Preparing For Chile! (Orginally Published 12/26)

Happy Holidays everyone! I’m sitting here at my parents computer in Massachusetts, looking at the snow fall softly outside the window and my small, curly hairded dog run in circles around my chair. Its nice to relax after a pretty rough semester. Now I am getting ready for my departure to Chile in Februrary! Thanks to the steady reminders from the abroad office, most of my materials are in. They’ve been really helpful over the semester with reminders of due dates and helpful tips to get ready. I’m getting more and more excited (and nervous) as the date approaches!

Semester Endings (Orginally Published 12/12)

Woah, this semester flew by… I can’t believe its already finals week! Don’t worry though, I’m not going to complain about how much work I have. Instead, I thought I would talk about one of my favorite classes of the semester, called the Dawn of Modernism. The instructor, Tom Simone, is what I always thought my college professors would look like. With cray eyebrows and a booming laugh, he teaches on more than just the standard English class materials (i.e. novels, poetry, and prose.) We have watched charlie Chaplin movies and listened to symphonies, he even invited a concert pianist to play Beethoven for us. His disdain for grades and love of student self expression created a wonderful environment for class discussion. I’m really sad the class is over!

Life in the library isn’t so bad

Everyone always told me my junior year in college would be really hard, but I defiantly did not understand just how much work I would have. However, I’ve found comfort in the fact that everyone else I know is in exactly the same boat. I’ve made new friends in the library simply because we both always choose the same quiet spot on the third floor or have sat next to each other at the computers for an entire day. It’s a strange sense of camaraderie we juniors have, the common phrase seems to be “we just have to get through this year!” My roommates and I have combated the work load blues with snacks and supportive texts. Though it’s difficult, it’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been challenged like this. College has been hard for sure but it has never been quite so overwhelming. These past few months have taught me a lot about work ethic and stress management. The key is simple and something I have been told my whole life; manage your time! I feel like I’m finally learning this lesson. I also really like what I’m learning, which makes things a lot easier. Being prepared for class isn’t about getting a good grade but being able to participate. All the things I’ve learned previously and all of the things I’m learning now are working together to form a a strong background from which I have been able to develop my own opinions and support them.

But I don’t want you to think I’ve been all work and no play. I am a strong advocate for the balance of fun and work. You’ll go crazy otherwise!! Here’s some pictures to prove I’ve gotten out of the library once and a while;

Exploring some local waterfalls

Goofing around in the kitchen

My roommates and I getting ready for Halloween

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Jon Irving Lecture

A great thing about UVM is that there are a few really interesting lectures every week. This thursday I saw one of my favorite authors, Jon Irving, speak. He is the author of Cider House Rules, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and many others. One of the most interesting things he talked about was his writing process, how he always writes the ending of his novels first. He said this was because he liked to know the voice that he will end the novel in. I have no idea how I would approach writing a novel, but this made sense to me. It is the same concept of writing an outline, he just wants to know where he’s going with the story before he begins writing. He then read the first few pages of his new novel, its the story of a young bisexual, discovering who is as he grows up in a small New England town. I can’t wait to read it! I’m going to have to wait a little while though because he hasn’t finished writing it yet!

Happy in the Fall

Going to school in the fall is like a dream. The morning air is crisp and cool. The foliage is bold against the dull gray sky. It is a calming preparation for the day.

I love taking my bike to class. Judging by the filled bike racks all along campus, I know that many UVM students are of the same opinion. Its pretty easy to see why. The UVM campus is positioned on the top of a hill so going home is all down hill. There’s nothing better than a fast bike ride home after a long day!

I’m a Junior in College?!

Fall has come again, bringing crisp air and pumpkin flavored coffee. Accordingly, classes too have started. With them are the students of the many Burlington colleges, back for another year. After spending the summer in Burlington, I have found it a little overwhelming to be back in the old routine. It has taken these two weeks to get used to the concept of homework again. However, the semesters commencement has been a welcome one. I am taking three English classes this semester and two spanish classes. Already, I am aware that this is my hardest semester yet!

My English classes are all higher level courses and are both challenging and intriguing. These classes all require a number of prerequisites, and as a result my classmates have all taken similar courses to the ones I have participated in. This creates a great foundation for conversation for we all have similar backgrounds in our literary education, but our interpretation of what we have learned varies greatly. My favorite English class thus far has been “Adventures of Perception in 20th Century Literature and Philosophy.” It is a unique combination of modernist philosophy and literature and the way in which they influence each other. We are reading Virginia Woolf’s “Mrs. Dalloway,” a novel that is quickly becoming a favorite!

My Spanish classes are upper level as well. As I have mentioned before, I am hoping to study abroad in Chile next semester and higher level Spanish classes are required. Spanish has never been my forte so I’m really going to have to work hard this semester! However, both my classes are conducive for quick learning. Both my professors speak only in Spanish for the entire class, I can already tell a difference in my listening comprehension.

On a different note, I moved into my house on June first with six other of my friends. This summer was a blast to say the least! Now we’re all just trying to find the balance between fun and schoolwork!

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My house!

Finishing Up

Classes ended yesterday and I can’t believe that another year has passed! It feels like time is racing by.. everything is changing so quickly! I’m moving out of the dorms and into a house in downtown Burlington. I’m staying here this summer, working at the Skinny Pancake (a delicious crepe place by Lake Champlain) and exploring summer Vermont! Some of my friends are graduating and are about to begin “real life.” I’m so sad to see them go!

But before we can call the year complete, we must all go through finals… ugh. The library has been packed all week, each computer is accompanied by a student busily typing a paper or researching. You can’t walk through the first floor without running into at least a few people you know. Its always fun to take a few study breaks, whether its stopping to chat by a desk or getting a coffee with someone you haven’t seen since last semester. Leave it to college students to make studying for finals a social event!

But this spring hasn’t been all work and no play! My friends and I have traveled to gorges, mountains, lakes… the warm weather has allowed all sorts of adventuring! Last weekend we had a great time grilling on a friends porch… I just can’t wait for the summer!!

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Dorm Life

As I prepare to move off campus at the end of the year, I find myself becoming sentimental about my time in the dorms. I have lived in Harris Hall for the past two years, so I feel really comfortable with my surroundings. I know when the best times do laundry are (never on Sundays!), the quickest route to the Davis center, how best to get down three flights of stairs with all my ski stuff in one trip… Though everyone likes to complain about the small living spaces and mandatory floor meetings, its actually been a really fun two years. I can’t think of a better way to meet people for they create such a great sense of community. WDW (a dorm on Redstone campus) has lounges on each floor. Every lounge has a kitchen, a big table, and a bunch of comfy chairs. Some of my best friends live in this dorm and we have really taken advantage the lounges. We often cook big meals when we want a break from the dining halls. We also like to paint in there, for it gives us a lot of space. We started painting with just our friends but soon most of the floor got involved. It has become a huge activity, with tons of people hanging out and painting on a night that would normally be nondescript. Dorms have been a really fun experience but I’m excited for the new adventure of living downtown!

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Cooking in the lounge. Gretchen (in the back) had a long day with an early morning Crew practice.

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We have discovered that painting without brushes is a lot more fun!

Alice in Wonderland

The class of 2012 (my class!) has been selling tickets all week in the Davis Center for the premier of Alice in Wonderland. For a mere ten dollars I have a ticket to the 3D version as well as a ride, for they’re providing a bus to transport all of us from campus to the movies. This is Tim Burton’s latest film and its sure to be incredible!! Its showing tonight at 12:30 and all my friends have bought tickets, I can’t wait!

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