Monday, April 20, 2015

So I met this boy...

I met this boy -- actually, a twenty-seven year old is really considered a man, but it doesn't matter because either way, he is amazing. 
We had the most amazing weekend together!

On Friday, he and I walked all the way down Prospect Street into the downtown area. We walked around and observed all the goings on near Yale. We ate pizza at York Street and strolled through the New Haven Green. Before heading back to campus, we took a long detour and explored the other side of Temple Street, where the movie theater is, because I had never been back there. Apparently there is this enormous arts and humanities high school on the other end of College Street. We saw it on our way back. Once more through the New Haven Green before we began our journey back up Prospect Street.

Longest walk ever.

Saturday morning, and Zack was craving waffles. Luckily, there is a waffle maker in the dining hall. After waffles, we journeyed downtown once again. We were going to see a movie together. We were supposed to see this movie called True Story starring James Franco and Jonah Hill (I think), but the website had the wrong movie time listed. We ended up seeing While We're Young, with Ben Stiller and that guy from that old show Coach. Amanda Seyfried was in it too. It was a really great movie. It was funny and sad; there was drama and romance. What more could you ask for?!

It felt so nice to sit in the movie theater with someone's arm around my shoulder. Occasionally he would hold my hand. He has such soft hands. 

After the movie, we came back to school and had dinner because at 7 we were going to see the Act II production of The Fantastiks. I was super nervous about the play. What if he didn't like it? Luckily, he loved it! His favorite was the character El Gallo. His costume was pretty awesome. 

Zack is a huge Big Lebowski fan! 
Far out, man!
I popped the dvd into the player when we got back and he and I watched the movie, laughed to our favorite parts, recited some of our favorite lines with the movie, and shared little tidbits that we each knew about behind-the-scenes stuff. 

Sunday we slept in a bit. Finally, we rolled ourselves out of bed and walked downtown for coffee. He really wanted Dunkin Donuts. On our way back to school this time, we walked around and explored the open parts of the Yale campus a little bit. Right on the corner of College Street, this is this beautiful building with a gorgeous wooden door, with little metal flourishes in the corner. There is also this beautiful, painted ceiling. I have walked past this building hundreds of times and I never looked inside it. Yesterday, I finally did. 

We have plans for more New Haven adventures next weekend. There is this pathway that leads underneath the Trumbull Street intersection that we want to explore and see where it leads. 
We know where the entrance is, but where is the exit?

This was one of the best weekends I have had in a while. It was so nice to just have someone to spend time with and we really enjoyed each other's company. I hope it continues after Graduation, but if not, then it was just "enchanting to meet him", as Taylor Swift would say.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Yankees v. Red Sox

Yesterday was a New York City adventure day.
I traveled to the Bronx with  a bus full of excited baseball fans from Albertus Magnus. I bought myself a dirt water dog, from one of the carts outside the stadium. 
I also did something I will try never to do again -- buy food inside the stadium. The food in there is ridiculously overpriced for the quality. 

$21.00 for a cheeseburger and a Stella beer. 
At least the burger was delicious.

Our seats were amazing!
We sat by left field right in the fly zone for batting practice. There were a few close calls where rogue baseballs almost came crashing down on me, but luckily people caught them. 
There were at least four very exciting home runs made during the game. I was really excited to be there for the entire game, because if it went on for as long as Friday night's game, the bus driver told us we were leaving at the end of the 9th inning no matter what. Luckily, the game finished up at 11:30. 

The Yankees won.

I started off my senior year with a trip to Boston's Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox play in their home stadium. It is really cool to get to be inside these baseball stadiums that you normally see only through a television screen. It is a fun time and a very colorful atmosphere to say the least. 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Job Hunts

While I was on duty tonight, I was working on polishing my cover letter and resume for this really awesome Editorial Assistant job in New York City. I can only pray that I at least earn an interview because working for Penguin-Random House would be such an amazing opportunity. 

