DDD – Pho Hong with Monica Petras ’18

Hi Gang.

We’re back with one of our favorite segments- Dining Halls, Dominos, and Dives- Where we get to the tour all the best places to eat in Burlington, and catch up with your classmates!

This week, we met up with Monica Petras at Pho Hong for some delicious vietnamese food, and chatted about her upcoming plans to spend a year in Japan!

So, without further ago- here’s all the good stuff.

So, just a quick disclaimer- We all really love Pho Hong, and get VERY EXCITED when our food arrived. This meant we absolutely forgot to get those beautiful pristine glamour shots of our food that you guys are used to. But, we did remember before the food was completely gone! Here’s what we got:

Monica went with the classic Pho Tai- complete with beef and veggies.

Dana got Bun Ga Nuong – Grilled chicken over vermicelli noodles

And, here’s where Kathryn’s Rau Cai Xao Voi Com – Stir fry with veggies and shrimp – SHOULD be, but she has very little patience.

What are you up to your first year out of UVM?

At the moment, I’m waiting for my exciting new job in Japan to start.

I was offered a position to teach English to children for the 2019 school year in a conversational school last April. Until February I’m just biding my time, earning money with a part time job at Michaels and trying to sell furniture/downsize. And while I’m working at Michaels, I decided I might as well pick up a new hobby or two (or five). Basically I feel like Rapunzel singing “When Will My Life Begin”, just without the awesome hair.

What are you looking forward to next year?

This ones a double-edged sword for me here, while I’m very excited to start my life in Japan, I’m also terrified. I’m moving there by myself, so there will definitely be a lot of challenges in adapting to life overseas in a country where I can’t speak the language fluently—and I thought moving to university was scary. But I’m willing to take them on and I can’t wait to start teaching.

What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

Aside from the obvious language barrier, I think the time difference will be tough. I can’t call up my friends whenever I want anymore. 😞 So keeping in touch will be difficult.

What are you most proud of since graduating UVM?

I guess it feels silly but my greatest accomplishments thus far have been in my new hobbies. I’ve picked up felting, coloring books, and baking. I’ve made felt animals, bread and a showstopping cake for my friends birthday (though the cake had a few technical issues).

What do you miss the most about UVM?

I miss the structure that my days used to have with classes, papers/projects, and club activities. I miss the professors. Most of all I miss feeling like I belong on campus.

Walking through the Davis Center after our lunch was quite the surreal experience.

Any life lessons?

You don’t truly know how much stuff you’ve amassed until you try to pack every thing you own into a box or suitcase.

 

Do you have a favorite place to eat in Burly? Are you still in town? Let us take you out!

Move-In Day Memories

Two weeks ago, we asked you guys to share your move in day memories, as we were welcoming the class of 2022 on to campus. Now, classes are in full swing, and we’re back to share some of these memorable freshman year experiences.

 

1. When I first moved into my room on Trinity Campus freshman year, I was really nervous to meet my new roommates.

I had been chatting with them on Facebook for a few days but none of us had met in person. I walked into the room and saw a girl standing there unpacking some items. Of course, this must be Jenne! She had long curly blonde hair exactly like her profile picture. I awkwardly and excitedly introduced myself. She turns around and smiles back. She then informs me that her name is Mikayla and she was actually Jenne’s younger sister! I turned as red as a tomato and ran back out of the room. Fast forward 4 years later and we are all great friends who laugh about the first awkward encounter.

 

2. I moved into the shoeboxes after my roommate had already moved in for trek.

When I first met her she was very out of it and didn’t say much.. During our first floor dinner at Cook – she set off the fire alarm and I noticed she was too intoxicated to realize she caused it. She dropped out of school two days later.

 

3. The way I met my suite mate on move-in day was by walking in on her going to the bathroom in our shared bathroom… quite the first impression.

 

 

4. I had way harder of a time adjusting first semester of college than I ever thought I would.

After a couple nights my father and sister drove back home, but my mom stayed longer than planned with me. I was afraid to stay in my dorm which was a forced triple in Millis 3, so I slept in the hotel with her. I ended up moving out of the triple after five weeks.

 

5. I’m from Buffalo and my roommate was from Boston, so as you can imagine her parent’s thick Boston accents were a bit challenging for my parents to understand.

My mom and her dad spent literally five minutes going back and forth trying to figure out whether or not the other was saying “bear” or “beer”. My mom would point to my roommate’s Bruins poster yelling, “don’t poke the WHAT?” and her dad would go “the bear!” while making claws like a bear until we were all laughing!

 

Well, those are fun.

I love a good story about a good Boston accent- makes me feel like i’m home <3

 

See you guys next week!

-Kathryn

MFYO: Travel Edition

We know a lot of you travel after graduation, whether to blow off some steam or gain new perspectives. Post grad life can be overwhelming, so why not travel if you can?

