Adapting to a new semester.

  • Hello! And Welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron! I hope you are all having a great beginning this semester!

The start of the semester is always a surprise. It may be very calm, a desirable “syllabus week” or it may come at full speed with all it’s got. Now that I’m not a freshman anymore the semesters seem very busy at first.

It took me a while to adjust to this semester and, in the meantime, I had a lot of homework and even my first midterm. But I think everything should go steady now.  Overall I’m enjoying my classes more, now that I have a clearer notion of how they are and what to expect for the future. Sometimes I get stuck with a new subject being taught, but luckily I have places I can go to help me. I’ve already been to my professor’s office hours and to tutoring centers more times than I have all previous semesters put together. I really like to sit down, open the book and try to figure out all by myself. But sometimes, there’s nothing like having someone pointing out what you are doing wrong or showing how to solve a problem by a new point of view.

Although I’m adapting pretty well to this semester, there are still things that you can never be ready or adapt for. In my case, that’s the winter. Sure it’s always cold, but even winter has its warm days. Those are the days when the Sun decides to show its face to us and the wind is tired from running around the city. Still, some days are so cold that I really can’t take it. However, that doesn’t mean all hope is lost, there’s always something new to learn. This week a friend showed me this amazing underground pathway that connects The Blank Honors Center and the Pomerantz Center. Most people are better than me at facing the cold weather, so they don’t really need this shortcut. But I really appreciate I can walk some warm meters. So, if you are bothered by the cold the same way I am, know that there are always new paths you can learn to get to classes warm.

I just remembered that the Bijou after hours restart this weekend. Which means me and my friends are going to keep our tradition of going to film scene every Saturday night. I just feel bad because Bijou gave this tradition to us and I’ve never done anything to give them in return. I don’t think I would do well being part of their club, but I sure am looking for an interesting student org to join. I’ve tried some in the past, like the EPX studio, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. But there’s so much I can still look into. For example, I’ve heard of this org named Eats and Treats, which gathers their members weekly to cook meals. Since I’ve been learning and cooking more the past few years, that’s a club I could enjoy going to. Still, this week I learned that U of I has a fencing club and that’s just incredible! I have always wanted to practice fencing, but never had the chance to. Unfortunately that’s not something I can do this semester, since I have class conflicts with their meetings. But I will for sure be aware of their meeting times for next semester, so I can plan in advance.

Well, that’s all I had for today, see you next week!

 

First Week!!! (Spring 2018)

Hello!!! And welcome to the first Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron post for the 2018 spring semester! I hope you all had great breaks!

My break was divided in half. First, I went back home and saw all my family and friends. I stayed there until January first. Then I went to Florida with my family. While there, I ran a half marathon with my father and sister, and visited some of the theme parks. Overall it was a good time to relax and really get a break from college life. But it was only preparation for the tough semester I would have ahead of me, now that I’ve been admitted to the College of Engineering.

This semester I don’t have as many semester hours as I’ve had previously. However, my impression after the first week is that they are going to be as hard as the classes I’ve had before, and require a lot of hard work. Starting with introductory physics, (because it’s the easiest one so far), my professor seemed very good and he really takes his time to explain things. The hard part about this course is the labs I will have on Wednesdays from 7-9:50 p.m. I hope I will really be alright doing experiments by the end of a busy day, because I have four classes before the lab this day.

Now we go to Static. The things being taught in this course are very interesting, but my professor said he will be giving surprise quizzes in both the lectures and discussions, so I will really have to keep my studies up-to-date with what is being taught in the course if I want to do well. Then I have two mathematics classes. One is calculus II, and the other is a class all about matrices. I feel like these courses should go OK if I focus the right amount of time on them. What is a little funny about both these courses and statics, is that I have to turn in my homework by hand, and that’s something I haven’t done since high school. I guess my professors really want to start focusing on how I’m solving the problems, now that I’m done with general education courses.

