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Mark 's Story > Chapters > My Entire Life

Merrimack College Life (2001-2005) 

Date Range: 09/01/2001 To 2005   Comments: 0 Views: 467
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I was accepted into Merrimack College after going to Northern Essex Community College for a year. In the Fall of 2001, I moved to the dorms at Monican Centre. What was awesome was that students were changing around rooms and my roommate left my room and went to another because someone else wanted a single room, and I got my dorm to be all for me for a few months. I then had another roommate who roomed with me for a few months and left, and then another, who got an apartment on campus, the two latter roommates were both Juniors/Seniors at that time, and since I had already been to community college, I didn't have to room in a Freshman dorm at that time such as Ash or Deegan East or West. Dorm life pretty much sucked. I don't know why I did it because I only lived 10 minutes away by car. I guess I did it to get the full college experience. I wasn't a partier though, but most of my friends I met lived in the dorms. My other friends were my friend Jessica whom I had met in 6th grade at Holy Trinity School since September of 1993, we had been friends all the way back to then, my friend Melissa, who was a year above me in Central Catholic High School, and my friend Amanda, a cancer survivor since a very young age, who was in the same class of 2000 with Jess and I, and was from Middleton, Mass. After college I moved to Los Angeles, CA and have not seen anyone since, and Amanda passed away in January 2013 from cancer.

Me in my first year of college, 2001-2002


Me in my 2nd year of college 2002-2003

Me in my 3rd year of college (2003-2004)...By this time I had changed the way I ate and avoided lots of foods. I had lost from 300 pounds down to 250, then down to 220 by the time I finished my 3rd year of college.


After a year and 3 months, I dropped from 300 pounds down to 150 pounds from May 2003 to August of 2004. During that time, I lost a lot of hair and I had my face corrected from all the severe acne over the years. Growing up, I never had acne at ages 12-14, an age that a lot of my classmates were getting it. However, once I got a job at McDonald's, even the few days I worked as a 15 year old on the weekends, my face started breaking out in February of 1998 from all the oils and salts used there and from all the deep frying and enviroment that did a number on my delicate skin on my face. I had used cheap, low class, store bought, $5 or less over the counter stuff such as noxema, clearasil, et. Between 1998 and 2001...nothing seemed to work. Then, in 2002 and into 2003, I started washing with phisoderm or basis face washes and went to NEDA in North Andover to get facials and vitamin B peels done on a set schedule which helped very minimally reduce some of the acne I had since 1998, along with putting retinol cream on it and taking some presecibed drugs. After some time, I decided to lose weight as I was close to 300 pounds, and doing that helped a lot with the acne on my face. I lost weight exercising on the tredmill, never eating fast foods at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's or KFC again, and started to steam and sauna, which also helped with clearing a lot of the acne on my face. By early 2004, most of the acne on my cheeks was gone, but my forehead still had breakouts. I started getting facials and body wraps at Spa Nijoli in Methuen at that time, along with doing even more saunas and steam room sessions at home and at the gym, which slimmed my body down, made me drop from an XXL to a size large, and my cheek acne continued to disappear, yet the acne system Yonka they were making me use contained essential oils, which hurt my skin. By the fall of 2004, my cheeks were mostly clear of acne, but I still couldn't rid myself completely of it, so in early 2005, I went to Laser Image in Methuen, and there the owner told me never to use essential oils on my skin or herbs or anything of that sort, because that's why my skin wasn't clearing up completely. After a set schedule of photo facials and microdermabrasions, along with using Obagi skin care system, my cheek acne was cleared completely by early summer of 2005, yet my forehead was still seeing breakouts. At Laser Image, I also had my ingrown hairs fixed on my face, so whenever I shave I won't get many bloody cuts anymore (though I can still grow facial hair, only it shaves off smoother and is less coarse), and I had my face completely rejuvinated with lasers that helped tighten it and make it more youthful in appearance after my extreme weight loss.

To the left, a photo of me when I was a size XXL and had severe acne and a double chin, to the right, a photo of me when I was a size small/medium and had no more acne and a tighter, more youthful looking face.


My parents and I had moved into our new home in Methuen back in April of 2001, so after 4 months living in it, I moved to the dorms. I really didn't have to, but I wanted to get that experience of living on my own and it worked because of how my life turned out after I graduated in 2005.

While living in Methuen from 2001-2004, I assisted my Dad on fixing up the new house. I'd give my ideas and he'd sketch out patterns and ways to improve it. Between 2001 and 2004, we put in new shutters, a several tier fountain with pond base, an 18x18 pool, two decks, fixed the basement downstairs to make it "liveable" with a living area, and made the 3 season porch out back connect to the rest of the house as a family room. We also put in a shed in the back yard to reduce clutter in the garage.

The Methuen house in 2001.


The Methuen house after new shutters put in back in summer of 2001.


The front of the Methuen house in 2005, with fountain and tracing blocks.


The pool, deck, and shed back in 2004 at the Methuen house.




The decks and some of the pool at the Methuen house back in 2005.


View of the pool from the upper deck at the Methuen house in 2005.





I majored in English and concentrated in Middle Schools Education. While giving a presentation in my Middle Schools Intro class about why I wanted to be a teacher, I kept talking about my love for writing and the arts and acting and everyone kept telling me "You'd make a much better writer/actor than teacher." I wasn't "A" material smart in school, nor was I all "A-B" material, so I knew if I failed the MTEL, I would drop the concentration, which I did.

In my 2nd year at Merrimack, I roomed there again at Monican Centre, and I hated it so much after a few weeks. I stayed though until April or so of 2003, then decided to be a commuter so I could have my car on campus, which I couldn't when I was a resident of the dorms.

In college, my grades were just as good as they were at Northern Essex, maybe a small few were C's (the required courses), but the majority were B's, and a few C+'s in several of my hardest courses in my English Major, a small number of A's, and no D's or F's, wheras in Central Catholic High School, I usually got a few D's per quarter, even in some subjects where I'd bust my butt off to get C's or B's in.

During my 2nd and last years at Merrimack, I took a lot of creative classes such as Scriptwriting, Theatre 1, Theatre II, all of which I got A-s in, and Creative Writing, Creative Non Fiction Writing, and  Detective Fiction Writing, all of which I got B's in.

I tried out for the fall of 2001 play at Merrimack "Don't Drink The Water" but didn't really mind it that I wasn't cast. The casting was very fair as they didn't have a whole theatre full of students and they only had a small handful and used me a lot in auditions onstage, however, as usual, those who were cast in prior plays usually got the upper hand to those who were new or that didn't have much on a resume. I refrained from trying out again until spring 2004 for the musical "A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum" where I was called back and the only guy cut. That made me feel awful I couldn't even be part of the chorus. Once again, the same students who were cast in previous roles got the upper hand once again over me. I was totally okay with that again, but I wasn't liking the favoritism as I saw that happen in both CCHS and at Merrimack, and how Merrimack also didn't have that strong of a production area in TV/Film and needed something like that so that students who weren't in the plays could have made their own series'/videos/et. In my final semester at Merrimack, I tried out for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, was not called back, but made the play and was cast in the chorus and the character of Mr. Toynbee, which I thought would have happened the year before in "Forum", as I was called back but never made the cast. Not being in the play gave me more time to study, and my grades kept going up. Whenever the plays had basic auditions for just singing, I always got called back, but when they were either just reading lines or both singing/lines, I was not called back or cast afterwards during Merrimack and also CCHS. Also, what also plays into why I wasn't cast was the fact that I wasn't familliar with any of the plays and musicals as others most likely had been. I didn't come from a theatre family, but on my own, began to get into musicals more and more since the late 1990s. I was more interested in the musicals than in the basic plays because I loved to sing, even if it was just part of the chorus.

Me in "How To Succeed In Business" at Merrimack College, April 2005. I'm on the far left.

In the fall of 2004, I applied to grad schools for Screenwriting, I also lost a lot of weight between 2003-2004. I was interviewed by UCLA in March of 2005 for the MFA Program, but rejected, but offered admission into their Professional Screenwriting Program and I decided then that was my chance to move to Los Angeles, a goal I had since I was in middle school.

My teachers and subjects they taught and grades I received at Merrimack College:

Semester 1 (Fall 2001)

Professor Quinn                (Sociology)                           B
Professor Keohan              (Major British Authors)            B-
Professor Wians                (Parables Of The World)          B
Professor Meyer                (Philosophy)                         C

Semester 2 (Spring 2002)

Professor Bishop            (Intro to Religion)                     A-
Professor Westerling            (Geology)                          B
Professor Keohan              (Politics In Literature)            B
Professor Dorney              (Psychology)                        B
Professor Wians               (Ancient Philosophy)              C-

(Summer 2002)

Professor Bishop             (Intro To New Testament)        A-

Semester 3 (Fall 2002)

Professor Plasse            (Shaksepearean Drama)            B
Professor Roselli            (Foundations Of Education)        B
Professor Plunkett        (American Indian Renaissance)     C+
Professor Hopping         (Intro To Middle Schools)          B+
Professor Burns           (Intro To Composition Studeies)  C+

Semester 4 (Spring 2003)

Professor Mahoney       (Intro To Literacy Studies)        B-
Professor Johnson        (Modern British)                       C+
Professor Margolis        (Educational Psychology)          B
Professor Plasse          (Women's Drama)                    B-
Professor Smith           (Urban Sociology)                   C

(Summer 2003)

Professor Gillooly        (Intermediate Spanish I         A-
Professor Gillooly        (Intermediate Spanish II        B+

Semester 5 (Fall 2003) DEANS LIST!

Professor Sills                (Scriptwriting)                          A-
Professor D'Allesandro     (General Methods Middle School)  B+
Professor Scherwatzky  (18th Century Novel)                   C+
Professor Margolis        (Adolescent Psychology)               A-

Semester 6 (Spring 2004) DEANS LIST!

Professor Mahoney           (Victorian Literature)                B
Professor Sills                  (Theatre I)                             A-
Professor Sills                 (History of Theatre II)               A-
Professor Scherwatzky     (Sex, Race, And Empire)             B-

(Summer 2004)

Professor DiCiccio         (Short Story)                              A-
Professor Atkinson        (Creative Non Fiction Workshop)     B

(Fall 2004)

Professor Mahoney        (Detective Fiction)                      B
Professor Johnson         (Senior Seminar in English)            C

(Spring 2005)

Professor Sills              (Theatre II)                                  A-
Professor Mahoney       (Creative Writing)                          B



Though I wasn't a straight A student and I got mostly B grades with a few C+'s here and there, I made the Deans List twice, Fall Semester 2003 and Spring Semester 2004. My lowest grade was in Ancient Philosophy, and I took that class only because I liked the teacher who I also had Parables Of The World with. However, the subject matter was hard, and the work was hard, though other Philosophy class options I could have taken, I would have gotten a much higher grade overall, as one of the Philosophy classes my friend Jessica took, for example, had hardly much to it, and only consisted of a point of view essay or opinion essay on certain subjects each week, which was a lot easier than the work I had to do in my Ancient Philosophy class, and it was my lowest grade, a C-. The only few other C's I have were in several required courses, and any C+ grades were courses in my major.

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