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Feb

17

Just Another Week

category icon Posted in Academics, Campus Life, General

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone has been staying warm. It hasn’t been an awfully cold week which is kinda nice. However, since it has been warmer the walkways are sloppy with melted snow and sand. When you’re wearing snow boots it really isn’t so bad, but when you need to look nice and wear dress pants with nice shoes it can be a bit difficult. I had a meeting, two classes, and then an interview on Friday and I discovered the previously mentioned difficulty.

I ended up wearing my dress pants tucked into my snow boot with my shiny heels packed in my backpack next to my notebooks. When I got to my interview, I stopped outside and changed into my heels while shoving my boots into my backpack. The interview went well and I’m really excited about that opportunity. I also have two more interviews coming up in the next week and I’m kinda nervous about them. I have all these great opportunities that I’m really excited about.

It’s that situation where you want to get all of them because they’re all amazing but you know that you have to choose between them because they’re all happening at the same time. All of them would provide great experiences and help me develop leadership as well as other skills. I’m hoping that by this time next month I’ll be able to report that I have been offered all three positions and will start the pro and con lists. But until then the only thing I can do is prep for my two interviews and hope.

In other news, I took my first midterm this past week. It went really well, but I’m still nervously awaiting the grade. This next week will bring two tests (both of which I’m a little nervous for) and of course they’re on the same day so my brain will be mush by the end of Wednesday. Luckily, with this past Friday being Valentine’s Day, the stores had some great sales on chocolate so I will be well-prepared for doing homework while eating chocolate that night. At least with two tests it means I have a one less quiz and one less homework assignment this week. My friends and I are falling into a routine of homework along with planning ice cream breaks and movie nights for when we get the homework done early. Hopefully I’ll have time to get my camera out soon so I’ll have more pictures to post of all this snow.

Talk to you all later this week and I’ll let you know how the interviews and tests go.

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Feb

09

3 Down, Quite A Few To Go

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

I can’t believe it’s only the third week of class! I’m so used to my schedule already. Most my classes are falling into a routine(weekly homework and quizzes), which just means that I can now plan out my schedule a little more. I have a class that is only on Wednesday nights and I’m still worried about forgetting to take the quiz before class so I’m hoping that I’ll fall into a routine for that class soon so I don’t have that mini heart attack before I remember what day of the week it is.

My first round of tests is quickly approaching though. One test in the upcoming week, two the next week, and one the week after. I think I’ll have a little bit of break until after spring break (note: I think, it’s not definite yet). I’m really enjoying a few of my classes but haven’t started really disliking any of them yet. My friends and I are still constantly doing homework, the only difference now is that we’ve been trying to finish the homework a couple days before it’s due. With this goal, we’ve had more time to go do fun things, like going to an improv show. This show was a a combination of three different groups. It was a great way to laugh at the end of the week. All three groups did a great job of making the audience laugh and knowing what material to focus on based on how the audience responded. If you’re looking for something to do, definitely check out these groups, they usually post upcoming shows on Facebook.

Great White Narcs improv group

Great White Narcs

Janice improv group

Janice

 

Paperback Rhino

Paperback Rhino

All the groups doing some improv together

All the groups doing some improv together

I also had the opportunity to volunteer at a Girl Scout Badge Day hosted by WiSE. The activity I helped with was making drinking straw boats, where we talked about buoyant forces and larger surfaces to support more weight.

Talking about the physics behind buoyancy and boats

Talking about the physics behind buoyancy and boats

If there was an odd number of girls, I would be paired with the lone girl. The first girl I was paired with, I felt really sorry for. She wasn’t feeling well and I had no clue how to build a decent boat. The next girl already had a plan when I walked up to her and I did a fantastic job taping the straws together. Our boat held 141 pennies! I’m not sure who was more excited: me or the girl scout.

The amazing boat that held 141 pennies

The amazing boat that held 141 pennies

Even though the record ended up being 189 pennies, I was still pretty proud of our boat(even though I just put the tape on). It was a lot of fun getting to know the girls and watching them get really excited about the number of pennies their boats held.

