Kate '18

Letter to High School Seniors

Dear High School Senior,

I was standing in your shoes exactly 3 years ago. I remember being ready to be done with high school, yet excited and nervous about starting my future. Selecting which college to attend was one of the biggest decisions I have ever had to make. Looking back, I would have told the 18 year old me to take a step back and look at my end goals. College a crucial period of your life which molds you into a well-rounded young adult training you with the professional and career skills needed to succeed in the “real world.” Not to mention on a personal basis, college is your time to figure out who you want to be. You will form lifelong relationships and along the way forge unforgettable memories. College is a time for you, and when you are a senior in high school choosing which college to attend can seem like an impossible decision to make.

Fast forward 3 years, and as a current St. Thomas junior I am 100% confident I made the right college decision. Each year as college decision day rapidly approaches, I reflect on some of the reasons I love attending St. Thomas and being a Tommie.

1.) St. Thomas has your back and is cheering you on every step of the way. Working with my faculty advisor ensured I graduated in 4 years and took all of the right classes for my major along the way. My faculty advisor got to know me and also provided personalized recommendations along the way.

2.) I’ve had incredible professors who have gotten to know me on a professional and personal level. Recommendation letters from professors have landed me several internships and scholarships.

3.) Small class sizes formulate successful learning. St. Thomas prides themselves on small class sizes and this student-to-professor ratio has given me the chance to work with my professors, ask questions, meet during office hours, and maximize all learning opportunities.

4.) Location, location, location! Located in St. Paul, St. Thomas is just 10 minutes for downtown Minneapolis and the campus is tucked into an extremely safe St. Paul neighborhood.

5.) Internships!!! I had two incredible internships during my time at St. Thomas which were opportunities I sought out from the countless partnerships St. Thomas has with businesses in the Twin Cities. The Career Development Center on campus assists students with landing the internships and jobs of their dreams.

I know the college search and decision process can be tough, but when it comes down to it, you need to look at your end goal and choose the school which is right for you and provides you with the opportunities of getting there. St. Thomas is the perfect school for me as well as so many others, and I absolutely love being a Tommie. I am so excited for my future, and because of St. Thomas, I know I’m starting off on the right path.

Best of luck with your college decision!

Sincerely, Kate- Class of 18’

Kate '18

Homestay Experience

During my time spent in London, I had the unique opportunity to partake in a homestay experience and live with a British family. I’m not quite sure how to begin telling you about my homestay, because overall, home life in London is a lot different than in the States. Before I divulge further details, I want to start by saying the homestay experience brought me one of my best friends. Ultimately, my homestay would not be the same without my incredible roommate Maddy- after countless sleepovers, girl talk and bonding over London, I don’t know how my life felt complete before meeting her!

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It is hard to describe how drastically different life is in London, but I’ll start off with the positives. London is HUGE and a VERY expensive place to live, and in any housing market, location is everything. The best part of living in homestays is experiencing life in one of London’s many boroughs. In a huge city, it is far too easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of the city. As one of London’s most up and coming neighborhoods, Tufnell park supposedly attracts “yummy mommies who do yoga” and is home to wealthy bankers, artists and stars. Considered to be a prime London location, my homestay was just a 5-minute walk from a Tube station and a 15-minute Tube ride into central London (compared to the 45-minute commute of many others on my trip). Nailing the convenience factor, my local grocery store called Budgens was just around the corner from my homestay and I am truly going to miss it. The food in London contains far less preservatives than the States and is prided on freshness, large availability of GMO-free and organic practices. While I loved the quality of the food, I cannot wait to have a home cooked meal as I haven’t cooked in over three months now.

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Living in America, I will be the first to admit, we are completely spoiled in our way of life, and it proved very difficult to adjust to the contrasting lifestyle in London. I started with the positives of my homestay experience, but as in any situation, there are negatives as well. It felt very odd to live in someone’s family home, but not actually be apart of the family. To be quite blunt, I was also very uncomfortable with the number of people living in the house- 8 people to be exact, and this included 3 boyfriends, and we all shared 1 shower. The kitchen alone was a completely out of world sight and was comprised of 2 mini fridges (Maddy and I were allotted 1 shelf to share), a broken wash machine with the load size of one bath towel, and a stove and oven we couldn’t figure out how to use the entire semester. The washing machine is actually a pretty hilarious experience, but something I never want to endure again. After a severe malfunction, I was completely overcome by a flood of soapy blue water gushing out at me and overcoming the entire kitchen floor resulting in my clothes being completely destroyed (and to make matters worse, this with on my 21st birthday).

