A Workout Junkie’s Guide to Staying Fit While on Campus

A day is not complete until I hit the gym. At least once a day I have to expel some energy whether I hit the gym for a lift or head down to the trails along the Iowa River for a run. Whether you like running, walking, heavy lifting, swimming, or just about anything in between, the University of Iowa probably has it. Iowa offers many facilities and free workout classes to their students. If you don’t know about them totally check them out!!!

There is one main fitness facility, which is the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. Under one roof you will find hundreds of treadmills, ellipticals, bikes, free weights, machines, an Olympic size pool, a leisure pool, AND a rock climbing wall. Not to mention the dozens of workout classrooms that offer a plethora of different dance workout classes. yoga, and HIIT styles. Whether you are a beginner looking to get introduced to the basics of living a healthy lifestyle or a seasoned pro at lifting, the REC is the place for you! One of my favorite parts about the REC (other than the workout part of course…) is the Smoothie shop!!! Right inside the doors of the rec, open to the public, offers some of the best smoothies I have ever had!!!

There are smaller workout facilities offered in the dorms, which happened to be closed due to Covid-19, which is unfortunate but hopefully will open soon! One of my favorites that is still open happens to be tucked into a little building right by the IMU!! Shhhhh it’s a secret! One of the BEST hidden gems of Iowa is Fitness East! This is a lot smaller of a gym that comfortably holds around 15 people, socially distanced of course, but still offers cardio equipment, racks, and free-weights. It is perfect walking distance from the dorms and is perfect if you are looking to get a quick lift in!

Iowa also has a beautiful walkway that runs parallel to the Iowa River for the majority of campus. It is super beautiful in the fall whether you want to go for a run or peaceful walk!

Whatever you choose as a workout, Iowa has it!

Rock climbing… As a class???

I have found the first hidden gem the U of Iowa has to offer… Lifetime Leisure Skills (LLS) classes!! Have you ever heard of them? I didn’t until I was searching through the course catalog and ran across them. Iowa offers loads of different outdoor rock climbing, orienteering, backpacking, and tons of other areas of outdoor leisure activities as classes! They are typically one credit hour than span over a selected week, where you devote some time to learn more about whatever topic your class is about!

I have a teeny tiny background in rock climbing so I thought I would put my skills to the test and enhance my skills!

The people I met in this class were so cool! It was really fun getting to meet like-minded people who had similar interests that I did. It was also refreshing to get outdoors and have some safe interaction with people I have never met before. I liked the class size because it was more of an intimate experience with only around 12 students and two instructors.

The class started out with a short zoom meeting where we got to meet each other and my instructor, Raud, went over key information and gave a short overview on climbing. We got to learn terminology too which was super cool! The majority of this class took place over a weekend.

On Saturday we all drove out to Centennial Park and learned how to boulder, which is basically climbing on a rock or wall without a rope, but there is a spotter and a crash pad on the floor. This is more of a brain exercise. Bouldering is used to practice the movements, grips, and foot placement you would normally use in climbing. Just not at the extreme heights. We then learned how to safely put on a harness, belay, and tie the correct knots.

Sunday was my favorite day! We all met at Pictured Rock Park in Monticello, Iowa. We strapped up, went over our safety checks, and began climbing! I felt extremely safe because my instructors Megan and Raud, did an amazing job at triple-checking everyone’s equipment. After about four hours of climbing different routes, we packed up and they took us on a hike to see the rest of the park as well as other climbing spots.

That was a shortened version but I hope that you get the idea! The LLS classes offer a safe environment for you to explore new potential passions. I definitely will be taking more LLS classes, and I know I will be continuing to rock climb in the future. I am extremely grateful for this opportunity and I truly will never forget it!

Dorm Decorating!!

Decorating my dorm was by far my favorite part of moving in. My roommate Katelyn and I color coordinated our room and made it look uniform and really pretty! I hope to give you a few tips and tricks in this blog to better prepare you to make your new home the dorm of your dreams!

You and your roommate will need to decide who is bringing the major appliances such as a comfy futon, a mini-fridge, and the microwave. I would say that the fridge and microwave are essential if you plan on eating or storing food in your room. If you plan on having guests, I highly recommend a futon as well! It doesn’t take up much space if you arrange the room correctly, and it provides a lot of extra seating! I also recommend purchasing a full-body mirror. My roommate and I have one that hangs over the door, so it doesn’t take up any space, but is still accessible!

For your desk area, I encourage you to find a few decorations that remind you of friends, family, or home. It is important to be reminded of the people who you grew up with that shaped you into the person you are today! 🙂 I have a corkboard that is full of pictures of my two puppies and my siblings. I also recommend purchasing a desk lamp and a smaller mirror. The university provides desks that offer a lot of storage for books, pencils, and just about anything else that you might need for school supplies. I purchased string lights that I hung around my desk that make it feel even more homey. Don’t forget to buy pictures and wall decorations to hang on the walls too! It is super easy to mount smaller frames on the walls with command hooks! I highly recommend buying a wide variety of command hooks! They will be a life saver! If you plan on bringing multiple electronic devices, it is smart to find a charging station or method that works best for you to minimize the amount of cords showing. I decided to bring an IPad Pro, a laptop, my phone, and an apple watch, so I found a large decorative container that place all of my electronic at the end of the day so they aren’t all spread out. It makes your life so much easier!!

When I first moved in, I moved the two dressers into the closet area, which made the closet space look a lot more uniform. It keeps all of the clothes in one section, and gave us more room for our desks and futon. Try looking for some drawer dividers so you have a more uniform looking place to store t-shirts or shorts.

It is really fun to find decorative pillows and throw blankets to spice up the futon. Tapestries are another great way to fill a wall space. Almost every dorm room I have been in this year has had at least one tapestry hanging up on the wall. You can find them extremely cheap on Amazon!

I hope I gave you some creative ideas on how to make the room of your dreams!


Taking a Leap

Attending the U of Iowa easily has been the best decision of my life. After attending a small high school, seeing the same people, and having the same daily routine for the past 10 years, I knew I needed change. A rather large change… I needed someone or something to just push me off that cliff so I was forced to figure out how to thrive in a totally different environment. I have had a supportive family as a backbone for my whole life, but I was yearning to learn to be independent to teach myself how strong I really am.

I was never a shy girl growing up, but I always struggled finding my voice. The downside to living in a small area is that once you are established, it is hard to find new opportunity, new passions, and new friends. I needed something a lot larger than what the Quad Cities had to offer.

Iowa City is a large place, filled with tons of people who are willing to bring out the best in you. Within the first two weeks of being on campus at Iowa, my life has completely flipped 180. I’m finding a new version of myself and exploring new passions I never could’ve fathomed at home.

I wanted to share with you a few things I have found so far while being on campus…

Finding my Group

It’s so easy to find friends who you vibe with at college. Meeting new people has been an unsettling experience in the past, but it is such a cool experience in college. The people who have the same morals and goals as you usually stick around, and I believe that is how I found my friend group. I am so extremely lucky to have met such an amazing group of people. It’s not like at home where you have to drive all over to hang out. At Iowa my closest friends either live down the hall or a short 10 minute walk away!

Finding my Voice

If you would’ve told me a month ago that I would be a Student Experience Blogger for Iowa, I wouldn’t have believed you. That is something that sounds achievable but seems so far out of reach. I knew I wanted to go into marketing but other than that I had no direction on where I wanted to take my public speaking/ writing passion after declaring as a marketing major. I took the leap, submitted an application, and got it! Whether you want to be a doctor, CEO of a business, or an engineer, Iowa has opportunities like this EVERYWHERE!! Please take the leap, even if you feel unqualified. Who knows where you might end up in a few months! 🙂

Finding my Freedom

College = freedom… I feel like that’s what the majority of students look forward to once they step foot on campus. No parents hovering over your head, it’s all yours, it’s all what you make of it. The world is yours. I never realized how much spare time I had until I was the one mediating what I needed to do, where I needed to be, and how I would get things done. It’s almost freaky. I’m trying my best to not let the days blend together and all feel the same. I have the freedom to make my life as interesting as I can make it!

…. Don’t be afraid to take the leap… go explore, there are so many more beautiful, crazy, amazingly awesome things you have yet to find out about yourself… 

The First Day of the Rest of Your Life

Hey! Welcome to my page. Thanks for checking in 🙂
My name is Cori and I am a freshman at the U of Iowa. I feel extremely blessed to be able to attend this college and hope to pursue a career in social media marketing!

*A little disclaimer before I open up and let you in on my thoughts and feelings about my time here at Iowa, I wanted to address the obvious. Yes, we are in the middle of a global pandemic. Yes, it is affecting millions of students across the globe as they start college or some other form of education. Yes, it is extremely unfortunate. But it is out of my control, and I am most definitely not going to let it take my college experience from me. I am so happy to be on campus, learning what it is like to be on your own, so I am going to use every chance I get to enhance this opportunity I have been blessed to have. So from now on, this is a COVID free blog. I won’t mention it, and nothing I say will make you reflect on this unfortunate event happening around the world.*

I’ve been on campus for about a week now and I have been overwhelmed with the amount of support the Hawkeye community has provided for the incoming freshman. I have been long awaiting the day I could step foot on campus to officially call it home. Being able to experience the freedoms of college is such a freeing feeling after attending a small Catholic high school. I feel like I have been living every day looking forward to this moment. Every high school test, quiz, football game, and school dance that passed by brought me one day closer to being a Hawkeye! One cannot explain how amazing it feels to be able to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.

Cori's DogIf you are going to continue to follow my blog, I want you to know a little about me first! Like I said earlier my name is Cori and I am from the Quad Cities. I have grown up under the roof of my two parents, with my older brother Cole, 21, who is currently a junior at Iowa State studying mechanical engineering, and my little sister Camryn, 16, who is a sophomore at a local Catholic high school in my home town. I also have two dogs, Bentley who is 9, and Callie who is 4 months old!

Growing up I have discovered many passions, let go of a few, and found the activities that bring me pure happiness and bliss. I hold working out, beach volleyball, traveling, and exploring the outdoors close to my heart. I was introduced to lifting at a young age and it is still part of my everyday routine. Beach volleyball and travel go hand in hand. I played competitive volleyball for the majority of my life and recently transferred to travel beach volleyball two years ago. That transition brought me to places such as California to compete right off of the Santa Monica Pier. That sparked my love for travel and now I am yearning to study abroad and experience different cultures during my time at Iowa! My brother is a huge outdoorsman, so he has sparked my interest in hiking, kayaking, and even outdoor rock climbing. I am signed up for a rock climbing class at Iowa so I will keep you updated on that as well! 🙂

I am finding ways to continue to fuel these passions of mine while at Iowa, but I’m also searching to expand to find new avenues as well.  Iowa has limitless opportunities to stay involved and stay active. I am extremely excited to bring you along this journey with me as I grow as a person to learn more about myself while I study to achieve my academic goals. I hope that if nothing else, my words will bring a little light to your day.

I love and appreciate you. Thank you for coming on this journey with me.


“Life is not about expecting, hoping, and wishing. It’s about doing, dreaming, and becoming.” -Mike Dooley