Monday, April 10, 2017

Six Reasons Why St. Mike's Will Always Be My Home

In less than five weeks, I will be graduating for Saint Michael's College. No matter how excited I am to enter the "real world," that is an absolutely terrifying thought. I love St. Mike's, and there are so many reasons why I'm going to miss being here. However, no matter what, this college will always be my home.

1. People are always holding doors open

This is one of the first things I remember noticing about SMC when I toured the summer before my senior year of high school. People are just so friendly! This phenomenon was something I didn't see again at any of the colleges I visited. You can be a good minute away from getting to the door, and some people will just stand there, smiling, patiently waiting - because why not?

2. Friendly faces

Two of my mentors, Dave Landers and the late Fr. Mike Cronogue, have been well-known over the years for saying hello to every person they see throughout the day. Although maybe not every person at St. Mike's may be quite as enthusiastic as these two, it's hard to get across campus on any given day without having at least one person say hello to you (and it's usually more than that). Prospective families sometimes joke that I have people waiting around campus on tours just to say hi - but I promise it's not staged. I love that I know so many people, maybe just from a class years ago, from different clubs, or just from seeing each other around! (Above video: one of the friendliest faces at the SMC, Mike McCarthy)

3. Its outer beauty matches its inner beauty

As I sit here typing this, we're experiencing a long-awaited warmth. It finally feels like spring! Although the campus looks gorgeous even when it's a winter wonderland, I'm looking forward to the tulips now.

4. Being at SMC is like being with family

I feel like I have a lot of families here at St. Mike's. I have my Mike Check family, Drama Club family, Admissions family...and those are just a few of them. I always feel welcome when I'm on this campus, and that's what home should be all about.

5. We appreciate our alumni!

A post shared by Niall Keane (@nkeane117) on
Once I graduate, I know I won't be forgotten. Alumni Appreciation Week, which we just celebrated a couple of weeks ago, is only one way that SMC remembers how important alumni are to the college. The Career Development and Alumni offices are always there for Purple Knights, no matter how long ago you've graduated. I feel very safe and secure knowing that St. Mike's will always be looking out for me.

6. Home is where the heart is

Our beautiful 70° day today!
To finish off, here's a vague and cliche statement that honestly means so much to me. It's like when people ask an SMC student about why they love St. Mike's, and they say "the community." Unless you experience it, it sounds fabricated. Saint Michael's will always be my home, because my heart will always be here. I genuinely love this school. It has done so much for me, taught me many things, and has prepared me for the "real world." I know that no matter where I go, part of my heart will always be here.

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard

Monday, March 27, 2017

A Day in the Life of a Stressed Out Senior

Hi everybody!

Today, I'd like to break slightly from the profiles I've been writing for the last few weeks on various faces around St. Mike's. Here is a truthful, unadulterated look into what a "typical" day is like for me this semester (although there's really no such thing as typical this time of year).

8:00am: Time to Get Up

On Monday, Wednesday & Friday, I force myself out of bed much earlier than I'd like to, so that I have time to relax and drink coffee before the day begins. On Tuesday & Thursday, I actually wake up at 6:15am because I have to be at my internship at 8:00am. I don't usually eat breakfast (although I probably should), but coffee is essential.

9:30am: Work Study / Internship

As I mentioned earlier, I have my internship on T/TH, and I'm typically there until around noon. I work at a local high school in the Guidance Department as part of Practicum, a year-long experience available for Psychology majors at SMC. On other days, I have my work study as an office assistant for the departments of Undergraduate Psychology, Graduate Clinical Psychology, Neuroscience, and the Institutional Review Board. I've done this for four years, and it's given me excellent experience. (If you qualify for it, I really suggest having a work study at St. Mike's.)]

12:15pm: Lunch

Eating is one of the greatest joys of life. Because I live in a townhouse, I don't eat in Alliot like many St. Mike's students do. Instead, I'm responsible for cooking my own food. Although cooking may be a chore for some, it's one of my favorite things to do. I don't really have time to cook throughout the week, so I spend my Sundays prepping my food for the week. It make's my life a whole lot easier.

1:30pm: Go Learn Stuff

I have a really interesting and atypical course schedule this semester. All of my courses are one day a week (T/W/Th), and are approximately 1:30pm-4:30pm. On Mondays and Fridays, I try to relax or do homework but usually I have some sort of errand to run. On Tuesday I have TH-410 Senior Seminar in Theatre, Wednesday I have PS-460 Practicum II: Working in the Mental Health System, and Thursday I have EN-323 Poetry Writing Workshop. I absolutely love having three discussion-style courses, and two of them are comprised of just seniors.

5:00pm: Be an Artist

Evenings are when rehearsals are! Today is an especially packed rehearsal day. At 5:00 is rehearsal for The War of the Worlds, the production I'm directing as part of Senior Seminar in Theatre. At 7:00 I'm getting together with some of my peers to work on a song we're preparing in order to audition to sing at Commencement. I have to leave early, at 7:30pm to rehearse with my friend Emily whose recital is this Saturday. Then at 8:30 is Mike Check rehearsal! (Dinner fits in here somewhere. I'm not really sure when I eat but I somehow manage to! Note the whole meal prep thing.)

10:00pm: Homework?

Realistically, I try to get my homework done on the weekends and whenever else I have free time. Sometimes this means staying up late and doing homework, during the week, but I'd much rather have this time to hang out with friends.

11:30pm: Go to Sleep!

I try to be asleep by 11:30 each night. This usually doesn't actually happen.

I hope this gives you some insight to the bittersweet insanity of spring semester senior year! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or comments. Make sure to check next week for another Day in the Life that I promise won't be about me!

Monday, March 20, 2017

A Day in the Life of: A St. Mike's Admissions Counselor

Meet Matt Seklecki!!!

Matt graduated from SMC in 2011 with a B.A. in History and Political Science. Since then, he has become a beloved admissions counselor at St. Mike's, as well as the tour guide and open house advisor for Founder's Society.

What originally drew you to St. Mike's as a student? (Matt had many stories, but here's one of them.)

I first visited St. Mike's in the Fall of 2006 as a senior in high school. my parents and I came the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and nobody was here. The campus was dead, quieter than I've ever seen it as an employee. We drove around and liked the area, and we were on our way to some Canadian colleges anyway. I'm also a Book Award recipient. Then I came back in April for an accepted student program and it just felt right - the size fit, and I talked with Jeff Ayers of Political Science and he was interesting and very easy to talk with. All of the cards just fell into place.

Why did you choose to apply to work at St. Mike's after graduation?

I was a tour guide for three years and was what is now the Open House & Yield Events Coordinator for two years, so I was familiar with the admission office. There were two jobs open, and so I applied. I really thought that I would just go home and do another summer of catering and travel in the fall and not really do anything for a bit and not have a plan, and probably terrified my parents. But I interviewed with the entire admissions staff one day in May and got a call in June, and they offered me the job - and here were are, almost six years later. I love St. Mike's and it's very easy to talk about my experience, and I've never really had trouble selling the value of a St. Mike's education, or talking to parents, students, and counselors. It's allowed me to do a wide range of different things from event planning to travelling - I think it really builds your self-confidence that "Hey, I just navigated the entire east coast for a Fall without too many hitches."

What's different about working here vs. being here as a student?

I think the lens that you view the college through is a big piece of it. As a student you're taking classes, getting involved in extra-curriculars, and pursuing a degree. As a staff member, especially in admissions, I'm responsible for selling the college on a daily basis and promoting St. Mike's to a wide range of audiences, and I think being knowledgeable about every part of the college to some degree. I think the real difference is the relationships. You talk to faculty and other staff a little differently, and interact with them differently when you're a peer in some regards instead of a student. It was definitely an adjustment; you really learn the ins and outs and build professional relationships with people as opposed to having student relationships. And you get to leave at the end of the day. I can go home and separate the St. Mike's that I work at, the St. Mike's that I'm an alum at, and then having a personal life. When you're a student, it's all one thing.

What is your favorite thing about St. Mike's?

The people. As frustrated as I may get sometimes at certain members of the community when we're trying to pull off an event, I just take a moment and watch the interactions that faculty and staff have with prospective and accepted students. I'm just amazed at what our students do and what they have done. I've always been proud to be an alum. It's a great place and there are so many opportunities - the people, the relationships with those's the little things. We have our own little community in the admissions office, with all of the hard times that we share and how we pick each other up on a bad day, or support each other with all the things we're doing, in our professional lives and our personal lives. I feel there's a really strong sense of community that we talk about in a lot of our marketing publications, and I always tell families it's (in my experience) incredibly accurate. We don't just talk fluff about community, it's very solid.

What's the most stressful part of your job?

