Entries in "Life at Case"

Take a Step Outside

With all these classes and jobs that I have, I never have time to actually go out with my camera and take photos despite photography being one of my most favorite hobbies. However, this year, I decided to take black and white photography as my last non-nursing class.

Because of the assignments, I was forced to go out around campus to find specific angles and objects to photograph. For one assignment, my friend suggested that we go to Wade Lagoon in front of the Cleveland Museum of Art. Of the three years that I’ve been here, I’ve never once set foot there. Once I got there, the sun was just setting or the “golden hour” as we photographers call it. I had never seen University Circle look so pretty before and to think that I’ve been missing out on this for more than half of my time at Case.

The same could be said for the classes here. It’s college! You don’t have to stick to the academic classes anymore. If you have the time, you can always take classes that aren’t part of your major. Often times, these classes will be required for you to graduate (For me, photography fills my arts & humanities requirement). So go out there and explore. You’ll never know what you find, and maybe it might be something that you’ve been looking for.


Free Stuff

As a freshman on campus, it’s my first opportunity to be completely inundated by free stuff. My entire life, I have loved free stuff – I mean, which kid doesn’t? But until you get to campus, especially, it seems, Case Western’s campus, you don’t really realize how much free stuff you can fit into a tiny dorm room. This Friday, I would have been on campus for two months. And I’ve got SO MUCH STUFF. To date, I have seventeen free t-shirts (which, personally, is an amazing and awe-inspiring collection in itself). I have various Case merchandise – foam fingers, cups, and ID holders. Then there are the fairs – the career fair, the Spartan Spirit Fair, the choices fair. I’ve gotten books, folders, gum, thank you cards, and literally anything else you can imagine. There’s so much free stuff!

But Case Western has one specific event, each week, that really takes the cake in terms of free things. It’s called Thwing Tuesdays. Put on by the University Program Board in our student center, Thwing, these areevents that involve two very important elements. First, there is food. Every stereotypical “starving college student” loves any sort of free food, but UPB brings in some really good vendors to showcase to the Case Western community every Tuesday from noon to 1. For example, we have had Jaipur Junction (a really great Indian restaurant), Melt (an awesome grilled cheese place thatputs anything and everything into a grilled cheese sandwich), Ben and Jerry’s, Qdoba, and more. All sorts of wonderful restaurants. After the food comes the fun!Each week, UPB brings in some sort of childhood event. For example, the event that really draws the biggest crowd is Create a Critter, which is similar to Build a Bear – but it’s free! I made an elephant this year, on the very first Thwing Tuesday of the semester, which I am eternally happy about attending. We’ve also had spin-art t-shirts, crayon makers, coloring books, cookie cutter makers, and, once, we had free Legos, which were pretty awesome! See, when you come to college, maturity levels definitely go way down. Today’s a Tuesday, and at Thwing, we got coloring books and Qdoba. I was so excited about my Disney princess coloring book, but when I texted my mom about it, she seemed a little confused… guess I forgot that I wasn’t supposed to be so excited about princesses!

What surprises me the most about Thwing Tuesdays is that not enough upperclassmen on campus seem to know about it – so I thought I’d share it with you, the upcoming Case students, so that, if you choose to come here, you’ll have that little tidbit of knowledge to take you through the first semester. My schedule generally allows for it, and I know it’ll last for it second semester, since Thwing Tuesdays are officially my favorite free event at Case WesternReserve University and I’ll definitely be scheduling the next seven semesters I have here at CWRU around it!

It's That Time of Year Again!

And we're back! In class, that is. And to blogging. It seems like it's been an eternity since I've last written a post, but it's amazing how busy you get during finals season.

So far my classes seem really good. My Monday and Wednesdays are pretty light. I'm taking the following:

Hatha Yoga
Quantitative Methods in Psychology

I took yoga spring semester of last year and am really glad to get back to it again. It's such a stress reducer! The second course is a mized bag of research design, statistics, and other fun stuff for psych majors and others alike. It's taught by the head of the Department of Psychological Sciences, Dr. Lee Thompson. So far it seems pretty straightforward, and the information is a great foundation for future research. I just hope my book gets here in time to do the homework! (Sometimes ordering from places like Amazon is super slow. It might be good to order early, buy from the bookstore, or borrow from a friend)

Tuesday and Thursday are jam-packed, but I have some of my favorite classes. I'm taking:

Social Psychology
Drugs and Youth
Colors, Capes, and Characters (a comic book SAGES course!!!)

Social Psych has been excellent so far. I've heard (horror?) stories about it being a lot of work, to keep up with the readings, and to always go to class. Granted, it's only been a week, but I kind of feel like those things are things you should be doing anyway. Either way, the material is fascinating, and I'm very excited for it.

Drugs and Youth promises to be really cool. It's a small, discussion-based class in the Mandel School for Applied Social Sciences. It's only twenty people or so, but we've already delved into big topics like why people are motivated to use drugs, what drugs do to you, and what implications that has for society. Pretty heavy stuff.

And finally. My favorite thing ever. Seriously, I'm so excited about this last class. I'm the first person to tell you, I'm definitely a geek. There's no way around it. I like comic books. A lot. And so when looking for my last University Seminar to take in the SAGES track, I knew it had to be this course. We read comics (some old, some new) and discuss them critically, in many ways like any other literary medium, but with its own unique characteristics. In other words, it's TOTALLY AWESOME! We started the class by talking about how crazy/weird/cool it is to have a periodical, paper medium that uses staples as the binding. And it's taught by Brad Ricca. He's a pretty cool guy (and also my sorority's faculty advisor).

And possibly the best part of the semester? I have Fridays off. Yes, that little beautiful moment was brought to you by my own desire to have some time to breathe. And it's wonderful. Last Friday? I woke up at a decent hour, ate a real breakfast (oatmeal! eggs! juice!), went to work out at Carlton Commons, and caught up on emails and responsibilities for my office in Sigma Psi. All of this while not having to worry about class. It was wonderful.

I hope all of you had a safe and happy holiday season, and that the beginnings of 2011 are treating you well, too!

Change. It's a good thing. Trust me.

So recently, I’ve been on this “I can do anything if I set my mind to it” streak. It began in high school when a few friends of mine decided to start break dancing. They weren’t break dancers to begin with. Rather, they were the ads and student life editors of the yearbook. However, one thing led to another and they decided they wanted to break dance. Armed with an arsenal of a few other friends and youtube, they learned, practiced, and ultimately, became break dancers. They’re both now part of dance crews back home in University of Southern California.

