Hall Wars 2012

The Residence Hall Association‘s Hall Wars is always a blast, and this year was no exception!

Hall Wars is a competition held between every residence hall on campus. During a day full of events, teams from every hall have the opportunity to show their hall pride, rock stellar team uniforms, compete in fun (and creative) games, and work together to try to win an awesome, huge trophy! And let’s not forget about the cool Hall Wars t-shirts and bragging rights!

Hall Wars shirts from 2011 and 2012, respectively! Both competitors and volunteer staff members get shirts every year!
Hall Wars shirts from 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Both competitors and volunteer staff members get cool shirts like these every year!

Hall Wars is in its third year now and the theme changes every year. As you can see in these t-shirts, the theme for 2011 centered on superheroes while the theme for 2012 revolved around 90′s Nickolodeon cartoons and game shows. Both were a ton of fun! And I have been so lucky to have been involved and had so much fun at both of them. For me, though, neither 2011 nor 2012 can compare to Hall Wars 2010… because Hall Wars 2010 (the very first Hall Wars) was my creation.

The first Hall Wars was the brainchild of my advisor Mike and I when I was the RHA Activities Director during the 2009-2010 academic year. We started working on the project–a series of games and challenges–in October of 2009 with the support of my activities committee, a group of 14 RHA members and non-members alike. Together, the 16 of us planned, organized, recruited, and generally worked our tails off to put it all together. And in April of 2010, we did just that–giving life to a new and wildly popular RHA tradition.

Hall Wars 2010
Hall Wars 2010 was my proudest accomplishment during my term as RHA Activities Director.

So now, after 3 years in action, Hall Wars has grown into one of RHA’s largest annual events. I’m excited to see what it will look like in the future, and if this year is any indication, it’s only going to get better and better!

Student of the Year

I can’t believe it! I’m still in shock!

On Saturday, I was named the Indiana Residence Hall Organization’s (IRHO) Student of the Year for 2011-2012!

I have been highly involved on campus since I first came to Ball State almost four years ago, but I never expected this…
IRHO is sort of like the state-wide version of the Residence Hall Association that I am president of at Ball State. It’s a gathering of student leaders from residence hall organizations from campuses all over Indiana to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and work together to advance leadership skills and personal development. Each year, elected student representatives (called Hoosier Communication Coordinators, or HCCs) from each of the member campuses get together at the IRHO Conference (IRHOC–pronounced like “I rock”) to work on legislation and select winners for such awards as Student of the Year and Executive Board Member of the Year, among many others. These HCCs also bring along student delegations and professional advisors from their schools. While the HCCs are in the boardroom working on official IRHO business, these delegations and advisors attend programming sessions, roundtable discussions, and impromptu cheer sessions! I have had the extreme pleasure of attending two of these conferences (the first in 2009 at St. Mary’s College in South Bend, IN, and the second in 2010 at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN) during my time at Ball State and they were both a blast! Unfortunately, though, I was unable to attend this year (for reasons I will explain in my next post). I had been nominated for Student of the Year by Ball State’s representatives to the conference and had worked closely with our HCC to create a bid for the award: check out my bid!

And Saturday night I found out while I was at work! It was all I could do to keep from shrieking and crying, which would have been more than a little embarrassing… but don’t worry, I held myself together for the most part! :)

I was not the only Ball State student honored that night though. Rachel Spudic, who is the Public Relations Director for RHA, was named Executive Board Member of the Year! Check out her bid! Additionally, the Ball State delegation at the conference brought home awards for Best Display, Best Roll Call, Most Spirited Delegation, and Top Program. All in all, we had a stellar showing at IRHOC 2012!

If you’re interested in this conference or others like it (such as those for GLACURH or NACURH), I encourage you to check out Ball State’s Residence Hall Association! We’ve always got a ton of awesome opportunities to get involved and have a great time!

Today, we résumé!

It’s about time!

You may remember I mentioned in my last post that I am taking an Interviewing class this semester. That being the case, it makes sense that I would have to write a résumé for class! Besides, I need an updated résumé to apply for graduate school, jobs, etc. And you need a résumé too! Whether you’re applying for college, scholarships, on-campus jobs, summer jobs, or asking a professor or supervisor for a letter of recommendation, providing a résumé is a great way to highlight your skills and accomplishments! So, in the spirit of résumé season and doing my homework, let’s review a few tips that I’ve picked up over the last few years.

