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