May

09

A Thank You Letter

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General

A year ago I wrote a “thank you” letter to my freshman year. I was on my way out of Iowa City heading home for summer break and I just had to put in words how amazing that year had been. Coming back for my second year at Iowa, I was worried it wouldn’t be able to top everything that happened while I called Burge my home. A year later I am sitting in my apartment getting ready to head home for yet another summer and I can honestly say that sophomore year was filled even more moments I will cherish for years to come. So here goes another love letter about another year I’m so thankful for.

Thank you for my studies. Although making the change was hard for me, and I had tons of people telling me I was crazy, becoming a communications major has allowed me to find new passions and actually enjoy going to classes – which I didn’t know could happen. If it wasn’t for the opportunities Iowa has given me I would have never made the switch and found a career path I’m actually excited about. Not only have I found a major that I love, but this year has helped me find a passion for event planning, and of course military science. There aren’t many places you can come up with a combination like that, but Iowa has allowed me too.

Thank you for ROTC. If you had told me before I came into college that I was going to get up every morning at 5:30 to workout and then choose to spend a weekend in the woods without real food or a shower I would have laughed in your face. Now I do it week in and week out, even crazier? Most mornings it brings a smile to my face. The people who I get to do all of it with are some of the most dedicated, hardworking and caring people I have ever met. The cadre I have been blessed to call my leaders have believed in me way more than I ever believed in myself. Hell I accomplished things in this program that I never, not even in my wildest dreams, thought I would have accomplished. It has taught me skills beyond just the army that I will be lucky to carry with me through the rest of my life. I could go on for hours about what this program has given me, but most of all I’ll say thank-you for the people I have because of this program. Sounds cheesy but they are my best friends and the ones I want to spend all of my time with, even if it is at Camp Dodge.

Thank you for letting me explore. When I first told people I was going to Iowa they asked why I would leave everything in California.  Funny thing is, coming to university here – which really could be considered the middle of nowhere – has allowed me to travel to upstate New York for Thanksgiving, small town Iowa for a weekend away, and 6 southern states for Spring Break. Never in my wildest dreams did I think coming to the middle of the country would allow me to see every other part of it.

Thank you for letting me share. Over the past year, I have been able to share my love for Iowa with so many other people. Becoming a tour guide has allowed me to walk around campus a few times a week, making awful jokes. But it has also allowed me to meet some of the funniest, most positive people on this campus. Being surrounded by people who love Iowa and are just as loud and crazy as me makes my job feel as far from a job as possible.

Finally, thank you for being Iowa. I don’t know how to put into words what this place has done for me in the past two years. I am now officially half way done with my college career, and continue to know that this has been the best decision I have ever made. Coming here allowed me to walk my own path, and figure out where I’m going. It has taught me to just be spontaneous and just enjoy where I am in the here and now. It has allowed me to get up every morning with a smile on my face and no other places has done that quite like Iowa has. So thanks for being the corn-obsessed, flat, Midwest nice, Hawkeye loving state that you are.

 

Here’s to two more years that I’m sure will be even more memorable than the last.

Until Next Year

Go Hawks!

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Feb

15

The Small Big10

category icon Posted in Campus Life

When people think of Iowa a lot of different things come to mind. We are a Big10 campus with over 20,000 undergraduates walking around and another 10,000 or so in the graduate programs. That’s 30,000 people walking around on what seems like a large campus. But while we aren’t a private school with a graduating class that is smaller than that at some high schools, the whole Big10 label isn’t as truthful as it may seem.

As a junior in high school I came to tour Iowa. It was my first college tour so you can imagine how excited I was. While I don’t remember much about the statistics they gave me, nor did I really care, I did remember two things. First, it was cold the rain was going sideways and I was convinced the wind was going to blow me away (just a normal day late fall day in Iowa really), but more importantly I remember my tour guide saying hi to at least 3 people on her tour. Every time it happened I was just a little confused. I knew that Iowa was a big school so I came up with scenarios about how this was possible. Either she was just saying hi to random people on campus pretending to know them or she paid her friends to meet her around the place.

Flash forward 2 years to my first week on campus, and I still thought about that day. I still wondered if I would ever see someone I knew on campus. Then it happened. A few days into classes, when I was no longer getting lost, I saw people I knew. Like not just one person, but lots. And it happened all the time. And it happened to everyone. That’s what makes Iowa’s campus so unique. On the surface we are just like every other Big10 school out there. Iowa has the numbers, it has the reputation and it definitely has the academics and extracurricular activities that a Big10 school would have but what we have that others may not is small campus feel. You can walk around campus surrounded by thousands of other people and not once feel like you are lost in the crowd. Our campus, which is really only a couple miles in circumference really isn’t that big at all.  It is a community where you will all of a sudden know more people than you thought possible, and you’ll run into them on the streets or that local coffee shop downtown that you just discovered. And as time goes on it will become smaller and smaller, and it will feel more and more like home.

Yeah, Iowa is huge. I’m not going to lie and say 20,000 people is a small number. But the Iowa campus and the Iowa people don’t make it feel that way. And that truly is one of my favorite parts of coming to school here. We are given all the opportunities a Big10 school has to offer, with a small campus feel.

 

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

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Jan

25

Going Greek. Trust the System

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events

Going Greek can seem like a huge part of your college life, and recruitment can sound like the scariest thing. There are crazy videos online of girls popping out of doors and chanting at you, and let’s be real, the idea of having to stand in heels for hours on end never sounds like fun. But the two weeks of running around Iowa City in the humidity of late August/early September is all worth it when you get your bid.

Although it seems a while a way, we all know that if you want to go Greek the minute you figure out which college you are going to attend (hopefully it’s Iowa), you will be doing all the research you can to see which house will be right for you. And although google seems to know all, let me tell you that the anonymous rankings and the endless recruitment videos on Youtube don’t really help at all. Sure, they can tell you who has a nice house or who seems to love blowing glitter at the camera most, but it doesn’t tell you where you are going to fit in. It doesn’t tell you that the house you have never even heard of may be the one that makes you feel most at home. It doesn’t tell you that you could find a new best friend in the newest and smallest house on campus, it will tell you none of this. The only thing that can actually answer these questions is the process itself. It’s the long days going from house to house meeting hundreds of people until you find someone who you can spend 30 minutes with talking about finding spiders in your shower instead of telling the story of why you came to Iowa for the 50th time (shout out to my little).

So with all of this in mind the best advice I can give you, is advice I got before I came to school. Trust the system. That can sound really crazy and almost like a scifi book when you pick your district or faction but it is so accurate. The girls who are recruiting you know their house better than you think. They know who would fit in and if you don’t get invited back to the house that you were head over heels in love with, it isn’t because they don’t think you are an amazing girl; it is because they know that you will find a better fit, you will find your home somewhere else. Everyone I have talked to who ends up getting dropped or taking a bid from a house that wasn’t their top choice, always talks about how they are so glad they ended up in the house they did because it is where they belong. So go in with an open mind, sure do some research if it will put you at ease. Plan your outfits for each round six months in advance, or sign up the day before the deadline. But either way, trust that you will end up where you are supposed to be.

Take it from the girl who found a home in the sorority she didn’t even know was available on Iowa’s campus, because that girl is still at home there over a year later. That girl knows that it is the best fit for her and that girl is going to be forever grateful that she found people who love her for just being her.

 

Until Next Time…

Go Hawks!

