Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Malaysia, Anyone?


I don't know why that was such an enthusastic greeting, but I'll go with it. To be honest, I'm in a surprisingly good mood for the immense amount of work I have to finish before three o'clock tomorrow afternoom.

My fellow Global Comm folk know what I mean. Tomorrow's the due date for phase 1 of our semester-long country project.

Although it's an interesting project and I'm learning a lot, it's incredibly stressful. It's a pretty big deal. Basically, it's a research project on the media industry and culture of an assigned country, except it will be web-based. So rather than handing in a massive research paper at the end of the semester, I will instead be "handing in" a massive website. The site will be a mixture of my own writing and analysis plus pictures, video and sound clips, and links to other sources.

So, in order to take a break from phase 1, which is pretty much just a LOT of research on a basic website, I'm still trying to be productive by preparing myself for phase 2. This will consist of more research and adding some essential design elements.

Then, of course, there are the interviews. That's where my AMAZING readers come in! I know that I have a small international audience (you guys are awesome!), so I'd like to give a shout out to anyone reading this who might be from Malaysia. Please, if you're Malaysian or you're currently living in Malaysia, contact me. I need to speak to people who have personal experience living in the country. It would be great to get to know you, not just because I need to do this project but it would also be so cool to talk to some of my readers.

So, if you're from Malaysia, you're still reading, and you'd like to help me out, please contact me via Facebook (Lauren Kopchik), Twitter (@LaurenKopchik), my school email (, or Formspring (Lauren Kopchik).

(And if you're not from Malaysia and you read this anyway, you're awesome! As always, feel free to contact me whenever you want if you have questions about Saint Mike's.)

I should get back to my project now. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Career Development

If you know anything about Saint Mike's, you probably know how much it prides itself as a whole on being an extremely supportive community. As a small liberal arts college with just about every student living on campus, how could it not be?

Something that shouldn't go unnoticed, though, is that the community aspect does not apply only to students--it applies to faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors as well. I can't think of a place where this would be more evident than in the Office of Career Development.

Although I've only just begun to visit the Office of Career Development, it's an on-campus resource that's available for everyone to use, from first-years to grad students or even alumni. Now that I've started getting serious about looking for a summer internship, I've been scheduling appointments with career development to work on my resume and discuss my options.

I started out by going to a resume workshop, which is an event that takes place almost every week to help students figure out what they should put on their resumes and how to format them to suit different internships or opportunities. The workshop that I attended had been run by Ingrid Peterson, and she was incredibly helpful in answering my initial questions. After that, I decided to schedule a one-on-one meeting with Ingrid so that I could figure out what I wanted to do this summer and where I should go to look for internships.

During our first meeting, Ingrid looked over my resume and helped me make a few small adjustments to showcase the experiences I've had that I want my employers to know about. She asked me some questions about what kind of work I was looking to do, and had me fill out a form by checking off which types of jobs sounded interesting and which major cities or regions I would like to work in. As an MJD major with a lot of experience in blogging and writing or editing content for the web, I am mostly interested in finding an internship that would help me further those skills. I also checked off subjects like photography, web design, newspaper writing and editing, service work, and non-profit organizations.

After that, we looked at a few websites that would be useful in finding internships that cater to my interests. Ingrid also showed me how to get the best use out of SMC JobLink, which is a database that allows anyone in the SMC community to set up a profile and browse resources for finding jobs, internships, careers and other opportunities.

Today I had a second meeting with Ingrid just to follow up on my final resume and cover letter for a specific employer. We talked about application deadlines, how to go about setting up interviews and how to graciously turn down other interviews once an internship is landed.

Although it's a lot of pressure to make yourself look awesome on paper to a complete stranger, I found that the right resources really do help. Everyone in the Office of Career Development is incredibly nice, and they know exactly what you're going through. Most importantly, though, they really care. Ingrid was as excited as I was about the interships I was finding, and she told me to let her know once I hear back from the employers.

I think that this attitude is definitely one of the things that has always set Saint Mike's apart from other colleges for me. Everyone here helps each other out, and it really is a supportive community. From professors to fellow students, from the office faculties to shuttle drivers to the custodial staff, everyone is looking out for each other. I think that's also why we have such a huge network for such a small school. We keep in touch with every contact we make; we touch base to see how everyone is doing. It's not that we're just thorough--it's that we care. That's why, when people look at a resume and see a Saint Michael's student, they say "Hey! I know that place!"

So, not to get off topic, but I think that all really does relate to Career Development and the wonderful work that they do here. Shout out to them!

And to all of the other members of this fabulous community, know that you are appreciated. It's nice to know that someone's got my back. Remember that I've got yours too.



Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fossil Free SMC!

We've had some really cool environmental awareness things going on around campus over the past few  weeks. Not that this is anything unusual--at Saint Mike's, most students aim to live daily with the environment in mind. However, we're at the beginning of a new, huge movement, and it all started with Bill McKibben's visit to Saint Mike's at the end of January. His talk was incredibly inspiring, and I was quite thrilled to be able to write an article for Her Campus SMCVT about the event.

Bill McKibben is one engaging speaker.

As one of the most influential people on the topic of climate change, Bill McKibben is quite a role model for people all over the world, and the student body was so excited to have him here. He is a founder of the website, an organization that attempts to instill environmental and legislative change through its campaigns. In the past, it has succeeded in launching huge social activism movements worldwide, and it continues to make an impact on how global citizens view personal responsibilities for the way we treat our planet.

One of 350's recent campaigns is its divestment campaign, which has been asking colleges and universities across the nation to divest stocks from its list of 200 top oil companies. This "Fossil Free" movement, if taken on by enough schools, could make an impact--but more importantly, it's a statement that a great number of our population will no longer stand by and see nothing done about climate change. We want to protect our future, and we will not support something that will inevitably harm it.

So, this week a group of about thirty or forty students got together to start planning our own divestment campaign. We are currently waiting to hear back from the school's administration about exactly which companies we are invested in, and once we find out about that, we're going to start planning talks about divesting from any oil companies. It's kind of surprising that we'd be investing in stocks in the first place--I don't know, it's just something I never thought about. But I'm so glad to be taking this next step. When you're fighting something as gigantic and ambiguous as climate change, everything counts. ESPECIALLY money. And where we put our money is a statement of our beliefs. Taking our investments away from these companies sends out a clear message: this is NOT okay.

I'm really excited for what the rest of the semester holds for this campaign. It won't be easy work, that's for sure--after all, we don't want Saint Mike's to be losing any money in this process, and we will need to find new companies to invest in that will make up the difference but also follow in accordance with our beliefs, environmental and otherwise.

To support Saint Mike's in the divestment endeavor, like our Fossil Free SMC Facebook page. Find out more about the divestment campaign and how you can set one up for your own school here at 350's campaign website. If your school is already participating, see how you can get involved. Most importantly, SPREAD THE WORD. Knowledge is power, and the more people who know about this movement, the better. Remember that if we keep ourselves educated about the issues we want to face, and band together to change those issues, we really can make a difference.

Stay informed!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Vlog: Study Abroad and Feeling a Little Awkward

It's been a while! I forgot what it was like talking to a camera. And I have so many awesome readers to impress, y'all made me a bit nervous. So enjoy watching me squirm! (Gee, Blogger chose such an attractive still...thanks, technology.)

Here's a link to the SMC Study Abroad page:

And here are links to the specific programs I'm looking at: