As many of you Hawkeye fans probably know, the Iowa Women’s Basketball team is amazing and has made it to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. I love watching them play and am so excited for the game tomorrow!
The first two rounds of the tournament took place here in Iowa City! As students at the university, we had the opportunity to get two free student tickets to both the first and second rounds of the game. A basketball game in Carver is exciting, but being about to go to an NCAA tournament game is even more exciting.
Now that the girls have made it to the Final Four, they are playing in arenas that are pretty far away. Their next game is tomorrow, Friday, March 31st in Dallas, Texas. Even though most college students can’t travel to the game, Carver is still determined to provide a fun and exciting environment for fans. Tomorrow night, Carver is having a Final Four watch party! Doors open an hour before the game and this event is free to the public. Attending events like this always makes me happy to see Hawkeyes supporting Hawkeyes.
As someone who did not watch a lot of college basketball before, following the Iowa Women’s team has been a load of fun. Whether you are or aren’t a fan of basketball, I highly recommend that you tune into tomorrow night’s game! It will be one you won’t want to miss.
As my time on campus has increased, my friends and I have discovered a few new study spaces that I thought I would share!
The main library is always a great option for studying. This first floor contains several group study rooms and collaboration areas. The second floor is quieter and contains group study areas with large tables and whiteboards. As you go up in the library, the floors get quieter, so it’s a great space if you need to get some work done. In addition, the main library is home to a café that serves both flex meals and Starbucks drinks.
The science library, located on the far east side by the biology buildings is a great place to study. They have free snacks and coffee in the entryway and it’s typically very quiet here. There are a few collaboration spaces and tons of resources.
The business building is another great place to study. If you live on the east side of campus, there is a very high chance that the business building is not far from your dorm. This is a great place to study if you do not want too walk far. The business building has multiple different levels that each have different areas to study. Additionally, there is a small area on the top floor called the quiet zone and it is a great area to focus. There is also a café in the business building and Pat’s Diner! The business building is a great place to study in between classes or when you need to sit down and focus.
Dorm Study Rooms
Each dorm on campus is home to various study rooms that all students have access to. Burge Hall has an entire downstairs area that contains several closed-off study rooms, multiple booths, and even more tables. Catlett has study rooms with TVs and whiteboards. Currier has a large study area located on the first floor. There are study rooms, tables, booths, whiteboards, and more. If you don’t want to leave your dorm, don’t worry! There are great study spaces located within walking distance if you live on campus!
There are so many off-campus areas to study such as Bread Garden, downtown Starbucks, High Ground, Tru Coffee, Java House, etc. I have been to each of these places and they all have their perks! I personally enjoy getting off campus every once in a while and these places are just down the street. I definitely recommend checking them out if you get the chance!
It’s that time of year when newly admitted students are getting ready to pick their dorm rooms for the following school year. With living in a dorm comes the excitement of going shopping and picking out dorm supplies. This time last year, I had no idea when I should start shopping and how much I should buy before starting school.
Of course, everyone will have different recommendations, but I would suggest beginning to keep an eye out for sales, but not explicitly going shopping quite yet. I would definitely not go out and buy everything at once, but start to make a list of the items I know I will need and then watch for sales. If you need ideas on what to buy or want to hear some current students’ recommendations, there are a few other blog posts on the Experience Iowa page where students list their top recommendations.
For the items you know you will be buying no matter what style dorm you are in, I would start shopping/looking for them now. These are necessary items such as twin XL bedding, hangers, extension cords, etc. These are items almost all college students bring no matter what dorm they are in.
Many of the other “college dorm room essentials” are dependent on what style of room you will have. Until you select a room you will not know if you have your own sink or bathroom, what kind of closet space you have, if you need curtains or a trashcan or if the university provides them, if you should buy a fan, or if you have AC, etc. Once you have a room selected you will also have a list of items you cannot bring. The university does not allow these items and you can be charged if they find out you have them. So, it is best to wait to do most of your shopping until you have a room assignment.
Another obstacle to shopping for dorm essentials is that you may not know what your roommate is bringing. It is not necessary to have two TVs, two fridges, two rugs, etc. Therefore, I would wait to buy many of these ‘bigger’ items until you have talked with your roommate(s).
For those of you who are starting to shop for dorm items, here are a few places I checked for deals: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s, Bed Bath, and Beyond, and T.J. Maxx. These places often have dorm items on sale at various times throughout the year. Target also has a student discount for college students! Bed, Bath, and Beyond has a student reward program specifically for dorm essentials! In conclusion, I recommend checking out a variety of places and waiting for sales. To save the most money, don’t rush into buying products until you know you will need them!
After one semester of volunteering at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, I thought I would provide those of you interested with my thoughts and conclusions.
I applied to be a student volunteer in August of 2022 (the fall of my freshman year) and started volunteering in September. I joined the Mother-Baby Care Unit and help out for three hours a week. The application process is long and involved a few trips to Iowa City over the summer, but I would definitely recommend it.
Volunteering anywhere can provide you with so many benefits. First, you get to meet so many new people. Especially in health care, there are multiple nurses and nursing assistants that rotate throughout the units and work different shifts. It was great to be able to meet with and talk to a variety of new people. During one shift, I was able to spend some time talking with a recent University of Iowa graduate, who took many of the same classes as me. She was able to give me tips and advice on courses, professors, career paths, ways to gain experience, etc. That same shift, I was able to talk with a current Iowa nursing student. She talked to me about different areas of the hospital that she worked in, and how she liked them. She also gave me a few names and contact information for some resources. It has been amazing to be able to talk with and meet a wide range of people who work at the hospital.
Along with relationships, you also gain experience while volunteering. On my unit, I get the opportunity to check in on patients. This gives me patient-contact experience and practice talking with others in a healthcare setting. I can be a very shy person, so volunteering last semester was a great opportunity for me to step out of my comfort zone. Additionally, I gained experience working in a hospital. The way a hospital functions and runs smoothly is often unknown to many outsiders. Volunteering allowed me to see how nurses, doctors, CNAs, and other staff work together to provide the best patient care possible.
The hospital and the members of the volunteering committee are very considerate of student schedules. Students are not required to be at the hospital during finals weeks or during academic breaks. This is super nice as a student because you don’t have to worry about being in Iowa City during your time off or being even more stressed out during finals week. They are also very accommodating if you need to reschedule your shift. They understand that situations come up, and they are happy to work with you.
Volunteering opens the door to a few great opportunities. Some units allow you to sign up for shadowing experience once you reach a certain number of hours. Shadowing at the hospital is a great way to see what healthcare professionals do! Additionally, once you volunteer for a certain amount of time, there are opportunities for letters of recommendation. These can be valuable when applying for scholarships, to programs, or to graduate school.
Finally, the days I volunteer are sometimes the best days of my week. It feels so great when I am able to help someone out and I know that I am making a difference. No matter what area of the hospital you volunteer in, your services and time will impact others and make a difference in their lives.
Although there are many advantages to volunteering, there are a few downfalls as well. Since there are so many volunteers at the hospital, the limited jobs they can do tend to get done very consistently. There have been a few times during my three-hour shift when I was looking for ways to stay busy. From a positive view, this opens the door for more patient and staff interaction!
If you’re living on the east side, the walk or ride to the hospital in the winter can be treacherous. Sometimes, the Cambus only comes to each stop every twenty or so minutes. This usually means you show up to the hospital half an hour early or you’re a few minutes late. You can choose to walk, but the walk can feel very long on cold winter days. After your shift, you might be waiting for a bus for up to twenty minutes again.
Overall, I would highly recommend volunteering to anyone who is considering a career in the medical field, or anyone who has an interest in helping others. I enjoy my time at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics and believe you would too!