Finally, my hardest course is Intro to Computing. I’ve been afraid to take this class because it’s all about programming and I don’t know anything about programming. Things got worse after the first class, because everyone else seemed to have some experience with programming in the past. I’m fine with being the student with the least experience in the class, but my worry is that the professor is just going to assume we all knew a little bit about it. In addition, we all have classroom laptops that can only (and have to) be used in the class. That was an additional challenge for me because I’m not used to using laptops during classes at all. I always use only my notebook and the textbook at most. So, because I was very worried, I went to my professor’s office hours to express my worries about the course. I’ve learned that this was a very useful thing to do, as he helped me calm down and told me that I didn’t need any previous experience with programming. I left his office much more calm and more happy to be taking his course. So I’ve learned that office hours are not only for students to ask things about what is being taught or help with homework, you can always go there to express your feelings toward the course to the professor and he will clarify all you uncertainties for you and most certainly put you in the right way.

So, that is all I’ve learned about my classes this week. I really hope we all can keep up  the good work this semester. See you soon!!!

 

Oh, I almost forgot, that’s a picture of downtown’s Christmas decorations:

Thanksgiving break 2017!

Hello! Welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron! I hope you all had a nice break!

Thanksgiving break was amazing. I managed to divide it so I got done with all my homework by Wednesday and had some days to enjoy and relax a little from school life. After all it’s not called a “break” for nothing.

Just like last year, I stayed in my dorm during the break. I wasn’t alone, as my roommate is also a international student and stayed here. Until Thursday nothing much happened in the city, but that’s ok because I was working on homework, so I had very few distractions to procrastinate. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the whole city and university shut down because everyone is on break. Usually some staff that stay here during break provide us with events related to thanksgiving, like a special lunch/dinner or even the ISSS bus trip to Tangler outlet on black Friday, (Which I signed up but didn’t went). What I’m trying to say is that usually these events occur towards the end of break. As an example, I went to the barbershop to get a haircut the Friday before break and the place was closed. I guess the owner didn’t expect a lot of clients with most of the students going back home.

My Thursday was very funny. Last year I went to the house of a friend’s grandparents and this year they invited me and my roommate to go again.  They were very kind and friendly to us and we all had a great time and ate tons of foods. By the night, a friend of mine said she wanted to go to the Coral Ridge mall because she herd stores would be open by midnight for black Friday. So I, my roommate, another friend and she, went to the mall. When it was nine something we decided to go to the movies to wait until midnight. So all four of us got to see Thor: Ragnarok. The movie was great, but, when it was over, at midnight something, the mall was closed. So our friend was mistaken that the stores were going to open at midnight. So we called a day and went back to our places.

Friday I went back to the mall to search something for my brother but I didn’t find what I was looking for. The mall was very crowded, I never saw it like that before. I guess everyone was after a good black Friday deal. It was just like I see on movies and news. Crowds of people going from store to store full of bags and some stores announcing their deals through a speaker. Thankfully I didn’t saw anyone fighting over a product like they show on the media. For the rest of the day and the weekend I just relaxed and enjoyed my time. Although on Sunday I studied for an Calculus exam that I had yesterday.

So, this was my break, I hope you all had a great time too and had some time to restore your selves for this last couple of weeks and finals. I know I did.

See you soon!

A great week!

Hello and welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron! I hope everything is going great for you!

Last week was really fun. I’m biased because it was my birthday, but it was pretty calm.

The same way my professors assigned me a lot of readings and homework for the same week, last week all of my classes were more relaxed. I still maintain that there’s a secret professor meeting, where they meet and decide what to do with their students in certain weeks. That’s the only explanation I have for the rhythm in which my classes flows always being the same.

For my literature class, we started reading some Derek Walcott poems, which are very simple and in addition, all our readings got lighter. In my history class, we had a week for presentations, but they were optional. Like, we had to write a paper and then we could decide to present or not our thesis to the class, and only two students presented, (I feel bad for not presenting, but my thesis was neither important nor interesting, so I didn’t feel like wasting anyone time). So, after the presentations we only watched some movies. We also had no readings for this week. Philosophy only had a 20 page essay we had to read and we discussed it the entire week. Microeconomics and Calculus kept the same pace, nothing much changed in these two classes.

