)...

-All-nighters (oops, currently guilty)

-Waiting until the last minute to cram for an exam. Really, this never ends well.

-Staying logged into Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. Being reluctant to hit the "log out" button has cost me hours of useful study time in the past.

-Sitting somewhere with too many distractions (if you're easily distracted, like me). So, basically the comfy chairs in the Dailey Room that look out over campus are off-limits, people watching is way too easy there...oh, and Alliot is absolutely a no-go. 

-For that matter, don't sit with someone who can't focus. If your best friend won't stop talking, you're not going to get anything done. 

-For me, listening to "weekend music" is a bad idea. Anything that makes me want to get up and dance is totally off-limits. Save that for your study break!

-Trying to multi multi multi task. For example, I'm currently trying to write this blog, study Italian, plan out the rest of my week, and daydream about studying abroad in Italy all at the same time. Nothing is getting done...well, except this fabulously informative post :)

-Freaking out. Just remember, even though it's a final exam, it doesn't define your college career. There will be more, so don't psych yourself out! 

...and whatever you do, just don't be this person...

Good luck on exams, everyone! 


Questions? Twitter/Formspring

Logged out of Twitter...resorted to hashtagging on the chalk board. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Why Journalism is Totally the Best Major Ever (But Really)

Hey everyone!

So, obviously I'm a little biased, but I don't think there's any better major out there than journalism. As a "MJD" major (media studies, journalism, and digital arts), we get to explore the super exciting world of media in all forms- print, photo, video, design, etc!

I came to St. Michael's already knowing that I wanted to become a journalist. What I didn't realize, however, is how many different directions you can take with the major. Freelancing, documentary filmmaking, public relations, magazine writing, photojournalism, website design...ahhh! So much to choose from! But that's also a good thing...

I found that my interest in magazines, like Cosmopolitan and Glamour, tied in with my desire to become a print journalist, and thus, my decision was made. One day, I will be a features writer for (hopefully) Cosmopolitan magazine. Dreaming big!

The thing is, anything is possible. St. Mike's, and specifically the journalism department in this case, makes it super easy to learn about exactly what you want to do, and get involved with outside experience opportunities!

Before coming to school as a freshman, I was interested in getting involved with activities that might pertain to my journalism major, hence why I was so happy to become a blogger! This year though, as a sophomore, I have found that even more opportunities have arisen....

For my investigative reporting class, we got to write a couple articles for The Defender this semester (the campus newspaper), which was an awesome experience, and also a great addition to my portfolio! Also, I was lucky enough to be able to work at the Burlington Free Press for election night...getting to be a "real" reporter on election night was an amazing opportunity, and I learned a lot about the job of a reporter!

Election night @ the BFP

That brings me to my next point: gaining experience is essential. Going to class (taught by wonderful and knowledgeable professors, might I add) is just one element of the whole college experience. Doing outside experiences, like internships and study abroad, are also necessary in learning and progressing as a journalism student...or any student for that matter. Which is actually why, as a journalism major, we're required to study abroad and have at least one internship by the time we graduate. So cool!

This summer, I plan on getting an internship at a newspaper, whether that's in Burlington or at home (I'm not quite sure of my summer plans yet). Then, in spring 2014 (my junior year) I will be spending the semester studying abroad in ROME! ...and that's where my Italian minor comes in.

Being an Italian minor is kind of rare, per say (but not really). I've actually never met another Italian minor..but obviously there are quite a few of us out there! Professor Languasco, my Italian language professor, is literally the sweetest man who is from northern Italy, and he has the accent to prove it! Aside from the language portion of the minor, we're required to take 3 extra electives. I took History of Rome last semester and plan on taking my other 2 electives while I'm studying in Rome. Hey, when in Rome..right?!

But anyways, back to the journalism part. As a major, we're learning to do interviews, make deadlines, whip up creative and informative articles, and enjoy every minute of it.

Adobe Photoshop icon

Oh, and apparently people like to ask who my favorite professor is in the department. Well, I always have trouble answering that...mainly because I've learned so many different and helpful things from all of them! Professor Griffith last year, in Media Revolutions, helped me understand the wide variety of media outlets and Professor Swope is amazing at teaching Photoshop, Illustrator, and Dreamweaver skills in his Digital Media course.

I have also taken Photojournalism with Professor Bullis (who teaches courses at Champlain College too) and Foreign Correspondence with Professor Kelley (who is a reporter for Seven Days, among other news publications), and they both have been amazing as well!

My first article for The Defender!

...My favorite professor so far, though, is probably Professor Cleary. She was my professor for Investigative Reporting this semester, which ended up being my favorite class. On top of being incredibly nice, she has greatly helped me improve my interviewing, writing, and reporting skills, and I am so thankful for that. It is, after all, what I want to do with my life!

