Monday, April 21, 2014

Monday Motivation: Choices

          I totally forgot it is Monday, hence why this post is going up later than it normally does. One of the perks of going to a Catholic Liberal Arts college is that we get the day after Easter off, which is just lovely. This weekend I spent up here while everyone else went home. I got a ton of work done and gave two tours to some amazing families today (shout out to all you guys!). So this post is going to be all about choices. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is coming up. It is the one where you decide where you want to spend the next four years of your life, AKA, which college you plan on going to. This post is going to be about how I made my decision to come to SMC and why I think having a liberal arts degree is so amazing. 
        So first things first. Why did I choose SMC? I would be totally lying to you if I said that my first choice through my whole college process was SMC. It actually wasn't on my radar until I got dragged up to Vermont to look at schools for my twin brother. I originally thought that I wanted to spend these four years in New York City. My twin brother was looking at schools in Vermont and my parents decided that we would take a quick look at SMC. A lot of my family went here so that is how we knew about it. My tour was fantastic, I loved the size of the school and just the overall feel. To say the least, I fell in love with it. Eventually I got my list down to two schools towards the end of April and SMC was one of the two. I untimately decided on SMC because I just had that feeling that it was were I needed to be. It has honestly been the best decision of my life. 
[p.s.- the weather has been amazing lately!]
L to R: Courtney, Keri, Kelsie, Lida, Candice and Me!
(picture by Lida)
       Second talking point: why is a liberal arts college so amazing? We are past the tears, the fist bumps in the hallways and the obnoxious but necessary Facebook posts that say "GOT INTO (add college name here)." For all of you seniors in high school, you have a few weeks to make your final decision. But let me give you a little insight first.
     I am sure that you, as students, have heard of all the types of schools that you should be going to. Schools like STEM schools (science, technology, engineering and math) were probably floating around your bubble of perspectives. I know that they were floating around all of my college lists too. I thought that they were the "safe bet". 
     In this country our debt total is up to $1 trillion and a lot of college graduates have a hard time finding jobs when they graduate. That was something that worried me a lot. Some majors such as engineering, biology or computer security are a growing job market, so they may seem like safe choices. And I can probably bet that you have heard things like philosophy or art degrees are a waste of time? Am I right? I knew it. But just hear me out.
     Here's my argument. If you have a fascination with dead authors that speak oddly to you, performing arts or painting pictures while still taking classes to make you think critically and out of your comfort zone, then a liberal arts college and, eventually degree, is the thing for you. Do it. I promise you wont regret it. I haven't regretted it since. 
     Coming into school, I was convinced that I wanted to be a teacher. After thinking about it for a little bit I decided that teaching was not my life calling, so I switched my major to business because I thought it would be the most practical. After two classes I was convinced that business was not my calling in life either and, thankfully, at the same time I discovered Media Studies and fell in love. I am so thankful that I go to a liberal arts college because if I didn't, I would have probably had to switch schools completely to get a major that I truly enjoyed.
     Besides the fact that switching majors is really easy, it is also awesome that we get to experience things from all different academic area with our Liberal Arts Requirements. If I was not able to take classes outside of my main area of study, I would have not discovered my love for Media Studies and Digital Arts. Not only did I learn things that I do like through those classes but I also learned things that I definitely do not like, things like economics, math and science.
     Businesses today are constantly evolving and changing. This is very unlike the era that our parents and grandparents grew up in. Today people in the work force move from job to job requiring you to know more about different subjects rather than just one or two really well. 
     One of the biggest things in life now a day is to be able to communicate. You could have the world's greatest idea but if you can't tell any one about it or articulate it, nothing will happen. Take the guy that invented post it notes for example: he had an awesome idea but honesty, who would have taken him seriously if he didn't know how to articulate his idea of paper with glue on it to other people? A liberal arts degree helps you to do all that. It helps you to create the idea, then how to design it, how to write about it and then finally how to market it within your company or even the world.
     So my advice? Go with the Liberal Arts school and don't focus solely on one thing. Take advantage of being a biology major but having the opportunity to take dance or Adventure Film-making (which I am SO EXCITED to take next semester). Make your self marketable by being a mut; don't be the person that can be put into only one category. Be an English major with a chemistry and theater double minor. Take classes that interest you. After 4 years when you leave, you won't be a stranger to all the world has to offer! 