It was nice to have this extra free time because I could start working on papers. Again the secret professor meeting attacked. This time they decided to assign papers for the end of November. So I have three papers to complete, all due on the 28th. Because of this extra time I was able to get my thoughts together and prepare an outline for my papers and start working on them. This really helped me because I was planning on working on this papers during thanksgiving break. But thanksgiving is meant for you to relax, so I’m pretty sure I would spend my break procrastinating and leave the papers for the last second. Now that I got them started, I can either get done with them in the very beginning of the break or leave it for the last time without being worried about running out of time.

So, because my week was very relaxed, my weekend was pretty easy too, which was nice it gave me a calm atmosphere to enjoy my birthday on Sunday. Beginning with Friday, I went to the library to search for a book of poetry for a assignment I have for my literature class. We have to find a book of modern poetry, choose a poem, write an small paper about it and recite it for the class. I found these book by John Hegley and his poems are very simple and funny, so this should help me memorize it. I also went with a friend to get some Ice cream, which, despite of the cold weather, was nice. Saturday was very calm, I just did one reading for my class and went to the mall, to buy my birthday present, a photo camera, which I’ve been wanting for a long time now. At night I went to Oasis’s Space Odyssey cultural ball. They had a lot of great food and dance performances, it was great. Then on Sunday I just spoke with my family and saw some of my friends. It was a nice weekend.

Well, that’s all I had for today. Hope you all enjoyed your weekend as much as I did. See you!

 

Exams, papers and fun.

Hey there! Welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you all had a great week.

Last week I was super busy as I had to prepare myself and face three Midterms, which were for my Calculus, Philosophy and Microeconomics classes. I think I did fairly well on the first two, but I really have no idea how I did on my microeconomics exam. But what would be the fun in life is if everything was easy, right? Still, the thing with exams is that I always feel super nervous before, during, and after them.

Before, because I don’t know what it is going to be like and don’t know if I studied everything that is going to be covered on the test. Fortunately some of my professors relieve the pressure by either posting some practice or old exams on ICON, which really helps a lot, but this semester only my Calculus professor was kind enough to do that, (he posted all previous exams since 2012). During the exam I feel nervous because I am the master of getting a question wrong by making a detailed mistake. For example, in this exam I was reviewing my answers before giving it to my T.A, and I saw that in one of the problems I wrote that the square root of four was four, (And that’s not even one of the dumbest mistakes I’ve made in my life). The problem is time is never on my side, I’m always one of the last to finish the exam, so I try to rush and make those ridiculous mistakes. Finally, after the exam I feel nervous while waiting for my grade.

What is funny is that all my classes that I have midterms had midterms on the same week. However, there’s only one thing that gets me more tense than exams, papers. It appears that all the classes I have to write papers, decided to give them all for the same week too. Until today I never believed in, (or I just wasn’t capable of), multitasking. But now I have hope that I will be able to simultaneously write three different papers, do all my required readings and stay mentally sane.

Now, of course not everything is tense. I have my moments of relaxation and if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would survive the college experience. Breaks from study are very important, never forget them. I just recently started watching “Parks and Rec” so whenever I feel like I have too much homework, or did a lot of study; I watch one episode just to refresh my mind. Last Saturday I went to the mall to buy groceries and just do some window shopping. Of course I also kept the tradition of going to the movies at Film Scene (a local independent theater) every Saturday night. This coming weekend we will have the SCOPE Battle of the Bands, and it seems it’s going to be amazing. Unfortunately I won’t be able to go, but if you can, I totally recommend you go. The Local things we have here in Iowa, like the farmers market, and Film Scene are pretty awesome, and it’s a unique experience to see them. I’m pretty sure the bands playing there will be amazing too.

Well, that’s all I had for today, thank you and see you next week!

First impressions

Hello and welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron! My first week went just fine and I hope yours did too.

