A second semester update!

Hi guys!

It’s been a LONG time since I’ve written – both on here and my personal blog. 🙁 (Which I hope to launch soon! I’ll try adding the link here in a later blog if you want to check that out too.)

Life gets crazy, and boy have I been busy! I haven’t forgotten you guys though. I’m still here and will continue to be and hopefully my experiences can help you out too – just the way others’ Experience Iowa blogs have helped me (and still do, haha).

Since last writing, A LOT has changed. I feel like a new human!

  • CommUnity certified Crisis Line volunteer

Last semester I was accepted into a volunteer program that I am super passionate about! Through CommUnity, I was able to become a certified suicide prevention counselor. The training was long but every moment was more impactful than the last, & it was one of the most eye-opening things I’d ever completed. I was able to become ASIST certified and can now communicate with individuals all over the United States and help them through a crisis. It is such an amazing program, and if you’re at all interested you can do some research on it because the demand of volunteers is growing! I promise, it is a volunteer program you will not regret committing to.

Related image

  • UI Pen Pal program

Iowa City is my second home and I felt a desire to connect with my community more, so I applied for a super neat program called the UI Pen Pal program. You first fill out a mini survey about yourself, and the people in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment match you with a young kid in middle school that’s similar to you. Basically, I get to communicate with my “buddy” through letters, then get to spend a whole day with her sometime in April! You’re not only being a friend, but a role model as well. This isn’t just a fun program to be a part of, but it looks amazing on resumes & you really do learn a bit about yourself through the process.

  • Women’s Wellness and Counseling Clinic internship

The thing I love the most about Iowa is that the people here will always encourage you to keep learning – there really is no limit to that. Through the Psychiatry unit at the hospital I have been able to make so many connections and receive various opportunities because once the doctors I work for have taught me and showed me everything they possibly can, they introduce me to new people. The professors and staff at Iowa never want to hold you back, they’ll always want you to keep moving forward. I have been crazy blessed and am now the first undergrad to work for the WWC since opening up in 2010. Since they know I want to focus on counseling psychology, they have taken me under their wing and have been teaching me the field. I am so excited to officially start in the fall of 2019!

  • American Association of Suicidology conference

Another opportunity I was grateful enough to receive was an invitation to the AAS conference in Denver, Colorado! Through CommUnity and the connections I have made at the hospital, I am able to attend such a neat conference to become a better equiped counselor for the CommUnity center and hopefully one day my career! It’s pending because as neat as this opportunity is, it is not connected to the U of Iowa so I have to get approved by all professors before missing four days of classes. However, I say take in every opportunity you can, and if it ends up not working out then you will always know in the back of your head that there was the possibility of it. Most of the time, the professors will encourage opportunities such as this one. So, go for it!

Image result for Suicidology

  • BEST test scores (thus far)

Based off of personal decisions, I set out a majority of my “free time” in the library. I knew what type of student I had the potential of being, and knew I hadn’t been giving it my ALL this past semester. Although I was still getting good grades, I knew that I could push myself even further. This semester I wanted to take initiative of that so I set high goals in academics and it led me to the best semester I’ve had my entire time at Iowa. The feeling is unbeatable. I can assure you once you see such high grades you won’t want to go back and studying just becomes a habit – a “routine” that you actually don’t mind doing because of the end results.

The University of Iowa is a never-ending place of opportunities. They’re all around us, in every corner! Take initiative of what you want to become a part of because the opportunities are here, you just have to snatch them.

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

Another amazing semester, in the books!

I survived yet another semester here at the University of Iowa! The two weeks leading up to finals and the week of finals is a crazy, crazy, crazy time. Trust me, you’re not the only one that thought they were losing their mind. But guess what. . . we did it.

This year I am so very thankful for everything that happened. Although I’ll admit it isn’t my favorite out of the three semesters I’ve had here, it’s definitely one packed with memories. It was a lot easier than last year’s fall semester, but it still brought along its own challenges and learning experiences. Secret is, every semester will. I learned a lot about myself yet again, made a couple new amazing friends, and completed all of my gen ed’s!

