Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sum-it-Up Sunday : Week #11

Hello all!
It's been a nice week back here at St. Mike's after Spring Break. Even though midterms have just barely come and gone, it's strange to think that the end of the semester is in sight. We just finished up all the housing arrangements for next year, and class registration for the fall semester of 2015 is right around the corner! We spent the majority of the week making appointments with our advisors for that, and also enduring some messy weather. It's been warming up here at St. Mike's, but a few scattered snow flurries have persisted, and even a few rain and hail situations were sprinkled in there.
But this weekend, we made sure to give ourselves a well deserved break.

Friday night, we got dinner at the always outrageously-portioned Olive Garden before making our way over to Majestic 10 to see Insurgent! The good thing is, I barely made it through half my bowl that night, so I had plenty to bring for lunch at Smugg's the next day!

It sure was a beautiful day to end our ski season! It was (surprisingly) a little bit cold, but even more surprising was the amount of snow that they'd gotten.

And, as a perfect end to it all, free hot dogs were being handed out outside the lodge towards the end of the day!

Today, we'll be doing some homework, mentally preparing for the week ahead before Easter recess, and of course, tuning in to the Walking Dead season finale!!!
Until next time, sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 1st!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

What-to-Know Wednesday : Tips & Tricks on Packing For Breaks

Hello all!
With spring break having just come and gone, Easter recess right around the corner, and summer vacation not long after that, there's been a lot of packing, unpacking, and planning lately.
When either going on break or bringing stuff home at the end of the year, there are always a few key things to keep in mind through the process:

1.) What will you actually use?

More often than not, I find by the end of a break that I've over-packed...whether that involves bringing too much clothes, that straightener that I never ended up using, or the jewelry that never left its designated tin.
The last thing I want to do is compare going home for spring break to going camping, but you kind of have to keep the same mindset for both. You're only going for a week, so only bring clothes for that many days. If it's not something you've been wearing regularly at school, it probably won't make its debut at home. So don't pull any of that "well, maybe I'll go somewhere that I would wear this to" nonsense.
The same thing goes with extra nick-knacks...if it's not something you're using regularly at school, you probably won't find the need for it during the week that you're home.

2.) What needs to stay at / leave from school?

Easter weekend is the ideal opportunity to bring all those heavy winter sweaters home till next year. You're also probably going to want to bring all those springy clothes you brought home over Christmas back to school. (YES!!!)
Easter weekend is also a good time to start unloading your room for the year. I know that may seem early, but there's usually less than a month left in the semester at that point, and trust me, time flies.
Obviously don't try to bring home a whole bunch of stuff, but it's probably a good idea to start bringing home those things you thought you'd use through the year but didn't, and also maybe some things that you know you'd be able to go without for the next few weeks or so. 

3.) New year, same rules.

No matter what accommodations you're put in for housing here at St. Mike's, it's important to remember that space is limited. If you're gonna over-pack for something, over-pack on wall decor. I feel like I always end up with tons of extra white space. Other than that, keep it to what you know you'll use, and organize meticulously. When I'm packing before move-in day, I like to group everything in categorized bins...toiletries, class supplies, bedding, etc. This makes things way easier and far more clear during the chaotic unpacking of move-in day.

I hope you all found today's What-to-Know Wednesday helpful! Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-it-Up Sunday on the 29th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #10

Hello all!
I'm blogging back here at St. Mike's, a very successful spring break is over and done.
I ate great food, got a lot done for China, and got some good rest!

Nothing better than some intense egg creations for a mid-afternoon snack...
(A slice of bread smeared with guacamole, underneath two fried eggs topped with paprika and cheddar cheese!)

...or a fried PB & J (!!!!!)...

...or mom's homemade shrimp scampi...

Coming home to Massachusetts turned out to be a pretty rude awakening, at least when it came to the snow. I could barely find a parking space at work, I could barely drive through narrow streets (which were made narrower with on-street parking next to the snowbanks), and we even needed to shovel a path to the bare necessities...

Yes. This happened. 

For my last night home, my family and I made it out to a new restaurant in Newburyport called Nix's, and I must say, I might have even found a new favorite spot...

Appetizers first: Parmesan truffle fries with spicy ketchup. Seriously the best fries I've ever had, and that's truly saying something.

Next, I got pan-seared scallops with a candied bacon risotto, spinach, and a lemon sauce. YESYESYES

Last, but certainly not least, we got these ricotta cheese-filled doughnut holes smothered in cinnamon sugar and vanilla and caramel sauces! 

 This morning, mom made some french toast (on bread that my brother had brought home from work) as a fancy going-away breakfast.