  1. A good résumé should be tailored to the skills and expectations of whatever position you are applying for.
  2. Always keep it professional! Slang, misspellings, superfluous lines and decorations–they’re all just distracting!
  3. Use your full name on the top of the page. You wouldn’t want to be confused with anybody else!
  4. Include an objective. This part is optional but can be a great way to show what you’re interested in, especially if you don’t have a personal statement or cover letter to send.
  5. Try to use action verbs instead of passive language and.
A résumé is like your own personal salesmen, trying to win your an interview. Once you’ve got the interview booked, you can let your personality and skills shine through and then it’s all down hill from there!
No matter what you’re applying for–whether it’s graduate school and jobs like I’m applying for, or summer employment and colleges–making a résumé is just one step in the process. And I’m definitely glad that I have this Interviewing class to make sure mine is in tiptop shape!

When it comes down to applying for important stuff for after graduation, I just have to keep reminding myself…

Welcome to Class

One week in and I am already excited for my classes this semester. They’re certainly going to be challenging, but I’m looking forward to everything I’ll be learning!

Let’s break down the semester:

First, I’m taking COMM 220: Argumentation and Debate as a night class. Night classes typically aren’t my favorite, but I think this is going to be a great experience (since night classes are usually much longer, it’s typically a lot easier for presentation-based classes, so in this case it should be great)! I was a debate coach in high school so I’ve been looking forward to taking a debate course since I entered college; I wanted to save it up for my last semester though so I could have some fun with it!

Second, COMM 325: Interviewing. Interviewing skills are essential, so when I found out this course was being offered in my minor, communication studies, I jumped on it! This semester, we’re building resumes, writing cover letters, examining the purpose and procedure behind different types of interviews, and learning how to be better interviewers and interviewees. When I land a big important job one day because I owned the interview, I’ll let you know!

Next up is PSYSC 424: Psychology of Diversity. This is my last lecture psychology course so it’s sort of a bittersweet feeling, but I am really looking forward to this class. Diversity issues and initiatives have always interested me so I’m looking forward to exploring the different variations that make us all unique.

Then we have SP 340: Linguistics. I can tell you right now that this course is going to be no paseo por el parque (walk in the park). We’re examining the development of the Spanish language, it’s various regional and dialectical influences, and the significance of individual words, sounds, and placement within the language. I feel pretty confident that this course is going to be a big help in my progress towards being truly bilingual.

Next is HONRS 390, which is a colloquium class through the Honors College. Each semester, professors in the Honors College can design their own courses based on areas of interest and those courses are offered as special credits. Students in the Honors College are required to take 2 colloq classes to graduate. This class is actually my third colloq and is entitled “Social, Cultural and Educational Meanings of Tattoos, Piercings and Body Art.” Cool, huh??

My last class is PSYSC 479: Practical Experience in Psychology, which I am completing my working as a Teaching Assistant (TA) for PSYSC 100: Introduction to Psychology. This course is unique in that it is an opportunity to synthesize practical experience in a field with academic exploration and guidance. Last semester, you may remember I took this course as an intern in the Counseling Center Resource Room; this semester will be very different though, as I am exploring what it would be like to be an instructor of psychology. As such, I am in charge of a group of 26 students and teach weekly study sessions to ensure understanding and application of the materials we learn in class. We’ve only just begun the semester and I’ve already had several students come to me with questions! I think this is going to be a great experience!

To round out my hours for this semester to 18 (which is the maximum that a student can take with out being considered “overloaded”), I plan to work on my honors thesis in HONRS 499. I am currently working with my thesis advisor to submit my proposal for approval, but assuming everything goes according to plan, I should know by the end of the week if I can begin working on my project!

There is certainly a lot going on academically this semester, but let’s not forget that I’ve also got to mix in my campus involvement, working, and some social time! Challenging? Definitely, but totally worth it. Stay tuned!

Spring 2012: The Beginning of the End

This is it, my last semester in college. I’m one week in and I can already feel that bittersweet sensation settling in. It took me 18 years to get here and it’s surreal when I think that in just 4 short months, I’ll be saying goodbye to life as an undergrad.

I can honestly say that I am a dramatically different person today than when I entered college 3.5 years ago. Now, I’m smarter, more confident, have the greatest friends I could ever dream of, and my mind is open to all of the possibilities that now await me. I’m more myself than I’ve ever been, but I’m also more flexible and open, ready to learn and grow from my experiences.

This past week–my last first week in college–has been intense. I’ve adjusted to new classes and a dramatically different class schedule, I picked up a third position working on campus, I started working as a teaching assistant for Introduction to Psychology, and I started living alone for the first time in my life; not to mention getting used to being in Muncie without 2 of my closest friends, who have both finished their time on campus. One week down, 17 to go until graduation. After that? TBD.

I can tell you one thing for sure though: I am going to miss this place.
Ball State Best Friends Ball State: the best decision I ever made.

Dave + Maddow

I am currently waiting for the David Letterman and Rachel Maddow event to get started. Check out the crowd!

20111202-160211.jpg
And yes, this does mean that my seat is all the way in the back. On the up side, this means I’ll be first in line for the bathroom when intermission starts!

GRE: the SAT for grown ups

I did it! I survived!!!

Yesterday, I took the Graduate Record Examination… that’s roughly 4.5 hours of standardized testing. And I am so glad to have lived through it!

I’m the first one in my family to take the GRE, so I had no idea what to expect until I registered for my exam two months ago. Turns out the GRE is kind of like the SAT, but for college seniors instead of high school seniors: it tests your skills for the next level of education, uses words you didn’t know existed, and makes you wish you hadn’t had so much soda before you started the test. It was truly a difficult test, but I was ready for it–I was certainly nervous going in, but when I actually started working, I realized I was much more prepared than I had previously thought. Kudos to my last 3.5 years of college work and my last 1.5 months of studying! Now I just have to actually apply to graduate school… wish me luck!

The GRE (as well as many other major exams such as the LSAT, CLEP tests, Praxis exams, etc.) is actually offered through Ball State’s Testing Center in Lucina Hall so it was convenient too.

And what better way to celebrate completing my GRE than by walking down the hall for a relaxing massage in the Counseling Center Resource & Relaxation Room massage chair! It’s free and open to Ball State students–no appointment required!

Massage Chair
This chair is great for helping to relieve stress after a long week–or taking a tough test!

Out-of-State Student Perks at BSU

You may remember that I’m not from around these parts… I hail from San Antonio, TX. For those of you not familiar with that city, it’s waaaaaaay far away–about 22 hours away by car. But you know home is where the heart is so I saved up and bought a plane ticket to fly home for Thanksgiving this year…and it was DELICIOUS! I definitely needed a weekend at home to recharge my batteries before the final drive toward finals week.

Obviously, I don’t get to go home very often since I live so far away, and I’ll admit it was definitely hard to adjust to when I first came to Ball State. Now that I’m a senior though, I have come to appreciate some of the special perks that come with being an out-of-state student here at BSU.

 

  1. It makes going home so much sweeter.
    I only get to see my family for a few long visits instead of several more frequent and shorter visits throughout the year, so I have come to truly value the time I have with them.
  2. Getting to know a whole new world.
    I come from a part of the country that looks very different from central Indiana. Most notably, it never snows in San Antonio! So it should come as no surprise that I get just as excited as all of the kids when the first snow fall comes.
  3. Getting to introduce your friends to your hometown.
    My friends at Ball State have always heard me talking about how great San Antonio is, and how much it differs from Muncie. So one summer, a few of my friends decided to come down and visit me! It was so much fun getting to show all of my midwest friends what it was like in my city down south (and to introduce my friends back home to my Ball State family!), and it definitely gave us plenty to talk and laugh about when we came back to campus in August!
  4. No SURPRISE visits from relatives to catch me slacking on chores and wearing yesterday’s outfit again.
    I’m in college: I don’t always clean my room, sometimes I drink milk straight from the carton, and I frequently forget to do laundry for way longer than I’d like to admit. I keep telling myself it’s just a phase…
  5. Special seats available in Student Senate!
    That’s right! Ball State’s Student Government Association has 2 Student Senate seats specifically for out-of-state student representation–talk about getting your voice heard!
  6. Shuttles to the airport!
    When the longer semester breaks finally roll around, Ball State provides transportation for students to the Indianapolis airport (and back to campus after break)! It’s an expensive way to start your journey home, and you can always meet some pretty cool people during the trip (or take a comfy nap).
These are just a few of the highlights that have meant the most to me over the past 3.5 years. I could go on and on… but for all of our sakes I’ll call it a night here…
A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!

GLACURH 2011

The pictures are finally in!!
I mentioned briefly before that I was on the Conference Staff for the Great Lakes Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls (GLACURH) 2011 Conference… and I’ve finally got the pics I was waiting for to blog about it!

GLACURH
The GLACURH 2011 Conference Staff in our conference smocks and berets! Our conference theme was “Make Your Mark!”

