On the afternoon of March 11, I found myself walking around the small town of Blönduos in north Iceland. I was the only person outside at the time, but some Icelandic horses were braving the elements in their fields. The plan for the day was to drive from the capital city of Reykjavík to Akureyri, where my group would spend the next week. Instead, a blizzard left us stranded in the seaside town when the roads closed.
A mere four days later I was back home. No more snow, fierce winds, and vast, treeless landscapes; a drastic change of scenery.
Since my study abroad program didn’t start until the middle of February, I only spent a month in Iceland and Finland. While that time was full of learning and adventure, it left many unfilled days in the Arctic North. I was only a few days away from my homestay period, where I would have spent three weeks in a small Westfjord village. I would have spent the rest of the semester working on an independent study project at a location of my choice. Instead, the continuation of classes is held online, and the project will have to be adapted.
Would I have been safer in a remote village than I am in Connecticut, which has more confirmed coronavirus cases than the entire county of Iceland? Possibly. However, I am glad to be safe at home with my family during these uncertain times. Online classes are difficult for a climate change program based on experiential learning, but it is the best that can be done given the current circumstances. I see it as a time to gather and synthesize information and before applying them to the real world when the time comes.
I am sure I speak for other study abroad returnees when I say I wish to return to my location of study sometime in the future. There is a sense of unfinishedness that arises when thinking of the experience cut short. A return will come when circumstances are appropriate, but this time now allows for proper reflection and appreciation for the experiences had and memories made.
Don’t have time to read the thousands of news articles coming out each day? Just don’t want to read the news? Each day, we’ll summarize a batch of the most important daily news for you.
News RoundUp: April 9, 2020
Nearly 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total number of people who have filed for unemployment since the of COVID-19 quarantine began to more than 16 million.
Between April 1 to April 5 only 69 percent of renters within America paid their rent, according to the National Multifamily Housing Council. Last year, between those dates, 82 percent of people paid rent.
Bernie Sanders dropped out of the 2020 presidential election today, leaving Joe Biden the presumptive nominee to challenge President Trump.
As of today, two SMC employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine sent a public report to the White House stating that we should not get our hopes of COVID-19 diminishing during the summer, reports the New York Times. Through research reports, the panelist a panelist wrote this? Might just say the Academy concluded that there is no clear sign of it diminishing in the summer, as they initially hoped.
The Good News: Two pandas from the Hong Kong Zoo, who have never been interested in one another, finally mate after 13 years.
Click on the link to read the full article: https://www.goodnewsnetwork.org/giant-pandas-mate-amidst-covid-zoo-closures/
News RoundUp: April 7, 2020
As of today, there are 1,365,004 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 184 countries/ regions, with 76,507 deaths globally, according to Johns Hopkins.
Boris Johnson, Britain’s prime minister, has been moved into the ICU because of COVID-19.
Today is the first day in which China reports there have been no deaths in the country because of COVID-19.
More than 10 thousand people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, but the New York Times reports that medical officials or coroners from around the country suspect that the deaths from the coronavirus are under-reported because of failed protocols and an inadequate number of tests to accurately test everyone. Coroners are saying that they do not have the test to determine if COVID-19 rather than influenza or pneumonia caused deaths. Medical professionals are now looking back at records from January through early March to see if any patient with coronavirus symptoms might have been misdiagnosed.
“We have to get back to work,” President Trump said in a briefing on Saturday. “We have to open our country again. We don’t want to be doing this for months and months and months. We’re going to open our country again. This country wasn’t meant for this.” Despite all this, economists are now saying that we will not have a normal functioning economy until people feel as if they can go about their business without catching the virus.
The Good News: As we slow down our lives, scientists and researchers who monitor the planet’s seismic activity, which detects earthquakes and volcanic activity, have realized that with our slower paced lives they can now detect a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that is on the other side of the earth. During our everyday lives, they would not be able to detect these because of how many vibrations are caused by cars, trains and other human activity.
News RoundUp: April 5, 2020
According to CNN, yesterday marked the most reported deaths in one day because of COVID-19. What this means is that the United States could be nearing the peak. “The next two weeks ar extraordinarily important,” said Deborah Brix, the White House coronavirus response coordinator. “This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe, and that means everybody doing the six feet distancing, washing your hands.”