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I really don’t want to sound so negative because there were so many things about living in London I will miss, but I cannot wait for my room, American appliances and home cooking. This is not goodbye forever, this is goodbye for now, London!

Kate '18

Photo Contest Winners!

This past semester our Tommies have been all over the world! Along the way they have learned, traveled, explored and of course, taken some pretty impressive pictures.  The annual Annual Study Abroad Photo Contest received countless pictures and had a pretty tough time choosing this year’s winners in each of the 4 categories. Check out the winners, and then go ahead and visit our Study Abroad website while you are at it because you too can go on trips like this in 200+ countries all over the world!

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Kate '18

It’s that Time of Year Again…

It’s that time of year again… it’s finals week. We all have to go through it, and yes, it’s horrible, but I promise, you will get through it! Just to lighten the mood a little, I wrote a short poem about Finals Week.

 

‘Twas the weekend before finals, and all the students were studying.

The library is packed with those who barely sleep,

But remember, you will soon have those finals complete.

Students study away,

Drinking Bené all day.

As classes come to an end, we spend more time with our studies,

And less with our buddies.

We could all use some motivating words from mom,

On the phone she says, “oh, honey, you’re the bomb.”

The holidays are in our midst

But hey, we can’t celebrate yet, we’ve got finals that persist.

Professors hand us the test,

And wish us their very best.

When the last finals are done you may be in tears,

But we can finally have some holiday fun and ring our glasses in cheers.

 

Here are 10 tips to make your finals week a little more bearable.

1.) Take advantage of Study Wednesday. In the past, St. Thomas has done a Study Monday, but this year, it’s called Study Wednesday! This marks the day after all classes have come to an end, with the entire day is devoted to studying for final exams. St. Thomas also puts on a study day breakfast giving us all the energy we need to rock out exams!

2.) Review Sessions. Take advantage of professor lead reviews sessions for your courses. These are very helpful to taking your final exams. If your professor is taking the time to hold this session, it is in your best interest to attend.

3.) Back to the basics. Be mindful of what you are putting into your body. It is crucial to be putting the right types of nutrients into your body to optimize its performance. I know it might be easier just order a pizza, but be mindful of better options.

4.) Hydrate. Drink plenty of water. The average person needs about 64 ounces a day, and many people are dehydrated without even realizing it. I always start my day off right with a big class of cold water. This jump starts your brain and metabolism.

5.) Sleep, sleep, sleep! You will benefit more from sleeping than pulling an all nighter. I know it’s hard to get the appropriate amount of sleep, especially when you are busy and stressed, but your body really needs it. If you didn’t read the last blog on the importance of sleep, it’s attached here: Sleep Article

6.) Stop wasting time procrastinating. Find a study space that works for you. Don’t let other people or other things get in your way or bring you down.

7.) Break down your studying. There is an old concept of “divide and conquer.” Your brain soaks up knowledge with reoccurring exposure. With multiply exams to study for, it’s important to switch off between your courses.

8.) Do small things to reward yourself for working hard.

9.) Positive vibes. One of the worst things that you can do is go into a test with a negative attitude. You have worked extremely hard to get up to that point, and don’t bring yourself down with negativity.

10.) Remember this stress won’t last forever. Finals is a very stressful and intense time. However, in the grand scheme of things, it’s also a very short period of time. Once you get through it, you are done. Power through, the end of finals is so close.

Good luck with your finals, Tommies!!

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Students study together May 18, 2015 in the O'Shaughnessy-Frey Library great room during the finals week "study Monday."

Kate '18

Back to the Borough

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably tell you again at least 100 more times- I am a total foodie who LOVES and appreciates good food. I seek out only the most delicious food wherever I travel and continue to be a firm believer food is essential to traveling and experiencing life. I quickly caught on that the best food is found at the markets in London.

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One of my favorite markets in London is the Borough Market which remains one of the oldest markets in the world, just celebrating their 1,000th birthday. I’m infatuated by the Borough (and my taste buds agree) because of the rich history and extensive selection of homemade food, drinks and desserts offered. With food from around the world, you can find just about anything in the vibrant and upbeat atmosphere let off by the different venders. I’ve eaten my way through the market plenty of times, but my top choice is the homemade and fresh pumpkin stuffed tortellini topped with truffle mushroom sauce and grated parmesan cheese. YUM!

