Thursday, December 13, 2012

Finals Week: Discovering Durick's Den and Study Breaks

Finals week is a very stressful week. There's a lot of studying to do in order to make sure you're prepared for your exam, but it doesn't mean that there aren't fun things around campus to do for a nice study break.

For example, last Saturday, comedian John Hodgman came to SMC. He was really funny and he made sure to engage the students in his jokes. At one point, he had 4 volunteers come up to the stage to read off a script. Fortunately, I was one of the four volunteers. It was a cool experience, and since I'm in the Programming Committee for Student Association, I was able to talk to him, get his autograph, and get a picture with him after the show. It was a great break from preparing for finals!

with comedian John Hodgman

So after the comedian, it was back to studying for the finals I had. This semester, my finals schedule was pretty manageable. I had only two in class finals today and Tuesday, and I'll be taking my last final on Friday. This round of finals, I've found my new place for studying in groups: Durick's Den. Durick's Den is in the lower level of the library, and it's filled with vending machines, sofas, booths, and chairs. It just has an overall really chill feel to it. Not to mention, the school has been providing cookies, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for free during finals week in Durick's Den. Snack breaks are the best breaks because who doesn't love food?

Speaking of food, going to Alliot keeps me sane during finals week. It's good to just de-stress and hang out with friends. There were crayons on the tables last night for de-stressing and bringing out our inner child to draw and just have fun.

what my friend Brianna drew

Hope everyone has a good rest of finals week and remember...

Thursday, December 6, 2012

MJD Major: Bergeron, Classes, and More!

I had a feeling that I wanted to be a Counseling Psychologist the moment I took my first Psychology class in high school. I really liked the idea of helping people out and in a way, saving them from their problems. So, I came to Saint Michael's as a Psychology major, in the hopes that I could one day be the female version of Dr. Phil.

I took General Psychology my first semester of freshmen year, along with Media Revolutions. I was so inspired by Media Revolutions that I decided to change my major to Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts.Total 180 right? Well, not necessarily. The subject of Psychology was introduced to me around my junior year of high school, but writing and designing were always constants in my life.

In my elementary school yearbook, I wrote that I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I loved reading and writing books (okay, more like jotting down some ideas). Since I was only 11, I decided that maybe it was too early to begin my career as an author. I started writing poetry instead. I never thought about sharing my poems with anyone until I saw a submission for Girls Life Magazine. Without any hesitation, I submitted my poem. Immediately, Girls Life responded back to me and told me that they were going to publish my poem in their magazine. It was great to see that girls my age could see my poem and possibly relate to it. I believed that being a psychologist was the only way I could help people, but this poem made me realize that I could help people out by writing too.

The phrase "mother like daughter" is applicable for my interest in designing. As a web designer, my mom was usually working in Adobe programs. Intrigued by the programs, I asked her to show me how to do certain things, particularly in Photoshop. While my friends were using sites like Picnik and Photobucket for pictures, I was using Photoshop to adjust color levels and re-size images.

With that, I officially changed my major second semester of last year and I also declared a minor in Psychology. The Psychology minor still allows me to take certain classes that I was interested in before coming here. Either next Fall or when I return from study abroad, I want to take Sports Psychology with Dave Landers (who I've heard is great) and Psychology of Relationships and Marriages.

I'm also excited about taking more MJD classes. So far, I've already taken Media Revolutions, Digital Media, and Media Law and Ethics.

