Friends and Warm Weather

Friday night, after almost a semester and a half of saying I would do so, I decided to decorate my room! Well, part of it at least.

I spent one the last days of winter break shopping and browsing stores such as TJ Maxx, HomeGoods, Marshalls etc. in search of some cute wall decor for my dorm! I could walk around HomeGoods for hours; there are so many photos, paintings, frames and word art I would love to own. Nonetheless, after some decision making, I bought a 3 piece set which included the words “Be Kind, Be Positive , Be Courageous.” I stuck those on my walls as soon as I returned to school and now, finally, the wall space above my desk is filled!


These are only a number of the many photos I decided to order; I’m still not sure how I’ll utilize the rest. Maybe I’ll put them in an album.

After a relaxing Friday night, Saturday was definitely more exciting. Not only was it a gorgeous day (the temperature reached 60 degrees!) but one of my best friends from home came up for a visit. She couldn’t have picked a better day. Tons of students were out and about, drinking Starbucks outside or playing sports on the green.

Sabrina and I decided to stay on campus for lunch and munched on Chick-Fil-A when she first arrived. I gave her a mini tour of the U as we passed and walked through different buildings; she was so impressed! She couldn’t believe how friendly everyone was. As I said to my friends, I was incredibly excited to have to Sabrina not only because I would be able to see one of my best friends for the first time in a month, but because she would have the “Scranton experience” for a weekend! We walked into town later that night, enjoyed a delicious hibachi dinner at Osaka and headed back to Condron and watched a few episodes of our favorite show “Jane the Virgin.” As stuffed as we were after Osaka, we couldn’t help taking a walk over to Good Fellas around midnight to grab some pizza. Sabrina and I had such a great time together; if only she could come to Scranton too!

Overall, my weekend was relaxing, which was definitely much needed. The work this semester is really starting to pick up and that means, as usual, tons of papers, exams and readings! Can’t wait to see what the week has in store for me. 🙂

Love Poems and Beyond

Happy Wednesday!

Last night I attended my first event of the semester: a slam poetry reading by Javon Johnson, Ph.D ! I have never been necessarily interested in poetry until last year or so, but Javon blew me away. Last night really opened my eyes and served as the perfect reminder that poetry is much more than flowery, superfluous words on a page written by someone hundreds of years ago.  His works were personal, moving, empowering and relatable not merely because of the words he chose, but because of the performance itself: how every syllable, every constant and every vowel left his mouth. Unfortunately I had to leave the event a little early, so I only heard a couple of pieces, but either way I’m glad I was able to go.


Since we have just finished reading a selection of poems in my African American Literature course, my professor actually arranged for Johnson to speak with my class this morning! When I asked Johnson what his biggest inspiration for his poetry, he had such an insightful response.


He said, “Well, everything…But I really only write love poems.”  


When one hears the words “love poems”, he or she tends to assume boy/girl relationship-esque love poems. But Javon went on to explain that, although he definitely enjoys and finds a lot of meaning within those specific types of poems, that all of his poems are love poems because they are about everything he loves, whether it’s a person, a place, a thing etc. He writes about the people he loves, his “love for humanity.” He even mentioned that through his writing, sometimes he hopes to create a more lovable word for those around him. It was not the answer I was expecting when I raised the question, but nonetheless was a perfectly beautiful response and made me truly think about the emotions and thoughts that make their way into an artist’s work.


This was one of the many interesting topics Javon spoke about during my class period. Because I was so interested in his thoughts on writing, what to write about, how to interpret a poet’s piece, I decided to take a little step outside my comfort zone and attend his poetry workshop scheduled later in the day. As I said, although poetry was never a true passion or interest of mine, I enjoyed the workshop and felt grateful to have had such a great opportunity to expand my writing horizons right on campus!


Now I’m off to do some laundry and finish some homework. Tonight is another production night for the Aquinas (our first issue comes out tomorrow!), and as the new co-Arts and Life section editor, there will be much to do. 🙂


Hope everyone has a lovely rest of the week!

Salutations Spring Semester

Why hello there! 🙂 For the sake of potential first-time readers, I always like to begin new “chapters” of my blogs with a little introduction about myself.

My name is Catherine, Catie for short, and I am a spring semester sophomore at the University of Scranton. I’m an English major (incase you couldn’t tell by my use of alliteration in that last phrase) and Communication minor, a singer in the University’s co-ed a cappella group and a staff writer/editor for the student newspaper. After a quite long, but much needed, winter break, I am elated to be back on campus. Between singing, writing, attending retreats and meeting new faces every day, I’ve made countless memories so far with my time here at Scranton; how could I not want to come back! Despite a tough fall semester, by the end of break I was eager for the spring to start. The past 6 weeks honestly flew and I definitely think I made the most of my time; but the thought of being back in my dorm, walking to class and seeing the friends I haven’t seen in what seems like forever was all too appealing.

Moving back in on January 31st was, surprisingly, an emotional and insightful experience. Yes, of course I did this last year, so what made this time so different? I noticed that I recognized and appreciated the fact that I had so much waiting for me at this beautiful place. It is my second home. Just like my family, my dog, my high school friends and diner food (haha!) are all in New Jersey, my second family, my hobbies, my classes, so many opportunities, are all in Scranton, Pennsylvania. And as disconnected as I may be from this place for two months during winter break, that could never change. For quite some time I forgot all about that! Because when you’re struggling with academics or dealing with trouble in friend groups or worried about loved ones at home, it’s easy to overlook what’s right in front of you. I feel more grateful than ever to be back.

And what better way to kick off the semester than by spending time with my a cappella family!

On Saturday afternoon, the Octaves took a drive up to Ithaca, NY to witness an ICCA (International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella) Regional competition! We were absolutely blown away by the talent of these groups. About 10 ensembles competed that night, mainly from New York colleges and universities with the exception of two from Canada!

The Midnight Ramblers photographed in the Bridge Lounge on the University of Rochester's River Campus, Wilson Commons. Some of the photos are slated to appear in an upcoming issue of Rochester Review Magazine.The Midnight Ramblers is an all-male contemporary a cappella singing ensemble composed entirely of undergraduates at the University of Rochester. The Ramblers are student directed and managed, and choose their repertoire to cover all the bases of vocal music. Photo by University of Rochester, Brandon Vick

The Midnight Ramblers photographed in the Bridge Lounge on the University of Rochester’s River Campus, Wilson Commons. (They won 2nd place!)

Each group brought something special to the stage in every song they sung; saying the competition was merely entertaining would be an understatement. What could be even more exciting than that? Tom, one of our tenors, went to highschool with and is still friends with a girl in Premium Blend, the all-female group that won first place!

Tom and Lauren, a member of Premium Blend.

Tom and Lauren, a member of Premium Blend.

With one week down and many to go, I’m anticipating great things for this semester. Can’t wait to tell you all about it! I’m off to bed and hope to be awakened by a snow day phone call. 🙂