No Day But Today

Tonight, RENT is playing at the Indiana University Auditorium. I have a ticket but decided not to go because I value my health…you see, it rained this evening and temperatures have dropped  below freezing such that walking anywhere means walking on ice. It’s dangerous and taxing to walk outside. However, I’m not letting that stop me from seeing RENT. I’ve rented the DVD from one of the local libraries and I’m watching from home so that I still get the intended message from the musical that “there’s no day but today.” I don’t have tomorrow to relive the opportunities I have today, nor can I be concerned with missed opportunities of yesterday. Therefore, I’m going to make the most of my current situation.

I’d like to encourage you to do the same. Life in Bloomington will throw you curve balls. You won’t expect some of the experiences you’ll have here, both good and bad. However, roll with the punches. Enjoy life and learn from your mistakes. Adjust to the various seasons you’ll experience and go with the flow. People will enter and exit your life. Allow that to happen. It’s for the best. You’ll grow and be stretched in unimaginable ways. Good for you. You’ll be like a tree with vast water source and rich soil: able to grow tall with wide branches and fat leaves to give shade to the saplings growing in the safety of your shadow.

So back to today: LIVE YOUR LIFE!!

A wise person told me that everybody has to die, but, not everyone gets to live.  Live each day like it’s your last. Stop blaming your misfortune on yesterday and LIVE TODAY.

We can’t get back yesterday. All we have is today. Therefore, the following song is dedicated to all of yesterday:

Peace and blessings,


5 Ways to enjoy the (campus) Staycation


Who isn’t excited to have a little time off? But often as graduate students we don’t have the option to bail on teaching and graduate responsibilities during breaks. Whether it’s because traveling is too expensive or have an approaching deadline for a project you will, on occasion, find yourself in town during a school break. Staying in town when the majority of the student body vacates can seem disheartening, but have no fear, here are five hidden ways to enjoy your campus staycation.

1) First, appreciate the silence. Ok maybe not complete silence, but the bustle of cars, buses and people everywhere tends to settle down during long breaks.

2) Remember that you’ll have a more flexible schedule. The demands of seminars, attending meetings and/or teaching courses are reduced (if not eliminated) thus allowing you to be more flexible with your days. Perhaps you can take the opportunity to sleep in or leave campus early.

3) Get out and explore the town! Our schedules are always jam packed, so we rarely have free time to explore. Go ahead and try a new restaurant. The wait times are usually non-existent during long breaks, so treat yourself to that new place you’ve been wanting to try. This is also a great time to catch a movie, go to the gym, library or other campus hotspots that can feel overpopulated during regular semester hours can be easier to manage during the breaks.

*FYI* Check operating hours as businesses may adjust times or close for repairs due to fewer patrons.

4) Resources are abundant, whether trying to use the campus printing, valuable office space, or the machines that always seem to be taken. It is highly unlikely you are the only one around, but there are far fewer people everywhere making it easier to access shared equipment.

5) Lastly, you are not alone. There are tons of other grad students in the same boat. Plan to meet up with people you don’t get to see regularly because of your busy schedules. So use the time to reconnect with old buddies or if you’re new to campus, use it as an opportunity to make new friends.

10 things about the 2017 eclipse you must know

Hello, Readers!

Firstly, check out IU’s plans for the eclipse right here: Everyone in Indiana will see a partial eclipse.

Map of the Eclipse, Courtesy:

(1) Do not look at the Sun during the partial eclipse, UNLESS you have the right solar eclipse viewing glasses. Check here if you have the right glasses: Look at the map above to find out if you are in the totality or not.

(2) You can look at the sky during totality. If you are under the path of totality, you still CANNOT look at the Sun at all times, except for the duration of totality. The totality is when the Moon completely blocks the Sun. In 2017, the totality may last from 1 second to up to 2 minutes 40 seconds.

(3) About Glasses. Trivial but important: do not look up and then wear glasses. Always wear glasses with your head down, and then look upwards toward the sky and find the Sun.

(4) Eclipse without glasses. If you don’t have glasses, here is a way to make your own pinhole camera:
Leaves act as excellent pinhole cameras.

Sun during a solar eclipse through the leaves of a tree. By User:Ellywa (Self-photographed) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sun during a solar eclipse through the leaves of a tree. By User:Ellywa (Self-photographed) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

(5) This eclipse is the first Transcontinental Total Solar Eclipse in the USA in 99 years. Interstate highway system didn’t exist the last time.

(6) Largest Organized Mass Transportation. The eclipse will be the largest organized mass transportation in the US history. Expect the traffic on all major highways to be crazy. Plan to have sufficient gas. Carry extra food. Finding restrooms will be hard.

(7) Eclipse in 2024. Another total solar eclipse will come to the United States in 2024.

(8) Total solar eclipses are rare for a given physical location. Los Angeles will see the next total solar eclipse in the year 3290. On April 1st.

Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France.  Credit: Luc Viatour / via Wikimedia Commons.

Total Solar eclipse 1999 in France. Credit: Luc Viatour / via Wikimedia Commons.

(9) The eclipse is evidence that the Earth, the Moon, and the Sun are round. The event is an appreciation of the astronomical size scales, the Sun is so far away (~8.5 light minutes) that it appears to be the same size as the Moon. The Moon is so little that about 50 of those can fit inside Earth, and the Earth is so tiny that more than a million Earth can fit inside the Sun.

