Sunday, December 12, 2010

It’s that time of the semester again: finals week. The week that everyone seems to dread, whether it be the end to an easy semester, the stress of having to study for an exam in almost every class, or just the fact that you must now walk to class at some undesirable time for a test you didn’t really study for… Whatever the reason, there are a few simple ways to make this final week of classes and exams more enjoyable and productive. 

For starters, and despite what you may do throughout the rest of the school year, get plenty of sleep. Don’t stay up until the early hours of morning. Regardless of whether you’re truly studying or not, nothing is going to stick as well as it would if you got plenty of sleep and woke up at a decent time the next morning. And just because you don’t have anything to do until later in the day doesn’t mean you should sleep until noon. Get up at a reasonable time and do something productive or mind-stimulating to help get yourself ready and focus on the exam.

Breakfast is the meal that seems to have been removed from every college student's menu since the absence of a personal chef (Mom) makes this chore so inconvenient when class starts mere minutes after you finally roll out of bed. Luckily for those that have nightmares about cooking, there are quick and easy options that will still allow you to run (literally) to class while getting that essential nutrient jump start. I recommend cereal as it has proven to be gentle on the stomach in the early hours, while keeping you plenty satisfied until lunch. But eggs, oatmeal, bagels and all those other tasty options are never a bad investment either.

Studying, that thing everyone claims to be doing at the library during finals week. I’ll kill two birds with one stone for this topic. Personally, going to the library to study is a decent idea, if you:
  • Go alone (unless it is a group project or you need legitimate help)
  • Don’t have Facebook lurking somewhere on your task bar
  • Don’t sit next to a ground floor window, or one overlooking sidewalks or roadways 
  • Leave your phone on silent and in your book bag
But let’s think about the last time you walked into Wells Library, how many people go there to study (hundreds), who are they there with (friends), what do they all seem to be doing when you walk by (perusing facebook), and what always seems to be missing (academic books and thought processes)… If you can manage to find a spot where you aren’t talking, texting, “people watching” or surfing (the web of course), then the Library really isn’t a bad investment of your time. But if all these potential “traps” seem to be calling your name, go someplace more unique. Nearly all academic buildings are sparsely populated during finals week, but still have open labs and libraries that aren’t being used for class any longer.

Whatever you do, take advantage of the various resources across campus to study, relax and hopefully survive (academically) throughout finals week.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The West Tower of Wells Library

The West Tower of the Wells Library, probably the only place an undergraduate student will ever explore during their time at IU. While it is located inside of the main library at IU, the West Tower really doesn’t contain that many books or research material. Although, what it lacks in books it more than makes up for in technology, group and individual resources and study areas. 

Beginning on the first floor of the West Tower is what is known as the Information Commons. This entire floor is where students have access to numerous black and white printer stations, group and individual computer terminals, two large format, color plotters, a color laser printer, information clusters for large groups or classes and the UITS Help Desk. All of the resources on this floor are available to all IU students at little or no cost.

The second floor is what I consider to be a quiet study extension of the Information Commons area. This floor prohibits cell phone use, loud talking, group work and any other noise generating activities. Some reading/research materials are available on this floor, as well as individual computer workstations, couches, work tables with individual power outlets, and a print release station and printer.
The third floor is also dedicated as a quiet study floor for individual work. In addition to all the features of the second floor, this floor is also home to Writing Tutorial Services (WTS). WTS offers free planning and revision assistance to IU students on writing assignments and other written coursework. Students must usually schedule an appointment with WTS as many students utilize this resource.
Moving on to the fourth floor, students will find an enormous sea of desk clusters that are intended for group work. Although more private stations are available for presentation practice or skype interviews, these facilities must be requested/reserved and are often in use throughout the day. Regardless, plenty of space is available on this floor for any size group with no noise restrictions.

Finally, the fifth floor of the West Tower is a smaller version of the fourth, with large group computer workstations. Large tables and wide screen monitors make this the perfect floor for groups working on PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets or just writing a group research paper. No reservations can be made for these workstations, but there is almost always an available station. A printer and UITS technology consultant are also available at all times.

