Apr

02

Time Flies When…

category icon Posted in Academics, Events, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is enjoying the warmer temperatures! It’s been a crazy spring semester. I haven’t felt much like writing when I’ve been turning in at least one lab report every week. I have learned that taking three lab classes at once was not a good idea, especially when two of them require 40 page lab reports. I’m so glad we’re almost done with the semester. I have 9 lab reports until I’m done so the countdown has started!

So a few quick things about my semester so far:

  1. 1. At the beginning of the semester, I began working in a research lab in the pharmacy department where they study droplet spreading behavior. I really like what I’m doing and the cool shapes make it fun. The one below is a yellow solution that fluoresces green under a blue light. The solution we’ve moved onto is purple (which I absolutely love), and fluoresces red under green light. I’ve really enjoyed getting to learn some new techniques and be involved with the project.
    Droplet Spreading
    Droplet Spreading
  2. I got an internship! I had actually interviewed for the position last year, but they were looking for someone a little more long term than just the summer. This year, the company decided to start a project-based internship program and offered me a position over the summer based on my interview last year. I’m really excited to get some industry experiences and learn more about the polymer process. I will also be in Minnesota for the summer and get to explore a new area. This will be my first time living away from home and not at college as well as having to make an entirely new group of friends.
  3. I am on Orange Squad this year! I interviewed for On Iowa! Leader again and was placed on Orange Squad. The spring leader training days are basically just a time for the squads to get to know each other. My cast is the Flaming Not Cheetos and the other Orange cast is the Goldfish. One of the first-year students on my dorm floor is in my cast and I’m super excited to watch her experience all the awesome parts of On Iowa! from a leader’s perspective. Being an On Iowa! leader has really improved my leadership skills. I’ve started noticing how much more conscious I am about what I say and how I respond to questions.

I think those are the main updates of the semester; hopefully I can blog some more over the next few weeks as the lab reports wind down. I really miss writing for fun; it’s been a while since I’ve had the time for that. Talk to you again soon!

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Jan

25

Syllabus Week?

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, Events, General

Hey Hawkeyes,

I made it through the first week, sometimes known as syllabus week since most professors go over the syllabus and maybe on the second day of class they will begin covering lecture material. The main highlight of this first week is that there isn’t typically homework yet, well, at least no homework due. In my experience the professors usually assign homework on the second, if not the first, day of class. If you have a lab class you have a 50/50 chance of having lab cancelled the first day. Some professors want to have lecture before students begin in the lab, but some decide to just throw you into the lab. I really like having the first day of lab cancelled, mainly because it gives me a little more time to adjust (or sleep, if it’s an early lab) during the first week. Sadly, one of my three lab classes this semester decided to have lab on the first day, but then I met my TA’s (teaching assistants) and decided that it was ok. My TA’s seem really cool and fun. When you have to be in a room with someone, ask questions, and get help from the TA’s for six hours every week of the semester, it can make a huge difference. I’m a little nervous about my course load, but I’m going to try to be on top of everything and be super organized and efficient. I’m also going to try to have fun this semester, which was well-demonstrated this past weekend.

I have always loved watching the figure skating during the Olympics and I thought this semester would be a great chance to start learning. I signed up for lessons out at the mall in Coralville. These lessons are keeping me active as well as gives me at least one thing to look forward to each week. After my lesson I went shopping in the mall with a friend (might as well since I was already there, you know). Then my friends and I decided we should go to the Swing Dance Club’s kick-off dance. It was a Great Gatsby themed dance and they had a lesson before the dance. They even had a live band as well as a set-list with all the songs and what dance styles you could practice for each song. It was a lot of fun to get dressed up and go dance. Between that and my skating lesson my legs got a great work out. After the dance I asked a friend if she would go see a movie with me. An organization on campus called Campus Activity Board (CAB) gets movies that are just leaving theaters and plays them at the Iowa Memorial Union for $3 admission. They usually have two movies that play Thursday through Sunday. It’s a nice chance to go see a recent movie on a big screen for a cheaper price than other theaters. Even though it was kind of late at night, it was still fun and was a great end to my Saturday.

