Attention enrolling students: On Iowa!

I cannot contain my excitement for this year’s BRAND NEW On Iowa! Program for new first-year students.  I can’t contain the excitement, nor can I put that excitement into words… but I’ll try to give you a sneak peak at what you should expect.

You may be asking yourself, “What IS On Iowa!?”  Even if you’ve heard of it, you may still be questioning it. Don’t.  On Iowa! will be an “introduction” to remember.  An introduction to your academic career.  An introduction to faculty and staff.  An introduction to campus life.  An introduction to friendships you’ll maintain for a lifetime.  An introduction to Iowa City. An introduction to a University.  An introduction to your new home; The University of Iowa.

Let’s talk some highlights:

Move-in: Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 17th/18th): You’ll be moving into your residence hall. You’ll be getting settled with a floor of new faces which will turn to new friends.  This is your new home; a home you share with 40 of your friends. No parents? Awesome; let’s do this…

After moving in, you may pop down to a neighbor’s room to ask for tape to hang one of the few (or 20) posters you packed.  After tossing over some Scotch tape, your neighbor asks, “Hey, my roommate and I are headed to the UI Athletics Hall of Fame Tour, then headed to the dodgeball tournament.  Wanna join?”  Without hesitation you quote the movie Dodgeball saying, “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball. Stop down when you head out.”  You then return to hang your new poster:


Events like these continue throughout the next  few days leading up to the commencement of class. Athletics Hall of Fame not your thing? Don’t play dodgeball? Check out one of the other events like pottery painting, Museum of Art tour, movies or Zumba to name only a few.

Black and Gold Spirit Day – Day 1: (Friday, Aug. 19th) Put your game-face on; it’s time to learn why it’s GREAT to be a Hawkeye!  Your entire class will gather at Kinnick Stadium, but not only will you get to sit in the seats, but you’ll be able to take the field!  Here you’ll be addressed by a keynote speaker before learning a few of Iowa’s traditions.  The fun doesn’t stop there; as you leave Kinnick Stadium thinking your jaw couldn’t drop further, you head over to the Iowa Memorial Union’s Main Lounge to have your mind blown by magician Nate Staniforth. Don’t believe in magic? This will change your mind: Nate Staniforth Magician 2011

Iowa Challenge Day – Day 2: (Saturday, Aug. 20th) What can you expect from Iowa both in and out of the classroom.  You’ll get the opportunity to discuss this with your fellow classmates in both small and large groups.  Learn about the Iowa Challenge here:  Then some downtime and a movie before hitting the DJ White Panda concert in Hubbard Park!

Convocation – Day 3: (Sunday, Aug 21st) You’re ready to start at Iowa?!  Not before hearing from President Sally Mason and one of your fellow classmates (apply to be THAT classmate here).  You’ll gather with the rest of the entering class of 2011 for Convocation.

01 Convocation_Panorama

Following the presentation, you, your friends, and the entire group will head to the President’s residence on Clinton Street for the President’s Block Party.

President's Block Party President's Block Party

The Real Deal -DAY 1 (of classes):  Wake up early for some bacon and eggs at the Marketplace, read the current issue of The Daily Iowan, and off to class.  Time to put all you’ve learned to work.


Again, these are only the highlights.  Check out the full schedule to start planning your days at:

What are you doing to beat the winter doldrums?!

I’m sure many of you are well aware of the winter storm that crossed the nation last week.   Picture montage. Go.

We’re still digging out from that storm in Iowa City yet this week.  I see trucks hauling snow from various parts of the city on a daily basis, and I was also thrilled to have gotten stuck Wednesday evening after work… yes a week after the initial storm.

While I enjoy seeing the beautiful white blanket covering the ground outside my window, I’m due for a sunny 70 degree day.  Aren’t you?  Because of this, I’m finding ways to ‘beat the winter doldrums’ (From Merriam-Webster online: doldrums: a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump).  The things I’ve done this past week include:

  • Daily trips to the gym
  • Old Chicago with friends for $1.50 slices of pizza to negate previously mentioned gym adventures,
  • Wednesday Wing Night at the Summit downtown for $2/dozen wings covered in oh-so-scrumptious chipotle-honey wing sauce,
  • The Superbowl w/ homemade WI cheese soup,
  • An afternoon watching some incredible diving at the USA National Diving Championships,
  • An evening at the Englert theater to see the comedy troupe, Second City followed by…
  • Big Buck Hunter (the new world edition) downtown Iowa City, and
  • Watching for the yellow hummer driving around campus Wednesday as Iowa City’s own CASH CAB

And that’s only this past week!  Next week Ben Bailey from Discovery’s CASH CAB will be here!  Today, I’m also finalizing some travel planning for this Spring; something I’m certainly looking forward to!  My travel will include:

  • February: Milwaukee
  • March: Southern Chicago Suburbs, Chicago “Next Step” programs for admitted students, Dubuque, and Memphis
  • April: Dallas/Fort Worth

Things like these happen all the time in Iowa City.  Between the community of Iowa City and The University of Iowa sponsered events, there are always plenty of things to beat ANY sort of doldrums.  So, don’t be thinking this was an unbelievable and unusually fun filled week of events… it’s just you suffering the winter doldrums.

