GUEST BLOGGER: KRISTIN MICHELS, ’16
Hi Friartown! My name is Kristin Michels and I am a senior from Westchester, NY. I am an accounting major and finance minor, which has caused me to have some really late nights in the library! On campus, I am on Tutor Cabinet in OAS, Treasurer of the Accounting Association, and Board Member of the Student Alumni Association. I am a passionate Friar Fanatic and really bleed black and white! My main focus right now as a senior is to win an intramural t-shirt because I refuse to graduate until I win! You can often find me daydreaming about my semester abroad and frequently looking for cheap flights back to Europe.
Leaving Providence College for a semester is a scary thought. It is hard to imagine not spending Sunday mornings in ray, late nights in the library, and cheering on the Friars with some of your best friends. But leaving Providence College for a semester was the BEST decisions of my life (besides choosing to come to PC, of course). During the fall of my junior year, I decided to pack my bags and spend the semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy, and here is the six reasons why you should too:
1. The Food
Where do I begin? From pizza, pasta, and panini’s in Italy, to baguette’s and macaroons in France, Europe has AMAZING food. Everything is so unbelievably fresh and you can taste the difference. Yella’s in alumni is great and all, but look what you can get for lunch in Italy!
2. Weekends Are Spent Traveling
During my short three and a half months studying abroad, I had the opportunity to visit nine countries and twenty five cities. One day you are in class, and the next, you are watching the Eiffel Tower light up the Parisian sky or swimming in the Mediterranean Sea off the Amalfi Coast. And if you book your flights properly, you can get some ones as cheap as $16.30! That can be cheaper than an Uber to downtown Providence.
3. Because Walking to Class is Like Walking Through History
Europe has taken so much pride in preserving their history and culture, and you immediately feel like you have traveled back in time. From walking by the Czech Castle in Prague, or the canals in Amsterdam some of the most iconic monuments become a part of your daily life. Oh and did I mention, your art history classes are spent exploring all of the culture and artwork these cities have to offer. From the Uffizzi in Florence to the Louvre in Paris, class somehow doesn’t seem so bad.
4. Europe Becomes Your Playground
When you are younger and your parents bring you to a new playground you spend hours exploring all of the cool things you can find. Europe is the same thing, but for study abroad students. You can enjoy the culture of Oktoberfest, the thrill of Skydiving in Switzerland, and climb around some (designated) monuments, which make you feel like a kid again!
5. You Make Memories With Old & New Friends
Some of my best friends I met abroad and together we dream about returning one day. My parents sent me to a foreign country to live with one friend and three strangers, and I could not have been more thankful for that experience. I was fortunate enough to go abroad with 40 PC students (Florence became a mini-Friartown) but also made new friends too. Some of my favorite memories from abroad were spent making dinner with my roommates and walking around Florence at night. They quickly become your family.
6. Makes You Appreciate Providence College Even More
And there is no better feeling then coming back to Providence College the next semester. No matter where you are, no matter where you go, Providence College will always be your home!
GUEST BLOGGER: KRISTIN MICHELS, ’16 Hi Friartown! My name is Kristin Michels and I am a senior from Westchester, NY.... MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: CISCO OLLER, ’16
My name is Francisco Oller, I am a Senior Management Major and I was born with a rare genetic disease called Pelizaeus Merzbacher. My disability has made me into a determined and courageous person. I was born in Puerto Rico and I have lived there until I came to Providence College. My goal in life is to be successful in all that I may pursue and never let my physical limitations deter me from enjoying life.
GUEST BLOGGER: CISCO OLLER, ’16 My name is Francisco Oller, I am a Senior Management Major and I was born with... MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI
Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New York. I am a biology and psychology double major with a minor in neuroscience, and a member of the Liberal Arts Honors Program. I work in the OAS Tutoring Center primarily as a CIV tutor, and I dabble in other subjects as needed. When I’m not in class, lab, or OAS, I can be found singing with Schola Cantorum, playing the flute with Symphonic Winds, arguing with the Debate Society or writing articles for the psychology newsletter, Analyze This. Check in with me at PC Smartypants for tips and tricks for college success!
I am an analytical thinker. It is something that I have accepted about myself: I like to break down material into its component parts, understand how it fits together, and I tend to compartmentalize it. I can tell you individual quotes from my favorite television shows or books, but ask me to follow a map and I am more than useless (seriously—do the opposite of what I tell you if you want to get to your destination in a timely manner). If you have read my posts before, you know that I am in love with schedules because they help me look at the individual tasks I have for the day, week, or month and plan out the best way to tackle them.
That is not to say that I am just a math and science person, although those academic areas are dear to my heart. I also have a soft spot for literature and music, and while I cannot draw much more than a (granted, supremely awesome) stick figure, I appreciate the visual arts. Each of these areas of learning has a distinct place in my day and in my mind.
But is that the beginning and end of it? My dad asked me today, talking about next year, how it will feel to be “the big cheese” (i.e. a college senior). I was not sure what to say to him. I knew what I planned to do over the next year—apply to medical school, finish the Providence College core curriculum, continue working in Academic Services as a tutor, and (gulp) graduate—but somehow that did not seem to answer the question. The discrete activities of my day-to-day life somehow did not encompass the feeling of being a rising senior. It did not encompass the journey I had taken over the last five-and-a-half semesters at PC or the direction in which I was going. I could see individual points of interest, but in that moment I could not draw the map of my college experience.
In the often high-stress environment of college, particularly for people already prone to this style of thinking, it can be easy to lose the forest for the trees. We get caught up in the papers, the exams, the homework assignments, and we forget what the point of it actually is. Why are we here, taking eighteen credits a semester? Why do I have my to-do list for Easter break laid out, with due dates and assignment priority color coded? I personally get very wrapped up in the tasks I need to do throughout the day. Often, it serves me well—assignments are completed in a timely manner, and usually with good results. But how does that fit into the larger narrative of life? Is stating the goal—to get a job, or into graduate school, or into professional school—the same as seeing it?
I want to challenge myself and my fellow analytic thinkers to look for the forest when we are lost among the trees. Take a moment, especially when you are stressed out, to step back and draw a map of your life as you see it right now. Understand how everything we do, from that cup of coffee at 7:30 in the morning to shutting off the light before bed, and all the steps in between, not only fit into the larger narrative of life, but create it. Those individual experiences shape the story of our lives. Look for the story that you want to tell.
GUEST BLOGGER: CHRISTINA PERRI Hello Friartown! My name is Christina Perri, and I am a junior from Long Island, New... MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: SARAH A. O’BRIEN ’15
Sarah is a Creative Writing major and Studio Art minor who will be graduating this May. She has been a Writing Tutor for the past three years, and helped to found the Writing Center’s Fiction Roundtable. Sarah serves as Managing Editor of PC’s literary journal, The Alembic. Her work has appeared in Every Day Poems, Snapping Twig, The Screech Owl, Copley Hall of Art, and is forthcoming in Hunt-Cavanagh Gallery. She loves wordplay, photography, and travel.
I like to think that I learned a thing or two during my four years as a Friar. Here’s what I would say to my freshman-year self. Since my time machine is broken, feel free to take my advice and use it to enhance your experiences at Providence College.
Dear Bright-Eyed-Freshman Sarah,
Look at you, finishing your first year of COLLEGE. Go friars. Now lie out on the quad with your LaSalle snickerdoodle coffee and listen carefully to these words of wisdom from your senior citizen self:
1. The Writing Center is the best place on campus.
Maybe I’m exaggerating. Then again, maybe not. This is the place where you will learn that helping students improve their writing is a passion of yours, and where you’ll meet amazing friends. Tell everyone you know to take advantage of this convenient peer-tutoring service.2. Do. Not. Take. Two. English. Seminars. At. Once.
You’re going to think that you can handle two 400-level English seminars, on top of Civ and two studio art courses. Calm down. Somehow, you’ll end up surviving a 48-hour essay-writing marathon, but please, try to avoid this at all costs.
3. Studying abroad is worth every penny. And then some.
One of your most amazing experiences will be living in Florence, Italy in fall of junior year. Can’t afford your next meal? Don’t worry; some Italians will probably treat you to dinner. Do not be afraid to travel alone either—your solo adventures in Munich and Paris will be especially memorable.
4. Spend time with people who give you support and respect.
And just forget about those who don’t. Your true friends will be there for you when you need them. Also, don’t date anyone who doesn’t make you laugh or feel loved. You deserve the best so do not settle.
5. Party sober.
You’ll often go out sober, and sometimes you’ll even go out on your own. Guess what? Nobody notices or cares. Just be safe and have fun. When you do drink, don’t drink to get wasted. (You’re clumsy enough as it is.)
