My First Year Out – Travel Edition Part II

With graduation for the Class of 2018 right around the corner, we thought it would be fun to check in with two of your classmates.

This week we caught up with recent 2017 alums, Emily Scott and Emma Squier, who have spent their first year out traveling and teaching. Take a look to see what they’ve been up to!

We’ll start with Emily’s story.

Sa-wat-dee-ka from Thailand! My name is Emily Scott and I graduated from UVM in the spring of 2017 with my Bachelors degree in Social Work!

I can’t believe it’s almost been a year since graduation and I’m so looking forward to heading up there for a visit this summer! My 4 years in Burlington were everything I could have hoped for and more, and I find myself missing the mountains, the food, the people and the community every day.

Emma and I met freshman year and quickly became best friends and roommates. We bonded over a shared love for New World, Church Street, yoga and travel. In March 2017 as graduation approached, we both started thinking of applying to teach English in Thailand.

A few weeks after applying, we were both accepted to the same program! This program, CIEE teach, and their partner company in Thailand, OEG, helped us to obtain visas, connect with our schools, sort out our work permits and more.

When October rolled around, I flew from JFK and met Emma in Doha, Qatar to fly to Bangkok. Once in Bangkok we took a 12 hour bus up to our rural town, Chiang Kham, in the Phayao province of Thailand.

I taught nursery school (3 years old) to P6 (6th grade) at a small private school called Sathitwittaya Chiangkham School! Teaching English to 300 different students in more than 10 different classes was extremely challenging, but my students and I soon found ways to communicate through body language, smiles, mixed Thai/English and lots of drawing. Teaching ESL taught me a lot about patience, having an open heart and an open mind, and how to take everything one day at a time.

It was so sad to say goodbye to my students a few weeks ago, and I feel so privileged to have been welcomed into their school and their culture as “Teacha Emily” these past 5 months!

Once we finished teaching, Emma and I traveled to Laos for a week. Laos was absolutely breathtaking and so different from what we experienced living in Thailand. From mountains and waterfalls, to the capital city, the people are so kind and the food is so fresh and delicious.

After Laos, my parents came to see Thailand and we traveled to Chiang Mai, Krabi and Bangkok for 10 days before they headed back to New York! It was wonderful to see them and spend time together after being away from home for so long.

Now Emma and I are back in the southern islands of Thailand for a week before continuing our adventure in Cambodia, Vietnam, Bali, Australia and New Zealand!! While I don’t have a flight yet, I’m thinking I will be home sometime in the end of May.

Next fall, I will be starting in the Advanced Standing Masters in Social Work program at NYU! I have really missed Social Work while being here, and am excited to get back in the classroom and continue my education to help better serve my community. I am eager to take all I learned from my wonderful professors at UVM and explore it in a new capacity.

The past 5 months of working in SE Asia and traveling around Thailand and Laos have been full of surprises (bugs, lizards, leeches, you name it), lows (being away from home for Christmas), and highs (the feeling of accomplishment after finishing 5 months of teaching).

Being able to travel like this at 22 years old is a huge privilege, and I am so grateful I was able to work and take a trip like this right after graduation.  It is such a blessing and gift to be welcomed into someone else’s culture and have them share such intimate parts of their life and community with you.

Living here has truly taught me how to live in the moment, go with the flow and be present in this life I am so lucky to live.

Hello! My name is Emma Squier and I graduated from UVM in May 2017 with a major in Sociology and a minor in Studio Art.

UVM was the only school I applied to that was more than 2,000 students but I’m so glad I did because it ended up being a great fit for me. I fell in love with the friendly people, beautiful scenery, delicious food, and Burlington.

During the spring of my junior year I studied abroad in Nepal. While living there, I had the opportunity to complete my own independent study project and experience living with 8 different host families. Nepal was unlike any country that I’ve been to but getting to study and live there was one of the highlights of my time in college.

I knew that I wanted to go back to Asia, I just didn’t know that I would be back less than 2 years later.

Teaching in Thailand gave me the opportunity to travel abroad with my homie, Em Scott while at the same time earning some money. The timing of teaching in Thailand worked out perfectly for me because the 2nd semester for Thai schools doesn’t start until October. This allowed me to get an internship and part-time job back home in Maryland right after graduation.

By the time October rolled around I was nervous to depart for Thailand but feeling ready for my next adventure.

One of the biggest challenges for me while teaching English in our tiny Northern town was the lack of scheduling and communication. When I got placed at my school in Thailand I was told that I would be teaching primary students.

It was not until I arrived at my school that I found out I would be teaching 1st-12th grade!

As someone who had never really taught before, this made me nervous, but as with anything, over time I got the hang of teaching and formed bonds with my students. It turns out, some of my most enjoyable classes to teach were the ones with my older students.

