Bloody, But Unbowed

Hi,

It’s certainly been a while huh? Yeah. I haven’t been posting on my blog in the last couple of months. The reason for this is quite simple. I simply haven’t been managing my time well enough. I think – or maybe used to think, I’m still not sure myself – that I have the potential to take on any number of tasks and do them all with my best effort. It might take a while, but eventually I would learn, apply, and adapt to my situation and new workload. That sounds pretentious and idealistic I know, but there you go.

For my second semester I decided to take 20 credits, split across 5 classes. It’s been a bumpy road so far to say the least. Like most people I thought “Oh one more class, how bad can it be?” Turns out pretty bad, actually. I’d say that juggling my classes this semester has been an order of magnitude harder than last semester. It’s an interesting experience. It feels like everyday is a test of my character, of my dedication, and of my values. Sounds corny but seriously.

Everyone has those moments where they think “I should study, but I want to relax.” I’d say that I had those moments so much more this semester than I did last semester, and every single time, I had a choice to make. It felt like I had to be the best version of me 100% of the time. It got really tiring, because like, sometimes I just want to be an okay version of me you know? And the more days I wasn’t “the best version of me” the harder I found it to be that version. Essentially this semester I found that deciding to give in to instant gratification became an incredibly slippery slope.

Anyway, spring break was great. I found that my problem wasn’t really with work piling up, but rather my mindset and approach. I needed spring break to find that stable footing and start climbing up the slippery slope, so to speak. So yeah, that’s been my second semester at Allegheny so far. Lots of work that needed to be done, and lots of me deciding to put it off. It’s definitely been interesting, and I’ve learned a lot.

This Saturday I’ll be posting about a robotics event that the CS department is going to at the Meadville Area High School, so that should be fun. See ya!

 

Tables and Tops

Hello again!

Now that I’m back, I wanted to post about something that’s very near and dear to my heart. Tabletop gaming. During my junior year in high school I started to discover the joy of table top RPGs. For those who are not familiar, these are games like Dungeons and Dragons, Call of Cthulhu, Warhammer, and other games. These are games where you take the role of another person and go on adventures; delving into dark dungeons, haunted houses, or sunken ships. These games offer an experience much like impromptu acting and storytelling.

Anyway, in my high school it was hard to find other people who liked them as much as I did. Unfortunately the negative stigma surrounding these types of games stunted the growth of their popularity in my area. Here at Allegheny, the Allegheny Role-Playing and Gaming Association (ARGO), aims to provide a space for students to play these games, and discuss them with like minded people. I was delighted to hear that this association existed on campus, and eagerly went to the first couple of meetings.

It was amazing! For the first time in my life I could explore all of the great things that table top games offered. I could talk with people just as excited as I was about these games. At these meetings I really felt accepted, something that I really didn’t feel back at home where these games were looked down upon. Eventually I started to open up about my interest in these games, and it wasn’t something that I wanted to hide from people anymore. That’s something that I really appreciate.

Unfortunately I haven’t been able to go to these meetings as of late, but for a good reason! Since I was more open about my interest in these types of games, I met some friends who were interested, but didn’t know where to start. I’ve since introduced a couple of friends, and we now play a weekly game. However, these games conflict with the ARGO times, but when one door closes another opens. If not for ARGO I wouldn’t have made a lot of the friends that I have now.

So for any other fans of table top gaming out there looking at Allegheny, rest assured that you won’t be alone here!

In the next couple of days I’ll be posting about the town of Meadville, and (gasp!) midterms, so that’ll be super fun. Until next time guys!

So…being sick is (not) fun

Hi everybody!

So, I haven’t posted in like a month. Yeah. It’s been a while. The reason for this long absence is, unfortunately, health related. Now, it isn’t anything too serious, but for the past month or so I’ve had some form sickness, with nausea and fevers coming and going throughout the weeks. I focused most of my energy on my school work and getting better, so I wasn’t able to post as much as I would like. I’m feeling a lot better now, so I think it’s time to start up again. Anyway, lets get started!

My past month and a half have been pretty busy despite me being sick. As the weeks rolled by the workload in my classes remained unrelenting. I’m not going to lie, it took a toll sometimes. I felt my energy wax and wane as I continued studying for my classes, looking forward to every break as a moment to breathe, relax, and take stock. I wasn’t quite expecting this, and I’m still adjusting. I’d liken it to running a never ending marathon, where every now and then you just think ” So…when does it end again?” Nevertheless, college doesn’t really leave much room to fall behind, so tread on I must.

Continuing on the topic of academics, I’d like to talk about research here at Allegheny. Now, before coming to Allegheny I’d heard of the research possibilities from current students, particularly how easy it was to get research positions. I have never done research with professors in my life, so I was eager to see if this was true. After mulling it over and trying to muster up the courage to ask one of my professors about research opportunities, I decided to just ask. I’ll admit that I didn’t fully believe other students about how open professors are to students participating in research, but now I’m fully convinced. I visited my professor and asked her about the possibility of research, and she was very open to the idea and offered me an independent study during the second semester, and small projects during the first semester. So, to other students at Allegheny who are in doubt or perhaps anxious about research, just ask. Seriously, visit them one day and ask, the professors here are very accommodating.

As the semester comes to a close, I’ll be posting more about how the semester has been overall, and the lessons I’ve learned during my first semester here at Allegheny. I’ll also be posting a gallery of photos show casing the various things I’ve been able to do, both on and off campus. Until next time!

Gator Day!

Hello Again!

It’s been a while since my last post, and I’ll explain exactly why that is in the future. For now, I’d like to focus on Gator Day. The week leading up to Gator Day, everyone was excited. Everywhere I went people were telling me about Gator Day. Teachers, students, everyone was talking about it. I learned that we didn’t have classes on Gator Day, and I began to understand why everyone was so excited. However, that isn’t the main reason to be excited about Gator Day. I also learned that many of the departments would be holding open houses throughout the day. These open houses all talked about different subjects. Internships, scholarships, summer research, courses, careers, it was all there.

Today I decided to go to the Computer Science open house, which included various presentations by students about their summer internships and research opportunities. The presentations were all incredibly helpful and gave useful insight about various opportunities across the U.S and here at Allegheny. It definitely got me thinking about what I want to do during the summer, and the steps I need to take in order to achieve those goals. After the presentations the department also held a lunch, where I got to meet the students who presented and get to know them more personally. The lunch was also useful; I had the chance to ask them questions, learn about classes, and get advice about how best to approach certain situations.

While Gator Day is a chance to catch up on sleep, play some games, or go out and relax with some friends, it would be unwise to ignore all of the useful events happening around campus. Regardless of your major or interest, there will be an event that could help you, and it really is an opportunity that you should be taking advantage of while you can. For me personally, the Computer Science open house was interesting and useful and I learned a lot in the short time that it took place.

I’ve got to finish up some homework, so I’ll leave it at that. I’ll be posting regularly again, so until next time!

 

Sleeping In…

I wanted to quickly post about something that I’m sure myself and a lot of other students have trouble with. Sleeping in. Ever since I started school here at Allegheny, my room mate and I have been trying to get up at a reasonable time. We agreed to try to get up at 7:30 everyday so we didn’t end up wasting our day, or even worse, miss a class. In the beginning we actually did pretty well. We didn’t always get up at 7:30 but it was close enough.

I’m here to report that we have failed horribly in our goal. It’s just so hard. The only time we wake up “early” is when we have our 9:00 classes, and even then it’s probably 30 minutes or even 15 minutes before class starts. We’ve tried to put our alarms far away so we’re forced to get up in order to turn them off, but that doesn’t work. I have the top bunk in our room which is a problem for me, mainly because of the extra effort required to get out of bed. It’s awful, but it’s true. It’s our fault of course, we decide to stay up late during week nights instead of going to bed early.

In any case, this is something that I’ll definitely pay attention to next semester when it comes to picking classes again. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to try to pick early classes, so I’m forced to wake up. For some reason, knowing that I don’t necessarily have to get up at 7:30 like I did in high school makes it harder. However, just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean that we’re going to stop. My room mate and I are determined to achieve this goal no matter how long it takes. It might be a week or a month from now, but eventually we’ll get it done. Hopefully.

Anyway, that’s been our struggle for about a month now, and I’m sure it’ll end eventually. We’ll either give up, or will ourselves to get up (hopefully the latter). This is something that I think prospective students are cognizant about to some degree, but can’t really experience until they get to college. For now, I just want to warn the prospective students out there that this will be something you have to deal with.

