Thursday, August 19, 2010

This is how we do it

Today my family and I dropped off my sister, Lauren, at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY. Lauren, like myself, is becoming a knight, but she is a golden one. I don't know if we really like royalty, but I think it's pretty funny that out of the hundreds of possible mascots (and there are some strange ones) we chose the same one.

Being on a college campus and watching all the freshmen moving in really made me miss school. Seriously, I teared up when I saw the anxious families lugging the bins of notebooks, bedding, and clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I'm so excited to study abroad and try new things, but I know that I will miss the beautiful comforts of my college home.

While at Clarkson, I couldn't help but notice the differences from my own school. Here are some of them:
1. Freshmen have to choose a meal plan. This should seem normal but it is something so foreign to me. It must be so overwhelming to decide on day one how many times you will eat everyday. I wander into Alliot, our dining hall, at least three times daily, so I definitely take this freedom for granted.

2. The campus bookstore was not like anything I have ever seen before and is more akin to a Barnes & Noble. It was spectacular, to say the least. Along with their books, which included a children’s lit section, they sold North Face backpacks, which is an upgrade from the usual Vera Bradley selection. Check this out-

3. It is not as green. Not as in, St. Mikes has more grass, but when I think of SMC, buzzwords like “sustainability,” and “smaller carbon footprint” come to mind. We have a competition to see which residence hall can reduce their water and electricity bill and that has to count for something.

Every school has it’s own feel, but after all they are more alike than different. So I feel it is best to sum up this post with words enthusiastically uttered long before Asher Roth. I love college.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The dog days are over

It's sad to say, but summer is winding down. Has it really been more than three weeks since my last post? Wow, so sorry but things around here have been CRAZY, caps required. My little sister leaves for college tomorrow and I leave for Peru in less than two weeks, so my house is a swarm of suitcases and check lists for packing (we don't mess around).

I have decided to compile a checklist of necessary things/pre-departure activities for those of us who are studying abroad. I'll start with the practical items:

1. PASSPORT-Make sure yours does not expire during your travels, and especially make sure that you do not realize this a month before you leave like I did. Expediting passports are expensive, this $60 could have been much better spent elsewhere.

2. Get an International Student Identification Card (ISIC, for short). For only $22 they provide emergency medical coverage and tons of discounts in more than 100 countries. Half-price entrance at Machu Picchu, here I come!

3. A good travel book. I bought the Rough Guide to Peru. Now, I'm not sure if my experience will be "rough," but it is a great source to look for transportation, food, and packing advice.

4. The necessary gear. New culturally acceptable clothes, because not everyone likes flannel and jeans like SMC does. An external hard-drive incase something awful happens to your computer. Electronic adapters. And for my new favorite things, I bought wonderful, multiple day backpack and hiking boots. Wanna see?

5. Indulge in your favorite things. For me this means marathon movie watching and mass ice cream consumption with my sister. I've also been doing a lot of magazine reading, just because newspapers are dying doesn't mean mags aren't alive and strong!

Well...hiking gear is not cheap, so I'm off to coinstar to convert all my spare change to buy a sleeping bag for below 15 degree temperatures! Enjoy all the lemonade and sun while you still can!!