Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Another Service Trip!

Last week I participate in my 4th MOVE Extended Service Trip! I was asked to be the staff leader of the trip about a month ago because of a change in another staff member's schedule and after thinking it over for a few days, I excitedly accepted!

I was asked to lead a group of 10 young women on their trip to the Christian Appalachian Project's Workfest in Corbin, KY. You might remember that one of my previous service trips was to Kentucky, so I was excited to return, exactly 5 years later!

Here I am in Kentucky in 2008 with my (at that time) new friend Heather. Now Heather is my roommate and one of my closest friends!

We had a great week at Workfest - the SMC group was absolutely the best and we did a lot of meaningful service work.

Here we are!
(l-r) Bernadette, Katelyn, Lauren, Monica, Kirsten, Amanda, Hannah, Mary, Katie, Amanda, me.

We stayed at Laurel Lake Baptist Camp and each member of the group traveled to one of 8 different worksites everyday. I was a member of the Black Crew, and we worked on a tiny house up in the mountains for an elderly woman, her son and their 2 dogs.

Black Crew!
Back Row (l-r) Andrew from Notre Dame, Assistant Crew Leader Tom, me, Marshall from North Dakota State University, Diana from University of South Florida, Crew Leader Larry
Middle Row (l-r) Vicky, Eastern Illinois University, Thalita, UNC Chapel Hill, Ella, College of St. Mary
Front Row (l-r) Julie, College of Mount Saint Joseph, Assistant Crew Leader Dorothy, Amanda, SMC

You can see the house behind us - this was our second day. By the end of the week we had put in all new doors and windows, sided the front and almost the entire right side of the house and demolished the porch and built a new one. I put in floor joyces on the porch, measured and cut lots of siding, put up insulation board and pounded down lots of nails for safety. I had a great week and I think all the girls in my group did too!

We had a free day before heading to Workfest, so we made PB & J sandwiches at an Eastern Kentucky University baseball game. Their opponent, Tennessee Tech University, was staying in our hotel so we made friends with their bus driver and went to support them at their game!

Some intense floor joyce installation.

 Black Crew celebrating our last day of work on the scaffolding (I'm on the top row in the very back)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


One of my favorite parts of my job as an Admission Counselor is interviewing prospective students - but it's also one of my least favorite parts. How is this possible? 

My favorite part of doing an interview is really getting to know the student that I'm sitting down with. I like asking questions like "tell me about your favorite class this year" and "what do you like to do outside of school?" Students give some great answers to these questions, and I enjoy feeling like I actually have something to write about when I write notes after the interview. Coming back upon these notes when reading an application is also a nice reminder of my time with the applicant, and can help me remember the details of why I thought a student was a good fit.

After I spend some time with just the student, I bring their parents into the interview room so that we can chat - this is another favorite part of interviewing. Parents can ask TOUGH questions, and I love thinking about the answers and providing the best information that I can to the family.

That being said, there are some interviews that I do not have such a wonderful time conducting. Because interviews are mainly driven by student questions, students that come into their interview unprepared or who answer questions with one word are especially painful.

I am often asked "should I do an interview?" and here is my answer: it depends. You should absolutely do an interview if you have questions that you would like answered by an Admission Counselor or you have a unique story to share that you think would be important for your counselor to know. Sitting down with your Admission Counselor shouldn't be scary or nerve wracking, because it should be just as much about you interviewing them as it is about them interviewing you. Come prepared with questions (written down, in a notebook is the best!) and be able to talk about yourself. Think about things like your favorite book, favorite class, best experience in high school and thoughts about your future.

However, there are some students who should not do interviews - students who do not have questions, are not interested in the school or are only coming to campus because their parents are making them are unproductive for all parties. It's a waste of your time to sit down and try (or not..) to make up answers to my questions, and it's a waste of my time trying to drag answers out of you. So - have a real, honest conversation with yourself (and your parents) about the pros and cons of doing an interview. Remember, you don't have a second chance to make a first impression!