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Nov

27

Thoughts of a College Student

category icon Posted in General
  • Yay! Red cups are back
  • But the leaves are gone…
  • Wait, why is it still getting colder?
  • I CAN’T DO IT
  • Can school be over now?
  • Summer bodies are made in the winter so GYM!
  • I really want pie
  • I just want a hug from my dog
  • Wow I really miss my dog
  • I just saw a dog that looked like my dog and almost cried
  • I’m going to start studying for finals early this year
  • I’m not going to start binge watching a new series
  • Wow this series is SO good
  • I don’t want to study, I’m dropping out I don’t need a college education
  • Just kidding I really need to focus on my schooling
  • I just want my dog
  • And homemade cooking
  • Wow can it be winter break already
  • Wait but then I can’t see my college friends for a whole month
  • Only 3 weeks.. YOU CAN DO IT
  • Just focus for finals and then you can relax when the semester is over
  • This is all too stressful I am going to take a nap

 

To all those college students out there, only a few more weeks until our minds are filled with thoughts of homemade meals, 2 ply toilet paper, and naps instead of completely pointless finals knowledge. Just keep pushing through and use caffeine whenever necessary!

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

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Nov

10

The Reality of Being Away from Parents

category icon Posted in General

The Reality of Being Away from Parents

Although most teenagers hate to admit it, it is pretty true that most of us would be nothing without our parents. Coming to college it seems that every student is excited to finally be away from their parents with complete freedom, but after a year and a half of being on my own I have come to my own conclusions. It’s great….sometimes.

  1. You can do whatever you want. There have been so many times I will be eating dinner at 11pm or at the library on a week night feeling guilty because I think I have a curfew or should be updating someone on my whereabouts but then I realize that I have no one to report too and the only people who would notice my absence are my roomies and let’s be honest they are normally with me anyway.
  2. Laundry, food, money. Being on your own, especially when you are in an apartment and without meals being cooked for you, you realize just how much your parents did for you around the house. Not only are you now doing school and having a social life, but you have to cook and clean so that you can be a normal human. You realize very quickly that groceries get expensive… my advice when the parents are in town USE THEM! What better way to catch up then over a quick trip to the grocery store?
  3. You become stronger. Yes it is hard not having your parental support system right down the hall 24/7 but I do believe it makes you a stronger individual. You still know they are just a phone call away, but being on your own makes you push yourself and realize that you can get through more difficult moments than you thought.
  4. Sometimes you just want a hug. Going off that, sometimes all you want is a hug from the ‘rents and your dog and being over 3,000 miles away can make this difficult. Phone calls are a good substitute but not quite the same.
  5. You realize just how lucky you are. This may not be how everyone feels, but being away from my parents has helped me realize just how amazing they really are. There are so many times where I have caught myself thanking my parents under my breath, because they made me do laundry and clean before I even came to college or because they helped me grow into a strong adult who can get through bad days, and above all because they gave up so much more than I’ll ever be able to understand just so that I could pursue a dream and get a college education.

So yes being away from parents has its perks and its downfalls, but above all it just makes me realize how much they mean to me. So coming from a college student who has to go four months without getting that hug or being able to say thank you in person I have one piece of advice. Don’t forget about them. Don’t get so caught up in the amazing experience that is college that you forget about the two people who helped you get here. They are still the ones that put everything down when the crazy nights out are gone and you are up to your head in books and midterms and just want to cry. Call them- just take a second to say hi and thank you I promise they will get a smile from it.

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

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Nov

07

Why Stay?

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

When I tell people where I’m from, the reaction is always pretty similar. In fact, ask any student that is from a state not in the Midwest which question they dread most and it is “why did you come to Iowa”. (I promise it’s even better when you and your roommate are both from a coast so you both have to listen to each other’s explanation about 100 times a day.) To be honest I’ve gotten used to the question and have a pretty good scripted answer or two, but a few weeks ago I got asked a question that really stumped me. While in an interview for a job here on campus I got asked “why stay?”. In my head it seems pretty self-explanatory why I stayed, but then I realized that they couldn’t see in my head, nor could they see the crazy jumps I make from one thought to another so somehow I was going to have to put my shambles into words. Honestly my answer in the interview was a complete mess I think I said something about the people I’ve met, and sure that’s true but now that I am spending more time thinking about it, I realize I have even better reasons for why I stayed. I stayed here because it never crossed my mind that I belonged anywhere else, because I know I didn’t. I stayed because I didn’t want to be anywhere else. I just wanted to be here… like all the time.

