Friday, October 24, 2014

Class Clip: Photo Journalism

       I have mentioned in a previous post that I adore my Photo Journalism class. This class is by far one of my favorite classes this semester. As an MJD major, I am required to take it, but honestly I would have loved to take it even if I was not in this major. This class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9:45-10:50 with Professor Swope. First off, I love Professor Swope. Photo Journalism is what he is truly passionate about and it shows through this class. He really knows what he is talking about and he is super personable at the same time. He is by far one of my favorite Professors in the MJD department (but I love all of them so....yeah.).
I took this picture one weekend when I was just fooling around with the camera.
     At first I thought that this class was going to be easy. I mean, how hard is it to take a picture. FALSE. This class is actually pretty difficult. It teaches you a lot not only in the technical aspects of photo journalism but also more personal aspects. It teaches you a lot about yourself and your comfort zones along with your ability to manage your time. The great thing about the class is that they give you an amazing camera to use throughout the semester to complete your assignments.
     Each week we have an assignment due (except for larger assignments that require more time). Our first assignment was probably the hardest assignment for me. It is the infamous Breaking the Ice assignment where essentially you walk up to random strangers and ask them if you can take their picture. How hard can it be right? Holy goodness, it was terrifying. I always thought that I was ok in situations where I had to talk to strangers but boy was I wrong. I was terrified the entire way through this assignment. I finished it though which was such a relief. Even though it was really hard, I was pleased with the outcome and it felt really good to know that I had accomplished it.
     Each week the assignments differ. They have been anything from a perspective assignment to action sports to honest emotion. I have enjoyed every single assignment that I have done so far. Most of the time is doesn't even feel like work because I like it so much. Here are some of the pictures that I was able to take this semester!
I took this picture for my Sports Action picture assignment. This was at the Women's Soccer game against SNHU.

I took this picture for my Sports Action picture assignment. This was at the Women's Soccer game against SNHU.
     Currently for this class we are starting to get into Multimedia. Our current assignment is to cover an event and take sound and audio clips to create a picture slide show. I am really excited about this assignment because I love using the programs that are necessary to complete this. I am really looking forward towards the rest of the semester in this class!

Love,
Susanna

PS! I almost forgot! Yesterday I was officially accepted to study abroad in London, England for Spring semester! I am extremely excited and I will definitely be posting more about it soon!

PPS! There is also the first KnightChat of the semester on Tuesday October 28th! Be sure to check it out HERE

Questions? Comments? Just wanna say hey?
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

College Essay Tips

     I have gotten a few requests to write more about the college application process. You can see my previous post about the college application process HERE. But for now, I am writing more in depth about the college essay. This essay is unlike any other essay you have ever written. It is not a research paper, a book report or a lab report. You don't have goals outlined clearly and there is no analysis that is needed to be done.
     Your college essay is not a resume, you have already written one of those. It is a story about something that matters to you and how it impacts your life.


ONE// To have a good essay, you don't have to write about the most exciting or the most tragic thing that has ever happened to you. While some people do have super exciting things that have happened to them, don't stress if you have nothing. Some of the best essays are the weird ones. Did you scoop ice cream all summer and learn that some are harder to scoop than others? Did you once wear two different shoes to school? Did you once sleep all day and didn't move? Did you work at an ice cream shop all summer and learn that chocolate ice cream is the hardest to scoop? If so, write about them! These interesting stories will stick with admissions officers so they can tell you apart from all the other candidates.

TWO// Brag, but not too much. I hate to promote myself and I hate to tell about my accomplishments to others because I often feel as though I am bragging or being too forward. Others love to tell people about themselves and how they are the best people in the world. Bragging is good, but in moderation. A few points here and there are perfect, but if your whole essay is just an explanation as to why any college would be lucky to have you, then you may need to rework somethings.

THREE// Focus on the characters. Think about it as a movie. Good movies are exciting not just because the premise is cool but because the characters totally rock. You should obviously be the main character in your story because it is from your point of view. Don't downplay your role in the story because it is not about the premise of the story that matters, it is all about your growth and what you have learned. It is not about the action that took place (see number two) but about how that action has affected you. Have a strong voice in your writing  because readers want to be able to get inside your head a bit and know more about you.