Feeling the weight of the college on our shoulders. We're responsible for bringing in the first-year class every year. If you look at our budget, the amount of revenue that comes from tuition is most of it, so our efforts are crucial. I think we feel collectively that if we miss by even a couple of students, it's a big deal. I do think that especially in years when the budget is tight, when we're not hitting numbers that we need to, we feel especially responsible for everyone's livelihood. That's a huge thing to feel.

What's the most rewarding part of your job?

Last year, the Class of 2016 was the first class that I recruited of high school seniors. I can think of one in particular who I met at her high school in the fall, and was happy to send her an admit letter, watched enroll, and that was awesome, and then watched her grow over four years of college and graduate from St. Mikes. It's just incredibly rewarding to see a student go through that entire process and to have such a positive experience, and make a big difference here.

What is some advice that you would give to students going through the college admissions process?

Take a deep breath, relax, and slow down. It's a long, complicated, stressful, grueling process. You can manage all of that by being organized and timely. Explore options, use your resources - there are so many available: counselors, all of the online stuff. We as admissions people re not scary people, we're trying to help you. And know your contact information - it's my biggest pet peeve as of late.

Thank you Matt!

For more about Matt, check out his admission profile.

Is there a particular major, club, or person you want to know more about (or have something else you want to chat about)? Contact me:

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard

Monday, March 6, 2017

A Day in the Life of: An American Studies Major

Meet Tyler Manley!!!

(The guy on the left)

Tyler is a senior American Studies major with a minor in Media Studies.

What drew you to American Studies?

I never really knew what I wanted to study coming in to college, but I knew I really liked learning about history, and especially American History, in high school. I declared the major at the end of my freshman year after taking U.S. History II (Since 1865) because I figured I'd major in something I definitely enjoy.

What about American Studies at St. Mike's do you like the most?

My favorite part is the mix of History and English and that you can kind of choose where you want to go with it.

Is there an area of American Studies that fascinates you the most?

I really like the cultural aspects of history, especially the WWII era to the present and the rapid cultural changes and shifts that happened within the country. It changed so much within forty years and went through so many phases. I think it's really interesting to see how some [aspects of historical culture] are still in part around today, for better or for worse.

What would you like to do after your graduate?

I don't really know. I'll probably work somewhere around Boston. Just like when I came into school, I've never really known exactly what I wanted to do. This past summer I did some museum work as an internship which I was interesting. I'm just going to look around and see what I can find, whether it's working in a museum or a library, or something completely different - I'm kind of open to just seeing what happens.

What do you do in your spare time?

I like to watch a lot of movies. I play drums in a band (Seven Leaves) which I've been doing for a while. I've just always really loved that; it's just nice to get together and play music with people. I play video games, hang out with friends, read books - a little of everything.

What's your favorite type of movie and what's your favorite movie right now?

That's tough. I would say it's probably a toss-up between sci-fi movies and horror movies at this point. This summer I saw The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the original one, for the first time. I really loved it, so that's the one that's stuck with me as a favorite, but it's hard for me to pick just one.

What's your favorite part of being at St. Mike's?

Probably just the community; everyone's really great, you know. It's so small that even if you don't really know someone, you know them enough to just say "hey" and have a small conversation in passing. It's just nice, everyone's really welcoming, and it's just a good place to be.

Thanks Tyler!

Want to learn more about the American Studies department? Check it out here!

Is there a particular major, club, or person you want to know more about? Contact me:

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard

Monday, February 27, 2017

A Day in the Life Of: A Classics Major

Meet Ben Carroll!!!

Welcome to the first of many Senior Profiles that I'll be posting over the next several weeks. I hope this will help you get to know students at St. Mike's while learning more about specific clubs, majors, and career paths.

Ben is a senior Classics major with minors in Literary Studies and Medieval Studies.

For people that don't know, what exactly do you study as a Classics major?

I study Latin and Ancient Greek texts and some history and cultures of those civilizations. The major includes reading the epic poetry of Homer and Virgil, the letters of Pliny the Younger, and the New Testament in Ancient Greek.

What made you choose to be a Classics major?

I had taken Latin for four years in high school and I found that language is something I particularly excel in, so it seemed pretty clear to me. Most of the other majors I might have otherwise chosen weren't quite practical, so I figured I might as well complete a major that I really enjoy.

What's your favorite part about your major?

My favorite part is how small the major is. There are only three or four majors in the whole school. All of my classes have either been one-on-one or in small groups, which I much prefer to sitting in a lecture hall with 100 other students.

How do you balance studying three disciplines with your social life?

It came very easily as there's a lot of overlap between Classics and Medieval Studies, and the Lit Studies minor happened almost accidentally because I gravitated towards those types of courses for my free spots.