The drive back was windy but sunny, and despite the upcoming work, it's great to be back here at St. Mike's!!

Be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 25th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What-to-Know Wednesday : Spring Break Musts

Hello all!
As you all know from my last post, we're officially in the middle of spring break!
During each break, whether it be Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring, or Easter, I always find myself going into it with a list of things I need to do, and that changes every time. But each break, there's also a more general list of things I need to get done through the week/month/weekend. And it's as follows:

1.) Get Some Sleep!

There's nothing more satisfying than turning out the lights, crawling into your own bed (this time without even a slight desire to stay up with Netflix), putting down your phone knowing there's no alarm set whatsoever, and falling into a sweet, sweet slumber. And let's not forget the glory of sleeping in the next morning as well!

2.) Eat Well

As I've said time and again, even the most accommodating, impressive dining halls can get old after a while, as does the late-night-eating habit. It's always a great feeling to go home to a fridge full of food, and a kitchen stocked with all the necessary appliances. I've loved getting back into the routine of frying up my own eggs again and brewing a cup of coffee into a (non-travel)mug. Yum!

3.) Catch Up on Your To-Do List

This particular break, my to-do list involves a research paper for Media Law and preparing for my China trip! Turns out there's quite a hefty to-do list involved with studying abroad, even if it's just for two weeks! So far, I've gotten a couple of student Visa photos taken, as well as made arrangements to get all the necessary shots, vaccinations, and subscriptions necessary to go to China. Additionally, I've gotten a new iPhone and figured out Verizon's international plan.

4.) Get Excited for the Next Step!

This time, I'm getting excited for warmer weather, Ben & Jerry's' fast-approaching Free Cone Day, and hopefully getting the chance to take a hike or two (for what will be my first time in VT) before we get out for the summer!

Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 22nd, for which I'll be blogging back in VT and getting back into the swing of things at St. Mike's!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #9

Hello all!
Well, we've achieved the impossible...we made it to spring break! This last week sure was slow and painful. Schedules were packed and tensions ran high. But on the bright side, here we are: on today's Sum-It-Up Sunday, I'm blogging from our ski condo in North Conway, NH!

Before I get to shots from our ski weekend, here's an overview of our past week:

We had some pretty vibrant sunsets this week.

Unfortunately, that wasn't as colorful as things got this week. I made it through my media law project that I mentioned in one of my recent posts, and a lot of us here at St. Mike's also went through the housing process for next year. After much struggle, we finally finished everything we needed to get done for the project, and housing actually worked in our favor. Me and three other girls scored the very much coveted suite accommodations in Quad Commons, the brand new building as of 2013! This, of course, only happened after the anguish of waiting for our assigned time and working with the housing people, but that all turned out to be well worth it in the end!

Then, we were rewarded with our long awaited release for spring break!

It's always a pretty drive through good old VT, even on the highway.

As we got closer to our destination in NH, we passed the gorgeous Omni Mount Washington resort in our incredible drive through the White Mountains (through which, by the way, we couldn't have felt smaller, like driving through a canyon).

Next came what may have been the worst ski day I can recall enduring in a long time. Despite the gorgeous views, the conditions were anything but gorgeous. From the beginning of the day to the end, skiing Wildcat was skiing a sheet of ice, not a flake of snow to be found. Not a flake. Fortunately, we got some snow through the night and today, and tomorrow will be a better day. 

The woodsy view from the condo, apres snow. 

Photo of a furry friend, sent from my brother back home.

All in all, it's been a relaxing break so far. The rest of it, however, will be dedicated towards China prep. Lots to do! 

Until then, I'm enjoying my last night at the ski house. Stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 18th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What-To-Know Wednesday : Working in Groups

 I was just as surprised as the next girl when I found out how prominent group work would remain through college classes. I figured that was such a high school thing, and that college should be more about focusing on yourself instead of relying on others to hold your hand through a big project.
Project after project went by, partner after partner went by, and somehow, each time, I would wonder what the heck we were still doing with all this group project nonsense.

 It wasn't until I'd spent far too much time frustrated with group work that I realized there was an overarching point to it all (there always is).

As an MJD major, I've been through many a group project in my two years at St. Mike's. In fact, I just finished up one, and two others are in progress. Like the rest of us, I've had good experiences and bad experiences. And through all of it, I've finally come to realize that there's something very, very different about group work in college as opposed to group work in high school.

