An Open Letter To My College Dorm

An Open Letter To My College Dorm

Thanks for all the memories, Sandburg, but I won't be back.

To be politically correct for when my RA reads this, I mean an open letter to my “Res hall,” the good old’ Sandburg residence Halls. It has been a year, to say the least. A lot has happened, good and bad, through my first year of college and it all happened within your walls. I have a lot to say to you, so here we go.

Dear Sandburg,

I never actually liked you

I have been coming to dance camp for the past six years in Milwaukee where I had the luxury to stay in Sandburg res halls. Our encounters with each other have never been fun, each year when I stayed here for a short week in the summer it involved a lot of moving around of the outdated wooden desks and those horrible bed frames. Who would have thought that one day I would be moving in and actually living in a room of my own in Sandburg, and now in a few short days, I will be moving out.

Move in felt like it was yesterday

I remember the rain was pouring and it felt like everything was telling me to “turn back now.” I was so anxious to get through your doors, to do “the freshman thing” meaning picking up my student ID and room key and all that extra stuff. I was excited to see my roommate and meet new people. The day was endless of unpacking everything into my cubicle of a room that I had to share. Soon the day came to an end and I actually had to say goodbye to my mom, but the scariest part was I didn’t know when I would see her next. The moment she left that was it, it was me and my roomie stuck on the 21st floor with no clue what do to.

Living on the 21st floor has had its perks

For those who don’t know how Sandburg works, there are 26 floors in the North tower and lucky me I got stuck on 21, but it’s not all that bad. Sure, it was bad during move-in weekend and I had to walk up 21 flights cause the elevators were reserved for people moving in that day only (hence why I stayed in my room the first week.) But once school started I realized living on a higher floor actually had its perks regarding the elevator. There were the times we had fire drills at 2 am and everyone on floor 10 and below had to walk back up so that was great, then there are the times when I’m running late for class and I need an elevator quick, usually the elevator starts from the top and fills up quickly from the top floors so the people on lower floors have to wait for the next elevators. The view I have is really my favorite part about living in Sandburg. One of my entire wall surfaces is all window which looks directly out to Lake Michigan where the water looks ombre with three different blues and the sun rises beautifully making me one happy girl to wake up early in the morning.

Your elevators suck

Although I’m fairly certain you have one of the fastest elevator systems in the Midwest they still suck. Three elevators are not nearly enough for 26 floors, they are not nearly large enough to hold the number of kids that squeeze into them. I mean seriously the Sandburg elevators each weekday after classes are equivalent to clown cars, you think everyone’s out but they just keep coming. The other buildings on campus have bigger elevators, almost twice the size elevators for a building that is only six floors. Don’t get me started on the number of times when there were elevators that were “down for maintenance” or down because they literally just stop working including times when students have been on them. There have been multiple times in which I’ve felt I was a part of the movie "Final Destination" where the elevator drops and the doors open half way on a floor, halfway not. Don’t let these things scare you though they’re all way better than walking up 21 flights of stairs so I guess you could say, it is what it is.

Café food, I’m over it.

“Chinese again?” is what you could typically hear me saying every Tuesday. While I appreciate UWM trying to switch up the menu and offer authentic menu options every week of a different cultures food, the cultured food becomes less rare when it is given every single week. I was over the sesame chicken and eggrolls from the café about the second week I moved in, along with the popcorn chicken and mashed potatoes and the seasoned pork and just about everything my taste buds lost interest in. It was easy to skip dinner in the café and just order something however my bank account wasn’t as accepting of it. I wanted to eat healthily but who really knows how healthy the healthy options are in the Sandburg cafeteria.

I’m done living in a shoebox

No dorm room is perfect or anywhere near it but Sandburg rooms fall below the “average dorm” category. When I finally got all of my stuff up to my room during move in I questioned where I was going to put it all, the answer was, it wasn’t all going to fit. I not only had such a small place to begin with but then had to split it in half and share my space with my roommate. Throughout the year my roommate and I have rearranged our bedroom about four times, which doesn’t seem like a lot but with the tiny corners and big clunky furniture it was about a 4-hour project, we did anything to make it feel like home, but it just wasn’t. In the warmer months, we were living in a sauna which no number of fans could fix and in the colder months, the heat only made an appearance every once and a while so that meant lots of blankets. Even though this isn’t my desired place to live I have had some pretty good times in Sandburg north 2170B. I’ve yelled a lot both good and bad, either yelling at my roommate screaming her name because something exciting happened or yelling at my computer because I submitted my assignment right at 12 instead of 11:59 pm. I’ve danced a lot with my friends because we were obviously overly bored and avoiding our problems. I’ve had a lot of cries in my dorm room because exams suck, boys suck, and college generally sucks but also because I was laughing so hard at stupid things my suitemates would do.

Thank you for introducing me to the best people

Although I have a lot of negative things to say about Sandburg I have to thank them for a few things. It is a rare case in which people are randomly placed to live with strangers and it ends up everyone liking each other, but this was the case for me my freshman year of college. Thank you for giving me my roommate and suitemates who have become some of my best friends. I would not survive living in Sandburg, or college in general without these people. The 2170 suit in Sandburg north was arguably the loudest, funniest and best suit there was in Sandburg all thanks to me and my people. I will miss being able to leave my door open and walk into my suitemates door right next to me and being able to live with four other girls who all get along. I will miss my suitemate's big blue recliner chair and Tempur-Pedic mattress. It feels like it was just yesterday when I moved in and was scared to ask my suitemates to borrow a pair of scissors, but now we’re best friends and that’s all because of Sandburg. So for once, Thank you, Sandburg.

Lastly thanks for giving me a true college experience. I'm thankful for all of the rules and regulations I have to follow even though at times they seem ridiculous but I'm happy to know the environment I live in is safe. Thanks for all of the memories, but I won't be back.

Cover Image Credit: uwmilwaukee / Instagram

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There's A Psychological Reason Why You Absolutely Hate Group Projects

It's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

As a sophomore high schooler, I'm ready to start a petition to end all school projects. Given the chance, I would throw group projects in particular off the face of Earth. I'm a fairly open and social person, and I enjoy being a part of groups. However, what I've noticed the past few weeks is that people are never there when you need them. People are unreliable and don't contribute to these group projects, and enough is enough. It's about time I need to stop picking up after people, and it's about time I need to stop going to bed at two in the morning.

In every group project, you encounter many types of people, and it seems impossible to get everyone to work together. We all have different schedules, which makes meeting up an issue. There are often times when group members end up "sick" or "are busy." To have someone show up is, in fact, a miracle.

Not only that, but not all group members contribute equally, despite every promises to work equally. One person always ends up doing more, if not, all the work.

And often, you find yourself surrounded by people that you dislike.

So you start to wonder, what's the point of all this? If adults hate working in teams, then why are they making us do so as well? If they want us to learn, then why aren't we learning anything?

Group projects have such a bad reputation, and often times, we fail to see its intent and purpose. I constantly hear people complain about the situation, blaming the teacher for this assignment. But, perhaps, we're at fault for doing poorly on our group projects.

Group projects are examples of diffusion of responsibility, the phenomenon in which individuals are less likely to take action in the midst of a group due to the belief that others will take on the responsibility, also known as the bystander effect. These two theories intertwine so tight that they are used interchangeably at times. Both state that when more people are around, the less inclined an individual is to do anything about a situation, which lessens the burden on the individual.

There are factors that influence the diffusion of responsibility. An individual may either feel unqualified to take action, or an individual simply doesn’t know what’s going on. Additionally, an individual is less inclined to help unfamiliar faces.

In the context of group projects, people are not as motivated to work towards a common goal. Naturally, people will rely on others to take on their responsibility. Often times, this will put the weight of the project on one person, causing them to do much more work than necessary.

Since group projects usually result in a collective grade, there’s no individual accountability. People tend to pull back, leaving others with more workload. Your individual responsibility doesn’t feel as important anymore because you believe that the others on your team are responsible as well.

A couple of weeks ago, we were assigned a video project. The minimum number per group was two and the highest four. I originally wanted to keep the group small, for I was afraid that I'll end up stressing more. My friend and I started out as a group of two, and we added somebody else upon consideration. And at the last possible moment, the group of three became a group of four.

I was not happy with the arrangement. To be frank, I was disappointed with everyone. I had expected better work ethics, work quality and most importantly, better signs of responsibility.

Like I predicted, I stressed over everyone else's work. People just simply didn't feel the incentive to put in effort, seeing that there will be others that will take over their part for them (which was true). Being the "control freak" of the group, I was the one nuisance that annoyed people into doing their work. But where's the motivation in that? They're only working so that I could stop bothering them. Deep down, they knew that I'd much rather do the entire project by myself than to work with them any more.

Another reason why group projects are despised is that you can’t express your individuality in a group project. There's pressure to not speak out for what you want in fear of being judged. Often times, your opinions or ideas don't align with what others are saying. Everything is subjective. What you think is good is someone else’s bad. What you believe is urgent is probably the opposite of others. Whether you’re working with one person or as a team of five, you have to compromise. And often times, you have to sacrifice something you want in order to make everyone else happy.

And as much as we hate to admit it, in the end, it is everyone's fault.

The purpose of a group project is to get everyone to work and learn something new as a team. Teachers assign group projects in hopes that people will learn from others and utilize each other's strengths to create a masterpiece. Though this seems like a good idea theoretically, it’s not the case in most situations.

But also keep in mind that in the end, it is your project. You're responsible, and you have to be able to learn how to lead. You have to be able to work together as a team, despite the challenges and the clash of opinions. So if you end up being a disappointment to your peers, they’ll do damage control to save themselves from a failing grade. Although it may work out for you, not being responsible for your actions will cause hostility and grudges. Your partners will never really look at you the same ever again.

And if you are the one who is driven insane due to the weight of the entire assignment on your shoulders, I applaud you. Though the stress is practically crushing you now, it'll eventually pass. Take a deep breath because you got this. Though others may never admit it, you are the backbone and deserve the world.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash / Clem Onojeghuo

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7 Tips For Interview Success

Interviews happen at all stages of our lives!

Interviews can be really daunting, especially if you've never had a professional interview. We all remember the nerves we had the first time we interviewed and it can be difficult to feel confident at times. However, interviews and talking to people you've never met are an important part of life. Since we will all go through an interview at some point in our lives, here are some tips for success!

1. Prepare, prepare, prepare!

An interviewer can easily tell if you have prepared for the interview. Even if you are nervous, it is obvious you put thought into your answers if they are clear, concise and answer the questions being asked.

2. Always have a resume.

Don't just have one copy, have multiple! You would be surprised at how many people don't bring resumes to an interview, so this will set you apart and make you appear more professional. Make sure to have someone you trust check out your resume before you print it!

3. Dress professionally.

Google business professional dress! For my friends that are men, khakis are not business professional. Make sure your jacket and pants match in order to make an excellent impression! It's never fun to lose points for something as simple as dress.

4. Research the organization or industry.

Doing your research is key to thriving in any interview. The second an interviewer hears you mention specific goals, values or the mission of the organization or company, you get bonus points. When people research the company, interviewers can tell that they actually care about the organization and want the job or position.

5. Tie your answers into the position you want.

A big mistake in interviews is answering the questions without tying them to the organization or why you are a good fit for that position.

6. Ask for contact information.

Another way to make yourself stand out is to ask for the emails or contact information of your interviewer(s) at the end of the interview. Sending a follow up email can be the difference between a good and great candidate.

7. Know how you will add value to the organization.

Be prepared to answer questions about how you will add value to the organization and what unique skills you have! There is only one you, so don't be afraid to show people that!

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