Love,
Susanna

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Stranger Danger.

     The title does not really explain this blog as well as it should, so I apologize for that. I just thought it was a catchy title that sort of had something to do with what I am writing today. The real title that came to mind when I thought of this post is basically "how to not look like an idiot when you have an assignment that requires you to talk to someone you don't know." I thought stranger danger would grab your attention more. If you're reading this now well then, good job Suze, your title was catchy enough.
    
      As a media studies/ digital arts/ journalism major we often find ourselves having to talk to people that we don't know, AKA a stranger. You can ask all of my friends and they will tell you that I am not shy. I love to talk (I'm a tour guide, its kinda my job) but the truth is, if I do not know you, I am so shy. Like painfully shy. Like no eye contact shy. I just feel so awkward on the inside and try to avoid those situations as much as possible. My best friend growing up was always the friend maker (hey Kels, I'm talking about you). We were kind of like a package deal. But she was super outgoing and always willing to talk to people first and I was just kind of toted along. My fear was so bad that I used to get really bad anxiety when I would have to order something at a restaurant. Weird, I know. Honestly, I still get nervous ordering at a restaurant.
    
      I thought I was going to be fine never having to met strangers for the rest of my life. WRONG. I had to get over that notion quickly. The transition from high school to college helped me to learn a lot about talking to people I don't know and how put it to good use multiple times. As stated above, college was a great tool for helping me to get over this fear. But it was actually blogging that helped make a world of difference for me. I have always had a lot of ideas. I love helping people and telling them my take on life, just not telling them in person. Blogging helped me to build up courage to start talking to people personally. It was what encouraged me to become a tour guide and switch my major to MJD, both include a lot of talking to strangers.
     I still get nervous right before I meet someone, but now it is one of my favorite things to do!Trust me, it was not easy to get over the anxiety that comes with talking to strangers, but it is something that I think that everyone should work on. It can come in hand when you are in an interview, going on a date or simply meeting a new friend.
     I wish that there was a magic juice or pill that I could take before I have to talk to strangers, but there isn't. Because those things do not exist, here are a few of my tips!

PUMP IT UP// Whether it be with some music or a pep talk, pumping yourself up can really help to make a difference. Shake out all of your anxiety and get rid of a lot of adrenaline and you will do fine! A lot of the things that I worry about come from saying the wrong thing or mispronouncing something. So in the time leading up to my meeting with a stranger I often give myself pep talks or repeat positive phrases.

GIGGLE// Laughter is the world's greatest medicine. I wouldn't start a conversation with laughter, but if you find yourself stumbling over your words or shaking a bit, make a joke about it or just laugh it off. Often, this tends to calm both parties involved in this meeting.

TOE SQUEEZE// One of my favorite tricks. When I am really nervous, I shake. I don't know why, I just do. I used to clench my hands in a weird way when I was nervous, but I learned that it not only can hurt a bit but it also looks bad. So instead what I started doing was clenching my toes. I swear, it works wonders. You feel a release of tension immediately and it is also super sneaky so no one knows.


PLAN AHEAD// This tip has mainly helped me when I am doing interviews for my journalism classes or giving tours. It is always good to have talking points planned out in your head. In tour guide training they tell us what to talk about at each stop on the tour, which is super helpful! Make sure to have personal stories lined up beforehand so you aren't searching for the right things to say! For interviews, I often have a list of 10-15 questions already written down before the interview begins. That way I don't forget the questions that I want to ask. If i don't have talking points planned out it tends to get really awkward really fast.

SUIT UP// Ok, so you know how super heroes gain power but wearing their suits? Well this is kinds the same thing. Look good. When you look good, you feel confident. It is a really easy way to overcome your nerves.

DON'T GIVE UP// DO NOT back out. How many times do I want to back out of small things because I am nervous? All the time. I force myself to go about 99% of the time and I normally walk out of those experiences really happy. Often times the anxiety that I have about an event can overshadow all of the positive things that I may get out of it. Because I always want to back out, I have made it a rule of mine to never back out (unless there is a real reason of why I need to back out.) Being scared of something is not a legitimate excuse!

     If you would have told me in high school that I would actually volunteer talking to strangers I would have laughed at you. It is crazy to me. These are some of my favorite tips and I hope they help you when you have to talk to a stranger!

