Get to Know Vermont Quarterly

Hey everyone! Even though it is technically spring, it still feels like winter here in Vermont.

Never ending winter does however have its perks. You get to keep skiing, drink hot chocolate and curl up under a warm blanket to read something good.

With that in mind, a new Vermont Quarterly (the cool kids call it VQ) just dropped and I wanted to take a second to mention how important it is.

It’s been around forever and it truly is the one thing that connects just about every UVM alum. It includes pretty much everything from academics and campus life, to alumni profiles and class notes.

The magazine is a great way to stay informed on all the stuff we don’t always cover here on Afterword. Even if you are casually following UVM news, VQ will have something for you (not to mention it has a lot of great photos).

Some of you may be saying, “Vermont Quarterly? Why didn’t I get one?”

If you haven’t received the latest edition (or if it went to your parents), that means we don’t have your updated address. You can update that right here and you will be sure to get the next edition.

Here are some of the highlights from the most recent issue (story summaries are by the article’s author):

Basketball brought the Catamounts and Josh Speidel together. Then came the accident, the coma, and the rehab—and now their bond is bigger than the sport.

Josh Speidel and the men's basketball team in the gym

University of Vermont alumni in the state’s top job have been relatively rare. Just seven across more than two centuries of Vermont’s history. But the opening of the 2017 legislative session saw not only a UVM alumnus in the governor’s post with the inauguration of Phil Scott, but a circle of UVM grads taking key leadership roles in Montpelier.

Montpelier capitol dome

Navigating the myriad  mysteries of college— applications to financial aid forms, dorm life  to choosing a major— first-generation college students blaze trails within their families.

Adrian Burnett ’19; Tracy Ballysingh, assistant professor in Higher Education and Student Affairs ; Krya Peacock ’20; Bill Falls, professor of psychology and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

How UVM’s Wellness Environment is rewiring college students’ brains

Illustration of a brain and photograph of student meditating

Katie Elmore Mota is shaking up Hollywood. As founder, co-president, and executive producer of Wise Entertainment, she’s breaking ground with smart, socially relevant content that tells the stories of underrepresented audiences.

Katie Elmore Mota talks with actors during shooting of “East Los High.”

9 Ways to Eat UVM [+1 Sweet Giveaway]

If you didn’t know this about me, I love food.

This week, I wanted to take a minute to showcase some of my favorite foods made by UVM alums. Alums own tons of businesses in Vermont and around the world and here are 9 of my favorite ways to Eat UVM.

As an added bonus, at the end of the post, enter our raffle to win this care package of UVM food goodies (and I don’t mean stuff from Brennan’s).

Here are 9 of my favorite ways to Eat UVM.

1. Polar Seltzer – Look, it’s not what you expected, in fact, how many of you knew that Polar Seltzer, the greatest of the seltzers by far (tsk tsk La Croix), was owned by a UVM family? I didn’t either until this year, but now that I know, I will continue to be a huge advocate.

From their classic flavors to seasonal standouts, drinking Polar has become a constant in my daily life. Personal favorite flavors – Raspberry Lime, Black Cherry and Ruby Red Grapefruit.

2. Lake Champlain Chocolates – Pretty much perfect chocolate, LCC helped me understand the nuances of dark chocolate compared to the overly creamy milk. However, just when I started substituting my ice cream habit for chocolate squares, I tried their ice cream on Church Street, and uh…yeah, it’s really good too.

LCC totally satisfies my sweet tooth and is one of my faves for sure. Try all their different products! Great gift for the chocolate lovers in your life (aka me – I’m accepting LCC gifts)

3. Bluebird BBQ – At first I was skeptical, pretending to know what real BBQ was supposed to taste like, wondering if Bluebird had the goods. The answer is yes.

Delicious meats and sides for days. Not really vegetarian friendly of course but definitely good for us Ron Swanson types. Hint: use all the sauces. I’ll take a family meal for one please!

