Friday, December 24, 2010

A Festivus for the rest of us

Hello friends and Merry Christmas!

I know, why am I posting in the earliest hours of what we can deem Christmas morning? Well, mostly because I just drank half a gallon of cider and the sugar will have me up for another hour at least. Also, I know you must be dying for a life update from me.

Ok not really, but here I am giving it to you anyway. After all, I'm halfway through my senior year, all but a semester away from graduation. But we're not here to talk about that. At least not yet. I'm working on that. I'm just here to catch you up on how I've been spending my pre-Christmas time.

Truthfully I've done a lot of nothing which, in my opinion, is what break should be about for those of us only home for a week before shipping off to some exotic land to swim twice a day before returning to school earlier than everyone else. Well, my exotic land is only Washington DC this year and, as my education major friends remind me, the swim team will not be the only ones back at school early, but that is neither here nor there.

What is here is Christmas. And before that? Christmas eve. And before that? A festivus for the rest of us of course! For those of you unfamiliar with festivus, I've linked you to the Wikipedia page. But, in short, it is a celebration outside of Christmas Eve and Christmas day celebrated on December 23rd to remember the holiday without the commercialism and craziness. So for my festivus, aside from the aluminum pole, miracles, grievances, and feats of strength, I headed to a local NJ theater for their production of Les Miserables. A few of my friends and I got some yummy Italian dinner first and then met some other friends at the theater. The show was really well done (obviously depressing as the plot is) and we went for drinks and dessert afterwards. It was all in all a great festivus and a good kick off for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve, which I still keep trying to call "today" since it's a weird time of day, I slept late, woke up, hung around, got ready, and headed to 4:00 mass with the family. We then continued our Christmas Eve tradition and went to a movie (nobody is ever there, it's awesome). We saw the new Narnia movie and it was pretty good I'd say. Then we came home for dinner. Not quite all 7 fishes but my dad made chowder and we had muscles and clams too, along with a ton of antipasto and other treats. Then it was time to snuggle up on the couch with warm drinks and a Muppet Christmas Carol. Only the best.

I'm glad I had a snuggly almost-Christmastime. I was starting to miss the magic of the season that I wrote about last year from Europe. I think sometimes without the snow I forget it's winter/Christmastime, so it's nice to be reminded of that with some family time.

So, here's hoping you are finding Christmas as magical and merry as ever. I'm not sure if I'll be updating before the new year (unless I want to brag about cool presents) so if I don't, I'll see you in 2011 (graduation year, YUCK).

Merry Christmas,

(P.S. I used to write Merry Christine on my cards because it was a's tough)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Your internship sounds really interesting! Can you talk more about it?


So as a psychology senior there are a few options for major completion outside of the "history and issues" capstone class that we all need to take for a semester.

One option is a semester long "advanced topics" course where the topic is based on the professor teaching the course and what he/she specializes in. Another option is research, which is one semester for regular majors and two semesters for honors program students who are taking research to complete the honors program.

The third option is what I'm doing, a year long "practicum" course. Each student in my class (and the other section, in total about 30 of us) has gotten a placement at a human services agency in the Burlington area. I'm working at Spectrum Youth and Family Services, which is a local non-profit that focuses a lot of homeless youth and youth in transition.

Spectrum has a pretty wide range of services, but I work in the residential sector at a group home for 6 adolescent boys. Currently we have only 5 residents, but we have capacity for 6. They all come from different walks of life: substance abuse, psychological treatment, foster care, poor home life. They are all in state custody and are at the Co-op program to help the transition into indepenent living and so that the staff (and me and an intern) can help them learn life skills and provide other support and resources for them.

As practicum students we're provided a list of possible sites for our year of internship, but we are responsible for sending emails, making phone calls, and getting interviews at various locations until we find one that's right for us. We've got people at all different types of sites: group therapy, substance abuse, mental illness, DCF, crisis hotlines, and alternative schools, to name a few.

SMC is also one of the only schools that offers the full year practicum experience, and I couldn't be more excited about my second semester at the Co-op. I hope this helps and let me know if you have any more questions (or if you want to hire me this summer in NJ! haha)


Sunday, December 19, 2010

What are you doing for your psych senior capstone?

I'm not actually sure what I'll be doing for my capstone paper. I'm taking the capstone class this spring, so I have no idea what to expect.

For my other senior requirement, however, I'm working a full year internship with Spectrum Youth and Family Services. I work at a group home with up to 6 adolescent at-risk young men in transition and I love it there. I've been learning a lot and really getting to know the residents and the ins and outs of the organization too.

What do you want to know about SMC?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Holiday Contest!

Hello again!

It's that time of year...time for the second annual SMC holiday trivia contest!

Succesfully complete 10 questions asked by SMC staff, and you will be entered to win awesome prizes!

So to get you started, here's the first video. Good luck!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How is the party scene on campus? Would you say the school is clique-ish? I dont play sports or ski....would i feel like an outsider?

SMC is definitely not clique-ish, and to answer that question and your first, there is something for everyone here. If you want to find a party on campus, you can, but if you want to watch a movie, play a board game, go out to dinner, make an ice cream sundae, play guitar hero, or eat free food you can do that too!

It's also definitely ok that you don't play sports or ski, there are a lot of people here that don't do either of those things, so don't think that's all we're about. There are over 60 clubs to choose from on campus so, again, there's something for everyone here.

What do you want to know about SMC?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A humanitarian, a feast, and a new SMC tradition?

Hey all,

I wanted to write this post last week, but you know how it goes. It's the last week of classes, holiday cheer is in the air, and the snow has been falling for about a day now. But, I wanted to touch back on the previous holiday, Thanksgiving, as well as a pretty awesome speaker we had come to campus.

Dr. Paul Farmer, a humanitarian, anthropologist, and physician, as well as a founder of Partners in Health, came to SMC to speak. I wasn't sure what he was going to talk about, but I knew it would be interesting and the crowd would be big. There turned out to be between 700 and 800 students, faculty, and community members at the presentation. He spoke about the current situation in Haiti, as well as what he has seen in the past. There were a few big points I really took away from his time at SMC:

1. Are there really natural disasters, or are the consequences the result of social disasters?
2. Develop engagement and activism early, no matter what your passion or cause
3. From day 8 after the earthquake in Haiti, the country's best hospital was floating in the harbor
4. Aid to Haiti was amazing; over 1/2 of American households donated, and they did not list any needs that they did not receive.
5. "Where are you from?" in Creole translates to "you are a person where?"

I know not all of this seems big to everyone, but those are the things that stayed with me and made me think.

Closer to the Thanksgiving break, my friends and I gathered at Eliza's house near Smuggs for one last family feast before her parents moved out of the house we had grown to love visiting. It was a delicious night filled with every food you could imagine, yummy cider, and fun and games. Here's a photo of us all together:

A few days before we headed home for break, there was another fun activity a friend of mine put on in the 300s field: The Townhouse Turkey Toss. I went to watch, had a great time, and got some video:

And that's all for now, but check back soon!