Changes

Hello! I hope you are ready for another post of Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron, because here we go!

Last week my life changed.

So, the thing is that my first-year seminar has kind of a strange dynamic. Because of that, our classes follow this rule: one week we meet in an auditorium with all 130-something students, to see someone’s presentation, And on the next week we meet in small groups of 8 people to discuss the course and what we are doing. So far I have seen three presentations. The first was about people that volunteer (not as a tribute) to go help a country in need, usually an African country. The second was an astrology professor talking about her study of the center of the galaxy. The last one was about photographs. It was during the third presentation that my life changed.

My whole life I have never given importance to photographs before, even though my father always tried to teach me their importance. I never liked to take pictures and never liked to take photos of myself. If you go to my Facebook or Instagram page you will find that 99% of my pictures are the ones that I was tagged on. I never saw pictures as something of importance. Therefore I wasn’t excited at all to this presentation.

The presentation was given by my first-year seminar professor because he is a professor of photography too. As he showed the slides and spoke more about pictures I got more and more interested. At one point I just stopped and said to myself: “what was I doing with my life until now? Why was I so blind and never saw those things before?” And, maybe for the thousandth time in my life : “my father was right”. My professor spoke of how pictures capture a unique moment by a unique point of view while he showed more and more pictures and explained a little about them. At one point he showed a picture that just inspired me. I saw that and said: “my god, that’s amazing, I want to do something like this!”.(the picture is called “playground in Tenement alley” by Lewis Hine, I will try to post it).

So that was the moment that changed my life. I’ve been so inspired by this presentation that whenever I see a good “frame” I just take a picture of it. Now I want to learn more about photography. I think I will change my arts class for a photography course next semester and if I really like it, I will try to get a minor in it. The only thing is the only camera I have is the one on my phone, I don’t know if I will have to buy a camera, probably I will. My knowledge about cameras is very poor, I can only say that they are expensive. So I’m already saving money.

 

Now going to a completely different topic. During the weekend I went with some of my friends to parts of the downtown we hadn’t seen. And part of the adventure was discovering this cool and strange bookstore called “the haunted bookstore”. You may think that the name is just to attract clients, but believe me, when you go inside you can really see why they chose this name. The bookstore is a house, an old style house with two floors. All rooms of the house are filled with shelfs with old, and probably second-hand books, each room is a different category. They also have two cats that wander around the house (cats are the only animals that I don’t like, but that’s a story for another day). The place is so creepy that while you walk you actually expect a book to fly off a shelf and hit you in the head. But the things they sell there are very cool and it’s worth taking a look. I bought a book about chess (it’s been a while since I started looking for one) and a friend of mine brought a Monty Python’s card game, (they have board games there too). So this week was a pretty good week, despite the  fact that I spent it studying for my chemistry second midterm. That was all I had for today. See you next week.

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Best weekend so far

Hello! I hope you are doing well. Welcome to this week’s post of Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. There’s not so much different than usual that happened last week. Still, something very good happened during the weekend. I will get there in a moment. If you are one of those people that just likes to jump to the main part, go ahead to the next paragraph. If you stayed here I will tell you what happened now that I’ve reached the middle of the semester. My volleyball classes are over. That’s because they were half-semester classes. Our last day was very nice, we had candies and also played two sets. I felt kind of sad because that probably was the last time I was playing volleyball with my classmates and I really had a great time with them in my classes. I think you can say that bad things start to come at the middle of the semester: the end of the most fun classes and midterms. So far I handled both of them alright. I don’t miss my volleyball classes that much, and I did well on my midterms so far. The only thing that is left to solve is what I will do with my Tuesdays and Thursdays now with the absence of my coolest class openiung a hole of free time from 10:20 a.m. (time my art class finishes) to 5 p.m. (time I go to work). I don’t like the Idea of doing nothing. I will probably put the time towards going to the gym. I don’t think you can say something like “I have nothing to do,” being a University of Iowa student. There’s always something to do, both for your courses or entertainment.

Now that we are speaking of things to do, let me tell you the greatest thing I had this weekend. A friend of mine invited me to go with her to a Latin America event. It was a dinner, where they would serve food from Venezuela and other South America countries and a group would present Brazilian dances. And I was like: “ok, it’s worth going. I haven’t seen anything of my hometown here yet.” I have no regrets. The food was fantastic and the dances were very accurate too. I really felt at home seeing all the dances that reminded me of my country. I was very happy by the end of the show. I also had the chance to speak with one of the dancers and I finally spoke Portuguese in person with someone! I mean, I still speak Portuguese with my family and girlfriend on face-time, but it’s not the same as speaking in person. I went back to my dorm very happy. I can’t explain exactly why. Maybe it was because the dances reminded me of moments I had in Brazil during my life. Some of the dances I had seen before in my school  because we learned how to dance them, the others I had only seen on the TV. Well that was only my Friday night. I still had plenty of fun on Saturday. I took the bus to go to the mall with two of my friends. One of them said that I go too much to the mall, since I have gone there every weekend so far. But I can’t help it, I was used to going to the mall at least once every weekend. That is one of the things we do for entertainment. I will probably go there next week too.