As some of you may know, last weekend was also Superbowl Sunday. We had a Superbowl party in our lounge.

Superbowl!

Superbowl!

We ordered pizza and had chips, carrots, grapes, and meatballs. It was also my friend Abby’s birthday so she shared the birthday cake her family had brought her. It was nice to just spend time with friends and relax(although I did more homework than game watching). Hopefully the rest of the semester continues to be as stress-free as the first few weeks have been!

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Jan

28

“Spring” Semester is Kinda Deceptive

category icon Posted in Campus Life, General

Spring semester is kinda deceptive since this weather is definitely not spring.

Hey Hawkeyes!

Staying warm? I’ve been trying to! Luckily, most of my classes are pretty close to each other. For example, on Wednesdays I spend 3 consecutive hours in the Chem building for 3 different classes. However, I have decided I need to find a scarf made from a different material; I’m tired of picking scarf fuzz off my face when I get to class.

The weather is one of those things that you never thought about in high school. You knew there was a foot of snow on the ground and the temperature was below freezing, but that just meant you had to climb into a cold car and drive to school wearing gloves. Once you got there, you were in the same building for the whole day. In college, you have to be way more prepared. You really need a good pair of boots, a good winter coat, gloves, a hat, and a scarf. Most the time when it’s just cold, it doesn’t feel too bad outside. It’s the wind that really makes you feel the cold. It makes your ears and nose cold really fast. And the nearest bus stop isn’t necessarily all that close. After one of my night classes I decided to just walk across campus since that would be faster than waiting for a bus. When I finally arrived at my dorm, I decided that plan will be revised for the next class.

Now that we’re going into the second week of class I feel like this is when all the first week reviews of old information are wrapping up and all the classes are moving into new information. Which basically means that now is when you need to figure out where you’re going to get help if you need it. Maybe that help is from a tutoring center, the teaching assistants, or even the professor. Now you just need the motivation to get up and go get help, which can be kinda hard when the weather is so cold. Sometimes, even the motivation to go to class is hard to find when it’s this cold. I find that if you can take hot cocoa or coffee with you to class, knowing that when you get to class and can drink something warm makes it just a little easier and sometimes that’s all you need. I keep hot cocoa, coffee, and apple cider in my room just for that reason. I also found that having a leak-proof travel mug helps your day go slightly better; it’s not a great start to your day when your coffee mug slips and spills on your notebook. In this weather you can use boiling water and by the time you get to class your hot cocoa is at a completely drinkable temperature. :)

Good luck to everyone in the second week of school! Let’s make this an awesome semester!

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Jan

23

Rested, Relaxed, and Ready to Take on the World

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

Glad to be back to another semester? I am! Well, ok, I’m still nervous about my classes but I’m determined to make this semester even better than last semester. But first a little catch up on some of the activities leading up to winter break.

To start of the fun of finals week, Women in Science and Engineering hosted their annual cookie decorating party for the living-learning community. As always there was lots of frosting, sprinkles, and of course ugly sweaters. It’s so nice to relax for a few hours, eat some cookies (not all of them are pretty enough to be donated), and drink hot cocoa while watching it snow. We always have a lot of fun mixing new colors and creatively decorating the different cookie shapes.

Cookie Decorating!

Cookie Decorating!

Here’s some of the cookies I decorated:

Let's just say it's a good think I'm chemical engineering and not anything that involves decorating.

Let’s just say it’s a good think I’m chemical engineering and not anything that involves decorating.

Then, of course, was the fun-filled week of studying and taking tests like a crazy person. I had five finals so I knew I had to be on top of studying. Luckily, I have some great friends in my classes so we had some major study sessions in my floor’s lounge with the white boards.

Yay! Thermodynamics!

Yay! Thermodynamics!

I’ve said it before and I’ll probably say it again, you really need to know how you study most effectively. If I’m trying to learn something, I need to be by myself. But if I’m reviewing or practicing, I like to be with other people working on the same things. Especially for long math problems or complicated organic chemistry reactions, other people can catch your mistakes as you’re making them so you don’t have to re-do the entire problem just to get the right answer. I also like hearing other people’s methods for remembering patterns or formulas we need.

