Dec

02

Something Really Cool that You’ve Never Heard Of

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So, first semester finals are approaching and that’s a big deal in a college freshman’s life, but I bet that a lot of people are writing about this so to recap: finals suck, finals suck, finals suck.  Now I want to focus on something that is seriously underrated and I bet that 99% of the student body hasn’t heard about: the book arts.  The book arts is the umbrella term that I am going to use to refer to the Center for the Book, the Conservation Lab, and Special Collections.  The Center for the Book is the place where bookbinding, calligraphy, papermaking, and other book making-related classes take place.  Special Collections is where the archives of old and unique books are.  The Conservation Lab is a section of Special Collections where all of the repairing and preserving of books takes place, both physically and digitally.  I stumbled across these spaces for a group rhetoric project, and wanted to talk about their significance because it’s a shame that very few people have reached out to use these facilities in interesting ways.

One of the many fascinating "books" found in Special Collections

One of the many fascinating “books” found in Special Collections

Special Collectiions Room (third floor of the main library)

The outside of the Special Collections room (third floor of the main library)

What if, for example, you’re a chemistry major interested in the chemical composition of books?  I know that sounds odd, but after talking to a member of the Conservation Lab, I discovered that the preservation of books has just as must to do with chemistry as it does the humanities.  Or what if you’re a computer science major like myself?  I remember that in my computer science lecture we were discussing algorithms for word searches in the book War and Peace, and it got me thinking that such algorithms could be taken a step farther.  The archives in the Conservation Lab are in the process of being digitized and transcribed, so I think that it would be really cool to write a computer program that compares the styles of different eras of writing based on specific word densities.  This could be useful for those interested in computer science, linguistics, and comparative literature.

The digitization studio in the Conservation Lab

The digitization studio in the Conservation Lab

However, I may be getting ahead of myself.  After all, none of this could happen without establishing a connection between the Book Arts and other fields of study.  In order to do that, the people at the Conservation Lab and the Center for the Book who I talked said that taking a class in the Book Arts would be the best choice.  There is an honors seminar on bookmaking for freshmen and multiple courses in Special Collections and the Center for the Book that undergraduates can sign up for, although priority is given to the graduate students due to space limitations.  I know that it’s hard to fit everything you want to take into a freshman schedule, so if anything I think it’s worth the time to take a half hour tour of Special Collections.  I was going to the library one Saturday and saw a tour group for Special Collections, and I decided to join them on a whim.  It was extremely cool to see all of the unique items that the library has, including a map drawn by Lewis and Clark and an original copy of Jane Austen’s Emma.  Being able to work with these texts to make them available for public usage is awesome in the same way that it’s awesome to be a part of painting a mural on the side of a building.  Both involve contributing to something greater in a way that can be appreciated by everyone for its beauty.  So, while the Book Arts may be unrecognizable to most students at this University, developing a relationship with them has proven to be one of the coolest things I have done for a class, and I hope that you will look out for them in the future.
-Mina
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Nov

11

Final Thoughts on the Election

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Over the past week, I had put together a post on Election Day that was supposed to chronicle the before, during, and after of an election on campus. However, the after was not what I expected. I thought that there would be violence and hatred surrounding me on the morning after the election, but I also thought there would be a lot of celebration. Instead I got silence. I stayed up until two in the morning with my friends watching the election coverage, and by the end of the night we were all drained. It somehow felt insensitive to bring up the whole process. My floor was eerily quiet on the morning after, and when my rhetoric professor asked us how we were all doing this morning, there was a long pause before someone muttered that she was fine. This was kind of how the rest of the day went. A lot of hugging, a lot of “you are still loved” signs, but virtually no celebrating.
It’s pretty obvious that the University of Iowa is a liberal campus. Sure, it’s Iowa, so there are still a fair amount of conservatives, but just about every big public university in this country leans Democrat, which is why you’ll see random spots of blue on the electoral map in predominantly red states. If Clinton had won, there probably would have been a much different reaction on campus. A lot of volunteers gave everything they had into getting her elected, and right now they may feel like it was all for nothing. But this school has solidarity for those who need it. There was a gathering at the Pentacrest yesterday where people came together to remind each other that they have allies among one another. It might just be that I live in a bubble, but somehow I feel that things haven’t turned to ugliness so far. While my Facebook page has been littered with angry rants on both sides, what I see on campus is far removed from it.