Love,
Susanna

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tarrant/Ross

      "Ahhhh the smell of sweaty gym socks and rubber floors in the morning." Probably the only place that you will ever hear that on campus is in the Tarrant/ Ross Sports Center here at SMC. Let's break it down a little more.
        Lets start with Tarrant. It's more formal name is the Jeremiah J. and Kathleen C. Tarrant Student Recreation Center. It was a $5 million project and was dedicated in October of 1994. On my tours, I like to say that Tarrant is more of our recreational side of our sports complex. It houses our field house which has 4 indoor courts that can be used to basketball, volleyball or tennis. It also has a 1/8 of a mile indoor track. It is also home to 3 racquetball courts and 1 squash court.
     On the second floor of this lovely building is where our weight room is located. In there we have everything you may need to get that body you've always wanted to impress your Alliot crush. Also on the second floor is a dance room. Obviously in the dance room people dance, but they also offer amazing fitness classes during the week such as Zumba, Yoga, RIPPED and Barre Fitness. The awesome thing about these classes is that it only costs $15 for 6 weeks of one class, which is insanely cheap.

[via]

[via]

    Then there are the things that people don't know about the second floor. Our athletic department is housed up there as well as coaches' offices and the viewing deck for the pool.
[via]
     Back down to the main floor we go! When you first walk into the building you will notice a desk to your left. That is where the lost and found is located as well as the place that you can go to borrow sports equiptment (such as basketballs). The Hall of Fame Room and Rec Rooms are also on the main floor.
     One of the unique things about the main floor of Tarrant is that there is a 2 story indoor climbing wall. It is sponsored by our Wilderness program and they do an awesome job of running it. Personally, I have never climbed it, but I have 2 years to change that! It looks like so much fun and everyone always says how great it is.
[via]

     When you are all done with your time in Tarrant you go through this wall of doors and TA DA! you are in Ross! Ross, to me at least, is our more varsity side of our sports complex. In here we have our main basketball court, varsity weight room, swimming pool, trainers offices and our trophy cases.
     The trophy case in Ross has to be one of my favorite spots on campus. It is really cool to look at all of the amazing things that our athletes here at SMC have accomplished. But I do have to be honest, my favorite part of the trophy case is all the way at the end towards the doors facing the library. There you will find our rugby banner from when we were champions of Rugby Northeast in 2012. 
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     The main part of Ross sports center is our main basketball court. This is where all of the home basketball and volleyball games take place. It is also where a lot of orientation activities happen as well as our spring concert. Last year we had Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and it was truly incredible! 

     Also towards the back of the basketball court is a staircase that leads to our varsity weight room. It is reserved for all varsity teams and is normally locked. They use this instead of the normal weight room so that it doesn't get too clustered. 
[via]
Love,
Susanna

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Monday Motivation: Transitions.

     Spring is finally here. It is actually really funny because most days it is only about 50 degrees and you will  still see people walking around campus with shorts and t-shirts on. I suppose that is what you get when you go to school in Vermont. Winter started a little early here and boy was it a doozy. It was bone chilling cold for the majority of November, December, January, February and March. The change in season is a much awaited change and I am so glad it has finally arrived. 
     To go along with the changing of the weather (thank goodness!) my blog has undergone some changes as well, as you have probably noticed. When I first started writing almost 2 years ago (wuuuuuttttt) it was kind of a collection of random things. There were some posts about my room, some about my classes and some about life. It soon became a place for me to just talk to people about anything and everything. Sometimes I give school tips, life tips, music reviews, makeup reviews or just talk about life. I like the place that my blog has started to move towards.
     As you can probably tell, I have started a couple of "theme days". Actually, I only have one, but hopefully in the near future I will add more. Monday Motivation is a way for me to just talk about certain themes and how they relate to my life at the moment. They almost always end up connecting to something SMC because, well, that is currently where I am located/living/loving. 
      I basically just go off on random tangents of things. But its whatever. I enjoy tangents. Just trying to keep you on your toes, ya know?
     While this blog changes all too often, be it its content or appearance, one thing is for sure- it follows me throughout life and perfectly mirrors all of my changes; all of the ups and occasional downs I have experienced. 
     It is kind of funny how there are some posts that I get a ton of readers and some where it is almost like the post never existed. But, oddly enough, it doesn't bother me. I mean, I totally accept that people don't have to like or enjoy what I write. In my mind I like to think that this blog could be perfect for everyone but that is obviously incorrect. Just let me say that if it may not be your cup of green tea now, it might be your cup of earl grey tomorrow. 
     The coolest thing about this blog is that it is all mine. Sure, I write it for all of you lovely people to read, but writing it is what truly makes me happy (but I am totally happy that when you read it you get happy as well). 
     One thing to keep in mind is that this blog will never have a niche. Sure, I think I am the only blogger for SMC that plays rugby, so naturally, I talk about that a lot, but for the most part, nothing I write makes sense with everything else I write. So if you are still reading this blog- despite what I am writing about- thank you. No matter what I am writing about or whether there is one or one thousand people reading what I have to say, I appreciate you for listening to what I have to say. Thank you again for being with me for all of these transitions. I can't tell you with certainty what the next couple of weeks, months or years, but I can tell you that I am so unbelievably grateful for all of you that have stuck with me this far. 


[all of the rugby ladies are so happy it is finally nice out!!!]


Happy Spring everyone! 

Love,
Susanna

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Monday Motivation: Happy.

     Without a doubt, some days are much better than others. There can be some weeks where everything is all fine and dandy and others where all I want to do is curl up in my bed and do abolutely nothing. Sometimes there can be an in-between, but it is not nearly as common as the other two. 
     Many people say that happiness is under your own control. You control your own happiness. After bad days, hard tests or late night studying, it is best to not dwell on the bad but rather go and do something to make you happy. 
     It is sad that all too often when something goes wrong, we as humans, at way to quick to point fingers or break out the sassy pout. I will be the first to admit that I hate admitting that I am wrong. No one wants to admit that they are having to deal with the consequence of their bad decision or that they are having a bad day. One thing that helps me to get out of this state of mind is acknowledging that this crummy time is only temporary. If I were to waste my time on the negative things that happen, I would miss so many positive opportunities. 
     To put it simply, you basically have total control of who is in your life. Ok, sometimes you can't control if you have to work with bad people on a group project or if you have people in your classes that speak way too much or ask dumb questions, but you do have the option to control who you hang out with all the other times. If you are in a friendship or relationship that is constantly the source of your unhappiness, cut the ties. If one of your friends is just a living ball of negative energy, choose other people to surround yourself with. 
     SMC is a place that opportunities for happiness arise on a day to day basis. My classes make me happy. My friends make me happy. My rugby team makes me happy. My professors make me happy. Vermont makes me happy. Blogging makes me happy, especially when I see that I have recently obtained over 10,000 views on this blog (holy moly!). 
[our amazing newbies make me so happy!]

     I wish you all the happiest of Mondays!

Love,
Susanna

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(P.S- as stated above, my blog has recently reached over 10,000 views since it began. I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported my blog over the past almost 2 years now. Blogging is really one of my sources of happiness, and I would not be this happy without all of my lovely readers. THANK YOU!!!)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

No, I Don't Wanna Build a Snowman.

     I love winter. I really truly do. But come on. It is April. I am ready for blooming flowers, green grass, birds chirping, maxi skirts, dresses and sitting out on the library lawn just because it is warm out. I guess this is something that happens when you go to school in Vermont. Don't get me wrong, the snow looks glorious when it covers the large trees and coats the tops of all of the brick buildings. But honestly, I do not want to have to wear 2 pairs of pants to go to my classes that take a whopping 1 minute and 47 seconds to get to (i'm not exaggerating. I timed how long it takes me to get to my classes #weirdo). I'm just tired of freezing my booty off while outside and then melting like a popsicle on the Fourth of July (catch my reference?) once I get inside.
     Thankfully today is a little warmer. The snow is melting slowly and there is no ice on the sidewalks. When I say warm, I mean it is 46 degrees. That is warm for us believe it or not. We are all used to temperatures in the low 20's. It was really funny walking to class today and seeing people in shorts and t-shirts. I guess it is just something we get used too. 
it is finally getting warmer!!!

     While I adore taking advantage of everything Vermont has to offer when it comes to winter-y activities, like skiing, walking on the frozen Lake Champlain and sledding, I think that right about now I am ready for some warm weather activities. Some of the things that I look forward to when the weather gets warmer are...

