Hello! And welcome back again to more paragraphs of Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you all are doing well.

Last week was pretty good. The good things started on Tuesday, that was the day that I took the third midterm and final exam for my math class (this is the course that I finished earlier). And so, after Tuesday I don’t have to attend any math classes until the end of the semester. I had to do some extra work in order to achieve this, but it was worth every minute, because now I basically only have my chemistry course to worry about,(the others are ESL and Arts, so they are not a big deal). You might be wondering what I do, now that I have more free space on my schedule. Part of me wish I could answer: “I’m sleeping more”. But the other part of me is proudly answering: “I’m having breakfast at Burge Marketplace,  because they have omelet!”. In fact , sometimes I sleep more. I used to wake up at 6a.m, now I wake up at 8a.m, but sometimes I also go to bed a little bit later than usual, so I sleep the same amount. (But don’t worry, I still get my 6-8 hours of sleep every night).

Tuesday was also the elections day.(I won’t say may opinion about American politics and their parties because it’s not my country for me to know who is better and to decide anything). But I found it very cool that all my American friends were with their eyes fixed on their computer screen following the results the whole night. I never saw anyone so worried about elections before. On my country we care about them, but we don’t follow the results that with all that conviction, we just wait for the final word on the tv.

We can now jump to the weekend. Saturday night something very interesting happened, I was on one of my friend’s room and he just decided that he wanted to go to Starbucks(at 9p.m). I said, “why not” and so we gathered two more friends and went there. It was a home game night, so there was a lot of people on downtown. I never saw that much movement before. The nightlife on Iowa is normal, but on Saturday was too much. It was cool to see that we have that much of movement here too.

On Sunday I went Ice skating with my friends at the mall. I have only ice skated once in my life, but I was very little and couldn’t remember anything. So I consider that as my first-time ice skating. And I will let you know that I only fell 7 times.(yes, you have permission to laugh, I laughed every time I fell too). It was a funny experience, but I still have a lot to learn. I could walk a little bit and somehow I managed to make turns even without knowing what I was doing. It was a funny experience. The worst part was seeing small children ice skating like fish swimming. They were even playing tag and racing against each other and not a single one of them fell. I guess some are born to ice skate and others to polish the ice with their bodies.

Now entering this week. They are going to repeat the pick one event tomorrow and Wednesday. This time I hope that the men’s volleyball club are there, I really want to join them and at the pick one event on the beginning of the semester they weren’t there. The woman’s volleyball club were generous enough to get my e-mail to give to them. But I guess that never happened, only God knows what was made of the piece of paper where my e-mail was.

I believe that is all for today. Have a good week everybody. See you later.



Hey! It’s good to see you again. Welcome back again to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. This week nothing very interesting happened. But it brought me some concerns. I really hope I can handle them well.

It all started with a e-mail I received regarding Thanksgiving. The coordinator of my residence hall wanted to know who will be here during the holiday, and that made me start to question what I will do. My original plan was to go to Chicago. But I realized that it won’t be that easy. And I also don’t have anyone to go with me, since all my friends already have plans. So the new plan is to stay here with a couple of friends and discover how to survive during this time. We also plan to participate on the Black Friday, because we never had the chance to see how they really are. Therefore, all I can do is wait to see the outcome of this decision. I’m hoping for the best.

I think e-mails are the devil’s invention on how to bring concerns on a fast and convenient way to you, since my second concern also came with an e-mail. Do you remember when I said I finished my math course earlier? Well it turns out that nothing comes for free. I will have to take my third midterm and the final exam for this course. But both will be on the same day, tomorrow. So now I will have to deal with a 3-hour math exam in the middle of the day. Isn’t that fantastic? I hope I do well, because I am very worried about this exam. Well, it will be what it will be.

