3 College Regrets

With 28 days until graduation, I’ve been feeling sentimental. Wow, a full four years have just flown by. They really do mean it when they say every year passes quicker than the last. Looking back on my first two years of college and my final two years here at Saint Michael’s, here are 3 things I regret while pursuing my bachelor’s degree.

  1. I wish I studied abroad for an entire semester.
    • Entering college, I thought I needed to stay within an hour of home so that my mom could come see me whenever I needed her. I could easily call my parents for any emergency and they could be there almost immediately. After two years, I realized I could move more outside that comfort zone and moved to a school 3+ hours away. The same line of thinking shaded my study abroad experience. “I’ll get too home sick.” “It’s too hard to stay away for 4 months.” “My parents can’t visit often – if at all – and I can’t afford a crazy international phone plan.” All of these worries? Understandable, but nonsense. After my first week in Italy, I had crossed the homesick hump and desired to stay longer – but I chose a quick summer program to go abroad but not commit for a full semester. This is my greatest regret. If I could do it all over again, I would do a fully immersive, foreign food eating, public transportation taking, crazy adventure of a study abroad program while I have the chance.

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      My abroad group on the rooftop of Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City!

  2. I wish I did another internship.
    • Looking back, I had a great experience at Local 22/44 working with the sports and news video production teams. It was through that real-world experience that I learned that broadcast news is not my passion, not something that will currently drive me to get out of bed every morning and look forward to my job. Realizing that, I wish I had another intern opportunity, working somewhere else to teach me more applicable skills and the reality of whether or not I feel at “home” in that career. Taking more intern opportunities, even over the summer (which I never fully realized was an option), would have given me more experience, skills in networking and interviewing, and continue to better my job search on the road to graduation.

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      Typical night of video production @ Local 22/44

  3. I wish I picked my major sooner.
    • While this regret is a little tricky, I had no idea what I wanted to major in when I entered college. I mean, deciding what I want to do for the rest of my life when I’m 18 is crazy! I have been an elementary education, psychology, business/marketing, English, and media studies majors… although maybe not in that order. My advisers must have been so tired of meeting with me to talk about potential career paths, because I can see myself almost everywhere! Luckily, it was in the moment I took a television production class that I knew what I wanted to do, what would make me happy to go to work everyday. Realizing this, a little late, I had less time to take more of those classes, needing to catch up from the “wasted” time of management or religion courses.

However, my final, double-edged regret leads me to wish I could’ve taken more media and film classes, but also NOT regret the liberal arts experience I have gained. I believe I have the advantage over other students, being versed in art history and philosophy, biology and calculus. I am capable of tying together multiple schools of thought and converse in more global terms, realizing the inter-relatedness of all of our disciplines  – the best gift my liberal arts education has given me. With that important clarification, learn from my mistakes and make the most of your college experience… it doesn’t last forever!

 

As always, let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

Apps I Can’t Live Without

Technology. In this generation, we were basically born with a smartphone in our hands. But how can we make the most of it in college? How can I use my phone for good – and not watching Netflix 24/7?

Since we’re surrounded by so many options – like when you need to choose just ONE Ben & Jerry’s flavor – I’ve opted to make my own list of apps I use everyday on my phone. Even though I’ve added a couple fun, perhaps distracting ones that I can’t live without, hopefully this helps you navigate the college scene and be successful in your classes. Remember, Canvas is more important for your schoolwork, but Netflix keeps you happy. Keep the balance!

