Monday, April 30

The Rockstar Toilets of Sloane

My friend Brendan took me to Sloane to check out the art building some time ago. I was thrilled to see how cool the bathrooms were and - as a North Campus tourist - snapped some photos of their rocker wall decor. Here's one of the amenities art majors enjoy... 

On a side note, a few of my friends have been wanting to be introduced to you readers - so here are Brendan (who brought me to Sloane), Dillon (who you might recognise from the fly-fishing interview) and Lhanzi. Lhanzi is in my macroeconomics class with Prof Natarajan and they all live in the first-year quad with me.

Saturday, April 28

100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : The Final 91 - 100

Here are 1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50, 51- 60, 61-70, 71-80 and 81-90

91. Don't be scared to pull an all-nighter in the academic buildings. I was hesitant at first, since I was scared I'd be alone in an empty building, but there are a surprising amount of people who need to work in a classroom at night. 

92. If you have clothes that need to be hand-washed, take them with you to the shower and hang them up on the notches to dry while you shower. 

Everyone on campus is super helpful and friendly; it's not like high school where freshman can be perceived to be nuisances so don't be scared for your first few days on campus! 

Though the official overnight stay programme has been cancelled, it's possible for prospective students to contact the admissions office to ask for an overnight stay. I'd really recommend this, as I wish that I had known what campus culture was like before I had arrived here as a first-year student. 

Don't overload yourself with too many sources when writing a research paper; limit yourself to 12-18 sources for a 10-page paper. I made the mistake of trying to read 35 sources in two weeks for a paper and got really frustrated with myself.

Buy fingerless gloves for the winter - this way you'll still be able to get a grip on things.

Always read assignment instructions and highlight requirements before starting on it - it helps you focus on what you need to get done. 

Make sure you narrow down your research topic before you start doing research or your search will be too vague. 

Request to live in Joyce Hall for your first year; the building has the mailroom in the basement and it's also the closest dorm to Alliot which has the dining hall, bookstore, MOVE office, the Knightcard office, Wilderness office and the campus ministry headquarters. 

All residence halls have representatives that attend weekly SA meetings - if you're having any problems that you think should be brought up, talk to them and they can represent your voice at the next SA meeting. Two other great resources are your RA and RD - they're usually super accessible and friendly. 

Thursday, April 26

Media Labs on Campus

As a journalism major - and a student of the Living Digital first-year seminar - I spend an exorbitant amount of time in media labs around campus. There are four media labs that I know of; two on the second floor of Jeanmarie and two in Bergeron. They're all equipped with Adobe Creative Suite 5 (which has programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign) and colour printers. Here's one of the labs in Bergeron. The staff of the college newspaper, The Defender, spends their Sundays prepping the next edition here. 

Tuesday, April 24

100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 81 - 90

Here are 1-1011-2021-3031-4041-50, 51- 60, 61-70 and 71-80.

81. You can request songs on the college radio station (88.7 WWPV The Mike) at 802.654.2887. I've requested a song on my friend's show - it's pretty cool hearing your name/song on air. You can also access the schedule of radio shows and playlist online

82. Get a miracle shirt from Brooks Brothers; they're button-up shirts that you can throw in the regular wash and dryer without worry and they come out perfectly pressed. A bit pricey for a student budget ($80-120) but they come with two spare buttons and you'll never have to worry about dry-cleaning your fancy clothes.

83. Learn to take notes with paper if you've been using your laptop a lot; most profs don't allow use of electronics in the classroom - I've never actually met one who let me use my laptop in class.

84. As part of the Consortium of Vermont Colleges, it's possible for students at Saint Michael's College to take courses at surrounding universities for SMC credit (meaning that your grades count and that they don't take away from your study abroad credits.) Apparently UVM isn't included in the selection because it's public, and there's been talk that Middlebury College has joined the list.

85. The Blendables yogurt parfaits at the Knightstand are delicious - they're yogurt mixed with blueberries or strawberries and granola bits. It's a bit difficult to eat (since the granola is stacked so high) so I wouldn't recommend going to class with it, but it's easy to grab for a snack or for a late breakfast if you miss out on the Alliot hours on the weekend.

86. If you need a recommendation from a professor, check in with them at least two months before your application is due. They might not be able to write it for a while since as professors, they're inherently incredibly busy. It's also useful to give them information on the programme/university you're applying to, what admissions officers are looking for and how you did in the professor's class (as well as one or two samples of your work.)

87. You can subscribe to receive repeated packages of shampoo, toothpaste, razor blades, etc. from Amazon in case you don't want to go into Burlington to buy these types of things in the middle of winter. It's also possibile to buy just one or two of them and shipping is free. I do it for make-up cleansing wipes, boxes of tissues, shampoo, conditioner and Q-tips.

88. There are a few mini hiking trails around campus - the walk to the quarry is a nice one to go on with friends. It'll take around an hour to walk around that area and back.

89. Don't be afraid to ask your profs for extensions; the worst they can say is no but most of the time, they're very understanding and accommodating as long as you put in a decent effort throughout the semester.

90. Applications for most study abroad programmes are on March 15. Make sure you book an appointment with Peggy Imai, the study abroad co-ordinator, at least two months before the application is due. Also look out for e-mails from her regarding deadlines in your SMC inbox. 

Sunday, April 22

Missing Madrid

Beth's 'Things I miss from abroad' post from a few months ago made me realise that I'm also feelings pangs of "homesickness" for my summer "home" in Madrid. Here's my list of things Spanish wonders that I long for...
  • Tortillas
  • The ubiquity of good coffee
  • The metro (except for the 'circular' line that is six flights underground)
  • My pain au chocolat breakfast
  • Red wine
  • The design on iron entrances
  • Shabby lifts
  • Zara
  • Late dinners - even by European standards
  • My incredibly passionate astronomy professors, who are also twin brothers
  • The pedestrian-friendly structuring of the entire city
  • Sliced dry sausages
  • The food market
  • The incredible architecture
  • Going out for expressos with my Guatemalan roommates/"sisters"
  • Wooden floors
  • Fried pork intestines (which sounds terrible, but is really good and can be eaten like popcorn)
  • My household of women
  • Lively dinner debates
  • Dancing until sunrise
  • The heat
  • My Mandarin-speaking Spanish mother
  • Crazy football matches

    Thursday, April 19

    Edgy Texting Technology

    Apart from being able to print from any printer/scanner/fax machine on campus, one of my favorite technologies is the library book search's "Text it!" feature. It allows anyone on campus to get a book's call number texted to them so that nobody with a cell phone will ever have to write down a book ID such as "PS3505.R167fa" again. (It's also eco-friendly!) So, how do you do it? Once you find the result for your desired book, you can scroll down to the "Text it!" link under the "Holdings Information" section (as seen in the photo.) A new tab will pop up that asks for your service provider (there's a list that includes AT&T, Alltel, Nextel, Spring, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon and Virgin - it's really all-inclusive), your phone number and if you'd like - you can add a little reminder for yourself. Once you hit "send text message", it takes a couple minutes to arrive but wait a bit and presto - you'll be ready to go hunt for your book of desire!

    Funny story: one morning I woke up and decided that I wasn't going to have breakfast with my friends at half past seven after all, and in my groggy haze, texted "too sleepy, not coming to breakfast" to the library by accident! 

    Tuesday, April 17

    100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 71 - 80

    Here are 1-1011-2021-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51- 60 and 61-70

    71. A great way to buy textbooks is to put up a message on your graduating class' Facebook page with your required textbooks for the next semester. People are willing to sell some at an astonishingly low price if they can't return it to the bookstore. A macroeconomics textbook that's usually sold for $80 at the bookstore can be sold for $15 on the Facebook page.

    72. Bring a small battery-run lamp or large flashlight for power outages. There's only been one this year, but it's useful when you really need to get work done.

    73. If you're buying coffee at the Knightstand, get a cappucino; you can get regular coffee in Alliot for free with the first-year meal plan and the cappucino tastes much better.