GLACURH is the regional affiliate of the national student housing organization for the Great Lakes area, including MOWII: Michigan, Ontario, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. You see, there’s the national organization (NACURH), the regional organizations (for this region it’s GLACURH), and then the campus organizations (for us, it’s RHA, which is the organization that I am president of). Some states also have a state organization (in Indiana we have IRHO), but the state organizations exist independently from the national student housing association.

It’s confusing, but I promise you all of these acronyms serve a great purpose!

I could go on for days about all of the wonderful things these organizations do, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll focus on the conference this time… IT WAS AWESOME! We had 632 delegates come to Ball State from all over the great lakes region–58 schools were represented! All of these students participated in 3 days of cheering, meeting new people, attending leadership and event programs and round table discussions, and getting to know Ball State. And everyone had a BLAST!

For my part, I am the Opening Ceremony, Banquet, and Awards Chair (lovingly referred to as the “Ceremonies Chair”). So much to do! For Opening Ceremony, we had a keynote address, 59 “roll call” presentations, the official conference opening from the Regional Director (who is a junior from University of Illinois at Chicago), and remarks from our Conference Chair (who is a Senior here at Ball State). All in all, in took 2.5 hours… and we even finished ahead of schedule! This all occurred on Friday night, and was followed immediately by entertainment in our Student Recreation and Wellness Center–we had inflatables, volleyball, corn hole, a climbing wall, snacks, a “gallery” where you could look at artwork from each of the schools in attendance, and much more!

GLACURH2
All 632 delegates listening intently to our keynote address during the Conference Opening Ceremony.

The bulk of the conference took place on Saturday, when the delegates spent all day attending programming sessions hosted by other delegates to spread knowledge and experience between schools. I can honestly say I missed being able to attend these programs this year–we have 60 different programs take place in 4 rounds of programing sessions throughout the day! I was plenty busy though: I had to set up for the Banquet and Awards Ceremony! These were held at the Horizon Convention Center in downtown Muncie–it was an absolutely beautiful venue and everyone there was so helpful! When banquet time finally rolled around on Saturday evening, everything was perfect: the food was delicious, the music and lighting were superb, and the awards presentations went off without a hitch. Perfect.

The conference wrapped up on Sunday morning and we all said our goodbyes to new and old friends as all of the delegations left for their home universities. Bittersweet. I was happy that the conference was such a success and excited for the new found free time that I am now enjoying, but it was sad and strange to see 2 years worth of work suddenly come to a conclusion… I guess that’s something I’ll have to get used to though–graduation is just around the corner!

Halloween and Día de los Muertos

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but things have just been crazy around here! This weekend was the GLACURH Conference (I’ll have a post all about that up in a few days–I have to get the pictures downloaded first) so I’ve spent the last two weeks running around like a crazy person to get everything finalized before all of the 637 conference attendees arrived on campus!

BUT ANYWAY… I’ve had this post drafted for a while, just no time to format and post it!

So let me tell you about Halloween in college…

When you get to college, it doesn’t actually matter what night the 31st is anymore, Halloween is celebrated for the full week before the actual 31st, and continues for whatever extra week days might also fall before the actual Halloween night. This year, the 31st was a Monday, so naturally the festivities started the week before, on October 24th.

Halloween-themed Hall Council, classes, Student Senate sessions, RHA meetings, and of course parties and events all over campus! My favorite part though… THE COSTUMES!!

Halloween 1

A Justin Bieber Fan, a Red M&M, and one of the 101 Dalmations showing their love.

 

Halloween 2

The whole gang from Mario Cart: Mario, Luigi, Wario, Toad, and Yoshi.

 

And you know what’s always nice? A little cultural celebration! I have Hispanic heritage and my family has always celebrated Día de los Muertos as a way to remember friends and loved ones who have passed away. Since coming to college, I’ve kept the tradition alive in my own way by putting up pictures and little items to remind me of home and family, especially around this time of year. I’ve never had a problem finding a way to celebrate the occasion though since one or two of Ball State’s student organizations ALWAYS have a Día de los Muertos event! This year, RHA had its own celebration, complete with famous dead people and history of the holiday trivia, not to mention some delicious pan de muertos from a bakery in Indianapolis, and one lovely decorated pan de muertos shipped up from my mom back home in San Antonio, TX! Pan de muertos is a traditional Mexican bread that is decorated to look like a person with a sugar frosting.

DOD with RHA

RHA’s Día de los Muertos presentation with a special pan de muertos sent by my mom!