In high school, you probably had two weeks' worth of class time to work on a given project. When the bell rang at the end of the day and you got home to do your schoolwork, that project didn't cross your mind until you walked into that classroom again the next day. If your group was being driven aggressively by some bossy-pants, your teacher would see that and correct it. If you were all getting dragged down by some do-nothing stick in the mud, your teacher would see that and correct it. A talkative couple of buddies would never be paired together, your teacher already knew far too much about their in-class dynamic. on and so forth, you know that story.

College group work, as you'll find, proves to be an entirely different story. You get grouped with who you get grouped with, and that project is done on your own time. Before you know it, you have four new numbers programmed in your phone, and you're meticulously combing through each others' schedules to find a time and place to meet and work. In this process, you can usually start to weed out the different types of group-mates that exist throughout your particular group pretty quickly...

1.) The One Who Takes Charge 


This "taking charge" can be in either a  good way or a bad way. They might be forced to take charge because no one is stepping up to the plate with any ideas, or they might be the type that needs to have complete control, or else they break down. Act accordingly depending on which type of "take charge" this person seems to be. If it's the former type, be sure to let them know that you're there to be a team player. If it's the latter type, be sure to let them know you have ideas too, and don't let those ideas get stepped on.

2.) The One Who Never Shows Up


We've all been there...your group arranges a time to meet, and for one reason or another, there's always that one person who can never make it. Did they bother to let everyone know what times actually did work for them? No. Did they even read that group message? Probably not. Everyone deserves a little slack at first, but if this becomes a habit, it's time to let this person know that they need to start making a contribution, or a little tip to the professor might be in order.


 3.) The One Who Goes With the Flow


 This certainly isn't the worst person to encounter on the spectrum of group-mates, but it's important to make sure that this person is going with the flow of everyone else's ideas as much as they are contributing their own.

Of course, these are generalized profiles of different group-mates you may come across. There's no guarantee that you'll come across all of these in each group you have, or come across any of them at all. These are just a few examples of people I've come across in my own group project endeavors. 

The main lesson here is, it doesn't matter what type of people you have to deal with in your group project, because you have to deal with them regardless. And unfortunately, these people will exist in their group-work-ways longgg after they're doing group work for a graded assignment.
It's up to YOU not to change their ways, but to figure out how to work with them and get it done.

Professors know that you're not all perfect group-project-angels. Professors don't picture all of you laughing nonchalantly as you type away on the multi-paged analysis of your collective research. They live in the real world too, and a good part of the reason they assign group projects are so you get practice working with all types of people. And, of course, they are testing you to see how you come together to get your project done.

So keep your head high, keep it together, and good luck!

Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 15th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #8

Hello all!
I've made it through hell week...well, half of the two hell weeks, really. But I'd like to think the harder one is out of the way. I made it through two exams, lots of project work, and way too much more.
Thankfully, we had a few scarce moments that we allowed ourselves to relax and have fun this week. (Trying very, very hard to follow my own advice from the most recent What-to-Know Wednesday.)

Grainy sunsets...this little view behind Alumni usually has the greatest sunset lookout without crossing the street to what is more commonly referred to as "The View", which overlooks the distant mountains as well.

Scary selfies before Friday night dinner...

After a long week, we thought it would be nothing less than appropriate to reward ourselves. But I might have gone too far...
A fillet, some bacon mac and cheese, and grilled shrimp glazed with a tomato butter from Longhorn.
I know, I know. 

Saturday, we had a pretty full day at Smugg's. Ten runs, I believe. It was another relatively warm day, so we had motivation and energy to spare. 

As the Saturdays go by, I feel myself getting more and more used to this new powdery wonder that is the east. After all, the word on the street is that "the east is the new west". 2014/2015 will be a ski season to beat!! 

Next weekend as Spring break begins, I'll be blogging about our spring break 2015 adventure, which will be revealed then!!! ;)
But before that, be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 11th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

What-To-Know Wednesday : Finding the Heaven in Hell Week

Hello all!
Well, it's that time of the semester again...midterms, last minute projects, and the hasty wrap-up of material before spring break: commonly referred to as Hell Week.
And what a hellish week it's been.

