Tuesday, January 26, 2010

MMM Good!

Sure, having meals prepared for you by dining services is great. And it's fantastic to know that someone cleans our floor bathroom every week and I don't have to touch bottles of cleaning products is fantastic, but one of my favorite amenities of living on campus is the MMM.

Open daily from 5 p.m. to midnight, the MMM is a free library for dorm residents. Students can rent movies, music and more (hence the MMM) for free just by showing their ID. New releases are added monthly, and library managers take suggestions from residents on what movies and music should be added to the library.

For students looking for a movie to watch for a low-key night, or TV show DVDs to watch while doing homework, the MMM is a convenient place to go for fun (and free) entertainment.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Starting the Semester Off Right!

So this week I decided it best to take the content of this blog to my floor mates! I spoke to the girls on my floor and asked for their best suggestions on how to start the semester off right. Whether they be tips about eating, sleep, exercise or class, my floor mates provided some great suggestions to help you make the most of your first few weeks back on campus!

1. Get organized. Jessica suggested putting all your class assignments in one place (shifts at work and club events are other good things to write down). The IU Student Foundation prints free student planners that are available in most Residence Hall Center Lobbies. These planners have tons of space for you to write all your assignments.

Jessica writing assignments in her notebook.

2. Get a good night's sleep. Don't start the semester off poorly by getting 3 hours of sleep per night because you're playing Guitar Hero until 3 AM. Trust me, you'll pay for it later and it won't improve how many songs you've unlocked on Guitar Hero (there's cheat codes available online for that).

3. Take advantage of on campus activities. Shailey suggested taking a look at all the on campus events and finding out what events are coming to IU. "You are only in college once and we're in a big enough town that we get lots of really cool stuff coming here, so you might as well go there," says Shailey. You can go to http://events.iu.edu/iub.html to check out what events are coming to IU.

Shailey's wall of tickets and posters from events she has attended on campus.

4. Utilize the on campus resources. Every semester, students pay dozen of small fees automatically for on campus resources. Almost $200 in technology fees get us access to tech help and computer/printing stations located around campus, a $50 transportation fee gives us access to free bus transportation and an over $80 activity fee gives us access to the SRSC, writing tutorial services and more! Search the IUB website for more information about specific resources.

Good luck starting the semester off right!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Welcome Back!

Welcome back and Happy New Years! The approximately 50 degree drop in temperature from the time I boarded my airplane back home to when I got off the plane here in the Midwest was quite a shock. Yet, the gorgeous view I witnessed when I got back to Bloomington Sunday night, and saw the sun setting over campus and glistening off the snow was something else.

After trekking around campus in the snow yesterday, I was ready for some indoor fun with my friends following a long day of classes. We gathered at my friend Stan's house, for some homemade soup and games. We ended up splitting into teams for Disney Scene-It for an hour of heated family-friendly movie trivia.

Many old movie clips later, my team lost by three spaces, to a duo who could repeat the script to "The Sword In The Stone" from memory on a moments notice. The rematch has already been set, Harry Potter Clue in a few weeks. This time, I'm bringing my A-Game.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Desert Winter Traditions

Every winter, the Phoenix Zoo hosts Zoolights. Every evening, the zoo opens up for extra hours, and plays host to a gorgeous light display in the zoo. The trails are lined, trees are swamped, and bushes covered with over 2.5 million lights. Over 500 custom-made light-up animal structures make the otherwise dark and open spaces of the zoo burst with the characters of the zoo exhibits.

My friend Danielle and I decided to take a trip to the Zoo one of the final nights of this Phoenix tradition. I found the newly added small outdoor man-made and frozen ice rink quite funny as I watched people try and ice skate in the 50 degree weather of the desert winter. However, we agreed our favorite part of the display was the "dancing trees" whose lights change colors at different times to mimic the beats of the classic holiday song, "Carol of the Bells".

Saturday, January 2, 2010

70 Degrees in January?

Growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, would give anyone a flawed idea of what "winter" is all about. My first winter at IU was a harsh and frigid reality to the seasons that actually existed in other parts of the world endure year in and year out. However, when I travel home, I get a nice break from the cold Midwest winter at home in Phoenix, where on almost any day you can bet the high will be in the low 70s and it will be sunny. All day. Every day.

My first big outing when I got home from Christmas vacation, was to go to the annual First Fridays Art Walk in downtown Phoenix. Every first Friday of every month, local artists set up booths along streets in a certain part of downtown Phoenix. The local art galleries open their doors to the public, aspiring musicians cluster at street corners, and political groups gather to ask for petition signatures.

My friend Risa and I try to go every month when we're home, and luckily First Fridays was held on January 1, and we were able to go. After browsing around, we had to indulge in one of my favorite southwestern desserts, Fry Bread. Similar to a carnival funnel cake, fry bread is a doughy dessert cooked in oil, and topped with all sorts of treats. We chose the traditional and simple honey fry bread.

We were stalked by many activist groups: vegans, members of the Green party and more; who talked to promote their group's mission. But the most interesting sight of the night was at a street corner where a large gathering was watching a man design spray paint art. He worked before our eyes and completed a space-themed piece; blending colors and applying different techniques to his piece of artwork.

We had a great time listening to the music and seeing the art, and it was a great way to start off my trip to a very different winter wonderland.