How does this apply to me? Well, over thanksgiving break I was browsing the web looking for some inspiration that I needed to update a website that I’ve been working on for the past 6 months. I stumbled upon (literally: www.stumbleupon.com check it out) this website that showed the top 10 flash websites (http://www.ebizmba.com/articles/best-flash-sites check this out too). I realized that this was exactly what I was looking for in a website. With that realization came the thought “How cool would it be if my website looked like that.” If you click on the website, you’ll realize how impossible it seems to make one of these websites when you have literally no experience with the program needed to make such websites (Adobe Flash). Yet, I remembered my friends and how they too were in my same position. Yet, they talked the daunting task before them with the help of a few friends and youtube. Why couldn’t I do the same? With that, I began my furious youtubing/free tutorialing/googling to be able to make this work. As far as progress is concerned, I have accumulated about 15 websites sitting in my bookmarks folder on my web browser waiting for December 15th (the day finals week ends) to be read, learned, and implemented. Am I excited? Definitely.

So basically, what I’m saying is that if you sent your mind to something, and you’re willing to work hard to achieve it, you will. Of course, it’s not going to be fast or easy, but learning something that you previously thought was impossible feels pretty good in the end.

With that being said: check out this article from psychology today: http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200210/the-10-rules-change. If you’re like me and have gained the freshmen 15, this should be a very motivational article to help implement lifestyle changes to (in my case) lose weight. It’s another one of those things that you can do if you just set your mind to it.

A Magical Week

This week has been hectic. Like tearing-my-hair-out, why-won't this-stop kind of hectic. But I've been having such a blast that even though my nails have been chewed down to the quick and my sleep schedule has flown out the window, I'm barely noticing a thing. Barely.

Elections for my sorority are coming up, and since I'm running for an executive position, I spent the week scoping out the territory and getting an idea for what that position would be like. I attended the joint meeting of the Inter Fraternity and Panhellenic councils, where everything from increasing membership to the new layout for the Kelvin Smith Library was discussed. I also attended an Exec meeting for my chapter, to see what goes on and what each member's responsibility is. It's now Sunday, a couple hours before chapter and elections start, and I'm frantically trying to pull together a speech that doesn't sound like word vomit and actually makes me sound competent. Wish me luck.

Thursday night I went with some friends (and what seems like 2/3 of Case students) to see the midnight release of the seventh Harry Potter movie. Even though it was crazy and packed, the atmosphere was awesome. The crowd cheered, laughed, and gasped at all the right moments, and the people who came in costume definitely brightened my night. Also, the movie was amazing. I definitely recommend it.

Friday was the culmination of a semester's worth of work, as my sorority put on our philanthropy event, Mr CWRU. We had a great time; the turnout was great (standing room only by the end!), the contestants were all perfect gentlemen, and we raised somewhere around $3,000 for the East Cleveland Neighborhood Center. Since all the alumnae were in town for Mr CWRU, we had a multicultural active-alumnae mixer last night, which was two hours worth of delicious food, music, and old friends. In other words, I got no work done.

Tonight is elections, tomorrow I have a paper and exam, and Tuesday I leave Cleveland for a sunny Thanksgiving in Florida. Although it seems right now like the stress will never end, I'm dreaming of Wednesday and the calm before the storm that will be Finals.

Oh well. I'm loving every minute of it.

Club Love

Have you ever gotten free money to do something you love? Or, have you ever asked for money and gotten it from someone besides your parents? Well, if you're a club at Case, the two words "mass-funding" are pretty much like finding a few hundred dollar bills in you pocket. Just yesterday, my club AAA (Asian American Alliance) received the second highest culture club funding of a few thousand dollars to help fund all our activities.

The Undergraduate Student Government spends almost $110,000 every semester to fund "campus events, operating expensive, and off-campus development activities" (http://usg.case.edu/node/12). What that means is that USG gives you money to promote your interests to the rest of campus. The money isn't just something "nice" to have. It helps the clubs shift their focus from making money to sustain their club from better using their money that USG gives them to help benefit the campus. This system is, what I think, a really great way to promote constant club-improvement, and honestly, is what makes Case's organizational community so unique.


In other news, I filled my shopping cart for next semester's classes and my schedule doesn't look good at all. Monday and Wednesdays, I have classes from 9-4. I don't get a break for lunch until 2PM. Tuesday and Thursdays, I'll be at the hospitals doing clinicals for 7-3. All these morning classes do not look appealing at all for a person who can not stay awake for anything before noon. But anyway, I've never studied so much in my life before until this semester. To think that second semester can only get harder is a scary though. Balancing work, extra-circulars, and being a nurse is going to be really interesting. I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck!

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The Social Life

I've always wanted to be on the "in." I was never part of that group in high school, and I would always be jealous when I saw Facebook photos of events that I wasn't invited to. As I look back, I realized that it wasn't because I was a loner, or because I didn't have friends. Rather, it was because I never took the initiative to make things happen. As social chair, I now have the resources and the obligation to make sure that thing happen.

With that being said, I planned our annual pumpkin carving mixer with Alpha Chi Omega which took place last week. We held it on their front lawn, and it was definitely a site to see: forty or so college kids huddled over pumpkins with scraps of paper and pumpkin flying all over the place. It began with a somewhat traditional paring process. I asked all the brothers to bring ties and toss them into a bag. The girls were then assigned to pick a tie out of the bag and match it with it's owner. After that, it was to the tables to begin carving. I'm sure the event was quite entertaining for the multiple passerbys. Brothers were flinging pieces of excised pumpkin at each other while giving high-fives with hands covered in pumpkin-innards. It turned many heads of those that walked by the AXO house.

Last Friday was date party. Prior to coming to Case, I had no idea what this "date party" business was. It's basically a date with a lot of people. I planned our date party to be held at "7 floors of hell," one of Cleveland's more popular haunted houses. 17 couples went and (from what I've been told) had a wonderful time. Each house was themed differently. It varied from the "mental ward" to the "gas chamber" and in each house, the girl most often clung to the guy in fear. That was probably the best way to break the ice between the dates and, in most cases, worked like a charm. After a plethora of screams and stretched clothing (from the clinging), we all headed over to a local steak n' shake where we enjoyed a nice fast food meal and warming conversation.

It's funny how I run for the position that requires the most "people skill" even though I knew it was the one thing that I lacked. However, after three months and two successful events later, I can safely say that I've slowly, but surely, expanded that comfort bubble of mine so that it can now accommodate more. And to be honest, I think that's what being greek is all about. You expose yourself to so many different people all the time that you grow with every single interaction.



Why Playing Flag Football for 24 Hours is a Good Idea

My fraternity chapter at Case Western, Sigma Phi Epsilon, annually hosts a 24 Flag Football Marathon as our philanthropy event to raise money for our local philanthropy, The Free Clinic of Greater Cleveland. Last year, as a freshman, I was slowly getting acclimated to college life and exactly how SigEp operates as a group. Because of this, I only spent about 4 hours in the middle of the night hanging out at Freiberger Field with some of my other brothers.