Currently, I'm in the middle of a few things. I just had my Media Law midterm on Tuesday, and I'm also in the middle of three different projects (two of which are for the same class!).
For my photojournalism class, I'm currently in the middle of a partnered project called "A Day in the Life". Everyone in the class was matched into pairs and instructed to capture what a typical day looks like for them in no less than 200 frames. Thankfully, we have the option to photograph different parts of their day over the duration of a few days. After interviewing our partner and a close friend or relative of theirs, we had to determine the aspects of their personality that we wanted to capture in our photos of them. (Essentially, we follow them around through various activities of their week, whether that means awkwardly crashing a water polo practice, or creeping in the corner of a dorm room on them and their friends.) Either way, it's going reasonably well so far, but it's a tough thing to coordinate with another person's schedule on such an intimate level while barely keeping your head above water in your own schedule...
...because, additionally, I also have two Media Law projects going on simultaneously. The first is a group project in which we find a journalist in the area who has experienced some kind of ethical dilemma in their career. (Where did you even begin, you ask? Great question. If I remembered, I'd tell you.) The next step is to track that journalist down and interview them about their particular ethical dilemma. Thankfully, our group is relatively ahead of the game, and we've already had an interview. More to come on that.
Also in Media Law, we've just started an individual project through which we are to sit in on a local town meeting and take notes, attend an arraignment (or a set of arraignments) and obtain a copy of its case file from the clerk, go to a local city clerk's office and obtain a set of data points on a residence that was recently sold, as well as get the name and detailed crime of a sex offender in the area. If we're given trouble with any of the above? We are obligated to use our freshly gained knowledge of media law and fight them on it. Unfortunately, we only have until next week to get all of this done, because a research paper detailing our entire experience of the above, highs and lows, is due immediately after break. (Dying. Just dying.)

All this considered, I can honestly say that I've never felt more buried at school. Unfortunately, everyone else seems to be on the same boat, so voices of reason are few and far between. That being said, it's very important to remind yourselves of a few good things going on around you. Whether you're currently immersed in Hell Week, or it's merely a matter of the distant future, here are a few things to keep in mind to hold on to your sanity:

1.) Take a Break

I can personally understand the argument: "If I take a break, I lose my flow, my motivation, my sanity..." But, it's incredibly important to take some time to relax once you've jumped over a bunch of hurdles. Watch a TV show, listen to music, anything. (Just be careful of the deathly nap cycle: she's a stern mistress, and she comes for us all in the end. Whatever you decide to take a break with, in fact, make sure you limit it according to the work that still needs to get done that day.)

2.) Rely on Your Friends

A good conversation with someone you're close to is invaluable to all of those times that you're feeling overwhelmed. (Don't go for a dramatic one though. I don't need to tell you why.) You never know, they're probably going through something similar. Sometimes you just need someone else to tell you to snap out of it and that it's all going to get done.

3.) Enjoy the Little Things

Go get a pint of Ben & Jerry's. You deserve it.

4.) Get Out

It can be anywhere. Just be sure to take at least a small break outside the recirculated air and unnatural light of the dorms and the library. I'm convinced this air is tainted with germs and stress.

5.) Go Easy on Yourself

Hey, you're trying, right? Just keep it up, and it'll all get done. Then you've got one of the best rewards of all ahead of you: spring break!

Hope you all enjoyed today's What-to-Know Wednesday, be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 8th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #7

Hello all!
Welcome to this week's Sum-It-Up Sunday! It was yet another busy week here at St. Mike's as things get closer and closer to spring break (two more weeks!!!), so we're all in crunch time over here!
Thankfully, however, we've had a few bursts of comfort here and there...

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, the Girl Scouts are in town- namely, Alliot, in their yearly stop at St. Mike's! Had to grab a couple of favorites.

As the days are getting longer, we've been getting some bright, beautiful sunsets here at St. Mike's! Loving it.

On Friday, my roommate Marissa and I had a little visitor. Her dog Toby! He was such a sweetheart, and it was a nice little break amidst all the class-hype of the week.

Yesterday, we made our way to Smugg's again for what may have been the most beautiful day that I can remember. The sun was out, it was nice and warm, there wasn't a cloud in the sky or a single gust of wind. For what I believe was the first time ever, Jared and I saw a group of people congregating up on a little hilltop at the summit of Madonna capturing that incredible view with their phones. So, naturally, I had to join!

[Hoping for some more days like this in the future. Fingers crossed!]

And, to top things off, I had a plan going to the mountain that day. I was finally going to try something new...

...a chocolate drizzled waffle from the Waffle Cabin!!! Every Saturday as we line up at the Madonna II lift, an overwhelming aroma of chocolate and waffles fills the air from the nearby hut.
 And it's torturous. 
So this weekend, I finally gave in! I would say it was a tad overpriced for a waffle and some chocolate, but for a one-time indulgence, it was worth it. Simply incredible.

For those of you buckling down for these last couple of weeks before break here at St. Mike's, I wish you luck! For all of you prospective/accepted students, I hope you enjoyed today's Sum-It Up Sunday!
Be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 4th!

Let's Connect!
Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire