Wednesday, April 10, 2013

April Nostalgia

Hey, hey, readers. How's it going? I hope April is serving all of you well -- here in Utah we're still dealing with snow, rain, and insane amounts of wind. What else is new, right?
Finals are coming up at Westminster. Next week is our LAST WEEK OF CLASSES. Ahhh! I can hardly believe it. Just one more week, finals, may term, and then it's time for summer. I love the summer (as you all should know by now). It's my absolute favorite time of the year and my favorite time in Salt Lake City. This summer I'll be interning downtown in the Operations department of Goldman Sachs. I'll be renting a house in Sugar House with my good friend Keni, who is graduating this June. Then, come September I'll be studying abroad in (drumrollllllllll........) Brno, Czech Republic. So there is lots and lots going on on my end. Mostly exciting stuff though.
With all of these changes arising, and a lot of my friends graduating this year, I've been feeling very nostalgic lately. I've been so blessed in my time at Westminster and I want to take this blog post to reflect on some of my favorite collegiate moments so far.
1. Living in a freshman style hall
Whenever I'm giving tours of the school I'm always like, "I'd absolutely recommend the freshman style halls for incoming students, blah, blah, blah..." and the people on the tour are like, "No way, Jose! I want my own bathroom." While I understand that desire, I can't help but hope that everyone has the cool experience I had my freshman year. Freshman style halls almost force you to get to know other students -- in a good way. I met so many guys and gals on Carleson 2 that I still love and hang out with now. This year I'm in a freshman style hall as an RA, and that's been equally amazing. Everyone is so supportive and involved with one another.
2. Being an RA
I've talked about this before. A lot. But being a Resident Advisor has truly defined my college experience. I think my favorite thing about it is that this position has introduced me to SO many people. I can't walk around campus and not see someone I know. I've made countless connections with the people and departments of Westminster. I've met my best friends in college because of my RA position.
3. Professors like Kim Zarkin
And by this I mean, Professors who are encouraging, intimidating, and inspiring -- all at the same time. Kim is my academic advisor, so she's my primary go-to person for questions about academics, internships, etc. But Kim has helped me in so many ways beyond that. Like the time she hugged me and helped me through an emotional breakdown that had NOTHING to do with school. And the time that she introduced me as a "absolutely charming" woman to a group of prospective students and their families. Kim has taught me a lot about a lot of different things, but I think the most important thing that she has taught me is how to recognize my strengths. And that it's okay to be proud of my accomplishments. Frankly, Kim helped me grow-up. And every time I get the opportunity to talk with her, I grow-up a little bit more.
4. Being featured on Becca's blog, nominated for the Peer Empowerment Award, and complimented on Westminster's Compliments page
All of these things have happened fairly recently, but were all very exciting moments for me. My friend, confidant, classmate, and co-worker, Becca Rettenberger, has an amazing blog (check it out here) on which she featured me as one of her top 5 lady crushes. If you know Becca, and you know of her awesomeness, you know what a huge honor this is. Someone also wrote an anonymous post about me on the Westminster Compliments facebook page, saying, "Not only is she beautiful and fun, she is one of the most intelligent, caring, genuine people I've ever had the fortune to meet." What?! Who are you, kind stranger? Let me hug you! And lastly, I was nominated for the Peer Empowerment award at Westminster's annual Student Leadership Gala. I didn't win, but it was such an honor to be nominated and so exciting to know that someone feels like I've empowered them in some way. Cool stuff.
5. Meeting Raquel Bernstein
Raquel is a perspective student, looking to study at Westminster next year. She was visiting the school recently and saw me working in the Admission's Office. When she asked me if she could tell me something strange I never thought her response was going to be, "I love your Westminster blog!" I was floored! I've never met a perspective student who reads this thing, and I doubt I'll ever meet one as sweet as Raquel. She was an absolute joy to have on campus, and I know that everyone who met her can't wait to see her around next year. So here's a shout-out to Raquel!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year!

Hey everyone! I hope you're all enjoying your start to the 2013 year. Here at Westminster we've just started spring semester courses. So far I've had my first sessions in quantitative reasoning, international relations, and professional writing. Next week I'll check out my electronic design class, which I'm really excited about. The professor, Rulon Wood, is a communications professor that I haven't had yet and have been waiting to have for 2 years! All of my friends love him and I'm really excited about what we'll be learning.
My holiday break was great this year. It was so relaxing, due to a lot of sleep, reading, and peppermint popcorn. One of my best friends also got married, so I got to spend some time with her and that was wonderful. Everyone around me seems to be growing up so quickly! My sister is going to have a baby soon, making me an aunt for the first time. To me, that is wild. But I can't wait!
For New Year's Eve, I went to my friend Tyson's house. He lives just a little bit outside of SLC and most of our friends from Westminster were able to come. It was Gatsby themed, and I must say, we looked pretty dapper.

The next morning over waffles and coffee we discussed our resolutions for 2013. I used to be a nonbeliever in New Year's resolutions, but last year I made some and I was super successful! Who would've thought? Here are some of mine for 2013:
1. Run 21 miles on my 21st birthday
I saw this idea on a fitness blog that I follow and I thought, "What an amazing way to mark the beginning of your 20's!". I'll turn 21 on the 21st of September -- my golden birthday! I love to run, but I haven't been diligent about doing it since the snow hit (a struggle I have every year). I need something to motivate me and I think this is it!
2. Get into an awesome study abroad program
I'm planning on studying abroad next fall and am applying to programs right now. My dream program is in Brussels, Belgium and I would be lying if I said I wasn't counting on it. The only problem is that it's a very competitive program and the chances of getting in are not in my favor -- not by a long shot. I need to come up with some backups and remember that the Brussels program isn't the only one I'll enjoy. As long as I work hard and keep my grades up, I know that I can get in somewhere awesome. PLUS, if I am studying abroad next fall, I'll be gone for my birthday and I can find a cool running route to do my 21 miles!
3. Savor the rest of college
This semester I really want to focus more on being a normal college student and spending more time with my friends. That sounds selfish, but I think it's necessary. I stress so much about ridiculous things and I spend a lot of time worrying about things I don't need to. I want to savor the time that I have with my friends, go on more road trips, take advantage of more internship opportunities, go to more campus events, etc. After all, college is coming to a much quicker end than I expected.
What are some of your resolutions for the upcoming year?

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WHAT IS UP?

Well hey future and fellow Griffins! LONG time, no talk! I just looked at the last time I updated and I am ashamed. Absolutely ashamed. I have neglected my blog for far too long, and you have my word that I will
be more diligent about posting during the spring semester. 

Fall semester is over. Can you believe it?! I know I'm having a hard time accepting it. This past semester was   the hardest semester I have ever had. I have never worked so hard, on so many different projects, in my life. Almost every class of mine was project based and required a hefty time commitment and a lot of group work. I learned a lot, it was just balancing them all at the same time that was tricky. Finals are over and grades will be published on Thursday, so I'm excited to see how I did!

This semester did have many highlights though. As y'all know I'm still a resident advisor at Westminster, and I am happy to report that my floor (Hogle 3) is full of gems. I love these kids. We have writers, athletes, artists, SLC locals, international students, etc, etc, etc.. My resident Maddie was just competing at the Dew Tour iON Mountain Championships in CO. How cool is this?

See More Videos at AlliSports.com Embed

Impressive right? Overall, I have been so thankful for their kindness and politeness to one another -- two things that freshmen can sometimes lack. It's been an amazing community to live with and get to know. I can't wait to hear about all of their plans for next semester and the cool things they did over the break. I miss them all already and they've only been gone for a week!

This semester I've also been working on Westminster's student run paper, The Forum. I was a staff writer last semester and I also work as an assistant editor. I got to go with the rest of the Forum staff to media conference in Chicago and we won 2nd place in Best of Show! I'm excited to keep working with the staff during spring semester and next year.

Winning!
Other cool things that have happened recently?
Westminster's annual Scholarship Gala. 

Friendsgiving


Halloween

Westminster's first snow storm.

Anyway, the break is finally here and I'm enjoying it with lots of snowy runs through Sugar House, Downton Abbey, and candy cane popcorn. I hope everyone is enjoying their breaks as well! 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day of School! First Day of School!

 Happy first day of school, Westminster College students! August 22nd has finally arrived and with it comes a slew of excited freshmen and course-loaded upperclassmen. I for one have always loved the first day of school; or at least I tell myself that I love the first day of school. I love getting dressed in the morning and printing out my schedule before class. I love running around campus the day before to make sure I know where everything is going to be and organizing all of my binders, notebooks, and pens. And while I don't necessarily enjoy paying for textbooks, it doesn't keep me from getting giddy when they start arriving in the mail. Though at Westminster, the first day of school isn't really the first day of class. For a lot of students, it's move-in day. We had freshmen move-in on Saturday the 18th and upperclassmen move-in on Monday the 20th. It's been awesome to be a resident advisor this year and help with move-ins and meet all of the cool residents I'm going to be getting to know.
Lindsey Pesek and I welcoming our first year students to Hogle! 
All week we've been having tons of fun activities, on campus, for students. My favorite activity so far was the annual capture the flag game that takes place from corner to corner of campus. I played with my floor, Hogle 3rd, and we had a blast!
Hogle 3rd Capture the Flag Team
Today my schedule consists of Principles of Layout and Design and The Forum. But I'm starting it out by working in the Admissions office and drinking a gigantic iced latte from the new coffee shop in the recently renovated and rededicated Bassis Center for Student Learning. I can already tell that this is going to be one of my new favorite spots on campus and a popular hangout for my friends. It has late hours, a fireplace, comfy study areas, and tons of coffee. I love it!


