Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

The Last Post

Friday, January 6th, 2017

Hey Hawkeyes!

Since I have officially graduated from the University of Iowa this will be my last blog post and be prepared, it’s gonna be a long one. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to blog about my experiences here at the University of Iowa. It’s been so great to meet the new bloggers each year and have people read my blog to keep up with my adventures.

After being involved in organizations such as mentoring and living in the residence halls for 4.5 years, I’ve had some people ask for advice and so I wanted to record some of my advice or lessons I’ve learned during my time at Iowa.

To start with, I went way back and read through my blog posts from when I first started blogging as a freshman. I wanted to update some of the advice I had when I was still figuring college out.

  • In my first semester I really liked that my classes were spread out so I wasn’t rushing to get between them. I like being early to things and I enjoyed having plenty of time to be early to my classes. But I realized that I’m more productive when all my classes are bunched together and I can have large chunks of time to get homework done or schedule work hours. As long as you don’t have to go all the way across campus(like Van Allen to the pharmacy building) 10 minutes really is plenty of time.
  • For the engineers out there(or at least Chemical Engineers): Get a graphing calculator and learn how to use it (graphing, writing programs for it)
  • And to re-iterate one of my biggest pieces of advice: Invest in a nice pair of rain boots, you will not regret it

My advice to any student still in college and getting ready to come to college:

  • Go to events. Any event. Basketball games, football games, volleyball games, baseball games,  gymnastics meets. Even if you’re not a huge fan or have never really been to one before, they’re a lot of fun and usually really cheap for students. It’s a great way to hang out with friends while showing some Hawkeye spirit.
  • Go to talks from famous people. Sometimes it’s really hard to prioritize especially when you’re a dedicated student. One of my biggest regrets of college is not going to see Jane Goodall when she came to campus. It would have been worth pulling an all-nighter to finish the project to see her talk.
  • Stay focused. It can be easy to start to let things slide towards the end of the semester. You’ve been working so hard and feel like you’re exhausted, but you just need to stay motivated and keep going until the end of finals week. Keep turning in every homework assignment and doing all the readings.
  • Get help. It’s ok if you’re struggling, college is hard. University of Iowa has a ton of great resources for any type of issue whether it’s tutoring or test anxiety, there’s someone there to help you. It’s not a bad thing to admit you need help. It’s much better to start working on the problem early and get it solved or at least understand it better than struggling through on your own and making you feel even worse. Your RA, advisor, or professors can help direct you to the resources you need.
  • Remember: you’re a student first. Your primary responsibility is school, that’s why you’re here. You’re going to have a ton of fun with friends and getting involved in organizations, but don’t let it become a distraction. Getting bad grades early on is hard to come back from and means you have to work extra hard on more difficult classes to make up for it. While your GPA may not matter in 10 years, it certainly matters for getting that first job and the work ethic it takes to keep that GPA will last a lifetime.
  • That being said, your GPA doesn’t necessarily describe you. Some things come easily for some people, some things don’t. If things aren’t going as well as you planned and you find yourself struggling more than you can handle, talk to your professors and your advisor. Maybe you need a different mix of classes: more balance between gen eds and major related. Or maybe you need to lighten the load and take some summer classes to decrease the number of hours during the semester. Be proactive, don’t wait until it’s too late to realize your GPA isn’t where you need it to be.
  • Go after the opportunities you want. As cheesy as it is: You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Whether it’s an internship or research experience or leadership in an organization, just go for it. Even if you don’t get it you learned a lot by reaching out and making connections and those experiences will help you in the future. It’s going to suck when you get rejected, but just know that there are other opportunities out there that might be better for you or be a stepping stone to better prepare you for the one you want.
  • Don’t forget how awesome you are. Some things are going to go really well and some things might be a lot harder than you were expecting. Don’t lose who you are and don’t forget that you are unique with your own individual talents.

I met some of my closest friends at the University of Iowa and learned a lot about myself and about other people. I met so many amazing people and have been so inspired by them.

By living in the residence hall for all 4.5 years, I have had the opportunity to meet a new floor of first years every year and have become friends with many of them. They definitely helped me to see the excitement and fun in college, even when I was tired and frustrated. I’d like to say thanks to all the girls on my floors who have encouraged me and been the positivity I needed. You guys are awesome and you’re going to do amazing things!