The months between winter break and summer can sometimes feel long. If you’re a freshman, your first few weeks of the school year are full of excitement for your new school and new experiences. You get to look forward to football games, meeting new friends, tailgating, and so much more! After you get settled in, you get to look forward to Thanksgiving break. And then, before you know it, it’s time to pack your bags and head back home for a month-long winter break. All these moments and more can make the fall semester go by in a breeze.
The spring semester, on the other hand, can begin to feel much longer. Your excitement has begun to wear off and it can be hard to see the positives that might come from a new semester. To make this time a little easier, here are some things I am looking forward to in the new semester!
New classes can be exciting, especially if you’re enrolled in a class or two that really interests you. New classes also bring new professors and new classmates. I always look forward to meeting my professors on the first day of classes. They really set the stage for what the semester might be like. The first day of classes in the fall was nerve-wracking because I didn’t know anyone in my classes, but now that I have been on campus for a few months, I am excited to have classes with my friends and meet some new ones.
Of course, every student looks forward to time off from school. Just like the fall semester has Thanksgiving break, the spring semester has spring break. Lots of college students make plans for spring break, whether that’s going somewhere warm with friends, spending time with family, or planning a few fun activities! Luckily for us, spring break is right in the middle of the semester, just 8 weeks from the start. This provides students with a good break to catch up on some class work and spend some time relaxing.
If you’re anything like me, the winter season is not your favorite. The start of a new semester means that warmer weather is on its way. I am excited to trade in my hat and gloves for some shorts and tank tops. Warm weather also means there are more places to study outside. Studying outside is always more enjoyable for me than sitting inside.
New Sports Seasons!
The spring semester means there are some new sports that will be starting their seasons soon. If you’re a fan of a spring sport, you get to look forward to watching the Hawkeyes play soon. A few teams that will be starting their seasons soon are the softball and baseball teams, the golf teams, tennis, track and field, and women’s rowing. Students have access to free tickets to all these events, so make sure to reserve yours soon if you’re interested in going and cheering on the Hawks!
End of Another School Year!
Even students who enjoy school look forward to the end of the year. Summer is a great time to step away from the books and recharge for another year. If you’re a freshman like me, summer will single the end of your first year of college. This is such a positive moment to look forward to!
Winter break during your college years is very different from any other school break you’ve experienced in the past. In high school, at least for me, my winter break took place while we were in the middle of learning content in school. Because of this, I usually spent my breaks catching up on schoolwork, studying for upcoming exams, and sometimes even learning new information.
Other academic breaks, including Thanksgiving break and spring break, take place in the middle of the semester, so it’s very likely you will still have some schoolwork to do. Winter break, on the other hand, is right in between semesters, and, for most students, there’s no schoolwork to be done. Of course, students have the option to take winter courses if they have a class they want to get out of the way or want to lighten their semester load.
For me, winter break meant going from being unimaginably busy with classes, finals, and studying, to have more time that I knew what to do with. So, I’m going to share with you what I have been doing and will continue to do over my winter break to make the most of my time!
The first semester, or any semester really, can be exhausting. It’s hard to balance school, work, extracurriculars, and social life. Because of this, self-care and relaxation usually get put on the back burner. That’s why it’s especially important to take this time off to relax and reset before taking on another semester.
Relaxing can look different for everyone. Some things I like to do to relax over break are watching movies and shows, baking or cooking different foods, reading a new book, and spending time with family and friends.
Winter break is a great time to be applying for scholarships for the upcoming school year. Most scholarships have essay requirements, and it can be hard to find the time and motivation to write these essays when you have other schoolwork that needs to be done.
The University of Iowa has an online scholarship portal for new and incoming students. Once you log into the portal with your HawkID there will be required and recommended scholarships for you. Once you fill out a general scholarship application, you will automatically be applied to many of the scholarships in the portal.