FOUR// Proof-reading is super important and something that I often forget to do. When you write your essay, you want the person reading it to be completely engulfed in what you have written. When do don't fix typos it is like putting a big blinking red light right in the middle of your paper. It is not that the reader can't read or understand your essay, it's that you are ruining the experience. Typos can often be distracting. This is also true for grammatical errors and weird wordings of sentences. Check for these things by reading your essay out loud. If you find that you have to stop to reread a certain section, you may need to fix it.

FIVE// Understand who is reading your paper. Getting a 5 year old to read a college level research paper and understand it will be an impossible task. There are too many things that they will not understand. Don't write about something so specific that your reader cannot relate too. If, while writing it, you have to take extra care in what you are saying, then maybe you should pick a different topic. It is better to pick a topic that is easy to relate to rather than to convey the message that you don't know how to properly write to the audience that is going to be reading it.

     Your essay should be about you and how you have changed based on an event. Don't make it preachy, make it fun and inviting. A good essay will help you to stand out from all the others!

Love,
Susanna

Questions? Comments? Just wanna say hey?
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Jim is one of my good friends and an amazing musician! Be sure to check out Beach Talk HERE. His third EP is coming out November 1st so be sure to spread the love!


Monday, October 20, 2014

Favorites

       I thought that today I would just do a little lighthearted quick post about things that I am currently loving. These past few weeks have been insane with midterms so it feels like this is the first time in a while that I have actually had time to myself to breathe a bit.

ONE// This video has been shared on the Internet more times than I can count. I have seen it on nearly all of my social media platforms. People just can't get enough of it. It is so funny and these kids are literally adorable. See what happens when second graders try a $220 7-course meal.

TWO// My classes. Although this semester has definitely been my hardest schedule work-wise, I am really loving it. At SMC we take 4 classes a semester for 4 credits each. Doesn't seem like a lot, but trust me, I am constantly doing work, completing a project or studying for an exam. This semester I am taking:
          Photo Journalism: This is a required class for MJD and probably one of my favorite media classes ever. They give us a really nice camera for the duration of the semester to complete our assignments. Assignments range from portraits of strangers to sports action shots.
          Ethics: This is my upper level philosophy class. It is a really interesting class and makes you think critically about life. Plus I really like my professor!
          Early Latin America: This class fulfills my history LSR (Liberal Arts Requirement). The material is really interesting and Professor Dungy is really nice.
         Race and Ethnic Relations: I LOVE this class. It is so interesting and Professor Bhave is literally amazing. I would suggest this class to anyone!

THREE// Rugby. You knew that this had to be on my life somewhere! This season has been amazing. We are currently 5-0 and going into our biggest game of the season this weekend against Stonehill. All of the girls have been working really hard and it has been great to be a part of this semester. I am really excited for the last few weeks of the season.
line out from our game yesterday against Holy Cross. We won 53-5!

FOUR// Fall weather. Over the past 3(ish) days, the weather has gone from summer to fall. Earlier last week it was about 75 degrees and currently it is around 46. No complaints here though! I was more than excited to break out the boots today. Fall is my favorite season so I have been really excited about the colder weather!
Candice, Pointy, Q and I went to Shelburne Museum on Friday on our day off. I had never been there before so it was nice to experience it while spending time with some good friends!
(photo taken by Candice)

This puppy loves fall too!



FIVE//Chai tea. This has been my go to hot drink this season. I never really liked chai tea before I got to college but now I just cannot get enough of this stuff. All I do is add a little sugar and a little milk and you have a perfect warm drink.