Thanks to all my friends who have stayed up late with me, supported me and been there for me whenever I needed to talk or to celebrate my successes. Thank you to my family members who have kept me focused on my goals and my future. Special thanks to my mom who has been there through everything(the 2 am texts, 6 am phone calls, the constant moving, the successes and the lessons learned). Thank you to the staff at the Student Development Center in the College of Engineering for their support and constant supply of sugar. Thank you to the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering for their willingness to work with their students to make schedules work and provide resources. Thank you to University of Iowa Admissions for giving me the opportunity to blog during my time here. Finally, thank you to all of you, the readers of my blog. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. So with that:

OnIowa! Go Hawks!

The College Lasts

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone survived finals week and has had a good break so far! For whatever reason the week before finals week is called dead week and I’m not entirely sure why. Although this year was actually the closest I’ve come to dead week; I had two assignments due and that was pretty much it. I’ve really enjoyed being able to have the opportunity to relax a little before finals and graduation. However, the last couple weeks of the semester also included a lot of my “lasts”.

  • Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska

    Hawkeyes vs. Nebraska

    Last college Thanksgiving break

  • Last football game as a student in Kinnick stadium(even if I did sit with my dad in the regular section-first Hawkeye game with my dad!)
  • Last meeting with my advisor
  • Last day of class
  • Last homework assignments
  • Last lunches/dinners with friends that have been part of my weekly schedule
  • Last class as a TA
  • Last finals
  • Finished my last final and ready to graduate!

    Last walk across campus

Even with all these lasts, I’m so excited for all the firsts that are in my future.

  • First adult job
  • First adult apartment
  • First car

And all the other firsts that I have yet to discover. I’m so excited for the real world and all the opportunities to pursue. In one of my last classes, the professor took the time to give us life advice. She basically said to take every opportunity to try new things and have new experiences. We still have so much room to grow into the person we want to be so keep challenging what you think about the world and never stop learning. One of the guys that has come to talk to one of my professional seminars a few times has shared the concept of lifelong learning. If you aren’t constantly learning, you’re not really living. I’m ready for lifelong learning and the many adventures yet to come!


Friday, October 28th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes,

I hope everyone is having a good semester so far. It’s crazy how fast this semester is going! There’s so many more blog posts I want to write! Anyway, at this point in the semester everyone is usually trying to find some way to destress a little bit and one fantastic way to do that is to get back into a hobby you may not have done in a while. I knew I wanted a fun, relaxing class this semester so I signed up Golf. Yes, that is correct, I took a golf class.

The department of Lifetime Leisure Studies offers a wide range of classes for all interests. I have taken ballroom dancing and golf. I have had friends take kickboxing, volleyball, yoga, swimming, and cycling. They also have classes such as scuba diving, canoeing, and rock climbing. It’s like high school gym class, except you only do the activity that you like. The classes are worth 1 credit hour and typically only last for about 8 weeks. Some people will take two sessions in the same semester. Some people like to take the second session to help them de-stress during midterms, and some people like to take just the first session so that the class is over by the time they get to the majority of their midterms.

I really enjoyed my class because it meant spending time outside in the beautiful fall weather and learning about golf. I golfed in high school but would not consider myself a good golfer by any means. We had great instructors (golf professionals that would typically charge crazy prices for lessons) and I met some really awesome people. We had a ton of fun encouraging each other, searching for golf balls, and trying to become pro golfers. We met twice a week at the golf course and all of our equipment was provided. I definitely recommend these classes as a way to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or just relax.

Golfing in the Sunset

Golfing in the sunset

Cheer, Cheer, Cheer for Iowa!

Friday, September 30th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes!

One of the things I will miss most when I graduate will be football season with the Hawks. When I was in high school, I played in the marching band so there was a lot of preparation for football games and then we’d hang out with friends after the halftime show. As a college freshman, I decided not to get season tickets because I wasn’t all that interested in football. After discovering that a lot of the new friends I was making had season tickets and one of them was even in the marching band, I decided I would try going to a game and see what it was like. As it turns out, it was a lot of fun! Over the past 4 years I have learned a lot about football, developed a very strong sense of school spirit, lost my voice cheering, and had a blast with my friends at the games.

Hanging out with friends before the game starts!

Hanging out with friends before the game starts!

Nothing quite matches the energy in Kinnick stadium on game day. The sea of black and gold, Back in Black playing on the loud speakers as the team comes out, the loud cheers. I recommend going early to get your choice of seats though; the student section fills up fast!

One of my favorite memories was last year (2015 season) during the night game and we had just gotten a touchdown, bringing the score within only a couple points difference. The cheerleaders started the normal I-O-W-A cheer that we do after each touchdown where each section of the stadium yells a letter. The energy was so high that the cheer kept going for over 10 minutes until we scored the next touchdown, putting us in the lead and eventually leading to a victory!

Picture with Herky for Homecoming!

Picture with Herky for Homecoming!

There are so many great traditions with so many of the games, especially homecoming. I love going to the events during homecoming week. The parade is one of my favorites with getting to see floats from the student orgs, local marching bands, and the Hawkeye marching band. The College of Engineering puts on a little after-parade carnival for kids with games and prizes that are run by student organization members. It’s a fun way to get involved with the community and get to spend some time making kids happy.


This week (homecoming week!), I was just hanging out at work when I heard footsteps coming down the hall. One of my responsibilities at work is to greet people when they walk into the office so I look up to greet the visitor and it just so happens to be Herky! I guess he was visiting the engineering building for an event and decided to visit some of the students. I was so excited to be able to get a picture with him! Here’s to a win this Saturday!



Last First Day

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes,

The start of this school year was kind of a big moment. Since I am graduating in December, this was my last first day of school. It seems weird to think about. Every fall for as long as I can remember I’ve picked out an outfit, put on a new pair of shoes, and headed out with my backpack. I don’t think it has quite hit me yet; I think that will come in the middle of January when everyone else is headed back to school and I am (hopefully) working.

View while walking to class

View while walking to class

We were lucky this year to have an absolutely beautiful first week of classes. No rain and cool temperatures. I was able to grab this picture walking across campus; the sky was absolutely perfect.

I was talking with a friend who graduated this past May and is now in grad school at another Big 10 school. She mentioned how different it is to not see the Old Capitol Building on her walk to classes. You never realize exactly what you’ll miss until you don’t have it anymore (kind of like your first home-cooked meal after being at college for a few weeks). So I guess my focus this semester is to appreciate everything and make sure I’m living in the moment and doing what makes me happy.

Last first day picture with Chester.

Last first day picture with Chester.

Part of that is having my fish at college. I know it seems weird, but it’s really nice. Over the summer at my internship, I would go back to an empty apartment after work. I desperately wanted a pet, and fish are a fairly cheap pet that don’t take up much space. I named him Chester and fed him every day when I got home from work. Turns out you can train fish through repetitive processes, so now he swims back and forth really fast and becomes much more active when I walk into the room; it’s almost like having a dog greet you when you get home. On my ‘last first day’ of high school I took a picture with my dog; so it seemed fitting on my ‘last first day’ of college to take a picture with my fish. Lesson learned: find what makes you happy and do whatever you can to achieve it; even if it’s just the little things in life.


On Iowa! One More Time

Thursday, September 1st, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is having a great start to their school year! It’s been a busy first few weeks. The week before classes started I had the amazing opportunity to be an OnLeader for the lean, mean Green Squad (not really mean). We fit in better with the VeggieTales rather than the green beans (long story involving a roll call we could never remember).

Tractor Tippers!

Tractor Tippers!

I absolutely love the On Iowa! program. When I came as a first-year, the program was only two years old. I have really enjoyed watching the program evolve and improve over the four years of being a leader. I have grown so much as a leader and made amazing friends through this program. I have gained skills in speaking in front of a group, planning a group discussion, time management, thinking on my feet, leading a group of people, handling unexpected situations, and working as part of a team (a very large team, as shown below). Along with all the fun and awesome friendships from On Iowa!, all of these experiences also look fantastic on a resumé. I have actually talked with many people at the career fair about On Iowa! and they are always impressed by what I’ve learned.

OnIowa Leaders ready for the first day of the program

On Iowa! Leaders ready for the first day of the program

The leaders put so much effort and time into making sure we’re ready to welcome the first year students into the Hawkeye family. We want them to realize the importance of academic success and the weight of their choices as well as experience all the amazing opportunities and fun here. That’s a lot to accomplish in two days; luckily we have a whole team of captains and directors to support us. I highly encourage anyone who is looking for a great community and resumé builder to apply to be a leader.

Highlights from my past several years as a leader:

I already posted a picture of my cast from this year but here is my last small group picture. I hope I’ve had some impact on their lives, or at least made their first week a little bit better by explaining the bus system.

My last group of first years on Kinnick. They were a great group and I hope I was able to help them a little bit.

My last group of first years on Kinnick. They were a great group and I hope I was able to answer all of their questions.


Syllabus Week?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

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!

And So It Begins

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

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!

Life Update

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

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.

I Survived!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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!