Tis The Season

Tis the season… to celebrate finals week!  I don’t know that students would call it celebrating, but if you think about it, it IS much like other holiday celebrations – a culmination of something in one great event.  This finals season is a culmination of a full semester of work into one thing; the final.   A test of study habits, time management, the immune system, and most importantly, knowledge.

Finals week next week, is a “holiday” in itself.  During many holidays we look forward to eating a lot and following it with a good, long nap (which I call a food coma).  During this celebration students look forward to (insert laugh) lots of caffeine followed by anything but a nap.  While we may clean and decorate for any other holiday, during this upcoming week, students do the opposite.  They neglect cleaning and “decorate” their room with piles of laundry.  While we may listen to spirited holiday music, students will often listen to the music that puts them “in the zone” to study.  At the end of it all though, we do one thing that’s consistent with the holidays; we celebrate with family and friends.

As I look forward to celebrating Christmas with my family, I thought, ” why not get into the holiday mood!?”  So, I’ve been wearing lots of sweaters, drinking lots of holiday themed coffee, and listening to lots of Christmas music.  Most exciting however, might be these three guys:

Carpet of Snow, Grass "Chia," and the holiday SPRUCE!

I found these “grow kits” at Target for only a dollar a piece.  *in a boxer’s announcing voice*  On the left we have a “Carpet of Snow.”  In the Santa-themed pot, we have “rye grass” which hopes to grow up to be Santa’s hair/hat, and on the right is my “Christmas Tree Grow Kit.” I planted these gems on Sunday as a test of my green thumb.  So far, you might be able to see, the carpet of snow and Santa’s hair have started to grow, but we’re still waiting on the Christmas tree.

Other than these three exciting “experiments” as we’ll call them, our work is shifting here in the office.  All of us counselors are off the road for the most part, done with the great fall travel season.  While we’re still hosting visitors on campus and encouraging seniors to apply, many students are now focused on housing and financial aid.  This means we’re taking a number of phone calls from students asking how to apply to scholarships and how to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  For those high achieving seniors – the Presidential Scholarship application is DUE TOMORROW!  As a counseling staff we’re balancing these tasks amongst our other projects and responsibilities, all while looking at where we’ll be traveling this spring.

Tis the season –  Travel safely, and have a very warm and happy holiday!

Iowa: Fields of Opportunity

As you consider Iowa, whether prospective student, visitor, family or friend, I know you may be asking yourself (or others may be asking YOU), “What is there to do in Iowa?!”  I, much like my Iowa Admissions colleague, Tom, have heard many perceptions of Iowa.  Tom wrote a great blog post in response to the ever-popular question, “What is there to do in Iowa.”  To read his post, and find what there is to do in Iowa, check out his blog at: What can you do in Iowa?

To compliment what Tom said in his blog about activities, I’d simply state, Iowa City is an oasis of fun.  In addition to the fun things you’re already doing (video games, pick-up basketball at the rec, ultimate frisbee in Hubbard Park, board games at Java House, people watching on the Pentacrest, socializing on your dorm floor) you’ll find plenty of free or discounted events, activities, and performances happening all the time..  You’ll see these events/activities advertised all around campus, but there are a few places you can always look to see what’s happening.  I recommend the following:

Office of Student Life website – Highlight: (CAB Weekend Movie: The Switch)

The Iowa Memorial Union’s (IMU) website: Highlight: Campus Activities Board (CAB): Comedian: Chris Strait – December 2nd @10pm IMU Black Box Theater

The University of Iowa Events Page: Highlight: Fiddler on the Roof

“Today’s Events” section of the The Daily Iowan newspaper:

Facebook – Like/Join different facebook pages to receive updates about what’s happening around campus:


HawksNest –

Office of Student Life –

Recreational Services:

All this said, we do have lots of corn, and also some of the best sweet corn in the country.  Therefore come to Iowa for the corn rather than letting it deter you! I challenge you; Come to Iowa City.  I bet you leave wanting more!

Tailgate from your Couch

I know many of you who have been following my blog have learned I’m a huge Hawkeye fan (born and bred – thanks Dad).  I also know many of you are not able to enjoy all of the home Iowa football games and/or Hawkeye Tailgating.  Fortunately, for you, ESPN U recently visited campus to highlight Iowa on their show ESPN Road Trip.  You can watch the show TONIGHT on ESPN U at 6:30 pm CST (7:30 EST).  Cue the highlight reel:

ESPN Pregame Road Trip:

ESPN GameDay:

I spent HOW long in the car? (BONUS: Free blog subscription)

With the exception of one day (Nov 16th), I’ve completed “Travel Season 2k10.”

Here are some other statistics you might find interesting:

I was gone for 7 consecutive weeks which included 25 working days.

1454 miles on an airplane

5684.2 miles in a car.

7138.2 Total miles.

Average fuel economy: 23.3 mpg

Fuel used: ~243.96 gallons (car)

#times at the pump: ~14

Average speed on land: 41 mph (includes city driving)

5684.2 miles at my average speed of 41 mph = 138.64 hours in the car which is equivalent to 5.78 days or 17.33 working days (the 8 hour kind).

7138.2 miles at my average speed of 41 mph = 174.1 hours = 7.25 days or 21.76 working days (8hr).

7138.2 miles at a speed of 70 mph =101.97 hours = 4.25 days or 12.75 working days (8hr).


Articulation Unplugged (week 1)- Bloomington/Normal, IL (9/13) – 386 miles

Parkland College Fair (also week 1)- Champaign, IL (9/15) – 512 miles

Texas College Fairs/High School Visits (week 2) – Dallas, TX (9/17-9/24) – 2278 miles

Iowa/Madison High Schools & Wisconsin College Fairs(week 3) – 864.2 miles

Wisconsin Educational Fairs (week 4) – 797.5 miles

Wisconsin Educational Fairs part 2  (week 5) – exact mileage unknown.  mileage included in week 6

Illinois College Fairs/High School Visits (Week 6)- 1445 miles

National College Fair Milwaukee & Milwaukee High Schools  (Week 7)- 855.5 miles

Total Mileage traveled during ‘Travel Season 2k10’: 7138.2 Miles


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(Long overdue) Photo Update

My final week of travel (7th consecutive week) started at 6 am yesterday morning (Sunday) when I left 19 people asleep at our place, in order to travel to MKE for the National College Fair Milwaukee.  College fairs are always a little tough after losing, but being in Wisconsin after losing to….Wisconsin?!  I knew to expect some harassment.  To rub salt in the wounds, The University of Wisconsin’s booth was just across the isle during the fair.

Now after my first day complete, I’ve officially decided this was not the best week to recruit Wisconsin because  I’m forced to relive our loss everywhere I go… including McD’s(love their breakfast). While I was forced to relive our loss, my visits  have been great.  I’ve talked with some excellent students, and it’s always great to catch up with the counselors I haven’t seen in a year’s time.  Today’s visits included Brookfield East, Brookfield Central, Marquette University High School, and Wauwatosa East.  I’ll spend the rest of the week at Kettle Moraine, Dominican, Wauwatosa West, Whitefish Bay, Homestead, Germantown, Divine Savior Holy Angels, and The Prairie School.

Now to enjoy some travel photos:

Up in the Air

After one week in TX and two in Wisconsin, I’m reminded of the movie Up in the Air starring George Clooney.  One who travels often will relate easily to the movie.  Clooney is spot on when it comes to packing, airports, security lines, rental cars, and ‘life on the road.’  Up in the Air is a great movie, and if you love to travel, you’ll love the movie.

What reminded me of the movie was my packing for this trip.  Last night, preparing for my 3rd week in Wisconsin(and the following week in Illinois), I found myself mindlessly packing.  When I turned to shut the door to my place this morning(and for the last time for two whole weeks), I thought to myself, “I can’t have everything.”   However, having opened my suitcase tonight in preparation for tomorrow, I now know everything’s here and in its usual place.

If you’ve seen the movie, you also know that Clooney travels the country as a corporate downsizer, firing people at each of his destinations.  If you ‘ve seen the movie, you also know through his travels, Clooney has a personal goal to reach 10 million frequent flier miles.  Thinking of this, I got the great idea to track the number of miles I travel this fall season.  This will include only the miles I travel for work purposes.  Follow along as I provide continued “Milage Reports.” With that said, let’s begin:


Articulation Unplugged (week 1)- Bloomington/Normal, IL (9/13) – 386 miles

Parkland College Fair (also week 1)- Champaign, IL (9/15) – 512 miles

Texas College Fairs/High School Visits (week 2) – Dallas, TX (9/17-9/24) – 2278 miles

Iowa/Madison High Schools & Wisconsin College Fairs(week 3) – 864.2 miles

Wisconsin Educational Fairs (week 4) – 797.5 miles

Wisconsin Educational Fairs part 2 (week 5) – Currently in route.. to be continued!

Total Mileage thus far: 4837.7 Miles

My travel in stills:

Easy Driving in WI
Wisconsin's Great Scenery
Lambeau Tour with the Counselors
Iowa vs. Penn State 2010

A typical day or an atypical day. You decide.

My day…

I’ve just finished a busy day of work for Iowa Admissions.  I’ve returned home (or what I’ve been calling home – a hotel).  I started the morning in Madison, WI.  I spent the morning and early afternoon visiting high schools in and around the Madison area. Today this included five which are; Edgewood, Madison West, Middleton, Memorial, and Sun Prairie.  If you include my stop at Sun Prairie Upper Middle School, which was Sun Prairie High School last year, you could call it 6 high schools.  The day was far from over at that point.  Following Sun Prairie HIGH SCHOOL, I enjoyed a two hour drive to De Pere where I spoke with students during the Wisconsin Education Fair at St. Norberts College. 

That’s it. My day in a nutshell.  Well, that’s not it.  Now for dinner with some other counselors and some sleep, only to do it again tomorrow.  I love it.

I’m truly loving it.  Wisconsin’s gorgeous this time of year.  Here are some pictures from my drive yesterday:

Hello WI
Goodbye IL