Big Changes

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!

I Found a Forever Home

“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!

Letter to my Freshman Year

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.

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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!

Staying Healthy

The dreaded freshman 15. Every college knows about them, every college student wants to avoid them. Although I’m not one to stride away from a good cookie and spending a day in bed watching Netflix, there are some great options for working out and staying healthy on campus.

 

  1. The Wellness and Recreational Center

Located right in between the west and east side of campus, every student has easy access to the number 3 recreational center in the country. Whether you like to run on a track, use machines, or lift there is something for everyone. And if you are feeling a bit more adventurous there is a rock climbing wall and ample places to swim. You can even just stop by for a fresh and healthy smoothie, or some relaxing time floating around the lazy river. No matter what you are looking for the rec center has something for you

  1. Currier Gym

For those days where the rec center is just a bit too far, or if you are trying to squeeze in a quick workout, the miniature gym located in Currier is perfect for you. Although it doesn’t have the all the same amenities at the rec center, there is enough equipment to get in any work out you want to.

  1. Campus

Once you are through the rough winter and want a bit of sun and fresh air I might suggest going for a run around campus. No matter where you are located you can always find a beautiful trail to run. Whether it’s through the middle of downtown, along the winding river, or out in the beaten path at one of the local parks, fresh air and exercise is right out your front door.

  1. Group Classes

Back at the rec center, you can also attend group classes. Everything from early morning yoga and Zumba is provided and it is all for free. Whether you are an experienced yogi or trying a class for the first time they have levels and times for everyone.

  1. Field House

On the West side of campus there is another great option for working out. The field house has everything from a lap pool, too multiple basketball courts as well as a traditional weight room. It is a great place to head if you are looking for something a little less busy than the rec center.

No matter what type of workout you are looking for campus will have something for you. In reality one of the most important parts about college is maintain as much of a balanced life as possible. Although studies and weekends are important, having a healthy mind and body is so important. In the weeks leading up to finals I recommend taking time away from studies to get outside and get moving.

 

Good Luck with the last few weeks of studies!

 

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

Where Did the Time Go?

Well hello there! Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Coming back from Spring Break meant one thing, school is coming to an end. Crazy to say that my first year of college is almost over. It sounds cliché but I honestly still feel like I just moved in yesterday. Being here for five months I have learned a lot of things. Although I am no expert I thought I would share what I know now.

  1. It’s completely acceptable to not have your life together… Let me put it this way I have worn my minion slippers out in public on numerous occasions.
  2. You aren’t a morning person. No matter how early you used to get up for high school, college time is different. 8ams now feel like 4ams and 10:30 classes are almost still too early. My schedule next semester has been updated for this change.
  3. Iowa is good at football. I know we all know this but I thought I would just remind anyone reading. 12-0 regular season.
  4. Winter actually means winter. Even though people have told me that this is mild and I’m still surviving. Winter here is not 65 degree weather with sun. But, I’ll admit spinning around in the snow is still fun, even when people look at me like I’m crazy.
  5. Diploe-Dipole bonds are the second weakest bonds. This fact is courtesy of my roommate Mags Dull. You probably didn’t care about this and don’t actually find it important, but honestly neither do I.
  6. You WILL be broke. No matter how much money you have you are always broke. Especially at the beginning of the semester when you are pretty much taking out a mortgage to buy books.
  7. You will have the most amazing time ever. No matter where you go, the experiences you have will be second to none. I have been here for less than a year and I can say I have made lifelong friends (shout out again to Mags Dull) and have learned more than I could have imagined. The amount of growing up I have done here is substantial. I am so grateful for being able to have this experience and wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

 

 

15 Things to do as a Freshman

Less than 3 months from now I will no longer be a freshman. I am still in denial about how quickly this year has gone. Although it’s not over yet I have created a list of 15 things you have to do before your freshman year comes to a close. Many of these are do-able at every college but some are specific to the best university ever created (it’s Iowa if you didn’t know).

  1. Tailgating
  2. Go to a game at Kinnick
  3. Eat at both Burge and Hillcrest
  4. Have an all-nighter during midterms or finals
  5. Go to Java House
  6. Get a photo with Herky
  7. Go to kick-off @ Kinnick
  8. Take at least 1 class that isn’t required for your major
  9. Go to a $3 CAB movie
  10. Order pizza at 2am (Gumby’s or Mesa counts and is preferred)
  11. Cry over the cost of books at least once
  12. Touch the brain rock before an exam
  13. Shop local downtown
  14. Go to the museum at MacBride
  15. Wear pajamas to class or the dining hall

Until Next Time…

Go Hawks!

