My mistakes

Hello! Welcome back to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. I hope you all are well

I’m sorry for my delay, but I had a Chemistry exam this Monday so I spent almost all my free time studying. Maybe that’s one of the biggest differences from high school to college for me. When I was in school I used to study only one day before the exam, but I’m very concerned here. What I understood is that, for lecture exams, our grades will be given according to the class average grade. So it does matter the grades that others have. Since I really need a good grade I’m doing all I can to get one of the best grades.

One problem that I have on all exams, in fact in life, is attention. I hardly get an answer wrong because I don’t know how to do it. I often make mistakes because I miss small details like signs or the order of things. I really need to learn to pay attention to everything. I wish they had a class like: “principles of attention: 101”. But for now all I can do is pray that I don’t miss anything.

I’m not stressed about exams only, I’m just concerned about me. Like, I want to show everything I know on the exam, that’s why I get really pissed off when I make an attention mistake. Because I could have proven that I know it. So I’m really trying everything to make sure my body and mind will do well in the exam. For example, I spend my weekend just eating things that I knew wouldn’t give me any problems, I do a lot of exercise and listening to music because if I can get the right answer with an distraction I will certainly get the right answer while being fully concentrated. I also go to bed earlier. Because I am used to sleep 5 to 6 hours a night. But my exam was at 8:30-10:00 p.m, so I needed to be rested for it, otherwise I would fell sleepy in the exam.

One thing that my work helped me with was on the part of memorizing. You see, some things I read and don’t need to read it again so the information stays with me. Is like someone coming to you and saying that the Independence Day is on the Fourth of July, you don’t need to review the information again and again to memorize it. But, when it comes to formulas and things like that, I really need to keep repeating it in my head. For example, I have to memorize Polyatomic atoms formulas, their charges and their names. So I just wrote a card with all of them and put it on the back of my phone, since my cover is transparent. Whenever I had the chance I looked at them until I could say all of them without having to look at the card.

Now, changing subjects completely, one of the things I miss in my daily routine, is to go out on Sunday’s just to hang out. Back in Brazil I used to go out with my girlfriend every Saturday to the movies or shopping. Now it’s harder to do it because everything here is near if you have a car, but it is kind of distant if you have to walk. So I really depend on buses or rides from one of my friends to go out to places like those. I think I can solve this if I explore more of the Iowa city downtown. Still, this doesn’t mean we never go out, we usually do. Next week we intend to go ice skating in Coralville.

Well, I think that’s all I had to say. See you next week!

My new routine

Hello and welcome back to ΣΝΖΟ (Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron). I hope you are all having a good time.

I’m starting to get used to my routine. I don’t even have to look for my schedule on ICON every 30 minutes to know where to go. In fact, I think I’m already too much into it, because I always sit in the same place at my lectures. You see, I’m too conservative with little details. For example, I always eat the same plates at restaurants after I go twice or more. Now I’m doing the same thing here. It’s funny how fast I got used to my life here. I thought it would take more time, but I got comfortable with my new life really fast.

This Saturday I went to the Farmer’s Market with my friend, and got to know more about Iowa City. I thought it was amazing to see people selling what they grew in their homes/farms, like this Producer-buyer relationship.  I got inspired to go to more places on the city. I didn’t know that a lot of things happened here, I hope to go more places and then I will write about them to you.

See you next week.

At least the smoke detector work

Hello again everybody. Hope you are all having a good time at UI.

I just realized that my blog don’t have a name. I don’t know if I should have one, but since it is my blog I will give one. The name will be ΣΝΖΟ (Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron). The reason is very simple. Every time I’m going from my residence hall to the university or vice-versa I pass in front of this fraternity house that has the letters ΣΝ (Sigma Nu). Since it looks exactly like the first two letters of my name,(Enzo),  Me and my friends always joke about getting some paint and completing my name on their wall. So “ΣΝΖΟ” is a name that represents me, a little bit of my friends and an example of what I think when I see something at the university.

Now that I’m talking about my friends I would like to say that this week I just realized how important the LLCs (Living Learning Communities) are. So, when I decided my LLC, while I was applying for housing, I didn’t give that much importance to it, since I thought they were just to put people in groups. But now that I realized that everyone in my floor has the same LLC as me I see how lucky I am, because my roommates and floor neighbors have more things in common with me than just the LLC. That was good, because we got along easily with one another. We all leave the doors open so we can always do homework or anything together and we usually hang out in the hall to play board games. I wonder what would have happened to me if I had chosen another LLC. I would be on another floor or even on another residence hall, and maybe would never get the chance to know these friends. Also, I’m uncertain if I would get along with people from other LLCs the same way that I got along with these ones. I hope that you all chose the right LLC too and if you haven’t yet decided, it I will give you this advice: Take extra time to find the right LLC for you, because it will be easier for  you to build friendships.

Nothing different happened this week. But over the weekend it was the 18th birthday of one of my friends, so we went out on a picnic on the park in front of Mayflower Hall and had a great time.

Of course not everything is always good, and this morning I had a little problem. I woke up to make some pancakes with my roommate, I don’t know what went wrong, probably we used too much butter and buttermilk, and it made a lot of smoke. We already had our windows open, but it wasn’t enough, so our smoke detector went on and started to make a annoying and loud sound. The first thing I thought was: s#/@, I’m going to wake up everybody and it was very early and labor day, so everybody was still in bed. After I thought: s#/@, If we don’t do anything the other detectors will activate and we will get a free bath from the sprinklers. So my roommate stayed in the room trying to get the smoke out with his books and I went to get help and explain the situation to everyone that was getting out of their rooms. An RA showed up and after seeing the situation he said he was going to shut the alarm off. So I don’t think we are going to make pancakes again too soon. But as “Monty Python” once said in their movie “Life of Brian”: “Always look to the bright side of life” and the good news is that now I know that my smoke detectors work.

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.