    74. Alliot gets really busy at 8am - get there at before 7.50 or after 9am!

    75. You're not allowed to bring containers into Alliot. I was trying to bring back fried eggs and bagels to serve breakfast in bed to a friend who had fallen ill one day and get scolded by Rosemary (one of the canteen ladies.) Don't do it!

    76. If you really need to concentrate on studying/writing a paper, go to an isolated space without anything but your study materials - no cell phone, no agenda, no other reading materials! And don't tell your friends where you are or commit to activities shortly after your study time. This way, you won't feel rushed and give your studies your full attention.

    77. Allow for a bit of flexibility when you're planning your weekly schedule - professors don't always stick to their syllabi because sometimes the class is lagging a bit behind or advancing very fast.

    78. One of the benefits of being a journalism major: free colour printing. Colour printing isn't even an option on the Pharos printing system for other majors.

    79. Get a desk lamp as soon as possible. The regular dorm lights are a bit harsh, so students tend to buy warmer standing lights but it won't be bright enough to fill the whole room.

    80. If you're taking an economics class, you'll normally need 5-8 coloured pens for graphs - especially in Principles of Microeconomics.

    Sunday, April 15

    Proactiv Dispenser

    Normally, you see candy or soda dispensers - and in some metro stations, magazine dispensers. In the Burlington Town Center Mall, you'll come across a Proactiv acne treatment dispenser. One of the quirky things you encounter living in Vermont ;) 

    Wednesday, April 11

    Personalising a Dorm Room

    Some tips on personalising a dorm room...
    • Add custom carpets. If your room has weird angles, The Perfect Rug makes custom-order rugs and they're delivered within a month. 
    • Figure out your habits and tailor your spaces to them. I put my boot tray in front of my dresser for a month, until I got so annoyed that I couldn't pull out my drawers properly that I moved it behind my desk. On that note, get a boot tray - you'll need it for the winter and rainy season. 
    • You can make plain surfaces more attractive by draping pashimas over them.
    • Paper laterns are a great way to bring some personality into a room.
    • Etsy, eBay and the Wisteria e-shop have a lot of funky furniture that you can order online. If you're looking for ideas for different pieces, you can also check out sites for small living spaces like Dwell and Apartment Therapy. Pintrest will also have a lot of posts in the home decor section
    My friends Lhanzi and Alex taped up paper laterns to make the ceiling more colourful.
    My funky bed-side table from Wisteria
    and a vintage alarm clock from Etsy
    A flexible standing lamp I ordered from Bed, Bath and Beyond.
    Most of the girls on my floor have some variation of this lamp.

    Sunday, April 8

    Faculty Spotlights

    One of the tools that really helped me get to know Saint Michael's College better before deciding to visit was the spotlight archive. This online archive is filled with interviews with professors, current students and alumni so that you're able to get to know the specific departments and your future professors better. This also helped me choose which professors I wanted to meet with during my campus visit and I really recommend doing this because it'll help you get a better feel for the department you'll be involved with during your collegiate experience if you choose to come to SMC.

    Here's what a faculty spotlight looks like - this is Professor Clary, the honors program coordinator and an English professor. The first time I chatted with him during my campus visit, we ended up talking for an hour and a half and then he gave me a comic strip. Meet with him when you visit!

    Thursday, April 5

    Dude, where's my bus? - The CCTA and the SMC shuttle

    For those of us who don't have a car (that is, all first-year students), the CCTA is our main mode of transportation - it's clean, free with the knightcard and runs generally at least every hour. The only catch is that it often doesn't come on time and it doesn't run on Sundays. Below is a full Mon-Sat schedule; note that we're stop #4 and if you're leaving from campus then you'll be looking at the 'Essex Junction to Burlington times'. The most convenient stop to get off at in Burlington is Church St., but there are a few stops around the area if you forget to get off.

    Saint Michael's College bus stop

    That's our bus!

    Headed to Church Street

    Also available is the SMC shuttle onto North Campus for upperclassmen who live in the Ethan Allen apartments, Hamel Hall, Purtill Hall, Linnehan Hall, Dupont Hall or need access to the Sloane Art Center, the Elley-Long Music Center, the Early Learning Center (for education majors) and the Herrouet Theater. There are also concerts at the Turtle Underground on weekends. The shuttle schedule is here

    Monday, April 2

    100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 61 - 70

    Here are 1-1011-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50 and 51- 60

    61. Generally, the registration process should be quite smooth (albeit a bit stressful). But take the extra step to confirm with your academic advisor that he/she has cleared you for registration. I've had two friends whose advisors have forgotten to do this and they had an extremely stressful first week back. That being said, if you don't get into some courses there are lots of good courses with extra space during the add/drop session - I chose two of my classes this way. 

    The add/drop period is nine days long. Try to get everything done within the first few days, because you might need access to the course on eCollege in order to complete readings and coursework. Once you hand in the add/drop form to the registrar, your courses should show up on eCollege within a few hours. 

    63. If you have wool sweaters that need to be hand-washed, you can put them in a 'woolens' cycle in the dorm washing machine which will wash it with cold water with a gentle spin. You can then hang it up to dry, and it won't get ruined. 

    64. Go through your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and mark down all the major dates for homework, quizzes, projects, papers and exams that you have for the rest of the semester in your planner. It'll only take 10-15 minutes and you'll never be caught off-guard. It's really essential to see these deadlines and test days coming up; sometimes you'll have three major papers due in one week and you'll need to prepare yourself accordingly.

    65. Eddie's Lounge is a great place to get work done on weekday mornings and it's not usually occupied on Friday nights if you want to watch a movie with friends in a larger space.

    66. If you pull on a door handle too quickly after swiping your Knightcard, it won't let you in and you'll have to wait around 30 seconds until you can re-swipe.

    67. The college health centre is currently unable to prescribe pills for women for birth control reasons, but they will prescribe it for health reasons or refer women to other clinics.

    68. If you lose your Knight card (and somebody finds it) or you lock yourself out, you'll normally have to go to the Student Life office on the first floor of Alliot.

    69. It's really important to check with your academic advisor if your academic plan is feasible. They'll let you know, for example, that students are not able to double major in Psychology and Education because there are too many overlapping courses. But they can also provide you with alternatives like self-designing a major or fulfilling certain courses abroad or during the summer.

    70. Students are able to submit writing pieces for three publications: The Holy Shift (the social justice magazine), The Onion River Review (the literary journal) and The Defender (the news publication). 

    Thursday, March 29

    Interview: Dan and Dom from Bad News Beards

    If you live in the quad or have classes in Jeanmarie, you've seen their posters plastered everywhere - of course, I'm talking about Dan and Dom's radio show on the campus radio station, Bad New Beards. You can stream it online every Friday from noon-2pm and check out their playlist if a song strikes your fancy. Or, if you have a burning desire to hear a song of your choice (or to make a dedication), you can dial up the request line at 802.654.2887 and one of them will take your call.

    Read on to enter the minds of the two radio show hosts...

    How did you come up with the name "Bad News Beards"? Neither of you are particularly cynical or troublesome... 
    Dan: Our friendship was basically founded on a love for Four Year Strong (the band), and they have a song called Bad News Bears - obviously a play on the classic film. We just sort of came up with the pun 'cause we both have beards.

    How do you plan the playlist?
    Dan: We just compile our own playlists and take turns playing what seems to come naturally. I works out well, we're a good time.
    Dom: Along with Dan's answer, I also try to go through the music I have and find songs that I haven't played in a while.

    What bands are you into at the moment?
    Dan: Motion City Soundtrack, Foxy Shazam, Streetlight Manifesto and The Tower and the Fool are current loves of mine.
    Dom: On Cue, Street Dogs and the Mountain Goats are some of the different types of music I've been into lately.

    What's the most challenging aspect of hosting a radio show?
    Dan: The learning curve, probably. Like when at the beginning of this semester, Dom and Idid an entire legal ID then realized the mic wasn't on...
    Dom: Keeping things going smoothly. We have slowly been getting the hang of transitioning nicely between songs, PSAs and talking. It is important not to have "dead air."

    Is there anything particular about being part of a college radio station versus a regular station?
    Dom: I feel like this is probably a more relaxed situation. Plus, we do not have to play commercials or pre-set playlists because this is a non-commercial radio station.

