Monday, April 30, 2012

Preparation Day (P-Day)

For Saint Michael’s College Students, P-day is one of the most exciting days of the semester.  P-day stands for Preparation Day, signifying the end of the semester and the end of another academic year.  Historically, P-day has always taken place the Saturday before finals, giving students one last chance for a good time before the studying begins. 
P-day kicks off on the Friday night before this St. Mike’s “holiday”.  Every year, the MLK Society hosts a talent show where students can display their hidden talents.  As a senior, I regret never having attended this event before because it was amazing!  So many talented students were able to take the stage to demonstrate their undeniable talent.  After an incredible talent show, students eagerly await the next day’s festivities.
P-day morning begins with a tricycle race where students find themselves driving a variety of three wheeled vehicles that are inarguably too small.  In the afternoon, students are allowed unlimited access to the “Chew Chew” tent, a large tent that contains local restaurants serving all kinds of cuisine.  Vendors ranged from the Skinny Pancake, to Papa Franks, to Ben &Jerry’s.  This afternoon of fun wouldn’t be complete without a mechanical bull and various inflatables to keep both spectators and participants entertained.
One of my favorite aspects of P-day though is the “p-day attire”.  Students often will design, purchase, or create P-day tshirts. Some students prefer to wear crazy costumes, but regardless of what you choose, students use P-day as an opportunity to show their St. Mike’s pride.  This year, my friends and I designed black tank tops with SMC P-DAY SENIORS on the front. 
Here are a few pictures from this year’s P-day weekend!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Saint Michael's College Research Symposium

This past weekend marked Saint Michael’s College 4th Annual Research Symposium. The Research Symposium is intended to give students an opportunity to showcase semester and yearlong research projects, internship experiences, as well as students’ senior thesis papers and projects. Projects are displayed from within every major and department on campus and I took this as an opportunity to learn from students outside of my major.
I learned about “A Combination Therapy Targeting Cystic Fibrosis Protein” from my friend Jenn Maxham, a senior student studying Bio-Chemistry. Jenn Maxham has future plans to move to Australia after graduation and eventually attend graduate school. My friend Mary Spuches, Mathematics major was able to spend some time explaining her three year research project to me about “Uniform Polyhedra in the Octet Truss”. Mary will be graduating this May and will be attending graduate school in South Carolina. These topics, as well as others, were incredibly unfamiliar to me, but I was able to learn more about what other students on campus are working on.
The Research Symposium also featured performances by the various dance classes. The dances ranged from ballet to modern dance, with various skill levels as well. Dance classes can be used to fulfill the artistic experience credits as a Liberal Studies Requirement. I commend my fellow students who participate in dance classes offered at St. Mike’s because I am fairly confident how I think I dance and how I actually dance is not entirely in sync.
Finally, the Research Symposium also featured the Business Department’s, Enterprise Plan Competition. As a senior business major at Saint Michael’s College, students are required to develop a business plan from start to finish. This daunting task is a semester long project, but the result and feeling of accomplishment after completing this project are indescribable. My business plan, “Bow Wow, Burlington’s Biscuit Bakery” was developed along with my two classmates Lauren Southworth and Andrea Park. The top five plans throughout the spring and fall semesters are entered into the annual competition. Unfortunately, “Bow Wow, Burlington’s Biscuit Bakery” came in sixth place, just missing the coveted competition spots.
Attending the competition was a great opportunity to see what my classmates have been working hard on all semester. A few of the competition qualifying plans included a freestyle ski retail shop, a non-profit bereavement camp, as well as a maple syrup “sugar shack”.
The Research Symposium was an overall success and a great learning opportunity for all Saint Michael’s College students.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Thanksgiving Break

I can't believe how quickly Thanksgiving break went by. I felt like just as I
was getting settled at home, I had to start packing my things again.
I really enjoyed my time being home, but I couldn't help but notice how
different my consumption was over the course of the break compared to when
I am at my home away from home, St. Mike's. On my first night home I
requested to my parents that we get sushi, one of my favorite foods. Although
sushi is one of my favorite foods, I rarely ever eat it here at school because it is
so expensive. When I was studying abroad in Hong Kong, sushi was extremely
cheap compared to here in the US, so I would eat it all the time, but now it's
hard to rationalize paying so much for it when I know how inexpensive sushi
can be in other parts of the world.
In addition to eating sushi over break, I had a busy Thanksgiving. I started
off the holiday by participating in a 5K road race called the Feaster Five. This
is the fifth year in a row I have run in this race and it has become a tradition for
my family to all run in this race every year. One of the benefits of waking up
early for this race is you get to witness ridiculous things like this:

Another benefit of running this road race is all participants get a free (well free after the race fee), apple pie! There are usually over 8,000 participants in this race, which equals a lot of apple pie. My dad is an excellent pie baker, so we never take advantage of the free pies, but I still think that it is a fun and interesting way to incise people to run a race on Thanksgiving day.
After lots of turkey and visiting relatives, I decided to go shopping on Black Friday for the first time. I woke up at 3:45am, or in other words the middle of the night and was at the mall before 5am. I got to the mall after it had been open for an hour, so there weren't any lines outside, but inside was not as crowded as I thought it would be. I was also surprised at the kinds of consumers I saw shopping, mostly girls between 15-25. I thought that most of the people I would see shopping would be mom's doing some early holiday shopping, but instead I saw girls shopping with friends, or the occasional daughter shopping with her mother. Most of the shopping they were doing looked like it was for themselves, not gifts for others. I didn't end up buying anything on Black Friday, mostly because I am not ready to shop for Christmas and I didn't need anything in particular. It was an interesting experience none the less.
Overall I think I had a pretty good break. Now just 3 more worked filled weeks before I head home again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

An Entrepreneurs Insight: Gorilla Bars, Dog Biscuits, and the Buzz of Bees

Mike Rosenberg, founder and owner of Gorilla Bars spoke with my Business Strategy class this morning. Mike is St. Mike's graduate who was able to turn a passion into a successful business. His presentation was of particular interest because as I have mentioned in previous posts, Business Strategy is my senior capstone class where I am working with two awesome group members (Andrea and Lauren) to create a business plan. Our business plan idea involves opening a specialty dog biscuit business.
Now I know you might be thinking dog biscuits and energy bars, what could they possibly have in common? Well, maybe the products are dissimilar, but the process Mike has gone through to create a Vermont based business is exactly the kind of information my classmates and I have been searching for.
During his presentation, Mike spoke about the importance of distribution and how sometimes taking a more cautious approach can lead to success. One of the challenges my group members and I have been struggling with for our project is what retail channel would be most effective for our dog biscuit distribution. Mike gave us some interesting things to think about, especially because his bars are sold entirely through their online website.
Although I enjoyed all of Mike's presentation, the thing I found most interesting was that Gorilla Bars has not spent any money on marketing and yet they're turning a profit each month. This statement caused one of my favorite student moments to happen: when what you're learning in the classroom translates to something you can relate to in real life.
In my consumer behavior class I am reading a book called Buying In: What We Buy and Who We Are by Rob Walker. Just last night, within the pages of this text I was reading about a website called BzzAgent. BzzAgent is a social media machine that accelerates sales through product advocates, whose passion is creating a buzz about new products. Buzz seems to be exactly what Gorilla Bars is using, word of mouth coming from people who have enjoyed their products. As a consumer who truly enjoyed eating my first Gorilla Bar today, here is my shameless plug: Try Gorilla bars, the honey makes them extra sweet and so delicious!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Six Most Exciting Syllables of the Semester

This Friday at St. Michael's College is the annual Career Symposium. The career symposium is an event hosted by Career Development in collaboration with the Office of Alumni & Parent Relations. This is the third year students have been offered the opportunity to participate in the Career Symposium. The schedule for the evening is as follows:

The keynote address will be given by Diane Darling. Her presentation will feature information on effective networking, which I think will be especially beneficial. Last week I attended a "Take the WORK out of Networking" presentation through Career Development. After this short introduction, I am interested to learn more about effective networking and how to get started.
Later in the evening there will be industry panel presentations. I intend on attending the Sales and Marketing panel, as well as the Human Resources panel. The panel presentations will be presented by St. Mike's alumni. This annual event is intended to give juniors and seniors the opportunity to become familiar with tools that will help students in their careers. Now all I need to do is tidy up my resume and iron my business attire. Should be a great start to the weekend and my future!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Pumpkin Rule

It was so great having fall break, Monday and Tuesday off leaves only 3 days of classes until another relaxing weekend. Over break I decided to get a "classic" fall activity out of my system, carving pumpkins!
The first step in carving pumpkins, and maybe even the most difficult part is picking the perfect pumpkin. There are so many things to consider, size, color, texture, and shape. When I was growing up as a kid, my family had a rule for picking pumpkins. The rule stated that your pumpkin could only be as big as you were willing to carry back from the pumpkin field. I definitely had some trouble with this rule back when I was younger, I would always choose the biggest pumpkin and had to stop a few times on the way back because it was so heavy.
Now, older and wiser, I decided to take a different approach. Price was my main concern, and I ended up choosing a handsome three dollar pumpkin that was on the petite side. I was going to be carving my pumpkin with Clint, who chose a bigger, taller pumpkin. His pumpkin is on the left and mine is on the right.
After carefully picking our pumpkins, we brought them home to carve. I remember carving pumpkins being very different as a child, it seemed to take forever, was fairly difficult, and extremely messy. Having now carved a pumpkin just a few days ago, I realize those things had more to do with me as an individual, than about carving pumpkins. Here are few pictures of Clint and I during the carving process.
It surprised me how different our pumpkins turned out. I took a fairly simple approach, sticking to basic shapes and created a cat face for my pumpkin. Clint decided to do the silhouette method and created a wolf howling at the moon. Here are the finished products!
Overall, I would say I had relaxing, fun, much needed fall break. I'm glad to be back at St. Mike's with my friends and pumpkin carving has only made me that much more excited for Halloween!

Monday, October 10, 2011

7 Survival Tips for Week 7!

Week 7 of the semester already? Are we really almost halfway through the fall semester? It's Columbus Day and unlike many other colleges, St. Mike's students are not home for fall break. This year, St. Mike's changed our fall break to a week later than in past years. A week may not seem like a huge change, but to students working hard, midterms and papers are definitely on everyone's schedule for the week. In order to stay on top of my work, I've created: 7 Survival Tips for Week 7. Hopefully, using some combination will help everyone get through the week so we can enjoy the four-day weekend ahead.

Survival Tip #1: Don't skip on sleep.
Even when the work seems to be piling up, don't forget to get some sleep. Lack of sleep will only catch up with you later in the week.

Survival Tip #2: Exercise.
Sometimes, a 30-minute run or walk around the nature trail or track is just the study break you need. My dad always recommends this to me when I'm stressing about work, and surprisingly it works to calm me down every time.

Survival Tip #3: Don't forget your friends.
Although you may not be in the same classes as your friends or roommates, we're all working hard. Be respectful of their work and help each other through the week by balancing fun and work.

Survival Tip #4: Alliot is your friend.
Instead of skipping meals because you're too busy cook, use your Alliot meal swipes. Eating well will give you the energy you need to power through the studying, so take the time to go to Alliot for a meal or two if you're feeling crunched for time one day.

Survival Tip #5: Do something crazy.
Do something completely unrelated to schoolwork at least once. Break up you're studying and stressing by adding one thing to your week you normally wouldn't do. Volunteer with MOVE for a few hours, go on a hike with the Outdoor Club, or spend a hour hanging out with your peers at a club you've always been interested in, but never experienced.

Survival Tip #6: Coffee is key.
This one is pretty self explanatory. A little caffeine can go a long way, so grab a tea or coffee on your way to the library.

Survival Tip #7: Listen to music.
Even if you don't like music while you work, take a few minutes when you're stressing out to listen to your favorite song or two. My sister recently recommended this song to me, maybe it's just the four minute study break you're looking for!