As the Democratic convention was postponed by a month, former Vice President Joe Biden offered up the idea of holding a virtual convention during an interview with ABC. “We may have to do a virtual convention. I think we should be thinking about that right now. The idea of holding the convention is going to be necessary. But we may not be able to put ten, twenty, thirty thousand people in one place.”
The Good News: No need to fear anymore when leaving the house if you do not have an n95 mask or a medical facemask, make your own from home. The New York Times identified the best household items to make makeshift face masks.
Click the photo below to bring you to the article:
News RoundUp: April 4, 2020
New York City continues to be the epicenter of the United States. With more than 113, 700 COVID- 19 cases and deaths surpassing 3,500, the govern Andrew Cuomo predicts the peak for New York is just shy of a week. According to the New York Times, the Chinese government is planning on donating 1,000 ventilators to NYC.
With Italy being under lockdown for weeks at this point, they are starting to see a decline in the number of positive COVID-19 cases. What’s the next step? Well, the government hopes to slowly allow people out of lockdowns and start getting them back to work. But how does a country do this without setting bringing the numbers back up? According to the New York Times, scientists are going to begin testing people to see if they have the correct antibodies from coronavirus which would make them immune, at least that’s the theory. Scientists aren’t one hundred percent if the antibodies are a true way to show if you are immune but are hopeful.
A COVID-19 vaccine made by the University of Pittsburg Medical Center is ready for clinical trial as soon as the Food and Drug Administration gives permission. As of March 15, another vaccine entered clinical trials and a dozen more are being developed. While vaccines usually take a year in human clinical trials, because of the situations things may be able to get sped up.
1.1 million people have confirmed cases of the coronavirus and at least 62,000 people have died from the virus globally.
The Good News: Reading the news can be stressful. Heck, living during a pandemic can be stressful, so here is a list of the 75 best movies on Netflix. Sit back, relax, take some time to forget about the pandemic around you, and indulge in one of these awesome movies.
Wednesday night a scientific panelist at the White House told the press that they now believe through new research that the coronavirus can be spread through talking and breathing also, not just through sneezing and coughing. The CDC is now recommending that all people should wear nonmedical masks when they venture outside of their homes. “I’m not going to wear a surgical mask, because clinicians need those,” Harvey Fineberg, former dean of the Harvard School of Public Health told CNN. “But I have a nice western-style bandana I might wear. Or I have a balaclava. I have some pretty nice options.”
The FBI has put out a warning on “Zoom bombing.” Schools, in particular, are supposed to watch out because they are most targeted. “Zoom bombing” is when people pop into random zoom calls and share pornographic videos and images in place of people’s video icons, and racial slurs and offensive language in place of people’s names.
The U.S. Navy hospital boat in New York City Habor that has 1,000 beds dedicated to COVID-19 patients only has 22 patients as of Friday afternoon.
Two months before COVID-19 was believed to start infecting people, President Trump pulled a $200 million dollar program at the Agency for International Development that was in charge of researching potential pandemic diseases. According to the Los Angeles Times, when the program was up and running it helped identify 1,200 different viruses that have the potential to become pandemics. The main duties of this program were to identify these diseases, train scientists around the world to respond to these diseases if they ever became a pandemic.
The Good News: Youtube and the internet are notorious for making jokes and parodies about super serious current events. As you can imagine, just because we’re in a pandemic doesn’t mean people are going to stop now.
Check out the videos below to watch popular songs transformed into COVID-19 themed songs.
News RoundUp: April 2, 2020
More than 6.6 million people filed for unemployment claims last week. With last week’s claims coming in around 3 million, that means these past two weeks have set unprecedented records. To put things into perspective, during the recession of ‘08 the number of people who filed for unemployment claims in one given week all stayed well under a million people.
Some reminders and information about COVID-19:
People usually start to show symptoms five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms can also appear after two days all the way up to 14 days.
The most common symptoms people are showing when they have Covid-19 are fever, dry cough, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, and fatigue.
What should you do?:
Stay home and keep your distance from the people with whom you live.
