Thursday, February 23, 2012

Regalos & Peru Benefit Dinner

Me and Shannon Tonelli, a Fulbright Scholar who spent 9 months teaching in Peru...and a Regis Alum and current Grad Student!

Members of Campus Ministry speak about their upcoming trip to Peru

The Student Success Center Table!...indulging in treats and great wine:)

Many students and faculty came out for the event...there were raffles and many prizes!

       This week at Regis, students and faculty will gather for a benefit dinner for the Campus Ministry’s trip to Peru this March.  Tonight, Thursday February 23rd, is the benefit dinner in the College Hall Foyer.  I will be attending the dinner with friends and colleagues from the Undergraduate Advising department as well as the Student Success Center.  Working with these individuals throughout the week has allowed me to appreciate them both as professionals and as humorous, kind, and thoughtful co-workers.  Attending the dinner together is something that I am very much looking forward to. 
                  While in the Graduate Admission office this morning I had the pleasure of meeting with Shannon Tonelli, a 2010  graduate of Regis who traveled to Peru for 9 month as a Fulbright Scholar to teach English at a major University.  Now she is pursuing a master’s degree in education at Regis College.  Shannon was bright, happy, and clearly loved by the Regis community.  She brought with her a photo album depicting her trip which she shared with us and with other faculty and students.  She laughed, hugged, and reminisced with everyone who was eager to hear about her adventures.  Among the photos was an image of a sandwich stacked high with shrimp and spices atop a big fluffy bun.  My eyes immediately grew as I imagined the Peruvian feast I was going to enjoy tonight:  rices with different flavors and spices, juicy chicken, and exotic desserts.  I was then informed that tonight’s dinner was not going to include Peruvian food, but rather, an Italian spread.  Regardless, Italian food is something very near and dear to my heart thanks to the likes of Bertolli, Giada DeLaurentis , and Kraft “blue box”.   In spite of my feeling a bit foolish, I was secretly psyched for pasta-y treats!
                  While the meal is not one of Peruvian influences, the tone of is still the same.  We gather tonight to donate in any way we can to those traveling abroad to help others in need.  The Peru trip is something that Regis has been participating in for quite some time and has been a memorable experience for many.  Shannon recalled her teaching experiences with a smile saying that, “the students are just great, it was an incredible time”.  She was also able to parallel the teaching environment of Peru to that of the United States.  “While the culture is definitely different, the needs are very similar; an education, and in general, opportunity”, she said.  Her cultural outreach has also led her to seek higher education here at Regis.  “I went here for undergraduate and enjoyed it so returned for my graduate degree in education”.  This, I feel, is not uncommon at Regis College.  Students often seem to return either to visit or to seek another degree.  You are almost always guaranteed to see a former student inquiring about certificate programs or meeting former colleagues for lunch or coffee.  It is this warm sense of belonging that draws students to become strong alumni as well.  Most students will refer to the close-knit community of the college and the quality of education as their reason for coming back; they know that they were well supported by their faculty and administration in undergraduate and are then confident in their ability to excel in a graduate degree as well.  In working on my research proposal for Nursing Research, I was able to meet with faculty from the Doctorate in Nursing program.  This has inspired me not only to think forward towards my Doctorate degree, but to feel comfortable and confident pursuing it here at Regis in the future. 
                  The sense of community at Regis is seen on many occasions including the most recent ministry event, Ash Wednesday.  Students, faculty, and friends could be seen on their way to lunch with dark ash stains on their foreheads discussing the service and how nice it was for everyone to come together.  It seemed that everyone, regardless of their religious affiliation, had attended the service to be a part of the greater Regis community.  While the college has a very traditional atmosphere, it also has a strong social warmth that is amplified at community events.  I have no doubt that tonight will bring the same joyful laughter and support that is so characteristic of Regis. 
                  As I finish up my day in Graduate Admissions, I can hear the rustle of tablecloths and silverware as the foyer is prepared for tonight’s event.  A student is playing a bubbly tune on the piano that can be heard all the way down the hall.  Many people stop and listen, smiling as this student is playing for neither money nor applause, just to create beautiful music for the hall.  In the coming and going of students, there are shouts of “hellos” and “see you laters”, and the tones are always genuine and affectionate.  And tonight I dine on great food with great friends.  It’s a great day to be a student at RegisJ

Friday, February 17, 2012

Soup & Salad...with the President!

