Honestly, thinking that tomorrow is the "last" day of school for the year is a hard thought for me to handle. When I say "last," I am not counting the two wonderful weeks of oncoming exams, but you get my point. And by “hard to handle,” I mean it’s hard to believe that I'm almost a sophomore. My freshman experience is nearly over and it’s a very sad thought.
One of the hardest and most meaningful things from the past couple weeks occurred tonight, at our chapters’ send-off to the graduating seniors. Essentially our seniors are remembered and honored and many stories and great times are shared with each other. Over the past year, all of these guys have become my role models; whether in the classroom, with leadership or in life. This year has made all the difference in the rest of my college career. If I was standing in the same spot I was at orientation last year, I couldn’t have imagined doing half the things I do now. I owe a lot to the friendships and bonds I've made through being a brother.
If you had known anything about me before college, you would know that I did what was asked of me and that was essentially it. Leadership in any form just wasn't my thing. Now it's something I strive for because these seniors helped me to realize I can do it. I owe a lot of it to coming to Case and a little to bravery on my part in joining an organization like SigEp.
Some things I have to look forward to coming up include: being here for the month of June. I'm continuing the same research job I've been doing all semester. Getting paid is going to make it even better! Next semester I am also going to be a SMARRT leader. This entails presenting to a Greek chapter different than your own about an important issue on campus. The topic I was assigned to was sexual assault where the victims are men. One of the perks of this program is that I finally am going to have a chance to improve my public speaking skills. More than anything else, however, I'm looking forward to getting to spend some time with my family and friends back home before I come back to Case. As much as I like it here at Case, I always love to get a chance to go home from time to time.
For now, it's time to get myself together and make it through exams. Especially considering I still have a paper to write tonight...whoops!
I am dreaming of summer right now. Seriously, almost any spare moment I have to think is spent thinking about how amazing it will be to have a couple weeks of waking up whenever I feel like it and doing virtually nothing. I’m imagining what I’ll do with all my free time (Free time!! It might exist again!), and envisioning the beautiful weather and the even more beautiful lack of school work.
But, as per usual, I have the heavy reality check of 6 papers due within the next 10 days to keep me grounded. I cannot slack right now, even though I desperately want to. That being said, I did decide to have some fun this weekend before I enter the cave that is my dorm room during finals.
Friday night I was hosting a prospective student, and we ended up having an awesome time. Theta Chi was holding their annual car-smashing party, Damage, which entails beating up on a couple of crappy vans with sledgehammers. People paint things on the vans like “biochem” and “SAGES” so that you can take out your frustration in a healthy way, and I won’t lie I definitely felt pretty good about smashing a couple of them.
Later on we went to the final concert for Dhamakapella, one of the zillion A Cappella groups on campus, who sing mashups of Indian music and American pop songs. They were pretty awesome, and they had free tasty Indian food!
Finally, we went to a movie at Strosacker, my old standby for prospies. It was good to get one last movie in for the semester, as the CWRU Film Society wrapped up their year this weekend.
Then Saturday was Springfest! As a freshman, I didn’t really know what to expect with Springfest, but it was a really good time. Student groups of all shapes and sizes gave away tons of free stuff, there was delicious free food everywhere, and there were inflatables, laser tag, and a mechanical bull. I didn’t stay to hear many of the bands playing throughout the day, but what I heard was really good, and I was impressed with how much work the planning committee must have done. It was awesome.
Today, though, I’m getting cracking on those papers. Three are due tomorrow, one Thursday, one Friday, and one the Thursday after next. Wish me luck. I seriously need it.
As I sit in the stacks on the 3rd floor of the Kelvin Smith Library, I realized that I'm probably too sleepy to write my 10-page SAGES paper. Thus, I decided to do something else that's relatively productive. Originally I was going to interview one of my friends, but college kids are busy during finals, so you'll have to forgive me. I know I promised to interview more of my friends.
If I were to summarize my week into a single phrase, It would be "don't sweat the small stuff." Remember earlier I blogged about the incident involving my knee (which by the way isn't healed yet)? I got injured because I was afraid that I would be late for clinicals. Looking back, running on icy pavement at 6:30AM in the winter morning was not very smart. In the big scheme of things, being late to clincials would not have meant the end o f the world. But because I didn't see it that way at the time, I risked my health, got injured, ripped my scrubs, and probably need to get an x-ray. Was being on time worth it? No.