  

This semester taught me that in order to sustain friendships there has to be effort, good grades will simply not just come to you, never attempt to pull off an all-nighter because sleep is seriously so important, and getting involved on campus now is important for your future. I learned so much more and I will continue to learn even more during my time here at Iowa.

This coming semester I will officially only be taking classes that pertain to my major and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s going to be hard, but I’m ready to indulge in all of the information I’m about to tackle down to prepare me for my future. As soon as you’re done with all gen ed’s, classes will become so exciting! They might be some of the hardest classes you take, but they will feel so satisfying to complete. You will see the value in each class and you will be reassured that what you chose to study is exactly what you want to do. If not, you will know then to switch it up.

I am in love with my school, the people it has brought me, the opportunities it has opened up for me, and the endless lessons it has taught me. So thank you to the University of Iowa, you were one of the best choices ever!

  

More coffee, please!

There are so many hidden gems here in Iowa City. From small gift shops, rooftop restaurants, and my favorite – coffee shops! Iowa City has so many, and luckily I’ve been able to check most of them out. Coffee shops are my favorite places to study, catch up with friends, or even grab a quick coffee if I know I’ll need to caffeine kick for the day. These are just some of my favorite coffee places you can check out here in our favorite place, Iowa City.

The High Ground Cafe

This coffee shop is a little off campus, but it’s definitely worth the walk. The wifi will never let you down, the staff is super friendly, and the large window-walls make for a great view of the city. Although their drinks aren’t my favorite, the sandwiches there are to die for. I recommend any panini – they throw in a huge side of chips. Every person I’ve met there is super friendly and will strike up a conversation. I love the atmosphere!

 


The Java House

This place will always have a piece of my heart. It was the first coffee shop I found here at the University of Iowa and I’ve loved it ever since. Their white mocha is a must, so if you’re a newbie I would recommend that. You won’t be disappointed. Although it’s hard to snatch a table here and the wifi sometimes isn’t the most reliable, the atmosphere makes for a very productive homework day. All of their drinks are delicious and Heirloom is attached right beside it, so there is food available if you get hungry!

 

Bread Garden Market Cafe

Personally, this is one of my favorites because it’s super cheap but the quality is high! There is also a variety of home-made like food available if you get hungry. I like to keep this option open for those days I know I’ll be studying for hours. I can get up at any moment, grab food if I get hungry or a coffee if I need more energy. There is always a table available if you beat the rush hours and the wifi password is posted on the walls if you ever do decide to check it out.

 

The Encounter Cafe

If I ever just want to catch up with my friends or take some time for myself, this is to place to go! It’s near downtown, a block away from Starbucks. The food there is delicious, and the coffee’s are even better. Most of their ingredients are fresh or locally grown. This place is cozy, clean, and crisp. Many people meet here to talk so there are no worries about “disrespecting” someone with your noise levels.

 

 

My Christmas Wishlist as a College Sophomore!

The holiday season is right in front of us which means the last few days of classes, finals, and eventually break! It’s so close yet so far away. As I take study breaks I started composing my Christmas wishlist, and I hope to bring some ideas if you’re stuck on what to ask Santa for this year!

Powerbeats

Last year I asked for wireless Beats and I use them whenever I study or just relax in my room. However, I don’t like wearing them when I walk around campus or workout. I love the fact that they’re wireless, and this year the very top thing on my list is a smaller version of my wireless Beats – the Power Beats. They’re small, wireless, and super cute. They would come in handy so often, that at this point I consider it a need more than a want.

 

Laptop Bag / Case

Iowa weather is wildly unpredictable. The worst thing that 99% of college students experience is wet materials/notebooks/books after walking through the rain. Granted most backpacks are zipped, they still get the somewhat wet. A good laptop bag/case is high on my list since I can’t afford my laptop getting damaged due to rain. A brand I can always rely on for electronic protection is THULE.

 

Hammock

When the weather is being nice, however, nothing is better than relaxing or studying in a hammock on the Pentacrest. It’s also a fun activity you can do with multiple friends, so even if it’s just you who has one, three can enjoy sitting outside! A brand I love is ENO.

Nike Free’s

Living off of campus means walking. . . a lot. To me, nothing is worse than having bad shoes that makes you more tired! A shoe brand I love is NIKE, and I know I can always be comfortable in their shoes. The current pair I have my eyes on are the Nike Free’s. They’re extremely light so it’ll feel as if I have nothing on.

23AndMe

This is definitely a want more than a need, which is why it’s the very last thing on my wish list. 23AndMe is a DNA genetic testing kit that gives you a full report on both your ancestry, traits, and health. One of my roommates got it for her birthday this year, and seeing the report she got back was insanely cool. It shows you an interactive map of where your ancestors come from, a genetic health screening, and traits that you more than likely have (such as not being a morning person, disliking black coffee and why, etc). This would be a super cool gift that you can share with your family and it also teaches you a lot about yourself/your history.

I hope you all had an amazing first semester and an even more relaxing winter break! Here we go, the last stretch.

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

Things To Do During Your Thanksgiving Break!

Thanksgiving Break is right around the corner and fortunately enough, Iowa gives a whole week off of classes. Since I live so far away from home that it’s not even worth going home for a simple weekend, I look forward to these breaks so much. I know the week at home will fly by but I made a list of things I want to do at home to make the most of it. Here are some ideas that you can consider doing too for the week you get off!

Eat a big home-cooked meal with your whole family

As a sophomore, I no longer get the luxury of simply swiping my HawkID card and have access to hot meals. If I want to eat something good, I have to cook. It’s literally such a drag that most nights I end up eating cereal or eggs. I already sent my mamma a big list of meals I want her to make when I’m home – enjoy those home cooked meals as much as you can!

Go on a simple outing with your siblings

At some point it hits you that you don’t talk to your siblings everyday while you’re at college. You look back to all the days you swore you’d never miss them and laugh, because you miss them so much. Spend time with your siblings and catch up! Life is crazy and it keeps going even when you’re away. Soak up all the family time you can.

Grab all the blankets laying around and spend a whole day watching movies

You’ve been studying and doing homework for the past how many weeks? Enjoy your time off and just be lazy. You honestly probably deserve it. Although I know some people study and catch up on homework during breaks, don’t forget that it’s a break. You deserve time off.

Catch up with your hometown friends at least one night

I don’t talk to many people from home anymore, but for those that I still do, I know they’re genuine friends. They have stuck with me through high school and you can’t forget them! At one point they were with you everyday and if you maintain your friendships with some of them after graduating, I think that screams pure friendship.

Go to a coffee shop and simply get organized for the upcoming crazy season of finals

Towards the end of the week long break, I do recommend getting organized. By the time we come back, we only have two weeks before finals start. In this small time frame everyone scrambles to get organized that they aren’t left with much time to study. Simply get all your due dates in order, make a to-do list, and prepare your materials to study. Then when you’re back at school, all you have to do is start the process! I did this last year and felt so much weight off of my shoulders. I highly recommend this.

A week will fly by and before you know it you’ll be back on your daily routine! Enjoy this time off and have a great break.

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

 

My Favorite Studying Spots at Iowa

Midterm season is killing me – and it’s not even over for me yet. I’m taking a study break right now to write about a few of my favorite study spots on campus! The amount of time, commitment, and effort you have to put in during this time is straining. I’m not going to lie, I think it’s baloney that a majority of classes rely heavily on tests scores but it is what it is. All you can do it study study study and hope you rock all your tests. Midterm season is hard! If you feel yourself drowning take a step back and know that it’s all going to work out in the end. One bad test won’t determine your definite grade for that class. Take it from me, I’ve failed two tests my time here at Iowa.

The best thing to get you started in your studying routine is to find your spot! Here are just a few of my favorite places to study around campus, and I hope you enjoy them just as much if you ever decide to check them out.

The Java House

Basically my second home – literally. If my friends can’t get a hold of me the first spot they check is always Java because I turn off my phone when I’m studying. The biggest distraction when studying is your phone. You get notifications, feel the urge to scroll through social media platforms, and honestly just mess around. The most important piece of advice I can give in this post is to turn off all forms of notifications. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes! A little chunk of pure focus is going to benefit you so much more than hours of studying while being distracted.   Java has such a soothing atmosphere that it makes focusing easy. The playlists they play are always amazing and the staff is so friendly. The only downside with Java is that sometimes the wifi crashes and it’s always full! So many people love it. 

Art Building West – Second Floor

One of my biggest things (I don’t know why) is to study somewhere that’s aesthetically pleasing to the eyes or has a nice view. For some reason, I cannot study somewhere unless it’s nice in that sense. Since I’ll be spending a lot of time there, I don’t like looking up and seeing old, dungy tables or books. The Art Building is one of the most beautiful buildings here at Iowa. The second floor is all open windows that looks out to the prettiest blue little pond and greenery. I highly recommend this spot. It’s always quiet and never busy. However, do check the hours before you head to the west side because they do close early sometimes!

The High Ground Cafe

I just found this place and I love it! When I study, I like staying for a couple hours but sometimes I do hit walls. When I do, I love ordering a hand-crafted drink for energy and even encouragement (treat yourself). Last year I would only study at coffee shops and I ended up spending a crazy amount of money. If you don’t like spending money on a drink each day just to study then I recommend keeping coffee shops exclusively for those days you know you’re going to really grind. It’s a “special treat” for yourself. Not only that, but a little caffeine can never hurt anybody.

 

    

Music Building – Rooftop

I hate being alone even if I know I’ll get more done but having friends with you to study is perfect because you can take mini breaks, chit chat, and then re-focus. I love studying at the rooftop of the music building during warm days. You’re free to talk and not whisper, enjoy the sun, and just get stuff done!

 

 

 

Iowa Memorial Union – Third Floor

But there are times I just want to get away from everybody and do my own thing. It’s important to remember that sometimes studying alone is what you need to be the most productive you. I found that the third floor of the IMU has a few cozy, hidden spots where you can study alone and avoid any distractions. My favorite spot is directly in front of the very large windows on top of the main entrance of the IMU. I’m alone yet I can see everybody in the outside. A huge plus about this floor is that it has a printer – no need to go to the library to print.

Involvement on Campus – Sophomore Year!

The University of Iowa is big! There are so many activities, clubs, and organizations you can be a part of. It might be tricky to choose just the right ones, but in the end you find the ones you love. As a freshman, I made sure to get involved not only to start building my resume right away, but to find organizations that can both teach me and help me grow as an individual. Here are just a few organizations I’m a part of, & I hope you find yours too!

The Odyssey Blogging

In a far future, I hope to publish my own book on psychology and counseling services – and what better way than to start getting published as an undergrad in college? The Odyssey allows me to write whatever I want, in whichever way I want, and still be published. It not only helps me reflect on past experiences, but it allows me to grow as a writer and editor.

Iowa Student Psychology Association

Through ISPA, I am able to participate on hands-on activities that will help me down the road in both my education and career. There are many research opportunities offered and workshops in resume and cover letter building. Honestly anything that can help me get a head start in the game is something that I highly encourage for any field!

Her Campus Iowa

This organization allows me to connect with the community around me and other strong females as well! It allows me to grow my circle of connections and learn how to market myself and my work. This club has brought me many friendships and fun, new experiences!

UI Active Minds

Mental health is important & something that will heavily impact me for the rest of my life. There is so much I have left to learn about mental health before I can dive into a career that focuses on it. It’s an amazing learning opportunity and allows me to make sure that I as well am in check with myself.

Our Collective Brains

This is a brand new club on campus that took off this year. Although it’s on its beginning stages, I can already tell it will be one of the most beneficial clubs I joined as an undergrad. Our Collective Brains is a club for first-generations or minority students majoring in psychology or neuroscience. Through this club I will be offered job shadowing opportunities, internship opportunities, graduate school application help and much much much more!