Another scholarship recommendation I have is to look for ones from businesses and companies in your area. Local scholarships are a lot easier to win than national ones due to the difference in the number of applicants. You can check your high school’s website, and the sites of local businesses to see if they have any scholarships available.
Shadowing / Internship Applications
If you plan on going to a grad school or program that requires volunteering, shadowing, or experience hours, winter break is a great time to be filling out applications. Additionally, if you’re still not entirely sure what field you want to go into or where you want to work in that field, shadowing current workers is a great way to get a feel for the job.
I plan on going to medical school, so I am hoping to get some shadowing experience over spring break and this coming summer. Many of my local hospitals require applications to be filled out a few weeks in advance, making now a great time to get started on those. Be sure to check on the requirements for the workplaces you’d like to shadow at.
It’s also a great time, especially If you’re a freshman, to start making note of the activities you’ve been involved in. I have an excel spreadsheet that lists my activities, when I was involved, what I did, and who to contact if I need further information or a reference. Furthermore, I have a word document where I write about some of my experiences with these activities. This will come him handy when writing scholarship or application essays where you have to recall how you felt / what you did for these events.
I recently finished up my first semester of college and am excited to share some of my favorite moments. Navigating your first semester as a college student can be difficult. For many, it’s your first time living on your own, your first time being away from home, and a roller coaster of ups and downs. Despite this, there are so many memories that are being made along the way that make your college experience one to remember.
Favorite Moments from First Semester:
Football games! One of the best parts of being a student at Iowa is getting to experience the college sports atmosphere. Whether the Hawkeyes are winning or losing, Kinnick stadium is a great place to be.
My favorite football game this semester was the one against Michigan. My friends and I got front-row seats in the student section for this game. I had never watched a game that close to the field before, so it was a really great experience. Not only did we have the best seats, but we also got free Iowa hats!
Football fan or not, Saturdays in Iowa City are the place to be. Nothing beats walking around campus and seeing thousands of other Hawkeye fans dressed in black and gold on their way to support their team. Tailgating before and after games, cheering on the hawks, watching the talented cheerleaders, and spending time with friends and family are just a few things that add to the joy of being a Hawkeye.
This semester, I also went to a few basketball games, both men’s and women’s, and the Iowa vs Iowa State wrestling meet. Carver-Hawkeye Arena is so fun to be in, especially during the instate rivalry games! I would definitely recommend attending at least one basketball game and wrestling meet while on campus!
Student orgs! Some of my favorite memories from this semester were the ones I made with friends I meet through the student organizations I’m involved in.
My Medicus club had a few socials this semester including one at Molly’s Cupcakes! I got to spend an afternoon meeting and talking with other students and learning about their work experience, organizations they were involved in, and what fields of medicine they were interested in, all while enjoying some free cupcakes.
Pancakes! During finals weeks, the IMU (Iowa Memorial Union) hosts tons of different events for students including breakfasts, snacks, massages, emotional support animals, yoga, etc. Finals can be a really stressful and busy time, which is why it’s so nice to have fun activities to do to help you relax. One of the events this year was a free pancake breakfast. A whole team came in and spent all morning making some of the best pancakes I have ever had! My roommate and I went and enjoyed some pancakes before we started studying for the day.
Movie Night! One of my favorite ways to relax after a long week is to watch a movie with friends. My favorite movie night this semester was when some friends and I watched Top Gun Maverick. We cooked some frozen pizzas and ate snacks all night long! Little moments like this are what make your semester memorable!
Wilson’s Apple Orchard! During one of the first few weeks of the semester, some of my friends and I took a drive down to Wilson’s Apple Orchard. Located just a few minutes outside Iowa City, Wilson’s is truly beautiful during the fall.
We walked through their little shop and ordered some apple cider and apple donuts! We enjoyed these while sitting on picnic tables that overlooked the orchard. The weather, view, and food were so good!
Since we went on a Friday night, we got to ride the tractor ride for free! It took us down into the trees, through a stream, and around the orchard. I had such a great time laughing with friends and relaxing away from campus.
