Archive for the ‘General’ 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!

Full Schedule

Monday, November 7th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes,

I realized after my last post that I’ve barely discussed my classes this semester. First of all, since it’s my last semester I have a seemingly random mix of classes because they’re the classes that didn’t have to be taken at a certain point. Unfortunately, for my last semester I ended up with morning classes. I am nothing close to a morning person. And when I say morning classes I’m not talking about like 10:30 or 9:30. No, I mean 8:30 and 8:00 every morning except for my one morning of 7:30. It’s been tough but so far I have not missed a single class.

My first class is Biostatistics. Basically statistics, but applied to biological examples. Like statistics for studies involving whether a new medication works as well as how to set-up experiments and what conditions need to be met. I’m not a huge fan of stats, but at least the examples are interesting.

My next class is Material Science. This class is more basic level materials class that focuses on a broad overview on how to select materials for applications. Sounds super easy, right? Not always. Since my internship was focused on polymers, the whole concept of metals has been new. And if you’ve never seen a eutectic phase diagram, you should definitely look that up; I finally figured them out!

Next is my Musical Theatre History class. It is phenomenal. I’m really enjoying a class that doesn’t make me think super hard or derive equations. We read, watch, and discuss musicals as they’ve developed over time. We focus on gender and race and how they relate to the themes in the musicals.

Finally, I have my pharmacy class. This class is based on drug delivery systems. So basically any way from getting a medication from outside the body to inside the body. We’ve discussed micro-needles, bone tissue engineering, cancer vaccinations, and gene therapy methods. I find this class immensely interesting and I’ve learned so much! Aside from the information aspect, I have also learned more about what I’m interested in and what kind of job I’d like to have in the future.

I have really enjoyed this semester with the combination of major-related classes and non-major related classes. It’s been fun exploring some of my other interests. I also really appreciate how much of my past classes are used in my more advanced classes. It’s really cool to learn difficult material and realize you have a strong background in the area.



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

Resumé? Check!

Thursday, October 6th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes!

This is the week of the engineering career fair! My first year, I was terrified of the career fair since I didn’t know how to answer questions or how to talk to the recruiters about the company. Over the last four years I have done several practice interviews, several real interviews, added some great experiences to my resumé, and have learned to enjoy the career fair. Good thing I like it because this is the most important one! This is the career fair that will (hopefully) help me find a job! As a graduating senior, this is my best chance to get my resumé to real people from these companies rather than just applying online.

I spent the first several days of this week re-modeling my resumé to make it look a bit more professional as well as making sure I had all the right things on it. It’s always difficult to try to predict what a recruiter will want to see. I have a document that I just list all of my project, jobs, activities, and experiences (research, internship) so that I can easily build a resumé for specific jobs just from pulling things off the document. After combing through my resumé to catch any errors, I took it to a professional development peer advisor in the Student Development Center to have it critiqued. I was told that I have a very strong resumé (yay!) and I had a few minor things to fix. I was also curious about the wording for a certain part and they were able to help me with that as well.

I’ve been practicing my 20 second elevator speech (introduction, year in school, major, looking for ____ position, really interested in ____ because ___.) so I feel ready on that front. Now I just need to make sure my dress pants are wrinkle free, my high heels are ready to go, and my resumé is tucked carefully in my portfolio. Wish me luck!

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!



*THAT* Point

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes,

We have officially reached *that* point in the semester. The point where everyone has either taken their first test of the semester or getting ready to take their first test of the semester and the homework is really hitting. Lab reports deadlines are approaching, the homework is getting harder, organizations are trying to plan events, and unfortunately for a lot of people, most people are sick.

Typically, the first couple of weeks aren’t too bad. Some of the material may be review and project deadlines seem far away. Everyone wants to hang out with friends and “study” (aka watch youtube videos, listen to 90s playlists, go get ice cream, and talk about their weekend plans). Now everyone is realizing they need to buckle down and actually start studying (aka secluded in a quiet corner with their best study music). It’s also been just enough time for slight sleep deprivation, poor diet, and the high concentration of students in small spaces to weaken the immune system and it seems like everyone is coughing and sneezing.

My friends know this as the point where they barely see me. I enjoy talking and hanging out with everyone on my floor in the early evenings for the first few weeks. And then the homework really starts and the lab reports need more focus. I’m also busy with organizations and work responsibilities. I usually pack my backpack at 8 a.m. (7 a.m. on Thursdays), and don’t return to my room until 8 or 9 p.m. It definitely results in creative packing and prioritizing exactly what I’ll work on during free time. From now on, I will pretty much only have real free time (like to watch movies and hang out with friends for more than 30 minutes) on the weekends. It’s kinda sad, but it’s also really nice to be in a routine where there’s a strict structure to each day. I think it helps keep me focused and more productive.

I hope everyone is staying healthy and feeling ready for *that* point in the semester!

You’re Taking How Many Credits?!

Tuesday, September 13th, 2016

Hey Hawkeyes!

I hope everyone is enjoying the wonderful start to the 4th week of classes!

Obviously, as the focus of college, classes are pretty important (go figure!), but sometimes it can be confusing to try to figure out what you need to take and how many credits you should be taking. So how do you figure that out?

Most majors have a sample course load online where you can see what the required classes are, but as far as how many credits you should be taking, well that’s up to you! The indicated credits are a suggestion. Depending on what classes you enjoy, how difficult the classes are, and how involved you want to be can all affect how many credit hours you take. Sometimes people are able to learn better when they’re focusing on a smaller class load while others learn better by constantly changing their focus between several classes.

I figured out that I am much happier somewhere around 15 credit hours. I don’t feel as overwhelmed by homework and I still have enough time to be involved with activities as well as work an on-campus job part-time. Even though it meant staying an extra semester, I know that this is what was best for me and will be better for my success.

The biggest difference between high school and college is that although you still have to meet certain requirements, you ultimately get to make the decision of how you meet the requirements. You don’t need to take 18 credit hours every semester if it’s going to make you stressed out and drop your GPA. Everyone learns differently and it’s ok to take things at your own pace. College is about finding what’s best for you and what will help you succeed, whether that means finding the right major or the right balance of classes.

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.