Another learning experience for me had to do with scheduling in Thailand. As someone who is very punctual, having classes start 10-20 minutes late each day was something that was difficult for me to get used to at first. There were times when the dates of school holidays would get switched around or I’d walk in to teach one of my classes and none of the students would be there.

Traveling on the weekends, it would be a miracle if our bus left within 20 minutes of its scheduled departure time. If there even was a scheduled departure time.  There was one instance where our bus left the station 1 minute early and of course that was the time Emily and I missed the bus.

It was in these moments that I had to just go with it even though it was different from what I was used to.

Although my semester of teaching in Thailand was challenging and frustrating at times, I am so grateful for the opportunity. Teaching pushed me outside of my comfort zone and I got to experience living in a new country with one of my best friends. Traveling is so important because it teaches you about yourself and opens your eyes to how other people live.

Sometimes the hardest part is just getting on the plane but once you do you’re in for the adventure of a lifetime.

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).

Ben & Jerry’s Free Cone Day Plus the Vermonster

It’s that time of year, Spring has sprung, the rain has settled upon us, and the flowers are starting to sprout. This week we decided to tackle the infamous Ben & Jerry’s Vermonster (a top 100 things to do at UVM before you graduate), in lieu of Free Cone Day on April 10th!

Ben & Jerry’s has celebrated free cone day since 1979 and this year, the tradition continues. This day is celebrated around the world at various Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops in 35+ countries. Wow, now that’s a lot of free ice cream! They will be serving free cones from noon to 8 pm so make sure you stop by your local scoop shop to celebrate the 40th anniversary of this Vermont tradition!

And with that in mind, we thought, why not go even bigger and eat a Vermonster?

Creating it is a work of art in itself, consisting of 20 scoops of any flavor, 4 different toppings, nuts, hot fudge, cookies, brownies, banana, whipped cream and caramel. Want to build some muscle while at work? Just head on over to your local Ben & Jerry’s and become a scoop shop professional and work out those arms!

We opted not to include all of these yummy additions in our Vermonster (bananas in ice cream? – not our thing), but we did choose the classics for the base; Americone Dream, chocolate, vanilla and strawberry ice cream. The toppings included rainbow sprinkles, m&m’s, peanuts, cookies, brownies, fudge, topped with lots of whipped cream. Pretty breezy right?

Want to see us eat this monstrosity?! Check out the time lapse video we made of us conquering this feat. *hint* we shared this with a few other folks.

P.S. if you haven’t been in the Church Street Ben & Jerry’s recently, they added a VW bus. Vroom Vroom! Until next time!

5 Reasons Why Grad School is the Worst (but actually the best)- From a Grad Student

It was senior year of college, and as my friends started to perfect resumes for jobs and meet with career counselors, I was stumped when it came to what I wanted to do next.

The thing was, I loved my college experience and I never wanted it to end; the late night snack parties, movie nights with friends, days in the library procrastinating with classmates. I was a leader on campus and involved myself in nearly every aspect of campus life I could think of. For me, the prospect of graduation was less exciting than it was sad.

I chose to come to graduate school because simply, I didn’t want college to end. I got accepted to UVM’s HESA progam, and started my graduate career right away. It wasn’t much like undergrad.

Here’s a few reasons why my experience was a total bummer*.

*Warning. There might be some sarcasm and humor in this post – particularly all the words in italics – I can’t help it, I’m a millennial.

1. Free School Sucks!

Like a lot of students, I was graduating from college with a lot of student loans and the prospect of paying for more school was not in any way appealing.

However, when I started researching graduate schools and programs I discovered that a lot of institutions will actually pay for student’s degrees and pay them for their service to the college. I not only fell in love with UVM, the green mountains, and the food on Church Street, but the financial package UVM offered me.

My process for selecting a graduate school was really centered on where I could get the most financial aid and salary for the work experience I would contribute to the college.

2. Gaining tangible work experience makes it way harder to get a job when you graduate

While I am in classes full time at UVM, I also work for the Department of Residential Life and am able to translate the theory I am learning in the classroom to practice. When I first started thinking about getting a master’s degree, I was afraid I would be over educated with no experiences.

Luckily, most graduate program incorporate internships, jobs, or teaching experiences, that help students prepare for the working world after graduation.

3. Having a seat at the table means you have just too many opportunities

To me, the best part about being a graduate student, is that everyone around you sees you as a learner first. I am often invited to meetings and spaces that I would never have the opportunity to shadow if my work at UVM were an entry level job.

It’s really special and cool to be a in a graduate program, because you are invited into another level of academic spaces which become a conduit to experiences and knowledge to which you never would have normally been exposed. These experiences have all come together to make me feel confident in my knowledge and abilities in a way that I wasn’t after undergrad.

