Feb

01

Dorm Life: Expectation vs. Reality

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Coming into college, everyone tends to have  a lot of expectations. People see college dorm rooms in movies and on pinterest and they tend to paint a false picture of what it is actually like. Some misconceptions are pretty negative and may leave some people feeling nervous about moving into a residence hall. However, I am happy to say that most of these things are actually false. since I have survived living in a college dorm room for more than a semester, I wanted to shed a light on what it is like to live in a residence hall at The University of Iowa.

Expectation: Living in such a small room is going to be terrible.

Reality: Living in a dorm room isn’t the most glamorous thing you will ever experience, but trust me when I say that it’s not as bad as it seems. All residence halls are different so experiences may vary, but living in a small room can be not only manageable, but even enjoyable. It is all about organization and planning and with a little work, you can make your dorm room into the room of your dreams. I live in a triple room, which means that I have a little less space than some people in double rooms. However, I have grown to love my little space  and it has transformed into my little home away from home.

Expectation: Living with someone else is going to be hard.

Reality: Having a roommate isn’t always easy, but it doesn’t always have to be hard either. As long as you communicate well with you roommate/ roommates and try your best to respect each other, it can be a great experience. Whether you were able to choose your roommate or you get assigned someone random, you can really make the best out of it. You might even make a best friend for life like I did.

Expectation: RA’s are scary

Reality: While the RA’s job is to make sure that rules are followed, they are also there to support and encourage you. They are students who have already been through the ups and downs of college life, which makes them a great resource.

Expectation: Living on the West side of campus is really inconvenient.

Reality: While I was personally very reluctant to live on the west side of campus, I am very happy where I ended up. Living on the west side gives you a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of main campus for a while which really helped me. Also, it is closer to Kinnick which makes game days way better, and walking back and forth from west campus to east campus has definately helped me avoid the freshman fifteen.

Expectation: The bathroom situation will be a nightmare

Reality: This was something that I was really nervous for when I came to campus because I have always had a bathroom to myself. However, it isn’t as scary as it seems. Whether you end up with community style bathrooms or pod style bathrooms, you will get used to it after a couple days and it really isn’t that big of a deal. Just don’t forget your shower shoes.

Whether you are preparing to live on campus next year or in the future, I hope these explanations helped clear up some dorm room misconceptions. Go Hawks!

-Kat

 

 

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Nov

28

semester regrets

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With only three three more weeks left in the semester, I can sadly say that I already have some regrets. I have been loving college, but if I could go back in time and change somethings, this is what I would do differently:

  1. Rush a sorority like I planned to– I was so excited all summer to go through the formal rush process, but once I got on campus I was really tired and overwhelmed after the first week so I decided to drop out. Now, I feel like I missed out on an amazing opportunity to make friends at college.
  2. Not isolate myself so much in the beginning– At the start of the semester, I was so excited to have found a great small group of friends. I tended to do everything with them which was great while it lastly. Sadly, that meant that all the people on my hall got really close while I was always with my original group of friends. Now that I tend to not spend as much time with those people, I have found that it is harder for me to make friends since everyone has already formed connections and bonds to other people and it can be hard to break into that.
  3. Go to things even if it means going alone– It was, and still is kind of is hard for me to go to events and clubs with a whole bunch of people that I don’t know all by myself. This discouraged me from joining a few clubs and going to some events that I know I would have enjoyed. I am sure that this prevented me from a lot of amazing experiences where I could have met great people.
  4. Get the smaller meal plan- Right now, I have the gold meal plan which means that I have unlimited swipes at the dining hall. At the beginning of the semester I went to the dining hall for every meal, but now I find myself going only a couple times a week. This is a huge waste of money because even when I was constantly going to the dining hall, I only ate two meals there a day because I am not a breakfast person.
  5. Audition for an acapella group– This is another thing that I was really excited to try when I got on campus and got too stressed out and anxious. Now, I really regret that decision because I feel like I am wasting my musical talents. Sadly, it is hard to sing in the residence halls without annoying your neighbors.
  6. Not take 8:30am classes– It was never easy for me to get up for classes in high school and it has only gotten worse in college. I tend to miss my 8:30 class too often because I oversleep or just can’t get out of bed. Also, I found that I am most productive at night so I stay up really late. I’m trying to fix this next semester by taking mostly afternoon classes so that I can wake up later, and therefore stay up later at night.

Although I can’t actually travel back in time and change these things, I am glad that I learned a lesson from it all and that I know what to change for next semester and future years. College is definitely  a learning process, and it is only the beginning.

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Nov

09

Family Weekend

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Family weekend here at the University of Iowa is fast approaching and I have honestly never been so excited to see my parents. The last time I saw my dad I was waving goodbye as I drove off in a U-Haul headed to Iowa, and the last time I saw my mom was move in day. Granted, I have always had an amazing relationship with my parents and I knew I would miss them like crazy, but I have been anticipating this weekend for over a month now. They will be getting here on Thursday and leaving on Saturday which only leaves me a short window of time to spend with them, but I plan to make the most of it. Now, here is what I am going to do with my parents for family weekend.

  1. Show them around campus- My parents have both only been on campus one time and at that point I had no idea where I was going or what I should show them. This weekend I plan to play tour guide and show then where I go and what I do everyday.
  2. Go out to dinner- I haven’t gotten the chance to try so many restaurants in Downtown Iowa City because of either a lack of time or a lack of money. I am super excited to bypass the dining hall and try some really good local food.
  3. Celebrate Veterans Day- I am so glad that my dad will be here for veterans day with me since he has dutifully served in the United States Navy for 26 years. This is such an important day for my family and our country and I am excited to be able to thank him in person.
  4. Take a trip to target- My grocery supply quickly depleted soon after getting to college, so a trip to target is well needed. You know you’re in college when you get excited about buying microwaveable rice cups.
  5. Go to the game!- I am always excited for an Iowa game and this one will be even better since I will have all of my favorite people with me to cheer for my favorite team.

However, no matter what we are doing I am just glad that we are doing it together. I took my family for granted for the past 18 years of my life and although I miss them, it has made us so much stronger. Whether we are just sitting and catching up or exploring everything that Iowa City has to offer, I’m sure that it is going to be a great weekend.

 

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Oct

12

Homesick

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I have been at the University of Iowa for almost two months now and my time here has been amazing. I have made a lot of new friends, I have joined organizations, and I have really grown used to it here. A small part of me has always been homesick, but I always just put it in the back of my mind and tried to keep myself distracted. It wasn’t until I saw all my friends back in Virginia going home for their fall break that it really hit me. This past week I really realized how homesick I  am, and I am sure that I’m not alone. I realized that even though I am in love with my college,  it is okay to miss home a little bit.

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Shout-out to my awesome dad

Homesickness is something that happens to everyone, no matter their situation. I realized that college so far has made me extremely grateful for the family that I grew up with, and I’m not ashamed to say that I’m counting down the days until family weekend when I can see my parents for the first time since August. In fact, I really envy the people who live close to college so that they can visit their family on the weekend. However, I know that this experience will only strengthen the bond between my family and I.

Missing home has made getting up for class a little harder and I have definitely noticed it having an effect on my motivation levels. This is when I realized that I need to stop focusing  so much on how far away I am from my family. I picked the University of Iowa because of the amazing campus and education that I knew I would receive here. I can’t let homesickness effect my success here, because I know that I will regret it down the road.

Now, I have been trying to focus on the positive. I need to work hard now so that I can be proud of my first semester of college. That way, when I go home for Christmas, I won’t have any regrets. I know that I’m not alone when it comes to this topic and I encourage everyone else out there struggling to try to focus on the positive. Do something everyday to  make yourself happy and try to hang around people who have a positive influence on your life. I wish everyone the best.

-Kat

 

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Sep

22

How To Be A Great Roommate

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One of the biggest changes that comes with college is having to live with a roommate. This was something that I was excited for, but it was also one of the things that I was really nervous about. I had no idea whether or not I would get along with my roommate and I just really didn’t know how it was all going to work. When I found out that I would be in a triple I was even more nervous about it all, but once I started to talk to my roommates I realized that I might have actually gotten pretty lucky.

Now that I have lived with my roommates for over a month, every day I realize more and more just how lucky I am. While everyone else is having roommate issues, I can honestly say that we get along really well. That being said, here are my tips for being a good roommate so you can have the best experience possible.

