Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Where is the snow you ask? Labrador Mtn.

Since I've been home, there hasn't been much snow in where I live; and I'm guessing we're not the exception, as indicated by many of my friends' facebook and twitter updates.

But on Christmas Eve my dad and I were fortunate enough to get a small dose of Winter Wonderland en route to my home mountain, Labrador, in Truxton, NY. Here are some pictures from my drive with my dad on Shackham Road through Morgan Hill State Forest:

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas, even though the rest of the state wasn't. Unfortunately, the rest of the state still doesn't, but the area around Lab has continued to get some snow, and they're making a ton as well. Even though my skiing situation is pretty solid, I'm still crossing my fingers to let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Plans for Break.

I've now been home for a week to the day. It's been nice to unwind and see family, chill with my dog and cats, watch some movies and just relax in general. But I can only do so much relaxing before I get bored, and let me tell you, there's a limit to how much Christmas advertising I can take in between my Law and Order and NCIS reruns. I've become quite bored.

As a result of this boredom, I've decided to be productive. There are a few things I have to get done over break (fill out an I-9 and W-4, draft a resume and write a paper for Freshman Seminar). But I don't want to be working my entire break; so here are a few personal goals I've set for myself, as well as other things I'd like to accomplish on my time off.

Skiing Faster

I've mentioned here before that I've had the opportunity to train dry land with the ski team this fall. Well, the last Thursday of the semester before break I got to run gates for the first time this season, and I gotta say after looking at the video my coaches took, my runs were rough around the edges to say the least (not like Ted Ligety, pictured above). There's a few things I need to be working on if I want to race faster and make the team next year; so over break I'll be skiing, running gates and getting to the gym as much as possible. The only problem is that I have a cough that won't go away, and that leads me to my next goal.

Getting Healthy
I've had a cough since September that has not gone away. The rest of my body feels healthy, but when I work out, if it's cold or if I've been lying down for a while, I get this cough that sounds like my left lung is trying to fight it's way out of my chest. I don't mean to complain, but it's a nuisance and something I plan to get rid of over break. Since I'm home I hope I can get more sleep, eat better and follow all my doctor's directions so that by the time I get back to school I'll be healthy and ready to go; hopefully I'll be better even before that.

This one is a little ambitious, because the extent of my guitar knowledge is about 5 lessons from when I was 12 (aka nil), after I got a guitar for Christmas. I still have my guitar, so my goal is to teach myself some basics and learn a song before I go back to school. People say that guitar is overrated and that everyone can play it. I hope at least the latter is true.

Dance Moves

I am not ashamed; I want to learn some dance moves. My friends Nathan, Harper, Carlos and I have managed to learn the Party Rock Anthem as well as the And We Danced dance segments, and we've pledged to perfect those and try to learn some other crazy moves as well (Nathan wants to be able to windmill). Not quite sure which crazy dance move I'll try to learn, but I'm sure I'll think of something soon ;)

This is less of a bummer than it sounds, because it's something that any college student should have for internships and other jobs; also, because I'm really excited about the internship I'm building this resume for. I live in Rome NY, close to Utica NY (I tell people I'm from Syracuse, though, because that's where I grew up and I still don't know Rome very well) where there is a huge refugee population. The Mohawk Valley Refugee Center in Utica offers various forms of support for resettled refugees in the area, and the internship I'm applying to for this summer is with this organization. I'm really excited about this opportunity because it's in line with what I plan to pursue as a career after college. I've already contacted the woman in charge of the internships, and it looks promising!

So those are my plans for break! If you have any questions / comments, feel free to contact me!

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lessons from Finals Week

Yesterday marked  the last day of my first finals week, and I'm glad to say I made it out alive (after many academic building "study sessions" with friends, lots of caffeine, an all-nighter and a lot of stress).

Admittedly, I did better than survive grade-wise, but it was a struggle at some points and I pulled some good lessons from this past week:

1. If you did your homework, you know more than you think you do.

My plan of attack (which did not come to fruition) for studying was to start from the beginning and intensely examine every detail of every course. In retrospect, this was an illogical expectation; the whole idea of being enrolled in a course for a semester is so that you learn the material, and the final is a test of your learning. It's not necessary to freak out and re-examine every nook and cranny of a class. I'm not, however, recommending doing absolutely no review; it's good to make sure you remember everything you're supposed to before you take a final, but you shouldn't have to re-learn it. 

That is, unless, you did no homework all semester, in which case this plan might be necessary.

2. Stay relaxed.

When you're cramming to finish that paper the night before it's due at 3am (we all do; it's a rite of passage), getting excited/nervous/anxious will not help you. In this situation, it's best to just stay relaxed, hydrated and push through. Caffeine is a toss-up; personally, too much coffee makes me anxious, but I definitely require a little bit to stay up!

3. The dangers of group studying.

If you're with your friends, it tends not to work. Especially if it's not for the same course. For example, my friend Nate and I got a decent amount of Calc practice done in a St. Edmund's classroom while playing music; but when there were 8 of us studying for Bio, History, Chem, Calc, Anthro, etc... we ended up ordering Chinese food. But I did discover that doing lots of math on a whiteboard (with a friend who knows what he's doing) is a great way to prepare for a Calc final!

So that's all I can think of after a week of finals! To college readers, have a nice break! To high-schoolers, keep up the good work!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Official SMC Blogger!

Just a quick update on the blogger front!

This semester was a trial period for us Class of '15 bloggers, with the expectation that we would act as normal paid bloggers, and at the semester a few of us would be selected to continue. I got the news this past week that I was fortunate enough to have been picked, and am now an official "Online Student Ambassador" (this term was invented by Gabbi, I believe) for the class of 2015!

I was pretty psyched by this and thought it was worth sharing here. I've enjoyed doing this since I began, and I'm glad I have the opportunity to keep on doing it for the next four years. So thanks to SMC, Founders Society, and all you people out there who read my blog! I appreciate the support!

Once again, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

(Trying To) Chill Out About Finals.

This week marks the last week of classes for the semester, before *gulp*... final exams.

So far this semester I've done pretty well. Except for a few slip-ups (33% on a Calc Test... it's getting dropped), I've had pretty much A's in all my classes. But these are my first final exams of college and I'm pretty nervous! I've been studying consistently this week as well as a little bit last week, but I can't help but remember the things I had trouble with in all of my courses, and it's psyching me out.

In times like this, I try to remember things that my dad used to say to me in high school (which, unfortunately, I didn't really listen to at the time). "Be the best you can be" is one of them, and it's been a useful thing for me to remember because you really can't do better than your best. So if you do honest work and study as much as you can, there's not much else you can do. Besides, if you're doing those things you're far more likely to get good test grades than if you sit on facebook all night and then try to study the morning before your test for an hour at the breakfast table. I know this from experience.

Another thing my dad used to tell me, although I don't have a clean-cut quote of it, was something to the effect that your physical health and your emotional health are important, and have significant effect on your thinking. That is, if something's bothering you and you don't acknowledge it, or if you're not eating right or taking care of your body, these things can affect the way you think, your study habits and how well you do in school. Of course there are always exceptions, but I think this makes sense. So when I study, I try to eat right and stay chill, no matter how easy it may be to eat only french fries for dinner (which I've done) rather than a balanced meal, or to freak out from anxious energy (which I've done) rather than taking a deep breath.

One more thing that my dad actually just told me on the phone the other night was "when you're walking down a path, you can only take one step at a time". You can't do all your studying at once, and as much as you plan, plans change. And I'm not trying to get too cheesy here, but I think sometimes it's good to remember things like these, because no matter how hard you work you're still human.

I'm sure I could make a book out of the useful advice that my dad has given me, but I'll save more for another time. So I guess the moral of this story is stay positive, work hard, eat well, sleep well, drink water, be the best you can be, etc. Hopefully, I'll be able to do all this and score well on my finals!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Warren Miller and First Day of the Ski Season!

Found this photo here.

Most skiers (and all ski fanatics) know this name. His movies are legendary, and his enterprise continues to make awesome films about crazy skiing pursuits all over the world. This past Thursday night, I got to go see the newest one, "Like There's No Tomorrow" (I tweeted about it trying to win a prize, but, alas, to no avail).

It was awesome. They filmed in Portillo, Chile (somewhere I've always wanted to ski), New Zealand, India and Alaska, to name a few. But the audience was probably the most psyched when the Tuckerman Ravine segment came on. Tuckerman Ravine is known as some of the most challenging skiing on the east coast, and for us east coast skiers to see it in a Warren Miller film was pretty rad. I've never skied it myself, unfortunately, but my siblings, dad and I are hopefully making the trek this coming spring!

Yes, I'm happy to say this year was yet another awesome film. However, seeing Warren Miller is a big deal not just cause it rocks. It's a big deal because for me, and a lot of other skiers, it marks the beginning of the season and gets us pumped to hit the slopes. Lucky for me, I was able to do so this morning!

As most people who have heard of SMC know, we as students get an awesome 30 dollar season pass deal with Smuggler's Notch. It's one of the best things ever, right up there with the invention of skiing itself. So, this morning I rolled out of bed around 6.50AM, made some coffee, microwaved a waffle, got dressed, packed my ski bag and was on my way to Smuggs for opening day. Again, lucky for me, I was able catch a ride my friend Mike from Green Up and fellow blogger Lisa and their friend Katie.

It was a good group of skiers and we had a lot of fun, even though we only stayed until about 11. We all had stuff to do back on campus, but it was a nice, 5-run start to the season, and we have lots of snow to look forward to after winter break!

And as an aside, there were a surprising amount of people there, for just one trail being open. I'm impressed with the Vermont Peoples' addiction to snow.

Here are some pictures I sent to my dad from the mountain:

From the lift.

"Top of the Notch!"

So there you have the beginning of my season, and I can't wait for the rest of it to start!

Also, to any prospective students, just a reminder that the last Knightchat of the semester is coming up this Tuesday, December 6th at 7:30pm, check it out!

Happy winter, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Planning for a Double-Major, Double-Minor

Yup, you heard (rather, read) me right. I'm doing a double-major double-minor and here's why:

I'm kinda crazy.

No, but seriously, I've decided that I want to major in Anthropology and Environmental Studies, with minors in French and Spanish; and although nothing is "official" yet (besides the Anthro Major), I'm stubborn and confident that I will be able to do this.

But it's not like I can just pull this out of the air, I know this is going to require extra planning, hard work, and summer courses at my hometown university. Here's what I've done so far:

  1. Made a list of all the requirements for my various majors/minors, as well as the Liberal Studies Requirements (LSR's).
  2. Checked for any overlapping class requirements between majors (GG101 - Intro to Human Geography was one).
  3. Chose a possible "study aboad experience", which is required for the Anthro major (I'm thinking my junior-year fall semester in Cameroon).
  4. Made a tentative 4-year plan (including summer classes), accounting for credits from high school and credits I will get from study abroad.
The result, ladies and gentlemen, is this beautifully done chart of all my tentative classes over the next 4 years:

It's a pretty rough draft, but it's a start! It contains all my required classes, and now I at least know what I'm getting myself into! And since I made this, I've met with my advisor and we figured out a few things we have to work out, like planning in my honors courses, which I should be able to do. Basically, this isn't a final copy.

So that's it for now, folks. Any questions at all about my plan, or if you have questions about academic planning, I'd be happy to help you or direct you to someone who can! Send me an email at brosbrook@mail.smcvt.edu, or ask me on twitter or formspring!

Thanks for reading!