Friday, December 16

Going Home to Switzerland and Thailand

After months of labouring and enduring the chill of Vermont I'm finally flying home! This is an especially exciting holiday for me since I will be returning to both Switzerland (which I've been away from for a little over three months) and Thailand (which I haven't visited for a year and a half!) I'm very eager to catch up with my childhood and high school friends again, as well as spend time wondering the city, enjoying real Thai food and explore Chatuchak market in Bangkok. 

Here's a photo my friend took of me in Switzerland a few days before I left for Vermont:

The jet d'eau!

Monday, December 12

iPhone for College Life - Updates

At the beginning of the year, I posted a list of useful iPhone apps for college students. Here are some additions that I've picked up throughout the year:

DerManDar - Allows you to take panoramic photos on your iPhone. My fellow blogger, classmate and floormate Sarah Murray used this app to show you guys her dorm room.

QuickVoice - Voice recorder for lectures, interviews, concerts, etc. I was able to use it to record interviews with reporters and Burlington mayoral candidate Jason Lorber at a labor day event a few months ago (here's a blog post that has a clip of one of the event speeches).

MyVerizon - Very useful if Verizon is your service provider. You can check how many minutes/texts/downloads you have left on your plan and pay your bills through your iPhone.

Thursday, December 8

Campus at Night

Here's what the Saint Mike's campus looks like after sundown - I took these photos on my way back from the gym a few days ago (which conveniently closes at 22.30 on most days)...

The library is the brightest building until one in the morning

The quad: Joyce Hall, Ryan Hall, Lyons Hall and Alumni Hall

McCarthy Arts Center and the parking lot

The Alliot building holds our bookstore, Knightstand, dining hall, Knightcard office, Wilderness Program office,
Diversity Coalition/SKILLS office and most club gatherings

The Knightstand, open until midnight (except on Saturdays)

Sunday, December 4

Church Street Mural

This mural is (partially) hidden on a side-street off of Church St. in downtown Burlington next to the M.A.C store. Check it out before it's replaced by a new mural - according to the Defender, it'll be replaced by a parade theme showing the history of Vermont.

Quick sidenote - the last Knightchat session is coming up:

Wednesday, November 30

A Bostonian Thanksgiving

Since Thanksgiving break is only five days long, it didn't give me enough time to fly home to Switzerland - (2 days of flying, 2 days to adjust to jetlag.) I decided to stay in New England and take the Megabus down to Boston to stay with my friend Christina, who I know from Bangkok. I interned in central Boston two summers ago with the Russell J. Call Children's Center - but rarely left the area around Northeastern University - so this trip gave me a chance to see more of Cambridge. 

Christina and her family introduced me to the American Thanksgiving tradition, Black Friday sales, on-demand television, CostCo and some delicious Italian dishes. It's also been a real blurring of worlds for me, since I met up with a friend from Switzerland here.  

Exploring the streets around Quincy Market
My fourth meal on Thanksgiving Day with Philip and Christina - we're at a Turkish restaurant near BU
With Christina's one-year-old rottweiler Dante, who believes my limbs are chew toys

Friday, November 25

Brunch Spot: Zabby and Elf's Stone Soup

Since the weekend is near, I'll provide you with a brunch spot suggestion. At the beginning of the year, my friend and Burlington local Greta introduced me to heaven on earth, also known to some as Zabby and Elf's Stone Soup. The restaurant, which only serves locally grown food, is located right off of Church St. and serves soups, salads, hot beverages and has a full bar of warm goodness to offer. If you're lucky, you can get a seat on the veranda and people-watch.

Monday, November 21

Sunday Adventures

Yesterday, I went on an impromptu adventure with Liz and Jill after brunch in Alliot. We decided to explore the forest behind the 300's and walk out to the gorge past President Neuhauser's house. Here are some snapshots of our Sunday morning ventures...

Thursday, November 17

Track down those professors!

Since registration has ended and you might not have gotten into some courses you had wanted to take, I'd like to pass on the advice of Professor Griffith: track down those professors and beg them to add an extra seat in their class because you're super interested in topic X. It's what I did to get into Media and American Politics with Professor Mindich and I am so glad that I took the extra step. It's a course that has provided the topic for many of my blog posts (ie. here, here, here, here, here, here and here), caused my current obsession with the NY Times and The New Yorker and allowed me to experience American politics live through the New Hampshire field trip.

We just learned about the engagement "young people" have with news and politics by reading a number of studies including Prof Mindich's Tuned Out: Why Americans Under 40 Don't Follow the News, a 2007 Harvard study on "Young People and News" and Jack Gierzynski's Saving American Elections: A Diagnosis and Prescription for a Healthier Democracy. Since I was the "designated reader" for the Tuned Out reading (which means that I had to write a 2-3 page reflection on the reading and come up with a question for the class), I decided to conduct this very unscientific survey to find out more about the role of culture and social norms in my friends' (and whoever-else-decided-to-take-the-survey's) news consumption.

Another assignment we had was to write a short paper on young people's engagement with politics and news through new media (ie. the Internet, its social networking platforms, etc.) I wrote my paper through a European lens, since the studies I found were by the European CivicWeb initiative (which I discovered through my global communications summer course in London) and this article from the University of Amsterdam.

So, since I haven't written too much about my academic life at SMC - there you are! If you're going to be at SMC in 2015, I'd really encourage saving space for this class in the fall semester since it's only taught once every 4 years and it's freakin' awesome. (Yes, I've started using American expressions.) Gabbi's written a synopsis of the class here.

Tuesday, November 15

Spring 2012 Schedule

Last week, I posted about my registration experience and which courses I got into. Inspired by Marci's post, I thought I'd give you a glimpse of my schedule next semester. It looks like Thursday is going to be busy...

Key: EC = Economics, PO = Politics, MJD = "Media, Journalism and Digital Arts", HO = Honors Program 

Monday, November 14


One of the easiest ways to connect with current students at SMC is to log onto a Knightchat session. It's basically like an extended Formspring session where you can type in questions anonymously and ask current students about their experience. I recently just participated in my first Knightchat as a blogger, which was a cool experience since I was participating as a prospective student last year. The next Knightchat session will be hosted this Wednesday (November 16) for parents and the bloggers who will be answering questions then include AlexLauren, Beth and Sam.

Thursday, November 10

Week of Unplugging

On Tuesday morning, I turned in my iPhone and disabled my Facebook and e-mail accounts for the Week of Unplugging at Saint Michael's College. Today, students in the introductory Media Studies course - MJD101 Media Revolutions - will be giving up their cell phones until next Thursday. Students in Kimberly Sultze's first-year seminar, Living Digital, were also given the opportunity to participate by giving up the entire digital trifecta (cell phone, Facebook, e-mail) until next Tuesday for extra-credit. 

So far, it's been a bit of an adventure for me; I've had to find alternative methods of communicating with my friends, go out and buy a watch and an alarm clock, then figure out how to actually use the alarm clock. Let's hope I'll last the week ;) You can read reactions from last year's Week of Unplugging in this Defender article

Monday, November 7

Registration: Done!

Aside from life-threatening incidences (and IB exams), I'm certain that the two minutes following the start of registration were the most stressful minutes of my life. Why? Aside from competing with hundreds of sophomores for the "5 out of 10" spots in certain courses, I also got bounced off of my  Knightvision account! But even after registering a full three minutes late, I got all the classes I wanted! The most exciting thing about my classes next semester is that I get to take courses with professors that I've admired for some time now. I've linked their names below to a faculty profile of them on the SMC website. Here's a preview of my next semester (during which I will surely be lacking any semblance of a life):

EC103 Honors Principles of Microeconomics with Tara Natarajan
Economics - 4 credits
M/W/F 12.10-13.10
Economics major requirement and honors course requirement

EC101 Principles of Macroeconomics with Patrick Walsh
Economics - 4 credits
T/TH 13.10-14.40
Economics major requirement

PO365 Multicultural Theory & Practice with Shefali Misra
Political Science - 4 credits
M/W 15.00-16.40
Global Studies major elective

HO301 Honors Colloquium with Nicholas Clary
Honors Program - 2 credits
TH 14.50-16.20
Honors program requirement

MJD205 Investigative Reporting with Alison Cleary
Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts - 4 credits
T/TH 11.30-13.00
Media Studies and Digital Arts major requirement

Getting logged out: Knightvision's blue screen of death

My registered courses for spring 2012

Sunday, November 6

Blast from the Past

My floormate, Katie, just posted this photo from the South End Art Hop in August! Here we are as fresh-off-the-boat first-year students exploring South Burlington:

Saturday, November 5

Peppy the Playground Python

One of the classes I'm taking this semester is the honors first-year seminar, Living Digital, with Kimberly Sultze. Since it fullfils the 'Digital Media I' requirement for 'Media, Journalism and Digital Arts' majors, we also do a lot of work with Adobe Creative Suite. Recently, we were introduced to Illustrator and asked to design a mascot/logo. I was given the python to base my design around, and after many hours of frustration (yes, hours - I'm really not gifted with drawing), came up with Peppy the Playground Python. Check out my cute little mammal...

Monday, October 31

A Picturesque Campus

It's time to break out thick socks and leather gloves in Vermont, but the past couple of days have shown us that we still have some days of warm, sunny weather left before the snow sets in. Here are a few snapshots of a truly picturesque campus...

Saturday, October 29

Fall Foliage

The best thing about living in New England is the fall foliage - this is one of our trees in front of Bergeron, the journalism building. Beautiful, no?

Thursday, October 27

Vermont International Film Festival

A still of francophone Finnish film Le Havre, which was featured as the Vermont International Film Festival's first showcase film. Photo from The Guardian online. 

This month's biggest event in Vermont is none other than the Vermont International Film Festival, featuring films from 24 countries over the span of ten days. This year's themes are FoodBorders and DisplacementFreedom and Liberty and Egyptian Cinema.

I attended two screenings at Palace 9 Cinemas on the opening night: Le Havre and Tomboy. At $10/screening, the pricing is a bit steep but worth spending - especially to attend screenings during which the director will be present. There was no special event surrounding either of the films on the opening night, but Le Havre premiered in Burlington on the same night as the LA premier screening which is rather awesome considering that LA is one of the world's cinema capitals. Later on, I also watched Connected with two of my friends - one of which was Sarah Murray!

Here's the schedule for those of you who plan on attending! I highly recommend it; this festival brings much relief after being entrenched in a sea of blockbusters.

Wednesday, October 26

Field Trip: Vermont Public Radio

Two of the myriad reasons I love being a journalism major is that we are able to explore all the different fields of journalism and we go on awesome field trips.

Yesterday, I was able to visit the Vermont Public Radio station as part of my Media Revolutions class. The host of the Vermont Edition program, Jane Lindholm, gave us a tour of the building and answered any questions we had about radio journalism. We also met with Vermont Edition producer and reporter, Samantha Fields, who spoke to us about what her job entails and some of the challenges that come along with it.

Later, we were given the opportunity to write script for the Vermont Edition, which three of us later used to host a mock Vermont Edition program. I was able host one of the mock shows (on the topic of the Vermont International Film Festival) and found the experience to be incredibly fun but also hectic; I had to talk to my guest, check for listeners calling on the computer screen and keep track of time all at once!

Scroll down to see photos of our visit!

The audio collection (which is in the process of being digitised)

The desk of Vermont Edition host, Jane Lindholm

Calendar of topics being covered on the Vermont Edition 

Chatting with Vermont Edition producer and report Samantha Fields

A sound engineer's office

The live performance room

Alli trying out the role of a Vermont Edition host; her show's topic was the removal of ice cream machines at Saint Michael's College

Tuesday, October 25

Costume Mania

In preparation for Halloween, the Drama Club has provided students with a treasure trove of costumes in Alliot - there's piles upon piles of them!

Monday, October 24

Saturday, October 22

100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 21 - 30

Here are numbers 1-10 and 11-20

21. You can schedule appointments with a research librarian or the study abroad advisor online.

22. The library makes three announcements before it closes one in the morning (one at midnight, another at half past midnight and the last at one in the morning) so don't worry about getting locked in!

23. Some profs will put everything (from extra credit to MLA guidelines and office hours) on eCollege while others will only link the syllabus. Find out which one your professor is so you don't miss out on an extra credit opportunity.

24. Just because somebody loves a professor doesn't mean you'll love them as well since everyone has a different learning style. Go chat with the professor before you register for their class.

25. For every hour of class, you're expected to do (more or less) 3 hours of work outside of class.

26. You'll be expected to attend some public lectures and events downtown as part of your coursework, and sometimes be able to attend them for extra credit.

27. The one of the bathrooms on the ground floor of the library is pristine. It has good lighting, sleek tiling and it's very, very clean - on a college campus, this is very much appreciated.

28. The gym hours change on the weekend; on Sunday it opens at half past noon. Remember this and don't walk to the gym at ten in the morning like I did!

29. One of the dorm rooms on every floor has a temperature gage, so if you're in that room (it's usually in the centre of the hall) you can't open your windows during the winter or it'll mess up the "room temp" reading and overheat everyone's rooms on that floor.

30. If you leave your windows open too long during the winter, your pipes may burst. It's happened to an RA, who got murky water leaked all over their things from the pipe breakage. 

Tuesday, October 18

NH Field Trip Re-Cap

Since a few bloggers and quite a few news sources covered our Media and American Politics' field trip to New Hampshire, I thought it'd be useful to pool together all the links...

From the students...
On this blog
We made USA Today!
Exploring New Hampshire - Photos 
NH Field Trip: Mitt Romney
NH Field Trip: Online News at the Concord Monitor
NH Field Trip: Jon Huntsman
Journey to New Hampshire

On Gabbi's blog
Journalism Students in the News
Republican Economic Debate - Dartmouth College (Quick Reflection)
Media and American Politics

On Liz's blog
More Coverage from the Debates!
NH Debates: Up Close and Personal

On Lisa's blog
Media & American Politics Class Trip to NH: Day 1
Media & American Politics Class Trip to NH: Day 2
More photos from trip to NH

We also tweeted (our accounts are @rahtanakul @Hall_Gabbi @LittleLizzie33)
The hashtags we used on Twitter during the field trip were: #mediaandampo #NHprimaries #econdebate

In the news...
Concord Monitor: Economy is touchstone for Romney
Concord Monitor: Huntsman: Focus on America
Time: The Perils of the Town Meeting
Amherst Patch: 5 Things You Need to Know About Today: Oct. 11
C-SPAN: Romney Same-Sex Marriage
C-SPAN: Romney on AIDS policy
ABC News: Romney Badgered on Same-Sex Marriage Questions at N.H Town Hall
National Journal: Fiesty Romney Barnstorms Granite State
Dallas News: 'AP Photo - Huntsman'
USA Today: Election 2012: From the classroom to the campaign
The Daily Show: American Occupy
Yahoo! News: Huntsman tells New Hampshire crowd he's the real deal
CBS News: Huntsman: "I'm not gonna light my hair on fire" for attention
CBS News: Mitt Romney zings "Occupy Wall Street" and praises Hermain Cain in N.H
The Dartmouth: Watch party atmosphere proves subdued, controlled 
Lez Get Real: Romney Tries To Avoid Same-Sex Marriage Issue At NH Town Hall
Huffington Post: Mitt Romney Supports 'Partnership Agreements,' Not Marriage, For Gay Couples

Sunday, October 16

We made USA Today!

USA Today just released an article about our Media and American Politics / SGAC trip to New Hampshire to attend the Dartmouth Republican Presidential Debate as well as town hall meetings held by Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. Here's the link to the article, written by Jordan J. Frasier.

