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never been fun, each year when I stayed here for a short week in the summer it involved a lot of moving around of the outdated wooden desks and those horrible bed frames.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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How Speed Dating Helped Me In A Class Where I Knew No One

In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

Upon the beginning of a new semester, the start of new classes means there are a lot of new people to meet.

At my university in particular, our community is huge (40,000 undergrad), and we all have had many enormous lecture halls where it is basically impossible to get to know every single person in the room. However, there are certain classes where the amount of students is significantly downsized, and different types of students will have different reactions to this.

When I arrived on my first day of English-15 class (the required English class for every student in attendance at the university), the initial moments were awkward and somewhat nerve-racking. As I sat in my seat surrounded by 22 unknown faces, my professor instructed that we were going to play a game. In most classes, the first day (or few days) is mainly for reviewing and studying the syllabus, but clearly my professor had something a little bit more untraditional in mind.

My professor then said that we were going to be “speed-dating” with others in our class. I had always thought that the term “speed-dating” was to be used in a romantic sense only, and in my eyes, the classroom was not the appropriate place for this. As we were quickly organized to sit face-to-face with complete strangers, I was all of a sudden intrigued.

For twelve rounds, we were given about three minutes to talk to each of our classmates. While about half of the time allotted was filled by obligatory small-talk (i.e. where the other person is from, what they plan to study, how old they are), the other half of each conversation continually turned into something different each time I spoke with someone new.

I talked about many different topics of varying importance and seriousness, but the interesting part was that I created these conversations with people I had never even seen prior to the start of class that day.

Although it was nine o’clock in the morning and I would have usually left class feeling sleepier than when I arrived, this first day of class was far from what I expected and I felt energized by the end of it. Although it was difficult to keep track of what I talked about and with whom I talked about it, speed dating largely improved the dynamic of the classroom and made the situation a lot less awkward than most first-day-experiences I had previously been a part of.

Although talking to strangers has its way of making some people feel initially uncomfortable, it really is the most efficient way to break the ice among students.

As educators of all different levels are actively creating new teaching methods for this generation of students, being a student myself, I feel as though the beginning of academic success begins with comfort inside of the classroom. Although the terms “speed-dating” and “learning” don’t traditionally go together in an academic sense, they helped create a pleasant environment in our classroom that will ultimately motivate me to feel comfortable around my peers and my professor alike.

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I Rented My Textbooks From Chegg And I Saved Hundreds

Say Goodbye to overpriced books, and say hello to cheap ones!

Textbooks have to be one of the worst parts of college. I love to learn, I love my classes, but I hate the textbooks that come with them. It has nothing to do with the content, but the price tag.

In college, you pay a ridiculous amount of money for textbooks because professors either have you buy the newest edition where there isn't a rental or used book to purchase, they make it available only in an E-book format, or they have you buy the textbook that comes with an additional $100 access code just so you can do your homework. It's stressful and ridiculous and I always find myself spending over $200 for textbooks each semester. Yeah, not per year, per SEMESTER.

This semester, I decided to take a little more action when it came to my books. Instead of ordering my books through the school bookstore, I did some research. I tried Amazon, but they were about the same price as the bookstore if not more at times.

So, I scratched that off my list. Then, I turned to buying used books from other students. It worked with a couple books, but a lot of people didn't have the version of the book I was looking for or were also selling it for a ridiculous price. With only two of the six textbooks I needed in hand, I was at a loss for what to do next. Then, I heard about this website called Chegg. I actually stumbled upon it while looking on Pinterest for "Cheap College Textbooks." I had always heard of Chegg, but I always figured it was too complicated and chose to never use it.

Let me tell you, that was stupid. I looked up the three books I needed and the total price for the three of them had my jaw dropping. My total came out to $85, which was the price of just one of my books at the bookstore.

Below my total, Chegg told me I was saving over $200. Can you believe that?! On top of that? They also offered me free shipping and it would be in my hands in 2-3 days. Also, instead of having to return my books the last week of school, I had a whole extra month to do it. I mean, I probably won't need that long, but hey, life happens sometimes and you forget!

They also send you a label to print off and you just have to pack the books up and ship them off! No return lines, no waiting, just returning your books on your own time.

There are also many other features to Chegg that include free E-books of the textbook you just rented, study tips, and lessons that go along with the books you rented. It really helps when it comes time for homework and tests!

There is a Chegg App that you can download to keep track of your orders and you can also use it for some of these features and to sell some of your own books that you might have!

One last thing that made me just fall in love with Chegg is that when I opened my box, it had a bunch of free goodies inside! There was a sample bag of tide pods, a coupon for MORE tide pods (I can never get enough of those honestly), gum, some coupons and even some gift cards that could be used for cute things for my room and also for some meals! It was just a really nice thing to find because it made me feel like more than just a college student trying to get cheap books.

It actually made me feel like a real person. That may sound odd, but it's true! By them just putting in something extra in my box, it helped eased my stress and mind about all the book troubles I had and it showed me that the people who work at Chegg actually care. They could have just sent my rental books, but they took the extra mile, and I think that's what every textbook rental place should be doing. I ordered my textbooks from Chegg and I'm telling you, I'm never using any other rental place.

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