Thursday, April 29, 2010

How did I get here?

The end of spring semester brings out the nostalgic side in everybody. The weeks are filled with all kinds of lasts, and because I am studying abroad, lasts for eight months. It makes me sad to think that all of the highlights of the year have are now behind me. As fun-filled as finals are I can’t help but wish that I could go back in time, maybe to P-Day. P-Day, one of the best days of the year, is our school’s “Preparation Day,” a final hoorah before the stress of finals set in. The outdoor day of enjoyment includes giant inflatables to play on that bring out anyone’s inner child, an all you can eat food tent (including my favorite Skinny Pancake), and a comedian at night. Basically in a word, it’s AWESOME. Here is a picture of my friends and I lounging on the grass outside. Can you see the inflatables in the background?

It’s so hard to wrap my head around the idea that I won’t be here in the fall. As I’m traipsing around Peru so many exciting things will be happening at SMC. I won’t see the new freshman, I’ll miss the leaves Vermont changing colors, the fabulous Halloween dance and so many more things that make this school so wonderful. I won’t see some friends for a year because they will be studying abroad during the spring semester. The next time I will see them we will be seniors. CRAZY!! My senior friends are graduating and I am left with the realization that one day it will be my turn to leave too.

I am living in an alternate reality; one that is preparing me for when I leave St. Michael’s to step into the real world. So the question is…how did I get here? It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting in my fifth grade class learning long division. I remember seeing college students when I was younger and thinking that they looked so much older than I feel right now.

The only thing we can all count on is change, and right now for me and all of you, change is good. Change means having new experiences, making friends, and seeing the world. I don't know about you, but I think that is pretty cool.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Home is whenever I'm with you

This past weekend here at SMC was pretty eventful. My younger sister Lauren came to visit me and I was so happy because I miss her so much while I’m here. Lauren, my friends, and I went to the Third Eye Blind Concert on Friday night and it was amazing. Every year the school hires a band to perform a concert in the spring and it is always a nice distraction from the end of the year crunch.

Besides seeing the concert, Lauren went to Accepted Student Open House on Saturday. My friend Michaela gave Lauren and other students a tour of campus despite the unfortunate downpour. I hung around with the group; I swear it wasn’t creepy, and observed as much as I could. Just when I thought I knew everything about SMC a wonderful tour guide surprised me and taught me more. For example I had no idea that the St. Michael’s chapel, where I attend mass weekly, is the largest chapel in Vermont and the waiting list to get married there is over three years long! Crazy!

Sadly after the tour, some sister shenanigans, and lunch at the Skinny Pancake in downtown Burlington, it was time for Lauren to leave. I was sad to see her go but when she said that she would see me in three weeks I could hardly believe it. I only have three weeks left at St. Michael’s until January. How it taken me so long to realize that I am studying abroad, I will never know.
In keeping with this realization, it is only natural that there was a study abroad meeting last night. Applying for study abroad is a bit like applying to college, so I felt the stress that you all are going through once again. This year there are 109 students who will be studying abroad in the fall in 34 different countries.

I am nervous about leaving the SMC community but by looking around the room I took solace in the fact that I was not alone. All of us are going to have exciting experiences that will be so unlike anything we have ever done before.

We are always leaving our families, homes, and comfort zones. While this may seem scary and intimidating, it is important to keep in mind that we do these things all in the name of adventure. In our lives we are constantly making new friends and becoming acquainted with new places that we can call home. How exciting is that?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Come on now, we're marching to the sea

I have good news and it's that summer is on it's way. I know this because I have my first official sunburn of the season. It's okay though because it happened while I was in Washington D.C. on Student Justice League lobbying trip. I have one word for this experience-INCREDIBLE. Let me just say this, I love Washington D.C. The history, the white marble buildings, the cherry blossoms-being a Political Science major in D.C. is like being a kid at a carnival.