Why do you think studying Latin and Ancient Greek is important?

It's a lot of the same reasons as why people would say studying history is important. It's fascinating to look back at how humanity has evolved and how far it's come, and it's important to keep track of humanity as a whole and on a cosmic scale.

Do you know what you want to do after you graduate?

I don't. Not a clue.

Thanks Ben!

Want to learn more about the Classics department? Check it out here!

Ben is also the President (Acapapa) of Mike Check, the all-male a cappella group at SMC! Check out their Facebook (link above), check us out on Twitter or Instagram, or on Snapchat at MikeCheckSMC!

Is there a particular major, club, or person you want to know more about? Contact me:

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard

Monday, January 30, 2017

College on a Budget

The wonderful paradox of college: there's so much to do and so many friends around and you're "as broke as a college student."

Thankfully, there are so many ways to enjoy yourself and have fun while surviving on a college budget!

1. Thrift stores

macklemore thrift shop happy music

Thrift stores might be one of my favorite things in the world. Goodwill is pretty close to SMC and they have $1 Sundays & Mondays. Today I got four dress shirts for my internship for only $11!! How awesome is that?!? 

2. Take the bus

One of the big perks of going to St. Mike's is the opportunity to take the city bus (CCTA) for free for all four years! The bus is an easy, fast, and free way of getting into Burlington - and there's plenty of reasonably priced and even free things to do there. When it's still warm out, I love to walk along the waterfront and take in the sights and sounds. When it's colder out, I love to walk down Church Street, especially when it's lit up for the holidays, and when it gets really cold (but also all the time), I like to get a coffee and browse one of the amazing bookstores!

3. Go to free events on campus

Nearly every event on campus is free for students. This includes plays, speakers, concerts, recitals, festivals, sporting events for all varsity and club teams, gallery openings, lectures, and more! You're paying to go here, so you might as well do as much as you possibly can (especially since there's so much available at SMC). One of my favorite events was seeing Tig Notaro's stand-up. She quickly became one of my favorite comedians, and I'm still so psyched I was able to see her right on campus!

4. Go to Alliot!

A photo posted by Taste of Alliot (@tasteofalliot) on

The meal plan at St. Mike's is foolproof - as long as you live in a room without a kitchen, you are automatically put on the unlimited meal plan. This means that you don't have to count swipes, budget dining bucks, or anything like that. Eat as much as you need to, bring an apple home for a snack, and you don't need to worry about grocery shopping (unless you want to, of course). Once you're a junior/senior and live in the townhouses or apartments, there's lots of ways to save money - but you'll get there when you get there.

Want more tips on budgeting in college? Have other questions? Get social!

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, Happier Me

With the difficult year of 2016 over, we have a lot to look forward to in the next year. In the words of my friend Pat Cornacchio, "New Year, new me."

Unlike the many who say the phrase every time a new year rolls around, I don't actually love that expression. There's a lot about me that I like and love, and I'm proud off what I've accomplished this year. However, there are a few things that I'd really like to accomplish in my final (yikes!) semester of college.

1. Finish with grades I'm proud of


In the last two semesters, I've worked my butt off and I've done really well in school. I'd like to finish strong and complete my last semester with straight A's. With the job market ahead of me, I'm hoping this persistence will pay off to employers (and also I just really like doing well).

2. Spend more time with friends

I over-committed last semester, and friends went to the wayside a bit. My schedule leaves me with classes only from Tuesday-Thursday, so I'm going to utilize some of that free time and have fun, something I haven't done enough of lately. Although I hope to stay in touch with all of my friends, this is the last time we'll be next door neighbors (literally and figuratively), so I'm going to live it up.

3. Cook good food

I can't count the number of times I've watched the Food Network, said "Holy cow, that looks delicious," and then cooked whatever was fast and easy. I absolutely love cooking, and I'm promising to myself to stop being lazy and actually become a truly good cook (even though it'll take more than a few months).

4. Read more books, watch more plays & good movies, and listen to more music

I definitely watch too much Netflix and spend too much time on my phone. There are so many great things to watch and read out there and it's about time I took advantage of all the resources I have at hand.

5. Be happier

Yes, easier said than done, but there's a lot that can be done with just a positive attitude and seeking out the things that make me happy.

I hope you take advantage of the new year and work on creating a better you! For those of you still on break, enjoy it, rest a little, and have fun.

Twitter: @thebeardedchris
Insta: @christhebeard