“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 week.com

Photo from www.businessweek.com

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: http://events.iu.edu/iub.html

Athletics Calendar: http://www.iuhoosiers.com/calendar/events/Musical Performances: http://music.indiana.edu/events/

Bloomington Community Events: http://calendar.bloomingtonscene.com/

 

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 www.convoyautorepair.com

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 http://www.dcc.edu/resources/flu

Photo from http://www.dcc.edu/resources/flu

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 gohabitat.net

Photo by gohabitat.net

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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A Tale of Two Cities

As a disclaimer, this post has nothing to do with the book.

Image courtesy of Google Maps. Edited by Tiphani D

Image courtesy of Google Maps. Edited by Tiphani D

I am a Kansas City native (from the better, more functional Missouri side, not the dark, desolate Kansas side), and I used to be a fair weather fan; I didn’t want to be there when I was in high school, but when I went off to college and  then graduate school, I missed it terribly. What can be said…often times, the adult longs for the crib as it were; recalling a place where life was all about coloring, watching Disney movies (without analyzing it down to the pixels), and eating cereal, laden with refined sugar.

I almost didn’t trust myself on this topic, due to the extreme bias it permits me to take, without really having to provide any empirical evidence, or legitimate scholarly insight. However, I will attempt to make this post somewhat informative, in that it will hopefully assist as a guide for how to get through the “This city is (insert colorful adjective, noun, or noun phrase here)” inner dialogue, that will without question, plague your mind at least twice a week.

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Tips for Bundling Up

Bundling up means layering! Photo courtesy of www.tumblr.com

January is not only the start of a new semester, but it also the start of the winter season. Bloomington isn’t famous for huge amounts of snow, but we do get at least 1-2 inches once in a while. Bloomington does experience low temperatures (around 20-30 degrees) as well as ice and wind. So bundling up is still necessary.  Here are a few tips I learned while living in the Midwest to make my walk around the Bloomington campus more enjoyable: Continue reading