Getting Involved: Student Organizations

One of the easiest ways to get involved and make friends is to join one, or several, student organizations on campus.

There are over 500 student organizations to choose from at the University of Iowa, ranging from hundreds of members to only a few.

As a double major in Sport and Recreation Management and Journalism and Mass Communication, my interests include things like marketing, public relations, and journalism.

Current Student Orgs

I’m currently a member of these two student orgs.

Sport and Recreation Management Club

“The mission of the organization is to further the professional development of The University of Iowa Sport and Recreation Management students. It provides a platform for people to network amongst others in the program, gain valuable experience alongside program courses, and learn more about the local Iowa sports community.”

This student org is in its first year at the University of Iowa, and is always looking to add more members. I found out about it through one of the SRM (Sport and Recreation Management) classes I was taking during first semester.

During meetings, we often have a guest speaker and talk about upcoming networking events or ways to volunteer with the athletic department. I currently hold the Sports Information Chair, but, due to schedule conflicts, my attendance at meetings is limited this semester.

KRUI

“KRUI provides a real opportunity for students to be introduced to the radio broadcasting field. Although the University offers courses in radio broadcasting and audio journalism, only KRUI gives all students a chance to go beyond the classroom and experience the live atmosphere of broadcasting while still in school. Exposure to these actual situations allows students to gain confidence in themselves and their skills.”

KRUI happens to be the second largest student organization on campus. I found out about it through my Hawkeye Guide during orientation, who had been trying to recruit more members. He’s currently the Sports Director.

I joined specifically to write about sports online, but, admittedly, I have been slacking when it comes to that (really, really slacking). I also have the opportunity to produce athletic events or go on-air and talk about sports.

Future Student Orgs

I plan on becoming a member of these two student orgs within the next year.

PRSSA

“The University of Iowa Public Relations Student Society of America is a pre-professional organization for University of Iowa students interested in the field of public relations.”

I actually first found out about PRSSA by searching the web for ways to get involved in public relations and marketing at the University of Iowa. I’ve had other people recommend it to me since then.

It’s a great way to network, get tips for success, build a resume, and gain experience.

STAR

“STAR assists the Office of Admission in the recruitment of high school, transfer and non-traditional students through programs, activities, and events. We provide information about The University of Iowa’s programs, services, and special opportunities to prospective students and their families. STAR promotes The University of Iowa through contact with other students, parents, and alumni.”

I found out about STAR through the Office of Admissions’ Communications Coordinator when I was looking for ways to get involved with marketing.

This is a good way to gain some experience.

Honorable Mentions

These aren’t technically student orgs, but I wanted to include them.

The Daily Iowan

This is a student newspaper that works out of the Adler Journalism Building. It’s run by students and is independent from the University of Iowa. It’s definitely the best way to get your foot in the door on campus when it comes to journalism and communications.

I found out about The Daily Iowan during my campus visit junior year of high school. I planned on joining during my first year, but it hasn’t been in the cards for me yet. As of right now, I’m aiming to apply at the beginning of next school year.

Admissions Blogger

I found out about blogging for the Office of Admissions towards the beginning of my senior year of high school (don’t quote me on that). I really enjoyed reading the experiences of last year’s bloggers and I love writing, so I figured it would be the perfect opportunity for me.

And now here I am.

 

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

Life at Iowa: January 2018

I’m going to be trying something new this semester. I will be using an app called 1 Second Everyday, which allows me to take a one-second clip each day, to share my everyday life as a student at the University of Iowa. At the beginning of each month, I will mash together all of the clips from the previous month and give a short-ish recap.

I wanted to do this last semester as well, but I was adjusting to life as a college student and it just didn’t work out.

So, without further ado…

January 2018 was all about getting back into the groove of classes and extracurricular activities. I ordered my textbooks for the semester, walked to class in the snow, and started waking up early enough to eat breakfast at Hillcrest Market Place almost every day.

I experienced what it’s like to be crammed on the Cambus with no room to move at all because no one wants to walk in the cold (and we’re probably feeling a little lazy after a long day of classes).

I started volunteering at Iowa athletic events for the Fans First Practicum. The hours are long, and constantly smiling at strangers and answering their questions can be tiring at times, but it’s worth it in more ways than one. Thankfully, I did still manage to catch two men’s basketball games as a regular fan.

After two and a half weeks of classes, I’m looking forward to the many weeks ahead.

