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Entering College

This is the post excerpt.

I’ve been living in Ames, Iowa for the past couple weeks and I’m finally starting to realize that I actually live here, and will for the next four years of my life. I’ve only had two days of classes so far and don’t fully understand what the rest of the year will be like, but after meeting my professors and making friends, I am excited for what the school year has in store. I joined the fraternity Delta Tau Delta and it was the best decision I’ve made so far in my college experience. Not only will they help me keep my grades up with a mandatory GPA, mandatory study hours, free tutoring etc. but they are also just a great group of guys to hang out and become friends with. What I’m looking forward to most this year is all the activities I will be doing with them, especially “Yell Like Hell” which is a skit each house does during homecoming week that includes body paint, yelling, dancing, and other weird but fun aspects. It is also a great way to get to fully know brothers in the chapter as well as meet women from the sorority we are paired with. Overall I’m very excited for what the year has to offer and can’t wait to keep updating this blog as my college career continues!

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A picture of me and my pledge brothers serenading a sorority the week before school started to congratulate them on getting bids.

A Pretty Weird March

Hi everyone! I hope you’re all staying healthy and safe while this virus blows over. I was actually in Europe when the borders got shut down because I was visiting a friend who was studying abroad, which made the situation all the more hectic. I had bought tickets in the early fall because flights to Dublin were ridiculously cheap at the time. My plan was to fly to Dublin and then immediately catch one of those carry-on-only hopper flights to Barcelona, stay for the week, spend a few days alone in Prague, and then return to Dublin where I would fly back to the states. The beginning of the trip went fairly smooth, and I had a great time visiting my friends in Barcelona. Everything went sideways though when early Wednesday morning at about 3am, I got the news that the borders were shutting down Friday at midnight. I was alone in Prague at this point, but I kept a cool head, immediately bought one of the last hopper flights to London, packed up my bags, and boogied on out to the airport by 4am. From there I flew to London, took a bus to the main airport, and then was luckily able to convince Delta to reschedule my flight home and fly out Friday morning.

Once I made it back to the states I quarantined at my mom’s house until my test results came back. Luckily for me, I did not have coronavirus and I was able to move back into my apartment at the University of Minnesota. Since I’ve moved back, I’ve spent most of my time adjusting to our new online schedule, keeping up to date on classes, and trying to find new hobbies to keep me occupied. Once all the puzzles and board games are completed, I think I’ll download Rosetta Stone and try to learn a new language.

Overall, March has been pretty crazy, but I’m happy that I’m finally settled back into the new online structure and I plan on crushing all my classes this semester. I hope you all are staying healthy and hopefully before we know it we’ll be back to life as normal. Stay safe guys, I’ll touch back next month!

November Blog

Hi Everyone! I hope you all had an awesome Thanksgiving and are enjoying the beginning of winter. Nothing too eventful happened this past month so this blog post may be on the shorter side, but nevertheless here is an update of where I’m at as the weeks tick away into the second semester.

Since I transferred from ISU freshmen year, I will need to take 6 extra credits in the fall in order to graduate. During November though, I talked to my academic adviser, and since I am so close to the credit requirement I will be able to walk this spring and can take my remaining classes part time in the fall. After I got that out of the way, I registered for classes and I am very happy with my schedule. This Spring, I will be taking an Options and Futures markets class, Food and Ag sales, food production, an interviewing and communications class, and finally a real estate finance course. I am most excited for my real estate finance course because I hope to go into commercial real estate after I graduate college.

To help me achieve this goal, I have been networking with family friends in the industry, and have been scheduling informational interviews to learn more and hopefully end up with a internship or job next summer. The week before thanksgiving I met with a guy who was recommended to me by a family friend, and I ended up walking away with a ton of valuable information. After the interview, he gave me a list of people I should reach out to, so hopefully some of those will pan out as well and I can continue to learn more.

All in all November was a great month. I hope you all had fantastic Novembers as well, and I’ll update you at the end of December on how all my finals go!

October Blog

Hey everyone, sorry for the late post! I’ve had a very busy yet productive fall semester. In addition to my classes, I started working as a bouncer at a local college bar by my house. Although it can be tiring at times, I’ve met some awesome coworkers who are now my friends, and it has been really nice being able to make a little extra grocery money. One of my coworkers is in my managerial economics class too which works out great because he understands Excel much better than I do, so sometimes on slow nights he tutors me through homework assignments. Working as a bouncer has also taught me to find a balance between being patient yet assertive, which I think is a very important trait to have in life since it’s important that you don’t get pushed around, yet no one wants to be seen as mean guy all the time.

Working as a bouncer has also exposed me to people from all walks of life which can be both good and bad. A pretty extreme situation of this happened last weekend. On Saturday nights we have a police officer hang out outside with the door guys just in case anything too serious happens. While the police officer was hanging outside he recognized a guy through the window as a wanted fugitive. The cop told my boss and decided that the best plan was to find a way to get him outside since making an arrest inside a crowded bar would be risky and difficult. My boss then assembled a team of bouncers and me and a few of my coworkers casually approached the guy in question. “Hey man, we’ve been getting some complaints that you’re being a little outta control. We haven’t noticed anything, but do you mind if we talk about it outside quick and smooth it all over?” we told him. He was friendly and compliant and followed us outside. Once we got outside, we asked him what he thought people might be complaining about, and as he began to answer, the cop snuck up from behind, put him in cuffs, and told him he was under arrest.

Initially, I felt kind of bad since the guy had been nothing but compliant with me and the other bouncers. However, this feeling was completely reversed once the police officer gave us the rundown. Apparently the guy was wanted for attempted murder, and had posted bail but skipped out on his court date… Never would have guessed it by talking to him. Pretty random story, but I thought you guys might get a kick out of one of my more eventful work experiences!

As much as I enjoy my job as a bouncer, I hope to transition into commercial real estate next summer since that is what I plan on doing as a career. I have been networking with people in this industry, and I hope to set up some informational interviews this winter which I hope will lead to either an internship or entry level job next summer! I’ll keep you guys posted on how my informational interviews and networking goes, and I hope you all have an awesome November.

 

One last thing… ROW THE BOAT BABY! GOPHERS ARE 9-0 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN 100 YEARS!

September Blog

Hi everyone, so far I’ve had a pretty solid start to the semester! It was a little haphazard at the end of August because I wasn’t able to register for classes until very late because I had an outstanding balance from the Spring semester. Luckily though, I was able to pull some strings with the professors I needed, and I ended up getting enrolled in every class that I initially was waitlisted for. Once I got that out of the way, I decided to apply for a job at a local bar that just opened by my house and I got hired! It’s nice working there because I am able to do schoolwork during the day and then go into work in the evening, so my schedules haven’t conflicted to badly yet.

At the beginning of the semester I had to make a decision. When I transferred from Iowa State, not all of my credits transferred so I was a little under a semester behind schedule. In order to graduate on time (Spring 2020) I would need to take 18 credits one semester, and then 20 the next. I pondered doing this, but decided instead to take 15 this fall, and then a similar course load in the spring. This way, I will have a light enough schedule that I can work 20-30 hours a week during this school year, and then have an extremely light final semester next fall and be able to work part time at a company I will hope to work for after graduation. Right now, my hopes for post graduation are to find a career within either commercial real estate, commodity trading, or some sort of sales. Hopefully I will be able to get an internship in one of these fields this coming summer and continue to work there through the fall.

Anyways, that’s about all that’s happened so far this semester. I haven’t had any midterms or anything yet, and even though were already a month into the semester, it feels like classes are just starting to get into the swing of things now that we’re done going over review material. I hope you all had a great September as well, and I’ll check back in next month to let you know how my first midterms go!

 

T Minus One Week

The past few weeks have been very bitter sweet. There are only five days left in my program, and next Monday April, 29th I will be flying back to the United States. I have had the time of my life this past semester, and have experienced parts of the world I had only seen in pictures and videos on the internet. At the same time however, as much fun as Europe was, the United States will always be my home and I am excited to get back to the states, see my friends and family, and start working. It was awesome being able to travel to a new country with a different culture, and become accustomed to their cultural habits and customs, some of which I plan on bringing back to the United States.

One of the cultural traits I noticed in Europe that I hope to incorporate in my life back home is the emphasis they place on family, friends and relaxation. I have noticed that often times I become too focused on working hard and don’t allow myself to have time to relax and decompress. I think part of this may just be my personality, but I think another major part of it is the how heavily we value hard work in the United States. I feel blessed to have been born into a culture that places such an emphasis on success and hard work, and I also feel fortunate to have experienced a culture that values happiness over monetary wealth. I think if I can find a perfect balance between working hard to succeed, while still being able to cut myself some slack when I need time to relax, I will be successful in a more holistic manner.

Another trait that I hope to incorporate into my life back in the states is being open to trying new things. While I was abroad, I made an effort to push the boundaries of my comfort zone and experience new cultures and foods that I was reluctant to try. By incorporating this into my life back home, I believe I will grow into a more well rounded individual, and won’t miss out on foods and opportunities that I may have enjoyed but was too hesitant to try.

Although there are many traits that I hope to bring back with me to the US, there are a lot of aspects of American life that I can’t wait to get back to. Drying machines, supermarkets, wide streets, lack of tourists, grass, lakes, huge selections of international food, barbecue… the list goes on. While living in Europe, I realized that I took for granted simple things like having enough electricity to power a drying machine without blowing a fuse, or being able to sit down on a patch of grass in my backyard and play fetch with my dog. These things are obsolete in a city like Florence, and although there were many aspects of Italy I loved, I am also glad to be heading home.

Overall, this past semester has been an incredible eye opening experience that I am very fortunate to have been able to participate in. There will most likely never be another time in my life where I will be living in Europe for four months straight, and I hope I can use this experience and the things I’ve learned from it as a way to grow as a person.

Last Month in Europe

As March comes to a close, I will now be starting my final month abroad. It blows my mind thinking that I’ve been here for almost three months, and as my days in Europe tick away, I know the flight home on April 29th will be bitter sweet. I have visited countries and cities I never thought I would have the opportunity to travel to, I have learned Italian, bits and pieces of German and French, and I have had the opportunity to experience new cultures and customs from a first person lens. I have seen beautiful ancient churches and castles, and I have explored the same uneven cobblestone streets that artists like Michael Angelo and Da Vinci walked when they were my age. I’m so incredibly lucky to have been able to experience this. At the same time, I am excited to be back in the US. Living in Europe has been an unbelievable experience, but it makes you realize little parts of American culture that you took for granted. Things like supermarkets with every single food you could imagine, wide sidewalks, the ability to drive wherever you want, and spacious yards with trees and grass are concepts foreign to cities like Florence, and living without them has made me realize how much I enjoyed these things back in the states.

For my final month abroad, I think I will try to limit my weekend travel, and instead soak up everything Florence has to offer. Even though I am just a study abroad student, I find it funny how after a couple months, the things you found so shocking and foreign about life in Italy when you first arrived now seem common and Florence becomes your home. I have had the opportunity to travel to many countries during my three months abroad, and I think it would be a good idea to spend the last few weeks enjoying my temporary home. (I’m also down to like eight bucks a day so any more traveling is kinda outta the picture hahaha.) Not having much money while traveling isn’t always so bad though. Since I don’t have the funds to eat out all the time, I have been able to find dishes that I like when I do eat out, and then learn the recipes for them online and make them at home which gives me the ability to take Italian culture back to the states. My favorite easy, cheap Italian dish is Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. It’s super simple to make. You just boil some spaghetti in one pot, pour a healthy amount of olive oil into another pan over medium heat, throw some thinly sliced garlic and crushed red pepper in the oil, dump the drained pasta into the pan (keep a little bit of the pasta water with it to help form the sauce), salt and pepper to taste and voila. You have a classic Italian dish.

I have learned a lot during my three months abroad. I’ve learned about the history and art of different countries, but more importantly, I have learned how to communicate with people who don’t speak a word of my native language, and still manage to find similarities between the two of us. My trip abroad has been both an adventure and a learning experience, and I hope to continue to have a phenomenal time during my final month abroad.

Art, Mafia, and No Polar Vortex

It’s hard to believe that I’m already wrapping up my second month in Florence. This month has been jam packed with fun experiences, and over the next couple weeks I am excited to add a few more experiences. In a week, I’m taking a trip to Sicily with my Sociology: History of the Mafia and the Media class, and I can’t wait to be on an island that is filled with so much history. Over the past couple months, we’ve been learning all about how the mafia was able to take power in Southern Italy, and how the people of Italy fought back and helped curb it’s power. On our trip to Sicily, I’ll be able to tour a farm that was once owned by the Mafia with a  guide who is a leader in the Anti-Mafia movement.

Last week, I took a trip to Pisa with my Art History class which was also super interesting. We toured churches that were over a thousand years old, and we learned about the history of Pisa and the role that it played during the middle ages. I think the most interesting thing I learned was that Italy wasn’t a unified country until the mid 1800’s, so throughout the middle ages, cities like Pisa, Florence, and Rome would battle each other to try and take control of trade routes and resources. I have never been too interested in art, but this class has given me a new level of appreciation because we are able to learn about the history behind it. Another interesting thing I have learned in this class, is that religions constantly stole art styles from each other when they would win battles. Christians and Muslims would raid each others churches and mosques during battles, realize that the opposing side had “cooler looking” artwork or architecture, and would then integrate that style into their own artwork when they returned home.