-adventures to the rail road tracks.
[photo by one of by friends Lida. from last spring]

-studying s(aka anything but studying) outside
[studying outside last spring. as you can see, we aren't really doing much studying]

-not having to wear 1000 layers.
-enjoying some Ben & Jerry's... without people looking at you like you are clinically insane. Normal people eat ice cream when its -15 degrees out, right?
[l to r: Candice, Mar, Me, Lida.]

-playing rugby with shorts and a tshirt on. I am so done with all this layer nonsense it is honestly unreal.
-ice coffee. I love me some ice coffee from Dunkin  Donuts but honestly my hands turn into ice when I have to carry it. I am so ready for some ice coffee and having hands that don't turn into ice.
-biking. I don't bike normally, but one of the things on my bucket list while I am here at SMC is to explore the bike path in Burlington. Hopefully this year we can make it happen!

So Spring, where the heck are ya?! Please hurry up and grace Vermont with your presence. I am ready for some warmth!

Love,
Susanna

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Monday, March 31, 2014

Monday Motivation: Brave.

     Yes, I still keep a journal. Totally a #writerprobs, I know. Don't worry, I don't write in it all the time, only when typing my feelings or speaking them aloud doesn't seem to quite have the meaning that I am trying to convey. I looked back at it the other day for inspiration for a new blog. One of things that I found funny is how I always doodle in the margins, drawing scenes of a life that I dream of or shapes that, if put together correctly, would have some mystical meaning. The common theme between all of my entries was that of doing something out of my comfort zone; something that required courage and bravery. Then it hit me. I was to write about being brave. Bravery is something we all too often reserve for heroes in the classics or our favorite characters in television series. Rarely do we ever think of ourselves being brave. 
      I dream too big. My mind dwells in a parallel universe that could rival even the most prestigious writer. In kindergarten I used to come up with intricate tales, sit down my friends in their typical 90's attire and tell them of my days spent fighting dragons and my nights spent sitting in my castle. You've got your hands full elders used to say as if my lack of limitations was somehow incapacitating.
     Today, I don't really have an idea of failure, nor have I ever. Susanna, only about 6 years old, would be telling you the same thing I am today. I want to make a difference.  Not a stutter, pause or ounce of uncertainty in my voice. It seems like the words possibly, maybe or if are not in my vocabulary. If is a word that to me, is toxic, almost unbearable to my vulnerable ears or poisonous to be spoken off my delicate tongue. I try to use it as little as possible because I am able to set my own limitations in life and if I tell myself if, then I am giving in to the possibility that I don't have what it takes to be great; that I am just doubting everything that I once thought. 
     But through life we are taught that the sky covered by white fluffy clouds isn't the limit for characters like Jack and the Bean Stalk or Chicken Little. So why should it be mine? 
     "If your dreams don't scare you, then they aren't big enough." I cannot begin to tell you how many times I have heard that quote tossed around throughout my two decades living on this planet. But sometimes the only thing you dream of is your bed signaling the end of a very busy and hectic day. Bravery isn't saved for the knights that fight dragons, public speaking in front of large crowds or solos in school plays. It could be asking for help in your macroeconomics class because you really did not understand what was happening. It is deciding to join the rugby team despite knowing nothing about the sport and it's deleting people out of your life because you are worth more than friendships that are nothing short of toxic. 

     These heroic acts do not have to be things that move mountains, cure cancer and they do not set off at the sound of a gun. Most of the time, they begin small...very small. With each step you take, each moment you live they grow larger. Sure, big things are amazing but I believe in acts of bravery that are ordinary. Things you can do everyday. Filling every second that you and I have lived with bravery. 
     No matter the size, big or small, be fearless; be brave. 
Learn Spanish and fail miserably. Fall in love and get your heart broken. Cry, giggle, build, give, dance, walk, sing, scream, write, lead and dream. And grow that dream. Just do it. Whatever your it might be.
     When I was in kindergarten, by dream was fighting dragons and living in a castle. Over a couple of years I went from being a young child with an idea to a college student with a purpose. If you were to tell my young self that those dreams in which I embodied brave would change my life, I wouldn't have believed you. But here I am now, dreaming like never before and fighting those dragons on a day to day basis; being brave. 
     Fight your dragons. Raise your hand. Dream. Inspire. Be brave. 

Love, 
Susanna

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