2. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it works wonders.

When pondering things I learned this year,  I started to think about how I’ve made playing  piano a bigger part of my life.

I’ve been taking lessons since third grade, and after graduating high school, I never thought I’d continue. Then I started taking lessons with Laura Peterson at St. Bonaventure. I’d practice for my lessons once in a while, if I thought to, but I didn’t really put too much effort into it. Instead of practicing Bach or Schumann or whoever I was supposed to be playing, I’d play Fiona Apple or Regina Spektor.

I played in a bunch of recitals, and I prepared increasingly more for each one. This year is my fourth year of playing at Bona’s, and I feel like I’ve improved so much. Now, instead of playing pop songs in the practice rooms, I’m warming up, playing scales, tinkering out chords, repeating hard spots. I’m working really hard. I think it’s paying off.

At my last recital, my other music prof told me he had never seen me play so confidently. That felt great because I knew that I was confident. It’s all due to practicing.

Pete took this photo of me practicing Chopin in the Quick Center.

1. A little competition is healthy and probably beneficial.

About two years ago, a student transferred to St. Bonaventure. He came down to The BV with a huge portfolio of photos and clippings. We were impressed, and the editors encouraged him to join the staff. He did and soon became online editor. He was passionate about  launching the website ahead and creating graphics for the newspaper. He made a few mistakes along the way, like anyone does, but a few were too important to let go. He asked to rise up to upper management, which usually takes a year and a half. Soon after he was told the way promotions worked, he left The BV. He wanted to start his own paper.

In a way, he was too much for The BV to handle. He had capabilites – a lot of which The BV never grasped. He knew how to market his work. He was tech savvy. He loved to break news. He had the tools to get stuff done efficiently. After he left, one editor told me that we “missed the boat” on him. Other editors just laughed. They were glad he was gone.

And so began The Intrepid – “a 21st-century newspaper providing St. Bonaventure University with hyper-localized content for its community by its community,” claims its tagline. The editors of The BV had a beef with The Intrepid. I must admit; I did too.  We questioned its credibility on a daily basis. A 21st century newspaper? It’s on Tumblr! Content created by is community? Please, it’s one guy! “Where daily Bonaventure news happens?” I didn’t know news could be created on a blog. And then we’d go through the articles and laugh at the typos and make fun of the pointless stories about email systems and students “going missing.”

Whenever I was together with my journalist friends, his name always came up in conversation. It was something we couldn’t stop talking about. I started to feel bad about it. But then The Intrepid started making subtle shots at The BV. He had chosen our paper as his competition.

The editors at The BV didn’t want to admit that The Intrepid was competition. However, it was gaining staff, breaking stories before us, and promoting itself like crazy, and well, The BV wasn’t promoting itself at all.

And I, along with other editors, decided to make The BV better. We could talk about The Intrepid all wanted, but it wasn’t doing anything to improve our own paper. After all, it’s far from perfect.

We started tweeting more, trying to make the paper more interactive. We needed to know our readers better to improve our paper. I took on a marketing plan for The BV for my senior capstone, and although a lot of the plan isn’t carried out yet, there are some things that we did do.

We gave The BV a makeover. The new layout took a weekend to construct and took some brainstorming over the summer. It took a while for the editors to get used to it, but I think it works!

We started sponsoring events to get our name out there. Running the 5K for the Warming House was not only a great personal accomplishment, but I’m glad The BV’s name was attached to it.

We held contests online and at workshops. We’re starting to gain a larger online audience. We now have 1,030 fans on Facebook!

I feel like the editors are really striving to put out quality work. Maybe that’s due to the competition, or maybe that’s just how they are. The BV has much more to work on, but I believe it is that little push that got us going.

So as much as we hated The Intrepid last semester, it’s only making us better.

Things I learned this year

The year’s winding down, and soon it’ll be time to make resolutions and look into the new year. But while riding my bike back from school today, I reflected on this year, and everything that I did and learned. Check out my list beneath the photo. I’ll be posting about them individually next week.

Bob's Woods, St. Bonaventure University, trail

Unrelated picture, but this photo of Bob's Woods reminds me of warm weather.

  1. A little competition is healthy and probably beneficial.
  2. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but it works wonders.
  3. I will never know heat extremes like I know them in New York State.
  4. Writing can be fun when you take your time.
  5. Read leisurely to keep your sanity.
  6. Never drink a Cosmo. Ever.
  7. Long-distance relationships are trying, but necessary.
  8. Music really is life.
  9. If you want to get anywhere, just move your legs.
  10. I’ve become better at keeping my own secrets and those of others.

Have a good weekend!

What your St. Bonaventure major means

I’ve seen a few lists like this in other publications, so I decided to make a version for St. Bonaventure University. Please take no offense, for it is all in good fun.

