Wednesday, April 1, 2015

What-to-Know Wednesday : Knightchat FAQs

Hi all! As some of you may know, we just had another Knightchat Monday night for accepted students! I always have so much fun hearing all of your questions and concerns; it definitely brings me back to a time when I had the same/similar questions about St. Mike's! What a stroll down memory lane...and lemme tell ya, two years flies.

As each Knightchat comes and goes, we always get these great, thoughtful questions that I wish I'd had more guts to ask back when I was in your place! I'd say there's always a handful of popular questions that get asked at each Knightchat...whether they're about academics, the social scene, or things to do on and around campus. Since there are no more student Knightchats planned for the rest of the semester (as of now), I figured I'd go over some of those frequently asked questions right here, right now!

(Some of these things may have been covered to some extent in previous posts, but I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity to go into more depth, and also to have the answers to some of these common questions here for you in one place!)

So, without further ado...

1.) What is a Knightcard, and what kinds of things can you use it for on/off campus? 

Here at St. Mike's, your Knightcard is your student ID! It has your name, photo, projected graduation year, and student ID number.

You use your Knightcard as a key into the dorms, you swipe it every time you go to Alliot (the dining hall), and you also use your Knightcard at all the printers on campus. (When you print a document from either your personal laptop or a school computer, that document goes to a printing queue that will show up on the printer when you swipe your card. From there, you can either select specific things to print at a time, or print everything in your queue! Documents will stay in your queue without being printed for 24 hours.)

You can (and will) also deposit money onto your Knightcard, and you'll have a few different options on campus for doing that: online, at an ATM-esque machine in the campus library, or the Knightcard office on the second floor of Alliot. Once you've deposited money onto your Knightcard, you swipe it in the laundry room for each time you use a washer and dryer, and you can even use it like a debit card at on-campus cafes like Einstein's or Cafe Cheray!

Additionally, a swipe of your Knightcard gets you free access on the city bus, and you can also present your Knightcard at different stores and/or restaurants around town to get college student discounts!

2.) What's the best local restaurant to eat at?

Well folks, that's a tough one, because there are honestly and truly so many to choose from, so I'll go with two of my personal favorites so far.

First is American Flatbread in downtown Burlington. I have a very similar restaurant back home called Flatbread Company that I grew up going to all the time, so this one was an instant favorite! They make the most amazing pizza all with fresh, organic ingredients, and cook them in a brick oven right there in the dining room!

Next would be Our House Bistro in the Winooski Circle (a little rotary about forty five seconds down the road from St. Mike's!). It's a small, homey spot with a specialty in unique twists on classic comfort foods. In addition to other goodies like classic sandwiches, burgers, and chicken pot pie, they also have a mac and cheese menu featuring several different types of crazy, amazing (don't forget picture-perfect!) mac and cheeses!

[Previously featured on the blog twice now, I believe...but nonetheless, check out this breakfast mac & cheese!!!]

3.) How's the food at the dining hall?

St. Mike's' main campus dining hall is Alliot, where students usually have "unlimited" swipes (with their Knightcard!) freshman through junior year (usually this is reduced once you're a senior and have housing accommodations for making your own food). By "unlimited", I believe I mean somewhere around fifteen swipes per day, which, realistically, might as well just be called unlimited, considering you can get as much food as you want at any given time that you've swiped into Alliot! 

As a college student with no particular diet restrictions like gluten intolerance or vegetarianism, I'd say that eating at a dining hall away from home has been pretty easy for me so far. However, I do know some people with the above restrictions, and even they find that Alliot has been accommodating and very, very possible to get a decent breakfast, lunch, and dinner at.

On any given day, there is an egg station running in the morning where you can get either fried or scrambled eggs made to order, cheese or sans cheese. Also, there's always a wide selection of bagels, butter and cream cheese, and different types of breads, peanut butter, and jam if toast is more your thing. Additionally, in the morning, you'll always be able to find breakfast pastries, fruit, yogurt, granola, and some type of hash brown/home fry situation. There's also coffee and tea accessible through all hours of Alliot operation!

For lunch and dinner, there's always a grill running where you can get burgers or grilled cheeses made to order, and sometimes they even have a sandwich special. There's also a stir fry station running every day for lunch and dinner, a salad bar, a sandwich bar, and a burrito station where you can (in a somewhat Chipotle-manner) get either a burrito, or a salad with burrito fixings. And, of course, there's a dessert table and a soft serve ice cream (or, depending on where you're from, "creemee") machine! 
(Keep in mind, these are not the only options you'll be faced with every day at Alliot during lunch and dinner hours. These are merely a few of the options that you'll have on a daily basis! At many other stations, they offer something new and different every day!)

That being said, there are always options at Alliot, no matter your eating habits, and there are always opportunities to mix and match, make things your own, and get inventive with it! That's not to say that not even the greatest dining halls don't get a little boring after a while, but hey, if you ate at the same restaurant every day, you'd feel the same way, no matter how great that restaurant was!

4.) What's the learning atmosphere like in small class sizes?

You've heard the old "it makes for more personal connections!" before, so I'll do you a solid and emphasize a little further. While this is true, there's so much more to it than that.

Yes, in a smaller class, you have a better opportunity to be closer to your professors, get their help more easily, etc. There's also a chance that you'll see a lot of repeating faces in your classmates, which, let's face it, can be a good thing or a bad thing. 
Additionally, on the other hand, smaller class sizes allow you to contribute to the class on a much more involved level, instead of sinking invisibly into a sea of heads, as I imagine I would in a lecture hall of 200+.
Another plus of smaller class sizes here at St. Mike's is the ability to become closer to the other students in your class. I've found that I've been able to unite with other students on the difficulty of a project, get their help on a certain question I might have with a single Facebook message, or even just be able to have another person to say "hi" to in passing!

5.) How do students usually spend their free time / weekend?

This question always comes up, and usually my supervisor has several of us answer, since it really is so different from person to person. I think it's a common misconception (it's certainly one I had in high school) that everyone at college goes to the same events, hangs out in the same places, and visits the same off-campus hot-spots. But that couldn't be more untrue!!

Everyone has their own interests, and everyone finds their own little things that they like to do with the group of people that they like to be around, and it would be super generalizing for me to tell you how "people" spend their time on weekends, because it just wouldn't be true across the board!

For me personally, I usually go into town with Jared (either get dinner and/or see a movie) on Friday's, and have a low-key night in afterward. Saturday's, I go skiing during the day, and maybe see a group of people that night if plans match up. And Sunday is my homework day! In terms of free time in general throughout the week, I'm usually so go-go-go lately (it's that time of the year for everyone, honestly), that when I do get a bit of free time, I like to spend it either relaxing in my dorm room, or taking a walk outside, now that the weather is getting slightly more bearable!

This certainly isn't the limit of popular Knightchat questions, but I think five is a good number for one post! Maybe I'll do another post with some more Knightchat FAQs in the future, but for now, I hope you found these answers informative and helpful! 
And of course, if you have any additional questions on what I covered on this post, or any other questions in general, feel free to reach out to me via email (listed down below)!
There will also be a Knightchat for parents of accepted students on Monday, April 13th from 7:30 to 9 pm, so also feel free to pass on any questions to them to be answered then...I'll be logged on that night! ;)

Hope you all enjoyed today's What-to-Know Wednesday, be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 5th for a special Easter post!

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Instagram: @claire_cavanaugh
Twitter: @CavanaughClaire

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