100 Tips for Life at Saint Mike's

1. The SMC beds are not extra-long twin like at most universities. They are only twin, which makes it much, much easier to find mattress toppers (available at Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as all the department stores in U-Mall). 

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

3. When using the dryer, if it's only 2/3 full (or less), your clothes will take 40 minutes to dry as opposed to the full 60 minutes.

4. Don't buy expensive electronic appliances until the second week, when you know whether you will use them or not. I bought a television, a nespresso machine, a mini-fridge and a microwave and I almost never use any of them. If you bring silverware and cutlery, keep in mind that you'll have to walk to the bathroom (which may be at the other end of the hall) to clean them. 

5. It's really hot until mid-September and the heating in the winter will make some days rather warm as well -- bring a fan! 

6. There's a poster fair in Alliot at the beginning of September, so don't worry about buying a ton before getting here.

7. A corkboard is really useful for posting up notes, flyers and hand-outs from your class so they're there to remind you of events or for reference. I've got a giant one in the middle of my room at it was filled two weeks into the year.

8. Bring two pairs of shower flip-flops; they get soaked, so you'll need a fresh pair on some days. 

9. There's a laundry service from E&R Cleaners that takes all your laundry on Wednesday morning and drops it off for you on Friday afternoon. It's quite pricey, but it takes away the pain of dealing with the dorm washers and (depending on your plan) washes things that would normally have to be taken to the dry cleaner's like blazers, knits, dress-shirts, pencil skirts, dresses, etc. 

10. Go to the Connections event during Orientation. It's a something special you do for yourself that you'll look back on during your graduation ceremony.

11. Greencab (802.655.4222) is one of the best taxi services I've used in Vermont. It's reliable, punctual, ecological and takes credit cards. I've had bad experiences with a few other companies so I was really relieved to find this one.

12. Buses run Monday through Saturday.

13. If you are not an American and need to get new cell phone plan, you will have to show them your passport and a letter from the school verifying your housing (you can use the letter sent to you that tells you where you live). With Verizon, you'll also have to make a $400 deposit because you won't be able to give them a social security number.

14. Practically nobody is awake on Saturday morning, which makes it a perfect time to study if you need to get stuff done.

15. Because the first shower cabin is the least private, less people will tend to use it which also makes it the cleanest.

16. Avoid plastic shower caddies because they will retain water. Instead, opt for a foldable shower caddy that keeps things in place with a net. These are available at Bed, Bath and Beyond.

17. You're going to need some time to organise yourself, your life and your room - otherwise you end up with fifty things on your mind, no graduation plan and a very dirty living space.

18. If you want to attend a performance at the Flynn, don't wait until the last minute to buy the ticket at the box office - you'll end up going in last, since their Cultural Pass system is faulty. The easiest option is to buy tickets through the phone (802-863-5996) which will take more or less ten minutes.

19. The Knightstand only serves wings after 21.00.

20. The color scheme of your room in the quad will be medium blue, as dictated by your closet doors, your bookshelf and your door. Plan your decor accordingly! 

21. The closets can be a bit stuffy after the summer -- bring Febreeze and spray away! 

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 or dislikes a professor doesn't mean you'll have the same experiences with them. One of the great things at SMC is that you can 
go chat with the professor before you register for their class to find out if you're a good fit.

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.

28. The gym hours change on the weekend; on Sunday it opens at half past noon.

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) don't open the window or it'll confuse the central heating for the floor.

30.  Try to keep your windows shut during the winter. If you leave them 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.

31. If the hot water runs out (which happens occasionally for a couple hours) call ext. 2330 or if it's the weekend, call the switchboard. Plumbing will come over and fix it within half an hour.

32. If you're confused or concerned about something in class, you should go to office hours. I'd recommend jotting down an outline of the things you want to talk about before going though, so that you'll be efficient when the professor takes the time to see you.

33. A lot of your professors have written books. You should read them because it's not that often that you can go up to an author and ask lots of questions about their writing/research.

34. If someone is blaring their music super loud and it's bothering you, go talk to them. Really. And don't be embarrassed. It's your living space as well.

35. If it's cold outside but you feel the need to go running, there are treadmills in the gym and the indoor track. Even though sometimes certain treadmills aren't functioning, it's very rare that you won't get one - I've only had to wait twice and I went to the gym three times a week at the beginning of the year.

36. If you find a professor that you think is really interesting or that you connect with well, go talk to them - even if they aren't in your department. I heard Professor Natarajan speak at a "Faith and Food" panel on how people's faiths shape their eating habits and ended up having a really good hour-long conversation with her a few days later.

37. I'm going to address the condom question, since there none are sold on campus or provided by the health centre. The options that I can think of off the top of my head are stocking up before school starts, going to the Cumberland Farm gas station which is a 7 minute walk from the main road behind Alliot or asking your RA (and if you're desperate and they don't have any, there are other RAs in the building).

38. You will get a lot of e-mails from the college. Sometimes it's really useful, depending what you're your needs are. 
Figure out what type of e-mails you want to filter out (for example, if you don't play a sport then it might not be that useful to know about the men's hockey team try-outs) and see if there are e-mail addresses that send messages about those things - then create a filter.

39. Stock up on granola bars (or bananas/packs of trail mix/etc.) and carry two in your bag every day. They will save you when your stomach starts to growl during that long afternoon lecture.

40. Buy rainboots. You will need them by the end of the first month here, it's New England! (: 

 Living in the first-year quad, you will want to bring ear-plugs for Friday and Saturday nights if you need to get some sleep during the first couple weeks. The noise will die out before two in the morning, but if you have an early day then it's a must.

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.

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!

 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).

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

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

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.

 There is no cell phone service in the basement of the library. Great for productivity.

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

 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.

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

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 just 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.

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.

62. 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).

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 -- but you can take anything back with one hand!

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.

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.

91. Don't be scared to study at night 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 after dark.

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.