I want to get on with my life. I want everyone to get on with their lives. And eventually, we will. I just hope that we don’t confuse moving forward with forgetting. When I started looking at colleges a couple years ago, I really wanted to go to a school with a mix of opinions, but not a school that was apathetic. The problem is that I can’t say if my school is either because this election was so unprecedented. All I can hope is that we use this as a chance to learn more about the political process, the issues, and the rhetoric that is used when we talk about
those issues. As I finish this post, it’s been three days since election night, and things have already gone back to normal. And, in time, maybe I’ll be able to tell you what it really looks like when Iowa participates in the political process, not just every four years but every day as well.

-Mina

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Nov

01

What to do with the Rest of Your Life

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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.

-Mina

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Oct

22

How to Deal with a Bad Day

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I’m not going to lie: I’ve had a terrible day. I originally wrote this post about the week I had last week, but then I received some bad news on Friday that really put things in perspective. I’ll spare you the details, but I want to write about how to deal with bad days or weeks when you’re away from home because it happens to everyone and because I think that I’ve come out of this one decently enough to give some advice.

Sometimes you can’t fix things. Sometimes you don’t realize how easy it is to lose a good thing. These are cliches that most people will think about after a failure or falling out of some sort, but I’ve found that the only way to move past them is to stop wallowing. Discovering that you’ve wasted a bunch of time on top of your issues only makes things worse. I spend too much time trying to think about how I can turn a bad situation into a good one, but sometimes there is no better side to the situation. I have to remind myself that life doesn’t always get increasingly better with the amount of effort you put into it. Accepting this can be hard, and it can be even harder when you’re with people you’ve only known for two months and don’t know if you should turn to them with your issues. I find it alright to just be around my friends, even if I don’t tell them what’s up. Sometimes I’ll just walk around in a quiet area. Or think about a class that I’m really interested in. Or look at the situation holistically. That last one can be hard. Saying, “well, I’m still a pretty privileged person in the scheme of things,” tends to annoy more than comfort me. But I do know that there are a lot of things that I still have to look forward to. Midterms round two, for example. The Cubs doing well in the semifinals. The weekend. That huge rhetoric project that I’m actually excited about.

Life in college can be fast-paced and slow at the same time. There’s so much to do when I need there to be, but then again when I think about it I’m not required to do anything at all, except call my parents because they’re paying my tuition. So, if you’re ever having a bad day or week or month or year, have conversations with your friends about how to build a force field. Or go for an indoor walk because it’s really cold outside. Or watch Neil Degrasse Tyson’s Cosmos, which I’ve been meaning to do for a while and because I think that the universe is a good type of perspective to think about. There are also a couple of spots on campus that are good places to just sit and think, like the sculpture outside the theater building or the benches in Hubbard Park. But, most of all, the way I best get over things is to rely on the future. I’m no therapist, but I’ve heard that if you can find one good thing to look forward to tomorrow, then you’ll be alright. If that really is true, and if my previous days in college serve as evidence, then I’ll be at least fine for quite a while.

-Mina

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Sep

29

It’s That Magical Time of the Year…

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I’m sure it’s been marked in your calendar since last September. It’s bigger than your homecoming, prom, graduation, birthday parties and everything in between. Last Thursday, the most exciting event of the year arrived…the Career and Internship Fair!
Was that anticlimactic for you? Perhaps even cruel? Well, fear not, fellow/prospective Hawkeyes, I promise to make this post worth your time. It might seem pointless for a freshman to go to events like this one, but trust me, it’s not. As a computer science major, internships in software development are crucial to landing a job in the future, so the earlier I can get my foot in the door, the better.