I started out by logging into my new favorite website, saltmoney.org, and checking out their article all about  cover letter writing and where to begin. I just followed the steps because they tell you exactly what you should talk about in each paragraph of your cover letter. I think that I paint a really great picture of my skills and why I am a good candidate for the position, but I am so nervous that I said too much or maybe I said things I should never say. I mean, I talked about the kinds of responsibilities I work on in my various positions that involve some of the skills they are seeking. I am showing them rather than just telling them. 

All I really can hope for is that they like me enough to call me into the office for an interview. That would be an honor all by itself.

During the last few hours of duty, I worked on typing up a budget for myself that I think I can stick to. It is actually not so much a budget more than it is a typed up list of my financial crisis. I really want to try and use this summer as the time to become fiscally responsible. I have a life plan, and if I stick to the plan, then I can do just about anything.

Lifeplan:
Work at Brussels while living at home.
Find job in NYC in major publishing house.
2-3 years, find fabulous NYC apartment
Write part-time/Work full-time
6-8 years, re-locate to somewhere else fabulous
10 years = FIRST BEST SELLING NOVEL! New York Times raves about it!

I have a laundry list of things that need to be accomplished this summer, but I am taking it in "Baby Steps" (Dr. Leo Marvin, What About Bob?" Excellent movie.

I just really want to save my money so I can be financially sound for a while. I am definitely not in the market for a house within the next 10 years, but I want to rent a really nice apartment somewhere. According to the Salt calculator, if I put away $100 a week into savings, in 20 years, I could have 300,000 dollars. That sounds so epic. My plan for myself is to never be in debt. It is just way too stressful.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

When you can't fall asleep...

Things are really getting crazy at school now. I have 46 days left here and a to-do list about ten years long. Tonight, I tried to get at least semi-organized.

Operation Finish Line
Last Day of Classes: May 4, 2015
Graduation May 17, 2015

v  Major Deadlines:
            - April 7th: Paper #2 due for Dr. Imholt
            -April 13th: Paper #2 and eportfolio page due for Dr. Robichaud
                                Breakwater emailed to Dustin
            -April 14th: 6 Literary Journals due for Dr. Cole
            -April 18th: Online CJ final exam
            -April 28th: Term Paper due for Dr. Cole/ Presentation in class/eportfolio                                                page
            -May 4th: Paper #3 and eportfolio page due for Robichaud
                             Paper #3 due for Dr. Imholt
                             Final Portfolio Presentation Due in class

v  Timely Unimportant Deadlines:
            - Function advertisements due April 2 and April 9th
            -May Duty calendar due April 20th
            -May bulletin board due May 1st
            
v  Not Timely, Not Important:
            - Work on Resume and cover letter/apply for jobs
            - Work on manuscript
         
v  Graduation Checklist:
            - Attend grad fair
                        -Reserve spot in line
                        -Purchase cap and gown
                        -check in with career services
                        -Learn about Alumni Association
                        -Get info on free Financial Management Services
                        - Schedule Exit Interview
                        -Receive final account balance/Pay degree completion fee

My Operation Finish Line naming was chosen from my favorite show in the whole world, Gilmore Girls. Paris and Rory were much more organized and ahead of the game than I am. Of course, I have to find a job, but just not right now. I am going to the career services table at the grad fair and I am paying the office a visit sometime next week. Right now, at this moment and with all of the assignments awaiting completion, finding a job is not top priority. Finding myself gainful employment is May 18th's problem, not April 1st. I had to organize and prioritize. My boss, Justin, he told me about this system he has for organizing all the tasks he has to complete. I could only remember two of them. Next Friday, during my one-on-one, I am going to ask him what the other two categories were. 

If anyone has any free time and wants to help out a suffering and over-burdened college senior, please help. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Hate Free Zone

Tonight was my last March dorm function in Sansbury. I hosted a "Hate Free Zone" night. My residents were able to get creative and make signs that are now hanging in the halls declaring that their rooms are hate free zones. I felt that this was something that was important to do because of some attitudes I have been witnessing on social media, on campus, and just in casual conversations. Sometimes we do not realize just how powerful words can be when you talk about a particular group or an individual, even if you do not mean it to be destructive. 

Back in February, I read an article in the times that talked about former Director of Communications for IAC and how her series of tweets during a flight had her desk cleared and her name off of her office door before she even landed. She was flying from JFK to Africa and her tweets went from rude to ignorant and un-educated.

This is a snippet from the article, "How One Stupid Tweet Blew Up Justine Sacco's Life" in the New York Times

“ ‘Weird German Dude: You’re in First Class. It’s 2014. Get some deodorant.’ — Inner monologue as I inhale BO. Thank God for pharmaceuticals.”Then, during her layover at Heathrow:“Chilly — cucumber sandwiches — bad teeth. Back in London!”And on Dec. 20, before the final leg of her trip to Cape Town:“Going to Africa. Hope I don’t get AIDS. Just kidding. I’m white!”

I was honestly appalled when I read this. She really did not understand her position or the fact that on social media, everyone sees you. Even when you are not acting in a professional capacity you should maintain a professional face. My mother is constantly warning me to watch what I tweet, and I completely understand why. No one wants to be the next Justine Sacco.

The girls had so much fun tonight and that made me really excited. It felt good to know that they are comfortable taking this pledge with me. I really think that this is something that Albertus needs in each of the dorms. 

Well, I am going to go back to watching The Hills, doing my nails, and sipping on mint tea. I am heading for home tomorrow. I am so excited!



Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Experiential Learning Day 2015

Today, Wednesday, March 25, 2015 was Experiential Learning Day (ELD) here at Albertus Magnus College. I attended five panels, participated in two Art Therapy Graduate research projects, and had the honor of lunching with Professor Kendrick and Dr. Bourgeois.

The first panel I attended talked about the differences between the education systems in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. My friend, Kirsty, is here in America, from Belfast, studying business. Back home, she is a math major, but here she chose to tackle business. What I learned about their education system, I found extremely fascinating. For example, in the UK, students are expected to know what they want to do by the age of 16. You will either go into College, which is like trade school, or you attend University, which is where you would study in your chosen field: math, in Kirsty’s case. I thought that was crazy! To be expected to know what you want to do in life, by the age of 16, seems insane to me!

The second panel I attended was all about Japan, its population crisis, and how the world forced its way back into Japanese affairs. My friend, Ben, was the speaker. He is a Global Studies major and right now he is writing his thesis paper on Japan and different aspects of it. I really hope that he lets us read the paper before we graduate.

By 10 o’clock, Ben’s panel was finished and my friends and I picked up our belongings and hustled over to Aquinas, room G9, to go and listen to our friend, Matthew, talk about New Haven’s ex-utopian status. At 10:30 AM, we were high-tailing it back over to the Tagliatela Academic Center for Emili’s talk. During the fall semester, Emili had written this amazing research paper discussing the uses of Virtual Reality and its potential downfalls. It really does get you thinking about all the technology we use during the day. Why do we use it? Do we need all of it? How do we feel when we use it? Don’t use it? It is quite the hot topic right now, especially in regards to children, early development stages and the effect that technology has on children.

Have you ever noticed that children are no longer satisfied with just the attention of their parents or with the interactions with toys? How much attention does a child really need? Is it the instant reaction time of a smart-device that they seek?

Does human contact still matter?
I have been asking myself questions like these all day long.

The final panel that I attended for the day was focusing on Punk Rock. Where has the punk rock genre gone to? Is it gone or is it just slowly re-emerging? Who are the key punk bands currently? What issues are they targeting and protesting? My friend Sam is working on an independent film project. Her goal is to define punk for herself and possible on an international level. It brings up awesome questions of feminism/anti-feminism, war promoters/rejecters, and civil rights questions. 

What is right? What is punk? Ah…that is the question.

During the lunch hour, I had the pleasure of discussing the definition of a “young adult” in terms of literature. Professor Kendrick is a sociologist and studying people, behaviors, and classifying them is a big part of it. I was telling her about my dreams of becoming a writer, and when she asked me what kind of writing I do, I replied, “Mostly fiction, short and longer works. I am currently working on a novel.” We got into talking about the use of the phrase “Young Adult (YA) literature”. It really is a fascinating time to be a writer because the genre classifications we know and love could very well change right before our eyes. Students are not on the same reading levels as others simply because of circumstances out of their control. I feel that the YA age bracket could change drastically, based on how kids are educated; but, this is merely my opinion and thoughts I had today. I do not know if they truly fit together, but they are mine and I will continue to work on them.

I almost wish that I had to write a thesis paper for my major.

Oh well…

Monday, March 23, 2015

But who's counting?

There are approximately 55 days left to my time here at Albertus Magnus College, this institution of higher education. My to-do lists are getting longer and the time frame in which I have to complete all of the these tasks is getting shorter.

This past Saturday, the Breakwater committee met and in four hours, we had picked all of the poems, photos, and short prose pieces that will be published in Breakwater this year. 
This is an exciting time for me because this is my chance to really play the role of Editor. My Co-Editor and I make hard and fast decisions about layout, formatting, fonts, font size, and the order in which Breakwater is put together. I am proud to say that this year I have a poem and a short prose piece being published in the magazine. “Just Like Breathing” has also been entered into a writing contest held by the Room of Her Own Foundation’s Short Fiction section. I am still waiting to hear back from them. I can’t help but feel these knots in my stomach every time I think about the contest. 

In fifty-three days, my room will be packed up, and I will walk across a stage after earning my diploma, four years in the making. I am trying my hardest to stay on top of my school work and bask in the glory of being a senior, but sometimes it is difficult to concentrate. Operation Finish Line is about to go into action. In this plan, I organize job prospects (already in the research and organization process); I map out assignment deadlines, final exam dates, and important graduation dates. My criminal justice final is on April 18. Once that class is completed, I will have one less course to stress about. I only have one real final and I think I can handle it. As long as I stay on top of my grades from now until final’s time, I should be fine. 

Right now, I am taking school one day at a time. Tonight, I am taking my senior yearbook photo and I have work in the pub until 11. Tomorrow I will tackle Breakwater stuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

On a more serious note...

Lately I have been feeling a lot of pressure on my shoulders. I have all of these impending assignments that are coming due, and I have midterms next week. I am kind of freaking out!

I received good news in my Heaven and Hell class with Dr. Imholt. He gave me an A- on my first paper! That is really amazing because his classes are way outside my comfort zone, but at least I am a good writer, so that helps the cause. This first paper is part of a greater semester project/paper in which we will build our own Utopian society. It won't be perfect, but it's a Utopia...nothing is actually perfect.

Sometimes, with all of my RA duties, my hours in the pub, the time I spend working on Breakwater, and the nights I spend tossing and turning in bed, I start to get overwhelmed. This week has been a little more overwhelming for me, but I just have to remember that there are so many people I can talk to in times like these: friends, family, and co-workers. Then, I got to thinking that maybe some of my fellow students were experiencing the same types of stress...or worse, and that maybe I should provide some helpful resources.

First, the school has a link to Counseling services at Southern Connecticut State University that Albertus students can utilize for free. You can talk to them about anything that is stressing you out and affecting your well-being. All you need to do is call them and one of their representatives will either come to Albertus or you can visit their center at SCSU. 
Then there is Deacon John Hoffman, in Campus Ministry

here at Albertus. He is a confidential resource in case you feel like talking to a stranger is weird or if you feel a family member would not understand or would judge you. Lastly, there is Elizabeth Magenheimer in Health Services. She is another resource here on campus that students can go to if they need to talk or if they need information about other health issues. You can talk to anyone in student services as well. Resident Assistants are also excellent resources, even if you just need someone that will listen to you about  a problem you are having in a class or with a friend. Talk to people. Let them help you.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 5: Lent Edition

When I was younger, I never believed in giving up something for Lent. I just did not see the point to it because, why should I sacrifice something that I love? Well, for the second year in a row, I have sacrificed something I love: meat. I have not eaten any meat products at any meal in 5 days now. I am kind of proud of myself because I have been eating so many more vegetables than I was before. Today at dinner, I had a salad made of romaine lettuce, red bell peppers, sliced cucumbers, shredded cheese, and buttermilk ranch dressing. Actually, I have been eating that for the past three days. 

I do not always make it to Breakfast, but I have these protein shakes in my room. Bolthouse makes these delicious shakes. My favorite one is the chocolate shake, of course, but they are super good for you. I also love this one shake that is mostly red fruits...except for the banana component. They are meant to be used as a meal replacement, not as a drink you have with a meal. I have one in my fridge that is made of mostly green vegetables, but I have not been brave enough to try it yet. 

I have also been making a better effort to get to the gym in the mornings. I have a routine, but the snow has really, really messed it up. I try my best to go at 7:30 for at least three mornings a week. Sometimes, it just feels really great to sweat and guzzle water and sweat some more. My arms and legs have been getting stronger lately. I go on the eliptical for 10-15 minutes and then I use the circuit machines for 2 sets each. It has been really hard. School and the RA schedule has been rough. Most mornings my alarm goes off and I just get up and turn it off. Back to sleepy land. People tell me that it takes 21 days to develop a routine, and I am determined to develop mine. When I get back home, my sister and I are going to do Tae Bo in the basement. I am so uncoordinated, but I have a lot of fun just exercising and hanging out with my sister. I can't wait for Spring break!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Falcon for a Day!

Today, I got to do something that I have not done in a very, very long time.

Okay...four years...but who's counting?

I was invited to come and join the potential new freshman class at the Falcon for a Day event hosted by the admissions office. This is the day where the accepted students get to come in, tour the school, and participate in some fun events in order to get acclimated to the school itself. Since I am a pub bartender, I offered up my afternoon to work the pub so that our guests could get sodas and snacks; it was all free, courtesy of admissions!

It was  a lot of fun for me because the last Falcon for a Day event that I was at was my own, back in February of 2011. I remember that day very well. Aunt Mary Anne, Mommy and I all piled into the car for a final look at Albertus Magnus College. I was just a timid, little high school senior, still hiding behind her mommy as we toured the school grounds and asked any final questions I may have had before deciding on my destiny. 

It's funny to think of your next four years in college as a destiny you decide on, but if you really think about it, sometimes it is. I know that I would not have succeeded the way I have in any other college besides Albertus Magnus. I was destined to be here. 

I remember how scared I was after the opening remarks. Mommy and Aunt Mary Anne left me here at school, and I was left to mix and mingle with the other accepted students. We walked along every path on campus, explored a few of the dorms and saw how the then RA's lived in McAuliffe, and then we walked back down to the Pub area to play some trivia. My team won! I was escorted to the bookstore and that's the day I came home with my first piece of Albertus Magnus College attire. We were each allowed to pick one thing from the bookstore, within a certain price limit, and I selected a lovely, royal blue fleece jacket. I wore it constantly that year. It became my good luck charm in a way. That fleece jacket was only the beginning. Now, I have a whole Albertus wardrobe!

I was nervous, my palms were sweating, and I barely spoke two words to anyone because I was afraid they would not like me. It was a lovely day though because I had the chance to sort of get-to-know current students. They were so nice to me; they made me feel so welcome. That's how Albertus feels, welcoming. There are certain spots on this campus that feel like home to me, and no matter how happy I am to be graduating in May, I will always miss this place because for four years, it has been my home.