I decided to take Saturday off and just have fun, which means that Sunday needs to be spent doing lots of homework. I want to get a head start on this week so I can hopefully stay ahead of the stress this semester.

I’ll try to post halfway through the week to talk more about the lab schedules and how some of the advanced labs work. Talk to later!

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Jan

21

And So It Begins

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I’m so sorry for my some-what dead blog last semester! It got crazy busy and I didn’t get to do as much as I wanted. Hopefully this semester I’ll have more time for writing short posts. I also want to try to post one picture a week.

Today was the first day of class here at University of Iowa and I had it pretty easy. My first class (at 8:30am) was cancelled so I technically didn’t have class today. I did however start working in a research lab (more on that later). Tomorrow, which is my busiest day, will be hectic and a bit crazy, but I think it should go well. I color-coded my assignment notebook and planned my notebooks so I should be ready to conquer the craziness. Last semester was spent doing homework the majority of the time and when I had free time I just didn’t have the energy to do anything. This semester, my friends and I have decided that we are going to make a point of attending more campus activities and having fun. I think this semester will be a great one!

I’ll update at the end of the week and let you know how my first week went!

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Oct

03

Life Update

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is having a great school year so far. My level of busy-ness is what my math professor would call a beautiful exponential function. I thought that after the first week of school my schedule would balance out and I would fall into a routine. Yes, I know, I’m a junior now and I should know better. My activities are starting to get more active with volunteering, professional meetings, and workshops. On top of that, as the main reason that I’m here, my classes are really picking up as well. Going into this year, I was a bit nervous about all my classes and was considering dropping one of my classes. But then I went to the first day and decided I really liked the class and wouldn’t drop it. I’m still not sure if that was the right decision or not, but I still really like the class. The past couple of weeks have been pretty busy because of my class and homework schedule. So in summary of my last couple weeks:

It was so good to see Code Red again! We’re planning a Code Red dinner soon and I can’t wait to see them!

Lab Equipment

Lab Equipment

On Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a 3-hour lab where we rotate through different experiments and then write a lab report about the experiment. The contraption above is from the experiment entitled “Jacketed Kettle”. The idea of this particular experiment was to study the rate of heat transfer in heating and cooling water with mixing versus just letting it sit. In case you’re wondering, if you’re trying to cool something quickly, you really need to mix it. To collect enough data to write a report about, one of my lab partners and I hung out in the lab for 4 hours one day just waiting for the water to cool from 90˚C to 30˚C. It was a long day, but we collected all the data we needed. At least we hope we did; we’re writing the lab report in the next couple of days.

Homework and report writing

Homework and report writing

After finishing the experiment, we write the lab report about it. The engineering building has a great space for working on group stuff, which also comes in handy when there’s a large group of us working on the same homework assignment. Luckily, the building has lots of table space. I spend a lot of time in this building so I’m getting to know a lot of the people who also do homework there. The Chemical Engineering department at University of Iowa is very close and I know the majority of my class as well as a quite a few people in the classes above and below me. I think it makes homework a little more enjoyable to work on it with a group of people, it adds a little more of a social aspect to it.

I’ll try to update my blog more regularly now that I’m used to the craziness of writing lab reports and doing homework.

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Sep

02

I Survived!

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone had a great week! I managed to survive my first week of classes. Everyone always says the first week is just syllabus week and you don’t do anything. I’m not sure if it’s just because of my major, but I had homework by Wednesday of “syllabus week.” It wasn’t a lot (only two classes), but the other professors warned that there would be homework the following week. I had also made the incorrect assumption that it would be a relatively slow week with all the activities. As it turns out, every one of the organizations I’m involved in had their first meeting last week. It’s really surprising how the semester seems so long from the class/homework perspective, but when you’re trying to plan events the semester seems so short. We’re already in September, which leaves the rest of September, and just two more months to plan events, since December gets tricky with finals week. We can’t do an event every week (no one has that much time) but once a month is too spread out (and only like 3 events). I’m really excited about all the activities and the things we’re planning. It will make this year really busy, but it will be so much fun.