My third and last concern is about my courses for the next semester. On Saturday my friend started to make his schedule for the spring classes. I realized that it was a great idea to come up with a plan and show up to my meeting with my advisor with it to see what he thinks about it. Hence, on Sunday night, it was my turn to make plans for my next classes. I was aiming for keeping my classes all in the morning, because this semester the majority of my classes are in the morning and that is working very well for me. But, none of the classes I need have a 7:30-8:20 a.m. class. The earliest one starts at 8:30 a.m. So my evenings were invaded a little bit. Another problem I had was with my photography classes. I wanted to take a photography course, but the only one available for my level is a 6:30-9:00p.m class, and that is too late for me. They have other beginner classes, but they require the completion of other classes. So I will take “basic drawing” in order to move to introduction to digital photography. The good part is that now I have more time to save money for my camera.

Ahh, I almost forgot. This Saturday (November 5th) was my birthday. The first that I passed away from my family. I Facetimed them, which made it a little bit better, but I still wish they were here. Still, I had a great time with my friends. They filled my door with lots of post-it notes saying happy birthday. Now when I open the door a couple of written compliments fly away. And for the first time ever I gave myself a present. What is funny is that I brought me a jacket. That is funny because I have never bought clothes before. But I guess I need to change to survive the winter. It was so strange that when I told this to my sister she stared at me with a strange face and said: “did you buy it because you need it or because you wanted it?” (in Portuguese: você comprou porque quis ou porque precisava?).

So in short, that was my week, when concerns started to show up. But it is ok. An important philosopher (I forgot whom, but I would bet it was Socrates) once said: “a life without problems is not a life worth to be lived”. That being said, let them all come! I’m ready for them!

See you next week!



Hello and welcome to the 10th post of Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. Do you know what that means? Exactly, nothing except that I managed to get through the semester so far. Ahh and also that I avoided killer clowns, let’s hope that this don’t become a thing here on Iowa(Go Hawks!) too.

This week was pretty straight, nothing different happened. But we had the “halloweekend”,(which the existence I only discovered on Friday). For those like me that are not familiar with the term, halloweekend is a celebration of halloween during the weekend, since Halloween it self decided to dress as Monday,(the worst of all monsters), this year.

My experience with it was very funny, because I got to see how Americans celebrate Halloween. Back in Brazil, Halloween is only a great thing for children. So ,for us, it’s only the day that children go from door to door to ask for candy. For grown ups it is a reason to throw a party, but most parties are just like any other party, and very few are for you to go dressed as something, so it really isn’t a big thing there, probably because it’s not part of our culture. But here I got to see that everybody have the Halloween spirit.

The best part about all of it, is all the free candy that you can get. Still, other very cool thing happen to,. Like haunted houses. The university of Iowa made a haunted house open for the public on the IMU, and it was pretty good, the cool thing was to see the haunted house on the front page of the “Daily Iowan” news paper this morning. Because they reported it as such a big event( I think here is the same, but in Brazil if a news is on the front page of the news paper, it means that it is the best or worse thing that happens this week).


Hum…. I don’t think I have more to talk about the university it self.


Ahh but I do have something to talk about the weather,(again). Remember when I paraphrased game of thrones saying “winter is coming”? Well, it turns out winter is making fun of me. I think this because the whole last week was very cold,(for me that is, you could still see some snow man walking on shorts), but than we had a moment of happiness and warm weather on Friday and Saturday. Sunday morning was warm too, so I went to the church with no jacket. But when I left church, it was cold again, and I could see Jack Frost, Olaf, Santa ,(or whoever is operating the weather machine) laughing at me. So I can’t really expect nothing about the weather. I have to get up and check the weather to see what I will need to wear for the day.


Oh sorry, I lied. I just remembered of something to say about the university, and it concerns my Algebra Classes.


My Algebra course is based on a online platform called Aleks. Which means we can teach our selfs the subjects covered by the class. I used most of my free time during week days doing exercises on it and learning more and more stuff. And it turns out I got close the end of my class. On Sunday, I finished everything I could have done, and so I completed the class,(I even got a certificate, which I printed,  because I was very proud of my self at the time). So now I only need to care about my exams on this class, meaning I can concentrate my homework time on my chemistry class. Hence, improving my grade even more.
Now I have nothing to talk at all. See you next week!



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.


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.