I will also see you next week. Because that’s all I have for today. See you…

Hello again! I’m glad to see you one more time. Last week my classes began and that’s the topic I have for today.

Again, I thought I was prepared for what would come but I was totally wrong. It all began on Monday with my math class at 7:30 a.m. I was the only one with a textbook there, and when my professor saw it he told me that I wasn’t supposed to have that, because we needed to have only the computer copy of it since our classes is based on an Alek’s online course.

I had to change my book, so I rushed my way to the IMU Hawk Shop to change it. When I got there, I realized I did not have the receipt, and I remembered throwing it away that exact same morning. But by that time the garbage trucks had already taken care of Mayflower. Fortunately an employer told me to go the billing office to recover my receipt. That’s what I did, and it worked. So, with the access code for my virtual book in hand I ran as fast as I could to my next class, General Chemistry.

There I got surprised to learn how lecture classes really work. All I knew about it was that you had to read the book before attending them, but it goes way beyond that. In addition we saw the required percentage of grades they have to give. So what I understood is that they have to give some bad grades too, meaning that your score will be compared with the ones of your classmates before your grade is given. That worries me because the majority of the class is Americans, so their English is better than mine.

Now moving to the last class of the day, an ESL course called: Academic English skills. This class went well except for one thing, the other students are very shy. The class is really small; I think we are 20 at total. So we often have that uncomfortable silence when the professor makes us answer a question. But that will probably go away with time; at least I hope it will.

My other classes are Elements of Art, Volleyball I, and the Passport Project. The first two I don’t have much to talk about. For arts I can say that the difficult part was finding all the materials I needed. I had to go to from one store to the other before I could find everything. And there’s still a drawing board that I need to buy. My volleyball class appears to be a class where I will enjoy my time playing with others and making new friends. Now, the Passport Project really surprised me because I was expecting it to be a history class about Iowa. Instead, it is a class about Iowa City right now, and the things we can do in the city. So we get this Iowa passport and win visa stamps every time we go to an event in the city and write about it. I guess it will be really cool.

I had only two concerns about my first week. 1) Will I be able to go from the physics building on Pentacrest to the Visual Arts Building in 10 minutes? 2) Will I be able to find a job? The first answer is: yes, thanks to my bike I could make it in 7 minutes. The second one is also yes! I saw an advertisement on Hillcrest’s market place saying they were looking for employers. So I signed my name and received an e-mail from them. And I already have a schedule to work there. So if you ever get the chance to see me, feel free to say hi to me, I won’t mind.

Well, that’s all I have for today folks, I feel happy to share my experience with you. See you next week.

 

 

The welcome week

First of all, I know I’m kind of late and that I was supposed to start my blog yesterday, (august, 22). Sorry about that.

I delayed my post because I was waiting for my orientation to finish so I could write about it. As I’m an international student, my orientation wasn’t only “On Iowa!” (go hawks). I had a whole week full of sessions I needed to attend to understand how things work here and where to go if I need help. Also, as I haven’t met anyone who read the UI blogs, I believe that nobody is expecting me to start writing my own. So I wasn’t in a hurry to do so.

My orientation week exceeded all my expectations. First, because I thought I wasn’t going to make any friends until my classes started. However, everyone in my group was so kind and nice that we actually spoke a lot with each other and I was able to make some friends there.  In my dorm afterwards, everyone was very friendly as almost all doors on my floor were open. We still meet every night on the corridor to chill out together.

During orientation week I got to learn things I didn’t know about the university. For example, I met a group of people that organizes conversation meetings from Monday to Friday, 12:30-13:30 p.m. for people who want to improve their English speaking skills. This is an amazing opportunity for me because I don’t think I speak the language very well, (surprisingly I only have to take reading classes for ESL).

Later in orientation, I met my adviser, and when he told me to stop registering for classes when I reached 17 S.H I thought it was weird because I was used to spending all day in the classroom. I’m glad he told me so because I already have too much homework and have to study a lot for my classes. Hence, I will need all the time I can find to study and hang out with people.

Another good thing that happened during my meeting with the adviser was that I accidentally registered for classes only in the morning. That’s good because I’m a morning person and I have my afternoons free to do whatever I need to do.

For now that’s all that I have, I hope you all enjoyed your time here and I expect to write more soon. Probably I’m going to write once a week. Posting my entries on Mondays. See you next week.