That’s it for now, I’ve got a major essay to write, so I’ll see you guys later!

Work/Life Balance

Hello again!

So this blog is about the struggle of work/life balance, and how that effects students in college. This past week, my work/life balance was something that I really had to focus on. It happened because I had gotten a grade on a test that I was not very happy with, so I did some self reflection. I came to the conclusion that a change was needed in how I balanced my study time, and my “leisure time”. I’m sure that a lot of students here have had the same event happen to them, and it isn’t very fun.

I basically decided that I needed to be more serious about my studying for the class in question. I did study for the class, but not as well or as effective as I could have been. I also had to accept that I would have to devote more time to the class in general. That part is something I think a lot of us students have trouble accepting. So I cut out some leisure activities and shifted those hours to studying for that class. However I made sure to leave time for leisure. It isn’t really a balance if you devote 100% of your time to work (or more appropriately, studying). I decided to leave time for Ultimate, and for socializing, because those were the most enjoyable “leisure activities” for me.

Whether we like it or not, work/life balance is a big part of college, and life in general. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to reevaluate my work/life balance, but for some reason it’s different when you’re at college. It feels more important. In high school the work load and responsibilities were a lot more forgiving, and you could get away with having an imbalanced system. In college, you really have to find the balance that’s right for you, and you have also have to learn how to adapt very quickly. Juggling classes, social activities, clubs, and other responsibilities means that the balance has to constantly change. I think that this part of college is something that isn’t immediately obvious and can take some getting used to.

Anyway, that was pretty much what happened last week, (that, and lots of studying). I’ll be back sometime later this week to post about a trip that my hall is taking to Grove City! Have a great day!

The Spirit Is Willing, But The Flesh Is Weak

So today I just wanted to make a quick blog post about something that I have never done in all my 18 years on this fine earth. Conditioning. Now, I’m going to be honest. I am not in good shape. I have not been in good shape for a long, long time. So, when the Ultimate team started having conditioning days I thought it would be a great way for me to start getting back in shape.

I was not ready for conditioning at all. Ten minutes into the hour or so session and my thighs were already hurting. The longer we kept running, the more I wanted to go back to my dorm and just sleep. However, everyone there kept cheering each other on, and I was not the only one suffering. It was a great bonding experience to be mutually suffering alongside 10 other teammates. By the time it was all over, and every ounce of energy I had was expended, I felt great. Even though I felt like I was going to collapse, I felt great. It’s weird, but that feeling you get after pushing yourself physically is something I kind of need after so much studying.

I’ll be going to as many conditioning practices as I can, even if a part of me really doesn’t want to go. I have a new found respect for all of the athletes who have the energy and drive to do this kind of stuff everyday. I could not imagine doing that everyday for a year while also having to keep up with my classes.

Well that’s about it for today, Good Night!

Ultimate!

So in my last post I talked about some of the clubs I was in, and I wanted to talk about the club I’ve invested most of my time in here at Allegheny. So, what exactly is Ultimate?

Ultimate (or Ultimate Frisbee) is a non contact sport played with a disc, similar to football and soccer. In short, the players on a team try to pass the disc to each other down the field until they catch it in the end zone, with the most important rule being that you cannot move once you have the disc. It’s a game that takes a lot of skill, practice, and running (like A LOT of running).

Anyway, that’s the basic idea behind the game. I’ve never played sports in my life, so needless to say I was a bit worried before the first meeting. It’s intimidating to new players if the team is hyper competitive and only takes those with experience, and I was super happy that Allegheny Ultimate was not like that. The club here at Allegheny is super welcoming to new players, which was awesome! They’re also super friendly in general, which made the atmosphere a lot more comfortable to play in.

I’ve been in the club for about a month now, and it is easily one of the best parts about school so far. I look forward to every practice, which I never thought would happen, since I was never a sporty person. However, there’s just something about the club that hooked me. At the end of the day it’s really relaxing to get outside, run around, and play some Ultimate with a bunch of awesome people.

That’s it for now, but I’ll be posting about Ultimate throughout the year as we go to tournaments and stuff like that. In fact, we just had a tournament and I’ll be posting pictures from there as soon as they are up. See you soon!

 

 

 

The story so far…

I decided that it would probably be a good idea to blog about what the first few weeks at Allegheny were like. I’m doing this because it’s something I think a lot of prospective students wonder about, but never really find out until they experience it for themselves. While my experience will be centered around Allegheny (obviously) I hope that all prospective students in general will get something from this post.

Firstly, orientation is a blur. The amount of things to do, places to be, and people to meet is slightly overwhelming. Eventually you’ll have to say goodbye to your family and that goodbye is going to hurt, regardless of whether you live an hour away or half way around the world. No matter how “macho” a facade you put up it’ll get to you, and that’s okay. It happens to everyone. Just make sure to say everything you want to say, the goodbye generally isn’t that long.

After orientation classes start pretty quickly. Each class is different, and some will hit the ground running while others will give you time to ease into them. Be prepared for the former. My classes were always between those two extremes, but it’s always good to be ready. It took me about a week to get used to my schedule, and it really helped to get up early in the beginning. I was surprised with how much ‘free time’ I had between classes. Initially I spent that time tidying up my room, but as the days went on I had more time for other things, mainly homework. Be prepared for this, homework and studying will be taking up a lot of your time.

I also got involved in clubs and other student organizations in the first few weeks. Allegheny had an activities fair (thank you office of Student Involvement!) which made it really easy to see what activities we could be a part of on campus. I signed up for pretty much everything, and I encourage prospective students to do the same if they have a chance. Even though it’s kind of scary to just dive in headfirst, it isn’t a full commitment and the clubs will understand if you have second thoughts later on, after all, they’re students too. Currently, I’m dedicating time to Ultimate Frisbee, ARGO, and the Astronomy Club. These clubs provide a much needed break after the hours of studying that inevitably happen.

I’ve also been spending a lot of time with my hall mates, which is always fun. Whether it’s going out to Brooks for lunch or sitting in one of our rooms talking late into the night, just spending time with them is great. It helps my room,  and our hall, feel more like ‘home’ instead of somewhere that I happen to sleep. I encourage all prospective students to take the time to get to know the people in your hall. You don’t have to be best friends, but you’d be amazed how much knowing them will help.

That about sums up how it’s been so far, and I’ll probably elaborate on some of these topics in later posts. Until then, have a great day!

 

P.S: Here’s a picture I got to take during an Astronomy Club observing session!

Moon

 

 

Why Allegheny?

Hello again!

I missed my post on Monday (still getting used to the schedule :P) so that will be going up on Saturday, but for now I want to address the question “Why Allegheny?”

All of the students here have been asked this at one point or another, and for each and every one of us the answer is different. Honestly, the biggest factor for me was the financial aid package that Allegheny offered me. My family isn’t wealthy, but through Allegheny’s generous financial aid I am able to get a college education at a great school. For this alone, I am forever grateful to Allegheny. Past the financials, there are many other reasons I chose Allegheny.

One of the best parts about being here is the LLC that I’m a part of. For those who don’t know, you take your freshman seminar class with your LLC and you also live in the same hall. Initially I didn’t really like the idea of an LLC, but when I arrived that all changed. They were a saving grace for someone like me. I’m not an incredibly social person, so having a group of friends to start off with really helped. It also eases the anxiety of moving in when you’re already friends with your neighbors. Whether I need help, food, a place to stay, or just someone to talk to, my LLC is there. It’s a great feeling. I couldn’t imagine my Allegheny experience without them.

The academics were another reason I chose Allegheny. The distribution requirement is an interesting way to implement a liberal arts education, and one that really does facilitate “unusual combinations”. Since I’ve been here, my professors have been nothing but friendly and engaging. They’re always willing to help, and try to get to know me as more than just a student. The small class sizes also help. I don’t think any of my classes have more than 20 people, and it really makes a difference.

Lastly, the location and atmosphere of Allegheny are really appealing to me. It’s exactly what I wanted, and it feels “homey”. The campus is beautiful, especially the architecture on some of the older buildings. I know it seems weird to want to get away from an eternal summer, but I wanted to see what other parts of the world were like. So in that sense, the freezing winters are something that I’m looking forward to.

I hope that this helped some parents and prospective students get a sense of why I chose Allegheny. I would suggest looking at other posts that students have made on their blogs to see a bigger picture, because the reasons really do change for each person. For now, I’ll leave it at that, and see you all on Saturday!