If you are planning to do an interview at Saint Michael's, don't be nervous! You are the expert on you, and that's what we want to learn about. Bring questions - we look forward to meeting you!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

12 Favorites of 2012

Happy New Year! I hope that you all had a wonderful holiday season and are having a good start to 2013!

I thought I'd wrap up 2012 with a post of my 12 "favorites" from the year we're leaving behind...

1. Accomplishment - Running my first 10K road race at the Middlebury Turkey Trot and Gobble Wobble.

This was taken right before the finish line!

2. Place - This was a really tough one, as I visited some incredible places this year, but the Grand Canyon takes the cake for 2012!

me & Amy at the Grand Canyon

3. Professional Accomplishment: Presenting at the Collegiate Information and Visitors Services Association (CiVSA) annual conference in Denver, CO

me & Dustin at Red Rocks Amphitheater during a CiVSA conference social

4. Album - Hands down my favorite album of 2012 was MIKA's "The Origin of Love"

5. Day - My favorite day of 2012 was Monday, September 3rd. My roommates Meghan, Lauren and Heather, colleague Kath and friends Natalie and Anna went on an adventure to Addison County where we swam at Bristol Falls, ate lunch at A&W, walked around Middlebury and stopped at the Magic Hat Brewery on the way home. What a beautiful Vermont day!

Clockwise, starting at the top - Lauren, Kath, Meg, Anna, Heather & me...and Nat behind the camera!

6. Broadway Show - It's no surprise that I saw a few shows on Broadway this year, and my favorite was absolutely Book of Mormon. It was my ultimate Bucket List Broadway show and it didn't disappoint!

(l-r) Ashley, me, Mallory and Nic Rouleau, the actor who played Elder Price!

7. Song(s) - (12, in no particular order) "Blown Away" by Carrie Underwood, "Somebody That I Used To Know" by Gotye, "Try" by P!nk, "You're All That Matters To Me" by Miss Willie Brown, "Old Pine" by Ben Howard, "Cha-Ching" by Imagine Dragons, "I Will Wait" by Mumford and Sons, "Pontoon" by Little Big Town, "Silenced By The Night" by Keane, "Popular Song" by MIKA, "Hard Way Home" by Brandi Carlisle, "Baby Come Home" by Scissor Sisters and "Home" by Phillip Phillips.

8. Memory - Coming to the end of my first 5K and seeing my friend an running coach/partner Allison there cheering for me!

The SMC "Saints on the Run" team at the Corporate Cup

9. Family Moment - I gained an infamous reputation among my family as a very grouchy race runner this year...mostly because I yelled at my sister during our "Pirate 5K" on the Waterfront in Burlington because she was rushing me and I was having NONE of it. Oh well, sometimes you just have to get your butt whooped by your baby sister :-)

me & Emily at the beginning of the race, before I got a little grouchy.

10. Quote - "Have only one rule: be your wild, courageous, brilliant self, every single day, no matter what." I'm not sure who to attribute this to, but my roommate gave me a magnet with this quote and a peacock. I love it.

11. Event-  Watching my sister (the same one I kind of yelled at during our race!) graduate from SMC in May!

 My fam with the graduate!

12. Change -  Change can sometimes be hard, but my favorite change of 2012 was moving into my new apartment with 3 friends. I love our little house and all of the memories that we are creating there!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Camp People.

Today I was especially inspired to write this post after reading two amazing applicant essays about summer camp. As a camp person myself (I worked at Lochearn Camp for Girls in the summer of '09), I am always drawn in by essays about applicants' own camp experiences. Most of the essays focus on unconditional acceptance by others, enduring friendships, living away from home and family, being silly and being youself no matter what. These are just a few of the many important aspects of summer camp, but they tend to be the ones that stick with campers and camp staff forever.

My own experience working at summer camp was unbelievably challenging, but also left me with some of my best and most lifelong friends, incredible memories and true personal growth. From waterskiing on the lake to staying up all night with fellow staff members to crying tears of frustration with complete strangers, I look back on much of my camp experience with a smile. I think it's something that all camp people share - we just get each other.

If you have the chance to work at a summer camp during your high school or college summers, I hope you'll consider it. Camp people are an incredible group, and I think you'll find that you grow immensely from the experience.

 My two camp best friends, Amy and Emily, in our traditional Lochean uniforms
 Emily and I, one year after camp, at our reunion in Boston
 Lauren, me, Kaelyn and Jamie reuniting in Boulder, CO
Amy and I reuniting in Arizona in 2012. We've also reunited in Utah, Massachusetts, and Florida!

P.S. If you go to the Lochearn website, watch for me in the slideshow on the homepage...I'm wearing a Red Sox shirt and doing a split during my dance class!

Monday, November 19, 2012


It's been months. I apologize. Life has been all over the place since I last wrote, so I'll tell the story in pictures...

I was accepted to Hogwarts! No, just kidding. I traveled to Florida to cover some Admissions events for our office and my good friend Amy met me there. We took a day to explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios - it was a dream come true!!

I ran a 5K in the Mile High City (Denver, CO) during the National Association of College Admission Counseling Conference in October...here I am with my boss, Jacki!

I went to 3 Broadway shows in one weekend, including Book of Mormon (my all time Bucket List Broadway show) with my friends Mallory and Ashley (both of whom also work in the higher ed/admissions world!)

Emily and I ran our first 10K (The Middlebury Turkey Trot and Gobble Wobble) in Middlebury, VT in the middle of November.

Best wishes to you and your family for a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

"I don't really know how to do this..."

WHEW! So the rest of the summer obviously flew by without a single blog post from me. I was too busy soaking up the remainder of the sun, lake swims, sweaty outdoor runs and starry nights!

Here's a final summer photo with my good friend and SMC Admissions colleague, Katherine. She joined me on many of my late summer adventures, including a trip to Bristol Falls (really cool swimming holes and small jumps about 45 minutes south of SMC), a trip to the Champlain Valley Fair and a birthday celebration for on of my roommates, which is where we were during this photo!
So now, on to the point of the post...

I have officially started my travel season! I am currently blogging from Rockland, MA where I will be for the remainder of this week. I overheard something today from a student at one of my visits that I wanted to share...when I asked her if she had any questions for me, she simply answered "I don't know, I don't really know how to do this!"

This being the whole college process, meeting with counselors, filling out applications and trying to have a clue what you're going to do after high school...and it's OK not to know exactly what to do - how would you? You've never done anything like it before!

So, here are my top 5 suggestions of questions to ask a college representative when you meet with them - because that is all you really need to know "how to do!"

1. What makes your school unique? Anyone who is passionate about the school that they work for will have an interesting answer to this one!

2. What academic activities are available outside of class time for your students? This could be anything from academic advising to individual research to speakers to the Science Club...it's important to continue learning outside of class time, so it's good to know what each school offers.

3. What do students typically do on the weekends? Do they go home? Go off campus for meals and shopping? Study? Throw parties? It's important to know what your weekends will be like.

4. What is the most underrated thing about your school? Every school has things that don't get lots of press but are worth knowing about. For SMC, I think it would be our library. Not only is it a beautiful, sunny place to get work done, but it also becomes its own buzzing academic community each afternoon and into the late hours of the night. You are just as likely to see someone studying along as you are to see someone getting a visit from a friend or a snack dropped off by the person who always studies next to them. It's the heart of our small community each weekday evening!

5. Why should I go to ________? You will get lots of interesting rationale for this question, from majors and class sizes to weekend events and local towns. Always ask this one to get the real scoop on what makes a school a good fit!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

An addition to the family...

If you've been following my blog for a while, you may remember that two of my good friends from SMC got married right before we graduated. Well, this weekend we all got together again because they had another exciting developments in their lives...their new baby! It was great to see them for the first time since Audrey was born and also meet the newest addition. Audrey is absolutely precious and I can't wait to babysit!

(l-r) Mandi (the mom), Kendra and me. The proud dad, Stew, was behind the camera!