Saturday, August 31, 2013

What Life is Like Here

In answer to the title, life here is like Network (the homeschool co-op school I did for three years) and church camp all rolled into one.  It's delicious and crazy busy and so much fun and I feel very comfortable here.  It's a Christmas miracle :)  Just kidding, it's been about 100 degrees every day for weeks and I'm sweating in my dorm room (the new norm), but let's pretend it's Christmas.

Obama would be doing this if he was in my dorm room.

Last night, I watched "Beetlejuice" (a Tim Burton movie) with some wonderfully nice and also witty people, and then we went for a midnight walk around the amazingly manicured town of Orange City.  This town is like a Disney World resort, it's just that scenic.  Their town square's park looks like a mini golf course, I haven't seen a single run-down house, and any and every business has a Dutch architecture-themed storefront.  It's just idyllic.

"Beetlejuice"= Like everything else Tim Burton, it's weird and funny

And really, my life mostly involves doing homework.  Which is just like senior year all over again, only THIS time I get unlimited free tutoring and unlimited socialization and I make a little more money than I used to by working at the Hub.  And I haven't felt homesick yet!  (knocks furiously on wood).  Yep, Christmas miracle.

Sounds like things are finally looking up for Kara... I can't wait to hear about her classes.
Billie seems to be taking to things like a fish to water... I like that girl :)

Happy Saturday night!  Imma play some Nancy Drew computer game and study for an Anatomy pop quiz (200 plus flashcards, here I come...)

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Top Five Things You Learn Your First Week At College

The Admin Building shows striking similarities to a castle. (courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
I've been here at NWMSU for a week now. Granted, I haven't actually taken any classes yet because I came down here early for band camp, but I've still definitely learned some things about college life (and in my case, college marching band) that weren't things I would have even thought of. Here's some discoveries I have made:
1.Profanity is widely spoken and, as a whole, is not disciplined. Maybe my naïve self was just being naïve, but I was pretty shocked as how many people will just drop a d*** or a f*** into whatever activity or difficulty they might be undertaking. And it's not just the students, folks. Both professors (who are both very nice, by the way) that I have come in contact with have cussed at some point, mostly to make a point. The only exception to this would be our very nice band director Dr. Strickland, who explicitly (haha, no pun intended) stated that profanity was not allowed. Of course, some of the members of my drumline do not pay any mind to this rule.
Let's be clear: I'm don't live under a rock. People cuss, and they have every right to. I personally do not, so hearing all of it was a bit odd at first, and really still is. I don't judge you about your cursing unless you find it necessary to insert an f-bomb in to every sentence you speak. Then I think that you lack tact, creativity, and self-control.
2. I can understand how the Freshman 15 is achievable. There's good food at the Union, there are yummy snacks at most activities, and people are always hosting mixers and BBQs etc. Delicious food is everywhere.
3. I don't understand how I could gain 15 hypothetical pounds. Sure, it's not all about eating lots of food. There's also a second, mini growth spurt going on, but check out #4 and you'll understand what I mean.
4. College Marching Band is awesome, tough, fun, crazy, tiring, strenuous, and rewarding, all rolled into one big bundle that, by the end of our long days of practicing has put me close to tears a couple times. Let me just be real with you: I have been here since Sunday at 1p.m. By the end of Sunday the 25th, a little more than a week later I will have spent 50 hours practicing marching band/drumline. That is 50 out of 171 hours that I have been here. When you figure that I spend 8 hours sleeping each night, you're down to 115 total waking hours this week. Basically 44% of my week has been devoted to band. (26% of that time was spent outside between the hours of 2 and 6 p.m., marching and carrying our instruments in the hot hot sun.)
Now this is all not a pity party. Yes it's hard. Yes, I get back to my dorm soaked (and that is not an exaggeration) with sweat. Yes, I have to lug around a bass drum. Yes, it's hard. Yes it's hot. But you know what, it's also super rewarding, and in two key ways: First, the end result is sweet! We get to play cool songs (which this year include Moves Like Jagger, Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting, We Are Young, and lots of other fun filler songs too) and we get to put on a slick, awesome looking performance at the football games. Second, it's a great workout, and a hard one. Bass drummers get core work, arm work, and a lot of leg work because all of our movements are done on tiptoe. As I said before, our marching practices have been between 2 and four hours daily. Feel the burn! When school starts on Monday, we will have marching practices M-F, Saturdays that we perform, and then our performances at the games! I get in a good workout all throughout the week!
In short, marching band is HARD work, but it is very rewarding.
5. My roomie and I get along great! Great in a totally God sort of way. We hit it off great, and the first night she was here, we went to Wal Mart together and then to Sonic for half price shakes! At Wal Mart one of the things we got was a landscaping brick that we are using as a doorstop!
We also have a Beta fish named Herman. Our door stop will be decorated, and its name is Frans, (suggested by my dad) which corresponds to our RA's doorstop that is painted like a turtle and is named Hans. We enjoy many of the same things, like organizing, Disney, the TV show Bones, and other things we are discovering day to day. We both go to church; her to a Catholic one and me to one that is yet undecided. Overall, I am super happy that Miranda is my room mate, and I think we'll have a great year! (We even have a Stats class together!)