But I need to backtrack first. Over Easter break a new friend of mine called me and asked if I was interested in going to D.C. with some campus organizations to lobby for social justice. The groups were going to raise awareness about issues in the Congo, where as I'm sure some of you know, some of the greatest human rights violations in the world are occurring. I agreed, and before I knew it I was sitting in a Congressman's office on Capitol Hill. Here's a picture and me and my new friend Sarah in front of the Capitol in our lobbying outfits-

Besides lobbying, I also experienced a slew of new things. I saw the Lincoln Memorial at night, went to the Smithsonian Museum of American History, saw the Japanese Cherry Blossom Festival, and ate Ethiopian food for the first time. At the museum I saw Martha Washington's inaugural dress which is over 200 years old. Maybe it's just me, but I really think people were smaller in the 1780s because little Martha couldn't have been more than 4'9!! (not everyone I was with was as shocked as I was). I also ate Ethiopian, which requires a certain mindset that disregards the transfer of germs. There is a giant communal bowl of different foods and you use pancake-like bread to scoop it up and eat it. This is what Ethiopian food looks like after six college students devour it-

This weekend was so exciting and full of new adventures that have proven to me how many opportunities are available to us all. Our lives are ahead of us, empty but full of crazy and exciting possibilities. I hardly knew anything about this trip or the people going, but I had such a fantastic time.

Sometimes the problems in the world can feel overwhelming which can make me feel that it is impossible to make a difference. But I learned from this trip and those who went is that dedicated people can affect real change. Margaret Mead said: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." It sounds corny but now, especially after this weekend, I really believe that this is true.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Doesn't get better than home

Hello! I hope that you've all had a wonderful Easter and aren't still feeling the stomach ache that accompanies the over-consumption of Peeps and jellybeans.

During the long weekend I went home to the always exciting Plattsburgh (kidding). Nothing too eventful or noteworthy happened, but it is always nice to go home to my family. For me and most other students, the change of pace at home is always relaxing and provides a much needed break from the rush of school.

The best part about Easter is that my parents still insist on giving my sister Lauren and I baskets. It makes me wonder if they know that my belief in the Easter bunny faded around the time I lost my first tooth. Regardless, they gave me lovely gifts that included a new scarf, the movie Roman Holiday, and my personal favorite a GIANT REESE'S EGG. In order to fully comprehend the enormity of this gift, I must tell you that it weighs 6 ounces. Look at this-

My family and I go to church on Easter morning, which is always fun. Here is a picture of Lauren and I after mass on Easter-

Lauren just turned 18 and is enjoying the wonderful college selection process. I am shamelessly plugging SMC with her and I think the incessant nagging may be working. She is coming to visit me soon and I am SO excited.

Breaks usually go by far too quickly and when I came back last night I prepared myself for the final stretch. With one month left, the coming weeks here are what students refer to as "crunch time." There is a pronounced change in the air. Everybody buckles down, puts on their serious pants/thinking caps and becomes the determined student that is within us all.

This all sounds good, but being studious in 70 degree weather is always a struggle for me. I want to be outside, soaking up the sun's rays. It doesn't help that I can see the beautiful Green Mountains in the distance, begging to be climbed. I guess it's good for my productivity that it has been rainy lately. Until next time!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Let’s start with this. I am your average, everyday sleep deprived-coffee addicted-school obsessed college kid. My name is Alyssa Malone and I am a sophomore at what I believe to the world’s greatest school, Saint Michael’s College. I am double majoring in Political Science and Spanish with a minor in Journalism. In the fall I will be studying abroad in Peru, and I could not be more excited.

I come from a small city (if you can even call it that), called Plattsburgh, which is located in Upstate New York. Though it is only a short hour away, SMC feels like another world. A utopia where the mountains are green, every car has a bumper sticker, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream is plentiful.

Besides these surface attractions, I was drawn to the obvious community that exists at SMC. The small classes, clubs, athletic teams, and the fact that everybody lives on campus blends to create an environment that is hard to resist.

On campus I am involved in the Student Association, Founder’s Society, and writing for the esteemed school paper, The Defender. During my freshman year I went on LEAP, a religious retreat, and it completely changed my outlook on life. I am involved in the MOVE program, which is a volunteer organization on campus. Some of my most rewarding experiences have come from traveling to Baltimore and Boston on extended service trips through MOVE.

When I’m not doing these things I read The New York Times and PostSecret like it’s my job. I also am a self proclaimed pop-culture expert, ask me anything, I dare you. I love all things Glee and the show, How I Met Your Mother probably more than any normal person. I like to run (even though I'm terrible) and I could probably live off of nutella and bananas.

My friends and I have recently dedicated our lives to crossing things off of our SMC Bucket List. This may sound a little strange, but it's not morbid, I swear. The list includes all the things we want to do here before we graduate. Some of these random goals include starting a spontaneous group dance in our dining hall, Alliot, and hiking up Mount Mansfield, Vermont's highest peak.

Well, that's enough about me for now. I am so excited to share my experiences with all of you! Peace, love and SMC!!