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I wish I could pack the Borough Market up with me in my suitcase and bring it back for all of you to experience, it’s just that good. I’ve been to the Borough too many times to count, so I included a few of my other favorite foodie finds!

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Kate '18

“A Look at My Experience”

During my time spent studying abroad in London, I volunteered at a Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School and completed my Business 200 assignment. Business 200 is a graduation requirement for all undergraduate business majors where each student provides 40 hours of service to the community and completes a series of reflective seminars. This intimate relationship between business and the community is fostering essential partnerships to advance the long-term viability and health of both. Since 1991, over 20,000 students have completed their service in the United States and in 19 counties around the world.

I served alongside 6 other Tommies through my program at Blessed Sacrament and each of us were assigned to work with students in different grades. It is difficult to explain how much I learned and enjoyed my experience at Business 200, so I wrote a poem as my final project to reflect on the work accomplished and benefits reaped by members of the community and volunteers alike.

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“A Look at My Experience”

Upon completion of my Business 200 assignment, I reflect on all I have learned,

Where do I even begin, so much has been earned.

Business 200 is founded on serving others and bettering our community,

All for the common good we say, oh what unity.

Opus College of Business sets high expectations,

Expecting all students to spread its relations. 

Our students are well rounded,

Just as the school on which we are founded.

As a crucial component of our business education,

Serving, volunteering and giving back is what Tommies do with no hesitation.

We use our education and knowledge to do what we should,

Factor in our individual talents and we contribute what we would.

With education, faith and God by our side,

We give on to others what we can provide.

Giving back encourages us to grow and serve,

In turn we provide others with care they deserve. 

While studying abroad in London I was given the chance,

To fulfilled my Business 200 requirement with much more than a glance.

Assigned to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School,

I would be working with the kids, hope they don’t drool.

Drool and germs aside, I love workings with the youth,

It truly was the perfect fit for me and that is all the truth.

Welcome to Year Three,

Said the voices of 25 young pupils welcoming me.

The teacher exclaimed, you have come to the right place,

As this is an excellent learning space.

We appreciate you coming, your presence is of great need,

Without volunteers like you, the children would not succeed.

We can’t thank you enough, the teacher ranted,

Us too, the children all chanted.

Pulling me aside, she was quick to tell,

You are a bombshell but many are not as fortunate and well.

Coming from homes of different background,

Lower income, overcrowding and single parent families are to be found.

Accepting and learning from those different from us,

I am very much aware as we can discuss.

Going on to say, the children often do not get enough attention,

And their studies have slipped, not to mention.

The child is never at fault and we do all that we can,

Time is of the essence, so we make a plan.

Proven critical to work one-on-one with each child more,

Resulting in their learning being enhanced more than ever before.

High education standards are to be meet,

And Blessed Sacrament will not succumb to defeat.

With your help we can give the kids a future all so bright,

Oh, it would be such a marvelous sight.

Introduced to the class,

The teacher warned her pupils, you better not give any sass.

I told the children they could call me Miss Kate,

And honestly they think I am great.

Wanting to touch my blonde hair,

And try on her heels if they so dare. 

They ask in all curiosity what is the American dream,

I tell them life isn’t always what it may seem.

Infatuated by my American accent as I speak,

When in fact it is me who is enamored by their British accents and all the cheek.

Meeting on Wednesday each week,

The children and I have much to complete.

With all to accomplish in a day,

The children do look forward to me coming I must say.

School is a safe place to learn, interact and grow,

After a hard day of work there is much progress to show.

Our day begins with much clammer,

Before we move into grammar.

Education puts the children on the right path,

And lets not forget to add up the math.

Hard at work on our times tables,

We give each of the pictures labels.

I read one-on-one with each child from a book,

And if they need help, I’ll offer a look.

We sound out any tricky words, pausing at, “originate,”

One word at a time, the pronunciation much up to debate.

Next we move onto spelling and I’m very impressed with the words they spell,

The children are so very smart from what I can tell.

When the children work hard we incorporate a game or two,

Then go outside to play until our hands turn blue.

When my day with then children comes to an end,

They are so very sad, but I say I’ll see you next week to put them on the mend.

I part ways with Business 200 resulting in many take aways,

I’ll carry forth this experience into the professional world with no delays.

I have had an overall experience all too great,

Volunteering, serving and giving back is my new fixate.

