I'm a first year at the University of Chicago and this is my blog about what my life is like here. I'm just one person, and this is just my experience. I can't speak for everyone but I can hopefully answer questions and ease some pre-college jitters!

ABOUT ME
I have a lot of homework and not a lot of time, I'm still figuring out laundry, my dorm is right next to the site of the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, and I've seen the first Heisman trophy in our gym. I have visited the burial grounds of fun, the squirrels are strange, and my life is theoretical. I BLEED MAROON. :)

So my first year is over.

I’m home and moved out of of the dorm for the summer. I haven’t completely adjusted to being back yet. If any rising first years have questions this summer as you get closer and closer to o-week, I can do my best to answer them. Besides that, I’m off for the summer. :) 

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GOING TO COLLEGE IN A BIG CITY

howdoiputthisgently:

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In my Environmental History of the Earth class today…

We had a guest lecturer, Neil Shubin. He’s one of the guys who discovered the transitional species between lobe finned fish and tetrapods (Tiktaalik). If that means nothing to you ( like it would’ve to me when I woke up this morning) it basically means he found that spieces of fish that developed a fin that fuctioned as both a fin and a foot and had a neck. Still unclear? It’s the species that bridged the gap between fish evolving into beings capable of living on land. 

This may sound a little precocious, but you don’t get this at a state school or at most universities in general.  

The University of Chicago has got connections. People want to be here and the world wants people from here. And even though I’m an academically average first year undergrad, it makes me feel cool by association as Joey Donner put it in 10 Things I Hate About You. 

At this university you are presented with so many incredibly opportunities. It’s overwhelming at times because there is no way you can take advantage of all of them. But there is no way for you to go through a year here and not benefit from any of them. They’re every where you look. 

Also, one beautiful and occasionally intimidating thing about college is that the professors (especially in non-core classes) know their subject. I mean, they really know it. Most of them have dedicated an impressive and almost vulgar chunk of their life to learning everything they can about that subject and they are the ones trying to work through the issues presented by everything we already know. They passionately love their subject and want you so desperately to understand and love it too. And, they see you as someone who could potentially, as a peer and colleague, help them work through their own questions. They aren’t just throwing facts at you. Well, sometimes they are. On the flip side, they know so much and care so much that if you don’t care proportionately it can be hard to really invest yourself in a class which can become a major barrier. Also, sometimes they know so much that they can’t teach you at a basic level and understand how little you really understand. 
Regardless, many of them are some of the most intellectually brilliant people in the world. You can either chalk it up to luck and blessings or your high tuition bill. Either way, that’s one thing UChicago’s definitely got going for it. 

<3 Your favorite first year

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Okay, okay I’m sorry.

So that was a bit of a long hiatus, forgive me. I’ve been living life. (which people do here, despite our reputation)

I said ages ago that I’d write about this and I guess it’s time.

Frats.

About 73.2% of you just groaned and clicked the unfollow button. The other 27.8% are eagerly reading on either out of genuine interest in Greek life or because you want to hear all about my social life…

Just kidding. Kind of.

I will not be talking about sororities today. They’re a different topic all together.  

Frats here are not as big a deal as they are in say, the south or any SEC school. However, for the mainstream party scene frats and frat brothers are key. Especially during fall quarter of your first year. Each frat has their own reputation and if you frequent them often enough, you’ll figure out which ones you like. I’ll keep my personal preferences to myself so as not to offend anyone. In general, if you know a lot of brothers in the frat you’ll enjoy it more. 

What to expect at a frat party at UChicago:

It’s the same set up almost every time unless it’s themed or a special party. It can be incredibly boring or one of the most fun nights of the quarter depending on what you make of it and how the chips fall.

I have yet to hear about someone being roofied but I’m sure it happens. Don’t use the bathrooms if you can avoid it. Do become friends with the brothers. Don’t go alone. Do meet new people. This is college. It’s one of the few times in your life where it will be socially acceptable to just walk up to someone and start a conversation and where there will be a group of people your age in similar circumstances who are starting new. Don’t expect to have a good conversation ( or any conversation for that matter) on the dance floor. Do have a frat jacket that you don’t really care about getting dirty or losing. Don’t have a black northface or pea coat as your frat jacket. 

Like I said, frats can get old quick. Apartment party invites pick up with the more people you know.


Frats vary in their intensity of traditional frattiness and lately there has been a movement to increase that presence on campus. 

Fratting can also take a lot out of your weekend, energy and time wise which can lead to lowered grades and a decrease in blog posts. 

If this doesn’t sound like you, give it a shot. I didn’t think I’d like it much either, and here I am frequenting frats regularly. If you try it and don’t like it, don’t stress.  Like I said, about 73.2% of people here agree with you and would love to spend friday and saturday night with you at an apartment party or downtown or at a show or a dorm party or just chilling doing whatever. 

Life is your oyster. 

See you next Fraturday,

<3 Your favorite first year
 

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First Saturday of Third Quarter

I’m waiting for my take out from Noodles,Etc. I just got back from my first track meet which was quite cold but went pretty well. My first week of classes was chill as the first week usually is. What classes am I taking?

The third quarter of my SOSC sequence in Classics of Social and Political Thought, the Environmental History of the Earth, and Mary and Mariology. 

Classics of Social and Political Thought will have readings from de Tocqueville, Marx, Du Bois, Mill, and Nietzsche. The Environmental History of the Earth will be about the history of the environment. It’s for non-science majors and right now we’re taking about time and dating the earth, it’s various strata, and the solar system. It’s actually been really interesting thus far. It’ll be my first science class at uchicago which means my first labs. We’ll see how that goes… Mary and Mariology is the class everyone keeps asking me about. It’s a class on the Virgin Mary and her cult. All of the Catholics out there understand what I’m saying. Basically, its a class examining the theological effects of Mary and the development of her story and people’s devotion to her. This is my first non-core class. Only half of the class are undergrads. There are people in my class who have dedicated the last couple years of their lives to studying religion and they know so much. It’ll be interesting to see if this kind of atmosphere is overwhelming or if I’ll be able to handle it. It’s my wild card class. 

Also, yes I am only taking three classes and I’m okay with it. Mary and Mariology will have a lot of reading and with outdoor track and spring fever, three classes will be enough I’m sure. 

I hope y’all are planning on coming out to visit in the next few weeks on your overnight! Let me know if you have any questions! 

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Tomorrow

At about 9:05am Mountain Time, I fly back to Chicago for my third and last quarter of my first year in college. I have to tell you, I’m a little bit more hesitant this time. First quarter you just kind of jump in and hope you can swim or at least figure it out as you go. Second quarter you come off of a three week break, ready to be back at school and confident that you might actually know what you’re doing and how the system works. It might just be the homebody daddy’s girl part of me talking but I’m quite nervous. I don’t really want to leave my family this time. Because they were all at work and in school I didn’t get sick of them like during winter break when we’re all trapped together. I miss a lot of my sister’s milestones being so far away but I like having people to skype and call all the time. Also contributing to the anxiety, This quarter I’m doing some different things with my classes. I’m only taking three classes, one of which is science and another that isn’t a core requirement. This will be the first time since kindergarten where I will not be studying math regularly. It’s also outdoor track season which is my favorite. I have a feeling third quarter is going to be hard. My friends and sisters are done with school in six weeks. I still have eleven to go. 

I also want to comment on my last blog about home. You will always have those friends. The core few. You won’t see each other everyday. You’ll be lucky to talk to each other more than once a week. If you talk to them much more you’re not giving college people a chance. It takes a little more effort to keep in touch but you also have more leeway if you forget to call or don’t respond in the first half of a second. No matter what, you’ll have a few really good friends who keep in touch and it’ll mean that much more to you. 

Back to the point…with that said, anxieties and all, I think I’m going to like this quarter. I love spring especially as it turns to summer. I love outdoor track. I’m excited about my classes. It’s decided then.

Game on.

As y’all start making college decisions, feel free to ask me if you have questions about anything! 

<3 Your favorite first year

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coming home

I’m writing this update from the bedroom I grew up in. It’s spring break and I’m back in my hometown with my family for a week of lounging around and doing whatever I please.

Here’s the thing about going back to your hometown on college breaks: it’s not the memories you left. You can’t pull into your high school parking lot and see your friends car’s. You don’t know the people on the baseball team anymore. You don’t know what’s going on in every person’s life regardless of how diligently you facebook stalk them. Your hometown will not feel exactly like all the memories you have of it. But it’s still your hometown. Everything changes and it’s okay. 

Spring break is particularly hard if you’re just going home because, at least this year, our break is a week after most schools on the semester system. Which means it could possibly get really boring if you’re not careful. Starting Monday, my parents will be working and my sisters will be at school and I’ll have the house to myself. 

It’s not all bad, though. I just went to the library and checked out six books that I plan on reading purely for pleasure and not with a paper topic in mind. There are a few movies I want to see in theatre and I now have a widescreen TV with cable and a DVR to appreciate. I also have a kitchen open 24/7, a car, and minimal responsiblities. 

But to be honest, I’m going to get bored and restless. I’m going to miss my roomie when I’m in bed, alone in my dark and quiet home. I’m going to miss someone making my breakfast every morning. I already miss my blankets. 

So this whole coming home thing is bittersweet because I love my hometown and my family and the house I grew up in but I miss my college family too. It’s hard having two homes sometimes. 

For those of you who are worried that I will turn into a complete couch potato, don’t worry. I brought my practice clothes and I have a series of lifts I have to do,etc. 

It’s time to relax.

<3 Your favorite first year 

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oh hey, long time no see

What am I up to? Well as of late, my life is all about finals. Well, mostly about finals.

Although, Wednesday night I went on a house trip to Second City to watch some improv/sketch comedy. If you don’t know what Second City is (like I didn’t until this fall), it’s an improv company where many of the nations best comedians get their start (i.e. Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Stephen Colbert,Steve Carrell, Bill Murray Jane Lynch, etc). And it was absolutely hilarious. They were incredible. So skilled in what they do. Want more info? Check it out: www.secondcity.com

Then I got to work. I’ve got a 3-4 page paper on Dante’s Inferno due tomorrow at midnight, a math midterm on Monday, a 10 page paper on Smith, Kant, and Burke due on Thursday, and my Intro to Art short essay test due Friday. And then Spring Break! 
The nice thing is that I’ve had yesterday and today off of school for Reading Period. Basically, the school ends classes on Wednesday and gives you a four day weekend before finals week to study. Some people actually study, others emphasize the weekend aspect and most do a little bit of both.

Also, I would like to note the strangely beautiful weather we had this week. There were at least three days of 60+ degree weather. It was incredibly windy but not cold at all. Today was a bit more chilly, but spring is definitely in the air. 

Coming up this week, I obviously have all my finals but online Add/Drop starts on Monday. Last week ( I think?) I bid for classes and then I got my schedule this week. This coming week I can make adjustments to my classes based on current enrollments. Super exciting. 

Also, here is my shameless Kony 2012 plug: if you haven’t watched the video yet, watch it. http://vimeo.com/37119711

Okay, enough linkage. Let me know if there’s anything specific you want to hear about! :)

<3 Your favorite first year 

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Lent

dear all,

I am prematurely beginning lent. This means that I will only have access to tumblr from fridays at 4 until saturdays at 11:59pm until the end of April. I’ll still do weekly updates and keep you posted as best I can but the day to day posts will severely decrease. 

<3 Your favorite first year

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It’s 11:30 on Saturday

And I’m sitting in my dorm room writing my paper on St.Augustine’s Confessions occasionally interspersed with conversations with my roomie about everything from the British school system to the latest gossip and everything inbetween.

This was all preluded by a track meet and some delicious pad thai and thai iced tea that I ordered in earlier from Noodles,etc. and enjoyed while watching the last episode of Skins UK season 2. 

It’s not a crazy night out. It’s not adventurous and exhilarating but I love it all the same. In fact, a night in is exactly what I want right now. 

Time to write my conclusion.

<3 your favorite first year 

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