If you have symptoms that make it hard to breathe, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion, or bluish lips or face, seek medical help.
How does the virus spread?
The virus spreads through droplets in the air or on surfaces from people coughing or sneezing.
Clean and disinfect commonly used surfaces regularly.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with disinfecting soap every time you enter your home and regularly throughout the day.
Never touch your face with unwashed hands.
The Good News: Enjoy watching one of our executive editors, Leanne Hamilton ‘20, dancing her way through quarantine.
Check out the video below to watch some stylish dance moves from a safe distance.
News RoundUp: April 1, 2020
Before we begin today’s News RoundUp, The Defender has an important and urgent announcement. We as a publication have come to the hard decision that we will no longer produce news for the remainder of the semester. It is just too hard with everything going on to report in a pandemic and with everyone being stuck inside there’s simply no news to report. We hope you understand. Please stay sane.
APRIL FOOLS!!!! Starting tomorrow The Defender will be putting out two-three articles each day from our third issue. The articles will run from April 2 to April 10. We have articles spanning all topics, so if you want coronavirus coverage, come our way, if you are tired of hearing about coronavirus, come our way.
Now back to the News:
New numbers came out according to the leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator During a briefing yesterday, they said that the number of deaths expected in the United States from the coronavirus will be 100,000- 240,000 people. The two experts pledged they will try to do everything they can to make that number lower.
The stock market continues to plummet each day. S&P fell almost four percent in early trading this morning and the stock market had its worst month since 2008.
“‘Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations,” said the secretary general of the United Nations, António Guterres on Wednesday. The world has now entered a global recession according to the International Monetary Fund and it will be unlikely to resolve until 2021. During this time, 25 million jobs could be entirely lost in the United States, meaning $1.3 trillion would be lost on labor income.
The Good News: For some uplifting news John Krasinski put together entries from the internet of good and uplifting news that has been happening in all the chaos.
With hospital beds popping up in Central Park, two other temporary hospitals made an appearance yesterday. A U.S. Navy ship arrived in the New York City Harbor with 1,000 extra hospital beds onboard. In Manhattan, the Javits Center was also converted into a makeshift hospital, opening up even more beds throughout the city. All of this is a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to have a makeshift hospital in every borough.
According to Johns Hopkins University, coronavirus cases worldwide have surpassed 788,522.
Thousands of retired doctors and nurses are returning to the medical field to help in the Covid-19 battle. According to the Wall Street Journal, medical schools around the country are allowing their students to graduate a couple of months early in order to fill the demand of doctors and nurse’s needs within hospitals around the country.
A new model, according to the White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx, says that by mid-April, when coronavirus is supposed to reach peak cases for the U.S. up to 2,000 people here in the U.S. could be dying every single day. That number relates to the prediction of around 82,000 people dying from the coronavirus by August. This was the same model that President Trump based his extension of social distancing and quarantine policies on, according to CNN.
According to Politico, seed sales have been seeing record high sales. As the coronavirus becomes worse, people are becoming warier of food security and the hygiene of where their food is coming from.
The Good News: Need a couple of minutes to forget all the things going wrong in the world? Watch this live feed of jellyfish floating around their enclosure at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
News RoundUp: March 30, 2020
Last week, on the Fox News Channel President Trump said, “I would love to have the country opened back up and just raring to go by Easter.” But in his press conference Sunday, he postponed nonessential travel and social distancing for at least another month until April 30. If needed, the postponement could go until the beginning of June.
The Summer Olympics have been officially postponed from this summer until July 2021. The new dates are planned for July 23-August 8, 2021.
With around 60,000 cases of coronavirus alone in New York City, gov. Andrew Cuomo has taken drastic precautions, including the creation of makeshift hospitals in Central Park, and plans to create temporary hospitals in all NYC boroughs. According to CNN, NYC is now enforcing social distancing by fining people $250-$500 if they break the policies.
In a recent video interview on CNN Business, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which does significant philanthropic work to empower the poorest and combat infectious diseases, said he predicts that the peak of coronavirus infections will be late April.