Election 2012: From the Classroom to the Campaign
Every four years the presidential campaign cycle converges with campaign operations and front-porch politicking.
The media, ranging from local newspapers to national television, goes along for the ride, highlighting the interdependent relationship between politics and journalists.
It’s the perfect atmosphere for college students studying political journalism and an opportunity to get out of their lecture chairs and take-in the process.
And that is exactly what is happening right now at Saint Michael’s College in Vermont. Every four years the college offers Media and American Politics, a class that coincides with presidential elections. The highlight for students is a two-day trip to New Hampshire to see behind the headlines and sound bites and look at both the candidates and media with their own eyes.
As part of this year’s trip, the students made some of their own headlines.
Media outlets characterized the students visit to a Mitt Romney town hall event in Hopkinton, where they peppered the candidate with social-issue questions, by reporting headlines such as, “Romney badgered on same-sex marriage questions” and “Romney avoids reporters, but not tough questions.”
“I think we were really just asking the questions he didn’t want to answer,” Elizabeth Murray, a junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major at Saint Michael’s, said.
Murray said Romney told the audience the ideal climate for children is a home with one man and one woman. She said the students weren’t happy with some of those answers because they wanted to know more reasoning behind his thoughts, not just his positions.
“When you know why a candidate feels the way he does, it’s easier to get to know them,” Murray added.
In addition to the Romney event, students also attended a Jon Huntsman campaign stop in Tilton, where they also pitched social-issue questions.
The Media and American Politics students were not the only Saint Michael’s students on the trip. Their fellow travelers were students with the Student Global AIDS Campaign who went with the purpose of advancing their cause.
Junior media studies, journalism and digital arts major Gabrielle Hall said there was a clear division on the trip between the activist students wanting to bring attention to their cause and the media politics students looking to get first-hand experience with the election process.
As part of the trip, students also visited with reporters to discuss campaign coverage and spoke with an online editor of the Concord Monitor about how social media and online news impact election reporting.
On the second day of the trip, students attended a debate and had quick encounters with candidates Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich and Huntsman.
Hall said she was surprised when meeting Bachmann because she found the candidate short in height. She said in class they had discussed how taller candidates often have an advantage and she thought about that upon meeting them.
Furthermore, Hall said when Huntsman approached the group after the debate he referenced some of the students social-issue questions from the day before. She said it was interesting to see questions they asked stick with a candidate.
For Tarah Srethwatanakul, a foreign student with Thai and Swiss citizenship, the experience of observing her first American election was something quite memorable.
“I feel like this type of campaign is really unique to America,” she said of the United State’s emphasis on candidates as people, something she hasn’t seen in elections overseas. 
- Jordan J. Frasier 

Saturday, October 15

Interviewing for Colleges

Since the interviewing season is rapidly approaching, I've dedicated this week's post to the often feared admissions interview. The best advice I can offer for this process is to research the school so that you can provide in-depth answers as to why you'd be a good fit and also come up with questions to ask the interviewer. 

Before my SMC interview, I had done extensive research on the school through their website by contacting current students and various departments, browsing through their activities list, reading through the school's online publications and reading faculty profiles. I think that it's important to do this so that you're really able to go into detail about why you want to attend the college (I want to take a class with Professor X and get involved with X activity. I like X about this college because...), but more importantly, so you know whether you actually want to spend 4 years at such a school in the first place. 

Here are some things you can do to research Saint Michael's:

Visit the school before the interview if you can! You really get a feel for the campus, you can sit down and talk to some of the students to get (usually) uncensored commentary on housing, activities, what stinks, what's great, what the social scene is like, etc. If you're too shy, you'll still get to know what at least one of the students is like through the tour guide, who will be happy to have a chat with you after the tour if you stick around for a couple of minutes. During my SMC visit, I was even able to arrange chats with five of the professors and sit in on some classes! That was actually the deciding factor in my decision to enroll, because on the top of my must-have list for college was passionate and accessible faculty.  

Be prepared to answer these questions:
1. Why do you want to come to our college?
2. What courses are you taking?
3. What activities are you involved in? 

I think that the interview is really an opportunity for both you and the interviewer to figure out if you're a good fit for the school, so remember that it's not a one-way process: you're encouraged to ask questions as well. During my interviews, I had a couple sheets of paper with me to jog my memory: my resume, (very short) bullet point reasons for why I like the college and my questions for the interviewer. It's really not necessary to have all this with you, but it can help you remember things you want to touch on during the interview! 

Friday, October 14


Hello! So, I know that college applications will be due in the coming weeks and I just want to let any prospective students know that I'm here to answer any questions! As a prospective student, I didn't think  that I would have the opportunity to come visit and relied a lot on checking out the student blogs, e-mailing various profiled professors and students and asking a ton of questions through Formspring. In the end, I did come visit but I was able to come up with a lot of good questions to ask during my stay from online research. There's a white and orange question box on the right sidebar of this blog - you can use this to send me all the questions you have!

Wednesday, October 12

Exploring New Hampshire - Photos

Out the bus window on the way to Tilton

Stopping at a Pauli's in Tilton for lunch

Caffeine refuel

Eggs benedict and Belgian waffles! Nom nom nom.

Lunch stop at a restaurant on the Dartmouth campus

Media goes crazy at Dartmouth
Start of the protests on the Dartmouth green

Huntsman signs were all over Tilton
In front of our (wi-fi equipped) bus!