Volunteering at the Crisis Center

Although I haven’t officially began training for this, I’m excited to see what November holds in store for me. Through the Crisis Center, I will go through training on how to become a suicide hotline counselor. This not only gives me real-world experience in a field I want to someday be part of but allows me to be the plug of relief for those around me as well.

I highly encourage you to try out as many clubs and organizations as you can. If it interests you, check it out! The time commitment is simple, and if you ever can’t make a meeting or event then it’s completely okay. A lot of clubs and organizations understand that you are a student and will always encourage you to out academics first. Good luck on your future endeavors!

Xoxo

Lizbeth

Home Sweet Home!

As an incoming freshman, I thought living in the dorms would give me ultimate freedom. Wrong. Yes it’s a whole lot less strict than living with parents, but there are still so many rules. You have to be conscious about your neighbors, cordial to your roommate, and follow any rules your RA has along with the hallway quiet hours.

With freshman year out of the way, it was finally time to get the type of freedom I always craved. Apartment/house hunting is a tricky task. There’s a lot of things you have to take into consideration when choosing which place you’re going to call “home” next.

Here’s a list of things both my roommates and I took into consideration when choosing our new home, and we hope it helps you guys too!

Always look at price first

If you’re a super broke college student who still heavily relies on their parent (guilty as charged) it’s super important to take into consideration the price tags that come with the units. I worked all summer long to save up money for rent, but it still won’t be enough to cover the whole year, which is when your parents step in. It’s important for them to agree with the budget and prices if they’re going to be helping you out – or even if you’re doing it on your own! You don’t want something that will be too much on you.

. . . But don’t hold back to looking at “nicer” places

At first, my roommates and I avoided looking at anything that was considerably nicer, solely for the purpose of saving money. However, if you get an extra roommate or two, the price per month drops for everyone which makes the “nicer” places affordable!

Look at the location of the place

If you’re anything like me, you probably won’t want to sign a lease somewhere off in Coralville but you also don’t want to sign a lease right on top of a busy restaurant/bar downtown. Location is essential. You have to make sure you’re in a place you’ll be comfortable coming to and from campus, and in a “safer” neighborhood.

. . .But remember that the closer to campus, the higher the demand

But if you are the type to enjoy living in a busy street with a high traffic volume, usually somewhere on top of a business downtown, those options are always available too! Obviously, the closer the apartment is to campus, the more money it’ll be.

Be 100% about everyone you’re living with

It kind of sucks that most people have to sign a lease right before Thanksgiving, considering the fact that it leaves you with a whole new semester to meet new people, make new friends, etc. However, even though you have to sign early on in the year, make sure you only sign with people you’re 100% about. They’re going to be your roommates for a whole school year – and if you aren’t 100%, then honestly just don’t sign.

. . .But make sure everyone is also 100% on board

Yes, we had a roommate ditch. It left everyone else in a sticky situation. So always make sure your roommates are on board as much as you are. If you sense a hint of doubt, make sure to get it resolved ASAP! Do not wait until last minute unless you want to deal with apartment lease issues.

Make a checklist of stuff everyone is going to bring

It’s always smart to get organized after signing a lease. Divvying up the stuff to bring to a new apartment can be tricky, but it is doable. An easy check list on Google Docs can do justice, and just have everyone put their name next to the things they can bring.

. . .But remember to be fair with the whole group

If one of the roommates agrees to get the couch, make sure you’re not making them get another big purchase. A roommate bringing a couch versus a roommate bringing silverware doesn’t equal up. You see? Make sure everyone is contributing the same amount! It’s all different with each roommate, so just make sure to communicate.

With everything taken into consideration – my roommates and I chose to sign a lease with Apartments Downtown at one of the Villas! It’s located on Gilbert Street which is approximately a 10 minute walk from campus. We love our new home and can’t wait for the year ahead.

If you’re in the process of looking for a new place to live, even if it’s not until next year, don’t be afraid to start the process as early as you can. Most people sign their lease for the upcoming school year as early as October! The living demand is high in Iowa City considering it’s such a big college campus. Be proactive, but don’t stress. In the end, it always works out! Good luck.

Xoxo

Lizbeth



Iowa City, I Missed You & Glad I Stuck With It!

