Monday, November 29, 2010

Things I would change...

It’s been a long time since my last blog, sorry about that. I just got a new netbook on black friday though so I'm sure you'll be hearing more from me. :-)

The semester’s been off to a great start! Classes are going good, I love Milwaukee, and Sandburg residence hall has been great, but that being said there are a few things I would change about UWM if it were up to me-

1.Lunch time- There have been many a hungry days where at exactly 2pm (the time they stop serving hot lunch in the Sandburg cafe) I have thought to myself “man, I could go for lunch right about now”… Only to find that I have to wait until 4:30 for hot food to be available again. When I went to UW-Eau Claire there were always multiple main dish options available.

2. Food at night- There are very few healthy options available in Sandburg at night aside from fresh fruit.

3. Beeping Trucks- I can’t sleep in, ever. The 8am trash collector I’ve learned to live with, but it bothers me when he comes early, and it bothers me even more when a semi comes to deliver food to the dorms at 7-something in the morning and sits with the truck in reverse for sometimes an hour at a time. Beep beep beep. If it were up to me there would be no deliveries until 8am, 9am preferably.

4. Computers Labs- Computers are always at a shortage, especially in the library and the union. The log in process is so slow and people sit there on facebook, wasting computers. Computers in such busy areas should have blockers to sites like facebook, myspace, gaming websites, ect. in efforts to leave them open for academic work.

5. Cleaning Supplies- Supposedly you can rent out cleaning supplies from the front desk at Sandburg, but after many trips to the front desk and being told “maybe try back later” I’ve given up on the possibility. There is no good check out system in place. People take the supplies and don’t return them in a timely fashion, if ever. This is a problem. My housing fees should not be purchasing cleaning supplies for the first takers.

I don't mean to sound like I think badly of UWM, not at all. I love it here and I have no intentions of transferring, but there's always room for improvement.

Well, I’m off to statistics. I hope everyone had a wonderful thanksgiving! Mine was great, it was so nice to see friends/family again, but I’m glad to be back in the city!


Saturday, November 27, 2010

"I'm a poor college kid."

Hi all!

Hope everyone had a wonderful break. Mine was nice. I actually got to go stay at my grandparents' house, which I haven't been able to do in a long time. My best friend stayed overnight, and I got to go shopping and to the movies with my mom. While my friends all went out to see Harry Potter at midnight on opening night, I stayed in my room, a little bit jealous that I had to wait until break to see it with my mother. We go see Harry Potter together every year, and I wasn't going to change that this year. I could've gone and seen it more than once, but afterall, I'm just a poor college kid, right?
I feel a little bad though because every time I come home, I feel like I need something for school, and then my mom or grandparents end up spending an insane amount of money on me.
And of course, there's Black Friday shopping - where my mom, again, spent an insane amount of money on me. But, after spending 3 months being pretty frugal with my money, I feel like I deserved it.
5 days home was nice, but it feels nice to be back in Milwaukee. Every time I go home I get bored out of my mind. Basically, all there is to do here is watch all the TV shows I've DVR'd, and bug my cat, and that gets old pretty quickly.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sleeping at the Airport

Thanksgiving break! Everyone knows I have been looking forward to this week for quite some time now. I decided to go home early because most of my classes were canceled, except two, one which attendance was optional. I left Milwaukee for Minneapolis at 4:00 pm on Saturday. I was super excited to go home and see my family. I was even more excited that I got my megabus ticket for ONE dollar! As soon as our bus pulled into the Twin Cities it started to rain… and in Minnesota in November rain only leads to one thing… ice. We got stuck! The bus literally would not move! After about five minutes of sitting there, and doing tailspins, and 360’s (which could have been awesome under different circumstances), we finally started moving and drove about 5 mph all the way to our stop.

