Sunday, April 30, 2017

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #15

Hello all! It's been another wonderful week here at St. Mike's.

This Wednesday, the Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts department held its annual symposium to showcase this year's senior seminar projects! Us MJD seniors got dressed up and hit the Roy Room armed with posters, handouts, and more to present the fruits of our last six months of labor and celebrate the finalization of our MJD careers! It was wonderful speaking with the individuals who approached my table to ask about my project and sharing the excitement with my fellow MJD seniors. 

#KeepVermontWeird at Church Street's newly renovated Ben & Jerry's scoop shop! We enjoyed our ice cream and a warm night in Burlington. 

Stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 3rd and be sure to keep an eye out on Snapchat this coming week (@smcknights), where you can catch a week in the life of a Knight from yours truly! 

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What-to-Know Wednesday : Off Campus Favorites

Hey all! I know I've done a few posts like this in the past. But in light of my impending graduation in just 18 days (!!!), I'm feeling nostalgic lately about some of my favorite things and places in VT - many of which I'll be visiting for the last time very soon, and some of which I've already said goodbye to...for now, that is. Incoming First Years, take note!

The Outdoors

Smuggler's Notch

If you've been reading along on Stories of St. Mike's, you know you can find me here almost every winter weekend! Even if SMC didn't offer a $65 season pass (!), I think Smugg's would still be my mountain of choice. A wide variety of trails, an easily navigable size, gorgeous views, and a great group of people made Smugg's a fast favorite from the beginning!

Camel's Hump

It's no leisurely stroll through the woods, but Camel's Hump has been one of our favorite hikes for a reason. You just can't beat that view! Bring lots of water, lots of snacks, and all of your motivation - you'll be rewarded at the top!

Nebraska Notch

While we only hiked the Nebraska Notch trail twice, we wish we'd found this gem earlier! You don't get that incredible mountaintop view that Camel's Hump offers, but if you take the trail to Taylor Lodge, you'll come to this cute little cabin! Take a lunch break and be sure to sign your name in the book. This beautiful hike offers a lot of visual variety, and still provides a workout without the intensity and elevation gain of Camel's Hump.

Mt. Philo

If you still want a workout and a view but aren't looking to make a day out of it, opt for Philo! This quickie hike offers substantial elevation gain in only a twenty minute trip up. But believe me, you'll want to stay at the top for a little while! Take in the views of beautiful Vermont farmland below, lounge at a picnic table, and I'd recommend taking the Devil's Chair route back down!

The Food

Our House Bistro

Anyone who knows me knows this is my spot. Amazing food, drink, a fun atmosphere, and great people have made Our House our favorite restaurant in the area. And of course, it doesn't hurt that it's only a few minutes from campus! Get one of their many incredible specialty mac and cheeses (their Cheeseburger Mac is pictured above!), and be sure to start with an order of fried pickles. You'll thank me later!

Al's French Fries

You can't beat a quick trip to Al's for a burger, fries, and a shake! (Can you tell I'm not counting any calories up here? But hey, by now you know we hike.) This fun, old school diner-themed spot is locals-approved, so that should tell you everything you need to know. Get there - you won't regret it!

The Juicebox

If you're looking for something a little on the healthier side, look no further than The Juicebox! Just off of Church Street and a little more reasonably priced than other similar places in the area, this is our go-to spot for smoothies, acai bowls, and a whole bunch of other good-for-you treats.

Poorhouse Pies

Nothing says "Vermont" quite like this adorable self-service pie stand in Underhill, VT! Drive right up, pick your pie from a variety of weekly flavors (Raspberry pictured above!), and leave your money in their designated box! Use their provided throw-away silverware and plates to have a slice right then and there, or take it straight home to enjoy later. Either way, Poorhouse Pies is an absolute must visit! (Fun fact: it's been featured in a PBS documentary! Check it out!)


Church Street & the Waterfront

These two go without saying! Just get often as possible!

Shelburne Orchards

Shelburne Orchards have been one of my very favorite off campus spots for a while! Pick some apples, grab a bag of doughnuts and a cup of hot cider, and enjoy the fun, classic atmosphere! And don't forget to make a pie later, too.

Magic Hat Artifactory

***This one is 21+. If you're of age, the Magic Hat Artifactory is a fun, unique spot for free samples and a cool tour!

What will be your favorite spots? Thanks for reading, and be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 30th!

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

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #14

Hello all! It's been another wonderful week here at St. Mike's, and an especially gorgeous Sunday at that.

Here are a few snapshots from my week...

Spring has sprung, so it's time for fresh flowers! 

Yearbook photos are ready to go! It's surreal to know it's the last one I'll ever take.

Saturday night, Our House Bistro, and the Cheeseburger Mac! Nothing better.

A gorgeous Sunday was made complete with a hike on the Nebraska Notch trail and a pitstop at Poorhouse Pies on the way home! 

But before the pie, we had to make sure we left our mark at the Taylor Lodge at the end of our hike! It's been a favorite, and one of the many things we'll surely miss.  "SMC '17 - JZ + CC"

Be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 26th!

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What-to-Know Wednesday : Why Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts?

Hi, all!

If you've been following along on my blog for any period of time, really, you'll know that I've spent my St. Michael's College career as a Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts major. I went in my first year having already declared the major, it turned out to be a perfect fit, and I was lucky enough to have it stay that way to the very end!

As someone who has always loved writing, reading, photography, and more recently, social media (you heard it here first...this social media obsessor wasn't even on Facebook till her senior year of high school!), St. Mike's' MJD major seemed to encompass several of my longtime interests, even as those interests evolved over the years.

For those of you who don't yet know, the Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts major covers a WIDE spectrum - from media analysis to media production, from journalism to photography, from video to web, from media law to communication systems around the world, from utilizing media to analyzing the ways they impact our society, and more. Not only will you build the skills to produce your own media content, but you will also build a deep understanding of media as they affect you both immediately and on a larger scale. Sounds pretty cool, right? Don't worry, it gets better.

MJD requires all of its majors to study abroad, whether for a full semester program or a two-week study tour. The summer before my junior year, I embarked with two MJD professors and a group of my MJD peers on a two-week study tour to China!

Just me and a couple of close, personal friends taking on the Taklamakan Desert (nicknamed by the Chinese as the "Sea of Death") in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of western China! 

This media-specific study tour was an incredible opportunity not only to experience the media culture of a country so vastly different from ours, but also to step outside our comfort zones, see things most Americans never will, and remind ourselves just how wide this world is.

I really could go on and on about how amazing MJD is and the vast array of opportunities it offers, but I don't think I can conclude with anything other than its Senior Seminar, which I've found to be the culmination of our last four years of hard work in MJD. An MJD senior has the choice of creating a documentary film, a web documentary, or a book on the topic of their choosing (approved by the professor). You'll take the Senior Seminar course over both semesters, spending the fall semester researching and conceptualizing your topic, and spending the spring semester creating your film doc, web doc, or book.

If you haven't seen my previous 5 billion mentions of my senior seminar project, I chose to write a book about hobby-jobs (hobbies pursued as a job), the people who pursue them, and their experiences in navigating through work and leisure in their lives! And for the 5 billionth time, behold my cover...

To me, becoming an independent media producer has been the perfect way to finish off my MJD career. Want to know more about my MJD senior seminar experience? Check out a previous post that goes into greater detail! Interested in reading my book? Reach out to me via the e-mail listed below for a full PDF copy! Want to know more about the major, how it might be a good fit for you, or just want to chat all things MJD? Feel free again to e-mail me!

Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 23rd!

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #13

Hello all, and Happy Easter! It's been a wonderful weekend at home for Easter break. I hope you're all enjoying it too, wherever and however you're spending it!

Now that we've got that out of the way, we can't all deny the elephant in the room - yes, this is my very last college break! The next time I'll be home, I'll have graduated from St. Mike's. With only a few more weeks left of classes after this, things are starting to sink in. On Friday, I bought my first blazer, and yesterday, I applied to my first "real" job! It was a wonderful feeling, and I'll to be applying to several more over the upcoming week or so. In the meantime, I plan to finish off the semester strong and enjoy my remaining time at St. Mike's and in Vermont to the fullest! Both have been very good to me, and I don't ever plan on forgetting that. (Full disclaimer: I still can't believe I'm writing this stuff!)

Anyway...more of this mushiness to come at a later date (keep your eye out for some especially nostalgic posts in the upcoming weeks)! But for now, here are a few snapshots from my week (is it just me, or do these almost always end up being 90-100% food??):

Coming home meant another trip into Newburyport for dinner! I've really grown to miss my hometown over the last couple of years, and it's a strange feeling to know this coming fall will be the first fall I'll have spent at home in four years. And as much as I'll miss fall in VT (apple picking, hiking, lakeside strolls, oh my!), I'm really looking forward to spending this one at home!
Coming home also means cooking yummy things! Pictured above is one of my favorites, made last night: BLT pasta salad with avocado-ranch dressing!  Who else is excited to get back to summer food??
Easter appetizers in the making!...brie topped with blackberry jam and walnuts, soon-to-be wrapped in phyllo dough and baked! Go Mom!

Ok - now that you're all hungry, I'll let you get back to your own Easter celebrations. I hope your day is filled with friends, family, and food!

Be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 19th!

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

What-to-Know Wednesday: My Favorite Classes

As I approach my final month at SMC, it should come as no surprise that I've been doing lots of reflecting lately! In this reflection, I'll admit I've been surprised to realize what some of my favorite classes have been. Curious? Read on!

Honors Art History

While I decided a year or so back that the Honors Program was no longer beneficial to my own path here, Honors classes have been some of my favorite classes at St. Mike's. As one of these Honors classes, Art History was highly discussion-based, and I was learning alongside likeminded students. Above all, the topic was really interesting. We learned about the history of architecture from Rome to Greece, certain ancient aesthetic and functionality that can still be found in modern buildings, monuments and famous works around the world (from the Pyramids to the Parthenon), and more. Above all, Professor Kinder taught the class in a compelling way. In most cases, she had traveled to the places she was teaching us about, and she was always ready with a funny anecdote or personal story about her visit there.

Global Communications & Culture

While this class had a reputation as one of the hardest ones in the Media Studies, Journalism & Digital Arts major, there was a certain thrill of constantly being on the edge of your seat! From memorizing the world map for a notorious exam to reaching out to individuals in a country across the world for interviews, Global Comm forced us to step beyond our comfort zones, analyze the roles media play in our perceptions of the world around us, and question our own roles as global citizens.

Creative Dance and/or Beginning Dance

As I've written on this blog before, I highly recommend a dance class to any SMC student! Between Global Communications and first semester Senior Seminar, last semester was undoubtedly my most challenging at St. Mike's. However, I was also taking Beginning Dance. Walking to class knowing it was time to stop worrying about some paper that was due or a project I needed to work on and that it was time to focus on myself for an hour or so was an amazing feeling, and it definitely helped me unwind from the stresses of the week and clear my head for the rest of the day!

If you're currently a St. Mike's student, what have been your favorite classes? If you are an incoming student, what are some classes you might be interested in taking?

Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 16th!

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

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #12

Hello all! It's been another wonderful week here at St. Mike's.

'Tis the season to update LinkedIn! A quick headshot photoshoot with Jared.
As I'm sure many of you know, the annual Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day was this Tuesday! While I devoured my "Frozen Flakes" ice cream (cereal and milk flavored!) too quickly to snap a photo, I did manage to snag a shot of my Mr. Mike's slices after. (To all of you accepted students who have already made your official decision to come to St. Mike's - first of all, YAY - and second of all, you should know now this is the best buffalo chicken pizza in town!) 

Each week for my three-hour senior seminar, a student is in charge of bringing a snack. This past Wednesday, I was in charge! If you've been reading along, you'll know our projects were due that day - so not only was there a bit of pressure to bring something extra special, but there was also cause for celebration! These funfetti butter cookies seemed perfectly fitting for such an occasion - and they were a massive hit! I definitely recommend trying them for yourself!
Once again, I present to you my book, which I officially handed in this Wednesday! Our presentation dates start next week, and I was just notified on Friday afternoon that I will be among the group presenting this coming Monday! (So yes, after posting today's Sum-It-Up Sunday, it's back to Google Slides for me.) While it's a wonderful feeling to be done with the project itself, I'll be truly ready to relax once A: I have presented, and B: my hard copies arrive in the mail (without half of my name cut off the bottom or something catastrophic of that nature). 

