Reflection of this Semester

24 Apr

I believe that I have learned so much this semester. And even if what I will take away most from this semester is not equations or definitions, I learned a lot about myself, which I think is just as important.

About a week and a half ago, I had my last one-on-one meeting with my Res Life supervisor. Most of the conversation had nothing to do with my hall or how my residents were doing, but more how I was doing and how I was feeling about the end of the semester.

Here’s what we came up with:

  • I love people and working with people. I don’t like working by myself.
  • I don’t like website design and don’t like working on websites.
  • I love events and programming and working on planning events.
  • I am a perfectionist. If I am not happy with the quality of the work, then I won’t get things done by the due date. So I don’t have a problem following through, I just need to start things earlier so I have time to worry about perfection, or not worry about perfection so much.
  • I also cannot say no. So I tend to over-commit to a lot of things because I am asked to take on something, and I say that I will do it.

I have also learned how important communication is. Between group members when working on a project, with your professors, with a client, and even within a group of people involved in a club or organization.

As far as this blog goes, I think I picked a topic to talked about that I really enjoyed. I did really well in January, I posted quite a bit. February and March also had quite a few posts as well. April, with the end of the semester, I haven’t really posted much. I had great plans to schedule posts for over the course of the month, which didn’t happen. I do wish that I had posted more in April.

Overall, the stats are pretty good. About 500 views over the 4 month time span, with 54 views on January 5th. I think that I had many views on that day because that was the day that I woke up to see that one of my posts was featured in the Champlain College Daily found on For those who don’t know what is, it “organizes links shared on Twitter and Facebook into an easy to read newspaper-style format” according to their website. My 2010 reflection blog post was linked, which I think is pretty cool. That drove a lot of traffic to my blog.

As far as whether or not I will continue to blog here, I definitely will. I will continue to blog about graduate school and my road to getting there, with the lessons learned along the way. I will also blog about learning to be a Maid-of-Honor, as I will fill that role twice this summer for two very good friends of mine.

All in all, I have had a really great four years at Champlain College, and I am really going to miss it. Though I feel good because I believe I have left my mark on this school, and I know that the school will continue to grow and have a really great future. I know I will stay involved as an alum.

I wonder who the silly person is in the beaver costume?

Photo credit to the always fantastic photographer Steve Mease of Champlain College, Marketing Department.


If you had to do it all over again, would you?

2 Apr

This was a question posed to me by a family at Champlain’s Accepted Student’s Day today.

And, with 34 days left until graduation, I would definitely say yes. Although I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs in college, between being unhappy in a major & switching, to going from never having shared a room to a room with three other girls, my share of friend drama, and some far from perfect grades, I would not have changed my decision. I’m very happy with the opportunities I’ve had, the lessons I’ve learned, the friends I’ve made, and the projects I’ve done.

I have had so many opportunities to grow as a leader, and as I leave Champlain I have current and former residents who will be stepping into their own leadership roles. I have worked on great projects in my classes, so I am not just learning about marketing through a textbook, I am actually working with real clients. I’ve created marketing and business plans, PSA’s, advertisements, and ran focus groups.

You can also tell a lot by the passion of the students. Although some students were working at Accepted Students Day, like the Tour Guides, many students were there just because they wanted to be. They wanted to meet incoming students, answer questions, show off certain clubs on campus that students could join, and just share about their experiences.

Why I love Facebook

14 Mar

About two months ago, I created a group on Facebook called “Future Student Affairs Grad Students” in an effort to find other undergrads who were interested in a career in higher education and student affairs and who also wanted to go to grad school.

Last week, and early this week, something amazing happened. Our small group that did not have a lot of action exploded. There were about 160 people in the group this morning, and as I just looked now, it is closer to 170. People who are currently attending schools that others  are looking at are giving information, and different people who have applied to the same programs are all getting to know each other. The chat feature that Facebook has created is also getting a lot of use!

Although for me it seems like grad school will be about a year or so away, it is great to see people who are even juniors in their undergrad year getting involved in the conversation, and I am learning a lot from my peers through their experiences.

I’m just full of surprises lately.

10 Mar

This week I’m on Spring Break. It’s been really nice visiting with my parents, playing with our cats and dog, getting my clothing covered in pet hair. Friday, before I left Burlington, I decided I am going to run in the Vermont City Marathon for Outright Vermont! I’m going to run 3.1 miles at the end of May. I am pretty excited about it. I have gotten pretty lazy lately, I haven’t seen the inside of the gym or done any sort of athletic activity since about sophomore year. But that is gonna change. I’m getting ready for this. When I talked about it with my parents once I got home, I expected them to be more concerned and ask me if I was sure I want to do this. But they didn’t.

Tuesday night we went and saw a Portland Pirates hockey game. I’ve never really been a super huge hockey fan, but surprisingly, I am beginning to love it.

Then, Wednesday night, we went over to Bowdoin College, which is located in the next town over from where I live, to see their NCAA Division III hockey team compete against Neumann from Pennsylvania. It’s the first time Bowdoin has made it as far as they have. It was a great game, and they WON. They’re now on their way to Oswego, NY on Saturday.

I loved the atmosphere at the arena on Wednesday. I told my dad that the only thing that I didn’t like about my undergrad years was that we don’t have NCAA sports at my school. I would have loved to wear Champlain gear and cheer on our sports teams. My dad commented that if we had sports, we’d have basketball. And if there was basketball, there would be a basketball cheerleading squad, and I would be on it. Which, is true.

Other than that, I really haven’t done much of anything else. I ordered myself a few books online, including Gary Vaynerchuk’s new book The Thank You Economy. Unfortunately, I thought it wouldn’t get to Vermont until I did, so I sent it there, and it’s now waiting for me at the campus mailroom. So I cannot start reading it until next week, even though I cannot wait. Gary also wrote a book called Crush It, which we had to read for the class that this blog is also for.

I’m kind of surprised, but in a sad way that I haven’t done more this break. I have a huge to do list, that I’ve only begun to start crossing things off it the past day or so.

Hopefully, today continues to be a productive day for me. Tomorrow is a lovely day with my friend whose wedding I am in this summer. We are going to get her invitations and grab something from Tim Hortons in the morning. And in the evening is a lovely dinner at her fiance’s house with his parents. I am very excited to see all of them tomorrow. Who knows, maybe I’ll get my hair done on Saturday before I leave, and surprise everyone in Burlington with my new hairdo?

(Image from Google: Bowdoin College Logo.)

“For once, I’m glad I didn’t take the stairs.”

2 Mar

Last night at Champlain College, we held our 4th Annual Elevator Pitch competition. We had the semi-finals last week where each of the three categories of competition; Job/Internship seeker, Entrepreneur, and Nonprofit/Social Advocate, were narrowed down to the top 6 contestants in each categories. Those chosen to move forward were the cream of the crop, and made last night a tough competition. I competed last year in the job/internship seeker category and didn’t make it into the finals. After a little bit of convincing by Bob Bloch and Pat Boera here at Champlain, I decided to try again. I was going to compete in the same category until Pat kept hinting that I should switch to the Nonprofit category and pitch DREAM. It turned out to be a smart move.

I pitched DREAM in the non-profit category, and because of my confidence and passion, I thought it was a lot easier. I practiced a few times, got some tips of how to improve, and went back last night thinking that winning would be really exciting. I had some tough competition but ended the night with a 2nd place win. I had a blast.

But the elevator pitch is not something I think I could have done freshman year. I spoke with a supervisor in Res Life earlier today who commented that I had really grown from a shy, quiet freshman to someone who has grown and become a lot more outspoken, and someone who has really taken on a lot of student leadership. I know that the amount I have grown over the past few years has helped with how I’ve done in the elevator pitch. I was asked if I thought Champlain contributed to the growth, and my abilities to lead, and I definitely think it has helped greatly. The opportunities that have come my way because of the small, cozy, intimate atmosphere, is incredible.

All in all, the elevator pitch was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed the support of my friends who went to watch my pitch. Although it is tough to have a panel of judges who are judging your public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, if you have the opportunity to participate in something like this, I highly suggest it.

Credit for the picture goes to Steve Mease, Champlain College. In the picture, from left to right is myself; Scott Carpenter from Key Bank, who provided the prizes; David Finney, president of Champlain College; and Tim Kavanagh, Champlain Alum and MC of the event.

Quote in the title of the post goes to Emilie Rodgers, 1st place winner in the Job/Internship seeker category. It was a great line from her pitch that did get a little laugh out of the crowd.

Finally, the blog has a name!

27 Feb

It took me a while… and by a while I mean about a month and a half of having this blog before I figured out a name for it. I happen to have been a person who enjoyed High School Musical and one of the first songs sung is titled “Start of Something New”. For a blog about college, I figured that the title was fitting. Also, it has another meaning for me personally. As a soon to be college graduate, I need to figure out what I’m doing after graduation. It will be the start for me of a new chapter in my life.

Dear Dining Hall Employees, You are awesome & Champlain Iron Chef 2011

18 Feb

DREAM, the mentoring program I am a part of has an awesome fundraiser we do every year. It’s the Iron Chef competition. Teams of faculty or staff team up with a few DREAM mentors and 2 dining hall employees. Each team has a different station, different menu, which they create, and lots of fun things. Last year, I was on a team with the Alumni Office, and we won with a Mardi Gras theme with jambalaya. This year, I teamed up with Student Activities, where I am doing my internship, and we made crepes. It was fantastic, and awesome. It was hot in the kitchen, and I was sore and ready for bed at 8PM when I was leaving the dining hall. I served crepes to around 400 people. 6 hours of making crepes. It was hard work, and it was very rewarding to know that it was for DREAM, which is a huge part of my life at Champlain.

