A Letter To My Roomie

Dear Emma,

It’s hard to believe that we only have a little over a month left with each other. I still remember every detail about the first few days we lived together, as if it just happened yesterday.

Thank you for everything you’ve done for me in these last seven months. Although I might not say thank you everyday, just remember that I’m always grateful for you and all you do.

For now and until the day I graduate, I’ll always have a part of you in my heart. I feel so lucky to be able to say that I had such a great roommate. After hearing all the roommate horror stories from everyone else, it’s such a good feeling to not know what that’s like. You’ve made the first year at Iowa such a good one.

 

Being able to grow with you for a year has been a really neat experience. I’m glad that we’ve both found things that make us happy. I’m glad that you’ve found a second family with your sorority and even a special someone who makes you smile. 😉

c

I knew that you’d be a role model since the day I moved in with you, and I just want to remind you that you still are one! You hold such high standards for yourself and those around you, that it’s contagious not to want to strive for more. I’m so proud of everything you’ve worked on, set your heart to, and accomplished this semester. I will always be rooting for you roomie.

 

Thank you for not tearing my hair out in the mornings when I drop something or turn on the loud Keurig as I get ready and you sleep. Thank you for always sharing your momma’s homemade goods with me. Thank you for your open closet when I need it. Thank you for everything!

I don’t know what next year will bring for us, but whatever it may be I just wanted to sum it up: Thank you for being an amazing first-year roommate and always remember that I love you today and everyday.

Let’s make this last month one to remember.

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

PS, do you remember getting trapped in our own room? Hahaha

Becoming a Hawkeye

When asked the question, “What made you decide to be a Hawkeye” I can’t help but laugh. Let me tell you a little story. . .

I didn’t want to be a Hawkeye. All throughout high school, I was set on three other schools and was confident that I’d end up in one of the three. Iowa was never a choice, it wasn’t even a consideration if I’m being completely honest. Then life happened, and I committed to Iowa the last month of my high school career. It was sudden, out-of-the-blue, and a shock to everyone.

I dreamed of being a Gopher at the University of Minnesota, a Cyclone at Iowa State University (I know, I know – yuck) or a Bison at the University of Colorado Boulder. For these options I was either following a risky dream, a person, or just simply wanted to get away from this area.

In the end, the choice that made the most sense for me was Iowa. A school I never considered was what ultimately would be the best decision for Lizbeth. It was a perfect combination of everything I was looking for: very few people from my high school, far away from home but close enough to visit, a competitive psychology/counseling program, a D1 sized-school, and in-state tuition. Although I never thought it was the school for me, my dad made me open my eyes and realize it was. All I needed was a little push.

Now that I’m here, my heart fills with joy knowing that I’m able to say I’m a Hawkeye! It’s a school that has brought me so much. So many opportunities, so many great people, so many memories, and so much joy.

Reflecting back on it, I know I would’ve never gotten half the things, opportunities, or people had I not come to Iowa. To this day, I couldn’t imagine my life any differently.

So when asked, “What made you decided to be a Hawkeye?” I can honestly say I don’t have an answer, but now that I’m here, I can’t imagine not being a Hawkeye.

My advice to anyone stuck between colleges or lost on where to choose: BE SO VERY OPEN. I know you probably hear that a lot, but there’s so much truth behind it. Even take into consideration the colleges that you discarded before even giving them a chance. Don’t make the mistake of throwing an option out simply due to pre-existing opinions. Be open, look everywhere, and take in all your options. In the end, do what’s best for YOU.

Xoxo, Lizbeth

Perks of Going Home

I love living in Iowa City and consider it to be a second home, but there are so many perks that come with going back home-home. Here are just a few (of many) that come to mind.

Homemade Meals

One will truly never know what they take for granted until they no longer have it. . . and for me, it’s my momma’s home cooking. I miss coming home from class and having a snack or hot dinner that night. Eat all you can while you’re home TBH.

Old Bestfriends

Coming home to such amazing friends make being home that much better. Having distance between people shows you who your real friends are, and there is truly no better feeling than that. Some people even say that nothing beats high school friends. I love you guys.

Saving Money

For the most part, you won’t have to worry about spending so much of your own money because your parents are right there with you. Tag along with your momma when she goes and buys a coffee or tag along with your dad when he makes a quick run to the store. They’re right there with you!

Unlofted Bed

My bed at home is always, and will always be, better than any other bed I sleep on. It’s the bed I grew up with and the bed that I got to choose. It’s comfy and after a long day, the most relaxing feeling is being able to hop into bed instead of climbing up.

No Sandals In The Shower

Finally! No shower caddy! No shower sandals! I can just walk into my shower and have everything there. I can take as long as I want and not have that underlying feeling of taking up the shower for too long. Bubble-baths here I come.

Iowa City, you are home now too but nothing beats home-home where you’re constantly surrounded by people you love with things you love.

Xoxo, Lizbeth

My Experience At Hillcrest

Hillcrest Residence Hall

Hillcrest

Home sweet home! Although Hillcrest is a really old building, it has a lot of well… character. The rooms are by no means brand new, and actually have a lot of chipped paint and noisy heaters. On the plus side, you will always find someone to hang out with. The floors are co-ed, but they’re split between women/men sides. As you enter a floor, the right side will be all girl rooms, whereas the left side will be all guy rooms. The only floors that aren’t co-ed this year are 4th and 5th floor. I live on 4th floor, which is a small all-girls floor, and the 5th floor is made up of returning sophomore guys.

I hated the idea of being on an all-girls floor when I first moved in, mostly because I thought it would be my only opportunity to make guy friends. After a few weeks of living there, I realized how great it actually was. You make such strong friendships with all the girls on the floor, and don’t have to worry about looking presentable at all times. You kinda just go.

Coming in, I was worried that I would constantly have to wait to use the showers and the bathrooms. Surprisingly, I’ve only had to wait once, maybe twice, this whole year! Everyone has such different schedules that you never really have to wait around to use these facilities. The only downside is when the bathrooms are closed for cleaning at inconvenient times, and you have to wait for them to reopen. However, you can typically avoid running into their hours by checking the cleaning schedules posted on each bathroom door. They do clean every day which is a huge plus. You never have to worry about a dirty bathroom!

Another thought I hated coming into a residence hall was living in a dorm with a dining hall. I was SO wrong! Having a dining hall down a few flights of stairs has seriously made my life so much easier. I can just slip on some moccasins and head down there without having to walk outside. In my original thought, I thought having a dining hall would make my dorm busy and loud. In reality, the dining hall is far far away from my room and it has no effect on me whatsoever.

Hillcrest also has many washing rooms, a gym, and a small mailbox where you can drop off any mail you need to send out instead of making a detour to the post office. There are also many study rooms available throughout each floor and lobby area.

In my opinion, if you’re looking to get a true dorm room experience, Hillcrest is a great option.

Make sure to read the descriptions on the Housing Website to get info on all of the other residence halls!

Xoxo, Lizbeth

Scheduling Around

In college, class schedules are a pretty big deal. They’ll ultimately determine if you have time to do an extracurricular club, get a part-time job, join a fun organization, or participate in intramural sports. Time is everything. Figuring out how to build a convenient schedule while maintaining 15-17 semester hours is hard but very doable.

During orientation, you’ll have to sit in a designated room with your orientation leader(s) and for the next two hours you’ll determine your freshman year schedule. When I saw that it was a scheduled two hours I was shocked. How could making a schedule for ONE semester take so long?

In all honesty, I wish I had more time. Since Iowa is a big university, there are hundreds of classes offered. Obviously you’ll have to take your gen ed’s, but one can also schedule fun classes, honor classes, or advanced classes. It’s all honestly up to YOU and your major.

 

Above, was my schedule for my first semester as a college student. I kind of over-loaded and was a bit too ambitious. I thought college was going to be simple and I’d know how to take control right away. I was overconfident and this schedule kind of kicked my butt. I’m not saying four classes a day is hard – but homework for four/five classes a day is. They say for every hour you’re in class, you should spend three outside of it per day. Along with this schedule, I had a lot of “waiting” around time until my next class. The gaps were an hour and that kind of made my schedule long. I wanted to get a part-time job as well, but I could really only work Tuesdays and weekends, and that was if I finished all my homework/studying. It was kind of a mess. From this, I learned to try scheduling my classes back-to-back to avoid the waiting time. This way, I had more time to be proactive about my activities and school work.