Media Revolutions with Professor Griffth: 
  • learn about the history of media like television and radio
  • do a group project about scenarios as if you were a Public Relations Representative
  • connect other subjects like Psychology and Sociology to media
  • go to Vermont Public Television on North Campus and see the television studio

Digital Media with Professor Swope:
  • learn the basics of Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, and Illustrator
  • read interesting articles and books about how technology plays a role in society
  • create your own website in Dreamweaver
  • create animations in Illustrator
  • go on a technology fast for a week without your phone, e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook (it was an extra credit assignment, but it was still really interesting to see life without technology)
  • combine pieces of images together to create one whole image (as seen below)
 Media Law and Ethics with Professor Griffth;
  • learn about the First Amendment, specifically freedom of press
  • learn about the court systems and the legal processes
  • participate in discussions about ethics, libel, copyright, privacy, obscenity, etc.
  • listen to guest speakers talk about their careers. Matt Valerio, the Defender General of Vermont, came this semester.
  • present a project about an ethical dilemma that journalists face. We had to contact magazines and newspapers like the New York Times and ABC News to get this information.
  • attend an arraignment at the Vermont District Court in Burlington for a project. It seemed like an unusual assignment, but it was fun and interesting to see law in action.

The Bergeron Center is where the MJD classes are. It is a lovely place for many reasons:
1) It is located right next to the tennis courts. 
Photoshopped image, although I do love tennis!
2) It is conveniently right near where I live this year (Pontigny Hall)
3) It is a building primarily for the Journalism Department. Whether you're there for a class or a project, you'll always see Journalism professors and students.  
4) All of the computers in the labs have the Adobe software programs installed.
another Photoshopped image of me casually standing on the tables in the labs

5) It is my second home on campus.

Overall, I'm really happy that I am a MJD major. There are so many opportunities that are offered through the major like working for the school newspaper or doing internships around the area. Now, what exactly do I want to do as MJD major? Right now, I am thinking about possibly doing something in Social Media Marketing or Television. I am looking forward to taking Broadcast TV and Video Story and Social Media Theory (a new addition to the program) and interning over the summer to figure out more about what I want to do.

Have questions about MJD? Psych? Tweet @laurenmazzz or e-mail me at

Sunday, December 2, 2012

When You Don't Ski or Snowboard in VT

Going to school in Vermont brings up the question: Do you ski or snowboard? Well, fun facts about myself: I'm from New England, I hate the cold, and I don't ski or snowboard. "Wait, you go to school in Vermont and you don't ski/snowboard?" is often the response I get. Yes, it is possible to avoid hitting the slopes in the winter time if it's not your thing. There are still other fun things to do on the weekend around campus and the Burlington area.

Around Campus
  • Watch movies: After a long week of classes, it's great to relax and watch movies with friends. If you brought movies that you've already seen multiple times and you want something new, check out the wide selection of DVDs at the library.
  • Watch SMC sports games. Basketball games are very popular to go to around campus. Also, our hockey games are at an off campus rink, but people still go a lot to cheer on our team.
  • Go on a Wilderness trip. The Wilderness Program offers trips throughout the year at a very low cost. During the winter time, you learn how to snowshoe or alpine climb through the trips that they provide. 
  • Attend other on campus events: There is an e-mail that is sent out that explains all the weekend events. Last Friday, there was Jibfest, which is where the Ski and Snowboard Club build a ramp in the 300s field and skiiers and snowboarders compete to show off their skills.
 Next Saturday, John Hodgman (the Mac/PC guy) is coming to SMC as our Fall comedian. There are also many other things highlighted in the e-mail like events that RAs put on and events in Burlington. 

Around Burlington
  • Head over to Church Street: Church Street is perfect for shopping, dining, and seeing a movie (as you can tell, I love movies.) 
  • Go Ice Skating. The rink in South Burlington occasionally has a free skate. Last year, I went with my friends and even though I'm a pretty terrible ice skater, it was still fun!
Ice skating action shot
  •  Go to Higher Ground. Higher Ground is a music and comedy venue about 10-15 minutes away from campus. Artists like All American Rejects, Mumford and Sons, Macklemore, and Switchfoot have came to HG.
  • Go to Flynn Center. SMC has a cultural pass for students that allows them to attend performances at the Flynn.
Even though I'm not a skiier or snowboarder, I still buy a Smuggler's Notch Pass for $30 each year just in case my mind might change.