With that in mind, this week we’re telling the story of two UVM alums from the class of 2017 – Haley Sparks and Carly Sternberg, who traveled to South East Asia for three months last summer and shared their experiences below.

Reflection 1 – Haley

My name is Haley Sparks and I graduated from UVM in May of 2017 with a major in Secondary Education and a minor in Special Education. In a nutshell, my UVM experience was everything I hoped it would be and more. I loved everything about the school, the atmosphere, the people, and the city of Burlington. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah now and while I like it here, I still find myself thinking of Vermont everyday.

Carly and I met freshman year of college and quickly became best friends. After that, we always planned to take a big backpacking trip together after we graduated. We are both avid travelers and originally wanted to spend some time traveling around Europe, but eventually decided to take 3 months to travel around Asia to visit Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka. Carly had spent some time previously in Thailand, but I never had.

Our itinerary was built as a combination of places we wanted to visit because of their beauty, their people, their food, and the experiences they offered that we knew we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Although 3 months may seem like a long time to live out of a backpack, we both wanted to genuinely experience each country and get a feel for all the places we visited. Planning our trip from July-October and taking our time in each place seemed like the best way to do that.

I have zero regrets about taking this trip right after graduating college. While many of our friends were getting ready to enter the “workforce,” we were lucky enough to be buying plane tickets and planning itineraries.

After finishing 4 years of college, there seemed like no better reward than an eye-opening trip around the world. My last semester of college was a busy and stressful one, and this trip provided me the motivation I needed to finish on a strong note. Post graduation also seemed like the perfect time to take this trip because I’m genuinely unsure if there will ever be another time in my life where I will have the ability to take this much time just to travel and enjoy life and the world.

Having the ability to design and plan those 3 months of time however we wanted was something I had never experienced before and it was empowering and enlightening. With no restraints such as school or jobs or anywhere to be, we were totally flexible to do whatever we wanted.

This trip was a whirlwind and we packed in a little bit of everything. We were lucky enough to experience beaches, lakes, oceans, rivers, mountains, city life, and farm life. Each day was different than life at home, and I find myself reminiscing about it often. Traveling for 3 months out of a backpack taught me to appreciate necessities over luxuries and it taught me how to live with barely anything.

Besides that, it taught me that each country we visited was a totally different experience, and whenever we landed in a new place, we had to adjust to a totally new culture. Doing this kept me constantly on my toes and it kept me constantly wondering, navigating, and thinking. It taught me how to interact with anyone, no matter how strong the language barrier might be. It taught me that while the world might seem huge, there is always people that can make anywhere feel like home.

Reflection 2 – Carly

Staring at that piece of paper that I received after walking across the stage in front of Waterman last May, the single piece of paper documenting the major in global studies and minors in Spanish and Economics that I had completed, the world suddenly felt more overwhelmingly huge than it ever had before.

During my time at UVM, the world sometimes felt like it only extended across Lake Champlain and to the peak of Mount Mansfield. Campus had a way of absorbing me into its super charged atmosphere and making me feel larger than life, part of something that was big and moving forward. With that piece of paper in my hand, all of the sudden it felt like I was in a huge limbo.

There was nowhere that I needed to be, nothing that I had to be doing, and so I went to roam throughout Southeast Asia for three months with my best friend and I don’t think there could have been a better time to do it.

I spent 4 years learning about the world and how we might begin to understand its reality, yet I got a clearer vision of the world and myself over my three months in Southeast Asia than I ever had before. Everyday was brand new. My mind was being stretched to take in all of the sights and colors and smells that I had never experienced before.

One day I was stuck knee deep in a rice paddy in the middle of a monsoon, a few days after that I was deciding whether or not to continue on to the Annapurna base camp after my eyes had swollen shut to the size of meatballs, and a few weeks later I was being put in charge of 20 infants in the middle of a red light district in Kolkata.

The trip was a shock to the system.

Before graduation I was sitting in the library studying for my last set of finals and suddenly felt my heart start to race as I fully grasped the fact that life as it was right then, and as it had been for the past four years would never ever be the same again. The trip showed me that all though this post-grad period can be a bit of a directionless limbo, I’m not stuck and I should never have to feel stuck.

The earth we live on is a miraculous place with an infinite number of things happening every second, there are endless possibilities. I learned that even though I have never felt so old, I really am so so young. I learned to trust and have faith in my fellow humans of the earth, and that I am never truly alone. I figured out that this thing called life is forgiving, it doesn’t have to be all that serious, there’s so much room to mess up, to learn, and to grow.

So I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, but I am now living in Salt Lake City, teaching skiing, surrounding myself with new, exciting and beautiful things, and just living life as a 23 year old in 2017, figuring it out as I go.

Want to feature your own travel story? Know a friend who might want to as well? Click the button below and refer a friend (or yourself). We’ll see you in the new year!

Dominos, Dining Halls, and Dives: Episode 5

Hey everyone! We’re back with a fresh installment of our personal favorite segment- Domino’s, Dining Halls, and Dives!

This is when we find a local alum (could be you next time!), and take them out for lunch! While we’re at lunch, we chat about all sorts of stuff, including what they’re up to, and what they’re looking forward to!

This week, we met up with one of your classmates, Matt Marshall ’18, who graduated this May with a Forestry degree from the Rubenstein School!

We caught up with him after work for a snack (a big snack) at Bueno Y Sano in South Burlington.

We got to chatting with Matt, and learned more about his summer so far – from getting into lots of board games to continuing his job search – he looks like he’s having a pretty good summer so far!

More from him later in the post, but first, pictures of the most important thing – the food.

^^That’s Kathryn’s Burrito Bowl – not served in a bowl, but just as delicious as if it had been.

Everyone else grabbed a burrito, some with Chipotle chicken, some with steak, all with the spicy sauce.

Now back to Matt:

How have your first couple months out of college been so far?

My first couple months out of school have been good so far. I went on a road trip to the Summer Camp Music Festival with some friends and spent a few days in Chicago afterwards.

I’ve been to the live show for the Risk! podcast with my mom, younger sister, and my friend/her family. I’ve been to a couple concerts around town and generally hanging out with my friends around town, we even started a Dungeons & Dragons campaign!

What has been your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me has been trying to find a job that will let me utilize my degree and everything I learned at UVM.

How are you working on overcoming it?

Always sending in applications and on the lookout for new jobs.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

I haven’t had any life lessons come along this summer, it’s been fairly relaxed!

Any advice for your classmates?

None that I feel qualified to give, since it’s only been a few months since graduation.

We’ll check in with Matt again later this year and see how he’s doing, and if any life lessons have come knocking on the door!

Speaking of knocking on the door…

Are you local to Burlington? Would you like to get a free lunch, and chat about how your adventures since graduation? Does this post have you feeling like this?

We’d love to take you out!

Click through here and suggest a place to get lunch, and tell us something cool about yourself- Then, we’ll be in touch to make a date.

 

First Day At Work Stories

In last month’s survey, we included a bonus question that asked about the funniest part of your first day at your current job. You submitted a ton of hilarious stories and here are some of our favorites.

This is worth a few minutes of your Friday.

Uhhhh, is Anyone Home?

“Being told to sit and wait for someone to get me, and waiting almost 3 hours with no one in sight.”

 

“I was the first one in the office, and nobody showed up until hours later. It was a lonely and confusing morning.”

 

“Absolutely no one introduced themselves until 3 days later.”

 

“Nobody at the job returned my emails so I showed up a day late”.

Image result for first day at work memes

First Impressions Matter

“I borrowed a pair of heels from my mom and I could not walk in them and my boss kept asking if I was okay as I got a tour of the office”.

 

“Introducing myself to the Fed-Ex man thinking he was one of my bosses”.

 

“During meet-and-greet, as I was getting to know people, I was getting lazier with asking for everyone’s names and positions, so when I get to the last person, I said, “So what do you do here?” He was the founder and CEO. I just asked the Founder of the company what he did here.”

 

Co-Workers are Like a Big (Dysfunctional) Family

“Everyone at my office was so shocked when they heard what year I was born in– one woman said, I thought people born in 1996 were still in elementary school”!

 

“When new nurses all said where they were from and listed Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina then when it came to me I said Vermont and someone asked, Did you live on a farm”?

 

“Our operations managing team thought I was a client and came out to shake my hand then realized I was a new hire…”

 

“My coworker couldn’t think of the word for photosynthesis so she googled “what is it called when plants eat the sun”.

Nailed it!

“I couldn’t turn on my computer monitor”.

 

“Lost my ID badge already”.

 

“In the middle of training, I kicked the power switch on my computer and shut the whole thing down. I had to wait 40 minutes while it turned back on and updated before I was able to get back to the training.”

 

“Spilling coffee on everything”.

 

“Printed out three I-9s because I messed up the date then the year”.

 

“After lunch I went to get my picture taken for my badge – turns out I had pen smeared across my face for the entire day until then…”

 

“Getting locked out because I thought that the front door to the building was secured since the handle would not turn. Turns out, I just had to pull the door really hard”.

 

dog work GIF

 

Kids Do the Darnedest Things

“The child I nanny pooped on me after I thought she was done pooping and took off her diaper”.

 

“One kid pointed to the tail of a horseshoe crab in our touch tank and said “That’s its penis”.”

 

“I’m a swim coach for the summer and one of my little swimmers lost her tooth. So she handed the tooth to me and hopped in the water like nothing happened”!

Living the Dream

“Walking in and greeting people just to drop off my sister’s lunch because I’m actually still unemployed”.

 

“This summer I’m in Montana building a yurt with my mother. My first day “on the job”, I met the two literally 60 year old men I will be spending the next solid month with. (They’re living with us too!)”

 

“Yikes, if only I had a job…lol”.