Hurts Donut! After a long week of classes, midterms, and college life in general, my friend and I would drive over to Hurts Donut. It was so hard to decide which delicious-looking donuts I wanted to try that week. My favorite one so far is the S’mores!
There’s no doubt that college can be hard. Navigating friends, relationships, living situations, and classes can be a lot for anyone to handle. That’s why it’s important to find friends and events that help take your stress away, even if it’s only for a little while. Memories you make at college will last you a lifetime!
Picking which residence hall you want to live in during your freshman year can be both exciting and nerve-racking, especially when you don’t know much about them. Of course, you can find a plethora of information about the different residence halls on the university’s website, but a student’s point of view can sometimes be more helpful. The University of Iowa is home to 11 residence halls and each of them has its own unique characteristics.
East vs West Side
The Iowa River runs right through the middle of campus and splits it into two sides, east and west. West-side residence halls consist of Hillcrest, Rienow, Slater, Parklawn, and Peterson. The east side halls are Burge, Catlett, Stanley, Mayflower, Currier, and Daum.
Whether you choose to live on one side of the river or the other, you will have a few advantages. The west side is home to all things sports related, including the field house, Kinnick Stadium, Carver Hawkeye Arena, Duane Banks Baseball field, and much more. Being on the west side means you have a shorter walk to any of the multiple sporting events here on campus.
The west side is also home to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Living close to the hospital can be useful if you plan to volunteer or get a job there. Additionally, the biomedical science buildings and Carver College of Medicine are both located on the west side. If you are a potential medical student or interested in a health-related field, I recommend looking into the west side residence halls!
The east side also has its many perks! As a freshman, most of your class will take place in buildings on the east side. Therefore, living in a dorm on that side can be ideal for walking to and from class. Of course, there are always busses running back and forth between the two sides, so you’ll never be stuck walking long distances if you don’t want to.
The east side is also located right on the edge of downtown Iowa City. Most of the residence halls are a five-to-ten-minute walk to shops, Target, restaurants, etc. This can be extremely beneficial when you need to make a quick run downtown or if you enjoy studying in off-campus coffee shops.
The University of Iowa has three main dining halls on campus. They are located in Hillcrest (west side), Catlett (east side), and Burge (east side). So, no matter what side you live on, you will have quick and easy access to a dining hall.
If the dining halls are closed or don’t feel like leaving your residence hall, there are tons of other great options for food. If you live in Mayflower or Parklawn, you may have your own kitchen in your dorm to cook food. Other residence halls tend to have marketplaces where you can use hawk dollars or flex swipes to grab a quick bite to eat.
Overall, the university has a variety of dorms to choose from and each of them provides students with multiple advantages. You can find more information about dorm pricing, room options, and more on the university’s website. There are also pictures of rooms in each residence hall and YouTube videos that walk you through the residence halls! A few residence halls on campus have their own recreation/workout area, while others have great study places or other fun areas.
Picking a residence hall can be stressful, but there’s tons of information about each of them available to you. Additionally, talking to current students and asking them questions can help you determine which hall would be the best fit for you.
The University of Iowa student body consists of students from all around the country, even international students! Many of these students are from areas outside of the Midwest and aren’t used to the cold, chilling, Iowa winters. Even I, who was born and raised in Iowa, find Iowa winters daunting.
With winter weather right around the corner, I thought I’d share my winter thoughts, recommendations, and ideas.
Buy a warm winter coat! We all know it wasn’t “cool” to wear a winter coat in middle school, but in Iowa City, you’ll need one. Although your classes aren’t too far away, the temperatures and wind chill can feel pretty cold if you’re walking without a coat. I recommend buying a long winter coat, as I find that mine keeps me warm. You will also want to invest in a good pair of gloves and a hat. I find that my fingers and ears are some of the first things to get cold in the winter.
Boots! Personally, I did not own a pair of boots in high school. At college, I find that boots are a necessity. We haven’t even had a ‘big snowfall’ yet, and I have already worn mine a couple times. Boots keep your feet warm and dry when walking in snow, rain, and ice around campus.
Cars! If you are bringing a car to campus as a freshman, you’ll most likely be storing it in the Hawk Lot. This lot is a few miles off campus and will require some other form of transportation to get there. I personally did not bring a car to campus, but I know a few other students who did. If you are bringing your car, I recommend making sure you have jumper cables and a shovel in your trunk. There may be times when your car won’t start, or you have to shovel around it to get out. If you know you’ll be needing your car on the weekend and want to make sure it starts, you can head to the Hawk Lot, grab your car, and park it in the Hancher parking lot on the west side. Parking here is free after four o’clock on Fridays, and all weekend!
With winter starting, these are just a few of my recommendations for helping anyone prepare for the long months ahead. As the season continues new discoveries and ideas will be made and I will have more to share come the spring semesters. Hopefully, you take the above recommendations into consideration when preparing for winter in Iowa City!
One of the main reasons why I chose to continue my education at the University of Iowa is because of the multitude of opportunities available to students interested in a health career.
In just my first semester of being here in Iowa City, I have learned about different clubs, jobs, volunteer opportunities, etc. and I am excited to share them with you!
Not only do volunteer hours look great on applications, but they are also a good way to get exposure to different environments, learn about your interests, and always make you feel good.
There are a variety of volunteering opportunities available on campus, and students will often get emails about these opportunities. Aside from these, there are a few opportunities Pre-med students might take a liking to.
The first of these is volunteering at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. I currently volunteer here in the Mother Baby Unit. Upon applying to be a volunteer, you get to select from over 30 different units in the hospital. If you have any interest in working in the health care field, or more specifically, a hospital, I highly recommend looking into volunteering at the hospital! You can find more information on the University of Iowa Hospital & Clinics website.
Another great volunteer opportunity is through the University of Iowa Mobile Clinic. The Mobile Clinic is a student led organization that strives to provide free health care to underserved groups of people in the Iowa City community. Being a part of this organization is a great way for students to get exposure to a side of medicine most students don’t get. In addition, you can gain hands-on experience and get to meet people from a variety of backgrounds.
Student Organizations and Clubs
As many people know, the University of Iowa is home to over 500 student organizations. With this comes a variety of clubs directed towards Pre-med students.
Medicus is a student organization that provides Pre-med undergraduates with opportunities to hear different speakers, including physicians and medical students, volunteer, work in small clinics, attend fun socials, and so much more! You can learn more about this organization on their social medias and website.
The Pre-Physician Assistant Club here at the university provides students who are interested in becoming a PA with tons of valuable information about applications, patient contact hours, volunteer experiences, etc. If you are interested in becoming a PA, I highly suggest you check out this student organization.
There are multiple other student orgs on campus that Pre-med students may be interested in including From Cover to Cover, Dance Marathon, Doctors without Borders, etc. Being in any student organization will help you make connections with other students and learn about other opportunities and experiences.
Research and Jobs
Although I took my first semester to adjust to life in college, I plan on getting a job my second semester. If you are interested in finding a job either on campus or near campus, I recommend downloading the Handshake app. Here, you can find so many job opportunities and apply to them with just a few clicks.
Another resource is the Pomerantz Career Center website. Under the “Jobs & Internships” tab, you can find a whole list of student employment opportunities. Many of these jobs are ones that involve medical- or science-related aspects, perfect for Pre-med students!
If you are interested in research or studies, you are in luck here! There are hundreds of studies of all sizes and topics for you to be involved in. On top of that, they are always looking for undergraduates to work on research projects. Sometimes, this includes being paid, volunteering, or receiving academic credit!
When you come to the University of Iowa you will have countless opportunities to be involved. As a Pre-medicine student, there are multiple options specific to you and your interests! You can find more information about any of the topics listed above through the university’s website.