If you would’ve asked me exactly a year ago if I was going to stay at Iowa, I would have looked at you (probably cried) and said I wanted to transfer to a college near home. I was home sick, confused about my major, and overwhelmed by the difference in both the community and size of the city.

BUT – I stuck it out. I stayed. And honestly, it was one of the best decisions I could’ve possibly made. Iowa City is my home!

Freshman year is tricky. You’re excited to go to college, relocate, and practically begin a new life, but nobody tells you about all the “bleh” things that come with it.  Nobody really talks about the jittery feeling walking into your first big lecture, the uneasy thoughts wondering if you’ll make a lot of friends or not, and the sadness that sometimes succumbs over as you think about how much you miss home. Nobody really talks about these things because it’s uncomfortable, it’s not a fun topic to think about.

Freshman year is harder for some than others. Sometimes you wonder why everyone else seems like they’re having the time of their lives and you’re over here stressing out on the inside. Thing is, it’s all a little overwhelming and challenging at times – but you aren’t alone. There are probably more students that feel the exact same way you are than you think. Even now, as a sophomore, I went into a funk for three days because I didn’t feel right. Something felt off. . . but I soon realized that it was just the adjustment.

As I left to go back home my freshman year, I cried on the way home. I didn’t want to say bye to the city I fell in love with. Yet, coming back this year I cried as I left home. I didn’t want to say bye to the little town that I grew up in, where my family and puppy were. It’s hard! It’s challenging!

In the end, however, it all turns out to be okay. You’re going to readjust, and soon enough you’re going to fall in love with Iowa City the way I did. Just know that it can take two days, two weeks, even two months to adjust. You’re allowed to have as much time as you want to re-adjust. Don’t be worried if you feel a little behind from everyone else, because we’re all different. Just remember to take care of yourself first and foremost.

Don’t stay in – go out. Try some caramel apples from Aspen Leaf. Get a personalized pizza from Blaze Pizza. Sip on a white mocha from Java House. Enjoy the artwork along the walls in downtown Iowa City. Go out, enjoy yourself, and explore! The world is big and there’s so much to see. Why not start with the city we all love?

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

Balancing a Job

To many, deciding whether to get a job first semester or not may be a tricky choice. Yes money is nice but so is going out with friends – you see the dilemma?

In my situation, I was blessed enough to have parents who were willing to give me money first semester in order to not get a job right off the bat. They thought that trying to balance a job, academics, and a social life right away would be too much for me to handle. Boy, were they right! First semester is a huge transition and a big learning period. If I were to give my honest advice, I’d say avoid a job first semester and focus on settling in. Take the extra time you have and go out with friends, explore Iowa City, and just make Iowa your new home.

In order to do this, however, it’d be a smart idea to start saving up money during summer prior to moving to Iowa City. My roommate spent her summer working so she wouldn’t have to get a job during the school year, which worked out perfectly for her. She has her own money without having to have a job here. It’s all about what works for you and your situation.

However, life can’t be all fun and games forever. There’s a certain point where you have to quit relying on your parents and show them that you can do it out in the real world on your own. As second semester rolls around, you now know what does and doesn’t work for you, which makes it easier to decide when squeezing time for a job accommodates you.

I was given such a neat opportunity at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, where I not only have a job that allows me to build connections with people in my field but also lets me choose my own schedule. For the most part, most jobs around here are flexible since they know that academics are first priority. I chose to work Monday through Thursday mornings before class, which allows me to get it “out of the way” right at the beginning of my day, along with a three day weekend. Although waking up early isn’t my favorite thing to do, it works for me.

Choosing to get a job may be a tricky choice, but with all the openings in Iowa City and HireaHawk.com, it’s an easy process. All you have to do is fill out a general student application and click on all the jobs you’re interested in. A few do have extra applications though.

On a side note, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you to my momma and papa for supporting me with absolutely everything my first year at Iowa. I wouldn’t have been able to survive first semester without all of your love, advice, and even money (lol). I love you both so much!!!

Xoxo, Lizbeth