Almost done with finals!

Almost done with finals!

Another great way to study is to make review sheets for yourself. I like to go through all my notes and make a list of the main topics with a couple of the more detailed concepts and then follow my sheet. For math, I made a list of concepts with check boxes next to them and would do practice problems until I got several right and then would check it off. I would also use the back of my review sheets to make short notes about little details that I would always forget, like a step in a problem or a key definition. When I left for the final I would glance over the review sheet one last time as well as look at my list of common mistakes so the correct answers were in my head before I took the final. All of my finals went pretty well, so I guess my system works for me.

The view from the front of Old Capital on my way to a review session

The view from the front of Old Capital on my way to a review session

One of the other fun things that was up before finals week was the bulletin board design. Each floor has a bulletin board that’s decorated each month with creative ideas. In the Women in Science and Engineering Living-Learning Community, half the board is designed by the RA and the other is designed by the LLC programmer, who is in charge of planning events that go with the floor’s theme. I thought this design was absolutely awesome. It was a map of the United States with a world map below it with road maps as a background. All the residents received a pin with a string tied around it that had our name attached. We were to put the pin on the most interesting place we would be traveling to over winter break. It was really cool when everyone had put their pins in. Some people were taking family vacations to places like Mexico or Washington D.C., some people were taking classes in India, and some were simply going home to places like Florida or visiting family in Africa. It was interesting to stand at the board just turning over little pieces of paper to read the names and see where everyone was going.

My floor's map

My floor’s map

It was also easier  to ask everyone how their break was when we got back because you knew what cool places they had been to. It was definitely awesome to see everyone again. It’s weird when you get used to seeing people everyday or just hearing the sound of their voice down the hall, and then all of the sudden you don’t have that any more. The first night we were all back, the girls on my floor were up and down the entire hallway trying to talk to everybody. It took me a couple days to unpack because I kept getting distracted with talking to everyone. My group of friends went out to eat as soon as everyone was moved back in on Monday night. When we left dinner, we realized it was snowing really heavily and, since I absolutely love how pretty snow is, I thought campus looked beautiful so I had to take a picture.

Pentacrest at night in a snowstorm

Pentacrest at night in a snowstorm

Break definitely helped me feel relaxed and a lot more ready to take on another semester. By the end of first semester I always feel so burned out and I’m so thankful to have a month off class and homework, especially the homework part. Technically, Tuesday was the first day of classes, but I only had two seminars that are actually a lot more of talking, discussing, and participating. That basically means Tuesday did not feel like a school day, Wednesday definitely felt like a school day though. I had classes from 9:30 to 2:30 and then from 7-9. Talk about a busy day. I can’t wait to fall into a routine with my schedule. I think the class I’m most cautiously optimistic for is a class called Drugs: Their Nature Action and Use. The class is about why medications react the way they do in the body and cause the side effects everyone worries about. We will also be discussing how new medications are developed. I think it will be a really interesting class and I’m going to learn a ton. My advisor says it will help me decide if I want to study the pharmaceutical side of chemical engineering or if I want to look at some other areas of chemical engineering. I know at least one person in most of my classes and look forward to making some new friends. I think the most exciting parts of new classes is the possibility of new friends to talk to and new information to learn.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to set aside more time to blog so I’ll try to stick to it! Until next time, have a great first week!

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Dec

07

Homework, Fun, and Home

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

Hey Hawkeyes,

You know how time can feel like it’s going so slowly but then you look back and you have no idea where the time went? That’s pretty much what’s been going on. In the week before Thanksgiving break I had a ton of homework due and a test each week with three right before Thanksgiving break. But I also found some time to have fun too. College can be stressful and you really need to balance school and fun. Sometimes it can be tough when you’re living in the dorm because you feel like you’re always at school. If you make the most of college though, the dorms can actually become the best thing. You always have people to study with. My engineering friends and I have Thermo Thursday where we all get together and work on the Thermodynamics assignment together since it’s due Friday. We all try to start it a little bit early so we can compare answers and rework problems if there’s a discrepancy in the answers, but let’s be honest, most of us start that night. Here’s one of our Thermo Thursday parties.

Study party!

Study party!

I wish I had the picture from the Thermo Thursday a couple weeks after this one; we had so many people we ended up in the lounge with 4 tables pushed together and some people on the floor.

Sometimes you have to reward yourself when you’ve been working hard. My reward for working hard/finally taking a break from homework, class, and tests was to see the musical “Wicked” in Chicago. The Campus Activities Board(CAB) organized a trip to see the musical on a Saturday night. We got on the bus at 3pm and arrived home at 3:30am the next morning. It was a long night, but so much fun. I was so glad to have friends go with me too!

Wicked!

Wicked!

I tried to convince myself that I would do homework on the bus there, but then we watched “The Wizard of OZ” and “Rent”, so homework didn’t really happen. It was a great relaxing weekend and I absolutely loved seeing “Wicked”. This trip was my first time ever seeing it and it was awesome! I couldn’t have been more excited for this trip; now I want to go see it again.

The weekend after “Wicked” was the last home game for this football season. Remember my last post where I said games were getting colder?DSCN9224

Well, this last home game was pretty cold. Actually, it was really cold! Everyone was bundled up. I hadn’t had the chance to bring my snowboots and as it turns out, regular shoes just don’t keep your feet warm even when you’re wearing three layers of socks.

Going home after the game was definitely one of the best feelings ever. Just something about knowing you have an entire week of no class, no turning in homework, and finally getting caught up on sleep is simply exciting. I heard some first years talking about going home for the first time and I realized that as a first year, I hadn’t really thought about what it would be like going home for the first time since I live so close. However, I realized that everything they were saying was just as true for me as it was for them, even now as a sophomore. So why is going home in college so different? Well,

1. Driving a car for the first time after being gone for weeks or even months is one of the weirdest things. My friends and I were all used to driving to school and driving to all our activities. Now in college, we walk every where or take a bus. When we finally get home, climbing into a car can seem strangely strange. You wouldn’t think it would feel so weird, but it does.

2. Homework should really be done over a weekend of going home, but it normally just doesn’t happen. Even over long breaks like Thanksgiving(although this break, I actually did quite a bit of homework), it’s really hard to get motivated to do homework.

3. Sleep is an amazing thing and nothing it better than being able to sleep in your own bed again. Something about being home, or even just going home, is calming and puts you to sleep right away. One of the first-years I was talking to  said that since she lived 3 hours away she was going to do homework on the ride there and back so she could finish her homework without having to actually do it at home. This is a combination of both point 2 and point 3. She said she got in the car and she just fell asleep right away. Then she didn’t do the homework at home, slept on the way back, and stayed up way too late trying to finish the homework.

Those are probably the three top things that everyone deals with, so don’t feel like you’re the only one struggling with motivation or think you’re a bad student for not doing homework when you go home. You can definitely fix those issues, but you don’t have to feel alone either.

Until next time, Hawkeyes, stay warm!

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Nov

04

Where’d October Go?!

category icon Posted in General

*Gasp* I missed 4 weeks of blog posts! As in, like, all of October!! How’d that happen?!

Hey Hawkeyes!

I’m so sorry to have left you hanging for my favorite month! For those who have been reading my blog for a while, you know that fall is my favorite time of year. I love the colors and I was so excited about taking pictures of the pretty trees for you guys. But this fall has been extremely weird. The weather couldn’t decide if it wanted to be cold or warm, rainy or snowy. So it kinda did both on a day to day interval. The result of the weird weather being that some tree changed colors early, some just started changing, and some panicked and dropped all their leaves the first week. I was kinda sad about that. I still have a few photo ideas I want to try though, so hopefully I can get out there and capture some of them yet this fall.