It’s funny, when I decided to switch my major, my parents wanted me to make sure that I was making the right decision. And again in my head it made complete sense, but for some reason I couldn’t quite explain it to them and then one day I realized something. Before ever coming to college I had originally gotten admitted to another nursing program before I got admitted to Iowa’s and yet I still committed to Iowa without hesitation. I committed on the off-chance I was never going to be able to graduate with a nursing degree, because I wanted Iowa that bad. Looking back I didn’t pick Iowa for nursing, I picked Iowa because I didn’t want to go to any other school, and well I stayed because I still don’t want to be at any other school. I wake up every morning beyond happy with the decision I made for school. I come to school knowing that I’ve made a home and a family here. I stay here because I have met people I wouldn’t have met anywhere else, I have found a version of myself I never would’ve found anywhere else, I have found a happiness I never would’ve found anywhere else.

So why stay? I stay because not once, not even when I am at home with strep throat just wanting my parents and my dog, have I ever considered not being here.

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

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Oct

10

Fact or Fiction

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

Hi There! It’s been a while, but I’ll just blame it on the midterms and lack of sleep.

Going to school in Iowa I hear a lot of stereotypes about my school and this state, especially when I go back to California for winter or summer break. After dropping two emotional and intense blog posts a few weeks ago I decided to have some fun fact or fiction items from someone who lives in Iowa 9 months of the year, and loves it year round. (Too cheesy? – yeah probably)

  1. We bleed Black & Gold wherever we go. (Fact)
    We don’t care if it’s not a game day, we don’t care if we aren’t even in Iowa City a Hawkeye fan will make it known that we are a Hawkeye fan. No matter where you go around campus you will see hundreds of students and residents wearing black and gold. Let’s put it this way, if you don’t bleed black and gold you can get out of here.
  1. Iowa is Flat (definitely fiction)
    Anyone who lives, or has lived in Iowa City can attest for the fact that Iowa is most definitely not flat. There is at least one hill in Iowa and it happens to be smack-bam in the middle of our campus. If you walk up that hill once every day or 365 days you have successfully climbed Mount Everest, and although I’m not a mountain expert I know that they are certainly not flat.
  1. All we do is party (Fiction)
    I mean sure, we like to work hard and play hard but that doesn’t mean we aren’t well-rounded people. Any student you meet around campus, will be involved in some type of extracurricular or student organization. Not only are we involved in them, but you best believe we are passionate about them. I guess you could say we are just great at multi-tasking.
  1. “Iowa Nice” is a thing (Fact)
    People talk about Southern Hospitality, and considering I’ve never lived there I can’t speak on the truth behind it. But Iowa nice is most definitely a thing. The people in this state know how to treat people right. They are always respectful and kind, they are always ready to lend a helping hand, and it’s because they just want to. Don’t expect a hidden agenda because there isn’t one. And coming from someone who grew up in a completely different state environment, it is contagious.
  1. Iowa is actually the Hawkeye State (Fact)
    I’m pretty sure even the State fans know this.
  1. Iowa is a fly-over state (Fiction)
    This place, in the middle of “nowhere” is more special than you would think. Iowa and Iowa people have a special place in my heart. The memories created here make it so much more than just a place on a map. It makes it a home, and place where the friends I have made are so much more; they are family. There is a beautiful feeling when you come to Iowa that makes this place so much more than a fly-over state. And anyone who spends more than a minute here knows that.

 

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

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Sep

14

Big Changes

category icon Posted in Academics

If you knew me growing up, you know just how much the unknown scared me. I was the person that had a plan for anything and everything and I had a back-up plan just in case any issues would arise. My college plan was no different.

I got accepted to the University of Iowa and committed. I got accepted to the direct admit nursing program and committed. I moved into a Burge with a roommate that I picked out on the “dating site” and everything was going to be perfect. I was going to wear my scrubs around campus while running to clinical at the hospital. I was going to graduate with a nursing degree and travel the world saving people one day at a time. Flash forward to my sophomore year. I am a Communication Studies major with the plan of getting a certificate in Event Planning and a minor in Military Science. In the end that original plan that was color coordinated and written out on paper didn’t quite happen.

College is the first time in my life that I was completely able to be free. It was the first time I didn’t have a set plan for anything. In fact, it was the first time I got to explore a world that wasn’t science-related. Before college, everything I did was to work towards becoming a nurse. Then I moved to Iowa and all of a sudden I was introduced to a new world. I got to write in Rhetoric and create weird pieces of art in printmaking. I began to blog for admissions and found myself writing just for the hell of it. I was doing all of these things that I loved, and what scared me was that none of them happened to be nursing.

After completing my freshman year I went home and spent pretty much my entire summer deliberating on what the next step was. I talked to more people than I could count on my fingers and had more worries than I thought was possible. And then one day I just did it. I clicked that button and relinquished my position in the nursing program. And there I was with an entire new degree, parents who still weren’t 100% sure about what I was doing, and a whole bunch of people trying to tell me as nicely as possible that I was crazy. I changed almost all of my classes with no idea how to read a degree audit and spent the last few weeks of summer thinking of every possible thing that could go wrong.

Then I came to school, I started writing again, and began to attend classes. Instead of learning about the shape of molecules, I was blogging for my creativity class. Instead of dissecting a pig, I was getting to analyze 20th century poems. And then I realized that the scariest decision I had ever made was also the best one. That fear that once filled the pit in my stomach was gone. I was going to class with a huge grin on my face and I was coming home excited to complete homework assignments. I was actually just enjoying myself.  People still continued to tell me I was crazy and when I told them what I was doing they gave me some pretty judgmental looks, but it didn’t matter because I was doing what I was supposed to be doing.

You see, my entire life I had been asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I think after a while I had formulated an idea in my mind because it was more accepted than saying “I don’t know”. So when I actually had to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life, I jumped, not knowing what I was getting myself into. I did what people expected me to do. I did what was “safe.”  And once I was in the downward spiral, it was a lot harder to get out. When you have everyone you know telling you that you would be an amazing nurse, and that they couldn’t see you doing anything else, turning around and changing your mind seems a whole lot scarier. I continued to feel that if I made a change to make me happy I would let people down. But then I realized something, college isn’t about being safe. It isn’t about making other people happy or proud of you. It isn’t bragging because you have the hardest undergraduate major. Screw all of it. College is four years of your life that you get to be completely selfish. It’s four years where you get to discover who you are and have no one to do it for but yourself. So now I sit here writing this four weeks into classes and I have absolutely no regrets. I am happy. In fact, I am so much happier than I was last year – and I didn’t even know that was possible.

So I sit here as a sophomore, who really has no plan for life telling you this: don’t be afraid to do something different. Don’t worry about what other people expect you to do. This is not about making others happy, or making more money than all your friends when you graduate. Be selfish, be spontaneous. Find out what makes you happy and then for heaven’s sake just go do it.

 

Until Next Time, Go Hawks!

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Sep

08

I Found a Forever Home

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events, Photos

“Oh you’re in sorority? So basically you are paying for your friends.” More times than not I have heard this when I tell people I am in a sorority. After being in a sorority for almost a year now, and after completing recruitment where I welcomed 57 amazing women home to Alpha Chi Omega, I know this is so far from the truth.

I am the first to admit that Greek life has a certain stigma that surrounds it, and often those who aren’t a part of it never quite understand it. But that’s ok, because, before I joined the community I really didn’t understand it either. Truth is, Greek life is so much more than the Instagram pictures or the socials. It is a family of students who want to find a home, a place where they can give back to the community while meeting some kick-ass people.

