Too little or too much? (a guide to what and how much you should bring to campus)

(U of I Blog #3)

So you live near or in Iowa, eh? Just bring your whole house with you, okay?


So you live far away, huh? You know what, just bring a backpack, you’ll figure out a way to get more underwear here.

It’s a battle, it really is. Honestly, most people don’t consider it battle, they just do as they please, letting the war ravage all around them. There is no clear winner, though, there is just one question: Who are you?

Can you live in filth? In a room you might clean maybe once in every three half-birthdays? Or are you like really clean, as in someone can nickname you “Dirt Assassin” because you’ve taken out whole villages of dust piles?

How much clothes do you need? I’m sure those authentic alligator boots will not be worn during the spring, so why are they tucked in the corner of your car with 76 pairs of dresses? Wait, hold up, you’re also telling me you’re only going to bring two t-shirts?! Is this some experiment or something on how long you can wear a t-shirt before it disintegrates?

What IS THAT? Why are you bringing a whole drum set and 7 Playstations? Jeez, give those other 6 away for people who actually need them. Don’t tell me, you’re not bringing anything else to decorate your room? I mean, no offense to the white wall, but it needs some sort of style.

My point is… no matter who you are, there is a balance. And there is also convenience.  I like lists, so *abracadabra*:


  • Clothes: You do not need to fill up your entire closet, even if you wish to have a one-month cycle of clothes. 10 of everything is enough.
  • Shoes: Let’s not bring 30 pairs of shoes on-campus, okay? A good number is 7.
  • Accessories (hats, belts, gloves, scrunchies, the sort): I mean, feel free to bring one hundred headbands and one thousand scrunchies, but is the magenta turquoise scrunchie really necessary? Keep everything to 5.
  • Hygiene: We do not need to see nine toothbrushes unless you’re doing a Toothbrush Tuesday night, like every ten Tuesdays. Keep everything to 2-4, well and for, um, yeah, like, uh, we’ll let the girls handle that other thing.
  • Electronics: I’m sorry to break it to you, Alpha, but your dorm is not a premiere gaming center; make yourself be at home, but five monitors is a little too much, don’t you think?
  • Everything else (notebooks, water bottles, napkins, utensils, books, etc.): I think you get the point, right? We’re not here to transport our home on 310 Pikachu Street to a much smaller living space of a college dorm, we’re here to bring the right things to the right place at the right time. (Damn, that sounded like a Ted Talk).


  • Cleaning supplies: A broom, a vacuum, counter spray, toilet bowl cleaner, a toilet brush, paper towels, trash bags, dish soap, dish rack, sponges, and napkins are helpful in keeping your dorm as clean as the Ritz Carlton.
  • Silverware: Do you think you’ll eat in your dorm often? Or with people? A triage of plates and common utensils might be worth it. Also, if you live in Mayflower, cooking pans and the sort are awesome as well!
  • Kitchen and Co: Depending on where you live, a microwave and a refrigerator are life-savers, and don’t forget about a toaster or panini-maker (that’s a little extra lol).
  • Electronics: If you could get your hands on a printer… king of the block, I’m telling you; Iowa charges you for printing and also it’d very convenient to have one right in your room!
  • The little things:
    • Power cord
    • HDMI cable
    • Water bottles
    • Ice tray
    • Water filterer
    • Sports gear (if you’re interested in playing intramurals!)
    • A mirror (oh, not the mirror selfies)
    • A drying rack (in case you ever have wet stuff!)
    • An iron + board (eh, who cares about wrinkles anyway!)

There’s probably a billion more things that you could add, but once again, let’s be compact, shall we? Meh, dorms were never going to be like 310 Pikachu Street anyway…

Professors are people too…

(U OF I Blog #2)

“You think we’re scary? Wait ’til you see your college professors” – basically every high school teacher ever

When I was in high school, there was this notion that college professors were these individuals with such notoriety that approaching them seemed like trying to approach a hallway filled with blazing lasers; one misstep and you’re gone.

Here at Iowa, it’s actually quite the opposite.

I came from a school that had less than one hundred people and so coming to a school as big as Iowa seemed like a major change. I felt like I would get lost amongst the hordes of undergrads that filled every class, Zoom or in-person; that I would be that one person lost in the corner, scrambling to figure out what a limiting reactant is in Gen. Chem and failing time and time again.

I found it surprising that it was actually the professors contacting me about my struggles or my attendance or anything they could do to make the class better. Okay, hold up, that didn’t even happen in high school. (Wait, wait, it did, just with the principal, haha, *gulp*) .

But don’t take their extended grasp for granted. You must reciprocate. I found it’s really helpful to attend personal meetings and get to know more about the subject and even the professor. Even if you’re taking Gen Eds. or electives, professors are very open to having a conversation with you — you out of thousands of people.

I akin it to talking to someone you value as a mentor… and in all honesty, they really are mentors; they are teaching you how to apply a subject to a path that will affect your future. They are not so much as scary as they are supportive and friendly, both of which I find a lot of solace in.

So, don’t be afraid to talk to someone who commands your class in such an influential way;

You never know… a study guide might just arrive on your doorstep, *ahem* dormstep.

(Premise) Out of the Blue


Coming to the University of Iowa on short notice and coping in a new environment with several obstacles, both personal and global.

You’re born. You grow up. You die. That’s the cycle of life.

They say somewhere in between, you get an education, you find love, and you become successful. Funny how it somehow happens, but the path is never that simple.

Take the pandemic for example. People say it has negatively impacted their lives, from losing their job to causing depression to making an ever growing situation even more difficult.

I cannot say the same for mine: the pandemic has saved my life.

It is not an upper-hand I have in saying so but rather a perspective I’ve gained from it.

Before the pandemic, I was anti-social, dependent, loathing, and overall irresponsible. Then, suddenly, in the midst of a surge in infections, the collapse of the economy, and the struggle of society, I was in summer Iowa, alone, broke, and in a college that I was my last choice.

The University of Iowa is far from a bad school, in all honesty, it was a school I wanted to attend, but I succumbed to the external validity of attending somewhere “prestigious”. I guess you can count that on the list of bad traits I had before the pandemic was in full swing.

Barely anyone was here. There were enough people to fit 2-3 people on each floor of Stanley Hall. You could call it peaceful but you can also call it isolated. A pin dropping could be equivalent to the earth quaking.

I didn’t deal with it very well. Maybe because I already had to ration 30 meals in 60 days or maybe because I felt totally uncomfortable or maybe because I couldn’t deal with being in the middle of nowhere without any outside help.

But, in fact, the problem was that I knew no one and was scared to meet anyone. It was so easy to tell myself, “Well, I have a mask, so it’ll be hard anyways”, “There’s really no point in interacting”,  or “I should just focus on school”. So easy, yet so regressive.

For two whole months, I took shelter in my room. It was as if the outside world was a nuclear background to the safe, almost indestructible bunker of Room 403. Nearing the end of July and the notification that I’d be moving into Mayflower on August 8th, I decided to make a change.

What is the use of going to college just for the education? Masks may make things more difficult but they don’t make you mute. I think that’s a leading cause of why it was easier to make friends in a place I’ve never been before.

And that’s what I did. Around the first week of people moving in, it was as simple as introducing myself and asking to exchange contacts. To be honest, I was scared; at first, I was doubtful I would be accepted so easily under such circumstances, but the results were quite the opposite: friendly equals friendly.

You start to realize everyone else is just as scared too. Everyone has doubts, everyone loses some confidence. Especially in a new place, in a new school, in a new life. The pandemic has made that even more so.

So, even if you’re just out of blue as I am, don’t let it prevent you from missing out on a great college experience, COVID-19 or not.