Not much has been going on with me through October. It just kinda whizzed by, kinda like all the deadlines for my homework (no worries, it was completed and handed in on time). My roommate and I were getting ready for bed last week and I excitedly informed her that we had 4 weeks until Thanksgiving break. She was stunned and asked, “You’re counting down already?” I told her that no, in fact I wasn’t. My teacher’s are forcing me to by scheduling exams. I had one exam this past week, one this week, one the following week, and three the week after that (which is the week right before Thanksgiving). Therefore, there were 4 weeks. Now we are down to 3. I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel: excited for a break or terrified that finals are starting to feel really close! Here are a few pictures from the last month:

I also got a bit of a cold this past week and re-discovered the fact that being sick during cold weather in college is not a ton of fun. I went to all my classes (not happily) and tried not to be that annoying person that coughs, sneezes, and sniffles through lecture. I also discovered that even though it’s a bit excessive (and not particularly helpful), it is possible to drink a gallon of orange juice in three days. By the way, as much as everyone insists it can’t help you when you’re already sick, I think the juice helped. I also believe in mind over matter, or at least try to tell myself that often enough. I will hopefully keep you guys more updated in the next several weeks before break, or at least post a few times!

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Sep

30

Study, Study, Apples!

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

Ok, I know it’s been a while since I posted. I need to get used to doing short posts. I always have so much I want to say that I never think I have enough time to sit down and write. Now that we’re going into the fifth week of classes (really? just 5?) I think everyone has had at least one test in at least one of their classes. I think the first test is always the worst one, even though it’s supposed to be the easiest. With starting new classes with new professors, it can be really hard to guess what will be on the test. You never know exactly what the structure of the test will be like. Last week I took a test that had to be taken in pen with my answer “clearly marked, or it will not be graded.” I was a little nervous about that, I kinda like erasing mistakes. I guess it’s a good life lesson though. Sometimes you can fix the mistakes and erase the reminders. Other times you need to demonstrate that you messed up and “clearly mark” the change for the better in your life. Sorry if that was a little cheesy. I’m just a little bit tired. Anyway, the test didn’t go too badly and I didn’t even need the four pieces of scratch paper I grabbed. In fact, I think I used half of one. But now I know what to expect for the next test. And the next test always comes up really fast. I have two tests this upcoming week and then two tests next week. That combined with all the homework basically means that my “free time” is between 1 am and 7 am, typically known as sleeping time. Luckily, a lot of my friends like studying as a group so we can hang out and talk a little bit while we all work on a variety of homework. I really need to get a picture sometime. I think the last time we studied in my room we had eight people working on 5 different subjects. Everyone finds a little bit of floor space and spreads out. There’s also small group/individual study time which is typically a bit more productive if the subject is a bit more difficult.

Multi-tasking: Watching a football game while doing Organic Chemistry homework

Multi-tasking: Watching a football game while doing Organic Chemistry homework

Reading the 10 chapters of Biology for the upcoming test

Reading the 10 chapters of Biology for the upcoming test

As much fun as it is to study with friends, you really need to know what you struggle with and when you need alone time to interpret the information. A major part of college is recognizing what’s best for you and making an action plan that makes it happen. And sometimes what’s best for you is just taking a break from school. If you do homework all the time and never have relaxation time, you will get stressed and burn out. Trust me. It happens. Luckily, there’s always something to do. A couple weeks ago (I can’t believe I didn’t do a post about this), the chemical engineering department scheduled a trip the the local apple orchard. It was a lot of fun and gave the underclassmen a chance to talk to upperclassmen about research and classes. Oh, and the apples were amazing. The apple turnovers were even better. They were fantastic. I bought a jug of apple cider to keep in my fridge and was very sad at how fast it disappeared.

Enjoying turnovers while hanging out with friends

Enjoying turnovers while hanging out with friends

Apple picking

Apple picking

I will honestly try to post again this week, but I really can’t promise anything. With homework due Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and two things due Friday with exams on Tuesday and Friday, it might be Friday before I have time to post anything. So in the mean time, have a great week and try to relax a little bit!

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Sep

15

Football Season

category icon Posted in General

Hey Hawkeyes!

So sorry I missed last week’s post! It’s been crazy busy. I’m getting used to the homework schedule though. Engineering Math 2 is due on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Thermodynamics is due Wednesdays, as is Organic Chemistry. Process Calculations and Physics are both due on Friday. Basically I do homework all the time. However, I take enough breaks to do fun stuff that the homework doesn’t seem too tedious.

The past couple of weekends I have gone to football games with a large group of friends. Here’s some pictures for you guys.

Even though I know next to nothing about football, going to a game with friends and joining the energy of the stadium filled with cheers was exhilarating. Although I do recommend wearing sunblock. Carrying a backpack with a sunburn is a bit painful. After the game two weeks ago, we had a movie night and an ice cream run. A few of my friends live in Centerstone, the honors apartments just off campus. To make the most of their shared living space they bought a giant beanbag chair. I’d just like to say that this beanbag is the most comfortable thing to take a nap on and we can fit so many people on it, it’s great for watching movies.

My friends on the giant beanbag chair :)

My friends on the giant beanbag chair :)

I really need to get better at posting more often. I’ll try really hard to get a few more posts in this week!

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Sep

02

Don’t Drink The Chemicals

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

Hey Hawkeyes!

Time has been flying for the past two weeks. My last post left off on Wednesday and everything has been a whirlwind since then. I’ll try to give a summary!

Thursday
I helped with Move-in crew, which was a lot of fun again. The same group that helped Wednesday helped on Thursday so it was nice getting to know more people. I also helped with Target Takeover this year. There are shuttles that hauled all the students out to the Target in Coralville. There’s a ton of activities with chances to win free stuff. They also had a live DJ to help get the energy up. It was a lot of fun and there was so much energy.

The front crew at Target Takeover with Bullseye

The front crew at Target Takeover with Bullseye

Friday
We had our final On Iowa! squad meeting before we met our small groups. I was kinda nervous about meeting them but after our squad meeting and laughing with them, I realized that my small group was probably nervous about meeting me and each other. My small group was pretty cool and even participated in the ice breakers with some enthusiasm. After a lecture about how to succeed in college and then dinner, we headed to Kinnick Stadium. At Kinnick, the first years learn cheers, songs, and chants. They also get to form the big block ‘I’ on the field.

Some of my small group having fun at Kinnick

Some of my small group having fun at Kinnick

A sea of first years on Kinnick field

A sea of first years on Kinnick field

When we got to Kinnick, it was mass chaos as far as finding anyone. Half of my small group got lost in the sea of students walking up to Kinnick. I was a little disappointed but was trying to ignore it, but then I got to the gates where students were entering and I saw my group standing there waiting for me. When we got onto the field, I managed to find a group of Teal squad leaders and we had to take a picture. These are some of the best people I’ve ever met.

Feel the Teal!

Feel the Teal!

After the Kinnick activities, students could leave to go to some other events or they could stay on Kinnick and take part in races, tug-of-war, or field goal kicking. Teal squad also had a hang out session in the middle of Kinnick field.

Teal Hangout: "I thirsted his quenches!" "Teal the feel!"

Teal Hangout: “I thirsted his quenches!” “Teal the feel!”

Hanging out after such a long day made for some pretty interesting moments and quotes, but that’s why I love them!

Saturday
This was the big day for On Iowa! leaders. And students I guess. As leaders, today was the day we presented the Iowa Challenge. The challenge is Excel, Stretch, Engage, Choose, Serve. These five things are what past graduates feel are necessary to have a fulfilling and successful college experience. This year, we focused on the Choose part of the Challenge. We talked about Hawks helping Hawks and keeping fellow Hawkeyes safe using bystander intervention if we see something that could put someone in danger. My small group (which ended up really small because half of my small didn’t show up to the second day of class) responded really well and were completely serious about the topic. I would have loved to have had my whole class come back, but the students who did come back were a great bunch. They provided intelligent and meaningful ideas about how to help someone who might be in a bad situation.

We also talked about getting Engaged on campus and finding activities that will help you meet people who have similar interests. This discussion ended with going to the Engage Fair that had booths with information about a lot of the organizations students can join.