Next month: Sport and Recreation Management field trip to Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Thank you for reading and watching! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

8 Things I’m Doing This Spring

I had a long list of things I wanted to accomplish during break. Instead of just lazing around all day, I wanted to be at least a little bit productive.

Ha. Joke’s on me, right?

In reality, my day went a lot like this:

  1. Stay up really, really late watching Netflix or sports, reading a book, or playing
  2. Trivial Pursuit.
  3. Sleep in until two in the afternoon.
  4. Eat a lot of food.
  5. Repeat.

Looking back on it, I think I was subconsciously trying to give myself a good amount of relaxation time in preparation for a busy second semester. Because I am going to be really busy this semester.

1. Full schedule of classes

First semester I had four classes (12 s.h.), which worked well for me. I eased my way into college, but now I feel comfortable enough to take more. So this semester I have a full schedule of classes (18 s.h.). However, two of my classes aren’t your typical classes (see #2 and #3 on this list). I’m even taking an online course, so I need to make sure I stay on top of all the assignments.

2. Fans First Practicum

For my Sport and Recreation Management major, I’m required to complete nine semester hours of field experience. Due to the fact that I’m a student videographer for the football team, fall practicums are a little difficult to do. For that reason, I’m doing one this spring. During Fans First, I will have a class from 5:30-8:00 p.m. every Wednesday night, and throughout the week I will volunteer at athletic events (men’s and women’s basketball, track and field, wrestling, and so on).

3. Alternative Spring Break

I heard about this during my last semester of high school when a graduate from my high school posted about joining a spring break team, and I immediately knew I would want to join one too. The class meets every Monday night, and during spring break I’ll be traveling to Columbus, Ohio to work with people in criminal justice reform.

4. Blogging/Writing

I’ve been blogging for Iowa Admissions for one semester now, and I’ve definitely enjoyed it. I slacked off at times, but I’m hoping to change that this semester. I’d like to try to get more involved in writing in other ways at the University of Iowa this semester, though. Maybe Her Campus or The Daily Iowan, but I haven’t decided yet.

5. Getting a job

Not sure exactly what yet, but I will be getting a job this semester!

6. Filming spring football

This won’t be happening until late March or early April, but I’m really excited to film football again.

7. Field trip to Minnesota

While writing this post, I’ve been waiting in line at the Field House since six a.m. to sign up for the field trip to Minnesota (registration isn’t until 8:45 a.m., but it’s on a first-come, first-served basis). It’s open to all majors, but the Sport and Recreation Management program organizes two field trips every year (one in the fall; one in the spring).

On this trip, we’ll be doing a lot of fun and exciting things: 1) Tour of US Bank Stadium, 2) Q&A with Vikings executives, 3) Tour of Mayo Clinic Square (Timberwolves’ new training facility and offices), 4) Q&A with Timberwolves executives, 5) Timberwolves vs. Lakers game, 6) Post-game photo on the court, 7) Tour of the National Sports Center, 8) Q&A with National Sports Center executives, and 9) Q&A with MLS National Sales Center executives.

8. Clubs and organizations

I’m in the Sport and Recreation Management Club and KRUI (although I really slacked off with my involvement at KRUI). I really hope to get more involved with those clubs, plus others as well.

 

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

A Semester of Trial and Error

They say you learn a lot about yourself during college, and I definitely learned a lot about myself (and life) through trial and error during my first semester at the University of Iowa. I was away from home for the first time, experiencing life on my own, and I had absolutely no clue what I was doing.

So I tried different ways of doing things. Sometimes I was successful, and sometimes I failed. But I learned a lot – that’s what matters.

Before I get into the main part of this post, one thing I learned about myself is that I really, really love lists. To-do lists, TV show lists, book lists, bucket lists, blog post lists, and so on.

So, in list form, here are the most important things I learned during my first semester of college:

Study, study, study

I didn’t expect college to be easy. I knew it was going to be harder than high school.

And I knew I was being ridiculous when I didn’t really study for a few of my midterms, but I thought maybe – just maybe – my scores would be fine despite not studying. But I was wrong. 

I got my act together after that and studied for my finals, and I did well. 

Had I studied for those midterms, I definitely had a good shot at a 4.0 GPA. But I didn’t, so the only thing I can do now is make sure I study smart for all future exams. 

It’s easy to fall behind

I procrastinated. A lot. 

And it’s really easy to fall behind in college. Professors aren’t going to stop and wait for you to catch up. (But you can go to office hours for extra help!)