Friday, July 6, 2012

My Alarm Clock Stinks

Do you guys ever have those days where it feels like, from the moment you wake up, you're messing up? It usually starts with your alarm not going off (which is what happened to me this morning). Then it follows with you being late to work / class (which is what happened to me this morning). Then you get to work and you realize that your clothes don't match and you forgot to bring coffee, let alone brush your teeth (which is what happened to me this morning). And then you feel like no matter what happens next, it's probably be bad; because this is just gonna be a BAD day.

Well folks, here we are. Having a bad day and trying to think of where to take this blog post. I could write about how there's a ton to be grateful for and waking up late really isn't that big of a deal and your boss or professor are not going to fire you or kick you out of class. PROBABLY it will be fine. Or I could write about how my last few days have been so awesome that it only makes sense that this would happen to me. People say you have to have a balance right?

But instead, this is what I have to say: life on your own can be really hard sometimes. And I don't just mean waking up late or messing up a little. Heads up to all of the incoming freshmen: life on your own can genuinely be HARD. It has responsibilities and it has pressures. I'd say about 90% of the time college is fun and happy and exciting and full of awesome. But that other 10% of time is filled with wishes that Mom was there and you wanting to quit school and work, and move to a beach where no one knows you and you can just sleep on the sand all day long. But you know what? That's totally okay.

Having a hard time means you're normal. It means you're average. And there's this terrible notion that it's not okay to be that way. We want to be above average; we want to be exceptional. Especially in college, right? You want to waltz into your classes first semester, have all of your professors praise you, make 50 new friends, and have people realize everything about you that you've been trying to express in high school for the past 4 years. Especially when we're young, we want to discover something about ourselves that makes us "above average". And maybe you will! But the fact of the matter is, "in order for some to be 'above average,' most have to be normal."

And though that doesn't sound like the most exciting life, it actually is. It's the surprising kind. The kind of life that's filled with ups and downs and laughter and frustrations. It's filled with the little, small adventures that you'll find in an every-day kind of experience. It's the blessed kind of life that most of us are probably going to lead; the one that I'm excited to lead. And though it may not feel like a blessing all the time, I am going to choose to take comfort in the fact that I'm normal. And this normal "bad day" I'm having will be counteracted with something good. Life is FULL of little daily pleasures. Even if sometimes they're buried beneath your failure of an alarm clock.

Quote and Inspiration by Ian Mathis

Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Living in Sugarhouse

Helllloooooo bloggin' world! Happy summer! :) I hope everyone is enjoying their time off of school and doing something fun. I, myself, always load up on fun jobs and projects in the summers; things that will keep me occupied and hopefully make me a little extra money. This summer I have a few jobs: I'm still working here in the Westminster Admissions office, but I'm also teaching swim lessons and life-guarding at a pool downtown, and next week I'll start working as a camp counselor! It's proving to be a busy schedule, but a very very fun one. I love all of the kids that I've been getting to work with and all of my jobs keep me outdoors, which is great! I have never been this tan in my LIFE. I didn't even know that I could get this tan.

This summer my friends Keni and Danielle and I are all subletting a house. Danielle is an international student and Keni and I are RA's so we only needed a place to stay for a few months, and we found the perfect fit! It's a gorgeous little house right near Sugarhouse Park and really close to campus. It's been so fun to have our own place for a little while; we make dinners together, swing in the hammocks, and go on nightly walks around the park or down to the Red Mango (one of Danielle's favorite frozen yogurt eateries). We had a BBQ last week and are hoping to have a few more as the summer goes on. We love everything about our little place, except for maybe mowing the lawn... So if there are any takers, give me a call! :)

I also got the opportunity a few weeks ago to go on the 2012-2013 RA Staff Retreat. And it was AWESOME. I know I've said it before, but I think Westminster has the best Resident Life program in the world. I don't know how they find such a diverse group of people that all happen to be extremely talented and caring and all share such a love for the residents of Westminster. While I'm definitely going to miss last year's staff and all of my amazing friends that graduated, I'm very excited for next year's staff and what they are bringing to the table. Look out incoming freshman! Because we have got some fun stuff planned for YOU!