Sunday

This was our last squad meeting together as Teal team 6. We did an activity where we would throw a ball of yarn around the circle and we had to say 1. our favorite moment, 2. how we grew as a leader, and 3. one thing we would never forget. We all agreed that one of the things we wouldn’t forget was the strong connection with our Teal squad. At the end of the activity we had a star of teal yarn to show how we were all connected.

The Teal Stars

The Teal Stars

Being an On Iowa! leader has been one of the best experiences and I met such awesome people, I would highly recommend being involved with it.

Now for the short rundown on the first week of class.
I have quite a few classes this semester that have a lot of homework so I’ll be pretty busy with that. On the better note, I have every class with at least one friend, so it makes it easier to work on homework together. I like my schedule so far (other than the awful power walk from one side of campus to the other) but I get all my lectures out of the way in the mornings. The first-years on my floor are getting used to lecture and will soon be going to their first chemistry lab (hence the title of this post, the TA’s always tell you not to ingest the chemicals). It’s been so great being an upperclassman on the WiSE floor. My friends and I have had so much fun getting to know the first-years. We’ve had multiple floor bonding moments in the middle of the hallway. Now whenever we walk out and see a group standing in the hallway, they’ll yell down, “Hey, hall bonding! Come down!” This is just one of the many hallway bondings.

One of our floor bonding moments :) Sophomores and freshmen having fun with a cardboard box

One of our floor bonding moments :) Sophomores and freshmen having fun with a cardboard box

We’ve also had a nail-painting and hair braiding party in my room which was a lot of fun. We keep adding people so we’re slowly getting to know the whole floor and each individual person.

This year is off to such an awesome start, I’m so excited. Last year seemed so awesome, I didn’t think it could get better. But this year has definitely surpassed those expectations. I can’t wait to see what the year will bring!

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Aug

22

Back to School!

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Hey Hawkeyes!

As I’m sure you all know, school is just around the corner and we’re all getting really excited! Leading up to move-in, I was definitely most excited to see my friends. I’m still a little hesitant about starting homework, but I really don’t get a choice with that. But anyway, the exciting stuff! I moved in Sunday the 18th so that I would be all ready for On Iowa! training on Monday. I also had the chance to meet some girls on my dorm floor. My dorm floor is about half sophomores and half freshmen, which has been a blast. My sophomore friends are getting the freshmen used to leaving doors open and just walking into open-doored rooms to chat. They’re all so great and friendly, I definitely hope I was like that when I came here, or if not, I hope I’ve grown into it. If you’ve read my older blog posts, you’ll know I’m involved in WiSE; this year I signed up for the mentoring program. I finally met my mentee when she moved in on Wednesday and absolutely love her! She lives just down the hall from me and we’ve had some great conversations already. It also made me feel amazing that right before she met me, the freshmen I had already met a couple days ago started telling my mentee how awesome and friendly I am. Totally made my day!

Now I’ll try to give you an overview of my week so far:

Monday: On Iowa! Training
I can’t even begin to tell you how much fun I’ve had with On Iowa!. The people I’ve met have been some of the kindest, most outgoing, and unique people ever. This year, the leaders were put into color squads. Each leader in the color squad is assigned a small group of freshmen that they will be teaching and leading. It makes organizing freshmen and leaders a TON easier. I’m part of Teal Squad/Teal Team. Teal Squad refers to the squad of leaders, whereas Teal Team refers to the leaders in addition to their small groups of first-years. Teal is definitely the best squad (Keep it real, Keep it Teal!). All the On Iowa! leaders are definitely awesome, but we’re all pretty loyal to our color. We’ve created a slogan (see previously mentioned  parentheses), squad cheer, and a squad handshake. But don’t get me wrong, I have some outstanding friends in other squads too. On Monday alone, we spent 6 hours in training. These training sessions included All-Team meetings (all colors together) and squad meetings (just your assigned color). We discussed ice breakers, nervous kids, introductions, and the Iowa Challenge. We also have a lot of fun testing out different ice breakers! After On Iowa! training I came back to the dorm and hung out with the girls on my dorm floor. We’re getting used to having talk sessions with everyone in a circle in someone’s room. Monday’s was in my room.

