Sunday Showdown

Dust off the ole jersey, whip-up some hearty wings and nachos, snag the cold drinks, and position that stained up/rundown recliner right in front of the TV, because ladies and gents….its time for NFL Super Bowl XLIX!

This Sunday, February 1 at 6:30pm EST on NBC, the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

With heavy-hitters such as Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman from Seattle butting heads with the likes of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski from New England. From the infamous “deflategate” scandal to popular or perhaps not so popular attitude of Richard Sherman this is game is gonna be one for the history books. So everyone grab your gear and cheer on your favorite team till the very end!

Little Moments

I have often experienced moments at Albion that remind me of how glad I am that I attend this college. These moments happen in big or little ways, whether that be by bonding with a professor through an interesting class topic or sharing a laugh with a friend over lunch.

Today this little moment came through an interaction with a stranger as I was going about my day:

After lunch I went over to the Ferguson administration building to pick up some easels for an upcoming sorority recruitment event. I took the elevator up to the third floor of Ferguson and asked the receptionist for the easels.

As I waited for someone else to go and bring up the easels, the receptionist chatted with me about the slippery, icy campus, my classes this semester, and my major and interests. She was very nice and easy to talk to; just talking to a friendly face with such enthusiasm put me in a better mood for the day.

When the other woman returned with the easels, I thanked her and started to be on my way. I ran into a problem, however, when I tried to carry them out with me. You see, I was already carrying a large box that I received in the mail for my birthday the previous day (woo hoo!). It was a large box full of packaging peanuts that surrounded an edible arrangement. It was a nice gesture from my parents, but at that moment, just a huge mess.

The receptionist noticed my struggle and suggested I call and ask a friend to help me carry everything. As I took her advice and started to “call for help,” in between my phone calls we laughed about my predicament, joking about how I could bribe people to help me with the goodies I had just received in the mail, or plotting what pranks I could pull with the copious packaging peanuts.

My friend Hannah eventually showed up with her car, however there was still no way for me to get down the stairs. The receptionist saw this and went looking for a bag for me to take the arrangement out of the box and place in the bag. She even took care of disposing the box for me. She was so helpful and kind throughout all of this, and we both laughed as I left and stepped into the elevator, easels in hand.

This was a small encounter in my day, only about 15 minutes or so, yet I left the office with a smile on my face with a sense of pride with the school I attend. I love it at Albion College, and a large part of that is due to the exceptional character of the people here.

 

Less is More

As a student at Albion you look around yourself and say, “WOW, How lucky am I to be surrounded by such smart, world changing, talented, and insightful people?”

During my last semester on campus I knew that each of my classmates were about to go into the world and do incredible things. I stood there on graduation day and knew that I was standing next to America’s future politicians, professors, physicians, and professionals.  Dannie’s success is a testament to this, yet is only a small just part of the success that our class has seen since leaving that beautiful campus almost a year ago.

As alumni, we root so hard for each other. We encourage the current students and we cheer for the alumni who came before us, but I don’t think there’s anything more personal and fulfilling than the success we see in our peers – those who are in the same stage of life as us, who were there through all the hard and incredible times – and to me there’s no one that I’m cheering louder for than Jane Finkel and Brian Spencer.

Less-is-More-Amid-the-Flowers-Music-InformOkay, so Brian graduated the year before I did, but the point stands. These two have shown exactly what it means to be young and to go out and fight for your dreams. To me, these two epitomize what it means to be part of our generation of college graduates. They worked their tails off recording the debut album, Amid the Flowers, for their band Less is More; coordinated and executed a cross country tour, the Time Isn’t Money Tour; and made sure to give back to everyone they could along the way.

How do I know this? Well because I’m a giant stalker and huge fangirl of course.

Don’t judge me.

1620930_284159951737600_327451321_nI followed every blog post from their tour and have listened to their album pretty much constantly since it was released – it’s AMAZING! I invited practically everyone I knew to their homecoming show in Lansing last month and have heard pretty much every podcast interview I could find that featured them as guests. Why? Because they are unbelievably talented musicians, because they are fellow Brits, and because that’s what we do.

Albion’s always preaching about this incredible alumni network we have and this is it. We are so lucky to have some of the most inspirational young minds on campus, each of which has the potential to be AMAZING, and it is our job to support each other.

So, this weekend, go support Brian and Jane! They’re playing in The KC Stack on Saturday starting at 9 PM and I guarantee it’s going to be spectacular (they’re outstanding live). The whole campus should be there. Whether you had a class with one of them or not, whether you never met them or are their besties, it doesn’t matter. Go. Go listen to some fantastic music, go support Euphonics beforehand at 7 PM, and go celebrate your fellow Brits.

Jane and BrianFollow Less is More on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and their website.

The Most Rewarding Job on Campus

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” ~Jay Danzie

First West Central, Wesley Hall

There are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA.

Wait… what? Yes. You did read that sentence correctly, and I’m going to say it again.

There are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA. For time’s sake, I’ll only list a few.

  • The Lack of Sleep.                                                                                                    As a person who is very emotionally connected to sleep, it is safe for me to say this job has a knack for interrupting my loving relationship with the Zzz’s. RA “on-call” hours are from 8pm to 8am. On the nights we are on call, we have to be ready to help in an emergency. (No, being locked out of your room or needing to return a game at 3am does not qualify as an emergency. If I have to wake up to put ping pong paddles away, you can bet someone is going to pay.)
  • Emotional Exhaustion.                                                                                              I’m not saying you’re going to cry everyday, or even every week. But there is a point where all of the emotions may seem like too much. You are accountable for your own mental health, as well as monitoring the mental happiness and health of your residents. As RAs, we are trained on how to handle a variety of crisis, from alcohol poisoning to suicide and depression. Dealing with all of these serious, life dependent situations may prove to be overwhelming.
  • Loss of Time.                                                                                                             You will live in the same place that you work, and you will work far more than you may have expected. There are going to be times that you won’t be able to take that daily nap, or watch the latest episode of whatever TV show you’re binge watching. Blocks of free hours will quite possibly become scattered increments of free time throughout the day. You will come to know what the word “busy” actually means.
  • Fishbowl Living.                                                                                                        They are watching, always watching. Not just the residents of your floor. The residents throughout your building, the other RAs, the RDs, the other students, even the profs are watching if you’re well known on campus. You are always going to have to be aware of how you present yourself, and think of what you want to be remembered by.

Like I’ve said, there are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA. Honestly, it’s not meant for everyone. It’s challenging, and exhausting, and draining at times. But, if you have what it takes, there are COUNTLESS reasons why you should be an RA.

There are the obvious reasons everybody tells you: stipend pay, you get a single, get great work experience, etc. I can tell you that if you’re only in the position for those reasons, and only for yourself, you probably won’t be happy as an RA. It takes something more. You have to have some sort of spark or passion. The type of spark that allows you to find the most meaningful moments in the worst aspects of the job.

  • Fishbowl Living.                                                                                                       It is a true fact that you will always be watched. It can get a bit overwhelming at times to constantly be aware of your role on campus. After a few weeks in the position, I eventually began to realize that this fishbowl living was actually a benefit in disguise. Living under the microscope forced me to become the person I wanted to be looked up to as. Fishbowl living could quite possibly be the reason last semester was so successful for me, because constantly being aware of my own presence and actions made it easy to put everything in my life into perspective.
  • Loss of Time.                                                                                                             When you lose time, you begin to appreciate and work with the time that you do have. Similar to a majority of RAs, I am involved in a lot of different organizations on campus. Being an RA taught me time management skills and how to prioritize between my different organizations. I had to quickly learn how to function on moving from task to task during short increments, as opposed to starting and finishing one task for multiple hours at a time. Effective time management is a useful skill to have both personally and professionally.
  • Emotional Exhaustion.                                                                                             All of your residents will go through different things, and it will be your job to make sure that every individual is happy and healthy throughout their residency in your hall. Some of your residents may be battling with personal issues from home, and some of them may be struggling with grades. You are there to be their resource, to point them in the right direction for improvement.

    Obviously, you probably have your own emotional issues too. In the RA position, it is important to keep yourself happy and healthy so that you can keep your hall happy and healthy. The importance here is to find the balance between how many personal emotions you are carrying, and how much of somebody else’s emotion you can handle taking on. The job gets easier over time, and you will slowly be able to balance more and more.

  • Let’s Talk About Work Experience.

    You hear it all the time: being an RA will give you good work experience. But, what does that even mean? Being an RA will give you professional skills including, but not limited to: communication, organization, leadership, interpersonal, and management and administration skills. There is so much that goes into being an RA, you will eventually be able to reach into the skill pool and pull something impressive out for any job interview. (For example, planning and implementing meetings is an impressive business skill to have. The experience simply comes from planning hall meetings.)

  • They May Turn Out to Be Your Biggest Fans.
    Over the past six months, my residents have become much more than just residents to me. I’ve loved them from the moment I took them out to the front of Wesley Hall to do some (very fun) icebreakers. I’ve gotten to watch them grow and find their own niches on campus. In the beginning of their first semester, I told them I was there to be their authoritative big sister. Somewhere along the way, that statement was validated and I gained over 17 little sisters. I’ve probably learned more from them than they have from me, but that is a post for another day.

    Wesley Hall, First West Central. Euphonics Concert, Fall 2014.

RA interviews are around the corner, and if you think you are right for the job, and, just as importantly, if you think the job is right for you, I strongly encourage you to apply. Becoming an RA was without a doubt the best decision I’ve made at Albion. It will change your life.

P.S. I’m not going to say the loss of sleep has any pro to it, that con is just a complete tragedy.

P.S.S. Shout out to The Pod!! (First West Central)

 

Change is Permanent

10341767_10204017032095356_7533121341655485249_nThere is nothing permanent in life except change…

Po wrote about change in her first alumni post and I’m here to discuss the same.

It’s been over six months since I started at Whirlpool Corporation and closer to eight since I graduated Albion and moved away from the town I called home for three years. In the past eight months, a lot of things have changed. I turned 21, traveled for work more than I expected to, adopted a Savannah cat that jumps 6 feet in the air without much issue, and started my master’s degree.

As 2015 begins, the first year since the turn of the decade that I haven’t in some way been involved with my undergrad experience at Albion, many more things are about to change. I’ll graduate with a Master’s this year, earn my first promotion, start a PhD, travel to more places I’ve never been, stand by my mother’s side as she gets married, and maybe even grow up.

In fact, the only thing that hasn’t shifted is the fact that change is inevitable. The Class of 2014 – we’re all young twentysomethings navigating the world, facing challenges and gaining experiences. We’re taking the education and the opportunities we had at Albion and parlaying them as currency for growth, for more experiences, more opportunities. No two members of our class have taken the same path and no two of us will end the same, yet we started from the same place, comrades on a campus rich in history.

To the Class of 2015 – use this last semester to soak up whatever experiences and opportunities you can, you never know how valuable they’ll be as currency in the future. One day spent volunteering with ESL students could translate into a side job as a Spanish translator that’s helping you fund your travel savings.

All it takes is one experience to change your future!

New Perspectives

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My Host family is a dream, and my host dad is a self proclaimed “Rey de la Cocina” (King of the Kitchen).  He even allowed me to be his royal assistant in the kitchen…. meaning I helped him cut onions.

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The myth, the legend: My host dad’s paella.  Paella is a traditional spanish dish typically eaten at lunch consisting of rice, various vegetables, various shellfish, and lemon.  

As my fall semester abroad comes to a close, I cannot help but think how fortunate I am to have experienced Spain through a college student’s eyes. My dream to visit Spain came to fruition with the ease of accessibility to discover off-campus programs at Albion. Additionally, the assurance from my classmate’s international travels boosted my confidence to embark on this dream even more so.

Having a semester abroad under my belt makes me beyond excited to become part of the international community at Albion, and to share my experiences with the student body. Every aspect of Spain has influenced me. From the city of Seville that I’ve come to know all too well. The Spanish people who have given me an entirely new global experience. The food has even left a lasting impact on me. I’ve surprisingly discovered a new hobby in cooking. Before I just did the eating part, but now I can make a few delicious Spanish dishes (emphasis on the word few). All in all Spain has treated me well, and I can only hope that there are more fulfilling experiences to come.

The New Year as an Alumna

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundLooking to 2015 it’s hard to imagine exactly what life will bring. For me, and many other college grads that entered the “real world” in the past year, 2015 has the potential to change our lives entirely. Personally, it feels like every decision I’ve ever made has been leading to this time in my life and like every decision I make in these next few years will determine the rest of my life. Maybe that doesn’t sound daunting and thrilling to you, but from the seat where I’m sitting – in my brand new office at an amazing job – it is.

 GraduationTwo thousand fourteen was a year of friends, triumph, and foundation building. I look back at the year I graduated and think of all of the amazing things that I got to experience. I got to travel around The United States on Service Project Appalachia. I got to do research with a professor that I admire so much and present it in front of my peers. I got to share some of my personal insights with my fellow graduates on the chapel stage the night before graduation, and then I got to go celebrate with the people who have shaped me into the person that I have become. I got to watch my friendships grow and flourish, in new and fulfilling ways, and got to spend another beautiful summer in the woods. I also got offered multiple jobs and opportunities before I settled on the right combination for me. But that wasn’t all; I also got to make some really hard decisions about life…

What was my next step going to be? Where should I live? Was entering a relationship right before graduation a good idea? Is it smart to pass on a dream job to be closer to your family, because life isn’t all about your career? Is it okay to overpay for your own place because you know it’s better for your own mental health? Is it okay to make people uncomfortable if it makes you happier in the long run?

It might not seem like a privilege to some of the college seniors, or even high school seniors out there to make such decisions, but it is! Although it is daunting to be faced with such giant choices, it is also rewarding and amazing. To be faced with all of this validates all of the hard work that you, and so many others have done, to get you to where you are.

HomecomingAs an alumna, I look back at the year of my graduation and know that it was one of the best and most exciting years of my life. However, I also know that I have so much more life to live with so many opportunities ahead of me. Looking forward I see how much potential 2015 holds, and though it will be hard to beat 2014, I’m prepared for the challenge.

So, to all the seniors out there, I say this: The next semester can, and probably will be, the most incredible experience you’ve had yet. I urge you to live it up! Stay out late with your friends, make the memories that only college can provide, and work your butt off. Make sure that when, in a year from now, you look back at your college days you see what you want to see.

Yet, at the same time, don’t fight the change that’s coming. The quicker you let go of the things that will soon be out of your control, the better your last few weeks will be, and the easier the transition will be upon your departure into the next stage of life. It’s okay to be scared for what’s coming – to be afraid of the unknown – but trust in yourself and the education you’ve received and you’ll be just fine.

A post about food

With Thanksgiving last weekend and more holiday gatherings quickly approaching, food has been a frequent subject on the brain for me. With this in mind, I asked two of my closest friends to describe the best meal they’ve eaten in the past 6 months. Their stories are below and mine follows afterwards. Enjoy! But I warn you, you might work up a bit of an appetite.

Hannah’s Reuben

“I was headed to a new place in East Lansing with my friends. It was an Irish pub called Dublin. This past summer I realized I had never tried a reuben sandwich before. I even told my dad it was a goal of mine. As I sat down at the table with my friends, I saw my usual picks on the menu, but my eyes caught something new: the reuben. My friends agreed it was a good choice.

“I ordered and then sat there, hungry, waiting for my sandwich to arrive. When it finally came, on the plate appeared heavenly shreds of corned beef toasted on marble rye bread. The sauerkraut and Swiss cheese paired perfectly with the beer-battered fries on the side. It also came with a pickle spear, lightly pickled so that it still held on to that fresh cucumber-like crisp. I indulged, and forgot my friends were there. I’m looking forward to my next reuben.”

Taylor’s Chicken Nuggets

“One time I ordered chicken nuggets at Albion College’s infamous Eat Shop. These were not ordinary nuggets. These were special. They were extra golden and crisp. The contrast of the hot flakiness of the breaded chicken matched with the cool zing of the ranch dressing is something my tongue will never forget.

“I paired them with curly fries. Always crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, it felt like I was eating gold. This particular time, the Eat Shop was about to close, so the employees let me eat these fries with all of the sauces they had available. They were so accommodating and nice; they were happy I was happy. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Alex’s Club

I wandered through the streets of downtown Windsor with my friends. All we had in our stomachs were a few pretzels and some Canadian Molson (the legal drinking age in Canada is 19 years old) and we were hungry for some good bar food. We stumbled across a garage-looking venue called the Beer Exchange.

We immediately sat down at the bar and demanded a menu. My surroundings was dark and loud, so I just ordered my usual favorite: the club. I expected the  usual assortment of turkey, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce mayonnaise and sometimes bacon piled between three slices of bread. But this was different.

Accompanied by seasoned waffle fries, The thick slices of ham, turkey and swiss cheese rested in a soft onion poppy-seed bun. The tomato was served on the side along with a cole-slaw like mixture of green cabbage and kale. Everything blended together perfectly. It was the perfect sandwich: warm and flavorful and just right.

Why I hate the Christmas song: “Baby it’s Cold Outside”

I think Christmas songs are great – they get people in the holiday spirit and they remind them of great memories. Whether a classic hit or a new spin on an old favorite, Christmas music is an awesome genre to enjoy during this time of year.

There is one song, however, that just grinds my gears. I hate it, I can’t listen to it for more than 12 seconds and when it comes on the radio I have to turn the station or I think my ears would explode.

This horrible monstrosity is called “Baby it’s Cold Outside” and I have three perfectly valid reasons why I think this is the worst Christmas song ever created and approved to appear on the radio.

First of all, it’s not even about Christmas.

The song is a duet between a man and a woman who have feelings for each other and the man is trying to get the woman to stay with him for the night. There is not once a reference to the holidays, but instead it is just a song takes place during frigid weather. Why it is always played on the radio and is considered a “Christmas song” escapes me.

Second, it’s the same notes over and over again.

The song gets so repetitive! Listening to this song once makes me feel like I’ve heard it a thousand times over because each verse sounds exactly the same. The notes are so monotone and the pattern of the verses never changes, and it drives me crazy. I don’t claim to be a music expert, but I personally think songs should be a little more interesting and contain a little more variation in notes and pitches.

Third, it’s just plain creepy.

Think about it; really think about what is happening in this song. The woman is trying to get home – she says she wants to leave and get away from this man. She even states that her mother and father are worried about her. The man involved, however, is singing about the power this woman has over him while being very persistent, and almost desperate in the way he tries to get her to stay. There is even a line where the woman says “what’s in this drink?” I can’t tell for sure what is going on here, but in my opinion, the song is just too creepily unsettling to be considered a friendly holiday tune.

So don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas music, and it will probably be my most listened to Pandora station for the next month or so. I will not, however, tolerate listening to any of “Baby it’s Cold Outside” because its just too creepy, too monotone, and too non-holiday themed to considered a Christmas song in my book.

 

This Changes Everything

timehop“This changes everything” that was the first phrase I read as I opened up my first college acceptance letter to Albion College. As cliché as it sounds, that truly was the moment my life was about to change.

It’s weird to think that 3 years ago Albion College was just a place to me, just a school that had mailed me a letter saying I was welcome to study there next year.  Now, however, Albion College has become my home; and it’s sad to think that I only have 3 semesters left here.

At Albion I’ve made life-long friendships, whether it be with fellow students, outstanding coaches or admirable faculty. I’ve learned things in classes I never imagined possible, from the neuro-capacity of an earthworm, to the history of the sport of boxing in the U.S. to the methods of communication across cultures. I’ve traveled to Chicago, San Diego and even Paris with various classes and sports teams.

In addition, all of my time spent on campus has been priceless, whether its delving deep into a great book somewhere in the library, or just sitting on the floor of my friends’ dorm room talking about life. I’ve joined clubs, teams and Greek Life — each organization brining me closer to people I might have not found on my own.

When I look at my Timehop every day and see all the great memories I’ve made these past few years at Albion, there’s no doubt in my mind that I made the right choice when I decided to make Albion College my home for my 4-year college career.

Go Brits.

LAX Pancakes

Every year the Albion College Women’s Lacrosse team, or LAX team, hosts a fundraiser to raise money for various team funds needed for equipment or traveling. The girls sell wristbands and in return a customer can come to Upper Baldwin any time between 9 and 11pm on a designated weekday and eat as many pancakes as his or her heart desires.
The event is usually accompanied by a performance form Albion’s one and only Euphonics, a stellar a cappella group comprised of male and female student singers. This year they did not disappoint, and neither did the pancakes… I personally ate four.
But the pictures say it all. It was a great night, a great time; full stomachs for attendees and a full cashbox for the LAX team.

Networking: My New Favorite Skill

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For those of you who do not know, I am currently interning at an Event Planning Firm called Eventricity. At Eventricity, we offer many different businesses. We plan all sorts of events, ranging from a small intimate gathering, to a large festival. This weekend, for example, we have an Indian wedding, Bat Mitzvah, and also a large ball. Along with planning events, we also do an immense amount of event décor. Since I have been interning at Eventricity, we have done a Hunger Games-themed event, four Mardi Gras themed events, and lots of others.

One of the main perks about my internship, however, is the opportunity for networking. When I graduate from Albion, I want to have a job. I am doing my best to form connections with people in my field that may help me obtain a job after graduating. The other week, I accompanied my boss, Phyllis, to a networking opportunity at a brewery. At this event, I met so many people involved in the special events industry. I received their cards, and later connected with them on LinkedIn.

marcum

Just last week, I had the opportunity to attend the Philadelphia Marcum Innovator of the Year Awards. This award ceremony was put on for CEOs who had started innovative businesses in the Philadelphia area. This has been one of my favorite nights so far of this program. First off, the food was incredible. I ate crab, shrimp, steak, mini cheeseburgers, you name it, I ate it. Secondly, I was able to introduce myself to the CEOs of multiple companies in the field I am interested in. I could not have asked for a better opportunity. I have since connected with these CEOs, and I am going to be visiting their companies for an informational interview.

I cannot even explain how important I have found networking to be in my time here in Philadelphia. Hopefully I will be returning after I graduate!

Dress Well Test Well

Dress Well Test Well is a philosophy that I have adapted since my first semester at Albion College. This philosophy, or way to score success as I like to call it, is my way of instilling self-confidence and a positive mindset in myself before I walk in to take an exam.

What is Dress Well Test Well you may ask? It is exactly what it sounds like. No, honestly think about it.

From a mental standpoint your brain is filled with a ton of information that will help you rock that exam. Now from a physical standpoint, your body needs to be just as prepared as your brain to receive that top grade you want.

Now let’s say you had two option of clothing to wear before your exam:

Option 1: Business casual/professional (interview clothing)

Option 2: Sweatpants and t-shirt with your hair thrown in a messy bun

Many people would chose option 2 in a heartbeat after spending hours studying the night before an exam because it is easy and comfortable, but the Dress Well Test Well approach would confirm that Option 1 would help you perform better on an exam.

See, with wearing business casual/professional clothing and spending time grooming yourself before your exam, your brain is trained to perform to its best because that is what happens when you have an interview. In an interview situation your brain is very active, promoting your best self and making sure you are thinking of the best possible outcomes, which is what you want to happened while taking an exam.

On the other hand, if you were to choose the sweatpants and t-shirt option, your brain is trained to relax and unwind, as you would do normally in a t-shirt and sweats watching TV on your couch. Would you want your mind to do the same on an exam?

I hope you think twice before throwing on your favorite Albion College hoodie minutes before an exam, because I have seen positive results with the Dress Well Test Well philosophy and I hope the same for you.

Spooktacular

Every Halloween at Albion College, various student-groups participate in a campus-wide trick-or-treating event called Spooktacular for the community children of the city of Albion. Despite the snowy weather and frivolous temperatures this year, around 500 kids and their parents or guardians participated in the “ghostly” festivities, receiving loads of candy from sports teams, fraternities, sororities and other campus clubs or groups. Most Albion students were dressed up in fun costumes just like the kids. The families were lead around campus by student-volunteer guides dressed in festive orange sweatshirts. This year might have been a cold Halloween, but Albion students made sure it was still spooky-fun for the community kids.

