Thursday, May 24, 2012

First-Year Housing

Hey, so, it's been a while!

To get everyone all caught up, finals week ended well--passed all of my tests, handed projects in on time, and said goodbye to my professors. After I handed in my last paper, I took a deep breath and...headed back to my room to work on packing. That wasn't easy, since I completely wrecked the place during finals week...getting everything together to move out may have actually been more stressful than my exams!

Anyway, I'm now back home in Poughkeepsie, NY, safe and sound. I've been here for just a couple of weeks, but part of me is already wanting to go back to Saint Mike's. I miss it so much! I'm grateful that I still have three more years...I haven't had enough of the place yet!

Of course, next year will be a completely different experience. New classes, new people (as we say farewell to the class of 2012 and welcome the class of 2016!) and, of course, a new place to live.

As a first-year, I lived in Lyons Hall in the Quad. The Quad is where all incoming freshmen will live. I had an awesome experience living there this past year--all of the buildings are so close to each other that it creates a really tight-knit community. I never had to walk far to go visit a friend. These buildings are also conveniently located right next to the academic buildings, Alliot (the dining hall), and the library. There were a few close calls when I'd wake up only ten minutes before a class, and I was still never late! (I don't recommend testing that out, though).

Lyons Hall

Lyons--as well as Ryan, Joyce, and Alumni, the other buildings that make up the quad--is a four-story building that houses approximately 40 to 60 students per floor. The rooms are mostly doubles, with some triples and singles. There is a bathroom in every wing (each wing or floor is same-sex) and there is a student lounge in each building where students have access to a printer. The basements all have vending machines and multiple washers and dryers.

I lived on the fourth floor of Lyons Hall, in the South wing. I absolutely loved it there! The girls in my wing, as well as on my whole floor, were incredibly sweet and we really formed a little community within our hall. I lived in 416, which is a single. So, I didn't have the experience that the majority of my classmates had. On move-in day, there was no roommate waiting for me. I was excited to have my own room, but at the same time, I was scared--would I make any friends?

My mom took this picture of me right after I moved in!

Soon enough, all of that blank wall space was full of papers and photographs.

Singles are smaller than double rooms, but I loved Lyons was so cozy!

I think this was the cleanest my desk was all year!

It turns out, making friends wasn't a problem at all. My first night there, I had already met every girl in my wing, and we all gathered in one room and talked most of the night away. Throughout the week (and most of the year, in fact) I kept my door propped open whenever I was around and available to hang out, and people would come in and out of my room as they pleased. Eventually, I simply left my door unlocked when I was inside, and my closest friends knew they didn't even need to knock--they'd walk right in! My little single turned into a pretty neat hang-out spot for me and my friends, especially Tanya, who had a single on the floor below me, and Maya, who had a single in Joyce (and who will be my North Campus roommate in the fall!).

Tanya, Maya and I lay on the bed while Cait naps on the floor.  This photo was taken during finals week,  and as you can see, we were all exhausted!

The Quad experience was something I'll never forget, and I'm sure it's unique, just as living in any other campus residence will be. Next year, I'll be in Linnehan, on North more waking up 10 minutes before class anymore! It'll be fun to live with one of my best friends, but Lyons 416 will always remind me of my first year having a college experience. I hope whoever gets it next year loves it, and makes it their own. I'll miss that room!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Birthdays at SMC

Hello, everyone! Sorry to keep you all waiting for an entire week--as I said before, it was a pretty crazy one! I'll tell you more about finals and the last days of classes in my vlog tonight, so stay posted.

First, though, I wanted to discuss something really fun...birthdays! Friday was a really important day for my friends Tanya and Sarah, as it was both of their 19th birthdays. We went to eat at Olive Garden and then saw The Avengers. AMAZING movie! I highly recommend it. It was a nice girls' night out, and I think they both had a really good time.

Beautiful birthday girls!
This has not been our only celebration this year, though! I have a HUGE group of friends, and as I've said before, we're truly a family. Shawn's birthday was April 29th, and he was so surprised when he arrived at his room to find everyone waiting for him with a "happy birthday" banner, cake, and presents.

We also had Cait's birthday on the 20th...I know, TONS of birthdays in a matter of weeks! Our friend Alex got everyone together for a huge surprise party in Eddie's Lounge (you can read more about it here at Jessica's blog...she came to celebrate too!).

Cait and Nate being goofy at her party...she had no idea we had anything planned!

Even last semester, we knew we had wanted to do something special for Maya's birthday. We like to make fun of her because she's a big Twilight fan, but the truth is we all had a good time bringing her to see the latest movie when it came out in November! We also bought her lunch and a birthday dessert at Bueno Y Sano and My Little Cupcake, two delicious places conveniently located near the Roxy theater downtown.

We also wrapped her door like a present and everyone signed it!

Here she is blowing out the candles!

Maya, me, and Tanya at what now feels like only the beginning of an amazing friendship!

Sheila and I have our birthdays in the same week, mine is January 24th and hers is the 29th. Her dad and sister came up to visit, and they took us out to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. We also went to Lake Champlain for a beautiful winter view.

We didn't stay for very long was freezing!
My 19th birthday was one that I will never forget. It was on a Tuesday, so I figured I wouldn't do anything special--everyone is extremely busy during the week with classes, homework, extracurriculars, and events. I remember that I was happy, though, because the blood drive was that day. I know that sounds really odd, but I was looking forward to it because I could never donate before. The last time I tried, they told me to come back when I was 19. And there we were, having a blood drive on my 19th birthday! So, I considered it a sign. I was really happy once I did it, because even though it was a little scary, I knew that it was for a good cause. Knowing that my blood can help someone in need, maybe even help save a life, was an awesome birthday gift.

Anyway, I didn't expect to do much else on my birthday. But, knowing my SMC family, they would have never let that happen! I remember sitting with Sheila in the first floor lounge of Joyce, working on some homework. I was facing the window, and when I looked up I saw the reflections of a bunch of people walking in with a plate of cupcakes and some presents. My friends snuck up on me and threw me a surprise party...nobody had ever done this for me before!

They were delicious...and Maya gave me the coolest hat!

My friends threw me one of the most memorable birthdays ever!

I love that we've done something cool for every single birthday in our group. No matter who you meet at Saint Mike's, the friends you make will always find a way to make you feel amazing. The funniest part is when people burst out singing "happy birthday" in Alliot! The giant birthday cake we get every month isn't too bad either. :)