That's not nearly all of the professors in the department though, and I look forward to taking classes with the rest!

Oh, and how could I advisor, Prof. Mike Donoghue, is also a reporter at the Burlington Free Press (who set up the election night opportunity) and has been awesome to work with so far. He even said that if I'm interested in interning at the Free Press, the opportunity is open! How exciting is that?!

...See what I mean? The possibilities are right there in front of us!

Want to check out the major requirements for MJD? Click here!
Click here to see my schedule for next semester
...and here for a blog posts about writing articles for The Defender...
Or here to read my 2nd article on The Defender website
Oh, and here to read about my experience at the Burlington Free Press for election night!


p.s. This post by Gabbi is both wonderful and totally accurate. Go MJD!!

Just another day in the life of a journalism student...

My 2nd article for The Defender!

The most important book a journalism
major will ever possess. No joke. 


Click here to view some 
photos of our beautiful campus 
that I took for photojournalism this semester!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Past Month @ St. Mike's


Finals are approaching quickly, and I can't believe I'm basically halfway done with my sophomore year. Crazy! This past month has been particularly busy, which is why I'm going to share all of the wonderful things that have gone on! Here we go...

Nov. 6- Class registration for next semester!

It's like The Hunger Games, only worse! (Well, maybe not) But hey, at least for this upcoming semester, I was lucky enough to get all 4 classes that I wanted.

Nov. 6- Working at the Burlington Free Press for election night (see previous post for details)

Early November- Homelessness & Hunger awareness- "the shack"

Students signed up through MOVE (Mobilization of Volunteer Efforts) to stay for an hour or overnight in the "shack," located in the middle of the lawn between the academic buildings and Alliot.

Nov. 10- International Festival & writing my second article for The Defender

The 9th annual International Festival, hosted by the Diversity Coalition, brought a vast array of food and dance from other cultures for St. Michael's students and the community to enjoy right on campus.

Click here to read my article on The Defender website about the festival.

Nov. 14- Alliot Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving dinner in Alliot is a St. Mike's tradition! For "normal" eaters, turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes are a favorite. For me (a vegan), there were sweet potatoes, butternut squash, rice & seitan, and corn!

Late November- SNOW! & decorating for Christmas/listening to Christmas music.

The first real snowy day at SMC this year!

Lights in my dorm room!

Nov. 30- Jibfest

Put on by the Ski & Snowboard Club, Jibfest is an event where SMC students can show off their rail jam skills...right in the middle of the 300's field! Student volunteers worked all day to set up the site with rails, boxes, locally sourced snow, etc. And of course, there was a lot of food, music, and awesome people to watch during the event!

Now- Preparing for finals

Self-explanatory. We're studying like crazy over here!

Upcoming events:

-Alliot Christmas dinner on Dec. 6!
-Finals week (next week)
-Go home for break (Dec. 14- Jan. 5)
-MOVE extended service trip to Baltimore! Jan. 5-12
-Back to SMC! Jan. 14


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Election Night @ the Burlington Free Press!

Hey guys!

So, this past Tuesday night I was given an amazing opportunity along with a few other SMC students...

We got to work at the Burlington Free Press for election night!!! Literally, we were able to be real reporters on one of the biggest news nights in the country. This is a journalism major's dream come true..too cool for words.

Well, maybe not too cool for words...because I actually had to write up a reflection about the experience for my Investigative Reporting class. So, I just decided hey, why not post it so everyone else can read about how awesome this experience was. 

Here's my word-for-word reflection of the night:

            Arriving at the Free Press on Tuesday night was extremely nerve-racking. Having never set foot in a newsroom before, I was unsure of what to expect. Initially, I imagined a large crowded room with reporters running around and papers flying in the midst of election night chaos. What we found was almost the opposite. After walking up a flight of stairs, we entered the newsroom, where few reporters were hovering around a table with a vast display of sandwich makings and snacks.  We all sat around the table and filled out paperwork so we could be paid for that night’s work.

At the Free Press, eating and waiting for our assignments!

            Professor Donoghue began handing out assignments to students with cars first, so they could drive to the polling places at further distances. I was given Ward 1, which was in the Mater Christi School right near Fletcher Allen in Burlington. I was dropped off at 7:00 p.m., left to fend for myself, feeling somewhat lost and unsure of where to begin. I grasped onto an ounce of confidence and strode through the front doors of the school, walked up to a woman who looked like she knew what was going on, and said that I’m from the Burlington Free Press and need to speak with the Town Clerk/Chief Election Officer.

            The ward clerk’s name was Sue, she was a short old woman with shoulder-length wispy white hair. She assured me that as soon as they had any polling results, she would let me know, but that it would be at least an hour because they had over 100 absentee ballots and many of them had been faxed in. I had serious doubts that faxing them in was even legal, but apparently it is, so I tweeted about it.

