Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Capital, Capitol Part II

The History Department Trip to Washington, DC was an absolute blast! Once we look past the incredibly early mornings and the soggy weather that accompanied the trip, I am so glad that I went. We left Erie at 6am Thursday, and rolled into our hotel in College Park, MD around 1:30.

About 2:30, we took the Metro into Washington. This is myself, and my friends Courtney and Sarah waiting for the Red Line. After I overcame my fear that the Metro was in fact a flying metal death machine, I was able to enjoy the convenience of mass transit. It took us into DC, where we started at the Air and Space Museum.

We were able to roam about the Capital as we wished, but that night a HUGE thunderstorm hit DC! It was bad, it apparently caused a tornado outside of the District. The three of us, however, were able to skedaddle to the Jefferson Memorial to take cover. It was actually really cool, watching the storm from inside the memorial. Here's a picture of the storm:

It was nasty. Everyone on our trip was okay, but some got very, very wet and a little shaken by all the lightning and thunder.

We actually had a Mercyhurst Alumnus give us a tour of Civil War sites and of Arlington House at Arlington National Cemetery. It was great getting a view of the area from someone who attended the same school we did and had the same passion for history as us. Here's a picture of us all at Fort Stevens, one of the string of Forts that defended Washington, DC during the Civil War:
Other highlights from the trip included the Confederate Soldiers' Memorial, American History Museum, and dinner in Washington's Chinatown. I also got to see the Verizon Center, home of the Washington Capitals! I'm not a Caps fan, but as a hockey fan it was kind of neat to see another team's home arena.

On our way back to Erie, we stopped at Gettysburg. The new visitors center there is AMAZING and by far one of the best museums I have ever been to, anywhere. Absolutely outstanding in every sense, the video shown to visitors made me tear up a bit. It was great seeing everything at Gettysburg.

And then dinner at the historical Jean Bonnet Tavern (where George Washington apparently once stayed) and then back to Erie by 9 or so Saturday night. It was a whirlwind tour of Washington, DC but a trip I won't soon forget, and just another great memory during my years at Mercyhurst.

And I'm savoring all these memories, because the sad truth is my time at Mercyhurst is quickly running out!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Capital, Capitol.

Capital and Capitol. These two words used to confuse me to no end when I was younger. I soon learned that both were locations, but one referred to an actual building.

This Fall break, I get to see both! You know, the Capital and the Capitol.

The Mercyhurst History Department is hosting a trip for students in certain classes over this break, and on Thursday morning we'll be leaving for our nation's capital: Washington, DC! It's one of my absolute favorite places to go and I'm incredibly stoked to get back there. And of course, we'll be swinging by the Capitol Building at some point.

It's just yet another awesome reason that I love my small school--more opportunities to take trips and get some experiential learning to augment what I learn in class. I'm going for my Public History class. So, for the past few weeks, we've been discussing Public History theory and methods, and now it will be so interesting to apply what we learn to the trip.

It's one thing to tour Washington, DC as a tourist, but I get to look at our nation's capital from a historical and critical standpoint and analyze how well our American history is presented!

I know, it sounds enthralling. Well, to a history dork anyways.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Stressed-Out Senior

It's Sunday morning. Outside, it's cold and windy, with rain coming and going throughout the day. I've been awake since 9am, my roommates are still asleep and most likely won't get up until noon. So, this makes for a quiet morning of homework and getting caught up.

This past week, I took my GRE--the Graduate Record Exam. It's basically the same concept as the SATs we all took in high school, but this one is for admission to a graduate degree program somewhere. I've finally decided where I'll be applying! I picked for schools, two for their Public History programs and two for the Historical Preservation programs--I wanted to keep my options open, in terms of what I'd like to do and the financial situation with the schools. Come December through March, I'll be sending applications to:

University of Vermont (Burlington, VT)
University of Boston (Boston,MA)
Temple University (Philadelphia, PA)
Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, PA)

So, in the end, I have a 50/50 shot of staying within the borders of the Keystone State. What can I say? Pennsylvania has grown on me. I've definitely fallen a little bit for Pittsburgh and Erie, I'll miss Erie when I finally leave in May. It's hard to believe that this is my last year at the 'Hurst. I'm already missing Mercyhurst and I haven't even graduated yet!

Speaking of, I signed and turned in my Declaration of Graduation last week. Talk about a reality check. Graduation is coming, and there's nothing I can do to stop it!

Well, I guess failing all of my classes in an option, but I'd much rather not, haha.

I'm sorry my posts have been a bit sparse this term so far, but I've been crazy busy! In addition to my three classes (American Revolution, Intro to Public History, and Museum Studies), I've been studying for my GRE, working my two jobs (at the local Old Navy store, and as the workstudy for the Mercyhurst History Department), running the Mercyhurst History Club, co-chairing the Communications Committee for the Ambassadors Club (which is the committee responsible for this blogging project of ours, by the way), and of course keeping up with my friends!

One of the key things about college is you absolutely, positively have to balance work and play--otherwise, you'll find yourself not loving college at all. And you'll also lose your mind. Sometimes both. This term so far has been rapidly passing, one thing after another. Winter term and beyond seems to be a little easier--hopefully I can take a deep breath and start to enjoy my senior year!

But for now, work, work, work. And I am one stressed-out senior.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

This Is It!

I can't even believe that this is my final year at the 'Hurst--it seems like it was yesterday that my Mom, Dad, and brother were dropping me off and moving me into McAuley Hall. But here I am, a big, bad, senior, and just 8 months removed from the real world.

Unless you count grad school, then it's 2 years and 8 months away from the real world. It's scary to think that I'm already planning and preparing for my life post-Mercyhurst. I take the GRE (Graduate Record Exam, like the SAT but for grad school) next Thursday, and I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit intimidated and worried about the exam. All I can do is prepare all I can and hope for the best!

This year has been exciting so far--I'm interning for the Erie Center for Design and Preservation, and getting all the Senior year work underway. Again, I can't believe that it's come to this, the last year of undergrad!

This year has been full of football games, game nights, hockey games, and of course plenty of course work and studying. And inevitably, I've reunited with my best friends: coffee and Tylenol.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Finals Countdown

I love making cheesy headlines. Especially from old, forgotten one-hit wonder bands, like Europe.

But I just cannot believe that winter term is done! Not that I'm complaining, of course. I miss home and my family so much, I'm excited to them all again. Nothing too spectacular has been going on for me at the 'Hurst. Between running the History Club's clothing sale, being the Chair of the Communications Committee and publishing the newsletter, classes, and my job at Old Navy, I'm pretty busy.

Stable, but busy.

Exams are this week- I have a final paper for World Politics in lieu of an actual exam. That's due on Monday, and I have my US History III and Buddhism exams on Wednesday, before I take off and head home to Buffalo.

For now, back to studying. Good luck to all my fellow bloggers on their exams!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Iron Chef: Mercyhurst

15 minutes ago: I'm standing in my kitchen, pouring some soy sauce over cubed steak. Thinking to myself about the next issue of the Ambassador Club's January issue of "The Green Jacket" that I have to put together, and of the article Paige wrote for it. Paige is also a blogger, and that causes me to think to myself: "Damn, I haven't written a blog in a while..."

Did you hear that? It was the sound of a light bulb clicking on.

Now granted, sometimes I'm not the brightest bulb in the chandelier, but this made me really *facepalm* myself. My inner Julia Child (and my love for the movie Julie and Julia) just gave me the bright idea:

Blog. About. Cooking.

Now, I'm not going to go ahead and rip off the movie, but this is what I have to say: whoever told you that eating well on a college budget is a flat-out liar. You can totally eat healthy and feel good about that dinner you just whipped up. Not because you managed to cook and NOT burn down your residence, but because what you eat actually had more nutritional value than anything else you've eaten this the term started.

Luckily for me, there is a store here called Erie County Farms where I can get produce and meats for dirt cheap. A chain store I recommend is Wegman's, the produce there is usually on the more reasonable side and the quality of it is consistently good. It's important to buy fresh vegetables- they taste better when they are cooked, and usually have limited additives to them.

It also wouldn't be fair to sit here and preach to you about good eating and the fact that it's feasible in a college setting without sharing some of my recipes! Here is one for now, I'll be sure to post more along the way.

Steak Salad:
Cubed Steak (or you can buy normal steak and cut it yourself.)
Any kind of lettuce. I usually use Romaine and some Spinach.
Seasonings: Montreal Steak Seasoning, Pepper, Garlic Powder, and Low-Sodium Soy Sauce

In a bowl, place thawed steak chunks and cover with however much "seasonings" you deem fit, but use enough to coat the pieces, and let them sit for at least 5 minutes.

Using a knife of some sort, chop up the Romaine Lettuce and spinach, and place them on the plate.

Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and place the steak cubes in. They'll take about 5 or so minutes to cook, be sure to flip them over. You want a little pink in the middle, no one enjoys eating steak that resembles rubber.

While the steak is cooking, drizzle as much salad dressing as you want over the lettuce. I like low-fat Thousand Island, but really any dressing would work. I would imagine that a balsamic vinegarette would be reallly good.

Once the steak is cooked as you like, put it over the lettuce!

And, in the words of the ageless Julia Child...

                                                                      ......bon appetit!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

It's been an entire month since I posted last.

I can't believe it, but to my defense, I've had a lot of stuff to deal with. Starting this term was incredibly hard in the wake of my mother's death, but as always, my wonderful colleagues and professors here at the 'Hurst have made getting back to my studies the easiest it possibly could've been.

Also, this month I've made a big decision: to drop the Education concentration from my degree. I more or less had a change of heart, and after some long, hard thinking,decided that Education wasn't where my heart was. History is. And also considering that my goal has always been to teach at a college or university, focusing on history is really what I should be doing.

And, the best news is, I'm way ahead! I mean, if I wanted to, I could graduate early next year, with only 7 required classes left over the span of 4 terms. BUT let's face it, I would miss Mercyhurst too much and I'd like to walk the stage at graduation with my friends. So, I'm here until the end.

And, I also need to pick up another language for Grad school. I can't believe that it's time to start thinking about my post-Mercyhurst plans, but Junior year is scary like that. About a year and a half left in my 'Hurst bubble, then (if my plans go the way I want them to) I'm off to Philadelphia for my graduate studies.

Other than school work, I've just been working at Old Navy (looking great in their clothes, of course) and studying my butt off. I went to my first hockey game in months yesterday, to see the Mercyhurst women take on Syracuse University. It ended up, in a 6-0 blowout, with our Lakers on the winning end.

Hopefully the girls are getting ready for a big Frozen Four appearance this coming spring in good old Erie, PA!

But for now, I'm going to my cousin's (who recently moved to Erie) to watch some NFL football. I'm pulling for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles!