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…

Home Coming

Hello! And welcome back once again to Sigma Nu Zeta Omicron. This weekend I experienced something that I have never heard before and that, apparently is very common here. The “Home Coming.” First of all, I don’t know why this is celebrated, I mean, why we have home comings. But that’s OK because I don’t know the origin of a few other American’s holidays, like Halloween, And that doesn’t mean they are not good. I really enjoyed my time in it. I just loved the parade, it was great to see all kinds of people we have in the Hawkeyes community. But mostly, I had a great time thanks to the marching bands, I just adore them. We don’t have those bands in Brazil. In fact we do have them, but it’s just for a short time during a festival we call “Carnival”, but they are not a marching band from a high school or a university. Anyway, that was just my Friday.

On Saturday my roommate invited some people on our floor to go to a barbecue in his house. We really had a great time there even though my expectations were broken, but that is one of the most funny things in life, when you expect something and another thing happens. What surprised me was that the barbecue here is a way to say: hamburger and hot dogs. In my country we have all kinds of meat on barbecues. There are so many that I don’t think I will be able to list all of them. But the food was very good, and we had a lot of snacks too. I felt very welcome on his home. At night we made some s’mores (The burned marshmallow with chocolate between two crackers, I don’t know how to write it right, sorry). It was very funny. On Sunday we just chilled out and took the day to do homework.

Since we are talking about new experiences, I have another one to share. Today was the first time I had breakfast in a dinning hall. I knew they had breakfast there and also I work during breakfast in Hillcrest’s dinning hall on Saturdays, but I’ve been eating my breakfast in my room since I arrived. Today was only an exception because I woke up noticing that my alarm went didn’t go off. When I looked at the clock, I saw that I had only 20 minutes to get to my first class. Small detail: I live 15 minutes from this class. So I moved like a tornado, got everything I could, and rushed to my class. I made it exactly in the nick of time! So, After my first class I have a gap of 50 minutes until my next one. Since I was hungry, I didn’t eat breakfast in my room, I went to the dinning hall. The food there was very good. I can’t eat too much in the morning, but the omelet, cereal and the banana I had were good. Now I know that I can count on this resource if I ever wake up late again. But I hope I don’t need to. I think that’s all I have for today. Thank you, and see you next week.

As the weeks go by

Hello and welcome to sigma nu zeta omicron!

This week my work finally started to show some results. I spent almost all my free time on the weekdays (Friday after lunch is weekend for me) doing homework or studying. Now that some weeks have passed, I can see that I’m actually a little bit ahead of others. I don’t know if I’m ahead in grades, but on the amount of work I have to do I am. Because I use a lot of my weekly free time, I have a lot of extra-time on weekends. This Saturday, one of my friends even asked me if I ever study because he never saw me studying.

When I came here, a professor told me that there is no “that’s they way I study” and that all students should study/learn the same way. I know he is a professor and that he has much more experience than me, but I do actually have a “comfortable way of studying.” The first thing I need to start is a little bit of a distraction. That is, I need someone near me making some noise, but not too loud. When I’m in absolute silence, I can’t focus/concentrate on my work because I often start thinking of something else and don’t accomplish anything at all. I tried to study with music, but music is only good for me while I’m doing exercises/practicing what I have learned. So to study and do homework I go to the library. Everyone has a different reason to go there, mine is to find concentration. Hence,  I do recommend that you try new things to find a good way for you to study. Believe me, it does make difference.

Speaking of new things, this weekend was the first time I got a bus that is not the cambus to go somewhere. I went with my friend to the Coral Ridge Mall because we needed to go to Target. We have been there before but we always got a ride in a friend’s car. I thought it was going to be complicated but in fact it was very simple. And the bus driver was very kind to us he even showed us a guide with all the times we could get a bus back to the university. One of the best things about the city is that it is very calm and quiet. You don’t see much of the big city rush here. For example, yesterday (Sunday) I got the bus in the wrong direction and made a tour around some places before I reached my destination. If I was on a big city I’m pretty sure I would be very worried and start to think: “Oh my God, where are we going? I will get lost and never will find my way back.” But since this is a small town and everything you pass by is familiar to you, what I really thought was: “oh, we are going the other way around…” So there is nothing here that will really stress you out. I’m not the best person to say that because there isn’t much that stresses me out. Still, I believe most people living here can relate to what I say.

If you come here you will find that people here are very friendly, everyone always notice you and interact with you. Let me give some examples: One day at work, I was trying to memorize some formulas for my chemistry class, and I saw a very strange face while I was concentrating and this guy that works there  came to me and said: “are you okay? Everything will be better, if you need anything let me know.” That day I discovered that my concentration face looks like a sad face. Another time I was in the bus talking with my friends and a old man was listening to us so he joined the conversation.

I think that’s all I have for today. Thank you and see you next week.

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.