So there you have it: 5 things I've learned. This list was originally going to be 10 things, but it's late. Maybe I'll make a sequel later.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

On Iowa!

Whew. These past few days have been a huge whirlwind of activity. And sweat. It's been hot and humid, and I know I'm not the only one who is sweating like a person who sweats a lot, and I'm tired of the sticky feeling. I can't wait for it to cool off.

In other news! My floor is amazing, and I've made tons of friends, to sound like a typical new goody-goody college student. The best thing is: a TON of my floormates are fandom nerds like me. I feel pretty confident that I'll have a ton of fun with these people, and I can't wait to get to know them more.

A word of advice: I recommend the use of a refrigerator and microwave. My roommate and I both decided (kind of) to forgo the use of those two appliances. Most of our neighbors in the dorm have them, and I can tell we'll be making the adjustment sooner or later. It just makes life simpler. You can keep your water cold, and make ramen noodles if you don't feel up to leaving your room for dinner. You can even keep fresh produce! How's that for avoiding the feared freshmen fifteen? Say that five times fast.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Getting Settled at NWMSU

Well, here I am. I moved in on Sunday afternoon and it's been a weird, "thrown in head first" experience. You see, orientation activities for Freshmen begin tomorrow. Until then, you're kinda on your own. That's a bit tricky when you're like me and have almost no clue about what's going on! Also, there are only 2 other people on my floor, one of whom I've never seen, and the other who is veerryy extroverted. And I mean very. That's fine, I'm not at all an extrovert, but she definitely is! As in popping in approximately 6 times while I was moving in to talk about all her stuff in her room, how she brought too much stuff, and practically demanding that I come see her room. When I was coming back to my room on a break yesterday, she was lamenting about the lack of instructions for her loft. Then she immediately brightened up and said, "Hey! Wanna help me put it together?!?!" I'm sorry, chica. Not to be mean, but I've been doing 9 hours of drumline for the past few days, and now that I am on my lunch break, all I really want to do is sit down and eat.
Needless to say, I can't wait till my roommate gets here. We seem really similar!  I think we'll hit it off great!
Now about the past few days:
Sunday thru today have looked exactly the same: 8:30-11:30 drumline practice
                                                                          11:30-1 lunch break
                                                                          1-4:30 drumline practice
                                                                          4:30-6 dinner break
                                                                          6-8:30 drumline practice
Needless to say, it's been pretty draining. Unfortunately, it's only supposed to get hotter as the week progresses.
Well, I'm pretty much completely moved into my room. It's a bit more cozy now with some familiar things. Here are some pictures!
The view from the door looking left and my desk area. Once Miranda moves all of her things in, it should be pretty cozy!
More posts to come, of course, but right now I want a smoothie, and I have absolutely no access to one! Luckily, that will change tomorrow when the Student Union begins staying open for regular hours!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Eliza Finishes Orientation

It's over.  All the events and activities and get-to-know-you times.  The goodbyes and the unpacking.  The wandering around campus learning to find stuff.