So, now that I have already managed to survive the first week of classes I have a pretty good view of how my courses are going to be. I’m happy with all of them and I just hope that I don’t get too much overwhelmed with homework. I mean, I do recognize that homework really help me learn the course material, but sometimes all my classes have homework due to the same deadline that I just get exhausted with them. However, let’s go back to the classes.

Beginning with my Calculus class, the most interesting thing about the course is the professor. He is a nice guy that has some funny things, like a orange sun glasses, but his lectures are easy to follow, as he literally writes down everything he says, so there is no chance for you to lose anything. Then, for my Microeconomics class, everything is doing great, I don’t think I ever enjoyed learning something more than what I’m learning in this class, it makes the economy seem so simple and also present some very interesting points. Tomorrow I have a meeting with my advisor, which I scheduled to see if I can get a minor in economics.

Third, my literature class. I’ve been doing some readings and analyzing symbols, historical context and the authors intention. This class is mostly funny because you can see how different other students interpret the same text you read. I think students talk more on honors section classes, so if you have the chance to, take one. The involvement of the class really can be an extra to help you. Following we have philosophy, which I think is going to be great to be exposed to new ideas and to argue with others about your own ideas. It’s been only one week but we already had some very funny arguments. Finally, for my history class, it’s pretty much just going to be history, I still haven’t seen anything else apart from that. What is interesting though is that there is no history majors in this class, so our professor is slightly trying to inspire someone to either pursue a degree or a minor in history.

Apart from that everything has been normal. The only thing I’m still trying to figure out is my relationship with one of my suitemates. So, I don’t really know how they are supposed to be, but last year I knew my suitemates as well as I knew my roommate. But this year I only actually know one of them, and that’s because he used to be my roommate. The other one I’ve only seen during move in day and only spoke for about five minutes. I’ve never seen him ever since. So I hope I get the chance to know him more, but my other suitemate, the one I know, said he goes out a lot with his girlfriend, so maybe that’s why I don’t see him much around.

Well, that was all I had for today. Thank you and see you next week.

Here we are for another semester!

Hello and welcome back to the first post of Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron for the 2017’s fall semester. I hope you all had a great summer and just like me are excited with the beginning of classes.

Well, starting with the summer, I went back home and saw my family and friends. I also volunteered on a school that helps people with mental disorders, traveled a little bit, and drove my siblings to their school. I enjoyed driving again, since I still haven’t got my American driver’s license, I will try to get this done this semester. Overall, my summer was really funny and I had plenty of time to relax.

I already feel a little bit strange coming back, because now I’m a sophomore. Just like my age, it took a little time for me to realize it. The other day I thought I was 18 instead of 19. Hopefully it won’t be long till I can stop telling people I’m a freshman and then correct myself. Another major change was at my work, I’ve been promoted to Student Lead, which is kind of a sub-manager position on the dining halls.

I’m pretty happy with all of my classes. I mean, we have just gone through the syllabus, but I really liked the descriptions my professors gave me and what we are expected to learn. Coincidently, I noticed that most of my classes, that is: Introduction to microeconomics, Interpretation of literature and introduction to philosophy; have pretty similar themes and I think I will be able to apply things I will learn on one class to another. I think it is a great experience when you can connect the subjects you are learning, because it gives you a feeling that what you are learning is going to be useful throughout your life. My only real worry is the amount of homework and readings that I expect I will have, but I guess this is all part of the college experience right?

Well, I know it is too soon to be thinking about the end of the semester, but I’ve already made a list of things I want to accomplish by the end of it. What I want, as follows, is:

  • To be ready to run a half marathon with my father and sister in the beginning of the next year. (For that I will wake up early and go to the gym every Monday, Wednesday and Friday before classes).
  • To keep my grades as good as last semester. (So I will have to keep the hard work, or work harder. Either way, I know it’s not going to be easy.)
  • Get my driver’s license. (This one is pretty straightforward).

I will probably add more to the list as time goes by, if anything changes I will let you know.