As it is finals week, I just wanted to remind everyone not to sweat the small stuff. Get a lower grade than you expected? Don't sweat. That single grade in your whole college career will not drastically change your life. There are so many more opportunities out there, like... finding happiness in the love of your life, or something gushy like that.
I say this because this week, I was sweating profusely about the small stuff. Every single class I'm enrolled in is on the borderline. For example, I got an email today from my English professor with my grade and his regards. This was his email:
Hi, Kevin: You fall into the category of “an A on the final paper means an A in the class,” so I’m going to put some pressure on you and encourage you to make this final essay your strongest piece of writing this semester.
How does that make me feel? Stressed. Is it good for my body? No. How many white hairs am I going to go home with? Enough to make me look 10 years older.
But something else happened today. I had lunch with my brothers. It helped me realize that there are so many things out there that matter more than a few grades: Things like brotherhood, friends, family, happiness, lasting memories. Those things cannot be changed or replaced. Grades, however, can. You can do better next semester and raise that GPA, whereas if you sacrifice those that are close to you, there's no guarantee that you'll get them back.
So, for all you who are sweating about finals, don't. Go out, breathe in the nice-fresh-Cleveland-air, hang out with your friends. Life's more important than grades.
This past weekend I had the pleasure (and dismay) of captaining Sigma Phi Epsilon and Alpha Phi's Relay for Life team. Prior to about three-four months ago, I had very little idea of what Relay for Life entailed; therefore, I will explain briefly.
Essentially, Relay for Life is a campus wide philanthropy event where teams raise money for the American Cancer Society. The donations "sponsor" a specific team to walk for 18 straight hours around the track. The idea is cancer never sleeps or takes a break; therefore, a team should not either for the entirety of the event.
Basically, with the help of the philanthropy chair of Alpha Phi, my job was to coordinate fundraising and other logistics in order to reach our goal of $1,500. Through hard work by both teams and a little extra stress, our team met our goal. Trust me, not easy. So obviously I was relieved by the time the event was underway.
Of course the event was not only a walk around the track, but rather it contained various events to keep participants occupied. These ranged from a cancer survivors lap to a "Miss Relay Pageant" where brave guy volunteers put on a dress in order to "impress" the crowd. And to answer your question, I did not participate in the pageant, way too much for me.
As great of an experience this event was for me, I am more than relieved that it is finally over. I tend to do this thing where I want everything to go "perfectly" and end up overworking myself. But thats just how I am about everything. I had a great time and I really learned alot from doing Relay. I had the opportunity to be in charge of over 100 people, in an event that requires team work and cooperation by all.
But to better show my experience, I included some pictures below:
This was our fundraising table at the actual Relay. We sold baked goods made by the sisters of Alpha Phi. Throughout the entire fundraiser we were battling the wind as it tried to destroy our entire set up (if you couldn’t notice by the disarray of the treats).
This was the view from walking the track. The small white bags that lined the track are "Luminarias." Each bag represents a donation made on behalf of someone who lost their life to cancer. They have a ceremony at 10 pm to honor every person remembered.
The view from our fundraising table (at 2 AM). The fundraising tables were set-up to the side of the track where participants could take a break and "shop" for various items such as baked goods, grilled cheese and root beer floats.
It's almost the end of my freshman year at Case. I have exactly six days of class left. This is only slightly mindblowing. It will be very weird to say goodbye to all of the people on Storrs 3rd floor, pack up my belongings and say goodbye to Storrs 317 forever. It'll be cool to spend some time back home again, but no less weird.
Not that I should get ahead of myself. Even after this Friday and next Monday (the last day of class) I still have two weeks worth of finals to make it through. So I shouldn't be too hasty. Within the next week and a half I have two research papers and four other papers to do, a presentation, and at least two exams. Not to mention observations for my education class and a whole lot of other stuff that I know I'm forgetting. And somehow I'm still supposed to eat, sleep, and maybe have a life. Plus my computer crashed. Yeah.
So maybe it's a little early to be reminiscing about this year, but I definitely am having an awesome end to it so far. Friday night and Saturday morning was Relay for Life, where 75 teams came together to fundraise, party, and walk the track of the football field to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I've done Relay in the past, and it's always been an incredibly fun and moving experience. This year was no different, but it was something really unique in that I got to see a community of college students put in a lot of time and effort for a great cause. Not to mention the root beer floats in 40 degree weather, 90s dance party, 3 AM pajama lap, and waking up at 4 AM to walk laps, eat tortilla chips, and watch the sunrise.