Albion: Beyond the Campus

I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with Albion College’s Career and Internship Center over fall break to Chicago with other students and faculty for CIC’s Career Visions Trip. We were lucky enough to meet some of Albion’s finest alumni who were making it big in the Windy City. This opportunity gave me so much more than just a trip to Chicago. It reinforced to me reason I came to Albion College, and reminded me of the Albion Advantage: a commitment to my future through a comprehensive strategy designed to help me succeed in my studies, in my career, and in my life.

Not only did I meet these Albion alumni, but they shared with me step by step how they turned their dreams into a reality. As a junior, their advice hit home to me as I am in the process of applying to internships that will help me with my future plans in the marketing, sales, and event planning fields. One alumna that stood out to me was Danielle Wysocki, ’10, who is a booking producer for Comcast SportsNet located in downtown Chicago. After listening to her wise advice, I feel more confident than ever that my Albion degree will set me apart and will give me the upper-hand advantage, just as it did for Danielle.

Compast SportsNet -- Danielle Wysocki ’10 pictured far left

Compast SportsNet — Danielle Wysocki ’10 pictured far left

“Nevermore!”

Today is Halloween, and this evening is All Hallows’ Eve, a time dedicated to remembering the dead, saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed believers. This is when we tell stories, ponder on accounts of fear and fright, and use themes of humor and ridicule in order to confront the power of death…or for some its just a time to party with your friends while wearing some costume you threw together at the last minute because you were too busy with other things or just didn’t care!

Whatever Halloween may mean to you, or whatever you may be doing on this day/eve, just remember that its not Halloween without a little spookiness thrown in the mix. In case you ran out of spookiness or just forgot to grab some, I have some here!

Below is Edgar Allen Poe’s famed bone-chilling poem The Raven (1845)

(Caution: May want to read with a few lights on…oooooh!)

The Raven:

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“ ’Tis some visiter,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December,
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken sad uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“ ’Tis some visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visiter entreating entrance at my chamber door;
This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortals ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the darkness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
Merely this, and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon I heard again a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
“Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Raven of the saintly days of yore;
Not the least obeisance made he; not an instant stopped or stayed he;
But, with mien of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door—
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door—
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient raven wandering from the Nightly shore—
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning—little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door—
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered—not a feather then he fluttered—
Till I scarcely more than muttered “Other friends have flown before—
On the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.”
Then the bird said “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore—
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
Of “Never—nevermore.”

But the raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore—
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt and ominous bird of yore
Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamplght gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamplight gloating o’er,
She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Angels whose faint foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “thy God hath lent thee—by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite—respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore;
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil!—prophet still, if bird or devil!—
Whether Tempter sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted—
On this home by Horror haunted—tell me truly, I implore—
Is there—is there balm in Gilead?—tell me—tell me, I implore!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil—prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us—by that God we both adore—
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken!—quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
Shall be lifted—nevermore!

Albion Is

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Albion isn’t really the kind of place I pictured I’d end up at. Unless your family has history here, I’m sure I’m not the only one. We pictured a big school with big football games and buses to get to other campuses and getting lost and not knowing anyone.

Albion is so, so beautifully haunting. Every time I hear the clock bell, I feel it’s the start of some kind of prophecy. I can picture little fairies at my feet when I walk through the Nature Center and the leaves whisper “dance, dance” and when I stand on the bridge and tilt my head back to feel the wind, I have never felt a greater peace.

Albion always finds a way to bring everything full circle. Yes, I did use my English assignment as a template for writing one of the most difficult letters of my adult life.

Albion is vibrant no matter the day. On a winter day with no sun, it still holds beauty and mystery. I pretend I’m solving a secret mystery when I go through the stacks, tip-toeing through the aisles of books, leaping through the halls when no one is looking. The buildings are so historically beautiful, there are so many opportunities, and everyone wants to see you succeed.

Albion is nothing I wished for, but everything I had ever hoped it to be.

- by Melanie Fodera