8 Things They Didn’t Tell me about Iowa Winters

Well hey there!

Up until a few months ago I didn’t even know there was such a thing as winter. If it got below 50 degrees in Southern California we went into a state of panic. Now, if it is 50 degrees I am getting ready to go tan. I guess you could say the Midwest has changed me. Even though the first thing I always heard when I told people I was going to Iowa was that it gets cold there, nothing prepared me for below zero temperatures and winds that could literally blow you away. So now that I am mostly accustomed to this fourth season, I thought I would share some tips and tricks.

  1. Buy a winter coat. Don’t be like me during the first few days and pretend that walking around in your denim jacket will keep you warm. You don’t look cool you just look like that crazy California girl who thought it would be fun to get frostbite.
  2. Get winter shoes, whether you are into Timberlands (whoop!) or Beanie Boots buy a pair. It’s much better to have a pair of those than to be minding your own business walking to class and then end up on the cold, snow covered concrete because your shoes didn’t have traction.
  3. Your ears will fall off… Ok, maybe kidding, but they will become numb
  4. Finding clothes to wear for a night out on the weekend is not easy. A dress and cute sandals just won’t cut it any more.
  5. They don’t cancel school for anything. Yeah sure, in high school you got snow days, in college you don’t even get blizzard days.
  6.  If you thought your motivation to go to 8am classes was hard in the fall, let me tell you it is 10x harder to get out of bed in the middle of winter. Mentally preparing yourself to roll out of your nice warm bed and face the arctic tundra outside is not easy
  7. Cabin Fever is real. I think the worst part of winter is that you really are stuck inside most of the time. It’s hard knowing just how nice it is to walk around campus and downtown Iowa City when it’s warm and not being able to do it. Walking around outside is a mode of transportation in winter not a causal stroll in the park.
  8. CAMBUS IS YOUR FRIEND. Remember Blue to Burge, Red to Rienow. Download the Bongo app and use it. Those buses will be the difference between you having 10 fingers at the start of spring and ending up with 8 because you lost a couple to the cold.

Hope this helps anyone,  who like me is completely inexperienced with the idea of winter. I also want to say that it really isn’t that bad. Yes, I just went on a six hour rant, but yes, I still love Iowa and the University more than anything, even when it is 80 degrees and sunny at home right now.

Until Next Time

Stay Warm Hawks!

Love Is…

Hey there, I hope everyone’s super bowl weekend went well! This week is very special for me and my sisters. As you may know I am in Alpha Chi Omega. Like everyone involved in Greek life we have a philanthropy that is close to our hearts. Alpha Chi Omega supports Domestic Violence Awareness. As a way for us to spread the word and help end domestic violence we are participating in healthy relationships week.

This week Alpha Chi is focusing on fostering healthy relationships in the hopes of ending domestic violence and sexual assault. All of this week we will be sharing pictures telling the world what love is to us. If you are currently at the University of Iowa I would highly recommend stopping by the Hubbard Commons in the IMU on Wednesday from 1:30 to 2:30 for our “Donut Let Love Hurt” event. You will be supporting a great cause, and what college student doesn’t want free donuts? If you are not at the University of Iowa, which I hope one day you will be, you can still participate in this amazing week. Using any social media platform of your preference, post a photo describing what “Love Is” to you and hashtag it with the #loveis and #healthyAXOrelationships

If you feel as strongly about ending this horrible thing as I do, then I hope you join Alpha Chi Omega in spreading the world.

Hope you continue to have an amazing week filled with love and joy.

Love Is

 

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

 

Oh My AXO

Hi there! Welcome back to a new semester at the University of Iowa. As much as I loved break I am so happy to be home (don’t tell my mom I call it that). Last semester around the middle of November I joined a sorority. Unlike most people I didn’t go through normal rush, I went through open bidding instead.

When school first started I was on the fence about joining a sorority so I decided to wait as I was already overwhelmed with everything else that was going on at school. After settling in I realized that I regretted not joining. Luckily I was able to go through opening bidding and join Alpha Chi Omega or AXO. Looking back I am so happy I decided to join. I have only be a part of the group for a few months and it already feels like one giant family. Being able to not only meet girls in AXO but also people from other frats and sororities is amazing, it really helped me become more comfortable with college. Although I joined a sorority I don’t believe that Greek Life controls Iowa. We are one of those great universities that doesn’t “require” it. By that I mean that if you are not a part of Greek life you will still have the most amazing experience.