 Every semester Regis College hosts opportunities for graduate students to meet and chat with President Antoinette Hays (or Toni as we like to call her).  Last semester you could attend a wine and cheese night where you could stroll over to Morrison House and enjoy a glass of chardonnay and casual conversation with Toni and others who represent Regis.  This past Saturday was an afternoon luncheon hosted by President Hays herself and Sister Rosemary, Dean of Students.  I was excited to attend the luncheon and was eager to share my experience thus far with the President.  I was also very excited at the thought of indulging in another delicious Regis meal as the dining services always have such a great spread!  Salad and other healthy options are available and the chocolate white chocolate chip cookies should really be illegal.  Between the treats and the company, I knew that this was an opportunity I certainly could not miss. 
                  Making my way up to Morrison House, I found myself at a halt, staring at this large brick building sitting atop a green grassy hill.  Built in 1900, this building was once the home of students and faculty who also studied and socialized in its halls.  Today, the beautiful Georgian structure holds various receptions and serves as a reminder of the tradition and unity of the college.  It was something I had always seen depicted on view books and brochures, but had never actually stood face to face with it…it was like seeing walking into Fenway park for the first time.  Except instead of having Jacoby Ellsbury inside, there were cookies.  I was equally thrilled. 
                  As I entered Morrison House I was greeted immediately by President Hays.  She gave me a warm smile, firm handshake, and addressed me by name.  “Ashley!” she said, “Welcome to my home.”  It was so nice to have such a prestigious and busy individual know my name, and even invite me into her own personal space.  It was an experience I had never fully gotten at the large university I attended.  And even in the midst of all the antique furniture and stunning d├ęcor, Dr. Hays managed to bring some ease and genuineness to the situation.  Coming from Maine many of the social situations I have been placed in are with people who you know personally, or, you might know their mother’s sister’s great cousin’s son.  Either way, there is typically a sense of connectedness and family at every meeting.  Talking with President Hays had a similar feeling; while I had only seen her a few times in the Graduate Admissions office, she seemed to know my story and why I was here at Regis.  As we helped ourselves to soup, salad, and sandwiches, we discussed the Nurse Practitioner program and how important this profession is going to be in the future.  We discussed the quickly growing array of programs Regis has to offer for students with all degree levels and backgrounds. 
                  As more students came for lunch and conversation, we discussed ideas  and suggestions that we could implement  as an institution to make the graduate experience better; everyone felt very comfortable bringing up concerns with the President who was also open and receptive of the feedback.  If there is one thing that President Hays is passionate about, it is most definitely the wellbeing and happiness of the students.  She shared with the group her plans for the coming years on ways to improve and grow Regis into an even more versatile and available institution.  All the while keeping the atmosphere light and engaging. 
                  I left Morrison House feeling optimistic about the state of affairs at Regis and thankful that President Hays took time out of her Saturday to share it with all of us.  I felt pleased with questions raised and certainly felt that my voice as both a graduate assistant and a student was heard.  Events like these take being a student to another level and Regis does a great job of scheduling moments like this.  There is another event on March 24th that I hope to attend.  There I hope to fill my mind (and my belly!) with all of the wonderful things Regis has to offer.  Until next time!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Stress Remedy?...Punxsutawney Phil & Zumba!

It’s week three of Spring semester here at Regis and already my semester is booked!…Daily group tutoring sessions with students ranging from undergraduate to Doctorate students, weekly hours in the writing center, private tutoring sessions almost nightly, and promotions for Graduate Admissions…oh yeah, and class & school work. Phew!  This morning I spent the greater part of breakfast trying to convince my sister that it was Tuesday, not Thursday.  Spring semester has certainly lived up to its reputation thus far: It’s FAST.  And in a very literal way, Spring semester has actuallyfelt like spring; 60 degree afternoons, sunshine in the mornings, and even singing birds (I’m pretty sure I got a bug bite the other day…could be an allergic reaction. Uh oh).  Thanks to that cute little groundhog, we have been “cursed” with 6 more weeks of this winter weather. Darn.
                  While it is important to keep busy in graduate school, balance is important.  What do I do to cope?  I schedule more things.  Early mornings, late nights, in between classes, I make sure my planner is covered in ink and stuffed with appointment brochures and cards.  But if you were to actually peak into my planner, the tiny last minute write-ins are not extra classes or meetings.  They are fun things like shopping, watching my favorite TV show, doing my nails, and working out (Yes guys, it’s fun).  Every night, for example, I schedule one hour of time just to play games on my computer.  As a hard-core “Words with Friends” addict, this is something I HIGHLY look forward to.  I’m pretty sure the entire undergraduate services department looks forward to it also as I have wrangled them into being just as obsessed with the game as I am.  I have certain shows that I just love and instead of feeling remorse about missing them to study, I just watch them.  I take that time to relax, decompress from my day, and catch up with my sister.  Yes, we do live together, but I think I see her as often as an eclipse.  Relaxing is just one activity I pencil into my free time.  I also try to exercise when I get the chance.  This means a lot of early mornings, late nights, and “costume changes” throughout the day.  But the benefits are so worth it.   
This past Wednesday I attended a Zumba class taught by our very own Claudia Pouravelis, Director of Graduate Admissions.  Having never done one before, I immediately signed up, knowing that anything taught my Claudia HAD to be awesome!  So I pulled myself out of bed, downed a quick breakfast, and headed to Regis for the 8am class.  By 9am I was covered in sweat, completely disgusting, but so ready for the day ahead which was slated to be through the roof.  I ran upstairs to meet my first appointment for the day who laughed at me because I showed up sporting my gym shorts and brown riding boots.  Woops. Somebody’s FABULOUS!  She wasn’t laughing when I rocked our session for 2 hours straight, without breaks, and suggested we meet the following day…at 6am.  Let’s just say that some of my appointments for next Wednesday have called to reschedule for a day when the “Zumba-crazed drill sergeant” isn’t in attendance. 
                  The rest of my day went similarly; I buzzed through filing, whipped out APA edits, and had a very successful Advanced Pathophysiology tutor session.  At 3pm, the start of the session, I had one student in attendance and by 3:40 there were over 15, which is a large group for a drop in session.  In the midst of questions and drawing mitochondria on the white board, the director of the Student Success Center had booked us a classroom for next week’s session.  It was a really great feeling to have it be 5pm and still have energy to thank each student for attending.  I had been on the Regis campus for 9 hours going non-stop and felt like I could do hurdles.  That Zumba class had certainly changed my day for the better…and maybe even frightened a few of my students into studying more!:)
                  This moral of this week’s story is simple:  There is always time to do something for yourself.  Whether it’s waking up an hour earlier to attend a class or take a walk with a friend, it’s these moments that drag us away from the duties of being a graduate student and make us “human” again.  Do the things you love and the things that seem like chores will seem less like work.  Gotta dash.  Next on my schedule is lunch with my co-worker and good friend Caitlyn.  It’s her birthday this weekend and we have to plan festivities. 
 The life of a workaholic grad student is really so hard;)  Until next week!