Nothing beats sharing a strawberry shake at Al's to celebrate helping to run my very last SMC Open House this Saturday! It's been a wonderful year as a Founders coordinator, and while we still have a few more things left to do, it's sad to know it's coming to an end. 

I hope you all had a wonderful week, and that you're enjoying this burst of beautiful weather we're having today! (At least enjoy it on my behalf, as I'll be working on my senior seminar presentation all day!)

Be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 12th!

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

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

What-to-Know Wednesday : MY BOOK IS HERE!

Those of you who have been reading along over the past couple of weeks know that I've been nearing the due date of my senior capstone project: a book that I self-produced from start to finish - from the research to the interviews, from the writing to the design. It's been about six months in the making, and I couldn't be more excited (and anxious!) that the due date is finally here! (Today at 3:15, to be exact.)

So without further ado, I'm so proud to reveal my book: Playcheck: Navigating Work & Leisure in the Modern Hobby-Job.

From this sneak peek, I hope you've gathered by now what my book is about: people who pursue their hobbies as a business, job, career, etc. (AKA "hobby-jobbers") and their experiences in navigating through work and leisure in their lives.

Through this experience, I got to speak with the most interesting individuals: from professional video game players to Etsy sellers, from bloggers to home brewers, from musicians to metal sculptors, and even a well-known vegan lifestyle YouTuber. They were all so generous in sharing their stories and experiences, and above all, they were crucial in making this book a ton of fun to make.

It was amazing to come up with an idea I'd perceived as so obscure, and then to go down the several paths it ended up offering: from psychological to anthropological, from history to mental health. In the end, I hope that my readers (hey, Mom and Dad) are able to make this same realization: doing what we love for a living isn't as simple and shiny as it may initially seem. Rather, there's truly so, so much behind it. It was unbelievably rewarding to explore a topic in such depth and work to make it come to life, and as I've said many times before, it's an experience I'll always carry with me.

All of that being said, thank you all for letting me ramble on about senior seminar for the past however many months! In the end, I think it was worth it.

Be sure to stay tuned for the next Sum-It-Up Sunday on the 9th!

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

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sum-It-Up Sunday : Week #11

Hello all! It's been another wonderful week here at SMC.

If you've been reading along, you'll know from my last post that I'd been nearing completion of my senior capstone project: a book! This Friday morning, I submitted the PDF files for my completed book to the SMC printing services, who will create a cloth-bound copy of my book to submit for the due date this Wednesday. After we turn in these "sloppy copies," we will be submitting our PDFs to our chosen online publishing company to create a softcover 6"x9" copy. A week or so from then, we'll have the final versions of our books ready to hand in and present!

This Saturday, SMC Admissions hosted this year's first April Accepted Students Day! Next Saturday, we'll be doing it all over again. It's always an amazing experience to interact with prospective students - especially accepted ones. This time, I even witnessed a couple of accepted students approach an admissions staff member to make their official deposits! It was incredible to watch a student commit to St. Mike's. I will certainly miss this job!

Here are a couple of snapshots from my week...

Here's your first official sneak peek of my senior seminar book: the cover! This baby went through several revisions before I was happy with the end result: from purchasing photo backdrop paper, to an awkward bedroom photoshoot, to several Photoshop sessions, it's a great feeling to know I created my cover completely from scratch! 

While yesterday's surprise snowstorm resulted in a few Accepted Students Day no-shows, it certainly made for a beautiful day on campus! Did anyone spot the caution tape around our maple trees or see our website warning about the possibility of their exploding? Happy April Fool's! 

I hope you all had a wonderful week! It was great to meet so many accepted students and their families yesterday, and I look forward to meeting many more next weekend!

Until then, be sure to stay tuned for the next What-to-Know Wednesday on the 5th!

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