(10) Eclipses have occurred since the formation of the solar system, but total solar eclipses will stop happening after a long time, once the Moon recedes sufficiently father away from us. Yes, the Moon’s orbit is getting larger, at a rate of about 38 millimeters per year. At this rate, the Moon’s distance from the Sun will always be astronomically high.



Image Caption: Eclipse in Bloomington, Courtesy:

“Out to lunch”

Bloomingtonians seem to have an almost pathological love of lunch. Between noon and 1:00pm every day, a huge proportion of the campus shuts down as the staff heads off to eat. It’s like the nostalgic, small-town satire where literally everything in town (even the stray dogs) hangs out an “Out to Lunch” sign as soon as the clock strikes noon. I know that’s the traditional lunch time but 1) who actually gets an hour  for lunch? (The answer: IU Bloomington), and 2) I worked at the University of Minnesota for about 7 years and never saw anything like this! Bloomington is very weird in this regard.

So, this massive lunch-hour exodus has two important implications for graduate students. The first is obvious: don’t try to get any university business done between noon and 1:00pm. Don’t try to sort out a registration anomaly, file paperwork for a research grant, or contact the department of your minor advisor to get a form signed. Don’t!

The second implication is less obvious. Since 90% of the population of Bloomington, IN goes to lunch at the same time, this means the restaurants are clear and accessible at every other time in the afternoon. Beyond that, you will find that a few establishments even have discounts if you go for lunch after 2 or 3pm.

What does this have to do with you? Well, as a graduate student, you probably do not keep regular 9-5 hours. If you are like me, you are working from like 7am – 3am most days. As such, “lunch time” need not be at noon. It’s not like you’re punching a clock or staying compliant with  federal labor laws: you can eat whenever you want to! Sure the little Blooming Foods deli behind Nick’s English Hut is pretty crowded at 12:18pm but, if you go in three hours later, you will find it nearly empty and that  many of their pre-packaged deli stuff is on 30% discount.

Playbills and Ticket Stubs !

Photo from business

Photo from

Putting down my books on a weeknight can be difficult and turning off my laptop on the weekend can be even harder. Breaks are necessary for a graduate student in coursework, studying for qualitative exams, writing proposals, and dissertating. I wrote a previous blog about the Musical Arts Center and the performances featured there, which are usually student centered including ballets, operas, and orchestral concerts.

It wasn’t until 2013 that I discovered exactly how amazing the IU Auditorium is. Working as a Co-Chair of the Committee for Fee Review (a committee of students across IU Bloomington campus that reviews the fee allocation for all student groups and auxiliary units on campus) I met Doug Booher, the Director of the Auditorium and learned some very important things about this institution on campus. It is an award winning and nationally recognized university auditorium, as well as being a top student employer on campus.

The yearly calendar of events and performances is impressive to say the least and student pricing is pretty great too. I’ve seen Bill Maher‘s stand up and most recently the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater perform at the IU Auditorium. There are even season ticket options to make sure you take those necessary breaks and enjoy a play, musical, dance concert, or public lecture!!

My Favorite Thing about IU

I think one of my favorite things about IU is the sheer amount of activities to do in Bloomington!  I have a lot of interests, and I have a pretty adventurous spirit.  I like to try new things, and Bloomington has a lot of great opportunities to explore.  Even better, student discounts and free events are the best!  I just recently went to an Itzhak Perlman (check him out playing Schindler’s List theme) for $20 on a student discount.   Just on one campus, you can experience D1 sports teams, world-renowned musical performances, art exhibits, cultural festivals, indie bands, and much more.  When I need a break from academics, I can pick and choose what types of events I can spend an evening with.

Some great links that I check out from time to time:

The IUB events calendar:

Athletics Calendar: Performances:

Bloomington Community Events:


When things don’t go as expected: Car edition

Regular maintenance with your car will prevent these scary signals from popping up. However, when you have an 5+ old car expect major repairs and bills. Photo courtesy of

People tell you to save for grad school.  But what does that money go towards?  The most visible channels of your savings goes to tuition, fees, and living expenses.  However, one of the most unexpected expenses I faced Continue reading

It’s that time of the year…

Photo from

Photo from

That’s right, its flu season. In addition to bundling up to brave freezing cold temperatures, occasional snow showers, and thick patches of ice on your way to class and work, now you’ve got to worry about the dreaded flu. Not to fret, the IU Health Center wants students to be proactive and prepare for the flu season (which, by the way can last until April!) by getting a flu shot.

Flu season or not, the IU Health Center is a great resource for graduate students, especially Student Academic Appointees utilizing the mandatory health insurance plan. There are registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors, psychologists, nutritionists, phlebotomists, and even massage therapists on staff to provide a range of services to students. There is also a pharmacy right inside. Also, remember that more than likely at any institution you attend for graduate studies, the student fees you pay are helping to fund health centers.

…stay safe and stay smart! A strong and healthy immune system is the only way those chapters will get written, presentations get finished, and papers get graded.

Freezing your Assets: How to Save Money in a Polar Vortex

Photo by

Photo by

Any Midwesterner will tell you, the Midwest doesn’t have “mild” temperature very often. Winter is no exception. When it’s cold outside, all one really wants to do is crank up the heater to a toasty 85 degrees, eat chocolate, and sit down to a fun movie, courtesy of Netflix. Unfortunately, doing so will has a direct correlation to the electric bill. I’m going to provide a few tips here for saving money when Jack Frost decides to swoop in and steal away your happiness warmth.
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