Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Value of a Liberal Arts Education

Do humans have free will?
What does the body do when heart rate increases?
What are the positions on abortion?
How do athletes set goals?
What happens in the brain when you are stressed?
How can an old pair of slippers be a metaphor in art?
How did it feel to be in a concentration camp?

Don't think these questions are related? Well I'd say you're wrong. In fact, the answers and story behind each of these questions could be found in just one semester at Saint Michael's College. You see, a Liberal Arts education allows for a broad range of topics and subject matter, and thus a huge pool of information, questions, and answers.

Do humans have free will? Well, you'll just have to enroll in Philosophy of the Human Being with Prof. L'Hote to find out. It's a 200 level philosophy course and fulfills a graduation requirement as an LSR in philosophy.

What does the body do when heart rate increases? Biology of Exercise, a great choice for those of you whom, like me, aren't too science-y, will help you find your answer this time. The course covers general biology topics in a way that is easy and fun for those of us that aren't going to be biology majors any time soon. As an added bonus, once complete you can check Lab Science of your list of LSR requirements.

What are the positions on abortion? Find out the answer to this and many other related questions while taking Christian Health Care Ethics with Dr. Mahoney. The class examines topics from abortion to euthanasia to stem cell research while also lending a hand as a 200 level religious studies LSR.

How do athletes set goals? You're more than welcome to do research on this topic in a number of psychology courses. Research Methods and Sports Psychology both make it possible for you to discover the answer to this question on your own, and both fulfill a Social Science requirement as an LSR (or a major requirements if you're a Psychology major like me!)

What happens in the brain when you are stressed? I'm sure there's a biology class that will help you answer this, but if you're not too into hard science there's also Physiological Psychology, which triples as a lab science LSR , social science LSR, and requirement for the Psychology major.

How can an old pair of slippers be a metaphor in art? The First Year Seminar "Looking at Art" will teach you all about this and about many other unique and crazy art forms. Every SMC first year is required to take a seminar, and this one tops my list of favorites, along with Fly Fishing, The Examined Life (where students write a memoir), and Off the Grid (about nonconformity).

How does it feel to be in a concentration camp? I know many history classes probably cover this point, but so does Modern Civilization, a class that looks at a huge array of material and discusses it over the semester. The book "Night" by Elie Wiesel is the one that will answer this question, but many other class materials will help students become more rounded. Additionally, after completing this class, students can check off their Culture and Civilization LSR requirement.

Not only are all of these question answerable with a Liberal Arts Education, but they will overlap more often than not. I am frequently applying concepts I have learned in science and psychology to my philosophy and sociology classes. I am applying my study abroad experience in a journalism class, and am using my knowledge of social media gained through an on-campus club to do presentations in my "Conversation Italian" class. A Liberal Arts Education is truly invaluable, and I will surely debate with anyone who says otherwise.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I see you on the street and you look so tired

Hey everyone,

I'll start off by discussing the title of this post. In case you're not familiar with the song lyric (which you're probably not because only die hard Bruce Springsteen fans...and even then sometimes only ones from New Jersey...know the song) it's from the Boss' song Jersey Girl, which is a great song. I feel it fits appropriately as a title today for a few reasons.

A. I'm exhausted, as to be expected coming into a Friday. I've been really go, go, go all week, more so than usual. I've handed in 2 papers and given a presentation in the last two days, given a tour, trained new tour guides, had a bunch of meetings, taught swim lessons, and done the usual amount of homework, so it's been crazy. Still, I've been in a much better mood than I usually am and have been feeling a lot more like myself (I didn't realize I hadn't been myself until I started being more normal again haha). Needless to say, I can't wait for class to be done tomorrow so I can take a nap and get pumped for my birthday weekend!

B. I can't wait to go home for a long weekend next weekend to good old NJ. I haven't been home for more than 10 days since I left for abroad in September, and that's taken quite a toll on me. I miss my family, my bed, my friends, and my dog. And I miss my mom's cooking, for sure. I've only seen my parents a few times since coming home from Italy so I really want to just chill with my family and my friends over the weekend.

C. The next line to the song goes "I know that job you've got leaves you so uninspired" and the lyrics were the first thing I thought of when sitting down to write this post because, frankly, I've been trying to get inspired to write something great and it hasn't been happening. I've got some vague ideas but I don't feel like I'm going to do them justice just yet. That's all.

So this weekend is looking to shape up like a really fun one. Tomorrow Erick and I are planning to go and see Alice and Wonderland together, and maybe get some dinner after too, since he's going to be really busy for most of the weekend getting re certified in Wilderness First Responder with the Wilderness program. Then tomorrow night from 9-12 the Student Association is sponsoring a night at pizza putt for free for all students. That means unlimited pizza, mini golf, soda, and laser tag, AND even some tokens for arcade games. I'm really excited so I hope a lot of my friends want to go.

Saturday a comedian is coming on campus at night, and of course we're going to get together to ring in my birthday at midnight, which is SUNDAYYYY. I'm really excited, I'm not sure if you noticed. Sunday there's also a Zumba class in the gym that I want to go try out, since I don't have a lot of time to do the class that meets every week. For anyone that doesn't know, Zumba is an exercise class with a ton of dancing and fun music, and you burn 1000 calories a class! Then Sunday night my friends and I are going to go out for dinner for my birthday, so that should be really fun. I'm looking forward to a great weekend and I'll be sure to tell you all about it and put up pictures too.

That's all I've got for now. I'm going to try to plan a course schedule for next semester now. I'll let you know how it goes :/


Sunday, March 21, 2010

It's Irie Mon

Hey all,

So I'm back from an amazing and truly relaxing spring break in Jamaica, sitting in the suite and feeling a little scatter brained but that's ok for now. I figured I'd come share my thoughts and that way maybe I won't think quite as much while I'm trying to go to sleep (after I unpack, because typically I still haven't).

So Jamaica was a really really great time. Basically I sat on the beach, ate a lot of food, swam around, and such was life. We met some really cool people and had an unforgettable time. AND I learned to dance like the natives and to speak like them too (the title of this post basically means that it's all good and there are no worries). I think that Jamaica was the perfect place to go and try to extend my relaxed LEAP feeling from a few weeks ago. With a SUPER busy week coming up, I'm hoping I can keep that up.

This week is packed with a few papers, a presentation, meetings, swim lessons, a BLOGGER CHAT, and the normal everyday work. I'm also going to try and make a conscious effort to run every day too, because I've been feeling way too lazy and lethargic for my taste. Meanwhile I feel like I've been scrounging for good blog ideas and coming up just short. I've found a lot of other higher-ed blogs and sites that I've been checking out, but so far no inspiration for my own posts. But in case you were wondering, things on my mind include:

Getting a car
This cool new thing called the New York Times Skimmer
Nailing down a summer internship
Finding summer housing
Getting my grades up a bit
Wanting to work for Rough Guides or Travel Channel and go back to traveling
Schools where I can get my MSW and what I want to do with life


Because, honestly, who isn't excited for birthdays. Mairead's birthday is on the 30th, just after mine, so make sure to send her lots of birthday cheer on her day too!

I'm sure I'll check back in before the big day, so if anyone has anything to spark inspiration in me, any burning questions in your soul, or just a comment, let me know!


Thursday, March 11, 2010

What's your favorite?

Hey all,

So, I thought it would be fun for today to give everyone a little insight into me and my personality. I know they say that you can learn a lot about a person from looking at their friends and their bedroom, but my room is a little messy right now due to pre-spring break packing and such. I was trying to think of another way to help everyone get to know me better and I thought, gee, I spend a lot of time on my computer don't I? SO, I think I'll share with you the things in my "favorites" menu. This is the stuff I look at all time time and need to have just a click away. Enjoy!

AOL.com - gotta check the email
Facebook - my page, the SMC page, and the SMC Class of 2014 group
SMC mail - campus email is a necessity
My Blog - quick and easy access
IGoogle - my personalized version of Google
SMC on Flikr - to see all the great pics we put up
SMC on YouTube - everyone loves a good youtube vid
Knightvision and Ecollege - SMC's very own class pages
Refworks - an AMAZING recource for paper references, thanks to the library
Twitter - obvi
TD Bank - I now have online banking and I LOVE it
Pandora - plays only music you like
The Oatmeal - the funniest
The Choice Blog - The New York Times' online education blog...great stuff
Post Secret - lovelovelove
Craigslist - for jobs, cars, and everything else
Robot Unicorn Attack - a new (very addicting) game my brother showed me (so mature)

And that's it for my favorites. So click away, I hope you find something you like!


Monday, March 8, 2010

Open up the Sky

Hey all!

So I'm back from an AMAZING weekend experience on LEAP. LEAP is a retreat run through the SMC campus ministry department, and its meant for all students regardless of class year, gender, or religious affiliation. It's an amazing experience to get away for the weekend, meet new friends, share stories, and grow in your faith journey (in whatever faith that may be and at whatever starting point you're at). A lot of the weekend thrives on the secrets kept between LEAPers, so as not to spoil the fun for everyone else who has yet to go, so I won't say too much about it. What I will say is that everyone who has the opportunity to participate in this amazing expereince really should. It came at just the right time for me and has completely changed my mindset on this semester. I know now that I'll make it out alive (somehow) and that all I needed to do was readjust the way I'm looking at everything. Needless to say LEAP was just what I needed.

Here's a link to the theme song from the weekend (hence the post title; I hope it works) http://popup.lala.com/popup/504684659304571060

And here are some photos of the team and candidates taken after a gorgeous weekend here in Vermont:

So now that I'm back on campus, it's of course back to work, but today's activity was very interesting. For my Study Abroad Re-Entry Class, we were given an assignment to be a microsociologist of everyday life and perform a situation analysis. My group was assigned to a retail store, so today we took off to the University Mall to see what chaos we could cause. We were supposed to be examining things like space, objects, time, people, dress, and language. We were also told to break a social rule and make observations about it. Needless to say, we had a lot of fun re-dressing manikins, asking a lot of silly questions, and basically making fools of ourselves. We did observe a lot of interesting things as well. For example, in JC Penny, the plus size clothing was located next to the work out clothing, and the bathing suites next to the petite clothing. Very interesting way we organize things, perhaps without even relaizing.

In other great news, WE'VE GOT HOUSING. That's right. With lottery number 15 of the whole school, my group was able to secure our dream house in the 200 level townhouses for next year. We're super pumped about it. Now we're just got to make it until then. Since housing is over, typically we're now being plagued with the task of course selection for our last fall semester at SMC (gasp). But we won't get into that now, mostly because I'm in no way prepared to talk about it.

Try to check back a lot this week, because I've got a bunch of ideas for new posts (there's actually a list sitting next to me) and I want to try and do many of them before my sure-to-be-amazing spring break trip to Jamaica next week! SO come back soon, that's all for now.

Peace, love (and fuzz)

Monday, March 1, 2010

Weekend in Review

Hey all,

This past weekend was a pretty busy one for me. After a very hectic week and an early morning exam on Friday I came home and took a quick nap. Then Dustin and I gave interviews to students applying to be new tour guides. From there I hung out for a little and went out for dinner with Meg and Amanda. It was nice to get off campus with the two of them, since we haven't spent much time together because of swimming. It's nice to have time to balance my time with all of my friends. I didn't attend any of the activities of Friday Knight Dry (I actually slept through a bunch of them) so I'll be on the look out for a blogger who did and link you to them if I can.

Saturday I woke up, got some brunch, and got ready to head downtown for the Magic Hat Mardi Gras Parade! It whas a ton of fun but I was SO COLD. However, my friends and I did love all of the free stuff we got: lollipops, ping pong balls, boloco burritos, honest-tea, and of course, BEADS! We fought hard for all of the beads we caught, too (even had to beat out some old ladies hahaha). Reese has a new post about the parade too and there are some photos up on the SMC Flikr Page. There's an album of photos up there from last week's snow storm too.

Sunday I spent the whole day with the Founder's Society Coordinators and our advisors interviewing the tour guide applicants. There were over 80 applicants for only half as many spots and it was a long day for everyone. Making decisions is definitely a really hard process and we hate to turn down people who would be great tour guides because we don't have enough room. That said, we want everyone who came out to continue to keep up interest in Founder's and represent SMC like they have been!

Today has been kind of a long day too, but only because I'm feeling a little under the weather with a fever and such. I went to my first and last classes but slept through the two in the middle. I've been resting and recovering all day so hopefully I'm feeling better by tomorrow. At the very least I need to be ready to swim lessons and the Orientation partner dinner on Wednesday and LEAP this weekend!

So that's it for now. Go check out those photos on Flikr and take a look at everyone else's blogs to see what they've been up to. And, as always, feel free to email me at camoresano@smcvt.edu with anything and everything.