When I went to the fair, I was well aware that I was one of very few freshman in the room. I knew that I would have to compete with juniors and seniors who were far more qualified than I am for an internship. However, knowing the right companies to target helped me secure two interviews for the next day! I wasn’t expecting everything to happen so fast. All I did was walk up to a recruiter and have a conversation with him. It helped that I did my research beforehand, and slipped in information such as “my WISE mentor interned for you guys last summer” and “I read this article on your website and found it fascinating.” What also helped was my resume.

It’s commonplace that you have 6.5 seconds to impress recruiters, so if the first thing they see on your resume is “two years of experience programming in JAVA,” that automatically distinguishes you from every other freshman computer science major. Over the course of the five hours that the recruiters are there, they are going to see hundreds of people, but only have room to interview a handful the next day. That’s why it’s important to scope a few employers out ahead of time and target the ones that you want to work with the most.
Am I getting ahead of myself here? Let’s backtrack for just a moment. At the start of my senior in high school, my resume was a total joke. I didn’t have any work experience, nor had I worked on any coding project that was worth bragging about. If I were to go about finding an internship, I wouldn’t even know where to begin. All I knew was that I didn’t want to enter my adulthood having never made a dime on my own, so I asked around and was able to get a job tutoring in Latin. Then I asked my friend who had a job at a tax accounting firm if she knew of any job opportunities, and it turned out that the company she worked for was hiring, so I got a job there as well. Then I asked my old golf coach for a summer job, and so within a year I was able to say that I had worked three different jobs.

I also did a hackathon, wrote an iPhone app, and attended a computer science workshop at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Add that to the list of random accolades that seniors get when they graduate, like “High Honors Student” and “Illinois State Scholar,” and within a year I had actually managed to cultivate a decent resume. My guess is that most college freshman do have a lot to brag about, but don’t know how to present their skills in a compelling way.
That’s where the Pomerantz Center comes in. The Pomerantz Center is the place where you go for all things job-related, from paid internships to working at a local restaurant for extra spending money. The Pomerantz Center will look at your resume, help you get through an interview, and provide you with a list of job openings in the area. Using the Pomerantz Center as a launching point for your career search is a great way to manage all of the little details that matter to potential employers.
While I may not have landed an internship yet, I am so grateful that the University of Iowa has provided me with all of the resources I need to get one. I think there’s a stigma at a lot of schools that the only freshmen who have the ability to land internships are geniuses, so as a result a lot of underclassmen won’t bother to show up to career fairs and networking events. Even if I don’t get an internship this year, I think this mentality is wrong because building connections is part of the career process, so the sooner you establish a relationship with a company the more likely you are to stand out from the crowd.
Everyone starts somewhere, Hawkeyes, and I personally wouldn’t want my emergence into the workforce to start anywhere but here.
-Mina

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Sep

05

Game Day

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You can here it on the streets, in the dining halls, while walking to class. It seems like an unconscious utterance, passing freely through the lips of strangers and friends alike. A beat was pulsing through the streets of Iowa City last Saturday, with the effect of a near-religious fervor that can be summed up by three words: it’s game day.

Iowans take their football very seriously. Sure, make jokes about how there’s nothing better to do in Iowa, but, come Saturday, there is no escaping the black and gold fever. The only buses that run are the ones that go to and from Kinnick Stadium. 99% of the student body is wearing Hawkeye gear, and while I wouldn’t know for certain, I’m pretty sure the dorms are empty by 2pm. You literally had to be unconscious if you were an Iowa student and didn’t know that our first game was on Saturday. We won, by the way, 45-21 against Miami of Ohio. Of course, our victory was something you probably expected.

If you attended/are attending a high school that was big on football, I want you to take a moment to conjure up that image of the first football game of the year. It was a Friday night, the stands were packed, the marching band was sitting in the bleachers, the cheerleaders were on the sidelines, and the student section was right in front of the action, sporting painted faces and those weird pinstripe overalls. Everyone looked so alive and so proud to be there. It was one of those moments that brought your town together.

Now take that image and multiply it by a thousand, and you’ve got a vague idea of what an Iowa football game looks like. When I saw all of those people, I couldn’t help but feel amazed that this was the student body that I was a part of. The energy at a Big Ten football game is electric, so even if you aren’t a huge football fan it has to be on your bucket list to attend at least one of the games.

That being said, there are some things you should know before attending your first game. Do for instance, bring a sealed plastic water bottle or plan on buying one, because it gets very hot in Kinnick, especially during a 2:30 game in early September. Also, don’t worry if you bought a general admission ticket instead of a student one, because seating is open. I got there about 25 minutes early and there were still places to sit, so you don’t need to worry about getting there an hour and a half early unless you want front row seats or are planning on tailgating. Not that you’ll be sitting very much anyway, but while we’re on the subject of seating, if you’re planning on going to all of the games then buy student tickets immediately because they tend to sell out pretty fast. If not, then buy Iowa State tickets ASAP because that’s the one game you’ll really want to go to, even if you don’t love football. I’ve been talking up some serious smack about ISU to someone I went to high school with, so if we don’t win on Saturday then I might be too busy burying my head in shame to blog anymore. Other than that, just prepare yourself for victory. There’s a reason why you still see people on the streets wearing “never too old for black and gold” after enduring a three hour game in the late summer heat. Iowa may be the land of corn and football, but that’s actually not as boring as it sounds, and that’s coming from a Chicago suburbs kid. We’re proud of our football, our marching band, our cheerleaders, and our veteran athletes and soldiers that are highlighted in between plays. What makes Iowa football so great isn’t just the amazing players, but the shared sense of pride that our community holds for each other that is more prevalent than ever during the games. There’s never been a better time to bleed black and gold, and I hope that if you ever find yourself in Iowa City, you can experience that magical game day spirit for yourself.

-Mina

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Aug

29

My First Week of Classes

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So, this week was the first week of classes, and as my academic advisor put it, the first week can be deceptively easy. I thought that I would fall off the face of the planet once Monday rolled around, destined to become a hermit of the library, but here I am, in the lounge on a Thursday night without any homework to do. The main contributor to this is that my calculus class, which runs from 6:30-8:20 pm, got let out forty five minutes early because my teacher couldn’t get the projector to work, and since she didn’t teach us anything new she said that she couldn’t give us homework. A year ago this would have sounded awesome, but now I can’t help worrying about how much work I’ll have to do in the future to make up for it. It’s gotten so bad that I’ve even read ahead in some of my classes, but I’m afraid that if I read too far ahead, I’ll forget the material when I have to quiz on it. There’s a lot of reading homework in college, far more than I ever did in high school. It gives me more flexibility as opposed to a daily worksheet, but it’s a lot harder to get through a dense college textbook when your only motivation is a quiz or discussion that you’ll have in the distant future.

Maybe this reliance on textbooks is why they are so dang expensive. I’ve heard of people literally spending over three hundred dollars for a single book! I, however, am one of the few people who spent less than one hundred dollars on all of my textbooks. Impossible, you say? Well, I’ll admit I got lucky a couple times, but if you want to save money on textbooks, my number one suggestion is to buy them on Kindle. My parents also have an Amazon Prime account, which definitely helps, so if you don’t have one already then I suggest looking into it, since it’s 50% off for students anyway. Other than that, my computer science teacher is really awesome and posted the PDFs for our class’s textbooks on his ICON page, which saved me another four hundred dollars or so. I know that some people feel incomplete without a physical copy, and if that’s you then by all means go out to Prairie Lights Bookstore and get a tangible version of the book. Just make sure to go to the first class before committing to that $100+ copy, because you might a) drop the class or b) have a teacher who is willing to post the readings on ICON. Also, the fantastic advantage of having my textbooks on Kindle is that I have the Kindle app downloaded on my cell phone, so whenever I have to wait in line for something or am just bored I can pull out my phone and start studying.