4. My Little Cupcake – I bet you know all about these. So many flavors, so little time. Grab a dozen and sift through all the fun. What a great idea, all the deliciousness of a regular cupcake but in a portion size that makes sense.

5. Dakin Farms – Here is the Vermont experience all in one place, get everything you need (meats, cheese, jams, maple products etc) and have a picnic after your hike.

6. Bove’s – Sadly, Bove’s is no longer open downtown, but the classic sauce (and meatballs) remain sold in stores all throughout Vermont. Be sure to pick some up for your next pasta dinner and experience the reason why Bove’s stayed open for generations!

7. Champlain Orchards – Who doesn’t love apples? Enough said.

8. Jasper Hill Farm Cheese – Seriously, don’t miss this cheese. Rated as some of the best in the country, Jasper Hill does not disappoint. Honestly, cheese is probably one of my favorite foods, so I saved this one for last.

I wish we could ship you a whole wheel, but we will have to settle for a smaller portion.

9. Adult Beverages. You might be wondering, what about the all breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries? Well, there are too many to list here, but here’s a short list of my favorites: the Alchemist Brewery, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, Queen City Brewery, Trout River Brewery, Snow Farm Vineyard, and Fresh Tracks Farm & Winery.

Just in case you forgot — enter the giveaway to win the Eat UVM care package:

(Unfortunately, no liquids or cupcakes in the care package — you definitely don’t want to receive a ready-to-explode can of seltzer or smooshed cupcake in the mail)

Making Your First Loan Payment

Yep. It’s actually time to make your first loan payment. Don’t worry, if you plan ahead, you can avoid feeling like this:

loan-math

With that in mind, I want to share our old friend Derrick’s cautionary tale from 2013 about first loan payments, as well as offer some helpful tips for getting it right from the start.

As an added bonus, since this is a stressful time in your life, mark your first payment with a UVM Alumni Association bottle opener. Just click below, complete short form, and you can get one. We only have 100 to giveaway, so request yours early.

bottle-opener-button

Now, take it away Derrick!

“I was on an 8-hour drive for my job (not fun) and in the middle of the 5th radio appearance of Pharrell William’s “Happy”  I realized my first loan payment was due that day. I pulled out my crappy, quasi-smart phone and tried to make my payment on the side of the road.

After navigating the worst website in history, I managed to click the payment button before my browser crashed — did I make my payment? Only the internet gods knew for sure.

When I finally got home and logged on from my laptop, it hit me. I had already signed up for automatic loan payments and my side-of-the-road payment also went through.

I made a double payment — not because of my financial acumen — but because of my disorganization. 

I ate lots of Ramen that month. This is definitely not an experience to emulate and I’m going to try and make up for it by giving you really solid advice”.

Don’t be like Derrick. Here are 5 essential things you should do before making your first payment:

  1. Read this article to get started understanding your loans.
  2. Get Organized. Figure out if you have federal loans or private loans (or both) and how many. It’s probably easiest to ask your parents, look at old mail, or check your email — you loan provider has almost certainly tried to contact you by now.
  3. Pick a repayment plan. There are several types and many loans have an option for income-based repayment.  Also, if you are in grad school, make sure to defer your loans.
  4. Don’t make your payment late. They are already going to get enough of your money. Don’t give them any extra.
  5. Get Your Free UVM Alumni Association Bottle Opener. This is our way of easing the pain of that first payment. Open your favorite Vermont beverage with it, sink into your couch, and start a Netflix binge. You earned it .

DIY UVM Halloween Treats!

afterwordhalloween

My favorite thing about any holiday is the food, and Halloween is no exception.

So, in honor of the spookiest holiday of the year, I present you with two UVM-themed Halloween treats. They’re simple, easy and perfect to bring to a Halloween party with UVM friends.

First up, Catamount Crispies. This twist on the traditional rice krispie treat is so easy, you don’t even need an oven. Check out the video below to see how I whipped these up in the office kitchen with just a microwave.

Catamount Cripies
I adapted the recipe right off the back of a box of Rice Krispies.

You’ll need:

  • 6 cups Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies® cereal
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 package (10 oz) of marshmallows or 4 cups miniature marshmallows
  • Green food dye
  • Frosting for decorating

Here’s how you do it:

Stove top directions:
1. In large saucepan melt butter over low heat. Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted. Remove from heat. Add 10-15 drops of green food coloring.

2. Add cereal. Stir until well coated.

3. Using buttered spatula or wax paper evenly press mixture into 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan coated with cooking spray. Cool. Cut into 2-inch squares. Best if served the same day.

Microwave Directions:
In microwave-safe bowl heat butter and marshmallows on HIGH for 3 minutes, stirring after 2 minutes. Stir until smooth. Follow steps 2 and 3 above. Microwave cooking times may vary.

dsc_0967

No dessert is complete without an accompanying beverage.

Enter my Ghost of Ira Allen Punch. It glows green and plays well with other spirits, if you know what I mean…

Ghost of Ira Allen Punch
Recipe borrowed from Pillsbury.

You’ll need:

  • 1 quart lime sherbet, slightly softened
  • 1 container (12 oz) frozen limeade, thawed
  • 1 bottle (1 liter) ginger ale
  • Gummy worm candies
  • Lime slices (or lemon for that Green & Gold flair)

Here’s how to do it:

1. In punch bowl or pitcher, mix sherbet, limeade and ginger ale.

2. Pour into glasses. Garnish each glass with candy and lime slices. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!

— Ryan

Money Talks: 6 Personal Finance Tips

money-talks

One of the challenges of the proverbial “real world” is learning how to manage your money. Expenses mount, loan payments loom, and you’re just trying to get by without doing any major damage. I get it. I’ve been there — heck I am there.

So I put together a few basic personal finance tips from around the internet for you. Most of these are common sense but they’re worth repeating because they work.

Obviously, I’m not a financial adviser and everyone’s situation is different so take this list for what it is — a friendly reminder to look at your own habits and figure what works for you. If these articles and pieces of advice can help you get there, all the better.

money-talks2

1. Set up a budget and track it — Knowing where your money is going is crucial in plugging holes and maximizing spending/savings. Mint.com is a great way to create and track a budget. They walk you through the set up process and do all of the tracking for you — piece of cake!

2. Prep for paying loans — Thinking about student loans can be intimidating, but a little prep can go a long way. Knowing how much you owe, understanding your payment schedule, budgeting for your monthly payment, and making early payments when possible, will make your life much easier and get you out of debt faster.

3. Sign up for a retirement plan  — if you landed a job and haven’t signed up for the 401(k), 403(b), or retirement savings plan offered, hustle down to HR right now to find out how. This article explains how a 401(k) works, why it’s important to think about retirement now, and how you can benefit from your company’s match. (If you’re not working or your company’s plan isn’t right for you,opening your own Roth IRA may be a great option.)

4. Build your own credit — You hear warnings about “bad credit”, but what you may not know is that sometimes having no credit can be just as challenging. Start building your credit now. Opening a credit card (and paying it off in full each month), paying your student loans on time and having your name on other bills (electric, water, cable), are all ways to build credit.

5. Start a rainy day fund — We covered retirement savings in #3, but you also want to build a fund for emergencies like unexpected medical expenses, a layoff, car repairs, etc… Your savings account can also be used to save for big purchases like a vacation, attending and giving gifts at weddings, a new car, etc… This article gives you 9 easy steps for building up your savings account like setting a goal, automating deposits to your savings account, and making worthy sacrifices.

6. Pack your own lunch — This is my personal addition to the list. One way I’ve saved money since graduating is packing my lunch each day. Going out to lunch and/or buying your coffee instead of making it at home adds up quickly — five days a week times $10-15 per day totals to $200-300 dollars in a month. Bringing my own costs less and, as an added bonus, forces me to make healthier choices. It also makes going out to lunch a fun break from the norm instead of business as usual.

So there you have it, a few tips for getting your personal finances in tip-top shape.