After coming back to Storrs and crashing, I managed to find enough energy to go to Sigma Psi formal last night. It was truly spectacular; everyone looked amazing, the food and music and setting were awesome, and I even got a little sniffly when Senior Letters came around and everyone was saying their formal goodbyes. Even so, I danced the night away with some awesome ladies and their super-cool dates, participated in the hilarious tradition of Senior Circle, and did our Ramble with the rest of the girls, pretty much scaring the crap out of every guy standing on the sidelines. It was wonderful, and it made me truly happy that I could be there with all my sisters.
Now I've just got to make it through these last few weeks -- wish me luck!
Before I came to college, I always wondered how college kids went throughout their days. That's what inspired me to show just exactly what constitutes a day in the life of a college kid, or more specifically, a nursing major at Case.
9:44 AM: I start off my day to the bright sun shining through my window blinds (a nice treat every now and then). Here's a general view of my side of the room. Excuse me for my messiness. Finals week is coming up and cleaning my room is pretty much on the bottom of my to do list.
After I get ready to head off for another wonderful day of learning, I head over to Leutner, our dining facility. The two-minute walk proved to be extremely refreshing as the trees and flowers are in full bloom. Thank you spring, I've waited too long for you.
10:03AM: Breakfast: English muffin, a side of ketchup, and a nice cold-glass of orange juice. The north dining facility is actually under construction. If you're lucky enough, this will be all brand-new next year.
10:19AM: The walk to class: On your right hand side, you can see the Peter B. Lewis building. Made possible by a donation from Peter B. Lewis, it is where the majority of the business classes are held. I regret not exploring the building earlier as they have a very nice dimly-lit lower level which is wonderful for studying.
10:30AM: Ah.. yes... Class. NURS 122. The lecture component where we learn about various assessment skills. Today, we learned about the eyes, ears, nose, and throat: how to examine each one, features to pay attention to, and how to identify what we see when we peer into these bodily-caverns. I must say, the lecture covered a lot of information, yet the material that we learned was extremely interesting. Classmates are just starting to trickle in. As a nursing major, the majority of your lectures will be held in large rooms like these.
12:01PM: Studying. Much of the time you spend away from class is spent eating, sleeping, or doing homework. I chose to utilize my time doing the latter with my classmate Kayla in the Taft common room. Each dorm has a common room that allows people to congregate, do homework, have a nice coffee conversation, or just hang out.
12:28PM: Leutner round 2. Is that sushi I see? Leutner offers a wide variety of foods. On Monday and Wednesday's, Leutner provides a sushi lunch for students. Lunch at Leutner is also a nice time to catch up with your friends who don't have any classes with you.
12:56PM: The walk to the quad. Here are some photos I snapped while walking towards the quad. You'll be very accustomed to these sights as the path I took is the fastest way to the quad besides taking a Greenie.
Mather Quad: The "statue" which is actually a fountain, sometimes has water flowing from the top during the Fall. In the Spring, it becomes a nice place to hold class. I have yet to have class there though.
KSL: Kelvin Smith Library: The main library on campus. The library has 4 floors. Every single floor has a study area which makes KSL the place to go during finals week or a sanctuary from your music-blasting roommate. Whatever floats your boat.
Quad: Rockefeller, Bingham, Strosaker, Crawford, and the list goes on... Here's where the majority of your classes will be if you're a science major. Also located here is Yost (where you pick up your pay checks), Tomlinson (Subway), Sears (Grab-it), and Nord (Einstein's Bagels).
1:06PM: Work. Yes you heard me right... work. I work for the Office of Research and Development as an Office Assistant. My current project is to design, print, and stuff name badges for Research ShowCASE, one of the largest academic events held on campus. People come and essentially show off their research projects. This year, we had around 400 presenters. By the way, this is my cubicle (it's not as awesome as it seems).
4:00PM: SOCI 203, Human Development. This is one of my harder classes. We're assigned 10-20 page readings every other day. Useful? ehh... Interesting? Most of the time. I can, however, relate a lot of what we learn in this class to our daily lives and the social phenomenon that we often fail to see.
5:00PM: USSY 285Z: The Ubiquitous Frankenstein. This is the SAGES class I'm taking this year. SAGES, if you haven't heard already, is Case's equivalent of an English class. In my SAGES class, we learned about the original Frankenstein, and how the name shifted from creator to creature (I think that's the gist of the class). This is one of the most interesting classes I've ever had the pleasure of being enrolled in. Today, we are giving presentations on our final paper. The prompt: Write a 10 page research paper on Frankenstein.
6:18PM: The walk back. After a good 5 hours on the quad, the sight of Severance Hall is welcoming. Severance Hall is home to the Cleveland Orchestra, one of the "Big Five" prominent and accomplished ensembles of the U.S. As a Case student, you can get discounted tickets to the concerts.
6:34PM: Dinner; Underneath Leutner is L3: Lower Level Leutner (clever right?). Here, instead of a buffet style, you can order specific entrees from the menu. Personal favorites include their grilled chicken cesear salad wrap, chicken quesidillas, and their philly cheesesteak (which is apparently discontinued-- sorry if I got your hopes up). L3 is often quicker than sitting down and dining in Leutner as you can get your meal to go.
7:23PM: Homework. Sometimes, I head over to Wade Commons to get my studying done. It's located in the middle of the freshmen dorms. There, you can print, pick up packages, get replacement keys and what-not. These study rooms are an awesome place to meet for group projects. Groups can also reserve these rooms for their meetings and practices.
And it was here that I stayed until 1:00 in the morning.
So that's it, a day in my life from my perspective.
(As a little disclaimer: You'll notice there's hardly anyone in my photos. It's not because Case is deserted or anything like that. It's mainly because I go/come from the quad at really odd times. At the time these photos were taken, the majority of people are usually in class or already back at the residential villages.)
Questions? Need me to elaborate on my classes? Leave a comment! I'll blog about it.
During Chapter (weekly fraternity meeting) this weekend, one of the brothers gave valuable advice. He said to try everything, no matter what. I guess this week I really took it to heart. I submitted my first letter of intent to run for the Vice President of Media in my AAA club. I asked one of my brothers to nominate me for social chair in my fraternity. On top of all that, I think the singular action that embodied these wise words of wisdom was letting one of my best friends cut my hair. That ended not as I planned, as now, I'm typing this entry with a buzz cut that's much too short for my liking. Yet, we only live once and college only lasts for four years, so what the heck. However, those were my thoughts during the haircut, before I looked at my calendar, which clearly indicated that I had to take my fraternity photos (kind of like yearbook photos) this Thursday. Ah, the decisions we make as teenagers.
This week's events allowed me to reflect on how far I've come because I was able to step out of my comfort zone and expand my boundaries. Cliché? Yes. But it's cliché for a reason, and that reason lies within the success that this point of view will bring you. A large part of who I am today, why I'm at Case, and how far I've grown here can all be attributed to saying to myself "just do it" (Nike should be paying me right now).
The deciding factor that brought me 2,500 miles to Case was largely the people I met here during my overnight that took place roughly around this time of the year. I got an invitation to attend Freshman Friday, where the Nursing school invites all of its undergraduate prospective students to spend a night with upperclassmen nurses. My mom wasn't able to take me there. I was still a senior in high school that still complained when I had to run a few errands for my parents. Flying to Ohio by myself was pretty much out of the question… until the parental forces did what they do best: used their impeccable persuasive skills (or lack thereof) to get me to attend. By subscribing to their ideal of "try everything," I was able to discover Phi Kappa Psi, a group of amazing friends, and four years that I feel will pass much too fast for my liking.
I was able to experience all of these things not only because my parents won't take no for an answer, but also because I stepped out of my personal bubble. If you read (or even possibly learn) anything from my ramblings, read this sentence: Try everything, no matter what. You might even like what you get yourself into. The more I write about this, the more I'm beginning to enjoy this haircut of mine.
The sun is still shining in Cleveland. And motivation could not be lower. All that I have wanted to do for the past week has been to say goodbye to responsibility and sit outside in the sun and nap.
In other words, now is the time for self-motivation. It’s important to bring organization into your work, because otherwise things will really not get done. For me, this has become a time to set goals and stick to them. If I’m going to go outside and enjoy the weather, I had better write four pages of my research paper before I do it. If I’m going to go to Coventry to shop, I’d better make sure that I’ve finished all the reading for that class on Monday or I will find myself looking at the clock again on Sunday night and wondering how the time flew by again.
Other than the amount of work and the weather, it seems like even though I don’t have a single moment of free time for the next three weeks, very little exciting is happening. Then again, that isn’t entirely true. This weekend I have Sisterhood Retreat with Sigma Psi, next weekend is Relay for Life and Sig Psi formal, the week after that is Springfest, and then the semester will be over! In general, though, it’s quite a busy time and I can only imagine how quickly the next couple of weeks are going to fly.
It’s about the time of the year when the sun comes out, flowers begin to grow and prospective students begin to overrun the campus day in and day out. Their overall confusion and lack of direction can be quite entertaining to the regular student. I at least feel entertained by this because it reminds me that I’m only a year past that same situation.
When I decided to come here it was not an automatic decision, regardless of how much it should have been in hindsight. I’m sure if you’re a prospective student you’ve made at least one visit to Case to check out what you might be getting yourself into. Personally it took me more along the lines of three visits, maybe even four (At the age of 19 I’m getting old, my memory just isn’t what it used to be!). Two (or three) of those visits occurred before I was even admitted. Aside from just being proactive (I have my parents to thank for that) I really wanted to see if Case was the right fit for me.
Just like you, I got here and was immediately confused and a little overwhelmed. I think every single time I visited, the Cheese Club was mentioned 4 or 5 times. If you’re a current freshman at Case, you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. I’m not sure if this is still in the recruitment strategy for admissions, but if it is you know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. But Case does have a point with this; I mean it when I say there is an organization or club for every single type of person here at Case. If there is someone that contradicts this, I would like to meet them!
Personally, I feel like an expert when it comes to Case admission presentations; I first came only with my dad, then only with my mom, and of course we had to do one more presentation all together. The idea that Case has an open door admission policy is very true. If this terminology is new to you, in summary, once you’re admitted to Case, you are admitted to the School of Engineering, School of Arts and Sciences, School of Nursing and School of Management. I can testify to say that students here do take advantage of this because one of my better friends at Case (also a freshman) is currently working towards a BME/Acting double major. Yes, this is possible.
Looking back at my open house experiences, I can’t really think of much admissions said or promised that didn’t come true after coming here. I really like that I got just what I was expecting. All I can think of for you as the reader is if you heard something at an open house and want reassurance that its everything they say it is, then leave me a comment, I will get back to you right away. Also if there is anything about Case that you didn’t hear that you want to know, I will also answer those questions. You should leave no question unasked before making your decision for college; because if you haven’t figured it out by now, it’s an important one.
Personally I don’t think my last week can be described without some type of visual aid... So here i go!
Last Wednesday was the kick-off of the actual Greek Week competitions. The first event we participated in was Greek Sing. Personally, I don’t take pride in having a serenading singing voice, neither does the majority of my chapter. So what better way to conquer that then to rewrite "Party in the USA," by Miley Cyrus, as "Party on the Quad Today." by us. We put forth our best efforts to keep in tune and keep the audience laughing. We at least succeeded in the latter. Unfortunately, I'm convinced the judges did not like the original version of the song or ours, so we just received our participation points and a good time.
Friday was the banner competition that took place in the middle of the Main Quad. The theme of this year's Greek Week was "Peace, Love and Greek Week." As a group we decided to build what you see above, a stage set-up representing our chapter's symbols and virtues upon the instruments. In the back, each fraternity and sorority on campus is represented in a rendition of a '60s or '70s album cover. If only I was particularly artistic enough to hand paint all the album covers. Thankfully, we have brothers who are creative and artistic enough to create the masterpiece this banner was.
Saturday's events were capped off with the annual pyramid competition...an event our fraternity has managed to dominate this event over the past 10 or so years. The link above takes you to the video of our performance. Our time was an easy 10 seconds faster then the next fastest group. The completion of this event capped off a 32-point comeback throughout the day to gain a tie for the lead in Greek Week scoring (We won by edging Sig Nu in rope pull the next day).
Later that night, I along with the help of 15 other SigEp's, volunteered as security for UPB's (University Program Board) winter concert of "HelloGoodbye." It’s easy to see we took the part of being security very seriously (see sunglasses, earplugs). It was a great time and we got to stand closest to the stage. Luckily there were no crowd goers that needed any security attention.
And that about wraps up the photos I have from this week. Personally, I'm very excited that with the onset of April. It is suddenly gorgeous weather outside! So gorgeous that I am constantly reminded by the sunburn I received while hanging outside today.
Another thing I've noticed is all the prospective students wandering the campus with their parents. If I can give one tip of advice when it comes to choosing where to go to school next year, don’t be afraid to go away from home. Yes, it is a life-changing experience, but if being away from home is the only thing holding you back, try it. If for some reason it isn’t for you, home will always take you back. Good luck with the entire experience!