SIX// I have always loved New York City. It is only about an hour or so from my house and it has always been a place that I have admired. Earlier last week I stumbled upon this website that highlighted beautiful images and GIFs of the city. The pictures are magical and the GIFs have the ability to show a fast moving city in what seems like slow motion. Check out the website HERE

Love,
Susanna

Questions? Comments? Just wanna say hey?
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Monday, October 13, 2014

Do What you Feel

     I haven't written a blog post in a while. I apologize for that. We are currently in the middle of the semester and man am I feeling the stress. It seems like every day I either have a project, paper or exam. Stressful, I know. Also, I apologize for being off of my Monday Motivation routine. I find myself sitting down to write Monday Motivations but when I do, I have no motivation. That period of time normally ends up becoming a nap. When I want to write a post I just can't seem to find that ah-ha moment.
     I am such a sucker for self-help articles and talk shows. Why? I have no idea, I just really like them. Dr. Phil and Oprah are classics for me and two of my go-to shows if need be. An ah-ha moment is important now and then. They aren't things that we can go chasing or things that you can plan for. They just kind of happen...naturally. Sometimes you just need a little kick in the tush to spark those moments, especially when the lovely voices of Dr. Phil and Oprah aren't giving you what you need.

        BREATHE//This is important, and sometimes I find myself forgetting to do this very important thing. When you find yourself seeking for ah-ha moments, it is important to relax and breathe. Relaxing and noticing your surroundings can help to encourage creativity, spark imagination and relieve stress. When things are quiet and you are in tune with yourself, you will be able to accomplish things you didn't know were possible.

       LISTEN TO YOUR FRIENDS//I'll admit it, sometimes I am an awful listener. Like, really awful. I just get way too into my head and nothing can take me away from that. When I do need advice, my friends are the ones that I always go to. It is always great to get new eyes on a situation. They are able to give you fresh new takes on certain standpoints.

       IT HAPPENS FOR A REASON//I don't think that coincidences are a thing. They are the earth trying to tell us something or tie up loose strings. When something happens that seems like a coincidence, don't just take it as one. Acknowledge it. Start to pay attention, some beautiful moments could happen.

       INNER VOICE//I am a firm believer in the voice inside your own head. This voice tends to be the loudest when I am just trying to fall asleep at night. Figure out that time for you and just listen to it. You will receive the push you need to start you in the right direction.

When you finally find your ah-ha moment you will be as happy as Q is in this picture!
(Photo by S.Shigo)


I promise you it is not easy, but once you figure it all out, it will be worth it. So go on, find that ah-ha moment!

Love,
Susanna

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What am I listening to? (Two of my favorites: Beyonce and John Mayer. Basically perfection.)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Don't Stress! Tips to make the College Application Process Easier!

     I have probably said it before, but I cannot believe that I am a junior in college. It honestly feels like just yesterday I was deciding on which colleges to apply to, filling out the Common App in yearbook class and stressing out to my mom about not knowing what to do. Believe me, I know the stress of filling out college applications, I've been there. It is so weird that the first deadline for many schools is fast approaching. If you are anything like me, you are probably totally freaking out right now. No worries! I'm here to help!!

     1. Lists, lists, and more lists. As you know, I love making lists. I make them for everything. Writing lists makes things so much easier when you are applying to multiple schools and scholarships all at the same time. Make a list of all the things that need to get completed and all the information that you need. Also on these lists, write down how much time you will need to commit to each of these tasks. When you are finished with a task, be sure to check it off so you know that you have finished it!

     2. Research, Tour, Interview. Before you start touring schools, research them. If your brother's friend's cousin goes to a school and loves it there is a possibility that you might hate it. So before you make the trek all the way out to visit a school that you have no desire of attending, research it first. Start large and then narrow your search. I knew that I wanted a small school, in New England with the opportunity for me to switch majors if need be. I knew I wanted to be in a college town with an active community. The next step once you have narrowed down your choices is to tour. Being a tour guide, I cannot tell you enough about the importance of a college visit. One thing that we do here at SMC is waive your application fee and give you an $1,000 a year grant if you come take a tour. If that isn't incentive enough to come visit then I don't know what is! Finally, if you find yourself really interested in a school, schedule an interview with an admissions counselor. This will help with answering all your questions as well as allowing the admissions counselor to put a face to an application. (Interested in visiting SMC? Schedule a tour HERE!)

     3. Start early. I cannot stress this enough. A lot of people under estimate the amount of time it takes to complete the college application process. Starting early will ensure that you have ample time to complete all the things that you need to get done in a reasonable amount of time. Tip: ask for letters of recommendation at least 2 months in advance. The people you ask to write the letters have a life too! Asking them 2 months in advance gives them time to write a perfect letter of recommendation for you. 