(Beside the chapel.  Photo from

Northwestern has totally blown my mind.  I am literally overwhelmed by the love everybody here has shown me.  And I do mean everybody.  So far, this place is just unbelievably Utopian.  'Course, classes haven't started yet, and the nursing program is notoriously difficult.  But there are tutors and there is time management (a.k.a don't procrastinate or spend all your time socializing).  God's gonna help me.  It'll be okay.

Praying for Kara as she's reached NWMSU.  Hopefully, Billie has a terrific last few days with her family and is feeling all prepared and not real nervous.

I'm just feeling excited and a little apprehensive and very at home.
If you think of it, please pray for my Mommy who misses me.
My brother is a very cool guy who will be running the house this year.  I hope he has a good time :)

It's 11:30 p.m.  Time to grab some Triscuits and get some sleep before an early morning class.  Hasta la pasta!

(Just some people on the internet in their cool pink dorm room being all friendly.  Oh look, Audbrey Hepburn poster!  

Monday, August 12, 2013

Food! Om Nom Nom!

College=Freshman 15.
College students eat like animals who haven't seen food in weeks.
College students only like eating junk.

Let's face it, my goal of staying fit, eating moderately, and (ok, fine, totally honest moment here) not gaining copious amounts of weight in college is laced with the grim dubiousness and skepticism of the general public. To speak bluntly, I am not athletic. I am not in tip top shape. I just want to not slip into the whole "shove my face full of food just cuz it's there" mantra. It's easy, I like food. Food is yummy. And prevalent in college cafeterias. I'm just trying to keep the thought in the front of my mind that all of the food that is available in front of me will be available again. It's not as if I am not going to see food again for long stretches of time.
End of that little shpeel.
On to other things.
Like exercise!
Well, I'm in drumline in the marching band, and let me tell you, that's a work out. We practice 1 hour a day M-F, and practice and perform on Saturdays. Heck, when my mom was in marching band in college (playing trombone) she lost weight instead of gaining the "Freshman 15"! All I'm saying it, it'll be a good workout. A good thing to do daily, basically through November.
Also, I won't have a car at college. (Really, it's fine. I haven't had my own  car at home either.) Honestly, I don't foresee a real problem (at least until the winter. Snow makes biking hard.) because Wal-Mart/Hy-Vee/the farthest shopping place is a slick 2 miles away. So doable.
Next, there is band camp. I will be moving in on the 18th to do band camp/drumline from 8-11, 1-4, and 6-8:30 daily for a week. Since I am in band, and my room mate isn't, I will have a microwave, but not a fridge (until Thursday, when she arrives.) The cafeteria will be open, but my meal plan for the year won't start working until Thursday at 11am. I didn't want to shell out money for each one of these meals/food, so I got to thinking and acquired some food that doesn't require refrigeration. Hey, it means peanut butter and honey sandwiches for 4 days straight, but could it be worse? YES! Today, I got some things that I think will last me pretty well through the week.
So here's the breakdown:
Peanut Butter (a gift from my aunt)
Oatmeal (a gift from a friend)
Strawberry Applesauce
1 Instant Kraft Mac 'n Cheese (not the best, but cheap, and better than Ramen)
Dark Chocolate Raspberry Granola bars (I had a coupon for $1 off!)
Kashi Go Lean Crunch (I had a coupon!)
1 Barilla Italian Express meal (I had a coupon!)
1 loaf of bread
(I also have honey)

Between all of that, I think I'll be pretty set. All of that cost about $9.50. Not too shabby! I'll continue to use coupons! Hopefully I can get my hands on some newspaper ones while in college!

My Summer

Hey guys!  Wow, look at the uber cool posts from Kara and Billie!  I have taken off my construction boots after getting home from that summer-long mission trip.  Time to share some highlights with you!

First, two weeks of "Boot Camp" in muggy Merritt Island, Florida (near the Kennedy Space Center).  An obstacle course for team building, sleeping in tents, mosquitoes, bathing and doing laundry using buckets and swamp water, classes, eating outside on logs, nightly worship rallies, a 500 gallon milkshake... these are all things I experienced during my second year at camp.  And by the end, our team was ready to hop a plane to Ireland.

(Our team about to run the obstacle course)

After touching down in Dublin, we lived in tents again and did some construction work for two weeks at an evangelistic outreach center.  We dug trenches, did some extensive weeding, and mixed and poured concrete using only shovels and wheelbarrows... I felt like a stud :)

                                                                                         (With Mike, our leader)

Then we spent two weeks in Belfast, Northern Ireland, a gorgeously gorgeous city.  We slept in a Presbyterian church's sanctuary using pew cushions as mattresses, and during the day we did Vacation Bible School for adorable Irish children.
(85 kids on the first night!! Whoohoo!)

A word on sightseeing: We toured the utterly jaw-dropping Titanic museum in Belfast, the puzzling octagonal rocks of Giant's Causeway, a medieval castle, the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge over the cliffs of the Irish Sea, and the Belfast City Hall (kind of their D.C.).  And man, were the fish and chips yummy!
                                     (The Rope Bridge.  Sheer drop below us into the ocean!)

At the end of things was a week of debriefing back at boot camp.  This involved more classes (but this time in the air conditioning), going to Wet 'n' Wild and Cocoa Beach, and an end-of-the-summer banquet.

God answered SO MANY prayers for me on that trip, and gave me the most wonderful team I could possibly imagine. I feel blessed to have gotten to be a part of the work that went on. Now our leaders have recommended me to be an assistant leader for a team next year, and I think that's what God wants me to do.  Stay tuned, sports fans :)

So yeah, now college! What a crazy whirlwind time!  Got a job at the "Hub" cafeteria and have been offered another way to make some extra money by making phone calls for the Alumni department.  My classes sound fastastic, and my roommate is super nice.  Time to become a "Uni", as one dear Northern Irish friend calls university students.  This is Eliza, signing out.

"Ready for College?"

Am I ready for college?

Duh. Let's see where I've been. I'll tell you why.

(My answer in 3 parts!)

Part 1. My life will begin. Duh.

I love Tangled. Rapunzel is da bomb.

In all honesty, I'm ready for this wait to be over. My life evidently starts NOT when I graduate high school, but when I start college. After 18 years, 9 months, 7 days, 5 hours, and 14 minutes of living, my life will begin when I start my first day of college. So one can understand my impatience, right? Uh huh.

Part 2. I'm no longer afraid. Let's see where I've been.

This kid is my spirit animal, I swear.

Three years ago, I was completely terrified at the idea of college. I mean, I would have to do so much, and I was scared of every little thing. You want examples? Yeah you do.
   -I would be all alone. My family would let me suffer and fail all alone.
   -I would be in charge of my money. Money and I don't get along well with the phrase "smart choices". I like stuff too much.
   -I would be all alone. I would have no friends.
   -There was no guarantee that I would make it to college. I could flunk out my senior year. It could happen!
   -I don't even know where to go to school.
   -Debt is bad.
   -Frat parties scare me.

Depressing, no? I was a lost case. But that's what you get when you enter into the mind of a panicked fifteen year old. Ugh. Thank goodness that year is behind me. I now know that my fifteen year old self was a panicked fool. I shall prove myself wrong!
   -I'll be two hours away. Away does not mean gone.
   -In charge of money? I've had a job these past 3 years, and I haven't been overdrawn or bankrupt once. I know I will make mistakes, which is the entire point of growing up. I'll learn. And I have Dave Ramsey to guide my way!
   -This lie is so full of bull, I can't even. My best friend is going to be FOUR. DOORS. DOWN. I have two friends that I met at orientation that I'll chill with, and my future room mate seems pretty awesome. (I swear. Sometimes I would like to rent a time machine so I could slap my past self.)
   -Welp. I've graduated. And I was on honor role. Cross that sucker off the list.
   -Again, I figured it out. I'm going to the best school in the world when it comes to English/Creative Writing. With in-state tuition. Public school in-state tuition, no less.
   -Yup. I agree with myself. But having debt is something I'm going to use all of my power to try to avoid.
   -Lookie there. Another thing that I want to avoid. Hey, younger me, there's this thing called you don't need to go to those. Novel idea.

Blah. I was a terribly depressed child who was setting herself up for failure. Thank goodness that's over. But it is fun to see how I've grown and changed.

Part 3. I am ready. I'll tell you why.

I have one of the most amazing people coming with me to Iowa City. She's amazing, and goodness knows we'll have plenty of fun. And tragedy, since I hear the homework load is way different than high school. I have a great friend, and she'll keep me in line.

I also have pretty much everything I need for college. Besides that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Equestria Girls DVD. But I promised myself that I would wait to get it. Even though it's really testing my patience. But yeah. Sheets, a comfy chair, books, movies, my computer, laundry stuff, school supplies, a nice planner. I have everything I need.

There are some classes that I can't wait to take. Not to mention my classes don't start until the afternoon on Mondays!

And the main reason I'm ready for collegiate life? I'm ready for my "life to start". I see where I've been and that I'm no longer afraid. And now I've told you why.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Party Time Updates

Click the link for the actual article.

But. If you don't want to do so, I'll sum up. The University of Iowa is no longer the second ranked party school in America.

It's now number one, according the the Princeton Review.

 But I'm not going to Princeton, so whatever they say shouldn't bother me, right? Because this changes nothing. I fully intend to have the time of my life at 2 in the morning.

With a book or cartoon.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Collegiate Thoughts: Why Judge?

So I haven't posted for more than three weeks. Not my problem. I don't feel particularly bad about that, and I'm skeptical that anyone is feeling particularly offended about this. I have a life outside of this blog, and I'm sure that any reader that stumbles across this will leave it at that, since you're all forgiving and non-judgemental. At least you should try to be. It's a free country, and people should be free to live their own lives without needing to fear that people will pass unfair and uninformed opinions on one's choices.

Guess what. That is my point.

As I grow closer to my move in date to the second party school in the country, I've seen, heard, and read several opinions that came across as judgmental. I am not here to point fingers. But I would like to make a point.

The different opinions that I have seen have to do with choices, and look down on choices that many people make while in college. Such as the choice that many people make when it comes to alcohol.

Story time. Sarah (Make believe person. Roll with me.) decides as a freshman in college that she wants to socialize and make friends. So she goes out a couple nights a week. Every once in a while, she has a drink.

Not the best story. No real conflict, and no resolution. But that's the point of college. Whatever choices you make in college are more than likely going to have a part in how the rest of your life turns out. But just because Sarah chooses to have a few drinks doesn't mean that she's setting herself up for failure. It's her choice. Sarah might end up being at the top of her class, or she could be a flunkie who drops out after the first semester. But choosing to drink is HER CHOICE.

I am by no means saying that underage drinking is a recommended thing to do. It's dangerous, unhealthy, and can have all sorts of side effects. But it isn't my, or anyone else's, place to judge people.

What's been bothering me is when some people act as if they're better than people like Sarah. Just because I personally have no plans to drink, doesn't mean I have a right to act like I'm superior to people like Sarah.

Acting that way is VERY disrespectful. I don't care if you're the Virgin Mary herself. Acting as if you're better than others because "There's no way I would ever be caught drinking," when it's guaranteed that other students will be. It's rude. It's disrespectful. They're human, just as you are. So leave that attitude behind you when you leave. Or sooner, so the rest of us don't have to deal with it.

And on a side note, I'm hearing how some people don't want to go to certain colleges because they are "party schools". For crying out loud, people. This is AMERICA. The college can be MIT, Northwest Missouri State, Columbia, University of Iowa, Michigan State, or Northwestern. If there is a group of people leaving the puberty years, with access to alcohol, and a chance to procrastinate, then there WILL be drinking. And plenty of it.

I've said my piece. This is my opinion.