Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas in the Cape

Hello there!
I hope everyone's holiday break is going great. It seems like I've been moving nonstop since I've been home. I'm constantly on the go with plans, trying to see and hang out with everyone I love. However, it feels so amazing to be home and to be finally relieved of school related stress.

So, the 18th was my 21st birthday and it was the first time I really celebrated my birthday in years. We had two nights of celebrating; The first, we all went out to the town bar which was chaotic because everyone was home for the holidays. It was so jam packed but so much fun because I saw so many friends I hadn't seen in, what seems like, forever. The following day, I had a little get together at my house where we all played board games and had some casual drinks. It was a lot of fun!

My best friend, Lana, and I before we went out for my first birthday celebration.

Playing Apples to Apples - our favorite game.

My most epic birthday cake (TWILIGHT!)

I can't believe it's Christmas Eve already. I'm hiding out in my room, fighting the temptation to go out and see if "Santa" has arrived yet. It has been a little difficult getting into the Christmas spirit this year because it's a little different than years before. Since I could remember, my sister and I would always watch Christmas movies, play cards, drink hot chocolate, say our prayers, and then go to sleep, anxious as ever to wake up. It's a little different now that my sister is married, and has a baby... so I'm still adjusting to new holiday traditions. It's my nephew's second Christmas and I'm so excited to see the look on his face when he wakes up tomorrow morning. I am excited for and love that I can relive the spirit of Santa Claus for him.

My nephew, Nathan

It was a fun-filled day full of family togetherness. My boyfriend came over and we exchanged gifts. Then we all plunked our rumps on the floor and played board games for the night. Christmas music sounded over the speakers; Sipping on my eggnog and being surrounded by the ones I love allowed me to inevitably get soaked up into the holiday spirit. After all, that is what it's all about.

Meet my boyfriend, Liam

This was us hanging out earlier tonight

I was so impressed with my wrapping skills, I decided to document it.

Tomorrow will play out like it usually does. My sister will wake up first and wake everybody else up. My brother will wake up, but not hop out of bed for at least an hour after us. We'll root through our stockings and start organizing gifts into piles. Dad will start making breakfast and the aroma of bacon will make my stomach growl. We'll put on a Christmas movie while we open gifts and exchange hugs. Then we'll go up my aunt's and uncle's for Christmas supper. I cannot wait for turkey!

I'm going to try to get some sleep now because the sooner I get to sleep the sooner I'll be eating turkey dinner.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Living Off and On Campus

This is my first year living off campus, and while it has its perks compared to residency, there are some things you should consider when deciding whether or not you want to make the move to your own place.

I moved around a bit my first two years at Mount Allison, trying to find a residence which best fit my needs and personality. I moved from Windsor, to Harper, to Campbell, and I'm now living with three roommates a short distance from campus.

Mine and Leah (my roommate)'s room in Windsor Hall my first year at MtA.

Leah and I are best friends here at MtA, and we're roommates living off campus this year!

First let's outline the pros of living in residence:

  • It's certainly a great way to meet a lot of people and you quickly become close to neighbors and floor friends.
  • These residences are basically big houses with students close to your own age; they are full of student activities which seem to be going on constantly, giving you many chances to get out and socialize with your peers.
  • It's also convenient being a short distance from the university buildings, so your classes are only a few short strides away.
  • You pay the residence fee up front and it's done with. You don't have to worry about rent, water, electricity or cable bills.
  • Free wireless internet all over campus.
  • The cafeteria has food already cooked for you; maybe not quite what mom makes, but, all you have to do is show up and eat it whenever you need to. At Mount Allison, you can stop by any hour of the day between opening hour and closing hour, unlike many other university cafeterias which are only open during specified meal times.
  • It's a real university experience living on campus and it can be a real blast!

Now, let's take a look at the cons:
  • Because you're living with such a large number of students, it can be quite noisy - especially on weekends.
  • "Quiet hours" don't take place outside your window late at night and there can be quite a disturbance during the weekends. If you’re like me, and you need your beauty rest, consider thick earplugs!
  • Depending on which residence you live in, rooms can be quite small and you don't usually have a choice about whom your roommate will be.
  • Meal hall may not make food that you particularly like.
  • There are restrictions and rules that you must abide by. Such rules include the number of guests you're allowed in your room and how long they're allowed to stay, and things you can and can't do in your room.
  • With an exception to the bathroom suites in Campbell hall, you share communal bathrooms with the other students. You may, at times, be competing for a shower!

Pros of living off campus:
  • It is your first step into adulthood, responsibility and independence. You're finally on your own in our own house managing your own bills. You're finally an adult!
  • You get to decide with whom you want to live, and where, exactly, you want to live.
  • There is lots more room, depending upon where you live, of course, and you have more personal space than just your bedroom, unlike being in residence.
  • You get to decide what you want to eat! But, then you may find it is a nuisance having to cook when you have a lot of work to do. Also, you now have to purchase groceries. You may find yourself calling home to find out how to cook what may have seemed like simple food when you lived home; now it’s a little more complicated! Bless you, dad! I didn’t realize.
  • There is less competition for a shower and you don't have to worry about wearing flip flops.(as long as you keep your shower clean!)
  • You don't have to worry about the noise of hundreds of students inside and outside your home.
  • You don't have to worry about fees if you accidentally break a house rule. The only rules are the ones you and your roommates set for yourselves. But of course, you still have to be responsible! There is a damage deposit to pay!

Cons of living off campus:
  • Living off campus usually means walking a further distance to your classes. An extra five or ten minutes might not seem that bad... until it's pouring rain or snowing out. The wind can be nasty, too!
  • Did I mention you have to get your own groceries which means dishing out money every few weeks... and walking or getting a cab with the many groceries which didn’t seem that expensive when you lived at home!
  • You also have to take care of bills every month such as rent, electric, oil, cable and internet. It can be stressful with the continuous handing over of money, while in residence, the fee is taken care of right away.
  • Most leases are 12 months, which basically means unless you can get someone to sublet, you're paying rent for the four months you're not attending classes in Sackville (unless you decide to stay for whatever reason.)
  • You have to find time to do things that would be normally done for you if you were in residence such as cleaning the house, washing the dishes and cleaning the bathroom.
  • You have to pay for toilet paper... which goes fast especially if you're living with roommates. It seems a bit extreme to take your own roll every time you go so that might be another thing worth discussing with them prior to living together.

So, I hope I've shed a little light on any questions you may have had about living on or off campus. If you do have any other questions, feel free to give me a shout anytime and I'll be happy to help you out!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Fine Arts World

So, I thought I'd give you a little insight into the Fine Arts world. The Fine Arts program is much different than any other program here at MtA, from what I can gather anyway.

  • The classmates you start out with in first year, are the same fresh faces you see everyday for the following three years after that; therefore, you inevitably grow close to friends who quickly become like family.

  • The professors insist that you call them by their first names; therefore, you interact with them on a less intimidating level and on a more personal one. They really are more like your best friends that you look up to, than "professors".

  • Your three hour studio classes will become your favorite classes. It's in this time that you work independently, grow as artists and as individuals. It's in this time that you see how talented your fellow classmates are and they'll motivate you on more levels than you could ever imagine.

  • You have class "critiques" which are basically discussions. You learn so much from these because your classmates and professors give you feedback on your artwork.

  • "The couches" are something you will become familiar with, as this is the place where you and your classmates will sprawl out over during your breaks.

  • As long as the weather permits, you do your classes outdoors. You gather your drawing board and drawing utensils and head out onto the green grass to draw some beautiful Sackville scenery!

  • If you're like me, you like to listen to music while drawing, painting, etc. which isn't discouraged! You can bring your iPod to hook up to the sound system in the classroom, or your headphones to listen on your own.

  • Your homework is everything less than just that - "work". Let's face it, this is something you love to do, so it's something that is less of a chore and more of a creative challenge. It's not as tedious as what you'd normally think of as homework.

  • There are so many artistic events going on each week, such as concerts and art shows! There are so many opportunities to get out there and see other artists' work, as well as opportunities to showcase some of your own artwork.

  • Like I mentioned, there are many opportunities to exhibit your art in art shows, so this means you can even sell some of your work!

This is the third year Drawing and Painting studio.

In your first year, you start off tasting a bit of everything on the plate: Drawing, Painting, Photography, Sculpture and Printmaking. All of these studio classes are three hours long. Drawing and Painting are held in the same classroom, while there are specific studios for Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. In your second year, you basically choose two areas of concentration. Drawing is mandatory so everybody takes this, but you have to choose two out of the other four. I chose Painting and Photography so these will be my concentrations for the rest of my time here at Mount Allison, unless I choose to switch for whatever reason. In your second and third year you usually share a studio space with someone else, but in your fourth year you work independently in your own studio.

Also, instead of exams, we have portfolios which are equally as strenuous but a little less tedious. I'm actually in the process of working on my Photography portfolio so I better go continue that!


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Busy as a bee... or maybe three.

I'm currently sitting at my kitchen table surrounded by various assortments of energy drinks, my class notes and munchies to get me through the night.

I'm busy as a bee... or maybe three.  I'll post as soon as my workload diminishes! 

Take care, folks.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Classical Gas

Isn't it amazing the power that is withheld within a song? And isn’t it amazing how one specific song, can inevitably snap you back into a certain memory? And just by listening to that one specific song and being brought back to this certain memory, you can remember e x a c t l y how you felt at that e x a c t moment?
Classical Gas by Eric Clapton.

We're driving down a long stretch of road, my father and I. We have our fishing rods in the trunk and the cooler packed with lunches my mother has made for us. Dad flips the cassette tape over to side A and punches it into the player. Classical Gas starts playing and it's the first time I get lost in a song. My father and I sit in silence, listening, full of anticipation, thinking about our next scheduled stop to cast our rods.
There's a feeling of comfort I get every time I hear this song. It's the same feeling I got the first time Dad played it for me. That same feeling of anticipation and anxiousness consumes me every time I bump into this song.

Anytime I go on a road trip, I tend to switch this song on and put on repeat for a while. It allows me to escape into that memory of my father and me. It allows me to escape from any stress that may be going on in my life. Stress is certainly inevitable in university, but it's not always a bad thing. It really allows you to push yourself to meet all your expectations and your goals. But it's most definitely normal to want to escape for a while, and that's exactly what I did this weekend.

Classical Gas led me on the long stretch of road to Moncton. My cousin, Meghan and I had bought tickets to see Twilight. (Reading is also an easy escape and one of my favourites.) The Twilight series has certainly become a favourite time passer for all my friends and me. My seven best friends and I worked at a children's camp in the summer time; the kids would always be talking about Edward and Bella, who we later learned were characters in Stephanie Meyer's books, which they were obviously obsessed with. So, my seven best friends and I decided to read the books and quickly became addicted to the lives of Edward and Bella. Go buy the books! Now! You'll love them and then go watch the movie. It was simply amazing.

Here we all are!

According to (Sackville's movie theatre) Twilight is going to be shown; however, being a huge Twilight fan, I refused to wait any extra days to see it on the big screen. I'll admit I'm excited for it to come to The Vogue though, because I'll, without a doubt, see it again. Going to see a movie at The Vogue during the weekend (or week!) is also a great escape and source of entertainment in Sackville. They have midnight movies on Fridays for only two bucks which are always a treat to get out and see!

So, now I'm sitting in the bus terminal with my Twilight movie stub in my pocket, ready to stick on my bulletin board where I stuff most of my memorabilia. So, here I sit with my iPod in my hand, headphones in ears, waiting for Eric Clapton to take me back to Sackville...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I sat in the new campus pub with two of my roommates, getting soaked up into the musical talent I never knew Sackville had so much of. My roommate, Eric was performing for the Conduct Becoming Songwriter's Competition so we went to support him. I was blown away by everyone's unbelievable voices and instrumental skills. I was blown away by how effortless it was for them to get up in front of a crowd and perform so flawlessly. My toes actually grew numb, as I watched in awe.

My roomie, Eric, performing.

I could easily tell how passionate the performers were about their music, as it was reflected in how they, themselves, got lost in their performance. I sat, mesmerized, getting lost in their performances also. I was ecstatic I was able to go out and experience this, but sad that many others had not. I think it's important to go out and support your fellow classmates and see the talent they really have. So next time you have the opportunity, definitely do it!

I think it's important to be passionate about something. Whether it be, schoolwork.. or a hobby. ANYTHING! It's fortunate for me that what I'm most passionate about is, both, my schoolwork and my hobby. Art. There's nothing more satisfying than slipping on my headphones, picking up a paintbrush and getting lost into the brush strokes I lay against my canvas. It amazes me how how I've learned since I've been here. It's really incredible having the opportunity to be in an artistic environment, surrounded by talented artists - both my professors and my classmates - e v e r y d a y. I've inevitably learned so much, adapting new styles and whipping up motivation for myself. I look back on artwork I've done before I came to Mount A and I realize how much I've learned here. I really couldn't imagine any place else being more perfect to grow as an individual and as an artist.

I find it hard to believe that I'm in my third year already. I really find it it hard to believe that I'll be graduating next year. I remember on the first day of class in first year, my professor was telling us that our time here at MtA will fly by and to make the best of it. He told my classmates and I that each year will go by faster than the one before it. It is so bizarre how true this really is.

We'll be getting our first snowfall before we know it. We can always expect a lot of it here in Sackville. I love that feeling that accompanies the first snowfall. Excitement fills up inside of me as I peer out the window, gazing out upon the big white fluffs of snow that fall from the sky. Ah yes, that feeling of Christmas in the air. Christmas break will be here before we know it. My last exam is early this semester so I have about three weeks to spend at home in Cape Breton for the break.

It may not be beginning to look a lot like Christmas, but it certainly is beginning to feel like it. I foresee the coldness of the wind stinging my face on the walk to class...

It's time to bundle up and head off to the studio. Talk to you later folks!