Mid-Semester Night’s Dream…

I apologize for my lack of writing the past two weeks or so. Once a semester this funny thing comes around called midterms and it sucks up a lot of your time.On the upside, when the word “midterm” starts buzzing in your classes and appearing on your exam schedule it is like a big flashing neon sign that says “Congratulations! You Are Half Way Done!!!”

So, since I’m a little tired of writing essay after essay of applying what I learned in the classroom, I will now share with you some fun tips I learned while here at UWGB.

1.)    The tunnels aren’t scary! When I came here I thought I would get lost all the time! Yeah, after the first week I could just barely make it from class to class without a map. I am now what I would like to call “grandmaster” of the tunnel system! A group in the hallway asked me for directions today- I KNEW! It was a very proud freshman moment!

2.)    You cannot clean fish tanks with dish soap. Sadly, I was never informed, and didn’t think dish soap could harm fish if you rinsed it out. It can. So unfortunately, I lost my loyal dorm fish Paulo. But I did get two new ones. Having dorm fish is a good idea to make your room homier if you’re into that sort of thing.

3.)    Do not walk while tired. Every morning, I stumble to class just fine, but am always faced with one major obstacle…stairs. So far, I’ve been lucky to not simply trip over my own feet and fall…but this morning was different. This morning, I was running just on time for a group meeting so I did not have time to get a coffee and was rushing down the stairs into the tunnels. Wouldn’t you know it…I fell completely down, sliding the extra four stairs, in front of a group of people who were polite enough to ask if I was ok,  and walk all the way down the hallway before laughing.

4.)    Late night projects are best done with someone to keep you sane- or be insane with you. Last Tuesday when I was assigned five essays for one class I doubted myself drastically. I had one day to complete them, and due to my schedule, I really only had one night. So from 8 PM until about 1 AM I was diligently pulling the classic-all-nighter to complete the assignment. My roommate is not someone I would typically be friends with outside of this environment, but when you put us together at 1AM, overtired and giggly, we can have some good times. A dance party then ensued in our room. Twenty minutes of jumping around and singing together, taking silly pictures and exhausting ourselves even further.

That is just a brief behind-the-scenes look at the life of a UWGB freshman. More to come, but until then, I have my last MIDTERM tomorrow!!! Wish me luck!

Once In A Lifetime Experience

I was always told that in college you get so many new opportunities and experiences- this week- I finally understood what everyone was talking about.

For the Freshman Seminar classes (small classes offered exclusively to freshmen in the Focus program that help to enforce Green-Bay’s interdisciplinary approach to learning) each class had read a book by Kevin Sites called In The Hot Zone: One Man, One Year, Twenty Wars. Kevin Sites was a foreign correspondent for ABC, NBC, and CNN until he decided to be a self-sufficient journalist for Yahoo!. He won several awards for his reporting, book, and documentary on this year-long journey through all of the world’s conflict zones.

As an aspiring journalist, nothing was more exciting to me than when I saw the posters go up about Kevin Sites visiting campus. He would first give a program to show his documentary based off the book. The next day he would do a special visit to the Freshman Seminar classes to discuss what it’s like to be a journalist and about following your dreams. That night he would do one final presentation about his novel and fighting for peace.

As I expected, each individual program was uplifting, eye-opening, and most importantly, inspiring. But what was most inspiring to me could not be found in the middle of a large lecture program. After the first night I lingered in the meeting room with a dozen or so others to get my book signed. Mr. Sites was more than willing to sign the books, take pictures, and chat with anyone who wanted to stick around. Because of this willingness, it took quite a while. My friends had already been gone for about a half an hour when I finally stepped to the front of the line.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience not only to have a journalist sign a book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, but also to have a personal conversation with him and have him wish me luck in my journalism career.

It was definitely the highlight of the past few months to have someone who has been through all of this education business before, has made something of himself, and is now coming back to it an inspiring others, to be right in front of you for three separate events giving you that extra boost you needed to believe in yourself.

It’s awesome that at UWGB we have so many great opportunities like these.

The Bathroom

That’s right; bathrooms have never been as fun to talk about as they are here at UWGB.

When on our first day of orientation we compiled a list of reasons people came here to GB the phrase “my own bathroom” was quite prominent.

It may be a selling point of our campus, something that appears on the pro list (or con when you realize you have to clean it), or just a fun fact you may have heard about our campus but we have our OWN bathroom. No flip-flops in the shower rule and no walking down the hallway in a towel in any on-campus housing.

My favorite part of having my own bathroom is getting ready. The sink is located outside of the bathroom, making it easy for my roommate and me to get ready at the same time without getting in anyone’s way- which is exactly what happened this weekend.

On Saturday we had our Fall Formal on campus. Just like a high school homecoming, it was time to get dressed up in your finest, and dance the night away.

My roommate decided to go on a date with her boyfriend instead. I was going to the formal, but we still needed to get ready by the same time. As she primped in the mirror I stared down the shower with razor and shaving cream in hand. How was this going to work? Our bathroom is not airplane small, but it’s definitely smaller than home.