    What's the process for students interested in hosting a show?
    Dan: Honestly the way it works is just to wait for that one single e-mail in a sea of millions that says, "apply to get a radio show."
    Dom: Dan's answer rocks.

    Tune in to Bad News Beards on WWPV 88.7 from noon-2pm on Fridays. 

    Monday, March 26

    Interview with a Fly Fisher

    Dillon with a lake trout caught in the Presumpscot River in Windham, Maine

    A curious thing about St. Mike's is the presence of fly-fishing on campus. First-year students can enrol in the fly-fishing seminar taught by Professor Bill Grover from the politics department and all students can join the fly-fishing club on campus. My friend Dillon Reno, an avid fly-fisher who has been practicing the art for a few years now, let me ask him a few questions about the club.

    Why do you fly-fish?
    I fly-fish because it's my connection with nature and clears my head. It puts me in a state of serenity and puts me in a place where problems are non-existent.

    What sorts of activities does the fly-fishing club offer to its members?
    Weekend fly-fishing trips and ice-fishing trips in the winter as well as two overnight trips; one in the fall and one in the spring at world renown fly-fishing destinations. We also do fly-tying on weekdays.

    Can a novice join?
    Yup. Novices can join and the club provides them with gear. We'll teach any beginners who don't know how to fish.

    Do you have advice to anybody who is just starting to fly-fish?
    Don't assume that you can figure it out all by yourself. It's what I did and it stunted my learning. It took me a few years to give it another try - when I did, I took lessons and fell in love with it.

    Who do you have to contact to join the fly-fishing club and when do you meet? 
    You can contact Louis Annino, Benjamin Gruner or Professor Bill Grover to get more information on the club. We don't have scheduled meetings; Louis just sends out e-mails to club members when he wants to set up a meeting.

    You can contact Dillon with any fly-fishing questions at

    Thursday, March 22

    100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 51 - 60

    Here are 1-1011-20, 21-30, 31-40 and 41-50.

    51. If you want to borrow foreign films, there are some in the library but you'll find a better selection in the language lab. 

    52. If you're an international student, you'll need a visa to go to Canada which takes about a month to get. Plan ahead, since a few courses at SMC include field trips to Canada and you might want to head up there for a long week-end. 

    53. There's a hotel across the street from campus if you have relatives visiting. They charge about $80/night on weekdays.

    54. I've been in denial about this my whole life but in order to be fully (or in some cases, somewhat) functional, one needs to sleep. Nobody is functional after an all-nighter. Think about that before you procrastinate.  

    55. Some professors won't be crazy about you (although most will be super passionate about what they're teaching). Sometimes it takes a while to establish a good relationship with a professor. 

    56. Never throw away sticky things (especially drinks or food - even if they're wrapped/bottled) in your own garbage bin. Take the time to put it in a plastic bag and walk to the communal floor dump. You don't want to get into a situation where you have to wash your bin.

    57. If you order take-out, keep the plastic bag so you can wrap the leftover food back into the bag when you dump it out in the big trash on your floor (if you're too lazy to go to a trash outside). This way, your floormates living near the trashroom (that's me, guys) won't suffer from the smell. 

    58. Come armed with a vacuum cleaner, cleaning wipes and some cleaning spray. You don't want to live in a dusty, germ-filled room. 

    59. The office hours for Jerome Allen (an IT technician) are Monday through Friday in the Bergeron computer lab from 16.00 - 21.00. If you need to work with the scanner or any design programs (like Photoshop), he's your man. 

    60. Check your syllabus every week. You might have a quiz or an exam coming up, and some profs will only remind you about it one or two days before the test. 

    Monday, March 19

    Go Global

    Exploring Tenerife with my Spanish astronomy class 
    Studying abroad is an experience that is being increasingly stressed by Saint Michael's College; the Media, Journalism and Digital Arts department recently integrated a required semester abroad for their majors and I've even talked to pre-med students who are looking to spend a semester in Africa. Seeing as searching for the perfect study abroad program has been my obsession since I was 13 (when I began to study outside of Thailand/Switzerland over the summer), I thought I'd share a few tips. First, there's SMC's study abroad website which has a comprehensive list of approved programs that you can sort by language, semester and location. 

    On the streets of London with my friend
    Lodo after a long day of lectures

    There are three other sections on the site that I love: a list of global news sources so you can see what's going on in your study abroad region, an album displaying 2011's Global Eyes study abroad photography competition winners and links to SMC study abroad bloggers. I also found the and to be really great databases for program searches - although not all of them listed will be SMC-approved ,you can petition for approval. My favorite study abroad programme pages that are sponsored by other universities include Boston University, Syracuse, NYU and Middlebury

    Finally, your number one resource will ultimately be SMC's study abroad director, Peggy Imai. You can schedule an appointment with her online or by calling 802-654-2222. She also has office hours between 13.00 - 17.00 on weekdays, and her office is located inside the same building as the Career Development Center next to the word garden (between Jeanmarie and the McCarthy Arts Center). 

    Friday, March 16

    Spring Break in Malta

    For spring break (March 9 -19), I returned to Switzerland to see my family for a few days and went to Malta for some relaxation. As Malta is right under Italy and at the tip of Africa, I had expected it to be quite warm but it's in fact so windy that I had to wear a heavy scarf on most days! From the touring I've done, it seems to be a largely agricultural country in which religion is ubiquitous. There are exactly 365 churches on this tiny island and quite a few houses contain window displays of the Virgin Mary. I also visited Gozo island, which is a half hour boat ride away from Malta - the views there are beautiful (it includes the famous Azure Window) though most restaurants only serve microwave meals.

    Here are some photographs from the sunny days so far...I'm headed back to Geneva for the weekend before flying back to campus on Sunday!

    Monday, March 12

    Summer Preview: Politics at Cambridge University

    It's official! I'll be spending six weeks at Cambridge University this summer at their Interdisciplinary Summer School.  I'm incredibly excited, as the subjects that I'll be studying sound very interesting and I've yet to travel outside of London and Windsor in England. In the mean time, I'll have a lot of reading to do as I'm required to read 14 books before the start of June. Because my schedule is already quite hectic, I've arranged to see an academic counselor to help me figure out how to be more productive given the limited amount of time I can dedicate to preparation for my summer courses. 

    Here are the courses I'll be taking at Cambridge:
    1. Crises in world politics since 1945
    2. Third world revolutions: Cuba, Chile, Angola, Ethiopia
    3. Power and politics in Britain today
    4. Economics of public policy

    It's possible to take three courses per session, but I'll only be taking two since they're very intensive and I'll want time to be able to attend the plenary lectures.

    Below is the typical schedule of a Cambridge summer session student.

    Wednesday, March 7

    Summer Preview: Healthcare Policy in Copenhagen

    This summer I'll be taking a course in 'Health Delivery and Prioritization in Northern Europe' in Copenhagen through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad. A fellow journalism major and blogger, Lisa, will also be studying there next year.
    My course lasts a month and is taught by two Danish researchers, Jakob Hansen and Morten Eierstad. During this time, I'll also be participating in the Visiting Family Program - which pairs me with a Danish family for cultural immersion - while living in a Kollegium, a student residence that typical Danish university students are independently housed in. During a weekend, I'll also be able to explore Denmark by going on a biking trip in Bornholm arranged by DIS.

    Take a look at this tongue-in-cheek guide to Danish society - I was reading it on the DIS site in preparation for my summer travels and found out that Danes are paid by the government to attend university - clearly a very different approach from the American way.
    Bike trails in Bornholm. Photo credit: DIS website

    Saturday, March 3

    My Op-ed in The Defender

    One of the great things about being at a small college is that if you write something into the student newspaper, they're very likely to publish it - and sometimes you'll even get e-mail responses from fellow students. A few weeks ago, I wrote an op-ed for The Defender on how the course evaluations students fill out at the end of the semester should be open for the student body to access - you can read it online here!

    Wednesday, February 29

    Completing Assignments During Vacation

    Something that was particularly stressful for me last semester was typing up essays and completing long readings while traveling. Most professors will only acknowledge long vacations (winter and summer) as real breaks and since you have a limited amount of time to complete coursework, you'll naturally be assigned work to do over shorter breaks - visiting libraries unexplored to me has thus become a permanent fixture in my vacation schedule.

    As you know, I'm a sucker all things involving books and so you'll understand when I couldn't resist bringing my seminar readings to the Mid-Manhattan Library near Union Square a couple weeks ago. It was incredible to see the Hogwarts-like grandeur and turn around to see rows upon rows of people studying in unison.

    Sunday, February 26

    Exploring West Village

    I’ve decided that I’m very particular about which parts of NYC I like; Manhattan is at the same time too industrial, crowded, commercial and touristic. What I really enjoy, is exploring the Village. With Derek’s recommendation, I took the subway to West Village (where the famed the Magnolia Bakery is located) and spent last Saturday afternoon browsing boutiques and grabbing small bites of delicious appetizers.

    Some interesting shops on 14th St. include Bookmarc (Marc Jacobs’ bookstore, lined with fashion coffee table books as well as Marc Jacobs tech accessories and stationary), Comptoir des Cottoniers (a French women’s wear brand that is rare to find in the U.S) and Murray’s – which I am irrevocably in love with. Derek also recommended visiting Rag & Bone and Jack Spade (for men’s wear.) But back to the subject of Murray’s cheese and sausages. As you see below, Murray’s offers a mouth-watering array of cold cut meats and allows customers to sample a variety of cheese and meats without any commitment. The catch is that you have to wait in line for about 20 minutes; it’s completely packed on weekends. It’s well worth the wait, though – and to prove it, I’ll admit to you that I bought a total of eight dried sausages.

    For dining, a fellow meat lover recommended to me Buvette on Grover Street – which I visited on my last night in New York. It’s a thoroughly French restaurant, complete with French waiters and waitresses, a tremendously long wine list and incredible coq au vin. Besides, a full meal here only cost me $20. The same woman also told me to visit Traif in Williamsburg. Apparently this word, “traif”, means non-Kosher – fittingly, as the restaurant only serves pork and shellfish. Finally, for a cheap lunch, there’s always the deliciously sinful Five Guys burger on Grove Street, take a look:

    Wednesday, February 22

    A Brief Escape to the Big Apple

    I decided to spend a few days in New York for the three-day break and will be chronicling my New Yorker adventures in the next two posts. It's the first time I've traveled alone for pleasure (mostly, I fly to study or intern) so it's been an interesting experience.

    A note of utmost importance to anyone planning to travel during college breaks: if you don't have a car, you must book your taxi ride at least three days in advance. I called multiple taxi services the day before I was set to leave for the airport and they were all full at my desired time of 4.30 in the morning! Solution: ask my friend to borrow his car and be very grateful that (the incredible and most loyal) Ben offered to get up at 4 in the morning, hike up to North Campus with me and drive me to the airport. At the very least, we were able to have a nice chat while trekking up to North Campus and spend a bit of time together in spite of our hectic schedules. A few hours later, I arrive at Jetblue's sleek and convenient T5 and hopped into a cab, not having anticipated the long ride into the city during rush hour.

    Later that evening, I attended a performance of The Road to Mecca by Athol Fugard - my absolute favourite playwright. I had originally intended on watching The Book of Mormon on Broadway, but got to the Eugene O'Neill Theatre in time to see that there was a long queue for the standing section and cancellation tickets were only available for $150 after a 2-hour wait - and off to The Road of Mecca for me!

    If you have an iPhone, I highly recommend getting the NYC Subway App and using the regular 'map' app provided with the iPhone to get around. Urban Spoon is also a useful one to find good restaurants, although it did once lead me to a restaurant that had already been shut down. In anticipation of my travels this summer, I also downloaded a couple other public transport apps; TT BAires for Buenos Aires and London Tube.

    Sunday, February 19

    Turtle Underground

    Turtle Underground is a relatively large student lounge in Purtil Hall on North Campus that is turned into a concert space every weekend or so. There's always some free food provided and students chill on the couches, mill around and dance (depending on what type of music is playing.) Last week I joined Lauren and a few other friends to see The Milkman's Union and Filip Deptula perform. Chicken tenders - spicy, BBQ and crispy - were served that night. Here are some photos of the concert...

    Thursday, February 16

    100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's : 41 - 50

    Here are 1-10, 11-20, 21-30 and 31-40.

    41. Even if you're not an first-year-orientation-activities person (and really, not that many of us are), go to the Connections event. It's a something special you do for yourself that you'll look back on during your graduation ceremony.

    42. The first six weeks set the tone for the rest of the semester. Try out what works for you and what doesn't and get into a schedule/your habits fast. 

    43. There are study abroad programs and fairs that table in Alliot every month or so. Be on the look out for e-mails announcing those - it's a great chance to talk to a representative for a program you might be interested in!

    44. The Knightstand operates like a Starbucks: you can ask for a sample of the soups and if you buy a soup that you don't like then you can return it the other one (there are two every day). 

    45. There are lots of mosquitos by the end of September. Close your windows at night and bring some anti-mosquito spray. 

    46. Don't get a Netflix account, there are a ton of DVDs to borrow from the library. Use, or (my personal favorite) to check out reviews and figure out what you're in the mood for. 

    47. If you ever need to study on campus during a Friday or Saturday night then the head to one of the seminar classes in the St. Eds or Jeanmarie. 

    48. There is no cell phone service in the basement of the library. 

    49. All the study cabins are open-air at the top, so don't do math out loud or play music. 

    50. Most professors will let you slide with two unexcused absences (as in they won't take off points from your grade, but if you miss a pop quiz then you might be a bit screwed). Use them wisely or not at all.

    Monday, February 13

    Free Film Screenings on Thursday Nights

    The SMC Film Series is a new addition to the programme of evening activities on campus, which introduces students to influential films. It's hosted in Cheray 101 at 8pm every Thursday until April 26th. Last week, I attended the Dr. Strangelove screening, which was introduced by John Hughes from the Political Science department. It's a very cosy way to spend the evening - especially in the Vermont cold -and the needs of college students have been taken into account as there's free popcorn and soda to enjoy ;)

    Here's the schedule for the rest of the semester:

    Photo credit: IMDB
    Feb 16 - Hotel Rwanda with an introduction by Laurie Gagne from the Peace & Justice Center

    Feb 23 - Of Gods and Men with an introduction by Robert Brenneman from the Sociology department

    March 1 - The Godfather with an introduction by George Dameron from the History department

    March 29 - Amélie with an introduction by Peter Vantine from the modern languages department

    April 12 - Born into Brothels with an introduction by Allison Cleary from the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts department

    April 19 - Koyaanisqatsi with an introduction by Alain Brizzard from the Chemistry and Physics department

    April 26 - Blade Runner with an introduction by David T.Z Mindich     from the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts department.

    Friday, February 10

    Revised Spring Schedule

    A bit overdue...but I have an awesome spring schedule that I want to share with you guys!

    I've revised my spring schedule a bit since my initial registration in November, switching from 'Investigative Journalism' to 'Democracy' and dropping my honors colloquium. This is because I'm switching majors and no longer aiming to graduate with the Honors Program. This semester will be quite busy for me, since I'll be taking two upper-level courses and three honours courses (as I turned Multicultural Theory & Practice into an honours course). As you can see, my Mondays and Wednesdays are quite busy -  but I'm able to sleep in until at least mid-morning every day and have a lot of free time on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

    Wednesday, February 8

    Vermont beats Europe in weather

    The following images will illustrate why I'm so happy to be in Vermont, and not at home, right now:

    Saint Michael's College, Vermont: Sunny, warm enough to wear a peacoat and one layer of clothes

    Photo credit: Tribune de Genève. 
    Geneva: My mother's colleague took 4 hours to commute to work because of the ice. 

    Monday, February 6

    The Frozen Quarry

    I'm quickly developing an obsession with nature's response to the Vermont cold. Last week, I pointed out how entire fields on campus have been frozen. Apparently the New England winter has more in store for us - I went down to the quarry with a few friends over the weekend to discover that it's entirely frozen! The surrounding rivers are iced up as well...