Kate '18

Royal Day Trip to Windsor

I am completely infatuated by the Royal family of England and take every opportunity I can to visit the different residences, soak up all the family history and I may even be Kate Middleton’s biggest fan. My favorite new character in the Royal family is American actress, Meghan Markle, who is dating Prince Harry and has been photographed numerous times with him in London throughout the last couple of months. The mother of the Royal family is nonetheless, Queen Elizabeth II, and at almost 91 years of age, she is still enjoying every minute of her reign. Her Royal Highness spends quite a bit of time and almost every weekend at Windsor Castle, which is located just 25 miles from her main residence in London, Buckingham Palace.

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Leaving the hustle of London’s busy streets felt like such an escape as I made my way into the quaint little town of Eton and then crossed over the River Thames into Windsor. My first stop was at Eton College which is a boarding school for pupils aged 13-18. The school was founded by King Henry VI and considered to be the most elite boarding school in all of England grooming young pupils to embark into society as distinguished individuals. I found the school particularly interesting because Princes William and Harry attended school here growing up (I even saw the dormitory they lived in!) and 21 of England’s previous Prime Ministers are alumni as well.

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On to Windsor Castle! Looming over the town and quite impressive in structure, Windsor Castle is to this day, the world’s oldest and largest occupied castle. As I walked through the massive gates of the castle, I felt  like a member of the Royal family, and of course, I had my eyes peeled for the Queen and Prince Phillip. I was blown away by St. George’s Chapel inside the castle walls as well as the State Rooms which still host Royal functions today. Day trips throughout England always fill my mind with so much history and leave my heart with a deeper appreciation this beautiful country- I truly enjoyed every minute of my Royal experience today!

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Kate '18

Taking a Commercial Approach

Piccadilly Circus area is home to a multitude of high-end commercial art galleries in London selling art work from a variety of artists. Each gallery typically specializes in a specific genre of art most appealing to the gallery owner. Just a couple streets over from Piccadilly is Cork Street, which was an area formally referred to as “thee” art street in all of London. The area has since undergone a transformation and become a reflection of the changing times impacted by constant renovation and the construction of new buildings. Through the decades, Cork Street has remained a commercial gallery hub with the streets lined by top-notch art galleries displaying and selling the work of different artists in changing exhibitions overturning anywhere from just a couple of weeks to several months.

I visited three commercial galleries in the art hub of London and was immediately fascinated by how the art, as well as the business components, spoke to me as a viewer and business student. Prior to taking my Art History course this semester, I had never visited a commercial gallery before, and after watching the “Banker’s Guide to Art,” my eyes have been opened to how the art world is a thriving and ever-changing business. The business world centered around art is a competitive and unique industry compiled of wealthy individuals, fishy off-shore companies, international taxes regulations, and dealers and buyers competing with the shifting eras and fluctuating economy to ensure high profits on artwork. Stepping deeper into the hub of the commercial art galleries, I visited Messum’s, Waddington Custot and the White Cube of Mason’s Yard in the heart of London.

Messum’s, located on Cork Street, is a sleek and posh art dealer with a gallery space boasting impressive work. Founded by David Messum in 1963, the Messum is an independent family firm of art experts and recognized as long standing academic and market leaders in British Impressionism, Modern British and Contemporary painting and sculpture. The Messum is passionate about promoting the study of British art and supporting those who share their passion for it. Currently hosting the Magí Puig exhibition, I was in awe over the work and particularly connected to the stunning pieces in oil medium inspired by Puig’s travels to cities all over the world. After recently traveling to Venice myself, I would love to have the piece titled Venècia Groc hanging in my home one day. The pieces sell from $2,250 to upwards of $10,000, and the Puig exhibition displays one of a kind pieces which are truly breathtaking and leave the viewer eager to dive into the painting itself.

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The second gallery I visited was Waddington Custot which incorporates a rich heritage embracing an international reputation for quality and expertise. Hosting a wide range of work, the gallery was formed through the partnership of long-time London art dealer, Leslie Waddington and French art dealer Stephane Custot in 2011, however, the gallery was formerly known as the Waddington Galleries and was originally founded in 1958. The Waddinton Custot has exhibited work from the new generation of British painters and sculptors, post-war American art in England, Abstract Expressionist, contemporary shows, new European and American painters and sculptors and the work of young British artists. Currently exhibiting Fabienne Verdier Rhythms and Reflections, the gallery features large-scale abstract paintings produced over the last year. As an abstract painter, Verdier’s work of self-expressionism incorporates the dynamic forces of nature with fluid moments and instability. I was mesmerized by the pieces displayed in the gallery and particularly captured by the rich color and intense texture on the large canvas.