 

After first semester, I realized a lot of things I did and didn’t like. Personally, I hated being in class past 3:20 (just like high school) so I made sure to be done around that time each day if I could. Next, I realized I didn’t have as much drive as I did at the beginning of each week by Friday, so I made sure to only schedule one or two by the weekend. This way, I’ll be more focused in classes instead of just dazing off. Lastly, I kind of realized that if I decide to take a math AND science class in the same semester, I need to choose easier gen ed’s. The math and science classes here are no joke, and you can’t just cross your fingers and hope to do good. You have to put in the time both in and out of class.

Every person is different and I know of very few freshman who loved their first semester schedule. It’s honestly just a big a learning period.

If I can give any advice, it’s to trust your gut. If you know you aren’t a morning person then do not schedule that 8 a.m. class. If you like going to bed early, do not schedule that 7 p.m. class. With time, you’ll find people whose schedules sync up with yours and it’ll all feel easier. By second semester of your freshman year you’ll know what you do and don’t like. Good luck!

Xoxo, Lizbeth

“Major” Changes. . .

I started off my freshman year wanting to be a psychiatrist. I’ve had my mind made up ever since I was in 5th grade. I was absolutely, positively, sure that I would NOT be one of the many people who change their major – or so I thought.

Wrong. Not even a full semester in I knew I wanted out. Not because the classes were challenging (even though they definitely were) but because I started thinking of my future. I always knew I wanted a family, kids, and to be able to someday be considered that “trophy wife” someone has. Being a doctor would simply not allow me to have that much open time. I would be working hours on end, and wouldn’t be able to just call in “sick” at any given moment. In my current internship, which is in the psychiatry unit at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, I always see the doctors with an overload of work and hectic schedules. Being a doctor meant real, tough commitment.

I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do. I’ve had this dream ever since I was a young girl. I promised my parents I would stick with it and didn’t want to let them down. However, after calling my mom for the 2034839th time bawling about how stressed I was about the situation I was in, she eventually slapped some reality in me:

“Lizbeth, it’s okay if you change your major. It does not mean you failed – it does not mean you’re a quitter. It simply means you finally saw the reality of life and are choosing a different path.”

My mom was right. I immediately scheduled an appointment with my academic advisor to change my major. I went in completely clueless. I told her that I didn’t want to completely give up my dream of working with people, but I also didn’t want that to someday become my life. I left with about fifteen brochures on different majors and careers and was able to explore new options.

That’s when the Kindergarten Education dream began. All of my close friends said that would be the perfect career plan for me. I was lively, I loved working with children, and I just overall fit the image of being a kindergarten teacher. I called my mom again and told her my plan – but mommas know best and she shut down my new dream right away. I was in denial at first and refused to listen to her advice, and stuck with the idea for a month or so. After emotions settled, I finally listened to her side. She told me that if I ultimately chose to be a teacher, I wouldn’t be able to travel for my career, compete with others in my field, and would just simply be “stuck” in one place. It opened up my eyes and I quickly realized it was an impulse decision and I needed an out.

Back with the academic advisor I went. I went in all frazzled again. Fortunately, my freshman year academic advisor was so sweet and truly tried helping me figure out where I belonged. We looked at many options. Towards the end she suggested clinical counseling since it was similar to my original field, just without the ability to prescribe medication. It would allow me to work on my own time, travel wherever I wanted, and I was always able to climb up the professional ladder. It all made sense. It was truly like a light bulb went off and I realized that’s what I truly wanted to do. I went back to my internship to look at the counseling unit instead of the psychiatric unit, and realized it was what I wanted to do. I could truly see myself there.

So here I am, working to get my PhD in counseling. A competitive field, where I wouldn’t be on call 24/7 or be “stuck” in one place.

My advice for any incoming freshman is to STAY OPEN! I came in confident that I wouldn’t change my major, choose a different career, or mix my life up. But here I am, with a different major, different career plan, and a different life plan. Nothing is for sure, and keeping an open mind about everything truly lets you figure out what you are meant to do.

Xoxo,

Lizbeth

Hawkeye Experiences

As a Hawkeye, I can promise that you’ll have at least one (or all) of the following experiences happen to you at some point. They’re kind of, basically, unavoidable.

Losing Your Dignity After Chasing A Cambus

I never used the bus system during first semester. I loved being able to clear my head by walking to classes, and the most time it’d take me was 20 minutes. Now, with the snow and below freezing temperatures, I’m kind of forced to use the Cambus. I have an app called Bongo (a must have) to check when the buses are running. It’s a pain though because at times it’ll say it’s 10 minutes away and a few seconds later it’ll be 3 minutes away.