            I sat myself if a dark wood chair outside of the gym where ballots were being counted. A reporter from channel 3 sat next to me and started reading a seafood cookbook while we waited for poll results. How can someone sit for an hour and read fish recipes? I tweeted about it. He later told me he is a weatherman and news anchor for channel 3, he was very friendly and we talked a little off and on. This made the situation a little less intimidating and I started feeling more comfortable being there.

            Eventually, all of the ballot results were tallied up, and we both went inside to ask Sue for the numbers. She got flustered and didn’t know where to begin, so I said start with the president. We went through all of the categories and it was actually much easier than I thought it would be. I managed to keep up and get all of the numbers down. Then, I decided to tweet some of the important/interesting numbers: the presidential winner in Ward 1, the legalization of cannabis yes vs. no vote, etc. Then I called the Free Press and reported all of the numbers back to one of their staff reporters. He said I did a great job and thanks for all of my help. This inspired my last tweet, about how happy I was to have been a real reporter on election night thanks to the Burlington Free Press, which was responded to by a few Free Press reporters.             

           This experience was probably one of the best I’ve had yet as a journalism student. The chance to be a (somewhat) legitimate reporter is one of the best jobs you can have on election night, and I feel very lucky to have had the privilege to work for the Free Press. This experience has also confirmed in many ways why I love my major and why I am excited to graduate with a degree in journalism. Although I plan to go into magazine journalism, the opportunity through the Free Press made me feel as though I am truly becoming more and more prepared to enter the real world as a journalist, and I hope to have many more positive experiences like this one in the future. there you have it! I had a great time and this was such a huge learning experience. Also, opportunities like this are just another reason why I love St. Mike's...Professor Donoghue, a journalism professor here who is also my advisor and a staff reporter at the Free Press, offered this job to students in the journalism department. We have endless opportunities thrown at us constantly here, and I'm glad I took advantage of this one!


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Class Registration for Spring 2013!

Hey everyone!

Ok, I seriously can't believe I just registered for 2nd semester classes already. Where has the time gone?!

following the meme trend....
but this one isn't accurate for everyone!  :)

I'm very excited about the classes I got into, though. I got 3 of my top choices and then my 4th class was one I planned on taking next year anyways, so it worked out fine! This registration I definitely was luckier than previous petitioning into classes or waiting weeks for a spot to open up? SCORE.

So, my schedule for 2nd semester looks like this:


2nd semester Italian   9:45-10:50


Media Law & Ethics   9:45-11:20
Advanced Writing for Media  11:30-1:05
Global Communication   3:00-4:35

On top of classes, I'll continue to give tours, blog, & write for The Defender for adv writing. For winter break I was lucky enough to be chosen to go to Baltimore, MD for MOVE Extended Service, I plan on applying to be an O-Leader for next fall, and I have to start filling out papers for study abroad next year! SO busy, wish me luck!

Make sure to check out some of the other bloggers' posts on registration!

Lauren's post on what to do if you don't get into a class
The other Lauren's post on her schedule for next semester
Gabbi's post on her schedule for her final semester here at SMC
Alex's post on registering for classes
Marci's post on classes for next semester & taking classes at ACPHS next year


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Halloweekend at SMC

Hey everyone!

This post is a little late...but I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween! Here at St. Mike's, the weekend before Halloween was the focus of the celebrations. Since it fell on a Wednesday this year, many SMC students dressed up for both nights of the weekend before instead! Saturday the 27th was also the night of the Halloween dance, which is a very popular event to attend here on campus. 

Friday night was a more low-key night, so I decided to channel my inner Vermonter and dress up as a hipster, complete with new (fake) glasses from Urban Outfitters that I bought earlier that day. My friend Mary was a Parisian and Galya was a hockey player.

Saturday night was definitely the big night for Halloween celebrations. Mary and I had been planning our costumes since July...we were Sophia Grace & Rosie! Preparing included dying tutus pink, buying princess crowns and glittery microphones, and learning all of the lyrics to Super Bass...this was definitely my favorite costume ever!

dying the tutu!

Sophia Grace and Rosie! 

For those of you who don't know who Sophia Grace & Rosie are, (we had to explain it to many people), here's the video of them on the Ellen Show!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

October Fun

Hey everyone!

Wow, it has been a CRAZY month. I feel like the work never ends...but, we still manage to make time for fun! I thought, hey, why not post a few miscellaneous pictures from the past few weeks that we've taken in-between all of the stress from classwork, meetings, etc. Basically, here's a sneak peak into what we SMC students do in our free time..enjoy!

#1  Eat ridiculous amounts of vegan desserts from Alliot

#2  Read magazines like Cosmo or Glamour (which had a political section this month!)