This year was a little different; as VP Programming, I was bestowed with the responsibility for planning and running the event when I returned to campus in August. Well, I was not expecting that over the summer. Remind you, at the point where I figured out I had to head this up, I had little to no idea on exactly how the event is conducted. So yes, what ensued was a great experience to learn, grow and stress myself out unnecessarily! For those that haven’t figured it out yet, I’m blessed with the gift of taking everything a little too seriously. Yes this plays to my advantage for the majority of my endeavors, however it occasionally gets the best of me.

This year we had 26 teams signup and play during the 24 hour time period this weekend. Between their entry fees and the money collected from the raffle during the tournament, we raised $1500! Compared to last year, we raised an extra $500 this time around. It was one of those moments where you can exactly sit back, recap, and know your hard work paid off!

Nothing personifies me taking the event too seriously more than the fact that I was at the event for a solid 18 or so hours. Definitely promised myself I wouldn’t, but I did anyway. However, I survived, and I had a very good time throughout the event. I didn’t want to leave because I was having fun, not because I felt like the event would fail without me (for the most part).

Here are some of my favorite pictures from the event:



24 hrFF.jpg


Don't Stop Till' You Drop

So remember last week when I said you hit the ground running? Yeah, I'm not stopping. This weekend was Taste of Asia, Asian American Alliance's benefit dinner. As part of the executive board, I was responsible for getting up at 9:00AM to help start setting up for the event. For the most part, I was holed up in a meeting room putting together a short video to play during dinner. This movie was supposed to introduce the theme of AAA, so obviously it was ... kind of important. With my luck, right when I was supposed to show it, my laptop freezes and shortly thereafter, decides to not save my project. 15 minutes of frenzied working and a sweat-drenched dress shirt, I came out with the same movie, just not as well made as I initially intended. I've never been so stressed in my life. I could honestly feel my chest trying to jump out of my rib cage (which, after studying till 4AM for my pharmacology test, I realized was a sign of a panic attack… oh how nursing rules my life now).

Overall, the night was a success. The event sold out for the first time in three years. We raised almost $300 just from the donations during the event. Barely any food was left over (one of the main indicators that the night went well), and the audience throughly enjoyed our emcee as well as our performers, another aspect of Taste of Asia that usually doesn't always go too well.

As this week goes on, I can't help but think that I was a part of a group that held a dinner for 300 students. I helped raise $500 for dance marathon, and I found out that I don't handle stress too well. Nonetheless, holding this event was an amazing experience, and I doubt I would've had this opportunity anywhere else. Until next next semester: AAA Night.


Welcome Back, Have a Flu Shot

Hello everyone!

It's awesome to be back at CWRU for another year, and even more awesome that I get to blog about all of my sophomore year shenanigans. My summer was pretty uneventful (work, work, more work, and some work), so it's really exciting to see friends, have fun, and...you know, that school thing. I'm living in the Sigma Psi house this year with my lovely sisters, and I've got a whole bunch of exciting stuff lined up. Get pumped. I know I am.

I do have to say, however, that about 7 weeks into being back at Case, I am NOT excited about one thing: I'm sick. Like, legitimately sick. The whole feverish, hacking and coughing, please-kill-me-now kind of sick. This could not come at a worse time, considering this is the start of a string of busy weeks and even busier weekends, and I totally can't afford to be sick now. Ugh.

But since the inevitable has happened, and I did actually get sick, I think it's worth it to let you all know just what you should do if you find yourself shivering, sniffling, and generally miserable while at school. So here it is, your survival guide for being sick at CWRU:

1. You know what your mom will tell you: get rest and drink fluids. You probably have a cold, or something similar. If so, there's not much that will do you better than keeping hydrated and putting down the textbook so you can get some sleep. It's worth it. Trust me. If you keep pushing yourself through all nighters to study, you will only get worse.

2. Go to Health Services. They can hopefully let you know if your sniffles are something more serious, and if not, they can give you some advice on how to get better. I know that the last thing you want to do is to leave the comfort of your bed, but it'll be better to treat that upper respiratory infection now rather than later when you've coughed up a lung.

3. Call or email your professors. They may be willing to offer you an extension if you're too infirm to finish work on time. It may help for them to simply know that you won't be your bright and cheery self in seminar. Or, depending on the class, the course schedule, and how disease-ridden you are, their advice may simply be "stay home".

4. Don't be afraid to say no. If you're like me, you're over-scheduled on a good day. When you're sick, it may be hard to tell someone that you really can't make that SI session, or that the fliers for your club will have to wait another week. But at this point, it's better to wait until you can give your commitments 100% rather than not putting your best work forward due to illness.

5. Don't stress. You'll feel better sooner than you think. It's not the end of the world if you miss an assignment. Your GPA won't suffer, I promise. You're a capable human; you can make up for lost time. Focus on feeling better, and getting the work done will come easier.

Stay healthy, readers. And if you don't, don't worry -- these tips should get you back on your feet soon enough. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take some over-the-counter meds, eat soup, and nap for a couple hours. At this point, I think it's just what I need.

The End...For Now.

The last week of finals. Also known as "the week I can least concentrate on the work I'm supposed to be doing." Two exams and a paper left, and I am home free. The weather is beautiful, I'm not really doing anything but studying, working, and hanging out with friends. Pretty awesome.

I must say, though, that finals week was almost a complete disaster. My computer crashed (again, I know) and was totally unrepairable...two days before I had to write a 5-page paper for Thursday and a 12-page paper for Friday. Oh dear.

So this, friends, is my advice for if your computer conks out on you while you're at school, and you are left in high stress mode.

1) Take it to ITS. These guys will help you figure things out as best they can, and hopefully fix it for you so that you can get back to doing work really quickly. Unless they are at a loss for fixing it in which case…

2) Call the manufacturer. I have a Dell, and sadly for me, the thing breaks like every five minutes. However, if you buy a computer through Case's store, the warranty is something along the lines of 3 years and it comes with all the software you need so you don't have to buy it yourself. Unfortunately, I didn't buy mine through the eStore and my warranty is almost up. Thankfully I still have something like 30 days left on it and I'll be able to get it fixed.

3) Borrow a computer from a friend...if that's possible. Since it's finals week, nobody could afford to give me their computer until mine got fixed (we determined it's probably a memory issue so I have to ship it to Dell), but thankfully I have a relative who had a loaner laptop which I am currently typing from.

4) If all else fails, go to KSL. The Kelvin Smith Library has a bunch of computers for public use, and if you really have no other way to type your paper, hole up in there for a while and hopefully the studious atmosphere will motivate you.

5) Don't panic. If you absolutely have no chance of finishing on time because of computer issues, your professor will probably be willing to give you a slight extension. Don't expect too much from them, though, because remember that they have to grade these by a certain date and have them ready so your semester grade can be finalized.