Another annoyance about the Cambus is that they fill up quickly, especially during the winter months. I’ve only not gotten on a bus once due to it being so full but it happens to a lot of people. You just have to constantly check and leave earlier than expected to avoid it all. Either that or be late to class – your call.

Getting Attacked With Flyers in the T. Anne Cleary Walkway

There is always something going on in the walkway, and the best advice I can give is to put headphones in and keep walking. Most of the time they just want to hand you a flyer about their organization, or have you buy whatever they’re selling. It’s usually just a small snack or drink for $5 but I usually don’t have the time or money to stop.

Constant Emails About Different Student Organizations

As an avid email checker, this annoys me. As soon as I see a new notification for an email, I go check to see if it’s anything important but 90% of the time it’s just another mass email sent to every student on campus about a different organization. Although I have joined one or two due to emails, most of the time they don’t really interest me.

Missing the Dining Hall Hours

If I have a lot of homework or lose track of time as I study for a big exam, I often times forget to eat and by the time I realize it, it’s too late. Although the dining hall hours aren’t complicated, they are hard to keep track of. Another thing that sucks about the dining halls are waiting for them to open. Sundays are usually the hardest since they open later but close earlier.

If you’re anything like me and can’t seem to adjust your schedule to the dining hall, there are always Flex Meals available – and you can get those at any time you like.

Being Asked What Sorority/Fraternity You’re Part of

Greek life isn’t everything here at Iowa, but it is a big part. As you introduce yourself to people a lot of them have the tendency to ask what sorority or fraternity you’re in. At the beginning I got so annoyed with that question that I’d low-key carry something on that had my Greek letters on it so hopefully they’d notice before they asked. But 9/10 times, nobody really cares if you are or aren’t part of Greek life, and will continue talking to you anyways! So if you choose not to be part of it, do not worry.

Choosing “The Seat” On Your First Day of Class

In high school, you were kind of just used to having an assigned seat given by your teacher. In the back of your head you’d always say you’d sit somewhere different each day if you could. Wrong. In college the seat you sit in the first day or two is basically your assigned seat for the rest of the semester. That’s why choosing the right place to sit is crucial (no – I’m not exaggerating I promise). For me, it’s all about sitting next to someone I can see myself becoming really good friends with. That way, I’ll always have someone to talk to during that class and feel comfortable. In some of my harder classes, however, I usually sit by someone who looks like they’re really passionate about the topic since they’re low-key an unwritten tutor.

In College Algebra, I sat next to a girl who looked really nice and she became one of my best friends here at Iowa. We’re actually living together next year in our Villa! So thanks to the worst class ever for giving me my best friend ever.  Love you Holly.

 

As my freshman year comes to an end, I can’t wait to keep writing about my experiences and any advice I can dish out. Xoxo.

Dear Hometown BFF’s

Dear hometown BFF’s,

I’ve only been back at Iowa City for a week and I already miss you all. Being home for a month was truly needed. I wish we had more time, and we will again in 17 weeks. Coming home reminded me of a lot but taught me a lot too.

For starters, I found out who my true best friends are. I never thought I’d drift apart from some of the people I did, but it made me realize that our friendships weren’t as strong as I once thought they were. It showed me who put in the effort to keep our friendships alive even with all the distance, and for that I love you guys (you know who you all are).

Honestly, before heading up to college back in August I was nervous to see what all the distance would do to some of the friendships I had. I knew deep down that I wasn’t going to remain close to everybody, and that’s ok. It happens. But coming home to you guys who made it feel like we were never apart filled my heart. I’m so lucky to have found forever friends at home.

And to the friends I drifted apart from, I’m sorry. Whichever the reason may be, just know that you all have had such a special part in my heart as well and always will. I wish nothing but the best for you guys and your futures, and if you ever want to catch up I will always be here too.

It’s a scary thing to think about, but it’s neat to see everyone begin their own lives. Some of you guys are seniors in high school while others of you are in different colleges. Wherever you may be, just know that you’ll have me by your side through it all. Distance means nothing with friends like you guys.

Thank you for making the month at home one of the best times I’ve had in the old 712. Can’t wait to see each and every one of you. Love you guys.

Xoxo,
Lizbeth

Dear First Semester

Dear first semester,

You kicked my butt. While my grades aren’t horrible, they’re the lowest they’ve ever been. Honestly, I came in thinking it would be a sweep just as high school was, but you proved me wrong. You taught me that I will spend days on end not walking out of Java House due to the workload my major brings me. You taught me that I can’t go a day without caffeine if I want to be productive but also to squeeze in time at the gym no matter what. You taught me that I can’t do everything on my own, I will have to ask for help from time to time. You brought many highs, many lows, and many moments in between. It’s been real – real as in you’ve taught me a lot.

In these last few months, so much has happened. I feel like I just moved into Hillcrest and was introducing myself to my neighbors. How did time move so fast? Did this semester even happen? Many lessons were learned, new friendships were shaped, old ones reinforced, said goodbye to some important people, and experienced many new things.

I began counting down the days for college ever since I was a junior in high school. I was ready to be out of the small town I grew up in and finally become the individual I wanted to be – not the person others expected me to be. Things have changed however. The most important lesson I learned my first semester is that home isn’t a place for me – it’s the people I surround myself with. Home is where my family and friends are. Wherever I end up, it’ll all be okay as long as I’m with people who I love and love me in return. I still don’t know where I’ll end up. Maybe I’ll be back in the small town I grew up in or maybe I’ll move across the country. Wherever home may end up to be, I’m confident that it’s the place I was meant to be at.

Another thing you’ve shined light on is who my true friends are. I knew I would make a lot of new friends coming into college, but I never expected to have a big group of such amazing friends who are always going to have my back. It’s crazy because I feel closer to some of the girls and guys I met just four months ago than some people I’ve known my whole life. Thank you for reminding me what real, pure friendships are. And although it hurt saying goodbye to some, breaking off toxic friendships, and leaving some important people behind, it all worked out in the end. I’m still close to the people I was meant to stay close with from back home, and I love each one of them profusely. 

And lastly, although there were many many many nights where I would break down and cry due to all the stress and work, it’s been worth it. I’ve never felt as accomplished as I do finishing my first semester of college. So first semester, thank you for everything. Now that you’re over, I can truly say I haven’t felt as happy as I do in a such long time. I’m so excited to see what next semester will unfold. Iowa City, you think you’ve seen the best of me but you have a whirlwind coming for you.

Love,

Lizbeth xoxo

The Person You Become

That’s a wrap – first semester is officially over! As I look back at the last four months a sense of nostalgia sweeps over me. I made a lot of really good memories that will honestly last me a lifetime. Everyone says college changes you. . . but does it really? Then I think of the person I was at the beginning of the semester versus the person I am today. And honestly, I can see some changes but I still am the same Lizbeth everyone knows me as.

When I moved to Iowa City back in August I was convinced that I would become a new person. I was relieved that I had an opportunity to start fresh. I had a clean slate, and I was ready to mold into the person I thought I was supposed to become in college. I let the new adventure take its course and figured that it would change me into the new person I was “supposed” to become on its own. Instead, I realized I was in charge of the person that I wanted to be. I was in control of the person I’d mold into. 

With every learning experience, I learned more about who I am as a person rather than changing who I am as a person. Once I realized what was happening, I felt a sense of relief. I wasn’t changing, I was still Lizbeth. Instead, I was growing.

So if you’re anxious about that old saying, “college changes you” – don’t be. You got this, you’re in control. Ultimately, the environment change into the hectic college lifestyle only provides new experiences and opportunities for you. It does not force you to change who you are as a person. It’s not like high school, you don’t have to try to fit in.

Now curious, I asked my close friends when I got home for Christmas break if I had “changed” from who I was this summer. To my surprise, everybody said I was the same person they knew me as. There were only a few slight differences that they noticed. When I asked how I had changed, they said that I was in more control of my emotions, laughed more, and was a calmer person as a whole. Ultimately, I was the same person with new experiences in my pocket.

So remember these little pieces of advice, (solely based on my experiences)

  1. the people who truly want to stay in your life will put in the effort. . . do not let college be an excuse for anything
  2. you remain the same person you are. . . you just grow so do not let the fear of changing hold you back
  3. the amount of learning experiences you have the first few months are insane, so buckle up

One semester down, seven to go!