  1. Canvas
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    Canvas! The wonderful invention that lets professors upload reading files, powerpoints, send out announcements that come to your phone like a text, and more! You can easily track your grades, contact your professor with a question you have, and collaborate with or get help from other classmates on assignments.
  2. Pages
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    On the weekends I would travel home or go to swim meets, I wouldn’t normally bring my laptop. This app saves my butt, letting me use Apple’s version of Microsoft Word to type up any homework assignment. Even if I spend the day at a friend’s room, I don’t need to worry about forgetting my laptop if I need to start work but don’t want to leave.
  3. Google Docs
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    If you don’t ever need to write a group paper in college, you are blessed. However, most of us are not – so Google Docs is here to save the day. I keep this app on my phone so I can check in on when my partners make edits and can add my own contributions whenever I think of something genius. Even if you don’t put this on your phone, you definitely need this in your life.
  4. Sleep Cycle
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    I LOVE SLEEP… I hate waking up. I’ve always had trouble adjusting to alarms, and I would end up waking up “on the wrong side of the bed.” The solution? This app tracks your quality of sleep and can wake you up easier by judging when you’re already out of deeper sleep. If I know I need to be awake by 8:30, I can give the app a half hour (or more or less) window to wake me up within – whenever it is right for my body. It also gives you super cool statistics about your sleep, like when you probably woke up at 3 am with a Charlie Horse. A+.
  5. Snapchat
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    Everyone’s using Snapchat nowadays. Better than texts sometimes, you can include your facial expressions and color on the screen to give any picture your own personal twist. Plus, Saint Mike’s has 3 of it’s own location filters – so what’s not to love? Show off that lunch, your walk to class in 30 degree weather, or that weird thing your roommate loves to do. It’ll all be gone in seconds, or 24 hours, so document it while you can.
  6. Pandora
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    I feel like Pandora has fallen behind the likes of Spotify, but I’m still a fan because it requires no real effort on my part. I tell it I love country music and BAM it gives me the best playlist possible to do homework with. I don’t need to pick certain songs or listen to the same annoying ads all day (but there are some). I just turn this app on and go – whether I’m writing this blog post or singing in the shower, Pandora always has my jam.
  7. Instagram
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    I love Instagram because I can use it to track my adventures at school without feeling the need to explain myself on Facebook. I can merely put a memory up (a cool picture or the food I ate that day that was BOMB), and I can forever look back at that moment – without pressure to get “likes.”
  8. Facebook & Facebook Messenger
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    There’s no better way to keep up with your friends from home, your parents, your classmates, and events happening around you. Double check assignments, prove to your mom you’re alive and having fun, and find interesting places and things to do with friends.
  9. Email
    • .…duh.

Of course there are others, like Pinterest and Qubed, that I use to pass the time. But seriously, if I could only have ten apps on my phone, these would be the ones I pick. Did I forget any? Do you have other apps you can’t live without? Let me know!

As always, let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

 

A Farewell to Collegiate Swimming

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As of last Sunday night, I am officially “retired” from my four seasons as a college swimmer. Yikes. After dedicating myself to this sport for over a decade, and competing for two colleges, this aspect of competition ends, as will my formal schooling in roughly 82 days. While endings are inevitable, the sport will never leave me. I will still find myself most relaxed, floating around like an otter or busting out a mile or two just to relieve some stress. The pool has become a second home to me, so I’m not quite willing to let it go just yet. While my days as an active Saint Mike’s Purple Knight have come to an end, I know swimming will always be there – and so will all the teammates I made along the way. I have been a Shark, a Bluefish, a Wave, a Tanner, an Assumption Greyhound… but nothing has made me love the swimming more than being a Purple Knight.

Rather than mope around and realize I am now a Master’s swimmer (who would have thought I’d make it this far?), there’s a list of things I’ll miss (or not):

Morning practices. The smell of chlorine. Chlorine burns. Itchy skin and bleached hair. 24/7 wet hair. Hair freezing in the winter. 8-hour bus rides. Crying into goggles on bad days. Sore muscles. Going to the trainer all the time. Putting on a technical suit. Having gigantic shoulders. Swimsuit hickeys. Not shaving for months. Finally shaving for championships. “Dryland” practices. Not being coordinated on land. Being awful at running. Dolphin diving around the bottom of the pool. TAPER. Stepping on damp snacks on the deck. Finally standing on a podium. Hugging my coach after a kick-ass race. Crying after setting a personal and school record. Earning the recognition. Having an excuse to eat all day, everyday. Having a hotel bed to myself. Making pre-meet pump-up playlists. Adrenaline rushes (and crashes). Team dinners…at 10 pm in a hotel lobby.

I could keep going – I could talk about swimming for hours. But, what I’m really trying to say is – thanks. Thanks to the sport, the coaches, the trainers, the teammates, the officials, the lifeguards. Everyone who played a part in helping me love (and sometimes hate) this sport for more than half of my life.

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I’m not quitting the sport, I’m just “retiring” into another league. Masters, here I come… but maybe in a few months.

 

As always, let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

 

What It’s Like to Be an Athlete During Winter Break

Welcome back for Spring Semester 2016! While the schoolwork doesn’t start for about a week, I’ve been on campus with my swimming and diving team since New Year’s Day – having intense practices twice a day in preparation for championship season next month. To kick start this semester, here’s what it is like to be a college athlete on campus during winter break!

  1. After Fall Semester ends, you’re only “home” for a couple weeks before you come back home…to campus. While your peers can stay home for a long Christmas and New Year’s celebration, athletes are back to campus and – while feeling a little homesick for our hometowns – are also feeling back at home and reunited with our sports family.
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  2. The campus is a ghost town. Maybe minus some other teams, the fire/rescue crew and some international students, other familiar faces – including professors – are still at home. There are likely more animal tracks than human footprints around!
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  3. The dining hall has the strangest hours and limited selection. Again, only feeding the ghost crew, Alliot is open for a few select hours to feed the groups on campus, with lunch being served for a specific hour only. While that’s typical for all college athletes, you also get a behind the scenes look when they clean the dining hall and make room for more art to go on the walls!
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  4. You practice and nap like it’s your job. You rise and grind, but always look forward to the sweet relief of your bed when you’re done. For an athlete this week, there’s nothing better than feeling accomplished after a hard 7 AM practice and being able to celebrate with a nap. (Note: no, this is not an original image of me napping…pretty accurate though.)
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  5. Bonding with your team is guaranteed. Whether it be complaining about sore muscles, the cold weather or lack of sleep, there are also chances to have fun together supporting our other student-athletes – hockey and basketball are here too!
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  6. BONUS: If you have the energy, you have more free time to explore the area. Even if you don’t have a car, the CCTA can take us downtown or elsewhere for some fun post-practice and sans classes (for now). I went to Tiny Thai with a couple teammates for lunch, and then bowling with an old roommate (just don’t tell coach!).
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Even though it might be weird to be back on campus without taking classes and without the school itself up and running yet, the demanding training and “behind the scenes” glimpses of our home are definitely worthwhile. With 21 varsity sports offered here, and many more clubs offered, we are remain unquestionably one team.

 

As always, let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

December: Date Yo’Self

With the winter chills quickly approaching, college campuses across the nation have found themselves in the middle of Cuffing Season.

cuffing season

Definition courtesy of UrbanDictionary.com

Ready or not, it’s here. Perhaps it’s due to every romantic comedy we watch during this snowy season. (You know the ones: the protagonist sleeps around but stares into the eyes of a best friend in a coffee shop one day, and *BAM* they’re in a committed relationship just in time for Christmas and their New Year’s Eve bashes.) However, unlike this romcom precedent, I have opted to “cuff” myself…to myself this holiday season.

Benefits of dating yourself:

  1. Challenge your insecurities
    • By going out to dinner, a movie or bowling by yourself, the act of going solo boosts your confidence and teaches you to be happier with who you are and what you have to offer the world, and a prospective partner. Solo, you can own your intelligence and wit, your beauty and your humor – if you’re a fun date by yourself, you’ll be a fun date whenever someone lucky comes along to join you.

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      I went to the waterfront and caught a movie!

  2. No pressure to impress anyone
    • When getting ready for dates, rather than thinking “do they like straight hair or lipstick,” I can take a step back and learn what I like to wear and how I feel when I impress myself. Not everyone will love my polka dot scarf or my chunky sweater, but dating myself is about myself, wearing what I want and ordering anything off the menu because I want it, not worrying the cultural need to order a salad to appear more feminine and affordable. You can be as cheap as you want, or you can treat yo’self, it’s only up to you.
  3. Set your standards
    • If you don’t know your standards and values prior to entering a relationship, you won’t know how you want to be treated… or how to stand up for yourself. It’s true: if you set your standards higher, there are people willing to reach for them. You can decide how late you want to stay out, places you are willing to go to (and not), what you’re comfortable with and what your boundaries are.

Fighting the stigma of sitting alone in public, dating myself has taught me that being alone doesn’t mean I’m lonely. Rather, it has given me time to learn who I am again, taking the time to be at peace with myself and the environment I find myself in, being my own company. Often times, in relationships, we give all the power and confidence to our partner, seeing our self-worth reflected in the value they place on us. Dating myself instead teaches that my worth could never be determined by someone else’s standards.

This Holiday Season, remember: you’re the best, and you deserve the best…you! (and delicious mac n’ cheese).
you'rewelcome

Been on a fun solo date lately? Let’s Talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

13 Ways to Beat the Semester Slump

In this weird time between midterms and finals, the days are getting darker earlier, it’s getting much colder out, and people are more stressed with the semester wrapping up soon. It’s easy to fall into the chaos and lose track of time for self-care. Here are some ways to treat yourself during this slump:

  1. Volunteer. Anywhere, everywhere – helping other people takes your mind off of your troubles and reminds you just how big the world is, making your problems much more manageable. Saint Mike’s offers weekly trips and activities through MOVE, with my favorite being Cause for Paws – make sure you check out the bulletin board in Alliot to sign up!
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  2. Retail therapy. Whenever I hit a bump in the road, buying a little something usually makes me feel better. Even buying a box of brownies or cheap nail polish at the food store can perk up the gloomiest days.
  3. Take a bubble bath (if you have one, like Hodson does) or a long, hot shower. You’ll scrub away the stress of the day and exit feeling refreshed. For an added bonus, play some music and take the time to zen out.
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  4. Watch a new television show. Maybe it’s the one you’ve been meaning to watch or even one you haven’t caught up on in a while, take the time to escape to a fictional reality via Netflix and buttery popcorn.
  5. If you’re not into the digital escape, head to the library or bookstore and pick up a book! Turn off your phone and fully escape this reality for some adventure elsewhere.
  6. Exercise! Any kind of activity you like: walk outside, go running, do some yoga, go swimming, try dancing around your room and singing like crazy. Use up that extra energy and your body and mind will thank you.
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  7. Wear your best clothes. Seriously, put on your makeup, do your hair, and wear your favorite outfit. I used to not believe it, but when you look good, you normally feel good too.
  8. Speaking of, do laundry! Or another chore that will keep you active, your mind busy, and make your home away from home feel cozier than when you began. My favorite is to make my bed and then spray a perfume that reminds me of home – easily the best way to relax and curl up at night.
  9. Call your mom, or a close friend. Call your dad, or your grandma, or your brother. Talk to them and listen to the advice and love they have to offer.
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  10. Do a random act of kindness. Even make it as simple as holding the door open for someone or complimenting their scarf, but don’t forget to share that kindness with yourself as well. Compliment yourself and realize you’re doing the best you can, just like everyone else.
  11. Make a list of good things that happen everyday. Focusing on the good will retrain your mind to stop dwelling on the negatives.
  12. Get enough sleep! Nap if you need to, take breaks, and get plenty of restful sleep at night. Turn the phone off and focus on getting a good night’s rest so you can kick butt again in the morning.
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  13. If all else fails: chocolate, ice cream, and a hot cup of tea will always have your back.

Remember college is the time to be unapologetically yourself. Learn who you are and what you can handle, do what you love, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

A Monday Mononucleosis Monologue

Although there is no such thing as a typical case, here’s the lowdown based on my 5+ week experience with mono:

  1. You’re exhausted all the time, but then your body gets restless, making it impossible to sleep…
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  2. …so you just sit in bed and think about every point in your life where you [think you] messed up.
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  3. You cry at everything. Seriously, the littlest things make you cry, like “the clouds are gray today” or “I forgot to bring shampoo into the shower” — it’s all completely normal.
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  4. You can’t concentrate or read as much/as fast anymore, so you fall behind on school work.
    knowhowtostudy(*But thanks to our awesome Dean’s office and the Academic Support, I’ve been able to catch up in record time.)
  5. You feel lonely all the time.
    alone
    (*But thankfully, being alone more often to take care of yourself doesn’t mean everyone’s abandoned you. Learn to take the time for you and everything that’s meant to be will fall back into place.)
  6. Your throat is swollen and some days, if you’re super lucky, you can’t swallow or talk much.
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  7. You have a fever, chills and then hot flashes, especially at night.
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  8. You’re whole body hurts – even your toes and the knuckles in your hands. You’ll notice joints and achy spots you never knew existed before, so you’re going to want a heat pack and a massage more than anything.
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  9. You have a constant headache.
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  10. You’ll find out who your true friends are. The ones that will make you soup, take you to the doctor, update you on class notes and help you in any way they can, because they genuinely care.
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I used to be angry. Angry and frustrated that mono “took away” my health, my social life, my academics, my athletics, and my peace of mind. But that’s all wrong – I’m blessed. I’m blessed because mono doesn’t last forever, and I am not alone. I’m blessed that there are people in this world who will choose to stay by my side and help me in my greatest times of need – those are the friendships that last a lifetime. In college, you’ll learn that you deserve friends that will bring you flowers and a teddy bear and love you even if you have Ebola, not run the other way at diagnosis.

A special thank you from the bottom of my heart to my roommates, for staying with me in the hospital and making me feel like the luckiest girl alive.

Mono may have thrown me on a wild roller coaster, but I will eventually get off this ride a stronger, healthier person and a better friend.

As always, let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

Fall Fridays: Halloween Edition

Hi again! Although I’ve got mono, that doesn’t stop another week of Fall festivities that you can take advantage of during your time at Saint Michael’s!

  • Halloween (On Campus)
    While it may seem unlikely that college kids go trick-or-treating, Saint Mike’s offers a few alternative activities to keep with the Halloween spirit. First, if you really need your hands on some candy, upperclassmen are given the opportunity to pass out treats through our MOVE office, volunteering with the mentoring programs. During our “pre-Halloween” fun, kids will be dressed up around campus, visiting our Senior townhouses to share the joy.

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    50th Annual Halloween Dance!

    If volunteering isn’t for you, St. Mike’s also offers a Halloween dance! This year is the 50th anniversary, and there is a costume contest: $100 first prize, $50 for second. What’s not to love about dancing the night away in super cool costumes with your newest buds? People in all grade levels go, so it’s not just a first year event!

  • Halloween (Off Campus)
    If you’re looking to get off campus around Halloween, Church Street and the downtown Burlington area are offering a bunch of seasonal activities. From hay rides and carving pumpkins to ghost walks and trick-or-treating, there’s something for everyone.

Let’s Talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

Fall Fridays: Part 2

Hello again! Lots of exciting things to catch up on this week:

  • SMC Drama Club
    While I don’t want to give too much away, the SMC Drama club kicks butt when it comes to Halloween. Every year, they host a haunted house in International Commons. I haven’t gone because I scream really easily, but this could be the year I do it!! (Anyone willing to go with me?)
    Check out 2014’s Asylum-themed house if you want a taste:

    The Drama Club also has a super secret show they put on in the basement of Purtill on North Campus, aka Turtle Underground. Aaaand it may or may not rhyme with Mocky Morror… You’ll just have to show up to find out!
  • Choctoberfest
    Lake Champlain Chocolates, situated nicely on Church Street, is having Choctoberfest this week (October 24-27)! Stop by on Saturday the 26th for some free hot chocolate and super savings on their products. Just take the CCTA Bus #2 to the Cherry Street stop, and you’ll be in the best position to walk right to LCC. Don’t forget, you get free rides on this city bus with your KnightCard!
  • Bonus: PUMPKIN EVERYTHING
    If you find yourself off campus this time of year, make sure you stop by any grocery or specialty food store. Without a doubt, you will find the seasonal apple and pumpkin-flavored delicacies. If you’re heading out, feel free to pick a girl up some Oreo’s!😉

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    Image taken at the local Shaw’s, for those of you who want to go get me some!

Let’s Talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu

Fall Fridays: Part 1

Hello everyone!

Welcome back for another glimpse into my senior year. Fall has been kicking into high gear, and the campus and surrounding communities are clearly excited for the crisp air, cozy sweaters, and pumpkin-spice everything.

  • Apple Picking and Apple Pies, Shelburne Orchards 
    12039297_1102137863131463_6541785996318644034_nWhat’s your favorite part of fall? Other than being able to wear comfier clothes and drink hot chocolate daily, I have made apple picking a yearly tradition. Coming to Saint Mike’s has only made it better! A 30 minute ride away from campus awaits Shelburne Orchards — open 7 days a week from 9-6 or 9-5 on Sundays.
    20150926_141336editAlways available for apple picking, Shelburne also offers their homemade apple ciders, apple cider donuts (which taste amazing if you heat them up), and if interested, you could even buy your own apple tree. Not quite having the room for that in my apartment, I opted to buy way too many apples that I have since turned into a pie. Made from Shelburne’s Honey Crisp selection, it was even better than my mom’s – just don’t tell her I said that!
    Corn Mazes, Danville VT
  • 12063342_10206530457607418_662491872978526371_nA little farther away from campus, Danville hosts the Great Vermont Corn Maze every year, boasted to be one of the Top 10 in the country and guaranteed to please. A $15 admission granted me 7 miles of wandering through corn stalks and getting caught in a couple rain showers, but nothing could have dampened that day.
    12063859_10206530457647419_7163674804690984398_nFor those of you not willing to search for 7+ miles, they have established a “Scenic” maze with easier instructions to get you in and out, and still see all the cool stuff, in less than an hour. They also have an adorable barn yard with some goats and cows that are priceless to go play with after you’re through.
  • Fall = Football
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    Luckily for me, I am a broadcast news intern at Local 22/44, a quick 2 mile ride away from campus, near Shaw’s Supermarket. Even luckier, I get to spend every Friday night off campus exploring a local high school sporting event. While soccer is winding down, football season is just hitting it’s stride, and I’ve been at the sidelines of a few games already this semester.
    Snapchat-3467945894549936112-1While filming with my station’s photographers or reporters, it is clear to tell that Vermonters take their high school sports seriously and are very welcoming to those who just want to spectate. If you’re in the area tonight, try and catch South Burlington at Colchester or Bellows Falls at Burlington! Both games are very close to campus and are well-worth bundling up in the chilly air to feel the home-team vibes.

That’s all for now — I hope to see you tomorrow at our Fall Open House!

Let’s talk!
Twitter: @newlyjulie
Email: jshea4@mail.smcvt.edu