So it’s finally winter break. Yes.

There’s a great satisfaction when it comes to getting rewarded for something you’ve worked hard for. I have friends that worked super hard this semester and ended up with all A’s; it has got to be the greatest feeling because I myself am happy for them!

I just wanted to voice this: make sure you guys enjoy yourselves this winter break. Spend time with people you care about, and don’t let a second slip by. For all the young, my-age-ish readers: we are so young, but time is slipping by guys. 20 years from now I don’t want to look back and wish I had spent more time doing fun stuff as a kid-*ahem*, young adult.

Me with some crazy friends last year at Abington Graduation. #tbt

Me with some crazy friends last year at Abington Graduation. #tbt

It’s so tough managing work and fun at the same time. We are so pressured to do well by working hard, so we can get a good job and financial stability in the future. But I imagine that 9 times out of 10, once we get that job, we will still be working hard. And that’s for the rest of our lives! It’s crazy if you think about it.

Just enjoy yourselves, smile more, breathe deeply and take it all in. Keep your head high and look at the sun once in a while. Don’t be afraid to jump in some snow. Sing as loudly as you can when you feel like singing. Laugh a lot too, and relish this time now. I am always pushing myself to think this way, and I know it’s gonna be healthy if I do.

Speaking of healthy, I need to exercise a lot more. Our bodies are only going to stay as flexible and healthy as they are right now for only so long.

So yeah, that’s my little speil. Take it with a grain of…snow. Ha.

Since I will be graduating this week, my life has been to say the least, hectic. From planning a dinner, to fitting into my gown, to passing all my finals, I’ve not had much time to myself. Well, I finally took the time, and reflected on the last four years, as well as what my future holds… What I came up with was a letter. A letter of my most important learnings of college and what I hope my future looks like…. A letter to myself, when I turn 30. So here it is:

Hey Col!

So I guess you’re the big Three Oh, now! I hope that means great things for you and you’re living the life your 23-year-old self was imagining. As I am writing this letter, I’m only days away from probably the biggest moment of our life at this point, Graduation of College. I whipped up a few things I hope you still remember about your college life and that you’ve implemented into the awesome person you are today, because honestly, college probably made a huge impact on the person you’ve turned out to be (which, I can only assume, is totally kick ass!!)

In college you learned:

  1. You can’t make everyone happy. It’s okay to try sometimes, but sometimes it’s about you. There will be people who try to make you feel as if you owe them something, but you don’t. Gifts are gifts, not loans. Make sure to show your appreciation by saying thank you and using the gift to its fullest potential, but it’s not your job to spend the rest of your life making up for gifts given to you. If someone wants to loan you something, they need to make sure that’s clear in the beginning.
  2. You aren’t afraid of anything. (Well, most things…). I hope that in 10 years, 50 years, you still aren’t afraid to take chances. Living life is a risk, so risk it, you’ve only got once chance to do it right! At 23, you were they embodiment of a 20-something with absolutely no fear of death or worry of the future. It will all work out, and if it doesn’t work out quite the way you expected (which at 23, I can tell you, it never does), you’ve been smart enough this far to figure it out. Don’t stress the small stuff, you’ve got this!
  3. Advice is for suckers. (Well, it’s kind of ironic, since I’ve made this list, but anyway…). In college you’ve learned that lots of people have things to say. You constantly were told how things will work, what steps you should take, and how to best figure out problems… and guess what, you still ended up taking a different path. You want to know why? Because everything works out for everyone in different ways. People asked you for advice too, and you learned that most situations they were in, in no way were similar to your own. You can learn perspective from others, but as far as advice goes, take it with a grain of salt and do what you think is best.
  4. Your GPA doesn’t define you. In High School you were told GPA and SAT scores were super important, they were the essentials to college acceptance. They may or may not have been true, but in college we tend to get caught up in that idea; that a GPA defines your intelligence. Not so much. You could out talk most of your peers about the species of lemurs or the migration of monarch butterflies, but you’re GPA sucked…. You still graduated, and so far, no interview has asked for your GPA.
  5. People make the experience. It doesn’t matter if they are forever-kind of people, at-the-moment-kind of people, or get-away-from-me-quick kind of people, they all make a difference. They shape who you are and you’ve learned something valuable from everyone in college.

So what do I hope for you at 30:

  1. I hope you’re eating better. Ramen was cheap, but you’ve got good taste and microwave noodles did not quench anything except headaches and the runs. You deserve better…
  2. I hope you’ve got a small home that you can keep clean. In college you lived with too much space, and too little. I hope you’ve found a balance. Something that is cost efficient, small, and easy to maintain     . Life is too short to spend copious amounts of time dusting, and you spent too much college time doing that. Smaller living also keeps you from hoarding stuff you don’t need. Bigger isn’t better.
  3. I hope you got another degree. You love learning, and you always have. Given circumstances in college and after, I hope you never felt discouraged to continue. Your education has always been super important for you, so I hope you’re still going, even at 30, learning new things.
  4. I hope you spent time traveling. I hope you finally made it to Greece, and Africa. I hope you went back to Chicago for a visit. I hope at some point you gave your time and volunteer in a place that needed your love and support. I hope you traveled somewhere to do research and explore. I hope you also have plans to continue traveling soon!
  5. And lastly, I hope you are happy at 30. You were happy at 23. Life wasn’t perfect, but you owned your life. You lived every moment to the fullest and regretted nothing. You were making a difference and you went to bed finding something to be thankful for each night. I hope that 7 years as treated you well, and you are ROCKING IT!!

With love and confidence, for yourself,

Colleen Noel

With temperatures dipping below the freezing point this week, nobody wanted to stay outside longer than it took them to walk from one class to another…at least you would think so, right?  Wrong.


Here’s only some of the students that came out to support the project!

Wednesday, November 19, marked the beginning of the Greenhouse Project.  Organized by the Sustainability Club, students and faculty braced themselves for the frigid air and headed to the field behind the Conference Center to begin building Penn State Abington’s very own greenhouse!  From what I gathered, the project was the result of the club receiving a grant they applied for which was then used to purchase the materials needed to build the greenhouse.


It may be just a foundation in this picture, but looking behind, all the right stuff is there to get this thing going.

I was let out of Spanish early so I decided to head over to see what I could do to help.  Unfortunately, the dirty work wasn’t really starting up yet and I couldn’t hang around long enough to make a significant contribution.  I’m gonna have to take a walk up this way again to see how it came out, and I suggest you all do too!  Whether you’ll make use of the greenhouse or not, it’s worth checking out.


You can’t really see it, but TRUST me, there’s a fire in there.

Before I left, I did get to do something pretty awesome that doesn’t happen every day on campus.  Somebody asked for help making a fire so of course I jumped in!  May not seem like a big deal, but it’s the little things.

It goes to show, big things can get done on campus by students like you and me.  Nice work to the Sustainability Club and all the people involved.  Truly amazing.


Working in Studio 338 with Jim Cannon on his first EP.

It’s been an incredibly busy fall semester at Abington!  So busy, in fact, that I haven’t posted here in two months!  Definitely slacking.  Between AbingTones, coursework, banquet serving, music production projects, running the school studio page, and planning a new organization on campus, I’ve had just enough wiggle room to hangout with friends and sleep.  That being said, I’m not complaining.  I’m incredibly stoked to be working on various production projects with some talented friends of mine.  I’m registered for the advanced studio course and the music business course in the spring semester and cannot WAIT to learn everything I can about producing and the industry.

To put the icing on the cake, the organization I’ve been planning (with a few friends) is going to revolutionize the way students interested in the music industry on campus will be able to pursue their interests.  We’ve been working on the constitution for about a week laying down some serious framework.  The goal is to establish an organization to bring professionals and artists in the industry to the students to give presentations, have workshops, Q&A, and provide tips from experience.  There will be three divisions/committees: songwriting, music production, and music business.  There will be guests for each division, events related to the music industry, and fundraisers.  It’ll be up and running by the beginning of the spring semester so there’s some time to get everything lined up but I can guarantee it’s gonna be something great.


Tracking some vocals in Studio 338 with Jim!

In the meantime, I’m making the most out of the rest of this semester and very much looking forward to the holiday season and snowboarding A LOT!  Who knows, by the end of November we could already be having snow days.  I can’t say it would surprise me!

If the music industry organization sounds like something you’d want to be a part of and you want more information, message me through the Studio 338 page on Facebook, message me personally, text me, or email me at djl5428@psu.edu! Thanks!

     If you know me, you know I’ve had a knack for music for as long as pretty much anyone can remember.  Music makes sense to me- I can pick up a beat, hear if a note is wrong, figure out if two songs can be played together, and I can anticipate what notes or chords should come next in a song.  It wasn’t until high school that I realized there’s science behind music and that I could learn exactly why songs can be played together or why the next notes and chords can be predicted; unfortunately that was something I never had the time or patience to learn.  Serendipitously, I found the solution to that problem about half an hour ago.

Hooktheory Logo.

Hooktheory Logo.

     I was just browsing Facebook in my hour of free time before AbingTones and I came across a link to an amazing website called Hooktheory.  The purpose of the site is to educate people about music theory and music analysis in a way that doesn’t involve sitting in a classroom watching a teacher lecture about it for an hour.  It has a few different tools that help musicians (and anyone for that matter) write songs better by allowing them to choose chords and then showing which chords would typically come after the one they’ve chosen (This is called chord progression and if you don’t know what it is then Hooktheory is a great place to learn).  

     Another awesome feature is what they call “Trends”.  It allows you to choose individual chords in a progression and shows you a constantly updating list of popular (and not-so-popular) songs that use those chords.  Perfect for anyone like me who loves mash-ups!  

     Even if you’re not that into music, Hooktheory is still a cool site to check out and play around with to at least see why you think of “Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson when you listen to “Die Young” by Ke$ha.  Bam, music.


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