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.

Life goes on

Hello, and welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you are all having a good week.

This week nothing much happened, I just prepared myself for a couple of papers I have due next week and a midterm. So I guess the stress came back, but I’m still doing ok since I could organize everything. Nevertheless, I can’t help but think that final exams and the end of the semester are almost here. I look forward to next semester, but I’m more excited about summer. I will go back home and relax, maybe find a summer job if I can.

Oh, right! This week I had my job interview for student lead on Hillcrest Marketplace. I think it went pretty well. They basically had some questions about how I would react in certain scenarios or what was my opinion about something in the workplace. Still, I have no idea how it went, because it was my first job interview ever! I was pretty nervous because I was at a table with 5 other people, all asking questions and taking notes whenever I spoke. It was pretty intimidating. The hardest question they asked was: “Do you have any questions or concerns?”. I immediately thought of answering, “yes, when do I start?” But I decided that it was not the time for jokes and didn’t want to appear to be arrogant, so I just said I had no questions.

Going completely off topic, last week I got a haircut. I went to this barbershop near downtown called Friday’s. I think there’s only one person that works there, probably the owner of the place. I forgot to ask his name, so I refer to him as “Mr. Friday” on my mind. Mr. F has owned the place since 1968 and the place still looks like it’s from that time, except for the big colored TV he has for his waiting customers and a big apple computer. He did a pretty good job and I really like my haircut. I will most surely go back there when I need to cut my hair again and I totally recommend it. The only thing is that it’s first come first serve, so you might as well take a book or something else to distract yourself while you wait. But he also has some magazines for his customers.

Man, it’s almost the end of the semester and I didn’t have much time to do things I like. I mean, I did a bunch of fun stuff, mostly on weekends, but because I had a lot of homework and study to do, I couldn’t keep a hobby on a regular basis. I guess I can count both my Beatles and Fiction Writing class as hobbies since I took them because it’s something I like, but when you are being graded for it it’s a little bit different. It gets more serious than just a hobby.

My classes for next semester are mostly “serious” classes. By serious I mean they don’t involve any kind of hobby of mine. The closest is Interpretation of Literature, because I like to read. However, I like to read just for entertainment, I really don’t make any deep analyzes on my readings. But there’s still hope that I will keep a hobby, because all my classes are in the morning. Only on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have Western Civilization III shortly after lunch. So I might have time for some drawing, writing or reading. We will see how it goes right?

Well, that’s all for today folks. 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.

Changes II

Hello and welcome back to the late Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I’m mostly sorry for my delay, but this time I had not only a lot of homework but I also had to study for a chemistry exam I had on Thursday night. I finally found some time to write and so here I am. 

To start today I would like to give you some advice. Taking 12 semester hours is ok, 15 is nice, but 18 is for hard working people. So keep that in mind when you decide the amount of classes you are going to take. I think 18 credits worth of classes would be ok for me, since I’m not the lazy type and am used to working hard, but alongside with my classes I’m working for 15 weekly hours, so it kind of became a considerable amount of things to do, which is keeping me busy and a little tired most of the time. Because of that I don’t think I will be able to write my blog on the same day of the week as I was originally doing. But I promise I will try to keep it weekly. 

Some people say that “there are no limits for men”. Well I guess they should correct the phrase for “Men know no limits”. It is obvious that everyone have their own limits, but being the wise decision maker I am, I decided to join two clubs. Yes I know, now I have even more things to do, but here goes some more advice: everybody needs a break, so try to find a club or a hobby so you can relax and express yourself. You should always give yourself a safe amount of rest.  

Well let’s talk about the two clubs I’m on. The first is the ESL RPG club, which I was already on last semester, but we are still playing the same game and there will be new players so I am excited for that. The Other is the EPX Studio, a club to meet people that are creating either a video game or an animation. They are cool and they also have pizza and soda very meeting. Still, I really don’t know anything about programming a game, so I went there expecting to learn more about it. However, everyone was already on a project and trying to make some progress on their work. I’m not sure anybody will be able to teach me, so I might give up on this club. 

That’s kind of hard for me to do, because I hardly give up on things, I always stay until the very end of it. I think I’m changing and learning to do some concessions. Another thing that I think I will change is my job. I’m currently working at Hillcrest marketplace. I like there and other workers there are very cool. But my friend gave me this great idea of becoming a tutor. That Idea struck me because I noticed that a lot of students search for math and chemistry tutors, and I have the requirements to become one,( a grade greater than B on the class you want to tutor and a GPA of 3.8 or more). So I decided that next semester, if I do well in my chemistry class, I will leave my current job and apply to become a chemistry tutor. 

Now that we are talking about changes I want to say something I noticed. In my first semester, I changed as a student. You see, I never gave that much importance to my grades in school, I always learned only enough to pass. If the minimum GPA of my school was 2.4, I would get 2.5. Not that I was a bad student or something like that, I just wasn’t interested in what I was learning at all. But here this changed, maybe because the structure is very different. Back in my high school you never decided what course you wanted to do. All years were the same courses: Math, Portuguese, Geography, History, Literature, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, English, Sociology. But here I really got to choose what I wanted, that made my interest grow, and I became a better student. I was very happy with my grades and I have the feeling that I actually learned a lot in my classes. I still don’t know if this second semester is going to change me. Until now I can only predict I will get more responsible because of all the classes and work I have to manage. But only time will tell what it will be. 

That’s all I had for today folks. I hope you are all doing great and see you next week.  

As Yusuke Urameshi, a character from a anime I would watch always said: “I did not met the other world for nothing”.

 

Finals week

Hi! Welcome back once again to another Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron post. Probably the last one of this year,(there there, calm down, there’s no need to cry), Because we are on finals week and afterwards we move into winter break.

This weekend and beginning of Monday made me notice that there are two kind of people in this university. Those that panic and start to live on the library trying to learn a 16 week work on a single weekend and Those that worked hard during the whole semester and now are just chilling on Starbucks or someplace like that, because they are confident with what they know and see the final as another common exam. I would say I’m somewhere in the middle. Because I studied the whole semester long and so I’m confident with what I learned, still I really need to do well on these exams to keep my good grades. I’m only a little bit stressed because I don’t know how the exam is going to be like.

In the end the semester ended up being like my weeks. I use all my free time during week days studying or doing homework so I can just relax during the weekend. And I spent my semester studying a lot and doing everything I could, now I can relax a little because there are no new things to learn or study, jut review. It’s all about making a choice, you can relax in the beginning and rush and work hard with everything in the end or keep a pace working during the journey and rest in the end. Everyone eventually have free time to relax and have fun, what makes the difference is when they choose to have this time.

Let’s stop talking about finals week and start to talk about what comes after them, winter break. This break I’m going back home, Brazil, and I am very excited to see all my family and friends, and my dog of course. But most of all I can’t wait to eat Brazilian food again, I miss it so much,(oh, no I noticed that I haven’t eaten any Japanese food since I came here, I will include that on the list too). For some reason I only started to strongly miss my home now that I’m near to going back. I missed home since I came here, but not as much as I do now, maybe because I had a lot of things to do and study before, so I couldn’t think a lot about it. I feel very bad for some of my friends that are only going back to their home on summer break. I don’t really know what you can do here during the break.

Well I guess that’s it. I would like to thank all of you that read my blog,(I don’t really know if anybody does), but even if nobody knows about my blog, it’s a good thing for me to sit down every Monday and reflect about the past week. Also it’s great to have these texts. I’m going to save them for the future. It really was a great opportunity that the University of Iowa gave me and some other students by entrusting us with this blog. Thanks all of you and thankyou UI for the blog and a great semester.

P.S: If there’s somebody there reading my blogs I would really love to see comments. Don’t worry I don’t bite.

See you all next semester!

P.S(2): here follows a photo of me and my friends celebrating Christmas ealier this Sunday night before finals week.

concerns

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!

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