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.
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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never been fun, each year when I stayed here for a short week in the summer it involved a lot of moving around of the outdated wooden desks and those horrible bed frames.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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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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Believe It Or Not, A Credit Card-Sized Computer Taught Me 1s And 0s

This one computer helped jump-start my foray into computer science!

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Where would we all be without computers? Pretty much everyone I've met (including myself) has been glued to their smartphone screen at some point, itching to complete the next level of Candy Crush Saga. I never understood just how they worked and how amazing they can actually be, until about four years ago.

In 8th grade, I took a talent class, which was an extra class that people could take to boost their knowledge of a certain topic of their interest. Out of a few offerings such as art and drama, I chose to pick computers because I was interested in how they worked. One of my first assignments of the year was to go to the annual New York Maker Faire held in the New York Hall of Science. I visited with my parents and came across a booth that had a tiny circuit board plugged into a monitor. That happened to be one of the first credit card-sized computers ever made, called the Raspberry Pi.

Its goal was to introduce people of all ages to computers and how to code in them. Given that each unit was just 35 dollars, it seemed like quite a steal to buy a full-fledged computer at such a low price. After begging my parents for one, I managed to first load up the terminal, which I've never seen before. This operating system was a variant of Debian, which is a version of Linux. Since this was my first time seeing Linux, I couldn't help but wonder just how different the user interface looked from Windows.

I began to look at tutorials on YouTube to see just what I could use it for, other than just as a more portable web browser. When I began to load up Python 3, I was introduced to the amazing world of computer programming languages. Just like every programmer does when starting a new language, I started with sample code that displayed:

print "Hello, world!"

It wasn't until 2 years later, in 10th grade, that I understood more about how Python works and its near-infinite potential. However, this gave me the chance to play around with the language to see just what I could do. And that's what I did. I coded frequently in my spare time as a new fire inside me was lit that motivated me to keep learning.

I managed to create a program called "replicator.py," which was supposed to be a virus, but eventually turned into a giant GUI where I put other functions inside it, such as a calculator, complete with trigonometric functions, code to instantly shut down the computer, a countdown that displayed seizure-inducing color sequences, and shortcuts for me to access Linux's Terminal or Windows' Command Prompt, based on what OS I was running the program in. Despite this no longer being a virus, it's one of the most memorable projects I've undertaken, and thus I kept the name for posterity.

Shivasuryan Vummidi

I've since outgrown the old Raspberry Pi, and it sits on my desk as a memento. I credit the Raspberry Pi for giving me the spark to learn and like computer science enough to take multiple classes in high school, as well as for giving me better insight into just how computers operate on the inside, which finally answered my question from 4 years ago. I've since moved on from just Python, and I've coded in HTML, JavaScript, R (for a little), and Java.

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