Archive for the ‘Academics’ Category

Know Where You’re Going

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

A lot of spring breaks are taking place this week, and, as a result, a lot of college tours. There are a lot of places you probably want to check out, but only so much time to see everything. So, if you’re an explorer like myself and would rather do things yourself instead of (or in addition to) taking a tour, here are some places to check out, east to west, so that you can get a better understanding of what life at Iowa is like.


Hancher Auditorium

Hancher Auditorium

Hancher Auditorium is where most major performances take place. Tickets for students are usually only $10, which is super cheap considering that some of these performances would usually be $70+ in Chicago or New York. Some performances are even free, like the Leslie Odom Jr performance I went to last night, and a jazz performance by Trombone Shorty I saw at the beginning of the year. You definitely should put a performance at Hancher on your college bucket list.

East side residence/dining halls 

These comprise of Currier, Stanley, Daum, and Burge. Burge is also where the east side dining hall is at. While you’re at it, check out the Pomerantz Career Center and the Blank Honors Center, the former being the place that helps you with jobs/internships and the latter being home to the Honors Program.




This is where a majority of your classes will be, and you really can’t avoid running into it. The Pentacrest consists of Schaeffer, Maclean, MacBride, and Jessup Hall, and is located right in the middle of the east side of campus. Even on the west side, you can’t miss the giant gold dome in the very center of it all.


The IMU isn’t a place I can categorize better than saying that it’s where a bunch of stuff happens. Dance Marathon is here, a lot of informational meetings for clubs are there, and the Hawk Shop is there for all of your spirit wear needs. It also has an art museum in it that’s worth checking out.


The Main Library is an awesome place to study, and it is very likely that one of your TAs will hold their office hours there. Also, if you ever have to do a presentation for a class, I would highly recommend going to the One Button Studio on the first floor, where you can record your presentation or just get some practice saying it out loud in a room where no one can hear you. However, if you do decide to go here, keep in mind that as the floors go up, it gets quieter and quieter, to the point where it’s dead silent on the fifth floor.


CRWC Rock Wall

Campus Wellness Recreation Center

The main recreation center is an amazing facility and has just about everything you could think of that you would need to work out. However, it might be worth your while to also check out some of the smaller rec centers, like Fitness East and the fitness loft at the Field House, because the main rec center is a bit of a walk from most dorms, which can be all the more reason to dissuade yourself from working out on a cold day.

West side residence/dining halls  

These comprise of Hillcrest, Peterson, Rienow, Stanley, and Slater. The dining hall for west side dorms is in Hillcrest.


Kinnick Stadium

Kinnick Stadium

This is a little ways out so I wouldn’t recommend walking all the way over if you start from the east side, but if you’re in the area then it might be cool to see the football stadium. Carver Hawkeye Arena is also in this vicinity and hosts a variety of athletic competitions like basketball, volleyball, and wrestling.

Additionally, here is a list of places to check out based on your interests:

  • Varsity Athlete- Gerdin Learning Center
  • Honors Program-Blank Honors Center
  • Internships/Jobs- Pomerantz Career Center
  • English/Creative Writing- Dey House, Prairie Lights Cafe, English Philosophy Building, Special Collections (3rd floor of Main Library)
  • Math/Statistics/Informatics/Computer Science- Maclean Hall
  • Physics/Astronomy- Van Allen
  • Engineering- Seamans Center
  • Education- Lindquist Center
  • Journalism/Communications- Adler School of Journalism and Samuel L Becker School of Communications (by the Main Library)
  • Music- Voxman Music Building
  • Classics/Social Sciences- Schaeffer Hall
  • Natural History- Museum of Natural History in MacBride Hall (free!)
  • Dance- Halsey Hall
  • Chemistry/Biology/Drama/Art- respective department buildings

That’s all for now. For those of you on break, stay safe and have fun. And for the rest of you, let’s just make it through the final stretch in one piece.


What to do with the Rest of Your Life

Tuesday, November 1st, 2016

Seventeen years old is too young to decide what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. But at the same time, it’s old enough to feel the pressure of doors closing with the realization that these decisions are becoming more relevant. So where does that leave you?

I’m not going to lie and say that there are no disadvantages to being clueless about your future. For example, ever since I was a junior in high school I’ve known that I’m going to be a computer science major. Because of this, I’ve taken classes that have prepared me for college computer science courses, signed up for WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) which gives me networking opportunities for internships, and applied for a scholarship that is only accessible to women in technology-related fields. However, if I had decided by my junior year of college that I wanted to be a computer science major, I would be scrambling just to fulfill all of the requirements within the next two years and probably wouldn’t have done any computer science related internships or research over the previous summers.

That being said, there are ways to make indecisiveness more manageable. If, for instance, you know that you want to go into the humanities, you can take gen-ed courses for CLAS majors, which could help narrow down your options. All the open majors I know have somewhat of a clue about what they’re interested in, which probably applies to most high school seniors out there. Being able to sample a variety of fields within the general scope of what you want to study through gen-eds is a great way to explore your passions. Even though I’ve been set on my major for the past two years, a couple of my general education courses have made me want to explore other fields in more depth. While there isn’t enough overlap in curricula between these classes and computer science for me to consider a double major, I’m seriously thinking about earning some minors. Some people will only choose a minor if it will look good to a future employer, but I don’t think that you necessarily have to. The minors I’m thinking about are Rhetoric and/or English, which on the surface doesn’t sound applicable to computer science at all. However, I think the ability to persuade through speech and writing is a life skill. It may not be directly related to coding, but I’m sure it will come in handy during interviews or when I have to write a cover letter. Or even when I’m trying to convince my parents to pay for graduate school. The point is that I don’t think it hurts you to pursue multiple interests because a degree isn’t the only way to show employers that you have the skill set for a job. Research, internships, volunteering and studying abroad all look great on a resume, so why not learn about something you genuinely care about? Also, I’ve found that switching over to rhetoric homework after spending hours on computer science or math keeps me sane. If anything I’m actually doing better in my major-related classes because of the diversity that my other courses have to offer.

Even still, I understand why students feel pressured to pick majors and minors that sound lucrative. In high school, the thought of other teenagers founding companies or selling iPhone apps always made me feel like they had their life figured out and I didn’t. However, it’s important to keep in mind that the major you pick isn’t a direct path to a certain career. Sure, pre-med majors go to medical school and pre-law majors go to law school, but there are other ways to get there too. I know English majors who are thinking about law school, open majors who want to be pilots, physics majors aspiring to be astronauts. My dad got his masters in industrial engineering and is now the CEO of a company. You may not have a solid idea of where you end up in life, or you may have a plan that falls apart somewhere down the line, but every major provides options for a career. I heard so many people in high school say that majoring in certain subjects would make it impossible to find a job, but after coming to college I realized how untrue that is. It takes some circumnavigation, but the chances of having a successful career while majoring in “music performance” isn’t as slim as I used to think it was. Mainly, I think the only people who are really screwed when it comes to the whole “deciding your future” thing are the ones who treat college as a joke. Those are the ones who will pick a major that sounds easy to them and then do the bare minimum to maintain a certain GPA, if they’re even paying attention to that. While this may earn you a degree, then what? I don’t think that it’s too much to assume that the only way to make a decision is to actually do things, whether it’s inside or outside the classroom. Going to lectures, attending academic events, and trying extra hard on an interesting assignment has shaped my life ambitions way more than asking myself “what’s the easiest way to get by?” So, if you take anything away from this, I hope it’s the knowledge that, when it comes to degrees, a good cure for indecisiveness is motivation, something that isn’t too hard to find when you’re at one of the finest colleges in America.