Anyway, now that the semester is almost over and I'm ready to kick off an amazing summer, I'd just like to say that it has been an awesome year. It's totally unbelievable to me that I'm already 1/4th of the way through undergrad...when did I grow up?! It has also been a pleasure writing for you guys, and I hope my posts have been useful...and I hope to see you around campus next year!

Wishing you all the best,

So close and yet so far…

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.

Nearing the end....

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!

Peace, Love, and Greek Week

Rarely is it good form to start a sentence with punctuation (at least, not in English), but that’s more or less my mood right now. It’s 65 degrees, sunny, and absolutely beautiful…and we just finished off Greek Week!

Greek Week was simultaneously the most stressful week of the semester and the most fun. Sororities and fraternities on campus spent a week competing for first place in athletic, academic, and just plain awesome events like Trivia, Beach Ball Relay, Banner, and Rope Pull. Throughout the week, lots of people put aside homework for a while (but don’t tell our professors that) so that they could attend what seemed like twenty practices a night and contribute countless hours to painting their banner or choreographing their Variety Show.

Generally speaking, I had a blast this past week. Variety Show was awesome, combining dancing, acting, and comedy in skits that were designed to demonstrate this year’s theme: Peace, Love, and Greek Week. Consequently, there were a lot of dream sequences and “head injuries” that resulted in characters travelling back in time to the 60s for a ton of trippy dance numbers. Also, a lot of guys in skirts.

Obstacle Course and Pyramid were both awesome, as they were some of the weekend events that drew a lot of support from members and alumni. But by far my favorite event, and the one I’m really looking forward to in the future, is Rope Pull.

Rope Pull to most people conjures up images of old school tug of war, with two sides pulling on a rope until one side falls over. The reality, however, is way more intense. Two teams of ten position themselves in trenches, with a moat of water in the middle. You can win by as little as a quarter of an inch in a 10-minute pull, but the truly satisfying victory results in your opponents getting a taste of that moat.

Rope Pull practices were intense; usually they’d start with some jogging and cardio and strength exercises, before we practiced actually pulling the rope. I was sore for days after my first practice, considering the last time I’d done any conditioning was back when I ran track. The actual pulling was even more intense. Occasionally we’d split the team and pull against each other, sometimes we’d even pull against a giant tree near the trenches (we named him George), but more often than not we would pull against the guys in Sigma Chi fraternity. This was both awesome and awful, because while we got good practice for hard pulls, we also had to really fight for every inch.

Game day was cold and rainy. Mostly rainy. It was maybe 45 degrees, but the worst was the rain which was absolutely relentless. It coated the rope and made it slippery, turned the entire area into a giant mud slick, and reduced us to shivering lumps between pulls. But the atmosphere was awesome. When we got into those trenches, all we could hear was friends and other spectators cheering for us, and that was a pretty cool feeling.

Sadly, we got eliminated and didn’t make it all the way to the final pull as we’d hoped. It was another team’s turn for victory that day. But what was probably the best part about Rope Pull, and about Greek Week in general, was the time that I got to spend with my sisters making that event awesome. Now that it’s all over, I really miss seeing the girls on the line every day, even though I don’t necessarily miss sitting in a muddy trench for two hours every night. What was hands down the most amazing part was getting to bond with my sisters at every practice and every event. Now, I just can’t wait until next year.

Woohoo, Spring Overnight Season!

Spring is clearly in the air. Singing birds. Sunshine. Construction. People wearing shorts and t-shirts even though it’s only 48 degrees. Yep. Spring.

Another clear sign is the dozens of families milling around campus, all well-equipped with folders and that “I’m-kind-of-lost-please-help” smile. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for the slew of spring open houses and overnights.

There really is an open house for everyone in the spring. Admitted students, pre-professional students, juniors who are still very much on the market for colleges. And at every open house, you can be sure to learn something worthwhile, even if it’s just where to go at 2 AM on a Sunday to get a killer milkshake.

About a year ago (woah, that’s really weird) I was in the shoes of many of those students. I had been accepted in December and was making the rounds of schools I had applied to in order to get a feel for which campus and which group of students was the best fit.

It was a pretty overwhelming feeling being on campus, but I managed to get over any initial discomfort by telling myself that I was in the midst of a bunch of students who were probably equally as unsure of what exactly they were doing (it actually did help).

The general tours were pretty cool; those usually involve your standard introduction to campus, where things are that are important to freshman, sprinkled in with some cool tidbits about the campus. I even liked the residence hall portion; being a total dork, I love to actually imagine myself in a place and seeing a dorm allowed me to have a really clear picture of what I could expect when it came to living at Case.

My favorite, though, was the department tours. At this point in the
program, imagine a whoooole lot of engineering majors shuffling off in some distant direction, and then little old me searching for the College of Arts and Sciences tour. Honestly, it was the best part of my day.

On this tour, I got not only a good appreciation for the variety of
classrooms that Case has to offer to students (in any field, really, but I feel especially for Arts and Sciences students), but also a good appreciation for just how varied your schedule can be and how varied the campus population is. On my tour, I not only got to talk to a Political Science major (at the time, this was one of my majors; now it’s a minor), but also to meet people interested in chemistry, art education, history, Spanish, and a whole litany of other subjects.

Then comes, in my humble opinion, the best part by far. When I was an admitted student, I tried to sign up for an overnight, but to no avail. When I got to Case, though, I heard that they were looking for freshmen who were interested in hosting prospective students at different times throughout the year. I am so glad that I decided to participate, because it’s been really fun.

From the visitor’s perspective, I feel like an overnight can be really valuable. When I host, I try my best to give an accurate view of what an average night could be like for me. If students want to do something special, like see a play or stop by a Greek event, then we might, but otherwise I try to show students things that I typically do. That usually involves things like going to the Silver Spartan, seeing a movie at Strosacker, or even taking them to Greek Week practice for Rope Pull (the greatest event ever, but this is another story for another day). In general, I want the students to have fun, but to actually meet people and get a feel for the way they would fit into the bigger picture at Case.

I’d love to hear from you guys about this. Have any of you been to an overnight or an open house yet? What did you like about it? And if you’re still waiting to go to one, what questions do you have?

Practice Makes Perfect

Ah Greek Week. To me it seems like practice, practice, and some more practice. Everyday there is a flurry of emails about the night practices…let’s see, we have pyramid, pull, variety show, sing and swim just to name a few. I, as a freshman, have never experienced Greek Week. Yet from stories and just the excitement of the older guys, I know it’s the real deal. They say it’s the most exciting week of your life (which is quite the statement). But I believe them; why else would they be trying so hard? Just watching the practices for rope pull and pyramid get me excited. If you’re bored I would definitely recommend going on YouTube and searching “Case Western Greek Week pyramid.” What’s better than watching 10 guys or girls throw themselves in the mud, crawl 10 yards and build a human pyramid? How creative and how exciting! Pyramid has been SigEps event for 10 years, so our guys take it very seriously. Unfortunately for me I was never much of a crawler, so I will stick to being a spectator. Rope pull is a 10-minute competition where two 10-person teams face off against each other, essentially an endurance test that comes down to inches. It comes down to team work. I’ve gotten the chance to practice and try out for the team, but for this year I’m an alternate, learning technique and strategy for years to come. I’m okay with that, I’ve yet to experience the real feeling of Greek Week, and I haven’t felt the same passion that all the older guys feel yet. But it’s something I look forward to; I mean it is supposed to be the most exciting week of my life.