I had a really cool observation/realization last week. One of my classes (a photography class) is in Art Building West across the river from where most my classes are. I was completely fine until I was walking up the sidewalk to the building. Then I realized I was really tense. Why was I so tense? I was nervous. I was just a little bit terrified of walking into that building and knowing that every person I pass probably has more artistic talent than I do. What if they’re judging me about how I’m dressed or my little to non-existent creativity? Then I had a light-bulb moment: How many people walk into the engineering building and feel like everyone they  pass is probably way smarter? I may not be the smartest person in the engineering building, but I’m comfortable there because that’s where my friends are. Every building is the same way. Everyone has a different set of talents and everyone feels less competent in an area they don’t know as well. One talent isn’t better than the others. Just because I chose to major in chemical engineering, it doesn’t make art less important (or less cool; there’s some really cool things in the art building). We can all learn a lot from each other if we choose to be friends with people who have different talents as well as expand on what we already know by having friends with similar interests. Everything is easier once you’re comfortable with being in a new place and make a couple friends. Once I realized that everyone feels out of their element in a new building for a subject they don’t know much about, I felt a lot better. I met some cool people in my class and I can’t wait to learn more about artistic photography. It’s all about perspective.

After the first week was over, it was nice to have a long weekend. Especially when it started with a football game! I was so happy to have a large group to walk with and sit with. It definitely makes the games more fun when you have people to talk to and cheer with. I also have them explain parts of the game to me (I don’t understand football). I get the basics, but I miss a lot of the penalties.

My football group!

My football group!

We left the East Side fairly early so we could get good seats in Kinnick; with the definition of good seats being that there were enough that we could all sit together.

Stadium smiles!

Stadium smiles!

Just being in the environment at Kinnick is exciting. All the cheering and music really gets everyone’s school spirit pumped up. Even though football isn’t my favorite sport, I absolutely love going to the games with friends and cheering for the Hawkeyes. I love being in this stadium with all the black and gold on a Saturday morning. I can’t wait until we have a bit more fall-like weather so it’s a bit cooler. The weather at this last game wasn’t too bad. It was a bit warm, but nothing compared to last year. I hope it will be a really mild fall/start of winter and that we continue winning! It definitely makes the hours in the sun worth it if we win! On Iowa-Go Hawks!

Go Hawks!

Go Hawks!

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Aug

26

End of OnIowa-Start of New School Year

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

It’s been a busy weekend! Saturday was an awesome day for On Iowa! Ok, it was still a little too warm and humid but it was great besides that. We had some great discussions about what it meant to excel at Iowa and what activities we wanted to engage in. We also discussed bystander intervention in tough situations. This discussion was what I was most nervous for, but I had no reason to be. My small group students were extremely mature and took this discussion very seriously without making it kind of dark and depressing. I am extremely proud of how all my first year students responded when I asked them for one way they, as individuals, would feel comfortable reacting to a situation in which someone may need help. They did so well with that discussion that I also talked with them about the benefits of delaying drinking. They had some questions for me and they responded really well to it. They did such a great job discussing these tough topics and were such responsible adults about the situations that I didn’t get to play all the icebreaker games I had planned. I’m totally Ok with that though. Our discussions were much more valuable and I think (hope) it made them feel more prepared for the responsibility they have now that they’re in college. They will truly uphold our Hawks Helping Hawks commitments. I’m really happy I had such an amazing group. I couldn’t have asked for a better group. I hope they all have an awesome year and that they remember me enough to wave when I excitedly wave at them in passing on campus. I hope I was able to impact them in some way and make their first year in this amazing journey just a little bit easier. At the President’s Block Party following convocation, I saw two of my students hanging out and it made me so happy to see that at least they both felt like they had a friend to sit with and eat dinner with for that day. I hope they stay friends and that the rest of the group will also say hi to each other when they walk by on the way to class. All these hopes and experiences are the reasons why I put so much time and energy into being an On Iowa! leader. It really is incredibly rewarding and I love having the chance to help a few new students have a better year because they(hopefully) felt comfortable asking all their questions.

Sunday was the day Code Red said goodbye. It was really “see you later,” but it seemed like it was goodbye since we wouldn’t be spending hours and hours together anymore.