After twenty minutes of awkward positions, lots of slipping, and lots and lots of laughs…I emerged from the bathroom declaring dorm-room shaving an Olympic sport in which I had just received the gold medal and shared the laughs with my now perfectly-made-up roommate.

 Ok, so the bathroom may be a little small, but it’s our own and my roommate and I both made it out the door on time and of course… beautiful!

The Truth About Weekends

A big question about college, and part of the decision process for many, is about the term “commuter college.”

When I came for my UWGB tour on a Friday afternoon last fall I was very concerned with the fact that the tour guides said many of the students will go home or off campus on weekends. I would be one of the people on campus on those weekends…would I be the only one?

Then I got here and figured out what that really was about.It’s true. A LOT of people go home or off campus on weekends. When the buzz starts on Wednesdays about where everyone is going it can make you feel very abandoned. Until you realize what really happens on campus on the weekend.The benefits of staying on campus are numerous. Here are just a few:

1.)    My roommate has yet to spend a weekend here. That means I get my room to myself to play the music I like, talk on the phone without worrying about interrupting studying, clean,  and stay up as late, or go to bed as early as I feel like it without worrying about anyone else. Last weekend I found a group of people who had roommates leave for the weekend and we ordered pizza together. My friends who have their roommates on campus on the weekends usually have movie marathons or go to events together. Either way you win.

2.)    It’s easy to get your laundry/homework done.  The best known study tip is to get things done while you do your laundry! With 36 minutes to wash and 48 minutes to dry per load you are well on your way to finishing all of your homework AND getting some cleaning done. I do my laundry on Friday after my class and have never run into anyone else in the laundry room or had to wait for a machine! That also leaves most of my weekend homework-free, or at least manageable enough to take my time doing it.

3.)    Tying into the first two, it tends to be quiet on the weekends. Get your homework done! With no distractions for an hour or two you can get most of the reading done for the first few days of the week!  (I’ve found this very beneficial when I feel like doing nothing after my classes on my very busy Tuesday and am already done with Wednesday’s reading!)

4.)    The U-Pass, free bus rides for all student-ID holders, is apparently new this year. Not having a car on campus, I am a huge fan. If you are ever bored on a weekend, find a friend and hop on the bus right from campus! The bus runs every hour (it runs more frequently during the week) and you can get off campus and wander the city of Green Bay where you can go shopping, get discounts at local fast-food places, or just do what my friends and I did Friday night and walk the streets singing loudly and taking pictures.

5.)    Good things happen at night! The people and organizations who plan events know that there are people who cannot go home every weekend or that there are people who don’t want to go home every weekend so there are fun events. After Hours is a dance club that happens once a month in the Union. Just like a middle-school or high-school dance it’s a good time to hang out with your friends, take goofy pictures, and meet some new people.
Last night was an event called UWGB Nites. Since one of my friends on campus is an Elvis impersonator, we went the second we heard the word “karaoke.” After braving the rain and walking to the Union, we found out about the mini-golf that included prizes of water bottles, t-shirts, bags, hats and other various merchandise. There were arts and crafts (I made some magnets and a really cute purse if I do say so myself), photo booths, Wii tournaments, and raffle drawings. You could sing karaoke as much as you wanted and could even get CDs of your performance. There was pizza, ice cream, soda, juice, and popcorn. Did I forget to mention it was all completely FREE to students?

So after this very long entry, you can clearly see that if you are willing to attend random events on campus you will always have something to do. Weekends are truly what you make of them here at UWGB!

A Brand New Face

Hello! My name is Katie Phillips and I will be you unofficial tour guide, writing to give you an idea of what the first year at UW-Green Bay is like.

 I’ll tell you a little bit about myself. I’m an eighteen-year-old freshman from Milwaukee, WI. I am a communications major with an emphasis in journalism and am also working towards a minor in theatre. When I finish my college education I would love to become a print journalist and hopefully, for fun, direct children’s theater. 

 I attended a small private high school and was very active in music, theater, the newspaper, and several service organizations, all things I hope to get involved in at UWGB as well.

This time last year I started writing a blog about my college search.  I set up visits to several UW and private colleges and universities and after a long, hard, and down-to-the-wire decision process I found that UWGB was going to be the best place for my college career.

 Now I’m here hoping to give you a unique and more realistic view that you won’t be able to find in the brochures. I’m not a university ambassador and am not getting anything out of writing this other than the satisfaction of knowing your college decision may become a bit easier and giving you a place to ask questions or receive answers. I will be writing about everything from classes, clubs, and weekend events to my personal experiences (and entertaining stories) as I try and adjust to my first year.

So, I’ll tell you the first thing I learned about applying for college, and the first thing I was reminded of once I got here…ask questions!  If you have any questions pertaining to student life or just want to say hi to me (I’m still trying to make friends!) then feel free to comment on this blog and I will try my best to answer them or find someone to ask for you.  Your questions cannot be any worse than my first day of school…

Me: Excuse me, can you tell me where the Environmental Science building is?
Upperclassmen: You’re in it.

Welcome and I hope you enjoy the stories of my first year as a “Phighting Phoenix”  here at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay!