Posted on February 10th, 2014

Before leaving for Jamaica, I was convinced that upon my return the states I would easily be able to explain what the trip was like. Upon arrival, I still felt the same, as the four-hour flight had turned into a three-day adventure. But upon my return to the states, I was instantly faced with the “how was your trip” question, a question that I couldn’t really formulate an answer to. For those who just asked in passing, the answer was “good,” “fun,” “hot,” etc. However, for the lucky ones who I actually had time to talk to, the answer was strikingly more detailed. A one-worded answer just simply didn’t do the trip justice.

The arrival in Montego Bay, Jamaica did not come easily. We began with numerous flight delays and cancellations thanks to a few inches of snow and freezing temperatures that hit the northeast and shut down airports for a couple of days. Not being able to catch a flight, we drove to where our connection was in Philadelphia approximately five hours away from Providence. We arrived very late on Saturday evening, only to get four hours of sleep before our flight to Jamaica on Sunday morning. Luckily, everything seemed to be going well. We hopped on our flight to Jamaica and after sitting on the runway for a while to de-ice we finally took off. Once in the air, we were all convinced that we should be landing in a few hours. No such luck. We were rerouted due to a mechanical issue, put on another flight just to be told that that plane also has a mechanical issue, so we were put onto a third plane a few hours later and finally took off from Charlotte, NC. Around dinner, the next leg of our journey had finally begun.

 

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Upon arrival in Petersfield, the first thing that I immediately noticed is how genuinely friendly the people were. All of our house moms had been awaiting our arrival with the students who didn’t have flight problems with authentic Jamaican food. We were fortunate enough to have access to Wi-Fi at the community center to contact our parents, which was good because many of us were becoming pessimistic on whether or not we were ever going to make it. Our house moms fed us, and then took us back to their individual homes where we would be living for the next week.

Living within the community of Petersfield made the trip so much more meaningful. Admittedly, I was curious about all of the stereotypes that I had heard about Jamaica upon arrival, and although I didn’t necessarily believe them, I wondered if our experiences would be anything like those who have gone to stay at resorts. It would take days to fully put into words everything I want to say about the openness of their community, but no words would ever do it justice. I just wish that everyone that went to Jamaica on vacation, also took a step back to realize that what they see in Negril or Montego Bay, or the violence they hear about in Kingston, is nothing like the rest of the country. We went to Jamaica to educate the community about autism, but we left with so much more than that. My house dad, with his many words of wisdom, reminded us to never wait for time because it will never wait for us or that “emotions are like blown glass, they heat up before turning into something beautiful.” Our house mom taught us the importance of trying new things and always being honest. The children unintentionally helped us realize how much we have that we can easily take for granted, and how the most important thing in life is just to be happy with what you have. Undoubtedly, I have never been in a place where everyone has been as grateful for what they have than in Jamaica.

Through the entirety of the trip, the anthropology/sociology major in me wanted to learn more and more about Jamaican culture. I wanted to learn about the generalizations of their people, and plot how to be an advocate against those upon my return to the states. I wanted learn about their customs and rituals and hey, maybe even learn a dance move or two while I was there. It’s impossible to learn the ins and outs of a culture in seven days, but I did the best I could.

dancing

 

I suppose what I am trying to say is that Jamaica will be unforgettable.  Whether it was when a group of 150 parents stood up and sang “One Love” to us after our presentation about autism, or when the children wrote us notes or drew us pictures, it’s impossible to ever look back on that week with a frown. The country was far different from what I expected, and it’s still sad to think about all of the stereotypes that are held about what life is like there.  I highly recommend that everyone try to embark on a study abroad program whether it be for a week or for a semester, because no matter how cliché this may sound it really helps you open your eyes and realize how lucky you are.

classroom

 

Until next time, it’s back to reality. The groundhog saw his shadow so I suppose we are having six more weeks of winter, and there is actually snow on the ground right now so I suppose it’s believable! I have four day weekends this semester, but it’s already off to a busy start so we will see how that goes

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Posted on January 2nd, 2014

With the end of the fall semester in the distant past, going home leaves some time to relax, but also time to pick up some hours at my high school job before leaving for Jamaica. With that comes a paycheck (which to a college student is like a wish come true) but also the inevitable questions from customers when they find out that I am in college…. Questions such as, “Where do you go to school?” “What are you studying?” and the most dreaded question of all “What are you going to do with THAT?!” Granted, it’s nice to talk with customers other than “can I get you something to drink?” or “are you all set to order?” that inevitable question always used to leave me wondering… what am I going to do with my life?

Luckily, that dreaded question is one I finally have an answer to. I generally tell them that my goal is to go to graduate school for higher education, and though I won’t be working in a field that directly relates to my undergraduate major, I didn’t even know what a career in higher education even looked like until my sophomore year. But hey, better late than never, right?! Either way, it was nice to go to work this break and be prepared with an answer to a question that was bound to be asked.

Meanwhile, when not working or sitting around my house watching Netflix, I’m busily preparing to go to Jamaica with some fellow students and a professor. We’re traveling to a small village south of Montego Bay to work with a community on children’s mental health issues, specifically autism. When not working, I do believe we have some down time to experience the culture first hand and maybe gain a few sunburns along the way! Though I have a lot of reading and learning to do before going to Jamaica, I could not be more excited to be able to participate in such an opportunity. But really, I need to lay off the Netflix and start reading since we leave on January 3rd! Until then, it’s time to spend the last few days in New Hampshire “enjoying” the snow. How does break go by so fast? Now all I need is my new passport to arrive….

Until next time! Happy New Year!

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Posted on November 12th, 2013

Every year the middle to end of October always seems to be the busiest. And every year I tell myself that if I plan ahead everything will fall into place nicely, but that never seems to happen. I suppose I could blame my professors for all assigning the same due dates, but I have had all of my syllabi since the first day of classes so it is no one else’s fault but mine for waiting. Undoubtedly, the past month has been grueling, but I think the worst is behind me. It’s an amazing feeling being able to take a breath again!

October finished off with our annual Wicked Weekend. Because of it actually falling on Halloween weekend, CEN wanted to make it scarier than in years past, leading the committee to create the weekend’s tagline, “Roger Beware, You’re in for A Scare.” Attempting to make it as scary as possible, we showed The Conjuring twice to gear up for Saturday night’s speaker, Lorraine Warren. Lorraine Warren is a paranormal investigator who has been a part of extremely well known cases involving the paranormal, specifically the Amityville Horror and The Conjuring. The hype surrounding her arrival was amazing and the event successful thanks to the Where’s The Fun? committee. Wicked Weekend was most definitely one for the books. My co-chair and I are extremely fortunate to have such active committee members. Whether they’re willing to jump out of trap doors, hang from ceilings, arrive three hours prior to an event to set up, Wicked Weekend would be incomplete without them. With Halloween behind us, improvements noted and things to continue with written down, my co-chair, committee and I are on to my favorite week of the year, March Meltdown!

Also! I just finished paying off my trip with the university to Jamaica in January! Along with about ten other students and a faculty advisor, the university has given us an opportunity to fly to Montego Bay, Jamaica for ten days and travel inland to work with children with mental disabilities. A service-learning trip, we will be staying in homestays and immersing ourselves fully in Jamaican culture, while providing assistance to a rural community wherever needed while earning course credit. I am unbelievably excited to escape the winter and work within the community of Petersfield, but nervous because I’m not 100% sure what to expect. I have heard that I may not want to return! I’ll be sure to share every detail of what I’m sure is going to be a once in a lifetime experience. (Cliché I know…)

With everything that has been going on recently, I am sure I will have more updates soon!

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Posted on October 4th, 2013

Monday this week started off like any other day with me waking up to my third alarm, eating cereal and running out of my apartment with a coffee in hand ready for the busy day that was waiting ahead. Aside from spilling coffee on myself (which is a normal occurrence) the day ended up leaving me flustered.

I first receive an email from my supervisor checking in on me. Confused, I open the email to see that I missed a scheduled meeting in the morning and didn’t submit a weekly report. Embarrassed and frustrated with myself for forgetting a meeting and not submitting paperwork on time, I sprint to her office apologizing profusely for being so forgetful. Was the meeting in my planner? Yes. Did I think about looking at my planner on Sunday evening to see what meetings I had on Monday? No, because that would have made sense. Did I complete my weekly report? Yes, but of course I never actually pressed submit.

From there I rushed to my 11:00 a.m. class to take an exam that I had stayed up until 2:00 a.m. studying for. And…well… let’s just say that I guess you can’t win ‘em all? The exam seemed never ending to the point where I was running out of time, but I guess I wasn’t alone. My professor offered to let everyone finish in her office. If my brain wasn’t turning into mush I would have taken her up on it. Instead I rapidly finished the exam and moved on with my Monday. Worried about my grade because I have a tendency to be a perfectionist, I spent a little bit of time wondering what would have happened if I had just studied for the extra 30 minutes.

At that point, I realized that I was worrying over an exam that was already over when I should have been focusing on finishing a paper that was due in three hours on how globalization is leading to larger gaps between the rich and the poor. Surprisingly, I couldn’t concentrate as I was busy thinking about all of the upcoming exams, papers and projects that I had due in the next couple of weeks. Why October is always the busiest month of the semester, I will never know. To take my mind off of things, my friend and I made the trek to J-Lot to get my car because Sip-n-Dip’s liquid dessert (I mean… coffee??) is the solution to every student’s problems.

Upon arriving back on campus from Sip-n-Dip, I realized that I still needed to pop into the dean’s office for his signature to add a minor. I thought it could just be a quick stamp, but then was told that he wanted to sign the form himself and was not available at the moment. With that said, catching the dean is next on my list of things to do… if only he was available at midnight when I am checking things off of my to-do lists.

The point of this narrative is a reflection of the title of this post. Yes, Monday stressed me out simply because it felt extremely hectic and like I couldn’t catch a break. I then quickly remembered what I have always been taught… someone out there is having a worse day than you are. I was indeed frustrated that I couldn’t catch the dean, but how many people are lucky enough to say that their dean wants to know who they are as a student before signing off on adding a minor? How many people have a supervisor who knows them well enough to email when something isn’t quite right, and in response makes the effort to check in on them to make sure they’re doing okay? How many students can say that their professors will stay late after class, giving them a better opportunity to succeed? I should find myself lucky and fortunate. These are the reasons that even when I am running around like crazy I chose Roger Williams. Or maybe, just maybe in some round about way…why Roger Williams chose me. Even on the most hectic days, it is a great day to be a hawk.

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Posted on September 12th, 2013

Somehow I have managed to hit two milestones in the past month. One being that I can no longer say I’m a teenager, which didn’t feel all that odd until someone told me I was halfway to 40. The second milestone being I am also starting my third year of college…crazy! Before entering college a couple of years ago the major piece of advice I got was to not blink or I would miss it. I am pretty sure I shrugged everyone off thinking it was rather lame advice and that four years was still four years. Except now four years is two years, and actually having to prepare for the “real world” seems closer and closer.

The past few weeks have been full of RA training, staff bonding and CEN’s 1,2,3 weekend. At times training was exhausting, but also has me excited for the upcoming year. I’m fortunate to work with a staff that even after spending every waking moment with the past few weeks we still are a strong, cohesive team. And I have a roommate again!

Check out our Bayside welcome video!

welcome

And of course, what is a blog without CEN in it? We recently wrapped up 1,2,3 Weekend: All Ways Point to Roger. Our navigational themed weekend kicked off the school year with Gordon Baker-Bone, The Great Gatsby and our annual fall concert: Carolina Liar with opener Todd Carey. Unfortunately due to weather, the concert had to get moved inside the field house but still went off without a hitch! My co-chair and I could not have asked for better performers to work with or even a board to help us make the event and weekend a success. With a great 1,2,3 Weekend behind us…. on to the next one!

CEN

I don’t have all that much to say about my courses so far, as last week was basically syllabus week. I do, however, love the fact that my earliest class is at 10:00am. I’ve finally moved out of the world of 8:00ams…woo! All of my general education courses, COREs, etc. are all completed which is great because every single course I am taking this semester I hand picked, and I think even the ones that are not Anthropoloy/Sociology courses still relate to my major somehow. But I think I hand picked the classes with the most textbooks… time to get reading!

Since moving in around a month ago it seems as if I haven’t had time to blink until today simply because of opening residence halls and putting together 1,2,3 weekend simultaneously. However, now that both are over my hope is that I’ll finally be able to put myself back into some sort of routine. I think this year has already been starting off on the right foot! Until next time!

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Posted on June 27th, 2013
My 45 new Facebook (and real life) friends!

My 45 new Facebook (and real life) friends!

Four weeks ago, I packed up my white Toyota and went on my way to orientation for the second time. (Secretly paraphrasing our awesome motivational speaker right there) Pulling onto campus, I found myself heading into a place different than what I had left a week prior. The entire student body had left, leaving 45 students behind in Willow eager to train and prepare to introduce around 1,200 students and their families to their new home away from home. Not knowing what to expect, and wondering if this summer could live up to the experience I had prior, I was quick to sit back and observe the new staff dynamic. Immediately I noticed that our staff had done a 180-degree shift from the year before to this one, and honestly I was a little overwhelmed. Though people rarely believe me when I say this, I am naturally introverted. Walking into a room with 45 peers, many of whom I had never met prior made me nervous, even as a returning orientation advisor who was expected to know what they were doing.

However, I quickly learned that there was nothing wrong with the experience being different, in fact the opportunity given to us as a team to motivate, challenge and form connections with 45 diverse individuals was extremely valuable!! Slowly I got to know each orientation advisor, and it was one of the best decisions ever. So I sit here a month later, becoming less shy day by day and realizing that I will walk away from this experience next week with 45 more students on campus that are more than just Facebook friends. Orientation is hands down one of the best, most rewarding experiences I have had at RWU!!

Rockin' our new Orientation gear

Rockin’ our new Orientation gear

 

I say all of this because I think it is important to know that college is an opportunity to encounter differences, learn from them and step out of your comfort zone. Without obstacles to overcome it seems impossible to gain enough experience to grow. Your time at RWU will rapidly become the most challenging, exciting and best four years of your educational career — and I can comfortably say that after just two. The challenges end up being the best experiences without a doubt. The university not only gives you endless opportunities to challenge yourself, but to do absolutely anything you want to do before graduating. It’s amazing.

 

Though orientation definitely keeps us going, even after we have welcomed all of the members of the class of 2017, our o-team is still busy. With just one week until Bristol’s infamous 4th of July parade (and their celebrations are already underway!) we are busily working on the float, ready to defend our Best in Parade title for the third year. *Fingers Crossed* Though, I am not at liberty to discuss what our theme is, come check it out next week when it is unveiled to the public! I know I can speak for our entire team when I say we are thrilled at how it has come out, but there is still a lot of work to be done. Third time’s a charm!
As if orientation isn’t busy enough, my CEN co-chair and I are busily working on opening weekend. It’s difficult because she is experiencing an amazing opportunity in Africa, so contact is limited, but we are both preparing to make this one of the best 1,2,3 weekends the campus has seen. Shoot for the stars, right?! This new position is difficult, and I still have a lot to learn, but I have been working towards this since I was a freshman, so to finally have this opportunity is amazing. And, I hear I have an amazing committee to help create extraordinary events for us every step of the way.

Sneak peek at our float...

Sneak peek at our float…

Happy summer!!!!!!!!

Posted in Summer 2013
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