Overall, my February has been very interesting and eventful, and I am excited to get started on my third month abroad. Sometimes I miss the small things about being back in the US, like the food and convenience of stores like Target, but I’m glad I’ve been able to experience a different way of living and I hope I can integrate some of the positive aspects of European culture into my life back home. I hope March ends up being as eventful as February, and I can’t wait to update you all in month!

First Month in Florence

Hi everybody! I touched down in Florence January 8th, and have been loving it ever since I got here! I am taking very interesting classes and have also met a ton of really cool U of M students, who I didn’t know until this trip. It took me a little while to get used to some of the cultural differences, but now I feel much more assimilated and I hardly notice some of them. One of the biggest ones I noticed right of the bat was the driving. HOLY COW the people here drive like maniacs. The streets are extremely narrow and curvaceous, yet the drivers still fly around, blowing through stop signs, and somehow managing to miss all the mopeds zig zagging through traffic. I quickly learned that pedestrians do not have the right of way, and to always keep your head on a swivel.

On a more academic level, I am loving my classes. My favorite is the History of Art in the Mediterranean. In that class we learn about why different styles of art are prevalent in certain areas of Southern Europe, and we learn about how different religions and civilizations all played important roles in shaping the culture of the region. Last week in that class we were able to tour a baptistery that is over one thousand years old, and next week we will be touring a museum that contains many ancient statues.

So far this semester has been going great, and I can’t wait to see what February brings. Hopefully my Italian will improve a little bit, and I am excited to continue to experience European culture. Thank you for everything and I will keep you updated next month!

Kicking Off The New Year

Hi everyone! I am sorry for being a few days late on my blog post. My December was great though! I finished on a fairly strong note, and did well on all of my final exams and presentations. I was a little worried about my Econ class because the bulk of our grade is based on one midterm and one final, but I studied hard and ended up getting a B in the class. After my finals wrapped up, I spent the rest of my December hanging out with my family, working, and preparing for Italy!

It’s crazy to think it’s already here, but I leave to study abroad in Italy in six days! I have never been outside of the country before, so I am very excited but also a little nervous because I have no idea what to expect. I have been practicing basic Italian and German phrases too, so hopefully they will come in handy. We just found out our rooming situation and class schedules, and I will be living with two of my good friends, and I will be taking classes that should amerce me into Italian culture. I’ll keep this blog short because I don’t know much else about what is to come this month, but I can’t wait to update you all in a few weeks and tell you about my first month abroad!

I hope you all had a happy holidays, and once again thank you for reducing the burden of paying for college by myself. It has made my college experience much less stressful!

Wrapping Up The Semester

Hi everyone, I hope you all had great Thanksgivings! This seems to happen every other post, but once again I’m sorry for posting this blog a few days late. I’m the worst when it comes to remembering dates. Maybe it’s just that school makes the days fly by, but every month when it seems like it should be the 20th or so, I look at a calendar and it really ends up being the first of the following month.

November was a good month for me. Nothing too exciting happened academically, but now that it’s over I am on the verge of finals. I have two presentations this week, then three exams next week, and after that I will be off for Winter Break! I’m very excited to be off for break, but I’m a little nervous for finals. I have plenty of time to study and prepare this week, but the material this year is much more challenging than in years past. I know everything will turn out fine though! I kind of enjoy the mild stress that comes with finals. I have ADHD so sometimes the extra pressure helps motivate me to stay focused. I’m not a huge fan of the stress that can come along with presentations though.

It’s weird because I am an extrovert who loves talking to new people, but for whatever reason I don’t like public speaking. I had a management presentation a few weeks ago, and I was a little nervous because my class is around 100 students and they’re job was to treat my presentation as a pitch to investors, so I knew they were all very engaged. I went up to present and I started off fine, but about one minute in, I stumbled over a few words and absolutely panicked. I kept presenting and apparently the outside of my body was able to remain calm and collected, but inside my brain was yelling “You gotta get out of here. There’s the door. Run!”. Luckily though I was able to acknowledge the humor and absurdity of what would happen if I actually ran out in the middle of a presentation, which calmed me down and helped me deliver a more relaxed presentation. My presentation this Friday is basically a rerun of the one I did a few weeks ago, but with changes made based on feedback from my peers. Even though I don’t like public speaking, I know that if I practice it this week everything will go fine.

Thanks for spending the time to read this. I wish I had more to talk about, but my November was pretty uneventful. I can’t wait to update you all on how my finals go, and I hope you all have an awesome Winter Break and a Happy Holidays!