I've really been enjoying my summer so far. And the nice thing is that it's only just begun! I have a bunch of other things I'm looking forward to in the next two months. When people think of visiting SLC, they mainly think of visiting in the winter to ride our majestic mountains and stay in the beautiful ski lodges. But what a lot of people don't know is that Salt Lake is a perfect pick for a summer destination as well! There's always a ton of really cool things going on in this area. I've compiled a list of some of my favorite summer activities and events; they're all local things that I'm hoping to do in the next few months! 
Coming up this weekend is the Utah Arts Festival. The festival is Utah's biggest outdoor multi-disciplinary arts event. It's a four day festival that encompasses live art performances from dance to music, fine art exhibits, street theater, film, and food. SO. MUCH. FOOD. Last year the festival served somewhere close to 80,000 people! It's housed downtown at our beautiful library square, which is one of my favorite places in SLC. I've never been to the festival before, but I am dying to go and can't wait for this weekend! 
  •  Utah Farmer's Markets 
Probably my very favorite thing about summer is that it's when all of the seasonal farmers markets come out to play. And Utah is big on them. Here are my three favorites:
  1. Downtown Farmers Market: This market is celebrating it's 20th year in business and is one of the most successful markets in Utah. It's HUGE. It's located downtown at Pioneer Park and has both a traditional farmers market with food and vegetables as well as an art and craft market with all sorts of amazing treasures. Keni and I were regulars of this market last year and we didn't ever leave without an armful of flowers, crafts, jams, and (our favorite) mint limeade. 
  2. Park Silly Sunday Market: This market is located on Park City's historic main street and is just as fun as it's name. I used to go all the time with my friends in high school, and can't wait to take my roommates and Westminster friends who haven't had a chance to experience it yet! It's more like a street fair than a traditional market, but is made up of the same essential parts. It's a perfect way to spend your Sunday morning! 
  3. Sugarhouse Farmers Market: AKA: home of the best peach I have ever had in my entire life. This is definitely my favorite market to get locally grown veggies and fruits, as well as other delicious foods. They had the best gluten free bread last year and I am praying that it returns again! They just moved their location to the glorious Sugarhouse Park, which as I said earlier is conveniently located across the street from my house. Hello, Friday evenings.

A highlight of SLC summers, the Twilight Concert Series is a music festival that goes on July - August, Thursday nights at Pioneer Park. The Salt Lake City Arts Council brings in a variation of musical talent every year and it's always a tremendous success. Some of the bands I'm excited for this year include Raphael Saadiq, Band of Horses, Iron and Wine, Passion Pit, Joshua James, My Morning Jacket, DeVotchKa, and Common. Gates open at 5 with a market for food, drinks, and more crafts. :) Can't wait! 
Red Butte Gardens also has an outdoor music series that's bringing in everyone from Brandi Carlile and Norah Jones to Steve Martin, the B-52's, and Andrew Bird. 
"The Days of ’47, Inc. is a private, nonprofit, all-volunteer, charitable corporation to honor Utah’s early pioneers and to keep their pioneering spirit alive." Every year we have the Days of 47 festival which encompasses about 10 days of parades, rodeos, and other various events to remind us of and help us celebrate Utah settlement. Always a historical good time! 


As I said, these are just a few of the activities I'm looking forward to. There is so much to do here! Other things I'm excited about include camping trips, Raging Waters and Lagoon days, and of course just having a few more good BBQ's with friends and family. Overall, it's shaping up to be a great summer, and I hope it's looking the same for you too! What are you guys looking forward to doing before school starts up again? What's happening in your town? Let me know! 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

May Day!

Oh hey, everyone! How're you doing?! I know it's been a while since I've posted, but things are going great up here in SLC! We're into May Term; I'm taking a class called Professional Communication on the Golf Course and it is AWESOME. We golfed for the first time today and I have to say that I may very well be a natural born golfer. I had so much fun! And it's great to have an opportunity to be out in the sunshine rather than being stuck in a classroom. I love May Term for that.
Speaking of May and sunshiny-goodness: campus is BEAUTIFUL right now! Oh my goodness, everywhere you turn there are blossoming flowers, and freshly cut grass, and singing birds; it's like we popped out of a travel channel ad. I love it! I took a few amateur photos for all of you to see, but I truly recommend coming to see it for yourself. It's hands-down the best time to visit campus!






Our GORGEOUS Emigration Creek.