First Week of American College Break Down

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Buona sera! I’ve been meaning to write this post for several days. Tomorrow will mark two weeks as a sophomore at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. Let me tell you… This week went a lot smoother than last week! So here’s the breakdown of my first week at American college.


I had never been so nervous going to classes! I felt like a freshman in high school all over again–unsure of which building to go to, intimidated by the upperclassmen, stressed about where to sit in the classroom.

Socially awkward

This is how I felt all. week. long. My friends and I were asked many times “Are you freshmen?” It shouldn’t feel like an insult, but it does as a non-freshman. Perhaps we’re paranoid, but we think people stare at us. It makes sense for sophomores especially to, because they’ve never seen us before, and they know we aren’t freshmen.

In my classes, it seemed as though everyone knew each other. They’d say hi to one another, ask how last night was at Darby’s or whatever bar it was depending on the day, get in each other’s Snapchats. Meanwhile I sat in between strangers staring blankly at my planner or notebook.


Yes, the American college academic system differs greatly from the Italian college academic system. There are a lot more smaller assignments spread out over time. Using my syllabi for all five classes to color coordinate into my planner was a good two hours of stress/panic. The best strategy? TURN SOMETHING IN & HOPE YOU PASS.

Tackling the gym

It’s nerve racking dead lifting 25 pounds when the cute guy next to you dead lifts 4 times that. It’s also nerve racking trying to exercise surrounded by division I athletes. I plugged in my Taylor Swift and focused on my workout. Now I know I can survive going to the gym even during its busiest hours.

One swipe/week

I have the smallest meal plan available at Marist; therefore, I get one swipe a week (one meal a week unless I get creative with tupperware). The dining hall is a great place to meet friends. Unfortunately, I miss out on that opportunity.

The plus side?

I find rides to the nearby grocery stores and cook my own food. That’s helped me eat healthy!

Co-ed environment

Take me back to Emma Willard?

Social scene

Marist is strictly a bar school. You have to be 21 to get in. I don’t have a fake ID, so I haven’t experienced the bar scene. Although there’s a tinge of FOMO (fear of missing out), I’m hoping to find more people on campus who prefer to stay in.

Club fair

I signed up for 10 clubs at the club fair on Friday afternoon. There were so many people squeezed into two tents. It was very overwhelming! We’ve had club meetings this week, and I’m starting to narrow down my choices. There’s simply not enough time for everything! Clubs will be a good way to meet new people and get more involved on campus.

Missing Florence

I miss the freedom and independence Florence graciously provided me. There was never a need to conform to a student body like there subtly is here. Scrolling through Instagram pictures of current FFEs at La Ménagère, Piazza Repubblica, and Edoardo’s definitely makes me miss Florence and that incredible chapter of my life. But a new one’s starting here in Poughkeepsie, and that’s what needs to be the main focus.

Solution? TIME.

Like I’ve told my friends and heard it from my friends and family time and time again, TRANSITIONS TAKE TIME. There’s no rush to make non-FFE friends or feel 100% every day. The long weekend away in Sherburne, NY with Colleen helped me re-channel my focus and confidence. So far, so good!

Keep up with me!

Here are some links to some of my schoolwork.

My WordPress blog I created for Digital Toolbox:

Assignment due (& presentation) tomorrow for my Intro to Strategic Advertising class:

xo ~ e.


Fall Semester Classes

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The eve before the first day of school continues to be a night filled with excitement, nerves, and energy–even as a sophomore in college!

Everyone’s moved in on campus now. This afternoon we watched the Marist women’s soccer team defeat the University of New Hampshire wildcats. It was a gorgeous (although slightly hot) day for soccer! A big part of me still wishes I was on the field in uniform, especially since today was the first day of preseason at Emma.

Colleen, Sasha, and I tackled the dining hall for dinner tonight. There are so many new faces to recognize! Marist has an undergrad of roughly 5,000 students. Compared to previous schools, it’s very large! I’m itching to get to know my classmates more throughout the school year. It’s more challenging than I thought it would be to branch out of our tight knit FFE group, but it’ll happen in time. College is a huge transition, and the beginning is always the hardest!

I’m taking four communication classes this semester in addition to Chinese. Most of my classes are 100 or 200 levels, but I’m sure I’ll be busy nevertheless. Below is my full schedule (yes, I have classes five days a week now):


11-12:15 Digital Toolbox


8-9:15 Intro to Strategic Advertising

12:30-1:45 Communication Research & Methods

2-3:15 Intermediate Chinese I

5-6:15 Public Relations Theory & Practice


9:30-10:45 Digital Toolbox


5-6:15 Public Relations Theory & Practice


8-9:15 Intro to Strategic Advertising

12:30-1:45 Communication Research & Methods

2-3:15 Intermediate Chinese I

As you can tell, Tuesday is my most hectic day!

Goodbye summer and hello fall semester! xo ~ e.

Marist Orientation: The American Version

Friday, August 25, 2017

One year ago from today I was on a plane from JFK to Rome–nervous, excited, and ecstatic to spend my freshman year of college in Florence, Italy.

I sit here 365 days later blogging from my living room in my townhouse on Marist’s campus in Poughkeepsie, NY.

So much has happened in a year. I’ve never believed in that statement more.

Nothing will compare to my European adventure. The memories, food, friendships, spontaneous moments cannot be relived. However, we’re all excited to be on campus to give it the good ‘ole (American) college try.

The end of the summer happened so abruptly. A week relaxing with family in Embden, Maine, maple milkshakes at the Washington County Fair, literally packing the day before move in day.

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Lobster rolls are a must in Maine


End of summer tradition

The summer was a lot of work, a lot of learning, a lot of healing & reflecting. My internships were engaging and fulfilling. But like most college students, I was ready to be at school and in the classroom. College is fun after all!

My parents graciously packed up the car on Tuesday night. It certainly wasn’t my first rodeo! I’ve packed for school for four years before this. It felt all too familiar 🙂

The move in day nerves were definitely present, but they dissipated as soon as I stepped out of the car and heard Sasha say, “Emma?!”

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Jill and I are the only roommates from Florence rooming together in Poughkeepsie. We have the biggest room in our house (8 girls total)!

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Thursday consisted of meetings and information sessions, although most of the stuff they talked about are things we’ll have to figure out on our own. If we navigated living in a foreign country for 9 months, I’m sure we’ll manage!

It’s really nice being with the FFEs. No shame in talking about Florence and catching up about our summers.

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Today we finished orientation with a boat cruise on the Hudson. We also ate in the dining hall and attended the men’s soccer game vs. UAlbany! Red Foxes came away with the W after a crazy comeback. Highlight of the game? The dog running on the field who provided a splendid minute of entertainment!

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Freshman year 2.0! The FFEs moved into Via San Gallo 33 today too. Looking forward to what’s next here at Marist. Stay tuned! xo ~ e.

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Emma Graduation 2017

Sunday, June 5, 2017

Today I watched the members of the Emma Willard Class of 2017 become Emma alumni. It was such a special moment celebrated outside on the lawn in inner campus. The girls looked absolutely stunning in their white and creme colored dresses decorated with crimson-colored roses and elegant wreaths. American journalist, Joel Stein (the spouse of an Emma alumna), gave one hell of a commencement address. He had us Emma Girls laughing and some parents and faculty members wincing in their seats. Find his work in Time Magazine. Fahima delivered a tear-jerking and truly inspirational speech; she is going to rule the world someday. It was so nice seeing my ring sisters, Maddy and Sasha, along with other close friends from the senior class. I remember them as freshmen and sophomores new to Mt. Ida. And now they’re off to college, just like we were a year ago. Sitting next to Nicki, Téa, and Sosie during the ceremony made it feel as though we walked the halls of Slocum and Weaver not too long ago. The anticipation leading up to the wailing wall and distribution of the diplomas a year ago was beyond nerve racking and intimidating. But we survived and have thrived since; our Emma chapters are officially over, and we have moved on with our lives outside of the comforting grey walls. So much has already happened within a school year, and so much will continue to happen at Emma and wherever life takes us. Luckily, Emma will always be there to welcome us home.

Congratulations, Class of 2017. You’ve worked unbelievably hard and will always owe your tenacity, confidence, and friendships to Emma. “Oh, the places you’ll go.” xo ~ e.


Go Mads!!


Queen Fahima


Go Sash!! You did it!


The Class of 2017


Waterworks at the Wailing Wall

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Ring sister love


Ella made it!

Great Synagogue of Florence

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Yesterday my Holocaust class took a trip to the Great Synagogue of Florence. It’s a beautiful building both inside and out! I didn’t take too many photos, but here are the ones I did take. xo ~ e.


Can you spot the Ten Commandments?



Memorial outside



Wednesday, April 5, 2017

I’m currently in contact with some prospective FFE students who may join Marist’s Class of 2021! I reached out to an admissions counselor at Marist in January and said I want to talk to prospective students about my experience abroad. I remember a year ago wanting to know so badly what life would be like as a freshman in Florence. I talked to many FFE alums and watched all the Marist Italy YouTube videos, but I couldn’t really picture an abroad life for myself until I got here. The best part about the FFE Program is that everyone has a unique and individual experience. It is what you make of it. Florence caters to a wide variety of interests, hobbies, and passions. Just like a college campus, it has something for everyone.

The seniors I’ve heard from are really interested in the program! It’s so much fun for me to answer their thoughtful questions and share my experience, because a year ago, I was the one asking the many questions about transitioning, packing, budgeting, etc….

I remember how stressful it was last April with the May 1 decision deadline. I think at that point, I knew Marist and Florence is where I was destined to be. To any seniors reading this blog post, have faith that you will end up where you belong and you will thrive there. xo ~ e.

Here’s what I sent to the accepted FFE Students:


Mi chiamo Emma, and I’m a current FFE at Marist. Alex Tom (a Marist admissions counselor) gave me your email, and I thought I would reach out. First off, congratulations on your acceptance to Marist and the FFE Program! I know how stressful applying to college is and waiting to hear decisions, but trust me when I say it will all work out. Enjoy the last few weeks of high school, because they will fly! 

Here’s a little blurb about me… I’m from southern Vermont and went to an all girls boarding school in upstate New York. After four years of living in a dorm, I knew I wanted a unique college experience. Living and studying in Florence continues to fulfill my desire! Having the once in a lifetime opportunity to study abroad as an eighteen year old was simply one I could not pass up. I hadn’t been to Europe before, and I knew I would be surrounded by students who were mature, motivated, and independent. The FFE Program, School of Communications, proximity to NYC, tight-knit community, abroad emphasis, and internship opportunities were ultimately what led me to choose Marist over Ithaca, Emerson, Fordham, and Elon last May.

My freshman experience in Europe has exceeded my expectations by far. I have loved every aspect of studying abroad and would recommend it to anyone who wants a challenge and to stand out from his/her peers. The academics are very manageable, our FFE group is very close, and traveling is quite accessible. Thinking about leaving in less than two months is really sad! I would stay longer if I could. 

If you have ANY questions about Marist, the FFE Program, etc…, please do not hesitate to reach out. I found it so helpful talking to current, past, and future FFEs as I started to make my final college decision. Also, feel free to check out my blog because I write about my time here in Europe every day! My advice for you is to take the next couple weeks to visit schools (especially during accepted student days), weigh pros and cons, and talk to as many students as you can before committing to the school you feel is the best fit for you. Good luck and I look forward to hearing from you soon!


Emma LeMay ’20

Back in the Swing of Things

Monday, April 3, 2017

Spring break is officially over, and the last quarter of the school year is well underway. I never thought it would be here so quickly! In a way, it feels like we just arrived.

Amsterdam and Paris were the perfect places to recharge and relax before the last several weeks that will be a whirlwind. I spent a lot of time with my trip journal today, collaging the business cards and the receipts I collected. I can still smell the French fries on the streets of Amsterdam and the freshly baked baguettes in Parisian bakeries.

We’re getting our midterms back this week. I scored a perfect 100 on my fashion exam! That was a nice surprise. I didn’t do as well as I hoped on COM, but I know I can make it up. Still waiting on history, philosophy, and literature. Grades have always been stressful for me! I’m learning to not be as obsessive about them though. It’s college after all 🙂 The good news is is that I’m already in!

I went to soccer today and was huffing and puffing up and down the field! I scored a nice goal though and hit the crossbar/post three times. It feels nice to be outside and running around again. It’s awfully warm in Florence! We’re in the consistent 70s now. The tourists are out, and the streets are uncomfortably crowded. It’s hard not to complain about them, because we’re tourists here too (a special kind though). 48 days left as a study abroad Florentine! Going to make them count! xo ~ e.