Being in Alpha Chi I have realized just what an effect it has had on me as a person. Because of the 150 ladies I was able to surround myself with, I have become an independent woman, who is comfortable in who she is, but I have also become someone who isn’t afraid to take risks. I have become a woman who knows so much more about the underlying issues of unhealthy relationships and domestic violence. Instead of sitting around, I have become a woman, like all my sisters, who is doing everything she can to put an end to it. I have seen us as we all sit in one room for 10 hours during sisterhood week laughing until we cry, but I have also seen us all stand by a sister when she experiences a devastating loss. You see, these are the girls I want to share every good and bad moment with, because these are the people that have become my family.

Now I sit here writing this post after two very long weeks of recruitment and I can say that more girls than you can imagine have experienced this too. Yesterday I was lucky enough to welcome 57 Real Strong Women home to a place where they are accepted for all their amazingly crazy personalities. A place where they can get support during the good and the bad. I have watched their faces as they walked, actually ran, off the bus into the arms of those who love them unconditionally today and tomorrow. I have seen them burst into tears when they connect with a girl they met only 15 minutes earlier on so much more than a surface level.

You see these places we call “srats” can become a college student’s whole life. They can be the reason someone stays when they are thousands of miles from home. They can be the connection a woman needs to get that job they have always dreamed about or just a place they can laugh until they cry and make unforgettable memories, and sure, have some good Instagram posts while they are at it.

So yes, I went Greek. Yes I am a sorority woman but no, I have not bought my friends, and I can proudly say I’m in this for life, because this forever home is something I am proud to be a part of .

Until Next Time… Go Hawks!

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May

06

Letter to my Freshman Year

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General, Photos

Dear Freshman Year,

When I first came to Iowa I’m not going to lie you scared me. Being without my family so far away from home was something so new to me. 10 months later I want to say thank you.

Thank you for bringing me my best friends. Small dorm rooms and late nights have brought me friends that I will have for a lifetime. They are the people I want to spend every waking minute with. We never run out of things to talk about and continuously found ourselves on the floor of our halls laughing at the stupidest things. They are the people that know everything about me. They have become my Iowa family and I am forever grateful that we were brought together by Burge.

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Thank you for teaching me to push myself. When I graduated high school I thought I had learned everything there was to know about success. Then I came to college and it hit hard. Countless all-nighters and tears on the phone with my mom later I have learned just how strong I really am. I have learned that college is hard, but putting in the time and effort will pay off.

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Thank you for football. When high school ended so did my cheer career and anyone who knows me knows just how hard that was. But, because of Iowa my football withdrawals were short lived. I cannot describe the smile that I got on my face every time I was able to walk into Kinnick and be in my “happy place”. I cannot describe all the memories that I got to make in the 12-0 season that was my freshman year.

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Thank you for sisterhood. Being a part of Alpha Chi Omega has brought me more than I could ever imagine. Lifelong friends who I know I will have by my side no matter what, a passion for equality and domestic violence awareness, a new love for the color purple, a beautiful castle as a home and too memories to mention. Alpha Chi brings a smile to my face every day and I am forever grateful for the countless jokes in our group chat to the crazy mental breakdowns when we have been trapped in the house for what seems like days for recruitment practice. These 150 girls have truly become my sisters and I am so excited for countless more hours and memories together.

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Thank you for allowing me to grow as a person. When I came to college I was alone and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. After spending a year in Iowa City I have become a person that I am becoming proud of. I have become an adult who has learned so much about what I want from life and where I am going. You have allowed me to become independent, you have taught me that it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, and you have taught me that everything you want is on the other side of fear. I have gained so much knowledge during my year as a freshman and I can’t wait to learn even more over my next three years at Iowa.

Iowa 2

Finally, thank you for helping me to create so many memories that I will cherish forever. The people I have met, and the things I have done have been amazing and I cannot describe just how in love with Iowa I am. A year ago I accepted this school, deciding to go out of my comfort zone and create new experiences and I can honestly say that it is the best decision I have made. I can’t wait for my next three years here where I know countless memories will be made.

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Until Next Year

Go Hawks!

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