Spring Break or Vacation?

Deciding to spend spring break in Bloomington was a tough decision. I wasn’t sure what the campus would be like without students.  Did I want to go home? Well, going home would cost $350 in airfare alone, so that option was out.  There was a student affairs conference in Arizona, but I didn’t have $1000+ to make that trip happen.  I could stay in Bloomington to work and make money that I would have spent going somewhere – bingo!

After a lot of thought, I ended up staying in Bloomington and working.  This ended up being the best decision I could have made for myself.  Bloomington is AMAZING without students on campus.  I really took advantage of reminding myself why living here is so relaxing.  My friends and I hung out every day, the weather was beautiful, and we never had to wait long for food when we went out to eat.  While it would have been great to fly home, go to a conference or head to Florida, it was nice to experience life without school for a change in Bloomington.

Below is a picture of my friend, Caitlin and I celebrating St. Patty’s Day while watching the Indiana/VCU basketball game!

 

IU Basketball

I realized that no one has really talked about the phenomenon that is our Indiana University Men’s Basketball team! This year has been really exciting for the Hoosiers! Coming off a few not-so-exciting seasons, this year has definitely been full of excitement!  As a graduate student, you have the opportunity to buy season tickets to the basketball games or you can buy general admission tickets.  I didn’t realize until this year that you didn’t have to buy season tickets to go to the games.  I’m glad I figured it out this year so I could go to my first game! I had a blast at the game.  I couldn’t get enough of singing our fight song and cheering for the team until my voice was hoarse.  If you have never been to a college sports game, I highly recommend it! They are always super fun and there is a great sense of school spirit and camaraderie that is unexplainable.  Check out the inside of assembly hall:

An Inside View of Assembly Hall

‘Tis the Season to Find a Job!

Job searching in Student Affairs is well underway! The spring is a popular time for students graduating in Student Affairs programs across the country to find a job.  It is a time of madness, interviews, campus visits, cover letter writing and resume building.  It can also be an extremely stressful time of the year since you are searching for jobs while trying to be a student at the same time.

I am currently going through this process of finding a professional job in Student Affairs.  So many questions arise…How do I write a cover letter? How long should my resume be? What’s the best fit for me? Where do I apply for jobs? What should I expect during an interview?  So, how do I even know where to start? In class, we frequently discuss our non-negotiables for jobs, meaning what can we absolutely no live without? While some of my non-negotiables are top secret ;) I’m willing to share one of mine: location.

For me, being able to drive home is a non-negotiable. My experience at IU has been WONDERFUL, but I frequently wish I could drive home for a weekend and be back by Monday.  Knowing that I am starting my career in this profession, it is important to me to have a network of support in close range.  This is why I am primarily looking for jobs in one particular region of the country, so I am able to be within 9-10 hours of driving home.

My point being, when you are searching for a job, you need to figure out the most important aspects of an institution, company, or whatever type of job you are looking to do. Find three non-negotiables and stick to them.   My professor always says “There is no such thing as a perfect institution!” She is absolutely right. What are some things you can live with and without?  Once you figure out your non-negotiables, I believe your job search process will become a lot easier and everything will fall into place. If you are searching for a job right now, good luck!!

Adventures of a Housing Grad

If you tuned in to the Adobe Connect chat last week, I spoke a lot about working in on campus with Residential Programs and Services (RPS).  I thought I would provide more details about what I actually do. In order to enter the HESA program, I needed to have an assistantship.  My assistantship is with RPS as a Graduate Supervisor. I live in one of the residence halls on campus and supervise the Resident Assistants in the building.  I gain a lot of experience working with student leaders and organizations within the building.

Why hold an assistantship? There are two main reasons you should hold an assistantship. First, you gain hands on experience in your field.   Secondly, many of the assistantships pay for some or all of your tuition.  If you haven’t thought about getting an assistantship before, it might be something for you to look into holding.

There are a number of assistantships that are available for HESA and non-HESA students. Here’s the link to the RPS website if you are interested in any of the positions: http://www.rps.indiana.edu/gradjobs.cfml

Me with my RAs at a February program

Super Bowl 2012

Last weekend, my friends and I headed up to Indianapolis for the Super Bowl. No, we didn’t actually go to the game, but how often are we going to be so close to the Super Bowl in our lives?  We packed into my car at 8:30am, with Bloomington Bagel Company bagels to keep us company and prepared for an exciting day. The Super Bowl in Indy had a lot to offer! Free concerts, a cheap zipline (I’m afraid of heights, so no thanks) and lots and lots of people! We hung out at Scotty’s restaurant in Indianapolis. There was great service and lots of friendly people.  The streets were full of visitors and native Hoosiers.  I really felt a sense of camaraderie among everyone in the city.  Most of the people at Scotty’s were routing for the Giants, which was fine by me since New York is my second home.  If you are ever living in or near the Super Bowl city, I highly suggest going! It was definitely a once in a lifetime experience! Check out the picture of the JW Marriott, built specifically for the Super Bowl:

 

STOMP!

This past weekend, I went to see STOMP. If you have never seen STOMP, it is a hilariously entertaining experience! The performers where engaging and the dancing was full of non-stop creativity.  One of the best things about being an IU student is the discount on tickets to plays, musicals and other performances they bring in.  Student tickets for STOMP started at $20.  All of the shows have last minute deals where you can get front row tickets at an extreme discount, but you have to show up a couple hours early to score those tickets.  My friends and I got our tickets for $31 and we had great seats! Check out the IU Auditorium website for Spring shows: http://www.ticketmaster.com/Indiana-University-Auditorium-tickets-Bloomington/venue/41148

When to Visit a Program!

Applying to graduate programs is stressful enough, but the decision to visit a program or not definitely takes the cake!  I applied to three graduate programs, two of which I visited and one I did not. The school I did not visit was across the country and since I was already flying to the two other programs, I decided not to visit. However, I took advantage of grad fairs near my hometown and spoke with a number of programs that were there, including the school in California.  I developed relationships at the fair and maintained them throughout the application process and that helped me decided whether or not to visit the program. Here are a few tips that may make the decision to visit schools easier:

  1. Figure out your budget! If you are visiting a number of institutions where you have to fly or get a hotel, you definitely want to figure out how much money you are willing to spend.
  2. How important is the institution to you? I knew that IU was my top choice graduate program, so for me, it was imperative that I meet the faculty and the current students to make sure the school was a good fit for me.
  3. Can you see yourself living at the institution? Since I had never been to Indiana or any of the other school locations, I needed to make sure Bloomington was a place I could live for the next couple of years. Coming from a metropolitan area, I knew living in Bloomington would be an adjustment, but I needed to figure out how much of an adjustment it would be for me.  Visiting the school was the only way I would know if I could live in Bloomington.

These tips helped me make the decision to visit an institution easier. I hope they help you!

 

Thanksgiving in Bloomington

Thinking about attending IU, but concerned you cannot go home for Thanksgiving or other holidays? No problem! The Bloomington community has a number of activities during Thanksgiving that keeps everyone busy! Bloomington Bagel Company has their annual Turkey Trot 5k in the morning, followed by bagels for breakfast. Mother Bear’s, a local pizza joint, has free Thanksgiving pizza for everyone during the day. It is a thick crust pizza, with mashed potatoes as the “sauce,” turkey and stuffing on top, baked to a level of deliciousness you would never believe came from a pizza with mashed potatoes. My friends and I went to try this Bloomington Thanksgiving tradition and were not disappointed. Check out the picture below:

The great thing about staying on campus for Thanksgiving is that you are never alone. About 20 of my cohort mates went to our program director’s house for dinner. It was great being surrounded by my “surrogate” family on Thanksgiving and made the holiday go by much faster. Here’s an action shot of my peers mingling at dinner:

MWCLC

A few weeks ago, my friend and I presented at the Men and Women of Color Leadership Conference hosted at IU. This conference was attended by many grads, undergraduates and professional staff members from across the country. The theme of this year’s conference was “War on Education: What Does it Mean for U.S?” My friend and I were intrigued by the topic and the opportunity to present at a conference during our graduate school experience. This conference inspired a number of my peers to take action and ownership over our experiences here at IU and our careers. We were encouraged to do whatever we could to get the experience that we wanted when we first entered IU. It gave us a renewed sense of purpose and comraderie among our peers. Want to learn more about the conference, check out the website: http://www.indiana.edu/~moc/

Visiting Bloomington and Don’t Know Where to Eat?

If you are planning to visit Bloomington this year, you are in for a real treat! Bloomington has almost every cuisine possible including Thai, Turkish, Cajun, Mediterranean, Japanese and more. One of my favorite restaurants is Anatolia, a Turkish restaurant in town. Their red lentil soup is amazing! It is also extremely affordable. Check out their website here: http://www.restaurantanatolia.com

Another Bloomington favorite is Scotty’s. This American grill has the best fried pickles I’ve ever had! To be fair, I’d never had fried pickles (also known as dill chips) before I moved to Indiana, however, they are a must have when you come to visit Bloomington. Here’s the link to their website: http://www.scottysbrewhouse.com/locations/bloomington

Bloomington is also extremely vegetarian friendly, so there is plenty to eat for everyone. The Farm (http://www.farm-bloomington.com) and the Owlery (http://www.theowleryrestaurant.com/location.html) are some of my favorite vegetarian spots. I’ve been a vegetarian for the last 16 years and I have never had an issue eating in Bloomington. Even if you are not at a vegetarian restaurant, there is usually something on the menu you can eat.

If you are interested in other Bloomington restaurants, check out Visit Bloomington. There is a lot of valuable information about restaurants and other activities in Bloomington. Here’s the link: http://www.visitbloomington.com