The Second Semester

So far, the second semester has been pretty great! I was unable to sign up for a biology class that I will eventually need because the wait list was full, so I am only taking 12 credits. I don’t mind the lack of credits though, and I plan on filling in the spare time by either finding a job on campus, or taking the pre-licensing classes needed to obtain my real estate license. I have been talking to a realtor who helped find a house for my mom a few years back, and I am planning on meeting her for coffee within the upcoming weeks, so hopefully I can learn some valuable information about what a job in real estate entails.

Although I am only taking 12 credits, the classes that I am taking are pretty demanding. The two most challenging ones for me are Business Statistics and Intermediate Applied Microeconomics. I am doing fine in both classes so far, but some of the concepts and equations are very confusing. I know that if I keep working hard though, I will do well in each class and end my sophomore year on a positive note. However, it definitely made me realize that my current major, Applied Economics, might not be the right fit for me, so in the next couple weeks I will be meeting with my councilor to discuss pivoting towards Food and Ag Business Management with an emphasis in Financial Analysis.

To anyone who is reading this, I hope you enjoy the warm weather and I can’t wait to update you next month on how my semester is going!

End of an Awesome Semester

It’s weird how the concept of time can change when you’re in a place you enjoy. Four months ago I was moving into a run down college house in Dinkytown, nervous, excited, and ready to start my journey towards a degree from the U of M. Next thing I know, there’s snow on the ground, and I’m at my favorite library, studying for my last final of the fall semester that I will take on Wednesday the 20th. All the late nights at the library, presentations, homework, and football games seem like they crammed into the length of a month, and its hard to believe it’s been almost 2018. It’s been an excellent semester though, and I’m glad that my confusing journey from Iowa State to MCTC led me to the U of M. I’ve had a fun but focused semester, and although my classes were quite challenging at times, I’m excited to see my final report card, and strive for another successful semester next spring. I’ve signed up for classes, and if I get into the classes I chose, I will be happy to start taking upper level classes that are more centralized on my intended major. Have a happy holidays everyone, and I can’t wait to write another update in February, and let you know how school is going!

Hunkering Down

Uh oh I’m writing this 43 minutes late… I guess that’s what happens when you stray from your to do list. This week has been busier than ever, so the weekly to do list I made on Monday quickly went off course as tasks grew in size, and new ones popped up out of no where. It’s been an enjoyable week though, definitely the most mentally taxing all semester, but I’ve still managed to turn the stress that comes with the approaching end to the semester into a good time.

It wouldn’t have been too jam packed if I hadn’t agreed to switch presentation days with a kid from my public speaking class. I have no regrets though. I was supposed to present my final persuasive speech three weeks from now, because on sign up day I was sick and got the last slot. A kid who had the first slot (next Monday) realized this past Sunday that he had a chemistry test the same day he was supposed to present and asked me to switch. At first I was hesitant, but the idea of finishing all my work for a class three weeks before the end of the semester was too good to pass up, so I accepted his offer. This week though, has been a grind. On top of the upcoming presentation, I have a Moon Observation project due this Friday (tomorrow), a calculus midterm today, and an eight page creative non fiction piece and one page reflection both of which are due tomorrow. Probably wasn’t the best week to add more food to my plate, but it’ll be worth it in the long run.

All in all, this semester is going great, and I am excited to finish strong and have some time off to enjoy the holidays. Considering it’s 1 am, and I have a busy day ahead of me, I should probably get back to bed. Till next time, and I’ll let you know how my presentation goes in my December blog!

I’ve learned a Lot This October

When I was in 5th grade, we had a class called “Media”. In this class we’d learn everything from how to find books in a library, to important computer skills that would come in handy in the future. One of the ways they taught us computer skills was through a game called “Type To Learn”. In this game, you’d type words and phrases on your keyboard to gain points, and eventually you’d move onto higher levels, finish the game, and be excellent at typing. I however, HATED Type To Learn. So instead of doing the tasks assigned, I improved my ability to balance an imaginary marble across a race track and played may favorite computer game “Marble Blast Gold” instead. I was already one of the fastest typist in the class using only my two index fingers, so I saw no purpose relearning a skill I already considered myself a master at. Fast forward to September of 2017, and I am a 20 year old man playing typing games for children to teach myself how to type with all ten fingers. Its now the end of October, and I can happily say that I am typing this blog post with all ten fingers. Aside from learning a skill that I should have learned almost a decade ago, I have learned many important skills these past few months through my increased workload and first time truly living alone.

One important skill I’ve learned over the past couple months is better time management. I’ve always had a problem organizing my daily tasks, but I’ve made it a top priority this year to perfect this important life skill. I have pretty bad ADD and am prescribed a medication which helps tremendously, but I hate the idea of needing to take a pill to complete tasks that are crucial in obtaining a successful future. I still take my Adderall from time to time, but now that I’ve developed a habit of making to-do lists for the upcoming day, and have started reading into the routines of successful people and applying these habits into my life, I find it much easier to make time for important tasks as well as motivate myself to stay focused even when the task at hand is dull or tedious.

Another important skill I’ve learned since starting my sophomore year at the U of M is how to manage my life outside of school, which in return boosts my academic work ethic. This is my first year truly living alone. Yeah I technically lived alone during my time at Iowa State, but this year I don’t have a dining hall to stroll down to when I need food, and I don’t have only a 12 x 8 foot room in a fraternity to clean. Living in a house off campus with no parents or dorm staff, I’ve taught myself how to make time for cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries, and how to do all of these conscious the the fact that I have limited time and money. This is an important life skill to have no matter how old you are, and is a crucial skill to master if you want to live a less stressful life. I am also able to transfer this new level of responsibility towards academic aspects of my life as well, which has helped me better manage my studying time, and has increased my educational work ethic.

These past few months at the U of M have been unbelievable. I’ve learned tons of new things in the classroom, but on top of that, I’ve learned many important skills that help me be the best person I can be in both my academic and personal life. I’m excited to keep you all updated as the fall semester approaches its final two months, and hopefully with the use of these improved skills and habits I’ll have another positive blog post!

 

Settling into the U of M

After a relatively stressful previous school year, I’m happy to say I’m finally settled into the U of M! Classes started this past Monday, and I am living off campus, in Dinkytown, with two of my buddies from high school. Switching schools twice has resulted in some unexpected, but probably pretty common inconveniences like accidental discrepancies in FAFSA info which led to unsent official transcripts, the possibility of owing MCTC a few thousand bucks, and a domino effect of other snags. However, after a summer of frequent MCTC visits, digging through old tax returns, and navigating my way through the consistently contradicting diagnoses as to what was wrong with my account, I was finally able to clear it all up and have a burdenless end to the summer. On September 1st I moved into my new house, just in time to have family and friends over for a Birthday celebration that weekend. Now, a week later, my house has slowly evolved from a post-move clutter of boxes, and into a place that feels like home. After a week of accustoming my self with the campus and settling in, I’m happy to start my collegiate adventure at the U of M.

Another reason I’m excited to start school at the U is because I just found out my GPA starts over from scratch. I worked hard in school last year, but my GPA was not as high as I hoped it would be. This fresh slate is giving me the opportunity to have a new beginning and a GPA that more accurately reflects my intelligence. I’m also happy about this because currently I’m in the College of Food and Natural Sciences, but if I have a strong enough semester, hopefully I’ll be able to transfer into Carlson School of Management. It’ll be a lot of work, but going into business is my dream, and if I put in the effort I know I’ll be able to achieve my goal.

Well shoot. As I finished writing this blog post I recieved a message from the site I ordered MCTC transcripts from saying they couldn’t be sent because I still owe MCTC money… I’ve already cleared up my account balance with a Financial Aid Officer there, but this is a prime example of the continuously contradicting information I’ve been receiving from them. That’s just life though, no need for me to stress about it. My FAFSA clearly qualifies for aid from MCTC, and I know it’ll all get sorted out eventually. Well, aside from that little snag, it’s time to embark on an educational adventure at the University of Minnesota. I can’t wait to keep you all updated!

What A Year

Looking back at my first blog post from August of 2016, it’s funny to see how much unexpected changes have happened since I first embarked on my collegiate journey. There’s a few gaps in my blog posts, so let me give a quick run down of how my school year went:

It all started when I pulled out of the corn fields and into the medium sized town of Ames on a humid August day down in Iowa. My parents dropped me off at Delta Tau Delta, a fraternity that I had joined the summer going into school, and I was officially a college student. I had an awesome fall. I met great people, took interesting classes, and even managed to get in some volunteer hours through service projects my fraternity put on. My first semester GPA was lower than I had hoped, but I was prepared for a strong second semester. The same strip of highway that I had taken in August was now covered in snow, and I headed back to Minneapolis.  It wasn’t until I got home for winter break when I realized things might not go as smooth as I had expected.

I knew going to an out of state school would be pricy, but I was not prepared for the shock I received when I looked at my bank account. I was down to about $500, and I still had another semester to pay for. I had already taken out as much government loans as I could take out, and it now came down to whether or not I wanted to take out private student loans. After taking some business courses, and learning more about economics and finance, I knew there was no way I would dig myself farther into debt. It was a tough decision, but I decided not to attend ISU for a second semester. I looked over my options and after narrowing down a list of about 15 schools, I had decided that I would most likely want to attend the University of Minnesota. Rather than make another impulsive decision, I decided to take a semester at MCTC which in return would let me stay on track credit-wise and buy me a few extra months of decision making time.

After studying most week days at the U of M, and hanging out with my friends that went there, I realized that the U of M was the place I wanted to be in the fall of 2017. I applied to the College of Food and Agriculture intending to major in Applied Economics. The next couple months we’re pretty stressful. I started my summer job as a landscaper which took up most of my focus, but the thought of not getting into the U of M was always in the back of my mind. It was the only school I applied to for the fall semester, so I really put all my eggs in one basket. I started to nervously come up with back-up plans for what to do if my application was denied. Luckily, about two weeks ago I finally heard back, and I am now officially a student at the U of M! I still need to attend orientation and sign up for classes, but I feel as though a very heavy weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

The rest of my summer should be pretty straight forward. I am renting a house with a buddy in Dinkytown this fall, so the final months of summer are gonna be dedicated towards grinding out as much work as I can to save up for the cost of rent and tuition. I am also going to invest my energy in finding a job during the school year, catching up on school related things like orientation and scholarships, and overall preparing for the year ahead of me.

I had no idea that my college experience would turn out like this. It has been mostly stressful, very surprising, and a little exciting. I’m happy that I finally have a stable plan for the fall, and I can’t wait to get back into the swing of things!

The 9-3 Workweek (9am-3am)

I just had one of the most demanding weeks of my life. To preface this story, my English class is set up kinda different. Rather than there being specific due dates for assignments, there’s a list of available assignments and then benchmark dates where each student needs a certain amount of points by the listed day in order to stay enrolled in the class. I had both Econ and Calc tests that I had been focusing most of my energy on, so English homework had been put on a back burner. I took both tests, and my studying had paid off. I was happy and decided I should probably see when my next benchmark for English was. “Uh oh…” I thought to my self. It was a Sunday afternoon, and my deadline was the upcoming Friday. “That’s closer than I thought, but I’ve got a week to get the points required. I’ll be fine”. I was only about 20 points short of the upcoming deadline and was sitting pretty well in the class. I looked over the assignment list and had an awesome idea. Rather than do a small, quick, assignment that will put me just above the required amount, I’ll choose the biggest one I can find so I’ll be well above the points required for the next couple deadlines, and will be able to focus heavily on Math and Econ and have a stress free end of the semester finishing up minor, effortless English assignments just to keep me in the grade A range. I’m glad I decided to do this, but boy did I not realize what I was getting myself into.

I chose an assignment called “Operation Finding Nemo”. Worth 200 points, I knew this would set me very far ahead in the class, and the interesting title caught my attention. I read the briefing and basically I had to put my self in the shoes of a secret agent. The website I used for English, “D2l” was under attack by an unknown hacker and based on a list of clues they’d send me, I had to figure out who the culprit was, what their motive was, and then write a 1000 word minimum argumentative essay based on my findings. Sounded like a lot of work, but I didn’t expect the largest assignment available to be easy. Plus, I’m a weirdo who’s brain is bursting with creativity so I love stuff like this. I clicked on the assignment, and down the sleepless rabbit hole I went.

The clues were bizarre. Basically just series of numbers and letters and random words, and I started to think I might have gotten myself into a project that wasn’t meant to only take a week. My competitive nature kicked in though, and the clues were too intriguing to turn back now. It was go time. Basically my week went like this: 9am wake up and eat breakfast, 10am-12:30pm go to class, 1:30-5:00pm go to work, and then from 6:30pm-3:00am or so I’d grind out the answer this mystery. Luckily my Math and Econ tests were the week before so we were just learning basic stuff in new sections of the textbook and homework for those classes was pretty simple, which meant the majority of my study time could be spent on this pressing assignment. I spent hours at my computer, coffee after coffee trying to decode the clues. One by one I figured them out and started to build a web in my notebook in an attempt to connect the dots. They all were pointing to a town in Ontario called Kitchner so I knew that had to be important, but I had no idea why. I worked out many hunches but all seemed to far fetched. Then on Wednesday I received a clue “H3105 4 6 16”. “That’s gotta be a room number at MCTC” I thought. Later that day, I went to the room and sure enough on the interior of the door frame there was a list of numbers and letters. I plugged in “4 6 16” and got the acronym “CEO”. “What the heck is that supposed to mean…” I wondered exasperatedly. None of my hunches had to do with CEOs and I felt like I was back to square one.

I talked to myself out loud on the drive home trying to piece together this perplexing puzzle. Every time I had an idea, I’d pull over and google it. I looked up businessmen from Kitchener Ontario and got nothing, I wondered if CEO was meant in a different manner and stood for something else, and still came up with nothing. A 15 minute drive turned into 30 minutes, but as I pulled into my driveway it hit me. “Companies based out of Kitchener Ontario” I typed into google. I clicked a link to a list, and sure enough right at the top of the list was “Desire 2 Learn (D2l)”. I punched my steering wheel out of joy and excitedly yelled out some expressions I’m not gonna repeat in this blog post. I had figured it out! The CEO of D2l had hacked his own website to blame and shutdown his only competitor “Blackboard Inc.” in order to gain full control of the multi-billion dollar e-learning industry. The next two days were spent working out my argument and essay, and at 10pm on Friday, just hours before it was due I turned in an exceptional paper that far surpassed the minimum word count.

Although the investigation had no real meaning, I felt as though I had just caught the most wanted man in the world and although I was running on fumes, I didn’t feel tired as my fingers flied excitedly across the keyboard explaining in detail my investigative process and who the culprit was. I ended up getting an A on that assignment, and now I am able to focus more heavily on Econ and Math rather than stressing on the next English benchmark. As demanding as that week was, I had a blast working on that assignment and in a way fed off the stress I was feeling. I’m very glad I chose such a challenging assignment, and it was 100% worth being in bed all weekend in order to catch up on sleep.