So if you haven’t already explored the West Tower, now is the perfect time. With the semester coming to a close and finals just around the corner, the right place to study, print and collaborate on your final project(s) may just be at the Library?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When the Weather goes South

As the weather situation here in Bloomington continues to gradually approach freezing, the outdoor activities that many students once enjoyed have now become little more than fond memories of warmer times. For many, these very memories are of physical activity, and not just merely walking to class without freezing. I’m talking about biking, running, football, Frisbee, tennis, swimming, and even the leisurely round of golf that some find time to squeeze in. All of these activities that students frequently enjoy during their first and last months on campus are seemingly lost and forgotten during the winter months, or so it seems…
Two facilities exist on campus to rediscover these activities during the winter months, but for brevity’s sake I will focus on the newest facility that many students prefer. The Student Recreational Sports Center, or SRSC, is an enormous complex that contains just about every kind of recreation area one might want. There are indoor pools, basketball, volleyball, tennis, racquetball and squash courts. Spacious workout studios designed for group sessions feature sectioned areas for everything from cardio to strength training, and there is even a one-eighth-mile indoor track.
All SRSC facilities except the tennis courts are available for student use during the regular academic year by simply presenting an IU Student ID card. Once inside, students have access to state-of-the-art fitness equipment and rental equipment. Rental equipment is available on the lower level and includes everything from pingpong paddles to volleyball nets. If there is an activity that the SRSC can accommodate, there is rental equipment available at no cost.
Those who see exercise facilities as breeding grounds for germs and other unsightly adventures can rest assured that the utmost care is taken by the SRSC staff and administration to ensure that conservative dress codes are followed and that equipment is thoroughly cleaned before and after each use. But don’t get the impression that this place is all about rules. It’s truly about you and what you want to do while you’re there. And if you don’t know what you want or how to accomplish it, just ask anyone wearing a dark blue SRSC polo shirt for help. Whatever you do, don’t sit inside all winter lamenting the lost days of warm weather!
So now that you’ve proven that you have enough focus and determination to read this entire blog post, jog over (you’ll be out in the cold for less time) to the SRSC and get started early on a New Year’s resolution that you might actually stick to this time. And if you really need some extra motivation, you can even drive your car and park for free (for up to two hours) in the SRSC’s parking lot. Sorry, but there are no excuses left. Hope to see you there…

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pulling an All-Nighter

As any true college student knows, there are nights when sleep takes a backseat to finishing projects and homework. And while the idea of an “all-nighter” is relatively straightforward for most students, doing it two nights in a row would likely be considered absurd! For many though, especially those in Greek fraternities and sororities, this intense sleep deprivation is just part of belonging to the second largest student-run philanthropic organization in the United States.

IU Dance Marathon is just one of many philanthropic events hosted throughout the year at Indiana University. Every November, the HPER building’s main gymnasium area is transformed into the largest dance floor imaginable. With incredibly loud music (likely to keep you awake for the entire 36 hours) and countless games and prizes, there’s never a boring moment over the course of the weekend.

In addition to the inherent fun, IU Dance Marathon is truly part of a greater purpose. Partnered with Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, IU Dance Marathon works year round to accumulate money for the hospital. These donors are instrumental in the identification, treatment and prevention of diseases and illnesses at Riley. Joining forces, IUDM and Riley Hospital for children have raised over seven million dollars. If you haven’t already, get involved with IUDM and donate your time and/or money to a great cause. 

For more information about the Indiana University Dance Marathon organization and/or event, please visit:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A New Shopping Experience on Campus

As the finishing touches are being wrapped up around Union Street Center, the new convenience store located in Cedar Hall is now fully stocked and ready for business. Like nothing else on campus, the convenience store at Union Street Center offers far more than traditional boxed foods and snacks found at other campus convenience stores. With a full salad bar, seemingly endless beverage choices, fresh fruits and vegetables, gourmet sandwiches, and a truly incredible selection of organic and ethnically diverse foods and ingredients for nearly any possible culinary creation, Union Street Center has once again raised the bar for campus living and shopping.

From the moment you enter the store, it is obvious that you are no longer limited to prepackaged, frozen and/or dried food items that can be stashed in your closet or drawers for the remainder of the school year. Upon entering the intuitively arranged store, one’s senses are bombarded with colors, smells and the excitement of choice. With ranges, microwaves and full size refrigerator/freezers included with each apartment at Union Street, a new and unique shopping experience was foreseeable for IU’s newest residential facility. Student’s now have the ability to enjoy fresh, home cooked meals without leaving the comfort of their apartment.

As a resident of the Southeastern/Central neighborhoods, with some exposure to the dining facilities found in the Northwest neighborhood, I can positively say that the Union Street Center facilities have established an unprecedented standard of living in which no other facility on campus has offered before. And with the addition of one of the most complete miniature markets I have seen at a college campus, and many other features and amenities still in the works, the definition of “campus living” is being rewritten at Union Street Center Apartments.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Night of the Living Red

Halloween, the day we all hold so close to our hearts for whatever reason. Whether it is the candy, the costumes or just getting together with friends, students at IU keep these festivities going all through the week. With local families and schools coming to campus to participate in various “Halloween Open House” events hosted by many residence centers and select Greek houses on campus. In addition to the community outreach efforts, the IU men’s basketball team hosted their own event, “Night of the Living Red.”
 Every year, the IU men’s basketball team looks for creative new ways to get the student body, and local faculty and residents, involved with the program before the season officially begins. This year, IU Coach Tom Crean and his team decided to host a Halloween themed night with tailgating, pep band, trick or treating and games.

In addition to bonding with the student body and local community, the basketball program is also proud of their newly completed practice facility, Cook Hall. This sprawling facility located on the southeast corner of Assembly Hall offers the team ample space to practice throughout the year. An impressive addition to Indiana University, the team is proud to introduce the new facility to the students and public during this event. Interested fans were allowed access to the Pfau-Shine Legacy Court to shoot around before the scrimmage game began.

At 8 PM, the Hoosier basketball team took to the court for the Cream and Crimson scrimmage. An unofficial game between members of the men’s basketball team that gave players the opportunity to get on the court in front of real fans before their season begins on November 12. And with plenty of energy from the fans and referees, the event offered fans a taste of what they can expect from the team this coming season.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Colors of Fall

With the weather finally starting to feel like Fall, the colors around campus have become even more beautiful. Fall at Indiana University is undeniably the most beautiful season in terms of colors and weather. With warm, summer-like days still jumping into the forecast here and there, traveling to classes throughout the day can sometimes necessitate a wardrobe change as chilly temperatures start off the day and bright sunshine heats up the mid-day commute.
The Fall colors are especially vibrant throughout the oldest parts of campus, blanketing the grassy common areas around the Indiana Memorial Union’s south side. Students flock to this area during their down time between classes to finish last minute homework, grab a bite to eat or simply catch up on current events. Whatever the reason, this beautifully aged area of campus is rich in history and character, both of which are accentuated by the incredible colors raining down from above.
For most students, the ability to sit comfortably outside during the day is hit or miss this time of year. During the early part of the Fall semester, temperatures often create an unpleasantly warm environment, and the final weeks of the semester have been known to bring snow. Many students, especially upperclassmen, know this cycle all too well and take advantage of the Fall season to enjoy the fresh air. Early this semester Indiana University invested in high quality outdoor furniture at the Memorial Union and the newly constructed Informatics courtyard (10th & Woodlawn). Benches, chairs and tables/umbrellas provide comfortable outdoor areas for students to relax with plenty of room for their books or computers.
It seems like it happens overnight at times, but yet again Fall is here. For new and prospective students, this is the perfect time to explore campus. While beautiful year-round, Bloomington really comes alive with its impressive color palette, unlike any other campus you’ve toured. For the more experienced students, be sure to get out and enjoy the last year weeks before sweaters and jackets become a necessity more so than a fashion statement. No matter who you are, get out and enjoy the beautiful sights and smells of Fall at Indiana University before they disappear until next year.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

2010 Homecoming Parade

With the IU campus showing its fall colors, students, families and alumni gathered on the IU campus this weekend for various Homecoming events. Starting at 5:30 PM on Friday, the 2010 Homecoming Parade wound through the main thoroughfares of Campus. With both Third Street and Indiana Avenue closed, spectators lined the curbs to cheer on a various student organizations, clubs, sports teams, alumni, faculty, administrators and members of the Armed Services and surrounding police/fire/EMS departments.

With the excitement of Saturday’s game against Arkansas State on the minds of many, the overwhelming theme of the parade was made clear by the thunderous roar of the Marching Hundred as they made their way down Indiana Avenue, proudly announcing IU’s dominant goals for the next day’s game.

As nearly all of the official Homecoming events of this weekend were sponsored by the IU Alumni Association and the IU Student Alumni Association, the Alumni Foundations’ float was a prominent fixture in this year’s parade. Gleaming with signs, large cutout heads and advertisements for this year’s homecoming theme “Then and Now.”

With the enthusiastic support of current and past IU students, this year’s Homecoming parade was a warm welcome to a week of excitement filled sports and activities.