Monthly Archives: February 2014

Durick: A Special Collection at SMC

My suitemate Monica is always talking about Durick Library because it’s where she goes to get all of her homework done. I frequent the library fairly often, too; three days a week I work in The Writing Center, and I trek over at least another two times to do my own homework.

When Monica told me about taking phone calls in the “secret stairwell” and that she had counted eight different staircases throughout the entire library, I knew I’d have to explore more than just the basement of this campus resource.

Together, we went on a library tour with John Payne, Library Director. This week’s First Time Friday is visiting the Special Collections room.


Monica directed us around Durick’s three floors, pointing out her favorite study space, the secret stairwell and the hidden nooks she has discovered. We got to peek into the staff lounge and even walk through the Archives, which houses every piece of history the Edmundites brought with them from France when they founded the college in 1904.

The entire time I was eager to get into the vaulted Special Collections room. Although I’d seen pictures of the inside and had noticed the lights on at night a handful of times, I had never set foot in it before.


After my first step in, I couldn’t figure out what was unique about the room that made it so private. There are two large tables and lots of books — what is so special about this room compared to the rest of the library?

That’s where John came in. He informed us that this room houses all of the library’s rare books and materials. It also stores a copy of every book published by a St. Michael’s College faculty or alumni.

We explored the room and spent some time looking through old school newspapers. What is now The Defender was formerly called The Michaelman, as the college was originally open only to men.


In a 1966 issue, Monica found a great ad for a beard contest:


My library tour wouldn’t be complete without a picture to prove I was in the Special Collections room. To change things up, I decided to include Benjamin Franklin in my selfie.


The library is a great place with a plethora of history. Although I now know all the ins and outs of Durick, I’ll probably still gravitate toward the basement to do my homework.


Snow, Shopping & Shakes

Winters in Vermont are rough; this year is no exception. My boots have seen so much snow and ice that holes are slowly beginning to transform them into sandals.

This week I went shopping with my friend Alex and found a new pair. Lucky for me they were even on sale!

After trekking through five stores and trying on hundreds of pairs of footwear, we decided to nourish our hungry stomachs with Al’s French Fries.



I have only heard good things about this eatery and knew I couldn’t pass up a chance to test it out myself. I only had a vanilla milkshake, but boy was it delicious!



Sometimes it’s not just the food, but good conversation with friends that can make or break your first impression of a new restaurant.



Next time I’m in the area, I’ll be sure to try their fries or Chicken Caesar wrap! 

An icy LEAP over Lake Champlain

The clouds hovered low, just above the horizon of Isle La Motte, Vt. Fresh powder sat, untouched, blanketing the ice of Lake Champlain. A handful of anxious St. Michael’s College students trampled onto the ice, leaving the safety of land, and everything but their footprints behind.

I found myself at St. Anne’s Shrine with about 20 of my fellow peers last Saturday. We are all team members of LEAP, a Christian retreat that focuses on spirituality.

I took my first leap in fall and loved it. This semester, on an I’m-never-going-to-have-this-chance-again whim, I applied to help organize this powerful experience. Luckily, I was given a spot; in April, I will be giving a talk on community.

Most of the day was spent bonding and listening to presentations while enjoying the breathless views of the lake, snow-covered trees and the newly built cabins at the shrine. At lunchtime we were given some free time, and a small group decided to explore the ice.

This is the first year Lake Champlain has completely frozen over since 2007. As we walked down to the waterfront, I didn’t believe we would actually step onto the ice. I had never walked on ice before. Was it safe? There were no footprints; no one had tested the surface before us.

I was hesitant to venture too far away from land at first, but as I saw my friends move further and further out, I began to believe I would be safe. We didn’t go too far out — only about 50 or 60 feet — but it was enough to make me feel as if I was standing in the middle of the ocean.

It was eerily quiet out on the ice. There was a shack of ice fishers roughly 100 feet to our left, but no other beings in sight. I could see what appeared to be miles and miles of shoreline in either direction, and I could see clearly across the ice into New York.

We cleared the snow away in a little section and peered down into the frozen water beneath us. It was crystal clear and I searched for any sign of sea life below. We laughed and giggled, the wind blowing against us, until our fingers froze and our noses began to run uncontrollably, just careless college students looking for an adventure.

I had the idea to spell out LEAP in footprints in the snow, which my friend Greg decided to implement. As we walked back up the hill to the cabin, we admired his masterpiece as the sun’s rays peaked out from beneath the clouds.


Photo courtesy of Emma!

On the bus ride back to campus that afternoon, I saw children and families in the next town over ice-skating and playing hockey. Even though the temperatures are frigid, something as banal as ice can bring a community closer together. 

Cookie Monster

In high school, I desperately wanted to successfully complete a New Year’s Resolution. I wanted to say I could stick to one thing from January through December.

Junior year I decided to give up cookies, a sweet treat I by no means loved. It was pretty easy; instead of eating Oreos or Chips Ahoy, I had ice cream or brownies.

When the year ended, however, I became a cookie addict. Chocolate chip, sugar, and oatmeal raisin — I loved them all.

I was surprised yesterday during Senior Seminar when my classmate, Atlas, brought in Milano cookies for snack. I had never had one of those before!


When I shared this morsel of information with him, he said I needed to have the experience. He passed along the package of double chocolate cookies and I took my first bite.

It was delicious. It was light and tasty on the outside, and the hint of chocolate on the inside completed this creation.

It was so good that I tried the mint chocolate variety, too. Good thing I didn’t give up cookies for this year’s resolution!