Red Squad: Code Red!

Red Squad: Code Red!

We did an activity that I did last year with Teal Squad, where we have a yarn ball that gets thrown around the circle and we make a web. Whenever a person caught the yarn ball they had to say why they joined On Iowa! and how they think it helped them. We had some very personal stories in Code Red in which people said that Code Red had helped them overcome some very big issues. A lot of us(me included) were tearing up listening to our friends share their achievements.

Our red web. We're all connected and will always remember each other! Go Red Squad!

Our red web. We’re all connected and will always remember each other! Go Red Squad!

After this extremely touching activity. We decided we needed to quit crying (after the huge group hug) and play some of our favorite icebreakers (yay!). After 5 minutes of icebreakers we were laughing so hard some of us were crying again. I loved my whole squad so much. They had such fantastic, unique personalities! They really taught me what it means to be yourself and find your own style of leadership. One of the things I showed my students was a video from Kid President, his pep talk to students and teachers. In the video, Kid President talked about how we’re teaching the world something everyday and that we need to realize what we’re teaching the world around us. We need to be teaching the world who we are and what we believe. I think it’s true for everyone and it made me think about what goals I want to achieve this semester. I’m working on writing them all down and making sure I’m sticking to them.

The first day was pretty uneventful. I was one of the lucky ones who didn’t get rained on and my first class of the day was even cancelled. I also had mentor training for the Women in Science and Engineering mentoring program. I’m so excited that I live so close to my mentee again this year and that she seems to like me as well! I also love the fact that my mentee from last year still hangs out with me. I absolutely love everything I’m involved with this year. I’m so excited for everything I’ll get to be a part of!

I’ll try and update again at the end of the first week to let you know how the whole first week went!

By the way, holding to tradition: I’m cautiously optimistic for Polymer Chemistry :)

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Aug

23

On Iowa! Go Hawks!

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope you guys are having a fantastic week! I certainly am having a blast!

Thursday was my last move-in shift for moving people into the dorms and I got to meet a bunch of people in my building, so it was really cool. I also worked a shift at the On Iowa! check-in table which was a lot of fun. I worked with a girl from Green Squad and we had a lot of fun teasing each other when we checked-in a student  from the others squad. We both got super excited when we meet someone from our color.

Yesterday was the big day. The day where we have a single short squad meeting and then get our small groups. We would scream and cheer when we saw Red Team people walking towards us. We also chanted Green Squads roll call back to them, but with Red Squad in it. Both Green and Red were trying to out cheer each other. Red totally dominated.

This year the leaders lined up on the sidewalk and two on the end would move to the grass. The first group of 20 students would be paired with one of the leaders. Once they had their 20, they could head to their classroom. I was so excited to get moved to the grass and get a small group. I ended up with 18 in my group. They were a fantastic group and participated in my whacky icebreakers (that I absolutely love!). We had a little bit of classroom time before heading to the Excel Lecture, which happened to be across the river. It was a great opportunity to get to know my small group better through very diverse conversations. In the Excel Lecture we learned about things to do and not do to be successful at University of Iowa. The professor was really great and asked for student leaders for contributions which, I think, helped the new students hear a current students perspective. After the lecture my group (minus two students who, I think, followed different group when everyone left the lecture hall) played a game to help us learn everyone’s name which brought a lot of laughs and some misunderstandings (“Tiller whales” for one). We have a lot of double names in my group and that made it a bit trickier.

After a slight… umm… detour… with my group, we arrived at dinner and mostly sat together. We had a great conversation about classes and some great resources. My small group had a lot of great questions and I know they’re going to have a fantastic year!  Following dinner, we went to Kinnick and had fun. They had a DJ playing music and we took a class picture (On Iowa! Leaders, RAs, and Band members are the outline) with the class of 2018 in gold shirts. Here’s a picture of my Small Group outside Kinnick in their gold shirts. Aren’t they great?!

My Small Group!

My Small Group!

Red Squad hung out together on the field and had a ton of fun. We even had a tug-of war with multiple color squads. I love my squad so much and the other squads are so awesome.