But only for so long, which brings me back to my lack of homework dilemma. I am completely aware of how annoying I sound, but knowing the amount of homework I’ll have in the future makes me anxious, so I’d rather get a head start on it now so I don’t have a pile-up later. It’s not that I haven’t had any homework so far, it’s just that I have a schedule that’s more conducive to productivity than I did in high school, so I’ve been doing it more efficiently. I naturally wake up between 7:30 and 8:30, so to have to alternate between going to a 7:00 am and 8:00 am class every morning in high school was exhausting, regardless of what time I went to bed the night before. As the week progressed, I would get so exhausted that I could barely keep my head up during class, and then after school I would have work/golf team practice/some extracurricular activity, so by the time I got home my motivation to study was almost non-existent. Now, I have a 9:30 class on Monday and Wednesday, a 12:30 class on Tuesday, a 3:30 on Thursday and a 2:30 on Friday. Sounds like a dream come true, right? I don’t disagree. By waking up a little later, I find that I’m much more focused on whatever task I’m doing, and subjects that were chores in the past are now tolerable and even enjoyable. Picking my own schedule is one of my favorite things about college so far. While an 8:00 am class is sometimes unavoidable, I think it helps to set up a schedule that is spread out and works with your sleep patterns.

For example, a fifty minute class that meets three days a week is preferable to a one hour and fifty minute class that meets twice a week, particularly if that class is about something that you aren’t interested in. Also, more than three classes a day is overwhelming, especially if they are consecutive. Like I said before, most schedules won’t work out perfectly, but it helps to know these things when picking out your classes during summer orientation.

Three days have passed since I started writing this, so it is now Sunday and classes are starting again tomorrow. Despite my anxieties, I’ve had a lot of fun this weekend, and I’m going to miss being able to binge watch How I Met Your Mother at 1 a.m. Also, I’m trying out for the rowing team, which entails a couple of 7am practices a week, so I guess I’ve thrown my own advice out the window. However, in this case it’s somewhat justified. I know I’ve emphasized the importance of a relaxed schedule in this post, but part of the college experience is trying new things, so if that means getting up at six in the morning a few times then so be it. This week will test my endurance in more ways than one, and while it may not be as comfortable, at least next week I’ll have a more interesting story to tell.

-Mina

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Aug

25

College: 5 Initial Thoughts

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This post is a reflection of my first week on campus, which was a week before classes started because I moved in early to take a three day workshop called Honors Primetime. It’s kind of weird because I’m finishing it while classes are going on, but I’m trying to stay in that first-week mentality. Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think!

  1. Living Away From Home
    I am writing this as I am waiting for my first load of laundry to finish. Thankfully, one of my roommates offered to help me out with it, but it wasn’t too hard to figure out over all. It’s kind of weird for me to have to keep track of all this tedious stuff that I’ve taken for granted. Rugs get dusty and hairy when they aren’t vacuumed. The garbage needs to be taken out on a weekly basis, especially if you eat bananas in your room. Going to the bathroom in the middle of the night entails finding your key in the dark, putting on flip flops, and unlocking and locking your door as quietly as possible, although it will still be loud enough to annoy your roommates. I’m glad that I decided to move in early, because I feel like it would be really stressful to figure this all out while classes are starting. Also, I’m really glad that I decided to live in Daum, which is the Honors House, because it’s connected to the Blank Honors Center and the dining hall, so it’s really convenient if you need a quiet place to study or want to get food in the winter and don’t want to have to go outside. Plus, the fifth through eighth floors recently got renovated and all the rooms there look better than any of the rooms I saw on college visits, so, being on the fifth floor, I’m pretty sure that I have one of the best college living situations in America. However, if you’re not a member of the honors program, I think that any dorm close to campus is ideal for freshmen, and there are a lot of other cool LLCs besides the Honors one, so if you come here next year, do some research before picking where you live.
  2. People
    During orientation a couple months ago, I remember every upperclassman repeating one thing: “leave your door open!” This almost sounds like metaphorical advice, but they literally meant that we should keep our doors open when we aren’t sleeping, because it’s a great way to meet new people. My roommates like to go to bed early, so my room isn’t the cool room where everyone goes to hang out. However, whenever I’m bored I just go out into the hallway and wander around, and there’s always someone who left their door open and is willing to talk to me. Also, lounges are a great place to check out if you’re bored. Cards Against Humanity gets old really fast, especially if there are fifteen of you cramped in a single room. During the first week I was here my floor threw an Olympic viewing party on our floor’s lounge, and what started as a twenty person event turned into a one hundred person event, so huge that we eventually had to move to the basement lounge. I would definitely suggest throwing a floor/dorm party during the first week, so you can make some friends right away and meet the people who you’ll be running into all year. Also, if you’re a light sleeper, try going to bed a little later, because there will be people on your floor who are moving furniture/watching tv/coming home from a party at 1am, at least during the first week if you choose to move in early. However, there are rules about quiet hours on our floor from 11pm to 7am during the school week, so hopefully it won’t be too hard to get some sleep once that’s in effect.
  3. Food
    The freshman fifteen is real. The stereotype is that the extra fifteen pounds that freshmen gain is from drinking alcohol, but I think that the dining hall food alone can do the trick. Think about it. There is ice cream, pizza, and a waffle maker in the dining hall every single day for every single meal. Not to mention all of the free food that is at every event. I swear this school has a cookie fetish or something, because it seems like every open house I go to has cookies. It will probably settle down after a couple weeks, but I’d like to think that all the extra calories have been offset at least a little bit by all of the walking around campus, plus the five flights of stairs I have to take to get to my dorm room. My only advice here is to avoid eye contact with the dessert line. Also, there are two types of meal plans you can get, the black and the gold plan. The gold plan is essentially an unlimited food plan, while the black meal plan gives you nine dining hall meals a week, plus flex meals, which are meals you can buy at the marketplace or IMU (Iowa Memorial Union). I would most definitely recommend the gold plan, because I’ve heard that the flex meals aren’t that great and the black meal plan averages out to less than two meals per day, which is inconvenient if you like eating breakfast. But, over all, the food here is pretty good.
  4. On Iowa!
    On Iowa! is Iowa’s version of campus welcome (which is different from summer orientation). Everyone gets split into groups where they attend sessions that cover some of the basics of succeeding in college. The convenient thing is that you’re not overwhelmed with information because of the Success at Iowa course that every freshman takes over the summer/into the first month of school online. The course shows you how to check your degree audit, use the bus system, and do a bunch of other stuff I never would have thought about. So, a lot of the group activities at On Iowa! will be a refresher, but at least it isn’t stressful. Plus, there is always something going on during those first few days, from pizza crawls to Target Takeover to hypnosis shows. Go to these events. You’ll have plenty of time to do laundry or finish your book in the morning, but free gift bags from Target only come once in a lifetime.
  5. Kickoff at Kinnick
    Kickoff at Kinnick was definitely one of the best nights I’ve had so far. Almost every single person in the class of 2020 went to Kinnick Stadium, where we learned the fight song, formed a giant “I” while wearing our “class of 2020” t shirts, threw water bottles, and watched some awesome fireworks on the football field. It felt special in a really corny way to be with every member of my graduating class at once. Hawkeye spirit is infectious around here, so whether you came from a high school graduating class of 30 or 730, whether you’re from NYC or Cedar Rapids, whether you were a football player or a member of the marching band, Kickoff at Kinnick will make you think, “I can see this place becoming my new home.” (I apologize for all of that corniness). And if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea (although it’s supposedly mandatory), there’s a great party afterwards at the IMU, so either way that first Friday night on campus will be a lot of fun.

That’s all I have for now. Next week I’ll cover my first week of classes, which as I’m finishing this post is still going on and is so far looking very promising. As a closing thought I’ll leave you with this: one year ago, I never would have guessed that I was going to Iowa. I saw myself as a person who preferred the small liberal arts college for its personal touch, its way of forging more meaningful networks and encouraging a diverse curriculum. I think the worst thing you can do in your college search is to make assumptions about a school based on numbers. A large student body doesn’t mean a lack of personal connection. If anything, it means a greater chance of finding it. A small city doesn’t mean there’s nothing to do. It just means that life is more focused around student activities than the downtown. So, try to keep an open mind over the next year. I’ve only found the University of Iowa to get better and better with every new discovery, and I hope that, through this blog, you will too.

-Mina

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Aug

18

Coming Soon

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Look for my first post soon.

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