#3  Try on and model strange hats

#4  Clean our terribly messy room (yes, this is fun!)

#5  Ride scooters around campus (I just got a pink one with light up wheels!) I know, I know...I'm 5 years old at heart

#6  Snack dates with friends

#7  Sing! Preferably Disney when Mary (pictured below) sang a song from Mary Poppins the other day.

#8  Go into town and get STARBUCKS! Because really, who doesn't love Starbucks?!

So, the moral of the story is...we love to have a good time here at St. Mike's. Yes, obviously we work very hard too...but there's always a time when a little fun is necessary!


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Rock Climbing Adventures

Hey guys!

So, 2 weekends ago my friend Mary and I decided to do something totally random and exciting...we signed up for an all women's intro rock climbing trip through the Wilderness Program! I had always talked about wanting to go on one of their trips..there are so many cool ones like kayaking and ice climbing..but since the rock climbing opportunity presented itself, we decided to go for it!

If you're a current student, I strongly recommend signing up for rock climbing or one of the other trips, it was awesome to get off campus and do something spontaneous and out of the ordinary for an entire day! We left at 8am for Bolton Valley after grabbing some food in Alliot, and our awesome student leaders Betsy and Kat were joined by Andrea from Petra Cliffs...and let me just say, they were amazing!

I managed to get a ways up on most climbs, but it was fun even if I didn't make it to the top! After climbing, we did some rappelling...which was definitely my favorite part of the day. Dangling over the side of a cliff and then lowering yourself down? Love it!

Here are a few pictures from the day, thanks to the Wilderness Program blog!!

lunch break!

the group!

getting ready to rappel!

mid-climb. I'm on the right!

After trying out rock climbing, I'm definitely interested to see what else I can tackle. Ice climbing perhaps? 


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Defender Article Writing 101

Hey everyone!

It's been a while since my last post, these past few weeks have been ridiculously busy and stressful (in a good way)! This past week, I've been putting a lot of time into writing my first Defender article! For those who don't know, The Defender is the student newspaper here at St. Mike's. Journalism majors and professors are involved in writing and producing the weekly paper, which takes a lot of time and dedication! (YAY MJD MAJORS!!)

This was probably one of the best experiences, relating to journalism, that I've had so far in college. Last Thursday, I was given a story pitch from one of The Defender's student editors, and then the process began.

So, for anyone interested in journalism, or any students that are preparing to write their own article for The Defender, here are my steps to writing an article for The Defender:

Get your story pitch. Last week on Thursday, I walked over to Bergeron to get "assigned" a story idea from The Defender's student editors (senior/junior journalism majors). This is probably the easiest part of the process, as long as it's a good story idea.

#2 Email/call/stalk the suggested sources. aka, get ahold of them as soon as possible and schedule in-person interviews if they are able to. Suggested sources are always listed on the story pitch, and they will be essential in getting information to write the article.

#3 Figure out which direction you want the story to take and formulate questions for your sources accordingly. Writing down a list of questions beforehand will make the interview much easier (thinking of questions off the top of your head can be difficult, and you might forget to ask something that is essential in developing the article).

#4 Interview your sources! Make sure to use a voice recorder, if they are ok with it, to ensure that you don't misquote anyone when writing the article (I use the voice memos app on my iPhone). Also, take notes on what they say/the surroundings/their actions and characteristics.

#5 Once all of the interviews are done, pull out the most important pieces of each interview and organize them on a Word document. I also write down the times in the voice recording where a quotable statement was said so I can easily listen to it again. Organizing the interview information will allow for the article to be more easily pieced together, and it will also provide a sense of what direction to head in regards to the lead (the main point/most essential element of the article).

#6 Coffee coffee coffee. Writing the article takes quite a bit of time. Stay awake! For me, this means a ridiculous amount of hazelnut iced coffee.

#7 Write! Set yourself up in a place where you are most focused. Read through your notes while you write, quote accurately, and organize the article clearly. After the interviews, all of the information will be right there in front of you, so this step is just piecing it all together!

#8 EDIT! Mistakes in simple things such as grammar & spelling are just embarrassing, so make sure to read it over a few times. Also, editing will allow for any necessary reorganizing. For me, I cut & pasted many paragraphs into a different order which allowed for the article to flow better, and it was easier to understand because of that.

#9 Meet with your editor. At this point, it was a week later from receiving the story pitch. I met with my editor in Bergeron to talk about any other edits that he thought should be made. For me, edits really only consisted of a few AP style changes to be made. So, make sure to keep your AP stylebook in hand at all times!

#10 Email your final article draft (with changes) to your editor! Then, wait for The Defender to be published in the beginning of the following week :) My article will be in this upcoming week's paper!!