The Good News: Haven’t left your house in a week? Check out these hilarious coronavirus tweets to lighten your mood. Click on the link below:
According to the New York Times, New York postponed its presidential primary election to June 23. In total this now makes 14 states that have moved the date for their primary election. Alaska, Hawaii, and Wyoming have all chosen to do their primaries entirely by mail. The new dates span April all the way through July. What this could mean for the general election is unknown.
Yesterday evening, tornadoes popped up around Iowa and Arkansas. The worst one hit at 5 p.m. Saturday in Jonesboro, AR injuring 22 people. There were no life-threatening injuries reported.
As the death toll from coronavirus reaches 2,000 in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday put out a travel advisory warning in New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey urging people to not participate in nonessential domestic travel.
The Good News: Being stuck inside can really make a person crave adventure and the outdoors. How does one quench this desire? For nocturnal adventures, click on the link below for a live stream of the aurora borealis from the comforts of your own home.
There are now 600,000 cases of coronavirus infection around the world. The United States currently has the most reported cases with more than 104,000.
Friday afternoon President Trump signed the $2 billion Stimulus Package to help relieve economic collapse triggered by the pandemic.
President Trump is discussing an “enforceable” quarantine on the state of New York, and parts of Connecticut and New Jersey. The Washington Post said President Trump might make a decision later today.
Severe storms are predicted to hit portions of the midwest sometime Saturday. The severe storms include a high chance of hail and tornados. The further you go south the less likely the severe storms, but the southeast is experiencing record-breaking warmth with highs in the 90s.
Yesterday Saint Michael’s College canceled l in-person classes for the remainder of the semester. They have also decided to postpone graduation, to a later, as yet undetermined date. As for moving-out your belongings from campus, the schedule went up this morning. Starting May 8 people with the last name starting with A and B have from until 7 a.m. – 8 p.m. The schedule follows two letters in alphabetical order for each day expect M, R, and S. T through Z last names will be the final day of pick up on May 24. If you are an international student or live more than 8 hours away, contact Melissa Holzman at firstname.lastname@example.org to plan a day when you can move out.
While the stock market was up the past three days, this morning the S&P 500, Dow, and NASDAQ all fell more than 3 percent.
While initial thoughts were that the Stimulus Package would get through the House with flying colors, it has taken a sudden halt. One Congressional representative, Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), is threatening to vote no on the Stimulus package. The votes planned on being done virtually to stay under quarantine and lockdown guidelines. However, if Massie or anyone else votes no on this legislation, that would result in at least 216 members flying to D.C. to cast a revote in person.
A $1 billion deal was pulled off the table by the Trump Administration sometime yesterday that could supply America with 80,000 additional ventilators. The deal proposed that General Motors use their car parts, while a company called Ventec uses their technology to make the Ventilators. The bill was pulled off of the table because General Motors was asking for large sums of money upfront. The New York Times says that government officials are still talking about the $1 Billion deal but other deals are being discussed as well.
The GOOD News: In spite of a Pandemic, the African Black Rhino has made a significant spike in the population by several hundred through the help of conservation efforts, such as moving individual animals to new areas, protecting them with stricter law enforcement, and guaranteeing to breed. While the coronavirus may have more harmful impacts than good, with the virus raging through the world, it is thought to put a decline in big game hunting said The Guardian. With this decline, it might give the Black Rhino and other endangered species a chance for at least a few months.
News RoundUp : March 26, 2020
A record breaking number of more than 3.2 million people in America filed for unemployment last week.
According to the New York Times, people could be receiving their Stimulus package within three weeks.
An economics professor from the University of Louisiana conducted a recent study that showed that Louisiana may be experiencing the fastest growing rate of new cases of coronavirus in the world.
As India enters its second day of lockdown, people are still heading to the streets looking for work. The BCC reports that people know the risks of the Coronavirus and the fact not many people would be hiring these days, but they are more fearful of watching their families go hungry.
The Good News: Hotels in New York City and the UK are opening up free rooms for hospital workers putting in 18-hour shifts helping to combat COVID-19. The hope is to give those workers a place to sleep that is closer to work than their home.
Click on the link below to view how COVID- 19 has affected popular areas around the country:
Congress has finally come to an agreement on a $2 Trillion Stimulus package that will send money to the Americas during these pandemic times. The package has many stages to it but on an individual level, the first phase is taxpayers who make less than $75,000 will receive $1,200 with an additional $500 per kid. The second phase on the individual level will be taxpayers who make more than $99,000. The other money within the package goes to bailing out small businesses, helping businesses keep employees on the payroll, lending money to businesses, extending unemployment packages, and money that goes to hospitals and medical facilities. The legislation is likely to be passed over from Congress to the White House to make final changes late Wednesday.
New York City and the surrounding suburbs now account for 5 percent of the global cases of Coronavirus.
President Trump said yesterday he hopes to have the “U.S. opened up” by Easter, April 12, 2020. What this means for the country and the world is unknown. According to the New York Times, many public health officials say that if this happens, people will return to normal interactions around the peak of the virus. President Trump, on the other hand, says that the outcome of social isolation and a crippled economy will have worse outcomes than the virus.
As of 5 p.m. March 25, Vermont will have a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” ordinance, ordered by Gov. Phil Scott. All nonessential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations, etc. will be closed until April 15.
What is a “shelter in place”? Shelter in place or “stay home” is a less strict way to urge people to stop leaving their homes unless it is for essentials, such as groceries, pharmacies, etc.
What is a lockdown? A lockdown is much stricter than a shelter in place. Lockdowns usually come with a curfew and consequences following if you are caught without a valid reason.
The following states have either declared a lockdown and/ or shelter in place for certain areas within the state or the whole state itself: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin
The 2020 Summer Olympics taking place in Tokyo, Japan has been postponed until the summer of 2021 by the International Olympics Committee and the Prime Minister of Japan.
Italy remains at the epicenter on COVID-19 with 6,077 deaths and 63,928 active cases. New York City now has 26,000 cases.
According to banking investment firm Goldman Sachs 2.25 million people are predicted to file for unemployment claims as coronavirus cases worsen around the country.
The deadline to file federal taxes, usually on April 15, has been postponed until July 15.
The Good News: According to Johns Hopkins research more than 100,000 people have fully recovered from the COVID-19 infection.
Click on the link to view 20 hilarious TikToks about COVID-19
I’m am right there with you. It feels like our world has been flipped upside down. Our time living right next door to our best friends has been cut short. Those two extra months we had to figure everything out? Yeah, that got thrown out the window going 100 mph.
We have been robbed of our last two months of college, simple as that. As days continue to pass it just gets harder. Last Friday, it felt as if I was evicted from the only place I felt comfortable to call home. I can no longer walk into the room next to mine to see my best friend, who is now a four hour drive away. On Saturday, I said goodbye to my closest friends, not knowing when I will see them again. On Sunday, I twiddled my thumbs, not able to relax on my “spring break” because I still hadn’t heard anything from my professors about what is going on. On Tuesday, I packed up my car, with items for every scenario. Whose house will I stay at this week? On Wednesday, as I sit in a house that I cannot call home, I try to write my senior thesis to the best of my abilities in light of everything.
As the days move forward and turn into weeks, I think, “Wow this sucks.” I’ve paid all this money, spent all this time working and getting the best grades I could to end the best four years of schooling like this….wow, this really sucks.
While my life as I know it might be flipped upside down, at least I’m not alone. College seniors all across the United States and possibly the world are going through the same thing. No one could have anticipated this happening when we started our college experience.
Four years ago I watched the 2017 seniors participate in all the senior traditions, like prom, the wedding, and watching the sunrise on graduation day, a day, I imagined for myself this May. Will I be able to participate in my own graduation, or only have memories of past seniors partaking in the festivities?
This is much bigger than my senior year; this is much bigger than all of us. While I might miss out on those senior year traditions looking back on this will be like nothing before. Life as we know it has changed and in the grand scheme of things, staying healthy and not spreading a deadly virus is worth more than finishing my senior year with friends, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the moment.
So , fellow soon-to-be-college-graduates: While we sit in our sorrows, let us be thankful that we still have the opportunity of education in the state of a national emergency and hope that once again we can return to campus with all our friends.
Leanne is an Executive Editor this semester after having been the role of the Arts and Culture Editor during the Spring 2019 semester. While her love of writing certainly pairs with the Defender, her main interest lies in fiction writing. Working for the Defender allows her to weave both storytelling and investigative writing together. When Leanne isn’t writing, either fiction or prepping for print, you can often find her bouncing around campus visiting her friends or out finding adventures off campus.
Hannah McKelvey is the Photography & Travel/Outdoors Editor and Executive Editor this semester, it is her first time on the Defender staff. Hannah enjoys pairing her written work along with her photography, making the photography editor a nice fit. In Hannah’s free time she enjoys living out of her car for weeks at a time and exploring different National Parks all over the country.
Victoria is the Visual and Design Editor for this semester as a first time Defender staff member. She is a dog mom to Diego, her chubby chiweenie. Aesthetics are a passion of hers, and she can be found scrolling through art inspiration boards on her Pinterest. Her role enables her to pursue her love for visuals and design and gain experience in the field before she enters the post-grad world hopefully working in media marketing. If she isn’t in the Mac Lab or MakerSpace working, she can be found walking Diego, making digital art, or getting Dunkin’ too often.
Janvier is an Opinion Editor and social justice for this semester as the first time Defender Staff member. He has a strong passion for writing and likes to write for fun. His main interest is in philosophical writings, analytic and reflective. Taking the role of opinion editor and social justice allows him to pursue his love for critical thinking, insights, and particularly in telling the truth without falling into conformity. When Janvier isn’t writing, you likely to see him talking to friends or alone in Alliot.
Kate is the Online Editor of the Defender for the first time this semester. She is a junior in Media Studies, Journalism, and Digital Arts Major.
Jackson Stoever is the Videography Editor for the Defender this semester. Being a Media Studies major, he enjoys creating videos for school and with his friends and family at home. He also has taken a liking of photography while at school and applies that to multimedia projects along with his videography and film.
Elise Lemay is the Health and Wellness Editor this semester, as her first being on the Defender staff. Elise enjoys writing of all kinds.
Around this time last week, I remember looking at my planner at the numerous assignments and reminders I had yet to cross off my ‘to do’ list. I felt there weren’t enough hours in the day to get all I needed done before spring break, and the senioritis was kicking in fast. Now that all seems so long ago, in a time that felt normal when now it feels anything but.
I was where I wanted to be: on campus. And I could confidently look forward and think that all the work of the last five weeks of the semester would be rewarded with commencement in May, when I would be free of homework and classes. Now that COVID-19 has forced us all home, the one place I want to be for the next few months is indefinitely off limits to me. I am one of hundreds of thousands of students, both at Saint Michael’s and other campuses, going through this disappointment.
When the news broke it felt as if we were mourning the news of a death on campus. Everyone moped about to class, my roommates and I waved to each other in passing with tears brimming in our eyes, and classes were quiet instead of the usual chatter of sports events or other activities we all looked forward to participating in. Even now, days later and after the three hour drive home, it doesn’t feel real. Coming home for a week of spring break has turned into an extended stay of quarantine for two extra weeks–with the potential to be permanent.
I keep hoping these two weeks are necessary so that I have the chance to return to campus for the remainder of my senior year. To come back would allow seniors like me to finish our time at Saint Michael’s College as we had hoped; enjoying our last P-Day and Derby Day with friends we have made over the years, not miles apart from each other in different states.
I worked commencement my sophomore year and watched my friends walk up to the stage and shake President Neuhauser’s hand as he handed them their diploma. I can’t wait until it is my turn to shake President Sterritt’s hand as she hands me my diploma, but now I fear I won’t get to. Along with the fear of losing our commencement, the seniors of 2020 have many other fears creeping in earlier than expected. Many of us are split between two homes; the ones we came from and the one we have built here in Vermont. Finding a job for post graduation feels more rushed now if we are to remain away from campus for the rest of the spring semester. Most of us are wondering if there will be any jobs the way the economy is crashing due to the effects of COVID-19. It’s hard to apply for jobs when the uncertainty of graduation lingers in the back of our minds.
Taking away our time from campus feels like we’ve been dropped into the real world sooner than we anticipated and we don’t know what to do.
I chose Saint Michael’s College because of the strong sense of community. Having now completed almost four years, this community has become a foundation in my memories at Saint Michael’s. While I sit at home, preparing for online classes, I have become even more aware of this tight community. The people I have surrounded myself with these past four years have not dropped communication just because we are no longer on campus. We are all trying our best to adjust and find a way so that we can all stay in touch. If there is one thing the COVID-19 virus has shown us, it is that the reason we are all so desperate to return to campus is because we want to surround ourselves with this close community. We were reluctant to leave because it meant saying goodbye to the community we love. In this strange time, I hold hope that we will return to campus after this extended break. Let’s make a promise to do so, if it’s April, May or even September, let’s say “See ya later,” instead of “Goodbye.”
We understand how much pressure you must be going through during this time of national emergency. Colleges and universities from around the country have never dealt with something remotely close to this current event. There are lots of unanswered questions floating around and you are trying to figure them out. But you’ve forgotten to keep your most important people in the loop–the students. Those same questions and so many more are floating through students’ heads as well.
We are asking for answers. St. Michael’s made the announcement a week ago today that students will not be returning until possibly April 14 and we have barely heard anything. We have received only a few emails that vaguely explain how online courses are going to work and to continue to look for further instruction. Further instructions still have yet to come and are instead just more information and updates on COVID-19’s status on our campus. We’ve heard student voices from our Instagram posts and also talking to our friends and peers leading up to spring break, and even now. Students, staff, and faculty (mostly students) are in the dark to so many unanswered questions.
We understand that it is “spring break” and you do not want to bombard us with emails, but let’s face it, this is not an average spring break.
Here’s what we’re hearing students ask:
Why aren’t professors reaching out and explaining more about online classes?
What happens if a student does not have access to a laptop/ wifi/ or a laptop with video and audio capability?
What are Echo and Zoom? We need more explanation, not just from professors but perhaps from an IT perspective on the basics.
What’s the thinking now around commencement? Will there be one?
Is St. Mike’s going to wait until April 12 to reevaluate or as more schools start to close for the semester, is there a chance we’ll close before this?
What is the school talking about week by week? A little information about the discussions that are happening at the administration level goes a long way.
The St. Michael’s community needs these answers. While many of the staff, faculty, and administration’s lives were not altered that much besides working remotely and teaching classes via technology; students’ lives have been turned upside down. A place they could call home until May 6, was ripped out from under them in a day. They were told they had to find living arrangements with only 45 hours of preparation. Students are craving answers even at the smallest level. We understand that the administration might not have all the answers to these questions, but if you give us even a little information on these topics it would be better than waiting and contemplating the unknown. We have faith that our school is handling the situation to the best of their abilities, we only ask that they keep us in the decisions they have to make. We all believe that St. Michael’s has its students’ best interest in mind and will do their best to make this strange time in our lives work out.
In the current world of changing minute by minute and facing an unknown future, answers would be deeply appreciated.
Due to St. Michael’s going to remote classes and interactions, we have made the decision to forgo the third printed issue of the Defender, expected to come out on April 2. Instead of in print, the Defender will be moving completely online. We will be posting more current updates via our website and our social media pages.
Come April 2, go to our website to check out the virtual third issue of the Defender. We will also be posting stories on a daily basis to the Defender website.
One of the many struggles of being a college student is figuring out what to study for quizzes and exams.When professors say, “Everything we’ve done this chapter will be on the exam,” how are students supposed to know what exactly to study?
Students should start by evaluating where they’re at with the class material, said Ciaran Gilmore, peer tutoring coordinator in Academic Support Services. Before reading and diving into the study material, students should flip through the pages and write down headers, sub headers, words in bold, and anything else that stands out. “It helps to set your perspective and give you a map for when you actually read the text,” said Ciaran Gilmore.
But before you can do any of that successfully, make sure your effort throughout the course has been up to expectations. Generally, for every hour of class, students should anticipate two to three hours of work outside of class time. Students should have a good understanding of the amount of time they should spend preparing for midterms, Gilmore said.
There is not one right way to study because learning is different for everyone. “I like to use as many different tools as I can, like draw diagrams, rewrite notes, flash cards, listen to videos so that I engage all of the senses,” said Una Langran ’21.
But it is most important to maintain perspective and to have an open mind. “The best guiding strategies for students are to think critically about how you learn and be curious about it,”Gilmore said.
At the end of January, the Senior class received an email reminding them that graduation was only 12 short weeks away, the email also included a proposal and survey of changes to Senior Week which takes place May 6 – 10. Seniors had mixed feelings about the proposed changes. As the end of the year becomes closer, seniors want to know what to expect.
The largest proposed change was to replace the traditional boat cruise on Lake Champlain with a pub crawl.“The whole purpose of senior week is to bring people together,” said Annabelle Elvidge ‘20. “If the event is changed from a boat cruise to a pub crawl I worry that groups will break off and do their own thing, defeating the purpose of the event from the beginning.” “That was a big piece of feedback,” said Abby Carbonneau, one of the senior class officers who is helping to plan the week’s events. “People liked the idea but they didn’t want to be shuffled from place to place or to be split up, they wanted a unifying event.” She explained that the senior class officers who plan the events of the week and sent out the initial survey about the changes want to create a memorable event that includes all students. “Pub crawl was the initial idea,”We want to create a home base area so that the class is together and then drink specials happening at different places throughout the night. Once the main event is over, you can still keep going and have fun but it’s not like we are splitting the class up.
The class officers said they have listened to the concerns of students and are working to create a new plan that offers more to seniors throughout the night. Class officer Dimitri Stamoulis said he is aware of those who don’t drink and is working to create a more inclusive event. “If we have a home base, it will be food and field activities. A, concert is a possibility or having something going on downtown, figuring out something that isn’t alcohol related,” Stamoulis said.
Senior week has been the same for the past few years and the officers took advantage of being able to bring new ideas to the table. “We just wanted everyone to know that just because everyone has copied and pasted the schedule from year to year, we don’t have to do that, we can if we want to, but there are other options,” Carbonneau said.
Although the boat cruise has been a large part of Senior Week in the past, alumni and faculty have expressed negative opinions and the class officers are taking those into consideration with the new changes. “We can’t please everyone but we are trying to do what will make the most sense but also have the most backing behind it” says Carbonneau. Senior Week planning is still in the works and all feedback and new ideas are welcomed.
St. Michael’s College has multiple Instagram accounts that document different programs that take place at the school, but are you aware of the several student-run meme accounts dedicated to all things Saint Michael’s? These accounts provide a fun and creative medium for students to share ideas, photos, and opinions pertaining to the college. They are growing in number and popularity.
There are multiple meme pages that have been created, such as st.yikes, alliotpizza, and smcsqurlz. These accounts have their own purpose, displaying different aspects of student life on campus. I was able to contact the owners through direct messages.
The st.yikes’ Instagram account, run by four students who remain anonymous through the use of emojis, decided that a meme account needed to be created for Saint Michael’s. They noticed that surrounding schools had such memes. “We’re both following the Make UV Groovy Meme page and we noticed a lack of meme pages for St Mikes, so we decided that needed to be fixed,” said one of the admins who goes by the name of Frenchy. The admins create some of the memes that are posted, while other students are also welcome to submit their own.
Alliotpizza’s Instagram dedicates its page to the pizza that is served every day located in the dining hall at Alliot. The posts include updates and the different types of pizza as well as other students’ appreciation for it. Two students run this account. “We’re just two girls who really love Alliot’s pizza and we thought, why not make an Instagram for it,” said one of the student owners. When I asked the names of the two girls who ran the account, they explained that they did not wish to reveal their identities and would remain anonymous.
St. Michael’s College is known for its crazed squirrels, resulting in the creation of multiple meme accounts to capture their absurd behavior. The most popular of these pages being smcsqurlz. Students are able to share photos and videos of squirrels. Most of the photos feature these critters either sitting on a branch, burrowing in the snow, rummaging through trash cans, or even latching onto window screens. This meme account provides students with entertainment and an avenue to showcase their photography skills.
St. Michael’s Marketing Department’s Digital Marketing Strategist, Caitlin Lei, is aware of these accounts and commented on them during an interview via email. “ We think these accounts show that our students have a creative and passionate student body with a sense of humor. These accounts also show that our students care about not only their experience here at Saint Michael’s College but also the experiences of their peers,” said Lei.