My work in the dining hall on Thursday night also made me realize how difficult a job the dining hall employees have. Students complain all the time about what the food is like, or complain about dishes they don’t like. I’m generally nice and enthusiastic, but I am even more nice to these fantastic people now. It is so hard to cook for that many people every night, and you can’t please all 400+ people you feed every meal. So to all the college students out there reading this blog, I ask you take this away from my blog post today:

Thank your dining hall staff. Get to know them. Be nice. Give constructive feedback. Don’t be brats.

(Picture above, myself on the left and teammate Morganne from the Student Life office having fun while cooking, photo credit to Steve Mease of Champlain, photo below, cooking crepes, photo credit to the Burlington Free Press.)

My problem with the CLA (Collegiate Learning Assessment) and “Academically Adrift” Students

16 Feb

I know what I’m going to talk about in this blog post is “old” news. It’s been around for about a month now.

And what I am talking about is students not learning anything in college.

The study that took test scores from 2300 students at 24 institutions of higher education. The study that says that 45% of students don’t learn anything in college. The study that is calling for a “national alarm” according to one newspaper I read. The data was collected from a test called the Collegiate Learning Assessment. I took the CLA, as it is also called, Fall of 2007 as a college freshman and again as a sophomore in the spring of 2009. I was just informed in my capstone class (the same one I am blogging for) that we need to take the CLA again.

A week from today.

I think that the articles about this study, and the study itself, are full of bologna. I think that students do learn a lot in college. It just might not be the type of things that you have to write an essay on for a standardized test. I don’t really know how I am going to do when I take the test next week. I might do better than I did in the past. As a freshman, we took the test during orientation. It was not very effective, as we were all trying to get to know the people we would be living and learning with for the next four years and chapter of our lives. My sophomore year, we had to sign up to take it, and I chose a Sunday evening after work. It was a lovely snowy winter day in Vermont and I almost got into two separate car accidents on my way to take the test. It was not exactly the place I wanted to be. With those things in mind, I’m sure my scores will be significantly better. But I don’t think bad scores mean that students aren’t learning.

I also can’t really comment on the book Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses because I have not read it. I have read about it from articles online.

A recent book, Academically Adrift, concludes that students learn frightfully little in college. Its conclusion is based in large part upon small or nonexistent gains on the CLA. The authors of the book point out several important areas of genuine concern, such as lack of study time and writing experience on the part of college students. These worrying areas of concern should not be ignored. But the book’s conclusion that higher education is “academically adrift” does not fully follow from its primary data. Although the authors recognize some of the limitations of their data, these limitations may not be fully recognized by readers and certainly have not been appreciated by reviewers.

I hardly think that 24 schools and 2,300 students are enough to make a conclusion.

And as “learning in college” being the topic of my blog, I don’t really agree with students not learning.

Learning, according to, is “to acquire knowledge of or skill in by study, instruction, or experience.” So what if a student doesn’t get a lot of instruction in critical thinking? If they learn programming languages, how to run a focus group, consumer behavior, statistics, accounting, advertising, is that student not learning? What if a student acquires knowledge and skills from something outside their major, such as a job as an RA, that makes them realize they want to work in the field of higher education? Aren’t they learning about themselves from their experience?

What’s something you learned in college? Have you ever had to take the CLA?

Comfort Zone

7 Feb

This lovely picture you see on your left was taken this weekend in Lake Placid, New York, as I was preparing for something that should have scared me.

My school rocks. I love all of the fantastic opportunities that have come my way in the past four years.

Saturday, Champlain hosted a Bobsledding trip. Yes, I said bobsledding. Like the olympic sport where a bunch of people go extremely fast on ice in a little sled type thing?

It was incredible. For someone who is usually scared of heights and things along that line, I really had to push myself out of my comfort zone. I knew this opportunity wasn’t going to come around again anytime soon. I knew I just needed to do it.

It was honestly one of the funnest things I have ever done in my life. A bunch of my residents went too, and it was a blast. A long and tiring day, since I was on duty the night before we went and again once we got back from the trip, but I wouldn’t have changed it at all.


And now, here I am, waiting to hear back from four more graduate schools. None of which are anywhere in the New England area, which is where I was born, raised, and have gone to school for the first 23 years of my life. Going to school so far away is definitely going to get me out of my comfort zone.


What have you done outside your comfort zone? What kind of incentives do you give yourself for doing so?


27 Jan

I’ve been updating my posts on Graduate Schools and Reading 26 books this year as I read some books and hear backs from schools.

I’ve heard back from two schools so far.

And been rejected from both of the ones that I have heard from so far.


Rewind back 4 years ago. I was a senior in high school. Applying to colleges. I applied to 7 different schools, and I got into all 7. I never felt the rejection of a school.

But I have realized something. It wasn’t the worst feeling in the world. I have let it roll off my shoulder, and I am moving on and waiting to hear from other schools. I didn’t get upset, and getting rejected from college I realized is not the end of the world.


So for anyone out there reading this blog, who is still in high school. Or is in college and applying to grad school and never been rejected from a school, realize this one thing…. it will be okay!