  1. The number one rule of being a good roommate is to be considerate. This is the root of almost all the roommate problems that I have heard so far. Being considerate is actually pretty easy. Really all you have to do is think about the other people involved. An example of this is when your roommate wants to go to sleep, move out to the lounge to talk on the phone or study with the lights on. Luckily, this came naturally to me and my roommates, but some people apparently have a hard time with this.
  2. The second most important rule when it comes to being a good roommate is to talk to each other when problems happen. Since no one is perfect, you and your roommate will most likely have a disagreement at one point or another. No matter how minor the problem, it is always important to communicate with your roommate how you feel and what you want. Also, I have heard so many people talking to other people about their roommate issues without actually talking to their roommate. How can your roommate be expected to change what they are doing if you don’t ask them first?
  3. Everyone needs space. So if you and your roommate both like to hang out in the room a lot, make sure you are each getting some alone time. Even if you guys are best friends, everyone gets sick of being around the same person every second, so it is important to have other friends and other things to do outside of the room.
  4. Go out of your way to be nice. It can something as small as leaving a note to your roommate wishing them good luck on their exam, or something as big as getting them Starbucks when they’re sick. Also, you could just simply ask them about their day. Just basically be a nice person and you will be on your way to being a great roommate.
  5. Remember that you don’t have to be best friends. Honestly, during the first week when I didn’t know anyone else I wanted to do everything that my roommates were doing. Then I realized that I also need to have other friends and I didn’t necessarily have to be best friends with my roommates. It is awesome if that ends up happening, but remember that it is pretty rare. Getting along well with your roommate can honestly be enough right there.
  6. Don’t take out your day on your roommate. This is easy to do because he or she is probably the first person that you talk to after a bad day, but remember that they aren’t your therapist. Sometimes people can’t deal with other people’s problems while dealing with their own, and you don’t want to overwhelm them. If you need to vent about your day, either call up your mom or take advantage of the resources on campus.

As you can see, being a good roommate is actually pretty easy. Of course it comes with it’s challenges, but it is a really rewarding experience when you think about it. You will learn more about yourself and other people, and whether you love sharing your room or not, just remember these tips to help you be the best roommate that you can be.

 

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Sep

12

25 Freshmen Thoughts

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Let’s face it,  the University of Iowa’s campus is very diverse with every student coming from a different background with a different story. However, there are some things that we all have in common. Particularity, there are certain things that all of us freshman have thought at some point. Maybe not all of these are relatable to every freshman on campus, but by talking to the people around me I have definitely noticed some similarities in our experiences here at the University of Iowa. So here are twenty-five thoughts that I have had during my brief time here at college, and I don’t think that I am alone.

  1. “If I walk up this hill, I can have dessert tonight.”
  2. “I want every single Hawkeye shirt.”
  3. “I’ll just charge it to my U-Bill.”
  4. “Is twenty minutes long enough amount of time to make it to Starbucks before class?”
  5. “I’ll just have grilled chicken and salad tonight…. Oh wait, there is chicken nuggets and onion rings.”
  6. “Does everyone else’s feet hurt, or is it just me?”
  7. “Can you order food off of amazon?” ( the answer is yes btw)
  8. “How many weeks until winter break?”
  9. *Walking past the deserts* “Don’t do it, just don’t do it.”
  10. “I miss my dog.”
  11. “This class is making me rethink my life decisions.”
  12. “I really hope there are cupcakes at the dining hall.”
  13. “I haven’t registered to vote in Johnson county but I’m still going to say yes and walk away smiling and nodding.”
  14. “I am so hungry, but the dining hall is just so far away.”
  15. *coughs once* “Crap, I’ve got the plague.”
  16. “College is cool and all, but this adulting thing is hard.”
  17. “These four years are going to go by too fast and I am already sad.”
  18. “I really wish I could have a dog in the dorms.”
  19. “Wow, I am so glad that I actually  found friends”
  20. “Should I pay this order up delivery fee or actually make the walk to Chipotle?”
  21. “Never again will I sign up for a 8:30 am.”
  22. “I really wish my mom was here to buy this.”
  23. “It is probably really obvious to everyone around me that I am a freshman.”
  24. *lost on the first day of class* “Just keep walking straight so it looks like you know where you are going.”
  25.  “Wow, I really don’t know what I am doing.”

I hope that all students on campus have had a great start to their year. For us freshmen, this is just the beginning and we have so much more to experience here at The University of Iowa!

Go Hawks!!

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Aug

30

First week of classes expectations vs. reality

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After spending hours online researching about what college would be like, I had a lot of expectations going into the first week. I didn’t know where anything was, I didn’t know a lot of people, and I was scared that I would get homesick. I tried to enjoy the summer before college, but there were so many unknowns. Once I got to campus, I really felt at home. All of my classes came and went and I realized that I was wrong when it came to a lot of my expectations and fears about college life and college classes. Here are some of the things that I was completely wrong about and how my views of college changed once I completed my first week at The University of Iowa.

Expectation #1: Professors would be really mean and unapproachable

Reality: All of my professors this semester were very welcoming and inviting. I know that I probably lucked out in this department, but just know that most professors aren’t as scary as they are made out to be.

Expectation #2: The University of Iowa campus is so big and I would never be able to figure it out

Reality: I was able to figure out the campus really easily. On the Sunday before classes started, I walked around and found where all my classes were. Once I did that I got a really good sense of where everything was on campus and it made it so much easier for me during the first week.

Expectation #3: I would never find friends that compare to my high school friends

Reality: I quickly found friends that have made my college experience amazing. They actually really remind me of all my friends from  high school in that they accept me and I can be myself around them. There are so many people on campus with all different backgrounds and interests, so it is really easy to find a group of people that are really easy to get along with.

Expectation #4: I would be drowning in papers and homework

Reality: While college definitely comes with more papers and big projects, there is a lot less busy work compared to high school. This way, as long as you budget your time, you will be left with a LOT of free time. I found myself actually getting bored during the first week cause I didn’t really have anything to do.

Expectation #5: I would get really homesick

Reality: I have been doing really well with the idea of being thousands of miles away from home. I have been embracing my new life in Iowa due to great friends and all of the activities going on around campus that have kept me busy.

Expectation #6: Living with two roommates in a triple would be terrible

Reality: I got so lucky when it came to my roommates. Despite not planning on living together, we get along really well and we are already great friends. Having instant friends like that made the transition into college really fun and less stressful,

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Aug

21

6 Things I learned From Freshman Year Move In Day

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My first experience at the University of Iowa was move-in day. I moved in on Thursday the 18th and I was honestly pretty nervous. I didn’t know what to expect, where to go, or how I would feel about it. Despite all my worrying, it wasn’t as bad as I thought and I quickly fell in love with college life. As soon as I moved in and got settled, I sat down and wrote a list of the things that I learned during my short move in time.

  1. College doesn’t feel like college right away- All summer I imagined college a certain way. I thought that I would step on campus and my life would automatically transform into something different. I thought that the feeling would eventually hit me after my first night but it never really did. I still feel like this is temporary and I will be going home soon. I know I will get more used to college life, but for right now everything is just a little strange.
  2. RA’s can be awesome- RA’s can basically be instant friends that know everything about campus and college life. Mine offered to take our floor to places and go on campus tours, which made me feel a lot more comfortable about being on campus. RA’s are there to enforce rules but they can also be great resources.
  3. It is okay if you don’t have 100 friends right away- I learned that when you get to college, everyone is extremely friendly.  A lot of people start to form groups or become isolated by only talking to their roommates. This works for some people, but just remember that if you don’t find your group of people right away it is okay.
  4. You will introduce yourself so many times and it is kind of crazy– After about ten minutes of meeting new people I  had a script of what I would say to people since everyone asked the same questions. I would spout out my name, hometown, major, residence hall, and floor about every three minutes. It got kind of repetitive but it was great meeting a ton of new people and seeing what we had in common.
  5. Your dorm room looks bigger in pictures- When planning my dorm room I knew I wouldn’t have much space, but when I opened the door to my room I realized that I had half the space that I thought I would have. Needless to say, I brought way too much stuff.
  6. No one else knows what they are doing- Pretty much everyone you see on campus is either lost or confused. Even if they look like they are already college pros, just know that they are probably faking it until they make it. So if you are lost just trying to get to the IMU, keep in mind that you are definitely not alone.

making the I

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