I got off the bus and tried to walk… it was nearly impossible because of all the ice. Even a tiny incline that would otherwise go unnoticed took a lot of effort to get up. I called my dad on the phone and he asked me if I was running, “Nope, just trying to get up a tiny slope,” I told him. My sister was on her way to get me so I just had to wait until she could get there. She called me and said, “Bad news, I just got in a car accident. I’m fine but they closed down the road because there are too many spin outs and accidents.” All of the major highways were shut down, and as I kept telling my friends and family who didn’t know what was going on, “Nothing in, nothing out.”

So there I am, standing on the side of the road, in the middle of an ice storm, wearing nothing but my pajamas and a spring jacket. I decided that the best thing to do would be to get on the lightrail (sort of like an above ground subway). I was really cold and my hands were starting to turn purple so I needed to get somewhere. I knew that the lightrail stops at the Mall of America so I figured I could sit in the parking garage under some heat lamps and eventually someone could come get me.

I called my dad and he told me that I should go to the airport because if I couldn’t find a ride home there, at least I could spend the night in the warmth. My sister called me to tell me that everyone on the freeway is at a complete standstill. People are getting out of their cars and fighting with other people. They just sent S.W.A.T. in to control the situation.The last reports I read said that there are "dozens" of accidents, but I am starting to think the final number will be in the hundreds. My sister has finally returned home, but without me.

I am currently sitting on the airport floor in front of security with about twenty other people. I just want to get home. I’m hungry, I’m cold, and I’m not even supposed to be in the airport because I’m not flying. People are complaining and workers are getting frustrated. I’m starting to think that my one-dollar megabus ticket wasn’t such a great deal after all.

Sweet Dreams from MSP International Airport.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How to find a roommate, and other helpful advice

You’re going to be a freshman next year and you’ve started to pick out a room to live in. You’ve looked at all the buildings online and picked which one is just right for you. Or you’re going to be a sophomore, junior, or senior next year. You want to live on campus but you haven’t made any friends that you would ever consider living with. So how do you find a good roommate? I have had good roommates as well as bad roommates in the past. Here are some tips and advice for places to find a good roommate.

Random match up: when you register for a room UWM will try to pair you up to the best of their ability with someone you will be a good match with. Although I don’t have a roommate this semester, I do have suitemates, which means we share common space including a bathroom. I didn’t know any of them before coming to school here and we get along great with each other. I had two random roommates last year; one of them became my best friend, and one of them I did not like very much. It can be a great situation, but if you are someone who is very hard to get along with it could work to your benefit to try some of the other options listed.

Freshman Orientation: UWM has a lot of events for new incoming students. One of the events that a lot of new freshman will attend is freshman orientation. Not only do you get to pick out your classes and learn about the campus, but a lot of other new students will be doing the exact same thing too. If you think you are the only student worried about finding a roommate, you’re wrong. There are a lot of people looking for someone to share a room with; it’s just a matter of finding them. Freshman orientation is a great way to find someone your age that will most likely be considering the same options as you.

Camp-in: This program is an overnight experience for prospective students. You don’t have to be accepted to attend one of these programs either. You will be paired up with a student who attends UWM. Over the course of two days you get to go to class with them, eat in the dining hall, and participate in activities with other prospective students. It’s very easy to meet people at these programs because there is no pressure and a lot of fun activities going on. I am actually a student host for this program so if you have any questions about it feel free to ask me.

Start a discussion on facebook: Post a discussion topic on the housing website and advertise that you are looking for a roommate. You could post a little about yourself like what times you like to go to bed and get up in the morning, whether you are a clean or dirty person, your major and interests, and then ask other students to do the same. I know a lot of friends who have found their roommates this way and ended up rooming together for two or more years afterward.

Start your own facebook group: Most classes have a facebook group. For example, I am part of the “UWM class of 2013” group. It is a great way to meet people your own age that may be looking for the same things as you. Can’t find a group to fit your needs? Create it yourself!

If you are coming to campus and you plan to live with your best friend I would advise you to be very careful. I know that for some people this is a great option but it’s not always the best situation. I lived with my best friend for a year and things ended horribly between us because we never had time apart from each other to do our own thing and make new friends. One of the most important things to remember is that you don’t need to be friends with your roommate. It is always good to respect them and get along with each other but just because you live together doesn’t mean you are obligated to hang out outside of your room.