For anyone who is on the fence about joining a sorority I defiantly recommend doing open bidding or waiting until spring semester. It is a huge time and money commitment but if it is something you decide you want to do it will be one of the best experiences you will have!

 

Hope you have a great first few weeks of class hawks! Stay warm.

 

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!

0 to 11-0 Real Quick

Hey there! Hope the first snow of the season isn’t too bad for everyone, being from California this whole first snow thing is like a winter wonderland, but I’ve been told by numerous people that it will wear off quite quickly. Anyway, if you pay any attention to college football, especially Hawkeye football, you will know that our boys have had a season for the record books. With our first 11-0 season and the second undefeated home game season in our team’s history I could on and on about how magical it has been. Because I am a football fanatic you better believe I had season tickets so I thought I would share some of my favorite memories with you.

Illinois State (14-31): This was my first ever college football game and let me tell you it was hot. All I remember was that water was discounted and they didn’t want fans wearing black. It was about 100 degrees, but going and staying was completely worth it. When you hear Back in Black for the first time and watch the team take the field it is like nothing you have ever experienced before. I’m a country music girl and I never knew I could love an ACDC song as much as I love this one. The game was good football but the atmosphere is hands down what I will remember the most.

Iowa State (31-17): Although this was an away game I have to mention it because you know Beat State! I wish it was at home, but none the less the atmosphere in town was still amazing. What made it even better was it was a pretty close game until the very end. Being able to beat them this year after a loss last year made it that much better. I mean who doesn’t love a good state rivalry?

Pittsburg (24-27): You just have to look at the score to know this is going to be a good one. I could probably talk for hours about how amazing this game was. First off it was a night game. If you have ever been to football game at night you know there is just something about the lights that makes it that much better. What makes it even better was the theme. Having the black and gold spirit game on the same night made Kinnick look amazing. I thought I loved it before, but that night took it to a whole new level. But, even all that combined doesn’t beat the 57 yard field goal to win the game in the last seconds. Just imagine how different season would have been if we hadn’t have kicked it. I cannot put into words the roar that went off in the stadium the minute the refs put up their hands. I didn’t have a voice the next couple of days.

 North Texas (16-62): If I’m going to be honest I didn’t stay for this whole game. But hey I’m not going to turn down another Hawkeye win.

Illinois (20-29): So once again I can’t say much about this game. Even though it was homecoming I was at Notre Dame surprising my parents and visiting my brother which was an amazing experience in itself. I was able to go to the ND vs Navy game which has an amazing amount of history behind it and was a once in a life time experience, but I can safely say I missed Iowa City and the game day atmosphere. I may have some bias but Hawkeye traditions are the best!

Maryland (15-31): I ended up working at the concession stand to raise money for a club that I am a part of on campus. The atmosphere was just as amazing, but I am sad I couldn’t see the game

Minnesota (35-40): BLACKOUT BABY oh and I guess we kind of did go 10-0 too! This game was history and I’m so grateful I got to be a part of it. This night game was just as magical. And the fact that it was close made the victory that much sweeter. Spelling I-O-W-A long after the touchdown was scored and screaming 10-0 for 10 minutes after the game was won was the perfect way to celebrate

Purdue (20-40): To be honest, it was VERY cold. This game, although not the most exciting and to be honest not the best football we have played all season, was very special to me. My dad had surprised me the night before which was amazing in itself, but being able to show him how Hawkeyes do football is something I will never forget. Football has always been something my dad and I have shared ever since I started cheering and he would explain how the game worked so every time I was in my “happy place” at Kinnick I would think about how much my dad would love it. I am so happy he got to spell out Iowa and bounce to the beat of Back in Black with me. BUT, I do believe he will have to come back again when it’s not snowing and everyone is in town.

Football has always been something that I have loved. Ever since I was 10 it has been a huge part of my life, and when I stopped cheering at the end of high school I was afraid that I would miss being on the sidelines, but in all honesty being with the rest of my school in the stands watching history happen is better than any season I could have asked for. Being able to say this is how my freshman year was is amazing and I am so grateful for it. I know that the team puts countless hours in, so thank you to them! A lot of people have doubted the Hawks this season, and believed that we wouldn’t do it, but now we are 11-0 and going to the BIG10 championship. This is what happens when you have 30,000 Hawks standing behind you for every game. Can’t wait for Nebraska to see what happens next!

Until Next Time

Go Hawks!!!