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Having recently visited to White Cube Bermondsey location, I was eager to experience the White Cube Mason’s Yard location. Each of the White Cube galleries are housed in unique buildings remodeled to very much so resemble a white cube. The sharp angles of the building and white color pallet set the tone of a modern gallery before the viewer even sets foot in the door. Inside the galleries of both White Cube locations the atmosphere is open, airy and offers a fresh taste on art. After experiencing both current exhibitions, Anselm Kiefer at Bermondsey and Magnus Plessen at Mason’s Yard, I could grasp a more thorough understanding of how ever changing exhibitions work in a commercial gallery. When I visited the White Cube Bermondsey location, an art expert was showing clients pieces they may be potentially interested in purchasing with sales tags of upwards of hundreds of thousands of Pounds. I enjoyed the Anselm Kiefer exhibition immensely and was captured by his intense use of material and textures to produce huge pieces in his astonishing 200-acre art studio. I found the Magnus Plessen exhibition quite unusual, however remained impressed by the demonstration of vivid colors and use of oil and charcoal on canvas showing the devastating impact of automatic weapons on the human body.

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I very much so enjoyed visiting a variety of commercial art galleries in the hub of London’s ever changing art world. I was overly impressed by the art and business components in Messum’s, Waddington Custot and both White Cube locations. I definitely cannot afford to invest or purchase any artwork of my own anytime soon, but in the meantime, I intend to enjoy the art viewing perks in commercial gallerias and public galleries all over London.

Kate '18

Merry Christmas Mate!

Merry Christmas from London! Tis the season to celebrate holiday cheer, family and friends, each other’s love and shop (until we drop!). I embarked on a little adventure to soak in the holiday buzz and experience firsthand how Christmas is done London style.

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The hustle and bustle of the busy streets has severely intensified and you can find jolly Londoners mulling about and headed in all directions. The Tubes are packed, transporting mass amounts of shoppers venturing all over central London to purchase the perfect gifts. The air is filled with joy as Christmas toons blare through the streets. Tree stands are popping up everywhere selling Charlie Brown sized trees with carolers singing and wishing you “merry Christmas mate.” The shops are decked in tinsel, life sized Santas grinning merrily, holiday decoration lining every square inch and over-the-top window displays. Some of the displays are so incredibly mesmerizing, it’s hard to pull your eyes away until the door man yells, “move along,” reminding you this isn’t a fairytale after all. After making my way through South Kensington, Harrods, Old Bond, New Bond, Oxford and Covent Gardens, I was completely exhausted from all the crowds (and had probably been bumped upwards of 1,000 times). At this point, I had enough London Christmas cheer for the day and journeyed home for a warm holiday drink.

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I’m truly feeling bittersweet about leaving London in just two weeks. Time has flown by and I’ve had an incredible experience abroad and traveling all throughout Europe. On the flip side, I’m also anxiously awaiting flying back into Minneapolis to be with my family over the holidays and enjoy the Christmas season in the States as well.

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Kate '18

Eating Our Way Through Camden

Meeting up with old friends is always such a joy! I had the incredible opportunity of meeting up with my friend Kristin who lives in California and is also studying abroad in the United Kingdom this semester! We haven’t seen each other in awhile, so it was so much fun catching up and exchanging stories about our time spent across the pond.

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My friends and I brought Kristin to Camden Market, which is a personal favorite of mine, and located in a borough near central London. Camden is known for having a unique range of street food and shops selling just about anything you could imagine. I’m not going to lie, the area itself is quite odd, but when you get to the actual market area, you are immediately consumed by the incredible smells of food wafting through the air and get caught up in the vibrant atmosphere.

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The food at Camden is all too enticing and choosing what to eat is always the hardest decision. I had the best (and biggest) Mexican quesadilla filled with flavorful and seasoned chicken, veggies, rice, chick peas, guacamole, sour cream and salsa- YUM! Afterwards we made our way to my favorite cookie stand which sells homemade vegan and gluten free cookies made into ice cream sandwiches. My friends like to joke the cookies might actually be healthy due to being vegan and gluten free, but who are we kidding haha! I am really going to miss all of the incredible market food in London and I am doing my best to hit up as many different ones I can during my last few weeks here.

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