    4. Avoid common mistakes. There Are a few common mistakes that you should avoid when filling out a college application.
          -Don't pretend to be someone you are not. Sure, I can say I'm Beyonce, but I am not. Filling up your resume with a billion things that you have done is not going to help you. At SMC we say it is better to have a few things that you are really involved and passionate in rather than a thousand little things.
          -Don't forget to proofread. You fill out a ton of applications and all of us make mistakes, but DO NOT accidentally use the wrong school's name in your application. It happens so to eliminate the possibility of that have a friend, teacher or parent read everything before you send anything it.
          -Clean up social media sites. Take the time to set all of your accounts to private during the application process. Just do it. I promise.
         -Don't leave the dreaded personal essay for the last minute. It is pretty much the most important part of your application because it gives you a chance to tell admissions counselors something about you rather than your GPA, classes or personal background. It is really daunting, but once you get a first draft written, you are golden. Start that draft early so you have time to make changes and revise. You want this to be the best essay you have ever written and that takes time. So take that time. I promise you will not regret it!
Scary. I know. But don't worry. I am here to help!
(via)


     5. Don't stress. After everything is complete, T's are crossed and your signature is signed, there is nothing you can really do. Once you hand everything in, don't stress. Things happen for a reason. If you don't get into your top choice, it is not the end of the world. There are thousands of amazing colleges in this country and any of them would be happy to have you as a student. If you put as much effort as you could into your application, you should have nothing to worry about.

Hope this helps and good luck on all of your application endeavors! Want more tips about the college application process? Let me know!

Love,
Susanna

P.S- many of you have been wondering how rugby is going this season. Rugby is going AMAZING so far! We are currently 3-0 in our league. We have a large team this season with numbers close to 50 girls. Yesterday we played Bentley and won 101-0. Annnnddd.... I SCORED MY FIRST TRY! YAY! As always, you can track our team on our Facebook Page HERE!

yea know, just casually stiff-arming a girl. 


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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Wake up Sleepy Head

     I have always considered myself a morning person. Sure, I don't like to wake up really early but, I mean, who does? I may not have the energy or the will to get out of bed in the morning, but I am no means a snoozer. When my alarm goes off I am awake. I just have so much to do in a day and I feel like by snoozing, I am taking up a good chunk of time. But for future warning, you can bet that if I hit snooze in the morning I am either 1. tired to the point where I can't function meaning that I will not be getting out of bed or 2. deathly ill meaning that I will also not be leaving my bed.
     I thrive on routines. I wake up at the same time on certain days, eat at certain times and go to bed at certain times. Over the years getting into a routine has been tough, especially with unexpected late night homework sessions, binge watching YouTube videos or just pure insomnia. But through all of those obstacles I think I have found a few tricks to becoming a morning person and, if you already are one, a better morning person.

ONE// Don't Snooze. This is probably the hardest step, but I promise, it makes a world of difference. It is proven that our brain basically knows our snooze button. Chances are when you hit it in the morning you will fall back into a very light sleep because your brain is expecting your alarm to go off in a few short minutes. This, in turn, messes with your sleep cycle. It might sound crazy, but my alarm has a built in snooze. If I know that I have to be out of my bed at 7am, I will set my alarm for 6:50, sit up and take time to check social media or do what ever I want. As soon as the clock hits 7, I must get out of bed. It gives me time to sit and relax for a little bit while still being on time.
This is way too common for many of us.
(via)


TWO//Sunlight. The best way to wake up in the morning is to be woken up by sunlight coming through your window. Melatonin is the hormone that makes you sleepy. When exposed to the sunlight, your body is signaled to stop the flow of it. It is the way that I wake up in the morning, but if you are concerned about the sun waking you up before your alarm goes off, buy and eye mask.

THREE//Pump up the jams. As said in one of my previous posts, which you can find HERE, I talk about Spotify. Man, do I love Spotify. When I wake up in the morning I normally play one of their suggested playlists just to wake me up a little more. When you have music playing you will be too busy dancing around your room to be upset about having to wake up. Haven't heard of Spotify? That is totally ok! It is completely free to download. If you are interested, you can download it HERE.
     Some of my current favorite Spotify playlists are:
       -Afternoon Acoustic
       -Viral Top 50: US
       -Morning Commute
       -Mood Booster

FOUR//Power Down. An hour before you plan on going to bed, turn off all electronics such as TVs, your phone, iPads or computers an hour before you want to sleep. These screens will make it much harder for your brain to wind down. So snuggle up with a good book or chat with friends before you go to bed.

FIVE// Hydrate. Every night before I go to bed I put a large cup of water by the side of my bed. Drinking water as soon as you wake up not only helps to combat sleepiness but it also kick starts your metabolism to get you read for the day. During the day it is great to drink a lot of water, so this helps with your daily hydration.

SIX// Do things at night. I am the type of person that showers at night. It gives me more time in the morning to slowly drink my coffee or to check social media. I also pick out my outfits the night before so that I am not racing around my room trying to pick out something to wear.

SEVEN// Have something to look forward to. Be it a run, a hot shower or a steaming cup of coffee, having that one thing that makes you want to wake up will make it that much easier to stumble out of your comfy bed.

     Being a morning person is not for everyone and that is totally ok. I am just telling you what works for me. I find it nice to be able to wake up and go to class without the worry of possibly falling asleep during a professor's lecture.

Love,
Susanna

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

How to Plan for the Busy Weeks

Classes are slowly starting to pick up. Sometimes I find myself looking at my planner and thinking how the heck am I supposed to finish all of this? It just seems like sometimes there is not enough time in the day to complete everything that needs to get done. You know those weeks when you have some assignment due, some meeting scheduled, some practice to go to, on every day of the week? Yep, well that is how it has been here.
     Currently I am taking 16 credits of class (which is normal here), blogging, playing a sport, giving tours and maintaining a healthy social life. I guess what I am trying to say is that things get busy, but everything is manageable.

ONE// I know I say this a lot but, USE A PLANNER. If I did not have a planner I would probably die. Whether you use a paper planner or a planner on your iPhone, just make sure you have one. During really busy weeks, and I mean really busy weeks, I can even organize things down to the hour. This may sound weird, but I have two planners. One is my normal one that I use on a daily basis and the second one is one that I use primarily on Sundays. My Sunday Planner, as I call it, is a more broad planner. I write down all my assignments for the next week along with all meetings, practices and activities that I have to be at. This planner is organized into three categories:
     Could Do's- tasks that could get done if I had extra time, such as non-mandatory meetings and events and shopping.
     Should Do's- important things that I really should do, such as meetings or events. But these things can be rescheduled if need be.
     Must Do's- my non-negotiables such as assignments, studying, practice, mandatory meetings, class and keeping in touch with friends and family.
Upon breaking it all down into these three categories, it is also color coded. Each category has a color and then each day something is due has a different color. As you can probably tell, I am a very visual person.
My daily planner.

My list of things to accomplish for the week.

TWO// Make other lists. Along with my very intense planner, I also make lists for each day. These are often broken down by time segments (morning, afternoon and night). On this list I write down all the stuff that must get accomplished for the day.
I do this every day in a plain, spiral bound notebook. It just helps me to be a little bit more organized throughout the day. 

THREE//These weeks are the hardest time for me with social media. I get distracted so easily so once I open up Facebook it often sucks me in for a few hours. During my busy weeks, I often have to limit my social media usage.

FOUR// During busy weeks I often forget to take time to myself. Balance out your caffeine intake with water. Schedule when to sleep at night or when to take a quick nap (I love naps). Take breaks during the day to go for a walk, listen to some music or talk with some friends.

FIVE// Planning ahead is one of the things that I often forget to do. if you know that you have a busy week ahead of you, do your laundry before the week, get little assignments out of the way, or if you have meetings or appointments that can be rescheduled, do it to clear up sometime. Also, if I know that I have a busy week ahead I will clean up my room a bit so it makes me feel less cluttered.

Love,
Susanna

Questions? Comments? Just wanna say hey?
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