Archive for the ‘Campus Life’ Category

Spring is here, where to have fun?

Monday, March 28th, 2016

“After the winter, comes the spring; that’s when the blue bird starts to sing.”
— “After the Winter” by Lenka

It’s half way through the spring semester already, and it is midterm time for lots of people. But what are you doing for fun when you are tired of studying? Spring season is a terrific time to think about some outdoor activities. Here at the University of Iowa, we have a large variety of options that we can choose to enjoy the spring.

1. Swimming

Over this spring break, I decided to try swimming for a new type of exercise because I have watched people swimming when I was running on the third floor in the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. It sounds really enjoyable–you don’t get sweaty when swimming and it is a good idea to keep fit. So I grabbed my swimming suit right after school on Friday. I felt super relaxed when I first jumped in to the swimming pool. I am from a city that has lots of lakes and springs formed by underground water, so swimming is something that we do for fun especially in the summer. Swimming in the fitness center here is lots of fun. I definitely recommend you try this out.

2. Play a game at the Hubbard Park or go hiking

Over this past weekend, I participated in the Easter event “Protect-the-Egg tournament” held by the student organization “Bridges to Internationals”. We protected an egg from falling to the ground using only a pair of chopsticks. It was a little bit tricky at the beginning, but as more times we got practiced, we improved a lot. I got to enjoy a moment when I didn’t have to think about tests and pressure but just share a pleasing time with my friends playing a game. It was wonderful! Playing a game is also suggested on the list of “47 things you should do at Iowa”. Maybe this will be your next option to hang out with your friends and meet new people.

In addition, spring is a good time to go hiking, or generally speaking, to go traveling. Here are lots of city parks and camp sites near campus. The one that I went to this spring break was called “Squire Point”. It is located a little bit north of Mayflower Residence Hall. I was shocked by what I have seen there. It was such a unique place–really quiet and a good place to get close to nature. A huge lake is in the park as well as two different walking trials. Spending an afternoon or even a weekend there sounds just awesome! You never experience how amazing life is when you stay home all day!




Carver Clean-up

Tuesday, December 1st, 2015

Everybody is either picking up the trash and putting it into the garbage bag or rushing to the next dirty spot. Nobody ever stopped to have a rest or even look around. It was like a competition, but there is no loser or winner. Because we are working as a whole group and our goal is to get the stadium cleaned up and the fund raised for Continental Crossings.

Continental Crossings is one of the student organizations that I participate in, whose mission is to build bridges in developing countries of South America to help the people survive the flood season. Where is the money from to make this bridge building happen? It all depends on our students. There is a fund raising group that is designed to hit the goal to collect the money needed from all the sources that they can utilize.

Cleaning the stadium is one way we raise funds. Right after the Men’s Basketball game, although it was already 10:30 in the evening, the group was armed to get this giant stadium done. It was my first time to clean a stadium. I have been to basketball games before but never did I think about how to clean the entire stadium with a group of twenty. The basketball stadium is really steep, which was my first impression of an American basketball stadium. I was even scared to stand up in a row, especially on the top part close to the entrance. But to my surprise, I rushed out to pick up the garbage without thinking about this concern after half of a circle was done. That was actually scary when I looked back. I stood there for a couple seconds to let my breath come through, and moved on. It wouldn’t be scary if I don’t think about it. I couldn’t waste the time on taking a break because we were doing a group work– other people would have to do extra work if I didn’t work hard as I could.

I was stepping on large amount of popcorn that people spilled with a crunchy sound. In the meantime, some coke spilled all over the path as I walked by, even on my shoes. It was awful. It is miserable to see how garbage is left all over after the game. The peanut shells, popcorn and candies, etc. are just sitting where they used to be. Will the leftover popcorn be thrown away if there is a little garbage bin at the end of each row? So the custodians can actually save time of sweeping the floor?

We left the stadium in the middle of the night. The stadium was refreshed and quiet again. Although our group stayed up late, we finished cleaning and it was worth it!

Big rocks and fish gravel

Monday, October 26th, 2015

“If you want to fit all the rocks in this glass mug, what will you put in first?”

This is a question asked by Jane Dorman in my first-year seminar. She lifted a empty mug with some rocks in her hand, and said “what are the options to fill this mug with all the rocks that we have?”

“Let’s try to put in the little fish gravel first,” she started putting the clearly blue gravel into the mug until it was half full. I wasn’t really paying attention to it at the beginning because I thought it was just something fun in her class. “Then I am going to put my big rocks in,” she said. The big rocks were put on the bottom of the mug, and there was so much space between all those rocks. Because of the weight, rocks were trying really hard to stay on the top of the edge until some of them started to fall right after she put them in. All those rocks are too anxious to go back to where they were. They couldn’t all fit in that situation when the mug was half filled with little tiny fish gravel.

“Now let’s try to put our big rocks in first.”

Even from the corner of the classroom by the door, I could hear the clear sound when the rocks hit the glass. All the rocks went in this time since there wasn’t fish gravel in their way, but still, there was a large space between rocks. “Then we can pour out gravel into the mug.”

When the fish gravel came in, the color of the mug turns to be clearly blue all of a sudden. The space between rocks were filled with little fish gravel, which was not something that rocks can handle if they come in last. The fish gravel and all of the big rocks perfectly filled the mug.

“This is just like your time management,” she raised the mug with rocks high, “the big rocks are going into the mug first if you want all of the rocks to fit in there.”

I felt refreshed when I finally thought about this rock case. The example was all about the rocks, but what to put in first and next really make a huge difference when all the rocks need to come in. Little fish gravel can and needs to come in after the big rocks in the mug because the rocks are not flexible as the gravel is; also, gravel can be anywhere if there was just a tiny space left.  It is that same to think about the things that we plan to do. Big things are always first priority on the to-do-list. Therefore, when the big part is well done, we have time to work on the other small tasks that are less important. In the end, all the parts can be finished.

Awesome day — building the dream

Monday, October 19th, 2015

“Yes, we did it! I can’t believe that is true!”

“This is so much fun,” Bailey said, “I am going back to this next time.”

I looked at that piece of wood we just put on the left part of the roof. I felt extremely happy looking at what we have done as Engineering students. I couldn’t even find the exact words to express myself. My heart was going to pop out because we were building a family’s home! We were making a difference! We were helping people make their dreams real, and it really makes me happy and energized.

We started this morning with the 30 degrees and sunshine. Our mission was to help build a home for the Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity. It is a process to build a home for those in need with this charity organization and lots of volunteers. The family will also help in the building process, but most of the designing and coordinating is done by professional trained leaders and volunteers.

My partner Bailey and I picked up our hammers, and they put us right to work. The job for us was to stabalize a long stick on the top of the roof. This kind of job is different from the normal hammer work: we need to lift the wood up to the roof and hammer the nails in at the same time.  That looks crazy to me and I don’t know if I can handle this as a person that never touched a ladder and a hammer before.

Before we actually started to knock the nails into the roof, we measured the distance from the corner of the each stick to the point where they needed to be out really carefully. We knew this was not building sand castles. We were building not only a home, but also the trust of that family. Team spirit has built house, as well as the enthusiasm and excitement to witness their dream coming true. I was a little afraid of the ladder, and the hammer in my pocket when I stood on the top of the ladder helping Bailey hold the other end of the wood in order to knock the nail in.

It was my turn to hammer the nail in now for the other end. I picked up a nail and aimed it on the intersection of the two sticks while Bailey was holding the stick for me. After several times of knocking, the nail was just into the wood little. It was hard. Nevertheless, I never thought about quitting because I knew I was going to knock this tough guy in. That’s what I was there for. This day was so special! I love it!!

Here are we!

Here is our group!

Fall Getaway

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Talking about weekend, I’m going to tell you what I have experienced.

As an International student who doesn’t have a home here in the United States, I have to stick around the campus area, although I know it is sort of lonely to walk on the streets that are almost empty on the weekends. I keep trying to get outside of campus with a couple friends when they stay for the weekends; nevertheless, the only familiar place to hang out in a different city is the Coral Ridge Mall. Once I went to Christian church further away from where I live. That was the farthest place I have ever been to in Iowa.

What is the life like outside of the campus? I have kept thinking about this question for a long time after I got tired of studying on the weekends.

Until a peaceful Thursday afternoon, in my Bible study group,  our leader Ashley said:

“Come to Fall getaway for this weekend!”

“What is a getaway?”

“That is a chance to be away from the campus and have fun!”

All of a sudden, I felt my heart is filled with energy and so many question marks. It is so attractive to have chance to see what’s outside! Will I see lots of corn? What friends I am going to meet? What kind of the Bible study camp is that? How far way is that place from Iowa City?

I got all the questions answered and met a bunch of awesome friends there.

It was truly fun and energizing. I felt sad for I lost the first Friday night and Saturday sections of Fall getaway! But it is all good when I looked at the part I experienced but not the part that I didn’t get.  By the time I got to the Bible study camp, the camp fire has already been set up. With a whole group of new friends from freshmen to seniors, we sang and talked and laughed while sitting around the fire. It was like a family gathering: everybody was relaxed sitting around the fire and sharing blankets; but it was kind of different from the family gather-together because we understood others in the same age range. So we didn’t have to hide certain secrets. The only and the most important thing was to be our “selves”.

In the morning service on Sunday, which was the last section of the camp, our leader suggested us to bring the spirit of fall getaway back to campus. We can’t be “away” every weekend, and it won’t be that fun if we have it every week. The happiness results from something new.

I would not see what I experienced if I didn’t go on this safari.

I really appreciate it!

The embarrassing moment of today

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Have you experienced the most embarrassing thing in your life? What is it? I bet everybody’s answer is different. Whenever I was asked to tell what was my most awkward thing, I found it so hard to say. That means I was either intimidated to say it out-loud, or I didn’t even have my best answer in mind. But now I have had one, and it just happened earlier today.

After my Korean friend showed me his favorite study place–the law library, I decided to explore this library since visiting different libraries is on my to-do list. It was extremely large to me – with multiple levels, thousands of documents and numerous study spots. I think the word “enormous” is best used to describe it for it was several times larger than my current favorite one, the Engineering library. As a carrel lover, I couldn’t help looking to find an open seat while I was wandering between lines of the study carrels. I thought they were public carrels open for every kind of students to use, just like the ones in the basement of the Engineering library.  As I walked through line by line and found out that almost every spot had some books or something on the shelves. That was really weird. Why do people leave their belongings like books and documents at the public carrels? Aren’t they worried about those thing being stolen? Because it was Sunday, that level was almost empty. How would it be different sitting there to study? Driven by a strong sense of curiosity, I sat down quietly on one of the spots which was totally empty.

A boy stood right by me when I was pulling my chair out.

I looked at him. And he looked at me.

I realized there was a strange deadly sense of silence.

Finally he said, “This is my spot.”

“Oh I am so sorry. I didn’t know that they were assigned.” My cheeks flushed. I could never tell him how embarrassed I was. I realized that it was not right to sit down at a study carrel when I didn’t know they are for personal study use.

“It’s alright. I didn’t put a sign saying this my spot. So I don’t blame you.”

Thankful for his understanding, I grabbed my backpack and quickly walked out. This is the most embarrassing moment of the day. “Never make the same mistake again,” I told myself. “Not every library has the same rules. You are not a law student.”

But anyway, at least I saw the inside of the law library. That was interesting! But it is just a place to visit, not a place to stay. On the way back to the Seamans Center, I am lucky to say that Engineering library is where I feel I belong.


Campus discovery (2)——Macbride

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

In the middle of this long weekend, maybe there is a place that you wish the time can stop for a second, and you can read every piece of it——that is the Museum of Natural History located in Macbride Hall.

Yes, Macbride Hall has three different exhibits which are: “Diversity of Life,” “Iowa Hall,” and “Mammal Hall” on the ground floor, first floor and third floor separately!  My first time visiting there was by accident. I wouldn’t visit Macbride Hall if I didn’t have my lecture there.

After my lecture, in the early afternoon, I wondered, “What is Iowa Hall?”,  but had no one else there to ask when standing in front of the door by myself. Because of a strong sense of curiosity, I went into the Exhibit room after knocking the door (that was a side door actually). I was astonished by what was in front of my eyes. They have a museum here!!! How come I never knew it until now?! It is a totally different world from the door outside. I suddenly felt like I ran back to 500 million years ago. As if I was walking in the jungle with lots of plants and animals that I have literally never seen. Although they are behind the windows, I almost started to yell when I saw that ancient Indian looking towards me! I think, “they can’t be more real!” I felt the time stop and start to go backwards.  I also found out the answer to my previous question during a visit in February: “Why does outside of Macbride Hall have some sculptures of animals below the windows?” The answer is that they represent the species exhibited inside.

Do you want to meet the Giant Sloth in the Ice Age (which is almost four times lager than a normal person, from my assumption)? Do you want to see what the world was like millions of years ago? Hope the Natural History Museum is the next stop on your campus tour list!

Here is a link you can check out:

Explore Our Campus (1)

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Now it’s a great time to discover the campus with your buddies. Have some free time to spend on weekends but have no idea where to go? Let’s try the Campus Recreation and Wellness center! Here is a photo of the swimming pool section. The Leisure Swimming Pool is a great place for fun, which has zero depth entry, a vortex, a current channel (also as known as the lazy river), a 25-person spa, and water sports sections such as water basketball and volleyball. It also features a rock-climbing wall and a video board!! (  Imagine how enjoyable it can be to wash off the anxiety of the whole week and just relax? Don’t miss the chance to make awesome friends and stay in shape! Go Hawks!