4.Taking ownership of your own learning and focusing on what you are passionate about is super boring

My favorite part of my experiences in graduate school is the passion and excitement I have discovered for my own learning. When you are focused exclusively on not only a topic that maters to you, but specific issues and concepts within that topic, learning becomes so much less trivial.

In graduate school; professors invite you into research, see you as a colleague and peer rather than a pupil and you learn to create new knowledge rather than just reproduce it.

5. Its hard having so many friends and even worse building meaningful connections

Some of my greatest friends and mentors where made in college. When I graduated and started graduate school at UVM I never thought I would build connection and friendships as strong as I have.

Graduate school fosters individuals who are strong, passionate, diverse, and excited about learning. Many programs function in a cohort model and this model has giving me a group of 14 students who have been through it all with me. My peers are some of my greatest teachers and it is even more exciting to know that we are not only classmates, but the future of a work field we care so much about.

Carly graduated from Mount Holyoke College is 2016 and is graduating this May from UVM’s College of Education and Social Services Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program. While at UVM she works in the department of Residential Life and with the UVM Foundation.

Check in with your classmates, Part II

This week on Afterword, we are checking in with a few of your fellow classmates to see what they’ve been up to since graduation.

We connected with five alums; Teresa Dotson, Sarang Murthy, Abby Stone, Renee Cruise and Drew Cooper. See what they had to say about their post grad year!

We are always looking to hear from more of you, so click the button at the bottom of this post to refer a friend (or yourself)!

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

After graduating from UVM I had planned to take a gap year before venturing on my next academic pursuit. I was lucky enough to spend the summer working on Martha’s Vineyard and then once summer came to a close, I moved back to my hometown of Pittsford NY, where I began work as a high school rowing coach. Fall season rowing ended around early November so I was able to enjoy the fall/winter holiday season at home with my parents and younger sister. Fast forward to just after New Years, 2018 has been an amazing year so far. While I was on Martha’s Vineyard in the summer, a high school friend and I began planning a month and a half long trip, backpacking through South East Asia. That adventure began mid-January, starting in Hanoi, Vietnam, continuing through the countries of Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, and Myanmar. It was the trip of a lifetime with so many incredible memories. I returned to New York February 27th where I got to spend 10 days at home before venturing out to Idaho and Utah to visit friends and explore some of the west coast.

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

So far my year has been fantastic, but I am very much looking forward to beginning an Accelerated Bachelors in Nursing (ABSN) program, most likely at Drexel University in Philadelphia! It will definitely be a challenge, as it’s a full bachelor’s degree condensed into about 12 months of intense coursework; nonetheless, I am very excited for this new challenge!

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

Since graduating, I’ve been most proud of saying “yes” more. After leaving UVM, and having loved my experiences there, I wanted the excitement and amazing memories to continue; and they most definitely have. Saying “yes” more, has allowed me to meet new people, see incredible sights, and make the memories of a lifetime.


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

I moved down to New York City where I work at a public policy think-tank as a Technical Research Assistant. Living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan is an adventure, everyday!

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

One of my biggest challenges in the next year is applying to graduate school but also something that I am looking forward to. I have to make myself stand out among the increasingly competitive pool of applicants.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

The thing I am most proud about is mastering the NYC subway system! I am originally from Dallas, Texas so the big city was an adjustment for me. It’s incredibly overwhelming the first few weeks but then it becomes second nature.


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

After graduation, I took a part-time job as a graphic designer at Alchemy & Science on Pine Street in Burlington. When summer ended, I found a new full-time job at Okemo Mountain Resort, where I am currently the Marketing Coordinator and occasional Snow Reporter!

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

I’m looking forward to moving to a bigger city, like Boston or Denver, but the biggest challenge for me will be that I won’t live next to a ski resort anymore.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

Adopting my adorable dog, Maple, from All Breed Rescue in Williston and training her to enjoy being little spoon. (Seen in picture above)


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

After graduating, I spent the summer living and interning in Boston. I went to quite a few Red Sox games and enjoyed weekends at the beach. Currently, I am in the Masters of Accountancy Program at UVM’s Grossman School of Business. I’ve been enjoying another year in Burlington and another season of skiing! I’ll graduate with my Masters this coming May.

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

I’m really looking forward to starting my career in accounting as an Auditor for RSM. I’m also excited to move to Boston this Fall.  I think my biggest challenge will be studying for my CPA exams which I hope to complete this summer, before I begin work in the fall.

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

I spent the first few months after graduation packing my belongings in preparation to move to Europe. While I’ve lived in Vermont for the past 15 years with my mother, my father has lived in England for the past 10 years and offered to help me prepare for starting grad school in Germany. I was lucky enough to be accepted into a two-year Master’s program for Medical Neuroscience at the Humboldt University of Berlin. The program is run through their medical school, Charité Universitätsmedizin, which is analogous to UVM’s Robert Larner College of Medicine. The summer and fall were relatively difficult; saying goodbye to my friends and home state, moving to two different countries, and dealing with endless logistics and bureaucracy. I don’t even speak German! But despite the challenges, it’s been an incredibly fruitful experience thus far.

Berlin is an absolutely crazy city, more international than it is German. I’ve made friends with people from Mexico, Ethiopia, Russia, Greece, Pakistan, Spain; the list goes on. I’ve been studying like crazy — semester grades are based on single, comprehensive exams covering everything from neurophysiology to computational statistics to bioethics — but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the nightlife. Clubs are open well into the morning and there are next-to-no open container laws. Work-Life balance is at an all-time high.

Most recently, I finished interning in an ophthalmology lab as my first of four lab rotations. My research concerns thermo-mechanically activated transmembrane receptors called TRP channels and protein fragments of cellular immune systems, specifically within human corneal keratocytes. I’m still (clearly) working on a summary for my research paper, but I’m essentially investigating if immune responses can be triggered through temperature activation of the cornea. What I’m happiest about are the images I’ve captured using the microscopes in the lab — the cells light up like a Christmas tree!

But even better than that, I was able to have my best friend Jaden (Class of ’18!) visit me. He and his family have accepted me as their own for as long as I’ve known them, so to share my life here with him was nothing short of amazing. He’s the other guy in the above photo.

What are you looking forward to in the next year? What do you think will be your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge will most likely be the one I’m still dealing with: Germany. I won’t preach too much, but given everything going on in the USA, people have a tendency to romanticize moving to another country, especially European countries. Living here is not easy. Most important documents are co-dependent; to get a German bank account you need a visa, to get a visa you need health insurance, to get health insurance you need a German bank account… you get the idea. To even have a chance at surviving here, somebody within the system has to take pity on you, the unaware foreigner. I have been the American Idiot many times and I will probably continue to be, but it does build character. I’m quoting myself here from an old piece I wrote in the Cynic, but there are things I do today that would’ve made me curl into the fetal position a year ago. I’m hoping I can still say that next year.

What are you most proud of since you graduated?

The fact that I’m in Berlin! Sometimes I still can’t believe I’m here! The application process was 6 months alone, my grades were average at best and I don’t speak the native language; what chance did I have? But lo and behold I’m here, and I’m actually doing well. I spent so many days last year assuming the worst in the world and myself, that I’d be better off taking the safe route staying at UVM and continuing my education there. And this is not a dig at UVM, because it’s actually my favorite part of my home state, but I knew I had to take a chance and do something that scared me to death. Those are the only experiences that show you who you really are as a person, and help you change into the person you want to be.

Did you know that? (A new series)

Since we’ve graduated from UVM, Ryan and I have discovered tons of things that are happening here on campus and around Vermont that we never knew about as undergrads. So, we wanted to add a new segment to the blog- Did you know that?!

Today, we’re going to do a quick run down of two things that have been a part of UVM for a long time, but a lot of the time aren’t in the headlines.


Did you know that… UVM has a TV show called Across the Fence?

Across the Fence is a daily TV program that has been made every day (you heard me, EVERY DAY) since 1954!

WCAX got it’s start as a radio station being run by students on the UVM campus in the 50’s, and one of their programs was a farm and home show, for 15 minutes each day. This tradition has continued as the station has grown, and UVM Extension still produces an episode of Across The Fence for every weekday. They have an amazing catalog of their episodes available online, and cover everything from slow cooker recipes for busy work days, to grain farming (and the growing interest in hemp farming) in Vermont, to the effect of road salt on fragile ecosystems.

Check out their catalog of episodes for tons of interesting subjects, talked about by professors that you might know! Across the Fence is especially wonderful because it gives all of us an access point to learn more about the University at large.


Did you know that… UVM runs an active sugar bush?

UVM Proctor Maple Research Center is a field research station for the department of Plant Biology in CALS, and was established way back in 1946. The center has a mission that is divided into three categories; Research, Demonstration, and Education.

They put out approximately 1,550 taps to product 750 to 950 gallons of maple syrup each year! If you’ve bought syrup through the UVM bookstore, it was created right there at the Proctor Maple Farm!

When you come back to Vermont to visit, you should definitely schedule an appointment for a visit- they won’t be able to give you a tour or a demonstration right now, as it’s the height of sugaring season between February and April. But, the rest of the year they’re happy to have visitors!

If you can’t come visit, they have several webcams that you can check out to see more of what the research center looks like!

Now, are you sitting there thinking “Hold on, I thought everyone know about Across the Fence?” or “Duh, Proctor Maple Research isn’t news”- don’t worry.  We’re going to keep digging up more fun stuff, so don’t hesitate to reach out and let us know if there’s a unique corner of UVM that we should be talking about!