I put together a list of questions that might be helpful when looking for a roommate. Feel free to change or delete any of the questions, or add your own.

Preferred housing:
Where are you from?
Do you snore?
Do you smoke?
What time do you usually wake up and go to sleep?
Study habits:
Music preference:
Neat or messy:
Are you okay with people visiting (including significant others)?
Religion/morals/political views:
Do you talk on the phone a lot/do you mind if your roommate does?
Do you like to sleep in warm or cold?
Any daily habits (working out/naps/etc)?
Do you watch TV a lot?
Do you listen to music a lot/loudly or mind if your roommate does?
Do you shower in the morning or at night/how often?
Any strange habits your roommate should know about?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

My Life in a Nutshell

Remember how I said I was going to work on Election Day? Well after I got the job, I went to training to learn how to do everything. I didn’t hear from the election committee again after training and had no idea where I would be working. The day before I was supposed to work I called the election committee and asked where I should show up in the morning. They said that they didn’t have it worked out yet and were still placing new workers, the took my number and promised to call me back that night when they assigned me to a location. I didn’t hear from them again. I was supposed to be at my location by 6 am, but I had no place to show up to. Since I didn’t work on Election Day, I also didn’t get paid for training. It’s been frustrating because I was counting on that money and now I will have to find other ways to make up for it.

I got around to thinking what I could do to make some money without having to get a permanent job. After coming up with some crazy ideas for odd jobs, I got an email that said I was accepted to be an overnight host. When high school seniors want to visit campus they get paired up with a current UWM student. They get to sleep in the residence hall, participate in activities, and attend class with their host. I’m looking forward to this opportunity because I know exactly what it is like to look at prospective colleges. I am a first generation college student and so I had no idea how to do anything when I first started looking for schools and no one knew how to help me. I am happy to help other kids with all of the things I have learned in my two years of college.

My classes have been continually getting better. For my Spanish 204 class I have to do a presentation on Cuba. I haven’t decided exactly what I want to talk about but I am leaning towards teaching my class about the way the government works and the black market that exists because of it. In my Journalism 201 class this week we are focusing on how to write blogs. I had to start a new blog and write about any topic of my choosing. I named mine Urban Flow, and for each post I will talk about the culture of a different city in the United States. One of my favorite classes though is Floral Design. It’s listed under Sports and Recreation in PAWS. Right now I am taking Floral Design – Special Occasions. We learn how to make all of the floral arrangements used in weddings. My teacher is very enthusiastic and the great thing about it is that I get to bring home three arrangements every class! I am like the Martha Stewart of campus, always handing out new flower arrangements to my roommates and people I don’t even know.

Today is my Birthday! I am finally 20 years old, and with it brings a fresh new decade of life. I think I better start watching out for wrinkles, and pretty soon I'm going to need glasses, it's all down hill from now, right? I'm just kidding, I still feel like a little kid sometimes, I still AM a kid!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My typical Day...

I am finding myself extremely busy! Here's an example of my usual day.

8:15- Alarm goes off and I run around packing books, throwing together a lunch and getting ready.
8:30- Downstairs waiting for the shuttle.
9:00- Attend class til 12:10
12:10- Sprint over to the Union to fight for a table to eat lunch with my friend Patrick.
1:00- Attend a Spanish 103 Lecture so I know what the class is doing so I can make my lessons for SI Review sessions.
2:00- Hold a Spanish 103 SI review Session (Basically a review of all that Spanish 103 is learning that week.
3:00- Tutor Spanish 203
4:00- Tutor Spanish 103
5:00- Tutor Spanish 308
6:00- Catch the bus to head home
6:30- Work out, eat dinner, homework.

Then repeat all week. It looks overwhelming when I see it on paper but somehow I survive and find time for other fun things.

I work for the PASS center where I tutor spanish students and am the SI Review Leader for Spanish 103. It's a really fun job and I get to talk to a lot of different people. It's rather time consuming since I have to attend the lectures, plan my lessons and hold my review and tutor sessions.

Kenilworth had a Pumpkin carving event for halloween. It was was fun and interesting to see how many students had not carvved a pumpkin before! Eric and I decided to spice up the event and dress up to carve pumpkins :)

My Pumpkin I carved
Eric and I dressed up
MY CA and her art.
Last weekend for Halloween I had to go home since my car was going to die. It was a long, boring and painful 7 hour drive but being home for that weekend was worth it. I was able to spend time with my parents, boyfriend and many other friends who I won't see again until Thanksgiving. I got a new car while at home which was really exciting. They have deals where if you are a recent college grad or a grad student you get instant cash off which luckily I was both. Halloween was fun, I dressed up as a peacock and went to a costume party. I love just looking at all the people on the streets in their silly outfits
My new car and a couple Halloween picks... some of us learned parties aren't the best place for wide costumes :)

This weekend I am having some friends from home visit so I will have an update next week about some of the fun places we went to in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

When exhaustion sets in

Ah, college...full of choices.
I know it's early in the year still, but I'm honestly just exhausted. I don't have the motivation to get up and go to classes anymore. I'd rather just spend the day snuggled up in my bed. Mondays and Wednesdays are the worst for me - I have classes for 12 hours straight. 7:30 in the morning to 7:30 at night. :/! And after Halloween weekend...I'm glad Thanskgiving break is coming up soon. I've got a paper and 2 exams left til then, so overall, not too bad. Pretty sure I'm going to bomb my Philosophy 241 exam this Thursday though. :(
Thankfully, I haven't gotten really sick yet while here. I know a ton of people who have just gotten cold after cold after cold. I think I got a short cold in the beginning of the year, but I'm hoping this soreness and tiredness in my body is just from exhaustion and not me getting horribly sick. Especially since I'm going home this weekend! I'm super excited.
First of all, I'm getting my jacked-up ankle checked out, so I can maybe actually go up and down the stairs and walk to class without being in grimacing pain. YAY. What sucks about not being at home is scheduling appointments. I've had to call months in advance just to find a time slot that works well with my schedule at school and my home schedule.
My cousin Lisa is getting married on Saturday too, so I'm super excited for that. I get to see my family - some that I would normally see pretty often, but now haven't seen in over a year.
I'm a little worried to deal with my mom though. Being away means that when her and I argue, it's over the internet...and I'm sure we've all experienced the "word vomit" that takes over us when we're on the internet. It's bad.
Hopefully it all works out though. I'm hoping this week gets better, and quick!

Feeling Homesick

Now that we just passed the halfway mark for fall semester, and with Thanksgiving and winter break on the verge, it’s easy to start getting a little bit homesick. All of the shiny feel good things associated with starting a new year at college are starting to wear off, and the workload is becoming more apparent. It gets dark by 6 p.m. and it's starting to get cold outside. All of these things have made me want to hop on a bus and go home for a weekend.

For freshman students on campus, it may be the longest time ever spent away from home. On the other hand, maybe you go home every Thursday night after your last class and come back every Monday morning, having never spent a weekend apart from your family this whole semester.

If you’re a transfer student like me, there is a lot of adjusting to do because unlike being a first year freshman that is just adjusting to leaving home, we also have to adjust to another college, for the second, or in my case third, time.

Returning students may have gotten used to being away from home, but that also means that they have been here for even longer and probably miss their families too.

I found a video of Conan O'Brien on Youtube helping students with advice on how to overcome homesickness. I wouldn’t recommend trying this though.

If you are having trouble with being homesick, and constantly going to visit home, I would recommend that you spend MORE time on campus.The more you are here, the easier it is to get used to your surroundings and get involved.

One thing that has kept me motivated to be here is the promise of a new semester right around the corner. Spring classes have been posted on PAWS and I have already picked out all of the ones that I want to take next semester. I am pretty excited because I can finally take all of the upper level journalism and political science classes that I have been waiting for.

Don't let me fool you though, I'm still counting down the days to Thanksgiving and winter break.