 

English: We’ve heard you bickering about the romantic poeticism of William Wordsworth vs. Alfred Tennyson. You write cryptic prose to see if anyone can figure out a deeper meaning, whether there is one or not. You’ve mastered Shakespeare, taken a few classes with Rick Simpson, analyzed sonnets – but what are you going to do after college?

Pre-med: You are the smartest people in school. You never leave the library, and if you have an ounce of a social life, we’re impressed. E gads, you could list all the amino acids in rapid fire. Even after the rest of us graduate, you have four years left. Keep going, dwellers of De La Roche Hall, you’ll be making twice our salaries in a few years.

Journalism: You have the second-biggest egos on campus. You like to quote your friends in stories and hope your professors don’t notice. And while the only news you have to break is about which website is currently down or the Bev Center’s collection of Four Loko, you act like it should be a national headline.

Education: You like to color with crayons, make flash cards and create mnemonic devices. You have the neatest handwriting anyone’s ever seen. But despite the signs that you may have the easiest major ever, you spend weekends making lesson plans, wake up at 5 a.m. to student teach and control grubby little kids all day. Kudos, ed majors.

Philosophy: While you enjoyed every bit of Schrödinger’s Cat in Intellectual Journey, the rest of us were yawning. You constantly question aspects of life that the public overlooks, and you’re dead certain on your stance to be indecisive. And you still have time to smoke a lot of weed.

Physical Education: You spend hours perusing Bonnies Bandwagon and watching your Fantasy Football stats. Your exams are based on your ability to do a split or run through an obstacle course. In class you learn to officiate handball, soccer and track. But don’t feel down on yourself, if we ever had to outrun a herd of wildebeests, you’d be the last ones remaining.

Business: You have the biggest egos on campus. Although you were the biggest math nerds in high school, you manage to be the hardest partiers in college. Strutting around Murphy in your ties and dry-cleaned slacks, you’ll soon grab your MBA and become successful alumni. An SBU building might be named for you someday – or at least an annex or a bathroom.

Physics: You’re Andrew Nicholson.

Who do you say hi to on the Ho Chi Minh?

Someone walking on the Ho Chi Minh Trail at St. Bonaventure UniversityI think it’s so strange to walk by someone you used to be friends with and not acknowledge them. Today, I walked  past a girl I used to hang out with a lot freshman year. I smiled at her, but she just kept looking forward!

We never had a falling out. We never even fought. We simply drifted.

It’s bizarre to know that I’ve had so many memories with this person, and they act like they don’t know you. This happens a lot at St. Bonaventure, and I wonder if it’s like that at other schools.

Since we’re a small college, it’s easy to know a majority of the people. Would it hurt to acknowledge them? I’m not asking for them to hang out with me, or even have a conversation. Just a smile or a nod would suffice.

Also, I think another rule should be: If you’re friends with them on Facebook, you should say hi. Do you guys follow this rule?

I love reading blogs

Bloglovin’ is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It puts all my blogs in one place so I don’t have to go hunting them down. On the other hand, it’s a huge distraction, because it makes it so easy for me to read blog posts all day.

Now that I’m done with my capstone, I am browsing blogs, watching TV, reading, doing fun stuff, etc. What a way to relax.

It’s gets really girly from here on out.

I’ve been really into style/diy/fashion/home decor blogs lately. Check out some of my faves!

A Beautiful Mess Elsie Larson Holiday Cheer photo shoot

1. I loooove A Beautiful Mess. Elsie never runs out of ideas, ans she blogs at least twice a day. She runs a vintage shop with her sister Emma and blogs about everyday life, outfits, crafts and a lot more.

2. Emma’s blog, Food Coma, has a lot of yummy, original and borrowed recipes. She shows you how she makes the dishes and takes really pretty pictures of the food. She also writes outfit posts. Her writing style is hilarious, too.

3. Calivintage is a great blog for vintage fashion and street style. Erin’s confident and unique; that’s why I like her. She also posts a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff about designers and stores.

4. Erin also has a blog called Bikes + Babes. I love looking at the girls who love their bikes, just like me!

The Clothes Horse - The Storm Is Fast Descending

5. Rebecca from The Clothes Horse helps run Bikes + Babes. I love her daily outfit posts because her style is so cute and feminine. Plus, I like seeing the inspiration she posts.

Those are just a few of the many blogs I follow. I’m adding more all the time!

Radio show

I’m going to be on WSBU from 5:15 p.m. to 7 p.m. today. My friend Meaghan and I have a show at this time every Monday on The Buzz, our college radio station.  We like playing a bunch of female singer/songwriters and mixing in old favorites and new digs.

Here’s how you listen: Click this, and then press play when the new window opens. It’s as easy as that.

And while you’re at it, “like” our Facebook page too. Thanks for tuning in!