T Minus Eight Days Until Spring Break

When I said last week that I thought that the mixer with Sigma Nu wouldn’t be lame, I was drastically underestimating its awesomeness. Everyone looked spectacularly ridiculous (costume elements included zebra print, parachute pants, plaid…you get the idea), and there was all kinds of crazy dance circles going on at any given time. Not to mention that we watched the US men’s curling team in their victory. I got to explain to a lot of people a lot of things about curling, which apparently I have become some sort of resident expert on (I love curling, probably too much).

Post-mixer was a lot of hanging around munching on leftovers and then IMPROV, which was a great way to finish the evening. They hit the nail right on the head when they mentioned in a skit that 40 degrees Fahrenheit now feels like 85. It’s true. After seven weeks or so of below-20 temperatures, I feel like I’ve been walking around in the middle of June.

Sunday was my first experience with chapter at Sigma Psi. It was pretty intense; I arrived at the house at about 3:45 so I could pick my room for next year (I’m living in the house! It’s really exciting to me) before our pledge class meeting. Afterwards, I stuck around the house for a while, caught dinner in Fribley with some of the sisters, and went back for chapter. It’s really cool to get a feel for what’s going on with everyone and some of the events and opportunities with Greek Life on campus, even if they had to kick all of the un-initiated pledges out for super secret ritual stuff. After all of that, I ended up staying even later for a Study Jam in the basement. All told, I think I spent 6 hours or so at the house on Sunday. A long day, but really fun.

This week, though, has been pushing through all of the papers and midterms and craziness until spring break next week. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Meanwhile, I’ve got to wonder if you guys – the readers – have any burning questions you want to get answered. Anything from "what could I do with a history major?" to "where can I eat when I’m sick of cafeteria food?" It’s all fair game. So I challenge you: come up with some killer questions and I might feature them in a post sometime! Until then, I have a paper to write.

I can sleep when I’m dead.

Yet another week of having no breaks. I am currently typing this on my computer at work, because my personal computer is in an unresponsive coma. Awesome.

I’ve had a lot of fun this week with service events, a couple of new member events with the Sigs, and a bunch of other stuff, but for some reason I want to write a whiny blog. Yep. Whiny. I’m not feelin’ the cheer right now. The grievances I’m airing here have primarily to do with the weather. Anyone in Northeast Ohio (or pretty much any part of the east coast) will understand why I say this. It’s been disgusting.

Now, as a native Clevelander, I am well aware that I have no right to complain. I knew exactly what I was in for when I decided to stay here for school and there were no illusions of a mild, pleasant winter with happy snowfall and cute winter attire. None of that. However, like most Clevelanders, I have become very good at holding onto hope well past the acceptable point of no return. I still believe every year that it won’t be nearly as bad as it was the previous year, and consequently every year winter breaks my spirit a little more.

A good friend of mine lived here, went to Case, graduated, and got the heck out. Since then he’s lived such toasty places and Arizona and California. When he came into town recently I was very defensive about Cleveland, because he’s of the firm belief that I should move to California when this is all over and enjoy the sunshine and rainbows and all that jazz. As much as I don’t want to admit it (and I certainly won’t to his face), some part of me has been secretly thinking that he’s right. California sounds great right about now.

I love Cleveland, don’t get me wrong. There are a lot of reasons that I understand for people wanting to leave, but I’ve always had this pride in my hometown that I could never explain. Something about it makes me happy, regardless of how heartbreaking our baseball team is (I’m not even going to address the Browns, since I really don’t care) or how many houses are boarded up every year. However, now that I have to walk in this weather every single day for at least half an hour, stumbling through slush and muck, practically running into people, and thinking mostly in expletives and some variation of “Why me?”, it’s getting a little tiring.

I don’t want this to be all whine, though, so here are my friendly tips for surviving Cleveland winter. I’m sure some of you will need this:

1. There may be some part of you that wants to look “presentable”, “cool”, or “attractive” when you leave in the morning and consequently will carefully prepare an outfit that looks good even if it’s not practical. Abandon this part of you immediately. Winter in Cleveland for the stubborn becomes a battle between your pretty leather boots and the four-foot mound of slush you end up climbing to cross the street or get to your door. Dress practically, even if that means you look like a giant neon marshmallow.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to be. You will (hopefully) be a total champ at getting to class in under ten minutes by the second semester of your freshman year. I can make it from Storrs to the quad in about that amount of time, without running, if I happen to be late. Seriously, it’s an art form. That period of time does not account for a) people who don’t know how to walk, b) the aforementioned horrible mounds of slush and goo, or c) the horrible morale-breaker that is snow plowing into your face. Make sure to give yourself enough time to get to class without jogging through the snow and slush. That’s like trying to climb a sand dune at a full sprint. It does not end well.

3. Don’t be a jerk. Everyone is as miserable as you. Really, they are. So be nice to people and understand that their walk is probably equally as crappy. It will keep you from going insane.

Snow? Get ... WOAH(ED) ...

Okay, "snow" is an extremely hard word to rhyme with, so forgive me for my fail play-off of the "Mad? Get Glad" tagline. If you couldn't figure out the topic of this entry by my oh-so-very clever title, I'm going to cut you some slack and tell you that it's about the wonderful things that are available to you during the lovely winter months at Case!

It's snowing for about the 4th time this semester (surprise). I just came back from taking a Nutrition Exam. Walking there, the snow was blowing in my face. Walking back, the snow was… yes blowing in my face. Even when you make a turn, the wind some how manages to redirect the snow… into your face. It's like the weather is punishing you for living in Cleveland (We did get rated the #1 city with the worst weather). But to be honest, I think I'm the only one disappointed when there's no snow in the forecast. For one, snow is a change in scenery from sunny California (which, might I mention, is a toasty 80 degrees right now). Yet, snow creates a serene atmosphere, especially in the morning when the fields are undisturbed by people's footsteps. I've also begun to enjoy taking deep, refreshing breaths of cold air after long study hours. Other people, however, tend to stay in their dorms either too lazy to deal with the snow, or too affected by the weather to care about anything other than their bed. Case, however, has a remedy for these bed/room potatoes.

When I came back to begin from winter break, the snow had already blanketed the sidewalks. Walking to class soon became messy as your shoes would often splash in the mixture of ice, water, snow, and slush. Thankfully, Case/University Circle (the area that Case is situated in) provides a free shuttle service that conveniently takes you from your dorm to class. The blue-colored shuttles (called greenies-- they used to be green) not only run throughout the year, but are linked to the internet so that you can see where they are at a given time and a prediction on how much longer till they reach your stop. The downside to this? 1) The predictions sometimes don't show up/are faulty 2) They get pretty crowded during the winter months.

Since getting around is taken care of, all you need is a place to go… No problem! Campus events during this time of month include cultural nights held by clubs like KSA (Korean Student Association) and AAA (Asian-American Alliance). These events usually expose the student body to cultural foods and performances by members and other organizations on campus. It's a great way to get out, be entertained, and even learn something new during these semi-depressing winter months. Saying that there's "nothing to do" is no excuse to stay in during these months. There's always somewhere to be, people to meet, things to eat… you get the point.

And now, the thrilling conclusion...

Previously, in Sara’s blog:
In my last post I talked about formal recruitment, my experiences of the first weekend, and my optimism regarding Greek Life at Case. I left you with a super-suspenseful cliffhanger as to what second weekend would be like, if I would get a bid, and ultimately where I would end up at the end of it all.
So here’s the exciting finish.

Day 3 of recruitment: All week I’d been waiting to find out what parties I got invited back to. All week I had been doing homework and other things that suck with the knowledge that Saturday would at least be fun. I found out that I’ve been invited back to my #1, #2, and #4 choices. The parties were fun, but I ended up reordering my choices almost completely. #4 soared to #1, #1 got bumped to #2, and #3 hovered in the same region it had before. I was intrigued.

Day 4 of recruitment: The suspense was hardcore. I was invited back to all three for the pledge parties. #1 was first, and it was awesome. The day 4 theme is ritual, and they went through one with us to give us a feel for what they’re like. They warned us that people might get emotional, and now I can see why. It was intense. I came out of #1 feeling really good about it and was totally pumped for #3, which was next. The party was fun, I liked the people I was with, but I just didn’t get that same excitement that I had in #1. #2 was the last one. I must say, that party was really fun. I enjoyed myself a ton and was sorry to leave.

I had been under the impression all weekend that this would be an agonizing decision. I’m pretty much the least decisive person, ever. My recruitment counselor had told us that people sometimes spend hours on these cards, weighing the pros and cons and sign still unsure of the decision. I, for once in my life, knew exactly what I wanted and was gone within five minutes of the last party.

Bid Day: My morning classes were agonizing. I would really have liked to fast-forward to noon when I could pick up my bid. It eventually got to that point and when all is said and done…

I received and accepted a bid from my first choice, ΣΨ. I can’t explain the good mood I was in all day; something about knowing that you picked the right place for you is just amazing.

The bid acceptance dinner only reinforced that feeling. My pledge class and the sisters are all amazing and I’m truly proud to be one of them. I could never have imagined myself where I am now a year ago, or even six months ago. Regardless, I’m happier with this decision than I would ever have known and am really excited to get to know all the incredible people who I can now call sisters.

All of this said, it has been the busiest week ever and consequently I am putting off writing two papers in the process of updating you with the conclusion to my tale (I just couldn’t leave you hanging, you know). Even so, know that I can already tell you’re going to hear a lot about my experiences as a Sig, because it’s going to be epic.

Don't Stop Till You Drop

Today was the Gluttony Gauntlet, our (annual?) eating contest sponsored by UPB, held at the Jolly Scholar (yes, I know… lots of vocabulary. UPB is the university planning board, which plans campus-wide events like concerts (Kid-Cudi came this fall) and trips to amusement parks like Cedar Point. Jolly Scholar is an on-campus diner that serves… relatively delicious food for a single meal swipe). I decided to enter with a few of my brothers from Phi Kappa Psi. Even through I'm still a pledge, I thought this was a good opportunity to get to know them, and get my interviews done (as a pledge, you have to interview the whole fraternity before you can actually become a brother). I guess I got so caught up in the event that I never really got my interviews done.

Anywho, this event tested a team's capability to eat as much food as possible, as fast as possible, while keeping it down. Yes, I said “keeping it down.” We were even asked to sign health waivers before we went to participate. Case EMS was also present to make sure stuffing ourselves with food wouldn't cause adverse health problems. It was clear that we would be dealing with A LOT of food.

Here's the run down of the competition. Of the 14 entering teams, only 10 would advance after having a member eat as much salad as possible in a 3-minute period (The 4 teams that ate the least would not go on in the competition). The remaining teams would have a member eat as many quesadillas as possible in another 3-minute period. 2 more teams would get ousted, and soon, 8 teams remained to undergo the relay race. Teams would have members eat 5 sliders, 5 hot dogs, 5 chicken fingers, and a whole pie (without hands of course). Teams were competing for a $20 Qdoba (a chipotle-esque restaurant that's on campus) gift card, and most of all, bragging rights.

The brothers and I fasted for this event. I reduced my usual lunch of 3-4 plates of food to a simple sandwich and a measly granola bar for a snack. We were so pumped up for this event. Yet, much to our dismay, we got eliminated in the first round. Some of the brothers and I stayed back to cheer on some of our close friends who entered as another team. Soon, the room was filled with crazy college kids standing on chairs to see their friends, who were on their knees, scarfing down a blueberry pie. If you know anything about frantically eating super-sweet pie with nothing but water and your face, you know it's not going to be pretty. Aside from the remnants of pie plastered all over their faces, we were blessed with the sight of a few "weak souls" whose recently consumed pie ended all over the table/in specially placed buckets in the form of barf. Gross? Yes. Exciting? Extremely!

This is one of the many events that take place on campus each week. It’s a great way to get involved on campus, and you'll never be disappointed by the experience. Chances are, you'll walk away with a free T-shirt.

If you’re not confused, you’re not paying attention.

Let me start this off with a disclaimer. Actually, a couple of disclaimers.

Disclaimer #1: I did not have any intention of becoming Greek in college, basically ever (Ever seen “The House Bunny”? Yeah, that’s pretty much why).
Disclaimer #2: That being said, Greek life at CWRU is totally different from anything you’ll find elsewhere; the dedication to friendship and scholarship are totally not what I expected. I remained unconvinced until my boyfriend rushed ƩN in the fall. The fun he had, the people I met, and the atmosphere of the fraternity convinced me that I should give Greek life another look.

I’m really excited for Greek life. But there is, as always, a catch. For those who don’t know, rushing a fraternity at CWRU is totally different from rushing a sorority. The guys get to do the fun stuff. Fraternities typically create a two-week calendar of informal rush events that include game nights, dinner with the brothers, something called Whirlyball (it involves bumper cars and lacrosse sticks…I don’t know either, but it sounds awesome), and other crazy shenanigans that boys do. After that period, the brothers get together to extend bids, and the people who get bids decide if they want to pledge. Girls, on the other hand, kind of get the shaft.

Most sororities are run by something known as the Panhellenic Council, a national organization that does sorority stuff (I’m not entirely sure what it does, exactly, I just know that it makes a bunch of rules). The Panhellenic Council came up with a system for sororities to follow that involves a series of “parties” that girls attend in order to get to know the different sororities on campus. They’re formal, you have to attend parties to which you are invited, and there’s a whole slew of ridiculous rules that you have to follow (“Strict Silence”? Don’t give or accept gifts from sisters?? Only one tablecloth per table???).

Formal recruitment does one thing well, at least. Because you get to see each sorority, you can get a feel for what each one might be like. My aunt is big into the whole sorority deal. As an alumna, she’s still really involved, and she definitely knows what she’s talking about when it comes to sororities. She told me to keep an open mind, and I said “Sure” without even really thinking about it. I kind of had my mind made up already and wasn’t really sure why I had to go through this whole “formal” business. Then I actually WENT, and two things became extremely clear:
#1: I needed to go to formal recruitment. It was a lot of fun and it opened my eyes to sororities I hadn’t thought about.
#2: I am more confused than ever.

The first day of formal recruitment was basically the Greek equivalent of speed dating. Without really knowing what you’re doing, where you’re going, or why you’re surrounded by a myriad of singing, clapping people, you get shuttled from place to place and quickly latched onto by a sister who barrages you with a bunch of questions (What’s your major? Why did you decide to rush? Do YOU have any questions?!). It’s super overwhelming and a little bit frightening, but it’s actually a really great time. People are extremely sympathetic to your deer-in-the-headlights look, and they really make an effort to make sure that you’re having fun.

After day 1, I was feeling pretty good. I was VERY tired (it’s about a 6-hour day for rush), but I was pretty confident. Then came day 2. This time around, it was a little more leisurely. You know the game already, so you’re a lot more comfortable. You get to know the sisters a little bit better. But, if you’re like me, it only makes the decision that much harder. See, I thought everyone I met was really nice. I clicked with at least three different groups of girls, having great conversation and meeting an awesome group that I totally didn’t expect.

At the end of day 2, you rank all eight sororities in order of your preference. I ended up putting total surprises in my first two spots – sororities I hadn’t even considered before Sunday. Three and four were ones I had already liked and still felt pretty comfortable with. The ones I didn’t like were a little easier to pick. In general, though, my thoughts as I turned in the pref card were “I have no idea what I’m doing”. Day 3 of recruitment is on Saturday, when I find out which sororities invited me back for another party to get to know them better. I guess we’ll see. The suspense is killing me.

I guess this is a “To Be Continued???” (Props to anyone who gets that super-obscure reference.)

Wednesdays Aren’t Totally Lame Anymore!

I don’t know how y’all feel about Wednesdays, but they’ve never been a good day for me. I feel stuck in the quagmire that has become my week; I’ve forgotten already how relaxing Sunday was, and Friday is so far away I might as well not bother. HOWEVER, for some reason, college has given Wednesday a makeover. Instead of feeling stuck in the middle of a crappy week, I’m actually optimistic about the fact that it’s Wednesday. I neither have any clue why that is, nor why I’m writing about it, but I find it an interesting trend. More on this later?

Anyway, this Wednesday was pretty cool. I get out of classes on Wednesdays at 12:30pm. This is a golden time of day, in my esteemed opinion. It’s lunchtime. I might actually (probably not) get some work done, as the floor is pretty deserted. But on this particular Wednesday, it was kind of dead. Like, super dead. Boring as the day is long. So I sat around and did pretty much nothing for a large part of it (lame).

Then some folks from the floor decided to get food from L3, the grill-ish-thing (I’m eloquent) that sits snugly underneath Leutner Dining Hall (and also a giant construction site, at the moment). After some issues with their touch screen menu doodad (I’m also really competent) I received a delicious piadini which I definitely did not think I was ordering when I ordered, but mmmmboy. L3 is definitely a nice break from Leutner. Not to mention the jukebox.

After this, I was convinced to go along to a rush event for Alpha Phi Omega. For those who are unaware, APO is a Boy Scouts of America-affiliated co-ed service fraternity, which does service-y things like helping old folks and raising money and clipping dogs’ toenails, etc etc. I’ve been considering APO for a while, but I was kind of planning to not rush APO this semester, as I’m already participating in sorority rush which starts this weekend. But someone told me that APO was going to Tommy’s in Coventry (and also that it was free for potential pledges) and I was sold.

Tommy’s is pretty much a vegetarian Mecca, or Heaven, or freakin’ Valhalla. Either way, it’s delicious. I love Coventry already, because it’s such a fun place and it’s only a Greenie or RTA trip away, but I am pretty sure that if Tommy from Tommy’s proposed to me, I would have to seriously consider it before saying no (sorry Tommy, I’m taken. But I love your milkshakes).

So I was suckered into going to a rush event I hadn’t planned on for milkshakes. But it ended up being really fun. The APO people that I met were nice, we were accosted in Tommy’s by some very proud mother whose son apparently had a gig at the Grog Shop (I don’t know either, I suspect boozing may have been involved), and I got a ~delicioussssss~ cookie dough milkshake. Yum. The jury is still out on whether or not I will pledge APO this semester. We’ll give it some time, but they definitely have given me reason to think about it.

Free Red Bull Anyone?

Personally as a college student, I feel like I constantly have a shortage of the thing I need most, energy to get everything I need to get done, well done. That’s why when I see a small Mini Cooper with what appears to be some type of can built into the structure of the car driving around, I get pretty excited. What a great marketing idea, let’s put two women in charge of driving around a college campus giving out a can of Red Bull, or several, to every person that crosses their path.

I know from experience that I cannot make it through a full day at Case without a dose of caffeine or a nap to rejuvenate myself. So what a pleasant surprise it is when on your way to class, or on your way back to your room to study, you're handed a nice cold case of Red Bull. How could you say no, it’s free. Even if you don’t drink energy drinks, you could always give them to a friend or strike a deal with someone that wasn’t fortunate enough to run across these girls.

So take it from me, it doesn’t hurt to always be on the lookout for the Red Bull girls, they might just make your day. What else would have prompted me to write about it? I just couldn't resist the two Red Bulls.

I suppose it’s time

I suppose it’s time for awkward introductions. I’m not great at the whole “this is my life” bit, Oh Great Blogosphere, but I will make my best attempt to not come off as bumbling and tongue-tied (finger-tied?).

I’m a freshman, a History/Education major, and hopelessly enamored with the world of debate and political discourse. I coach high school debate, I play the trumpet and speak French, I’ve got the two best friends on the face of the Earth (think Harry, Ron, and Hermione – also, get used to ridiculous pop culture references), and I’ve got a weird fascination with chronicling my own life. I plan on making the world of speech and debate my life, teaching history to high school students and humbly aspiring to inspire students the way my coaches inspired me. Anything else you need to know is in the bio. It’s far more succinct for a reason.

Now that that’s overrr, on to the more interesting stuff!


Monday was the first day of the spring semester at Good Ol’ CWRU, and I could not be more pumped about my schedule this semester. As per usual, I’m taking an ambitious 19 credit hours (the maximum number without an override) so I will soon be swamped with papers and reading and all sorts of yucky homework junk that is supposed to better my education, etc. But! At the moment, the coming 16 weeks are just endless possibility and for that reason, I’m feeling really awesome. Here’s a breakdown of my classes and how I feel about them, and then you can move along to something more entertaining, like the Munchkin Cat video on YouTube or something.

Weight Training: Pretty self-explanatory. The females in the class are pretty seriously outnumbered though.

Intro to Modern World History: So far way less boring than most other world history courses I’ve taken. I’m reeeeaaaallllyyyy hoping that it continues to not be boring, because the amount of work we have is so immense that I will be rather upset if it’s boring too.

Spanish 101: Taco! Queso! Burrito! I can speak about 25 words of Spanish, but after seven years of French, it’s really difficult to not respond to the question “Como te llamas?” with “Je m’appelle Sara.”

Educational Psychology: BEST. CLASS. EVER. Seriously, I adore it. It’s probably just my incredibly nerdy inner passion for teaching and a teeny bit of desire to fast-forward to my post-college career, but I honestly couldn’t be more excited. Pinch me. No joke.

Principles of Microeconomics: Let it be known that I despise economics with every fiber of my being. However, this professor is witty and entertaining and his speech is sprinkled with profanity – all characteristics which I admire. Anyone who references Scrooge McDuck in a lecture is pretty awesome. We’ll see if he can make opportunity cost and the study of scarcity interesting.

SAGES: Spin, PR, and America Today: A really interesting class that will probably fascinate me, but so far it’s just made me very suspicious about product placement, subliminal messages, and what Dick Cheney really meant.

Intro to American History: This class reminds me why I decided to become a history major in the first place. ‘Nuff said.

Student leaders thrive at Case

Last night, I attended Case's annual student leadership awards ceremony. It was an event that recognized outstanding undergraduate student leaders and organizations.

I sat with a group of students from The Observer, the campus newspaper that I co-advise. These students are an amazingly talented bunch: Rob is a biology major active in Spectrum, Megen is a pre-med music major, Rick is an accounting major who recently won a prestigious sports journalism scholarship, Liz (the new editor-in-chief) is a pre-med biology major, and Laura is a chemistry major finishing up her second year as the editor-in-chief.

This is the first year that I'm advising the group, and I've already become very attached to the students. It fills me with pride seeing them achieve their goals. I don't know if it's the strong maternal instinct I've got going on or what, but I'm so proud and protective of these guys!

Overall, several Observer staffers and reporters were honored yesterday, but for their accomplishments outside of the newspaper - Brian for Outstanding Member of the Undergraduate Student Government, Jeff for Outstanding Student Club/Organization member (Footlighters) and Rob for Drag Ball.

Best of all, Laura won Outstanding Senior. I was thrilled that she won! But still, I have to admit that I was disappointed that the Observer staffers didn't pick up even more awards. Call me greedy, but even though there are a zillion student leaders on campus, I happen to think that the Observer kids deserve more accolades.

In any case, it was really cool to be surrounded by so many outstanding student leaders in the Thwing Ballroom. It was inspiring to learn about the accomplishments of so many Case students and student organizations and to witness the campus community celebrating them.

Liberal Arts Weekend

Spring time is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year to work in Tomlinson Hall here at Case. The gallery and hallways are always jumping and filled with visiting students and their families, which is great for those of us who do more behind-the-scenes work in the Office of Undergraduate Admission (and not just because sometimes there are extra snacks around we can munch on).

Spring time gives us a chance to finally see the students we’ve worked hard all year recruiting, and sometimes a chance to meet students and families in person who we had previously only met via e-mail or the phone. All of Case’s spring programs are great, and like Bob has already mentioned, visiting campus is a great way to really see which of your many college options is truly the best fit.

69348857808_0_BG.jpgWhat I really want to talk about though, is a program this year for admitted liberal arts students (coinciding with Case’s Humanities Week 2006 the theme of which was “Childhoods.” Check out this lineup!) called… wait for it… Liberal Arts Weekend! I had the privilege of helping out with the program this year, and it was a complete blast from beginning to end. What I like about the program is that it really highlights what it is like to be a humanities major here at Case and the nowhere-else-in-the-world opportunities that our liberal arts majors get to take advantage of all the time. Lemme hit some of the highlights:

Students each had a SAGES-style seminar taught by some of our outstanding faculty members, Jonathan Sadowsky from the history department, John Orlock from the theater department, Darci Brandel from the English department and Alan Rocke from the history department.)

Students and their families (and some UGA staffers) had a great lunch with some of Case’s humanities faculty members (complete with delicious asparagus and great conversation, especially at my table!). Mark Turner, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, spoke during dessert about the history of liberal arts at Case and the SAGES program.

89778857808_0_BG.jpgOur student tour guides and some faculty braved the rain to show off our beautiful campus. (To the left, check out tour guide Sean giving a tour to some parents along with History Professor Ken Ledford.)

Probably the highlight of the day was the reading by author Anne Lamott and follow-up discussion moderated by Florence Harkness Professor of Religion and Director of the Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities Tim Beal. Anne Lamott’s reading was laugh-out-loud funny and her conversation with Prof. Beal, as well as her answers to questions from the audience revealed (if you’ll pardon the cheese) the humanity that makes her such an amazing author. For anyone interested in any type of writing (or as Anne pointed out, any creative endeavor) let me recommend Anne’s book, Bird by Bird, which is full of insight into the creative process as well as some hilarious anecdotes from Anne’s life. (The pictures are of visiting students waiting for the lecture to start, as well as Tim and Anne’s discussion. Quality isn’t the greatest, darn flash!)

I could go on with highlights and tell all about what a great time the UGA staff had hosting the event, as well as what a great time our current students, faculty, prospective students and their families had, but let me cut to the chase: While this schedule seems almost too cool to be true - days chock full of invigorating seminars, opportunities to meet with faculty outside of class, and lectures by world-renowned authors, musicians, scientists, researchers, politicians and civic leaders - days full of chances to extend learning outside the classroom are every day for students of the liberal arts at Case! Don’t believe me? Check out some of our students’ blogs, or slap this puppy on the portable listening device of your choice. Case Western Reserve University offers students the chance to create their own curriculum by building their own major, traveling abroad, and spending time at some of the coolest cultural institutions in the world like the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Playhouse Square, Severance Hall, the Museum of Contemporary Art, all with mentorship from our top notch faculty.