6. Ignore the haters.
Some people will question your decision to shave your head at the Relay for Life. Shake it off Swift-style and embrace the badass baldness; you won’t regret it. Along the same lines, never apologize for what you choose to wear and don’t compromise who you are for anyone.
7. Alternative Spring Break is a must.
You will get the opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru for spring break of sophomore year. Although very different from your freshman year alternative spring break trip to Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, this week of volunteering will be just as life changing. You’ll be reminded to count your blessings.
8. Don’t leave your stuff unattended in the library. Or anywhere.
You will be lulled into a sense of security and trust within the PC campus bubble. Don’t be fooled. Your laptop will get stolen in the midst of finals week.
9. Take the C, go to office hours, and get involved.
A senior in the chapel basement will give you this advice. He will say that sometimes an event is worth prioritizing, even if that means “taking the C” on an exam or assignment. He’ll tell you to get to know your professors, since they want to know you. (Take a course with these gems: Chard deNiord, Dzvinia Orlowsky, Dr. Russell Hillier, Dr. Peter Costello, Heather McPherson, Dr. Eve Veliz, and Alison Espach.) Also, join campus clubs! Don’t get discouraged when certain groups reject you—you’ll find your niche.
10. Show Friar Pride.
Go to as many home games as you can. Be loud and proud. #ForeverAFriar
GUEST BLOGGER: SARAH A. O’BRIEN ’15 Sarah is a Creative Writing major and Studio Art minor who will be graduating... MORE
GUEST BLOGGER: JENN CYR, ’14
My name is Jenn Cyr and I’m a senior (woah) Biology major at PC. I will be contributing to PC Smartypants because of my position as an OAS Tutor. As a contributor, I plan to give readers a glance at what is going on behind-the-scenes in OAS. I love my job, mostly because it allows me to meet people from other majors and classes – tutors and tutees alike – that I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to interact with. The Tutoring and Writing Centers are amazing resources; not only can they be helpful to people academically; they also provide students with a fun, welcoming study space. I encourage all the readers of this blog to check them out!
Dismissing the fact that this is about as stereotypical “end of the semester blog post” as they come, I would like to take this opportunity to thank fall 2014. It was a tough one; it was full of obstacles and confusion. And yet, it was also speckled with joy and opportunities for betterment. I learned more this semester than I could ever hope to in another. When I look back, I am content with the way it played out, and I say goodbye to it like an old friend that I actually regret leaving.
In a sense, the things I’ve learned are specific to me, but when generalized, they are things that I think everyone should concern themselves with. Here are a few I’ve deemed worthy of sharing:
- Leaving something that is making you miserable is one of the hardest and most worthwhile things you’ll ever do. I think that many of us remain in a major/ career path, place of employment, or other situation because it becomes a comfort zone. Although we are no longer happy, we are in a safe space and are afraid to venture beyond it. We convince ourselves that there are no other options; there are ALWAYS other options. Respect yourself enough to find out what they are.
- Spending time by yourself is one of the best ways to find out what you really want out of life. I spent a lot of time on my own in 2014 and, although I had several bouts of loneliness, I became adept at combating the ever-looming fear of missing out. Being able to say “no” to things that don’t sound enjoyable to you is a fabulous power in this day and age.
- That being said, never develop the mindset that you don’t need others. Companionship makes life sweet; without others, your experiences become hollow shells with no real substance. Find time to tell those who provide this substance how much you care.
- Practice honesty. It really does go a long way. If you aren’t feeling a friend’s party, say so. Don’t make up an Oscar-worthy speech about how you have too many errands and appointments to attend. If you love someone, tell them; if you don’t, same deal. Be honest with your professor about why you couldn’t get an assignment done on time.
- Your parents are (almost) always right. I have come to terms with the fact that when my mother gives me advice, nine times out of ten I will do the opposite. However, I have also come to terms with the fact that doing the opposite usually means that a situation will blow up in my face. Thankfully, I know she’ll always be there to help out with the end product while refraining from saying “I told you so,” and I’m sure your folks will, too.
- Let go of the past and look forward to the future. Nostalgia can be fun, but it can also be exhausting. Never look at a present opportunity and assume it will end up just like a past one of its kind. Enjoy the moments you have with the people you have them with. Because maybe, just maybe, this time will end differently. Maybe this moment will be something to write home about.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a great end of the semester! 🙂
GUEST BLOGGER: JENN CYR, ’14 My name is Jenn Cyr and I’m a senior (woah) Biology major at PC. I... MORE