This first week I also had the chance to see the solar eclipse! I admit that I wasn’t that excited at first but when my Calculus professor canceled our lecture so just we could see the eclipse. At its finest moment I started to realize that something amazing was going to happen. It was a little bit cloudy so sometimes you couldn’t really see that much. Some students started to distribute dark glasses so we all could see it, and it really was beautiful. I could put the glass on my phone and take a decent picture, which I will try to post.

Well, that’s all I had for today, see you next week!

I will try my best to post on a weekly basis, either Tuesdays or Fridays. See you soon!

 

 

 

 

The end. (only of the freshman year, there will be more after summer break)

We have reached the last blog of the Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron, spring 2017 series. I hope you all had a great time this semester and that you enjoy your summer.

When the end of the semester arrives, you see two kinds of people, the ones that are celebrating that there are no more classes and the ones that are sad that a class is over. As for myself, I am a little bit of both, depending on the class I’m talking about. For example, I’m more than glad that my chemistry class is over, I really prefer small classrooms classes over lectures and the labs just terrified me. The last attempt that my chemistry class made to try to put my energies down is that they decided my exam is going to be on Monday at 7:30 a.m. I don’t even have classes at 7:30 and I’m afraid my mind won’t be at its finest at an early hour like this. Looking at the bright side, this is going to be the first final of them all, I guess, so I have that going for me.

Apart from chemistry, I felt a little sad with the end of my classes. On math I am sad because the instructor was amazing and I wish he could keep teaching me for all my other future math classes. For Fiction Writing I felt sad because I really enjoyed reading the stories of other students and discussing them. For my Beatles class I felt sad because I really like the Beatles and I wish there was more to learn, but my professor got my spirit up by inviting us to go to Liverpool as an alternative spring break in spring 2018, so I look forward to that.

However, of all my classes the one I felt sad the most by its end, was rhetoric. I admit that I kind of underrated rhetoric at the beginning of this semester because it is an obligatory course, so I had to take this class and I didn’t know why. But this course changed many things about my life, the books we read made me realize many problems that our society is facing that I never realized or never thought of doing something about before. I got to understand that there is always a purpose behind things, like somebody doing anything with a reason behind it, so I started to analyze things I see and read and I became more critical about it. I actually enjoy watching commercials whenever they pop up before my videos begin or on the TV, because now I can “judge” them.

People say that your experience with rhetoric, and your grade, depends on the professor you have. I think that’s kind of true, because the feeling that I have, (based on my experience with this course and from what my friends told me about their classes), is that you can either have an instructor that knows you are there because it is an obligatory course and who only seems to grade you and others that don’t care about why you are there and whose purpose is to teach you all you can. Luckily, I had the second professor, and I learned a lot of important things that for sure changed the course of my life.  She also created the classroom environment that I like: A small classroom where everyone seems to know one another. I also learned some strength and some things I need to improve that I have. I’m glad I had the chance to have the class I registered to.

So, even though I registered to and went to my first class thinking that this class wasn’t going to add up too much in my life, I now realize that this was the most important class I had this semester, and my second favorite one too, (the favorite one being the Beatles class, because unfortunately we don’t have the chance to listen to Beatles songs on Rhetoric). To sum up, if you are a going to be a freshman here at the University of Iowa, I want to say that the Rhetoric course can be very important for your future life, don’t make the mistake I made of not giving importance to the class because it is obligatory, have in mind that you can take an awesome experience out of it. I was fortunate enough to be on a great class, it all depends on how your instructor treats the course. So, if you really look forward to it, I encourage you to choose your Rhetoric class by searching the instructor of the class and seeing if you identify with him/her and how do you think they will guide the course. That being said, I strongly recommend Professor Margaret Murray, be warned that to do well on her class you need to be dedicated to it, and that sometimes it can be hard, but she changed my life and I hope she can do good for you too.

I guess that’s all I had for this semester. Thank you all, and see you after summer.

What changes?

Hello and welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you are all doing fine.

Well, nothing much happened this week and everything is pretty normal. I have classes every day and papers all weekend. Also, I’m reading more this semester than I used too. The only thing that is bad about it, is that even though I’m reading more, the pace of which I read the pages are the same. I think I read very slowly, (I take about three minutes per page), I could really save more time if I read faster. Well, let’s just hope that this is something that I will develop with time.

Even though I’m kind of busy all the time because I’m taking 18 semester hours of classes, I will take the same amount next semester. Still, I hope that my classes will be calmer. I mean, with less homework, or at least with fewer papers. I really don’t like writing papers. Last semester I was lucky enough to not have to write any papers for any of my classes. I hope this happens again. Oh, talking about next semester, a great opportunity appeared.

Hillcrest Marketplace, the dining hall where I work, opened applications for student leads, which is a kind of sub-manager. I applied and this week they told me I got an interview. I really look forward to that, but I’m also very scared, because I never had a job interview before. I think I can stay calm in nervous situations, and I hope I will do well. I really want the job, and if I get the job, I will start next semester.  It’s funny how some things that change between semesters we can control, like the courses I will take and my “new” job, and others simply occur throughout the semester without us barely noticing.

For example, last semester I used to go with my friend to the mall on Coralville every Saturday. That was the “Saturday tradition” that semester. But this semester I have only been there a couple of times, I think. What became my “Saturday tradition” is going to the movies at Film Scene, a non-profit movie theater, that has a partnership with Bijou and offers this program called “Bijou late hours” on which they show a movie every Saturday at 11:00 p.m. free for students. The movies they show are pretty good too, this Saturday they will play Donnie Darko. Also, they always give away prizes before the movie begins, I have won two DVDs there. I really recommend it for anyone. I wonder if this will be my tradition next semester too or if I will find something else. One place that I always wanted to go in is the “Forbidden Planet”, a pizza place with arcades, but I really haven’t had the time yet.

Well, that’s all I have for today. See you next week.

Back for the break

Hello! Welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you all had a good spring break. Here’s what I did on mine:

From Saturday to Monday I spent the entire day working on the first draft of my final project for my fiction writing class. I managed to write 18 pages, and it turned out to be a project of bigger dimension that I will probably continue to work on in the future. I also did some other homework, like a speech for my rhetoric class. I organized everything I wanted to say and practiced it a lot. Then, on Wednesday, I went to Chicago with some friends.

We left in the afternoon and had dinner at “the famous World’s Largest Truck Stop” on I-80. I called it famous because I always pass it while coming or leaving the University of Iowa, and I could only wonder what it was like. From the inside it doesn’t seem that big, I’ve been to bigger stops on other travels. Still, they weren’t truck stops. The place looked like a small shopping food court, with some stores selling clothes, DVDs, and CDs. They even have a truck museum there. But I expected nothing less from the country with the most museums in the world (I guess, I remember I heard it somewhere).

Speaking of museums, I went to two of them in Chicago. The Chicago Art Institute and the Field Museum. The Art Institute was my favorite. I got to see a lot of cool paintings that made me think a lot. Also, the way they were put together seemed like they were “talking to each other” like they were seeing one another and reacting to them. Then I moved to a photograph exhibition named “Provoke”, I didn’t get into many details of what it was about, but as far as I know they all were taken during a period of revolution in japan. They were amazing and I liked them a lot. I ended my visit with the miniature rooms exhibition, which consisted of miniatures of historical rooms from the past centuries. It was also very cool. That’s all I could see in one day, I guess I would’ve needed at least one more to see the entire museum.

The Field Museum was nice and everything, but it wasn’t really my thing. I liked an exhibition they had there about ancient Egypt and about dinosaurs, with their fossils. Still, they were very quick and I really had no interest in the other things there. Fortunately, two of my friends were feeling the same, so we separated from the other two and went to the center of the town to walk around and see some things.

On the last day we spent all our time in the city, walking the streets and seeing the most famous places. The next morning we came back to Iowa and I took care of the rest of my homework and practiced more on my speech. Overall I had a great break, but it made me very tired. I felt like taking a break from the break. The come-back week has been fairly good, very calm and quiet. But I already have two Midterms next week, so I have to prepare myself for that.

I think this was all for today. Thank you and see you next week.