Tuesday: More On Iowa! Training
On Tuesday, we spent another 6 hours in training. We spent time in workshops learning about group facilitation and learning about how generation differences affect how people respond to teaching methods. And those were just the two workshops I went to. They also had sessions on foreign name pronunciation(for those of us that struggle with difficult names) and ice breaker sessions. We also learned how to answer tough questions that might come up. We’re pretty much prepared for anything after a practice session with our squads where we each had the opportunity to practice having an obnoxious group (played oh, so well by the rest of our squad). The training and practice was a lot of fun and definitely left me feeling way better about my small group. We closed our final All-Team meeting on Tuesday with a very special activity. We tied paper signs around our necks and were then instructed to swing them around to our backs. We were given a pen and told to write words of encouragement to our teammates. I had such special and sweet things written on mine. It really gave me the confidence that I was ready to face my small group. After training on Tuesday, I went back to my dorm for another great talk session in my friend’s room, which is just down the hall from my room.

Wednesday: Move-In!
On Iowa! leaders were asked to choose activity shifts to volunteer with. I chose to help with move-in. It was a little chaotic, but eventually I caught on and was a pro at packing those carts. The elevators were the best part! I mean, who doesn’t like a giant game of Tetris with carts and people?! After I helped with move-in, I helped with On Iowa! check-in. That seemed really easy after move-in. All I had to do was hand people their name tag, color wristband, and itinerary and explain what each one was. After that ended, I had a small break. During this break is when I met my mentee. I knew she had moved in and I had tried to visit her, but she wasn’t in her room. But I finally met her and we talked for over an hour until it was time for Late Night activities. I had been talking up Spirit Night to a bunch of the girls on my floor because I knew they’d love the tie-dying (who doesn’t love free Hawkeye shirts that you get to decorate?!). However, according to my On Iowa! attendance sheet, most of the people in my small group live on West side. Soooo the girls on my floor (including a couple sophomores) headed over to Hillcrest for the Spirit Night. We took a bus so we could show the freshman what it was like. We explained the Red and Blue routes once again, now with better visuals. They all gave a resounding “Oooooh, that’s what they meant by Blue to Burge and Red to Rienow.” I was very grateful to them for accompanying me over to Hillcrest since I don’t know many people living on West side. After tie-dying a shirt, talking, and meeting some more On Iowa! leaders(along with us leaders trying out some ice breakers), we headed back over to East side to attend their Spirit Night (same activities, but with more people from the East neighborhood).  The On Iowa! leaders received buttons saying “Ask me about” and then something that we had said we wanted to talk about with incoming families. Mine said “Ask me about my summer”. Mainly, I wanted to talk about my summer research because I felt like that was very cool for freshmen to hear about and get involved with. After explaining the entire project I help research to the girls from my floor, one of the freshmen looked at me and said “That is so cool; I want to do what you do.” Another day-maker! I’m so excited that I get to share so much of my college experience with them. After having a dance party and meeting even more leaders we headed for the dorm. Finally to bed. Well, shower first(move-in and walking every where except our one bus ride, equals slightly sweaty). And we can’t go without another talk session!In my room again with some girls more girls from the floor who hadn’t been around earlier. I’ll try to get a picture of a talk session so everyone can see how much fun we have.

So far this school year is off to such a great start, I wouldn’t change anything about it. If anything, I’d be fine with helping with more move-in and more On Iowa! events just to make these fun times last longer. But with how great the girls on my floor are, I know there will be plenty of amazing memories to be made. And as far as On Iowa! goes, I want to be a squad captain next year so I can be even more involved, so I’ll be applying for that later in the fall. Wish me luck!  For any of you out there, whatever grade here at University of Iowa, apply to be an On Iowa! leader, it’s such a memorable and amazing experience. I have had a blast with my squad and the entire leader team. They’re so full of energy and excitement that I can’t wait to share it all with my small group. If you’re thinking about coming to University of Iowa, we have one of the strongest, most supportive student body and staff. And for any freshmen who just got to campus: can’t wait to see you at On Iowa!

 

 

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