Friday, March 18, 2011

It's Finally Spring!

It’s finally spring break at UWM! I have been super busy lately with classes and working and student orgs! Now that the weather is starting to get warm it has been so much harder to get things done, I just want to sit outside in the sun all day!

Speaking of spring, it’s time to start signing up for housing for next year. I still have not decided for certain where I want to live. I am planning to apply for a spot in Kenilworth Apartments but have not done that yet. Summer housing rates are up if you wanted to stay on campus over break as well. They have super cheap rates compared to subleasing or renting in the city.

I currently live in Purin Hall. I have two amazing roommates, probably the best ones I have ever had, and I also work with them at Sandburg Cafeteria. I just started this month and I really like it. It’s nice to be back working again and making some money. Working on campus is nice because they are always super flexible to accommodate your class schedule.

Classes are really great. I officially declared a Journalism and Political Science double major and am currently taking 16 credits in those areas. I plan on graduating in December 2012. I have been thinking about taking summer classes, but as of now I’m not sure where I will get the funding for that. I really enjoy both of my majors and have been trying to get as involved as I can with student organizations on campus.

This month I joined Pi Sigma Alpha, it’s a Political Science honors fraternity here on campus. It was inactive for quite some time but has just become active again. We have already held elections, and had guest speaker JoAnne Kloppenburg, a candidate for Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice, all within the first month of starting up. It’s a great opportunity to get involved if you are interested in Politics.

I am about to head home to Minneapolis for spring break. I don’t have anything fun planned, just working, the dentist, annual eye exam, all of those fun things that I figured I might as well cram into one week. Don’t forget to sign up for housing for next year! If there are any new students interested in hearing about the residence halls from a student’s point of view let me know and I will tell you everything I know!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Buying Textbooks.

What is the one thing you dread when starting a new semester? That's right, buying textbooks! They are so expensive to buy and selling them back at the end of the semester can leave you feeling ripped off. I have become very skilled at buying books and have never spent more than $100 on books for a semester, although it's usually a lot less.

There are a number of places you can buy books from.

The UWM Bookstore-
Buying books here is most convenient because it is close, and if you have any problems it is easy to resolve them fast and efficiently. There are also other bookstores around the Milwaukee area that offer cheap textbooks such as the Panther Bookstore.

Library Reserve- Some teachers will keep a copy of their textbook on reserve for students to check out and use. This is not ideal if you will be using your textbook a lot, as students are typically only allowed to keep the book for two hours. It is nice to use if you order books and they arrive in the mail a few weeks after your classes have started. You can search on the website to see if there is a book on reserve for your specific class.

Renting books- This can seem cheap if you typically buy books from the bookstore and then sell them back to the bookstore but beware, if you rent you spend money on the books and have nothing left to sell back at the end of the semester. Sometimes there are fees if you send the book back late, lose or damage the book, or a number of other issues.

Ebooks- Just like renting books, you have nothing to sell back at the end of the semester. They also usually do not come with any access codes or supplementary material that a book may come with. I bought my first ebook this semester, I am not sure if I will like it a lot but it is nice that I can print out the pages that I need, and highlight and mark things on the computer. Most ebooks expire around 180 days after being purchased. If you think you might want to retake a class because you didn't do well, you would have to purchase the ebook twice.

Online- I typically buy and sell all of my books online. I find this best for me because I am able to pick out my classes a month or so ahead of time, find the books that are required, and then watch the book prices and buy when they are cheapest. If you do buy online, make sure you buy from a reputable company or seller. Buying and selling online is for those who are highly motivated and willing to get to a post office every time they sell something. It also can come with problems such as books arriving three weeks after class has started, or the wrong book coming all together.

A really great way to save money is to see if your friends have taken the classes that you are signed up for. You could pay them some money to borrow their book, or let them borrow one of yours for their classes. Textbooks are never a fun thing to spend money on, but if you are an informed consumer you can save a lot of money. Don't be afraid to buy used books either, they are often just as good as new books but at a fraction of the price.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Start of Spring Semester

Winter break was a lot of fun. I got to see the ball drop in Times Square on New Years Eve, I got to travel all around the country with my best friends, and I got to spend some time in warm Florida. But most of all, I was excited to come back home to Milwaukee.

Once I got back, one of my friends from Minneapolis came to visit me for the weekend and helped me move into my new home in Purin Hall. I really love it here so far, it's so big and I finally have a kitchen! It's been sort of a weird transition for me because I am starting to get homesick for the first time. I have been living on my own for almost three years and I have never been homesick at all. Hopefully it will go away soon once all of my homework and studying starts to build up and distract me.

My classes this semester are good and bad. I didn't get into the one class that I wanted to, but because of that I now only have classes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. I have a four day weekend every week, which is nice. I am also trying my first online class at Milwaukee. I have taken them in the past and never really fell in love with it, but I decided to give it another try.

I hope everyone has a great spring semester. It's going to be a lot harder to focus once the weather starts to warm up!

Friday, January 14, 2011

TCX & Winter Break

Winter break's coming to an end. This was only my second trip home since school started and it was awesome while it lasted, but I'm excited to get back to UWM!

This winter break I went to a midwest Christian conference in Minneapolis, MN called TCX. It's put on by Campus Crusade for Christ, a club I'm involved with from UWM. It was sooo much fun! There was speakers and singing and dancing and randomness, and lots and lots of NINJA. If you've never heard of ninja come join Cru and we'll be happy to teach you! And if you ever get the chance to go to TCX take it! Picture a couple thousand college kids in a 5 star hotel, pretty much not sleeping for 4 nights in a row. That was TCX! It. Was. EPIC! I made lots of new friends and hung out with a bunch of people I hadn't seen in a long time.

We discovered a few things on our trip-
1. If you learn to throw playing cards well enough they might draw blood (sorry dude, didn't mean to hit you in the cheek!)
2. Shopping carts can ride target escalators, too. Well, in minneapolis they can!
3. It's fantastically fun to race your cart on the target escalators and see who gets there first!
4. There is no shame dancing to N'Sync on escalators, in a 5 star hotel, barefoot. Or at least I didn't think there was.

So yeah, TCX was great :) I went back to the cities once to visit a friend, but I've been home in Rochester ever since. I think I'll be heading back to Milwaukee on the 19th; I have to get there early to start training for my new job as an SI leader. As an SI leader I'll attend a large lecture class (that I've taken previously) and then hold small group review sessions for the students enrolled in the class. It's sort of a blend between tutoring and teaching. Yeah, it's pretty exciting stuff!

So anyways, I'm going to get back to being lazy because it's break and I can :) Hope you're all enjoying your breaks!