Red Squad on Kinnick Field(minus a couple leaders)

Red Squad on Kinnick Field(minus a couple leaders)

Making the "I" for the class of 2018!

Making the “I” for the class of 2018!

The whole class of 2018 at Kinnick!

The whole class of 2018 at Kinnick!

Some of Red Squad just chillin' on the turf.

Some of Red Squad just chillin’ on the turf.

Fireworks at Kinnick-so cool!

Fireworks at Kinnick-so cool!

I’m not sure whose idea it was, but we had a gold vs. black tug-of war. The OnIowa! leaders were wearing black shirts from the outline of the “I’ and as I mentioned previously, new students were the gold. Although the black team put up a good fight, the gold did win the tug-of war.

Tug-of-war on Kinnick field.

Tug-of-war on Kinnick field.

I’m so excited for today! I can’t wait to see my Small Group again! I’m bringing candy for them. They just don’t know that I’m going to make them do an icebreaker for it!

So until later… OnIowa! Go Hawks!

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Aug

21

Last Day of Training and First Day Move-In Shifts

category icon Posted in Campus Life, Events, General, Photos

Hey Hawkeyes!

This week has been so busy! It has also been a lot of fun. I get more and more excited every day as we get closer to the On Iowa! program to actually start!

Tuesday was our final day of training for the program. It was also my favorite day. We played icebreakers and practiced answering hard questions as we cheered on our fellow Code Red members. We learned that the word “princess” should probably not slip out when talking to parents (very funny moment from one of the more serious guys on the squad). We also discussed more of the schedule and logistics for Saturday and Sunday. It was a long day of training, but by the end you feel so close to your squad leaving them is really sad.

The theme was Wacky Day.  Think we accomplished that? :)

The theme was Wacky Day.
Think we accomplished that? :)

I absolutely love the energy, positivity, and ideas each of these people bring to the group.

Giants, Wizards, and Pixies

Giants, Wizards, and Pixies

One of my favorite games to play was one I actually learned in my honors primetime workshop my first year. Pixies (tickly fingers and giggling) beat giants (arms raised over head with growling), giants beat wizards (waving your finger like a wand), and wizards beat pixies. It’s a team game where each team decides what magical creature they will be and then they come to the line. When the leader says “Go!” or “Who are you?”, each side does their respective motion. The winning side must try to tag the losing side before the losing side makes it to their “home base” (tree, wall, backpack). If the losing side is tagged, they must join the winning side. So it’s like Team Rock Paper Scissors with a tag element and some fun actions.

Dance Party at All-Team!

Dance Party at All-Team!

Who doesn’t like dancing?! It really helps get the energy back up and get everyone moving around. Everyone gets really into it!

Red Squad: Code Red's flag The back has all of our names on it. We're pretty loyal to Red Squad.

Red Squad: Code Red’s flag
The back has all of our names on it. We’re pretty loyal to Red Squad.

Yesterday was the first day of the major move-in days. I love helping people move in. It’s so fun to talk to new students about their majors, activities on campus, and what they’re most excited about. I talked to a pre-med student, an art major, a psychology major, and a math major among many others. It also feels so great to be appreciated. I had a lot of parents tell me how easy move-in was for them. Some of them had moved multiple kids to college and they said that moving into Iowa was by far the best. We try really hard to make it easy and fast.

Herky even helped me and my friend move a student in. He helped drive my cart and get in line at the elevator.

Herky even helped me and my friend move a student in. He helped drive my cart and get in line at the elevator.

I would also like to point out that that is my first picture with Herky and I would really like another one! I’m so excited to help with move-in again today! I also get to help with OnIowa! check-in so I’m looking forward to that as well.

Last night was also the East Side Spirit Night. It was a great time for students to get to know each other while doing school spirit activities like spray painting a hat, painting a picture frame, and tie-dying shirts. They also played some games which turn out to be a lot more fun when you have a lot of people playing.

The icebreaker "Hey, Me Too" at Spirit Night

The icebreaker “Hey, Me Too” at Spirit Night

This is a great icebreaker and turns into fun chaos when you have a group this big. A lot of Code Red came and spent time doing activities and talking with new students.

Spirit Night Code Red attendees

Spirit Night Code Red attendees

It was great getting to interact with some of the students we’ll be meeting with tomorrow in our small groups before going to Kick-Off at Kinnick.

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Aug

19

Icebreakers and Tough Topics

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

OnIowa! leaders are getting so excited to meet their small groups and we are having a blast in training. Yesterday we talked about welcoming our small group and introducing ourselves as well as going over the schedule and logistics for Friday. We’re learning a ton of ice breakers and team building activities. One of the team builders involved Code Red pairing with the Purple Grapes, so of course we were Code Grape. We had fun learning the importance of communication with teamwork so our marshmallows wouldn’t float down the chocolate river. We were divided into teams of 18 and we were given 10 paper plates (the “marshmallows”). We had to cross the “chocolate river” by getting the whole team across by stepping on the marshmallows. The catch was that if a marshmallow wasn’t being held down by someone’s foot, it would float away(be taken away from us). So we all had to work together to pick up a foot and share a plate with another person.

I personally love icebreakers, not the awkward ones that no one wants to do, just the ones that trick you into opening yourself to the group. I like the ones that help start a conversation with the person next to you, even if it is about how weird it is. I love learning all about new icebreakers and getting to try them out. I think I’m most excited to do icebreakers with my small group on Friday. I’m working on compiling an entire list of all of my favorite icebreakers so I can just pull out a different one at any free minute!

We also talked about how to handle tough questions (like ones we may not know the answer to, or are, in general, not relevant to the goal of On Iowa!). It can be one of the scarier parts of the job. You, as a leader, are in front of 20 first-year students that are starting their college experience with their own expectations. You have no idea what they’re thinking about, what background they come from, or what they want to know more about. The On Iowa! planning staff does a fantastic job of helping us feel more prepared for situations we can’t predict and it definitely helps alleviate the worry. In all honesty, we (the leaders) are here to help the transition to college a little easier and give a group of first years or transfer students a face and a name to see as a guide to answering their questions. If we don’t know the answer, we know someone who does and we will do our best to help you have the best, most successful year here at University of Iowa.

Red Squad: Code Red

Red Squad: Code Red

I’m so thankful that I have such a great team backing me up through this whole week. This is my awesome cast of Code Red leaders.(The only picture I could get to load is the funny one; guess it was meant to be).

They have all been so supportive and encouraging as we figure out what our own leadership style is. Every one of them as been willing to make suggestions or offer advice on dealing with different situations. You can tell that helping people means a lot to them and that’s how you know that the whole OnIowa! program will be absolutely amazing! I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and I’m so excited to continue training and leading our small groups through the program. Thanks, Code Red!

 

[Facebook] [Twitter]

Aug

18

Training and Movies?

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

So yesterday was the first day of On Iowa! leader training. It was so awesome to see my squad again! We played some ice breakers to test our memory of names. Just so we’re clear, Maddie’s name is not “Darn it!” The game we played involved having to remember the other person’s name at the drop of a hat, or should I say blanket? Our captains held up a blanket and each team sent someone to the blanket wall, when the blanket dropped you had to say the name of the person you were facing before they said yours in order to get them on your team. It made for some pretty funny moment and some introductions when neither one could think of the others name.

We also ran through what Friday will be like obtaining our small groups. It was very entertaining with a lot of enthusiasm. Next was dinner. We were told we would be having pizza in the IMU. Well, after our practice they took us to the IMU and put us on buses. We were really confused. The bus load of confused Code Red and Dancing Lobsters (our two sections of Red Squad), arrived at the Coral Ridge Mall with the other confused colors. We were then informed we would have pizza, pop, and popcorn at a movie. It was a huge surprise! The movie was called  “Hundred Foot Journey” and it was a fantastic movie. We had so much fun watching it together. It was so cool that a group of 200 people could have a movie night together! I love my squad and I’m so excited for what this week will bring!

I’m off to another day of training and fun! Good luck to all those moving into today for Iowa Edge or Honors Primetime!

[Facebook] [Twitter]