It was stressful having to rush to write papers and put together presentations at the last minute. I’d like to avoid doing that next semester.

Ask for help if you need it

There’s no shame in needing help, whether it’s academic or mental. 

Go to office hours. Get a tutor. See a therapist.

Do whatever it takes to be successful, but make sure you’re healthy while doing it.

Don’t put yourself down

Perfection doesn’t exist. You can try to be perfect, but you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment.

Don’t put yourself down if you don’t get an A or a B. Don’t put yourself down if you struggle in an “easy course.” Don’t put yourself down if you have to withdraw from a course for whatever reason. Don’t put yourself down if you decide to change your major.

College is the time to find yourself. You’re going to make mistakes. You’re going to change your mind. And it’s perfectly normal to do so.

Stop being afraid

Go outside of your comfort zone once in a while. Put yourself out there to truly experience life. 

In the sports industry, making connections and knowing the right people is incredibly important. I have to put myself out there, and that’s not something I’m used to doing.

I missed out on a couple opportunities during first semester because I was too “afraid” to go outside my comfort zone, but I’m aiming to change that during second semester.

Rent textbooks online

Last semester, I rented textbooks through a site called Chegg. It’s a lot cheaper than buying textbooks at list price because you can save up to 90%.

When it’s time to return the books, you can print off a prepaid shipping label and drop the box off at the nearest UPS location. And you can highlight the rental books (just don’t write in them).

I’ll be using Chegg again for textbooks during the spring semester.

Don’t rush into getting an apartment

The day before finals week, my roommate and I decided to find an apartment to live in during sophomore year. That was on Sunday.

On Monday, we met up with another girl and decided it would be the three of us living in the apartment.

On Tuesday, we visited the apartment, and a few hours later we were signing the lease.

We hardly looked around. We just saw a picture, decided we liked it, and were like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” We could’ve found a cheaper place. A way, way cheaper place. Not to mention, the apartment is a 30-minute walk from Kinnick Stadium and the football facility, which means I’ll probably need to invest in a bike to get to practice every day. 

I’m taking it as a learning experience. Next year, I’ll start looking for an apartment (or a house) a lot sooner and I’ll spend a lot of time looking to make sure I’m making a good decision.

Don’t order take-out all the time

During the summer I downloaded an app called Grubhub, which is an food ordering and delivery company. My parents knew it would prove to be a problem, and they weren’t wrong. 

I didn’t spend an insane amount of money, but I did order take-out a lot more often than I should have. My savings started to dwindle to a point where I had to delete the app because I apparently have no self-control

Don’t force yourself to become someone you’re not

When you go to college, you can re-invent yourself. You can be whoever you want to be; you can be whoever you were afraid to be. 

But make sure it’s still you. Make sure you’re still proud of yourself when you look in the mirror. 

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

 

How I’m Spending Winter Break

Now that my final exams and papers are completed, I can finally enjoy a month away from campus. Don’t get me wrong, it was a fun first semester and I learned a lot about myself, but it was a hard life to adapt to and I definitely deserve some time off from classes and homework.

The way I look at it, I have two options for break.

1) Do (literally) nothing

2) Be (somewhat) productive

While I do think both are practical, one is probably smarter than the other. I do deserve a break, but, at the same time, I can’t let myself become a complete couch potato. My time off should be a mix of productivity and relaxation.

So here’s what I’m looking forward to doing during Winter Break:

1. Seeing my family

I may fight with them a lot, but I still love my parents and siblings more than anything in this world. I know for a fact we’ll be playing a lot of Trivial Pursuit during the month I’m home.

2. Binge-watching TV shows

I have a long list of shows on Netflix that I need to watch (Black Mirror, The Crown, The Punisher, Scandal, Friends From College, and so on), and I hope to make at least a small dent in this list.

3. Reading (a lot of) books

Reading is my favorite way to pass time and I’m always looking for a good book. Since I’m a broke college student, I like finding websites that offer free books for me to indulge in.

4. Searching for a spring semester job

Last semester I was on the video staff for the football team, but I was only a volunteer so I wasn’t getting paid. And that was perfectly fine. I received a lot of free clothes and was able to stand on the sideline during home football games, as well as gain valuable experience in the sports industry. I’m still on the video staff as a volunteer (there’s a chance I’ll start getting paid Fall 2018), but I won’t be filming any football until late spring.

But being a broke college student – for the lack of a better word – sucks.

For that reason, I need to find a paying job to fill the void and start saving money. I’m hoping to find a job that involves a career I’m interested in, but, honestly, any job is a good job. I’ll still gain experience and improve certain skills.

5. Developing new routines

Looking back on this past semester, I didn’t really have much of a routine. I did homework whenever I felt like it and went to sleep at odd hours. And, honestly, that worked well for me. I only had four classes, a volunteer job (that I only worked two, maybe three, times a week), and a few student organizations. I had plenty of time to slack off and get away with it.

Next semester, however, is a different story. I’m going to be incredibly busy and I’m going to need some kind of routine to keep me from falling behind.

6. Catching up on sleep

Aforementioned, I went to sleep at odd hours during first semester. Some nights I’d go to bed at 10 or 11 p.m., while other nights I’d be up until four a.m. reading a book. On average, I probably got around 5 or 6 hours of sleep every night.

My goal for break is to try to go to bed early and then wake up at a respectable hour. Hopefully I’ll be getting at least seven, if not eight, hours of sleep each night.

7. Going to basketball games

I plan on going to a few of my high school’s home basketball games. Mostly because I like basketball, but also so I can see some people from high school that I haven’t seen in a while.

8. Writing and/or blogging

I love writing, but I have a lot of work to do if I want to become a really good writer in the future and (maybe) make a career out of it.

And it all starts with simply putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

9. Learning code

Code has always been something I was interested in learning. I never had the chance to take a class during high school, though, because I had other classes I needed to take to graduate, and I never knew where to start online.

Recently, I’ve been searching the web and found a few sites (Codecademy, Free Code Camp, and Codewars) with good reviews.

10. Learning a foreign language

I took four years of Spanish in high school and I really enjoyed it. I decided not to take any foreign language classes while in college, but I’d still like to stay somewhat fluent.

I haven’t been very on top of it lately, and I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot, but I plan on changing that during break.

11. Applying for scholarships

College is expensive. I can only work so much while in school. I’m broke (have I reiterated that enough yet?).

And what’s better than free money? Absolutely nothing.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

 

 

Finals Week: Avoiding Burnout

It’s almost Finals Week. 

Those two words are a lot more terrifying now that I’m in college compared to when I was in high school.

At my high school, I don’t remember there being a specific week dedicated to finals. Not to mention, the classes, in general, were a lot easier. Outside of a few math and science classes, I never really had to study in high school.

Now that I’m in college, however, I have to study. I learned that the hard way when I didn’t study for two midterm exams (oops, my bad).

And since I need to study for multiple exams taking place in the span of a week, I’m in danger of facing education burnout, which is defined as “exhaustion of physical or emotional strength or motivation usually as a result of prolonged stress or frustration.

I’d like to avoid that fate, if possible. For that reason, I put together a short list of ways to avoid burnout.

1. Make a study plan

I have two papers to write and three exams to study for within the next week. I’m getting anxious just thinking about all of that work, which is why I made a study plan to spread out my work evenly and avoid being overwhelmed.

2. Have three or four achievable goals each day

If I have a long list of things to do each day, I’ll just end up feeling bad about myself if I don’t accomplish all of it. In a sense, this goes hand-in-hand with spreading out my work evenly, except I’m not just talking about writing papers and studying for exams.

I have other tasks, unrelated to school, that I’d still like to complete each day despite devoting a good amount of time to school.

3. Take care of yourself

It’s important to remember to take a break. Don’t spend all day doing work.

Sleep. Eat. Shower. Talk to friends. 

Don’t isolate yourself in one room all week. You’ll go crazy.

4. Celebrate your accomplishments

Watch Netflix after studying. Go out to eat with a friend after taking an exam. Buy a new book (or something else you love) as a reward for your hard work.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

College Classes: Creating Your Schedule

Back in June when I was creating my first semester class schedule at orientation, I didn’t really know what I was doing. My goal was to pick classes I thought I would enjoy and hope it all worked out in the end.

And, somehow it did.

However, I took a far different approach when it came to scheduling my second semester classes. Even though it’s my first year on Iowa’s campus, I’m a sophomore based on credit, so I plan on graduating in three years. While scheduling classes for next semester, I tried to include as many SRM (Sport and Recreation Management) and JMC (Journalism and Mass Communication) classes as I could in order to stay on track for both majors.

Here are a seven tips based on how I scheduled my classes:

1. Map out your (future) class schedules

You definitely don’t have to do this, but I’m the kind of person who loves to plan ahead.

A few weeks prior to picking second semester classes, I decided to make an excel document where I map out all of my future class schedules. The document includes a list of all the classes I need/want to take and the years that I should take them in order to graduate in three years, and a few other important details.

My plan will probably change, but it’s nice to have something to fall back on.

2. Maintain a balance

First semester, I had four classes (12 semester hours) because I was easing myself in to college. Second semester, I’m going to have six classes (18 semester hours, which is a full load).

If you can, I suggest taking a full load of classes as long as you maintain a balance. Try not to schedule all of your hard classes in one semester.

3. Make sure you have time for homework (or online classes)

I am taking one online class next semester for my SRM major. I made sure to make time in my schedule to work on homework for that class. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I don’t have class until late afternoon, which gives me plenty of time to focus on my online class. The last thing I want to do is fall behind.

4. Take your personality into account

During first semester, I confirmed that I am not a morning person unless I have something to really motivate me to get up. When I had to go to work and film football practice, I was able to wake up just fine. However, when I had a lecture before 10 a.m., I struggled to get out of bed because I knew no one would notice if I missed class.

I took that into account when scheduling my second semester classes.

5. Make time to eat

One of my biggest concerns was making sure I have time to eat lunch. I wanted to avoid having back-to-back-to-back classes during lunch hours.

6. Look at a campus map

I’d rather not have to run all the way across campus in 10 minutes to get to my next class.

7. Talk to your advisor

It’s possible that talking to your advisor is the most important part of scheduling college classes. Your advisor is there to advise you for a reason. They aren’t going to enroll in classes for you, but they will give you advice and lead you in the right direction. Use their knowledge to your advantage.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

The Truth About Campus Tours

When I visited the University of Iowa in April of 2015 as a junior in high school, I was a little overwhelmed. There was a lot of information being thrown at me, and I was still trying to decide between two schools. However, at the end of the day, I knew the University of Iowa was a place I could call home.

Now that I’m almost done with my first semester here at Iowa, I thought it would be a good time to look back on my own campus tour and talk about what a campus tour can tell you about a school, and what it doesn’t.

A Campus Tour Can Tell You About:

1. The beauty of campus

When I visited campus, I had the option of taking a walking tour or a bus tour; I chose the latter, of course. This was a couple years ago, but I think the bus tour was about 15 to 20 minutes long. The bus drove through the main part of campus all the way to Kinnick Stadium and Carver-Hawkeye Arena. I remember thinking the campus was huge, but that it looked incredible at the same time. I saw students walking to and from classes, talking and laughing with one another, and enjoying themselves. It looked and felt like a place I could call home.

2. The opportunities you’ll have

There was an Exploring Majors Fair that included “representatives from more than 75 academic programs and student service departments.” It was at this fair that I learned about the Sport and Recreation Management major, which is currently one of my two majors. I talked to the representative about the different classes within the major, the field experience that must be completed, and the career paths others have taken. Afterwards I visited the Adler Journalism Building, spoke to a few professors, and toured The Daily Iowan. It was there that I decided my second major: Journalism and Mass Communication.

I also learned about a handful of student organizations and ways to get involved.

3. What residence and dining halls look like

I had the opportunity to explore Currier Hall and see what one of the dorm rooms looked like, and then we ate at Burge Dining Hall.

I remember thinking the residence hall looked old and the dorm room felt like a prison cell, but that’s exactly what I expected. I knew the room would be small and cramped. However, the two girls who lived in that dorm room did a great job of decorating it so it felt homey.

There were a lot of foods to choose from at Burge Dining Hall, and it made me excited for college. (Now, though, I’m starting to get tired of dining hall food.)

4. What college life is like (through the eyes of others, that is)

Towards the beginning of my visit, there was a Q&A session with a group of current students. They answered our questions and talked about their experiences at the University of Iowa. For the most part, I felt like they were being truthful. My favorite part was when one of the current students said, “The freshman 15 is a lie. It’s actually the freshman 45.”

A Campus Tour Can’t Tell You About:

1. Making the most of your time

During my visit, I learned about countless opportunities to shape myself into the person I want to be. But it’s up to me to make the most of my time and take advantage of those opportunities. So far, I’ve become a student videographer for the football team, I’ve joined KRUI and the Sport and Recreation Management Club, I’ve joined a Hawkeye Service Team, and I applied for the Fans First Practicum (field experience for my Sport and Recreation Management major).

And there’s still so much I want to do.

2. What dorm life is really like

Sometimes it’s good, but sometimes it’s not. It’s a good way to meet people and make friends because there are 30+ other people living just down the hall. It’s important to have a good group of friends in college because you’ll be facing a lot of ups and downs, and you’ll need a support system.

Unfortunately, dorm life has its downsides. People tend to get a little rowdy at three in the morning, which makes it difficult to sleep. The communal bathrooms are disgusting at times, and you might find a cockroach or two. And sometimes you’ll find “interesting” things in the hallways that you wished you’d never have to see.

You just have to keep reminding yourself that it’s only temporary.

3. Making friends

Making friends in college is way different from making friends in high school. In high school, it was easy to make friends, especially since I went to a small school.

But I’m not an outgoing person and I don’t have a lot in common with other people, which makes making friends in college a little complicated at times. Now I have to really push myself outside of my comfort zone in order to make friends.

4. The different types of seasons

If you’re from Iowa or a midwest state, this doesn’t really apply to you because you already know what the weather is like. However, if you’re from a warm location like California or Florida, you’re in for a rude awakening.

Iowa’s weather is bipolar. One day it’s 60 degrees and sunny and the next it’s 30 degrees and snowing. When you visit on one day of the year, you only get a feel of what it’s like being on campus during that specific season.

I visited in April and it was 40 degrees and incredibly windy. Thankfully, I brought a sweatshirt. But it can also get really hot and really cold. It might even rain.

Just make sure you’re prepared.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

15 Ways To (Actually) Relax In College

Between studying for midterms, writing papers, and not getting enough sleep, I have been feeling incredibly stressed lately. For that reason, this post is just as much for me as it is for others.

To me, relaxation is all about clearing the mind in a non-strenuous way. In college, we do a lot of moving around as we have to go to classes, club meetings, and work. When I relax, I prefer not leaving my dorm room at all.

So here are 15 ways to actually relax in college:

1. Take A Nap

Long, short, somewhere in between. Just lie down, close your eyes, and let your exhaustion consume you.

2. Read For Pleasure

When studying topics that interest us, we probably find enjoyment in our textbooks. But put those textbooks down. Remove yourself from your studies and grab a book that takes your mind off school.

I’m currently reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur.

3. Listen To Music

It doesn’t matter what kind. We all have different tastes when it comes to music, so pick songs or artists you enjoy. If you’re looking for pre-made playlists full of relaxing music, Spotify is the place to go.

4. Meditate

This is something I have never done, but have always wanted to try. There are countless ways to meditate, and the benefits of it are countless too. From reducing stress and increasing happiness to slowing aging and improving immunity, meditating helps encourage a healthy lifestyle.

5. De-Clutter Your Space

One big cause of stress for me is when my personal space is a mess, whether it’s my desk, my closet, or the files on my laptop. Take some time to organize and clean. When it’s time to get to work again, you will be more likely to get stuff done since you don’t feel overwhelmed by a mess.

6. Write Down Your Thoughts

Even if you aren’t a “good” writer, letting all of your frustrations out with pen and paper is a great stress reliever. Rant about classes or a person you encountered. Talk about something you’re passionate about. Write a cliche short story. Write a memoir of your life. The possibilities are endless.

7. Draw Or Color

I have no artistic ability at all. I avoided art classes in high school because I knew my grade would suffer. However, coloring is something I have always enjoyed. And it also happens to be a great way to relieve stress. Print pictures from online, buy a coloring book, or just grab a blank sheet of paper — whatever works best for you.

8. Watch A Funny Movie

My favorite movie genres are action, drama, and sport. But when I feel like I need to laugh, I understandably turn to comedy movies. Personally, I enjoy Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which I guess is technically considered a mix of sport and action, but it never fails to make me laugh.

9. Binge-Watch Netflix

Or Hulu. Or YouTube.

10. Make Hot Chocolate

It’s starting to get cold out, so naturally I bought hot chocolate this past weekend. It tastes good and its warmth is well-suited for any cold month. There’s nothing I’d rather do than curl up in a blanket, turn on the TV (preferably to a football game), and drink a cup of hot chocolate.

11. Talk To A Friend

Rant. Complain. Let it all out. If writing isn’t your thing, maybe talking is.

12. Think Positive

Did poor on a test? Study more efficiently next time. Didn’t do well during an interview? Figure out what you need to work on and improve. It’s not the end of the world. Don’t let a bad test, grade, or social interaction get you down.

13. Slow Down

Don’t try to get involved in a million things just for the sake of getting involved. It’s better to know a lot about a little than a little about a lot.

14. Forgive Yourself

We all make mistakes. We can’t (always) be perfect. And there’s nothing wrong with that. What really matters is that you keep trying.

15. Just Breathe

We get so caught up in trying to balance classes, clubs, and work, that sometimes we forget to just breathe. Not literally (at least I hope not), but figuratively. We push ourselves so hard, pack our schedules full, and leave little time for fun.

So stop what you’re doing, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself why you’re here.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

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@kam_smithy

Small Town to Big Campus

I must admit it was a bit of a culture shock to go from a small town of around 1,200 people to a campus of around 33,000 students. My high school graduating class consisted of 35 students I knew, whereas now I am part of a class of thousands and can probably only name a handful of them.

The truth is, college is nothing like I had expected. I had heard horror stories from others about the campus being too big and spread out, about there being cockroaches in the residence halls, and about communal bathrooms being the worst thing ever. But I wanted to experience all of it on my own before jumping to any conclusions.

So here are the conclusions I have come to after a few months on campus:

IOWA’S CAMPUS IS WALKABLE

I heard from students that decided to go to other colleges that, when they visited Iowa, the campus felt too big and spread out. While it is a big campus, it’s not too big. I’m able to reach all of my classes within 15 minutes when walking. However, there are days when walking sounds awful. When it’s super hot, pouring rain, or incredibly cold (which I haven’t experienced yet), there’s the Cambus service that makes traveling from one location to another a lot easier. At the end of the day, it’s really a personal preference on whether or not campus is too big.

SHARING A ROOM WITH SOMEONE ELSE IS A TOSS UP

I got lucky because my roommate and I get along and share a lot of the same views on life. At the same time, I have been witness to other roommates constantly arguing and talking about each other behind their backs. I was nervous to have the university randomly select a roommate for me (based off a few factors), but it has worked out in my favor thus far.

USING A COMMUNAL BATHROOM ISN’T THE END OF THE WORLD

Before moving in, I dreaded the idea of sharing a bathroom with 14+ other girls. While it does suck having to walk all the way down the hallway and unlock a door just to go to the bathroom, I have decided it is something I can tolerate for a year. The worst part of the communal bathroom was when I unlocked the door and three cockroaches were staring back at me…on my first morning on campus.

I ENJOY BEING IN A LECTURE HALL WITH 299 OTHER STUDENTS

It gets a little crowded when everyone decides to show up on the day of an exam, but it certainly isn’t the worst experience. I’m not someone who enjoys speaking up in class (at least not yet), so I like not being forced to participate in lecture — though I still have to participate in discussion sections.

I NEED TO WORK ON TIME MANAGEMENT

I didn’t sign up for a ton of classes first semester, but I’m still struggling to manage my time when it comes to classes, student organizations, and work. I’ve spent more time watching Netflix than I have studying, and that’s a problem. Thankfully, I still have time to improve before the semester is over.

I NEED TO STUDY MORE THAN I DID IN HIGH SCHOOL

I have discovered that my old tactics of studying don’t work for me anymore. If I’m being completely honest, I hardly ever had to study for tests in high school. Now, however, studying is essential to my success in classes.

I SEE A LOT OF FAMILIAR FACES ON CAMPUS

With there being 33,000 students going to classes, I didn’t expect to see so many familiar faces all the time. I see people from my floor, student organizations, and job walking on the Pentacrest constantly. There are even random people I have become familiar with just because I always see them around campus. We may not talk much or at all, but just seeing someone familiar can improve my mood in a flash. In the words of the rock band Journey, I’m “just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world.” (You’re welcome, Mom.)

LIVING ON THE WEST SIDE OF CAMPUS DOESN’T SUCK

For one, I’m closer to Kinnick Stadium. Since my job involves heading that way for football practice once or twice a week, it’s good to be close by. Also, we’re only right on the other side of the river. Classes aren’t as far away as people seem to think. Most importantly, the west side of campus isn’t as crazy as the east side. As a person who enjoys a little peace and quiet, being away from the busy side of campus is nice.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to keep an eye out for my next post! And if you’d like to see more of my everyday life as an Iowa student, feel free to follow me on social media. Go Hawks!

Instagram · Snapchat · Twitter
@kam_smithy