Sunday, September 28, 2008

Livin for the weekend

This weekend marked I got to see people I have known for a long time.  It was Drake Parents Weekend.  My family came down for the event.  The highlights included red robin, red lobster, spending time with them at the football game, and watching the Greeks do a musical revue, which was really funny.  On Friday one of my friends came through because she was looking at Drake for college tours, so I got to have lunch with her.

            I don’t think college is the same sort of culture shock, as being abroad is.  However they are definitely close.  It was nice to be on my own for a month, but then sort of get reeled back in to those previous connections and family.  There definitely is some homesickness and culture shock going around, and people deal with it in different ways.  I have not heard of anyone dropping out of Drake yet after they have started.  Today my mother witnessed a freshman girl asking if she could just go back with her parents, and transfer to a different school.  The parents said no, she had to stick it out. My mother had the same issue when she went to college.  The first three weeks she hated it, but then fell in love with it.  If someone at one point felt strong enough to be here then they should at least wait it out through the semester.  I have grown to really enjoy this place, and my apprehensions about being down here have been settled.  There are people who occasionally bring up transferring, but it helps the floor bond.  Talking through these things with our other Drake family helps everyone involved.  I don’t think we will lose too many, if any, people on our floor.  It was cool to see the families this weekend, but it also really brought back homesickness for some.  Regardless of where one ends up, they should try to see it through a semester.  We always told our team that once they get over that three-week hump, the honeymoon phase ends, but then it eventually evens out and people adjust to the real life.  Most here love the real life; most love the Drake life.  

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Weekend update

Last night as part of the homecoming festivities there was a comedian on campus.  Alexandra McHale was good, as always, but was a little less conventional.  There was only one blatantly canned joke, the rest were stories.  The humor was more so in the delivery than in the depth of the joke.  On Sunday we painted windows for homecoming.  The theme is Box Office Bliss.  In honor of the Morehouse moose mascot (say that 5 times fast) our Executive council decided to do a Rocky and Bullwinkle theme.  The honors students did a montage of movies centered on Jaws eating up all subject matters which was clever.  The Chemistry club did Flubber, and the rainbow union had Rocky Horror Picture Show, both of which were really clever.  

            This weekend was pretty cool.  Saturday I went around des Moines via bus to get to a volunteer thing.  When we got back, went bowling, then to a Hawaiian Party.  This upcoming weekend is Parents Weekend, so I am excited to see them. 


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Acorns are falling on my head

This has been an absolutely gorgeous day.  Thankfully my afternoon has been fairly free of commitments so I grabbed reading homework and found a bench.  People ask me why I did not go to UW Madison.  It is a nice school, but it is too close to home.  The other thing I did not like was the urban environment.  I wanted sweeping lawns and trees to sit under.  Drake is a gorgeous campus that I took full advantage of today.  Once the construction is over, it will become even better.  The only issue I had was an acorn using my head for target practice.  Time to head back outside.



(Last night I attended a briefing on securities languages.  The following is the same version of what I did but for the college level:  The State Dept Internships are now open for those finishing their sophomore year by this summer:

Sunday, September 14, 2008


            This weekend was Rush, therefore a fair amount of the floor was working with the Frats and Sororities on which one they wanted to join.  This is an excellent way to meet people, even if you have no intention of being Greek.  The guys seem to have it much more laid back then the girls do, but there is also a lot more choices for the guys.  The girls have 4 houses and the guys have 8 different houses to choose from.

            For those of us who were not into the Greek thing, on Friday night there was a comedian on campus.  The headliner was Johnny Walker who has done a comedy Central special with his guitar.  He was hilarious, and the warm up act was pretty good too.

            This week is just full of good things for me.  There are numerous State Department people coming to campus this week.  One will be a recruiter, and another will be a gentleman from the same bureau that sent my team over to Jordan. Due to these appearances on campus I will get to make some use of the tie and jacket I brought.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I suppose the whole international sequence of my life started 7 years ago today.  9/11 exposed me to things I have never seen, nor never had experienced before.  Due to the response with the war in Iraq, I ended up in Jordan twice.  Today I found out about some awesome opportunities Drake has for me to extrapolate on my experiences.  In the next year Drake professors will lead groups for students to China, Uganda, South Africa, Central America and for what I hope to be a part of Egypt.  It has been a less cheerful day here, and I got an opportunity this morning to watch some of the speeches made on the Coast regarding the terrorist attacks.  Yet it has also been a day of joy upon finding State Department will be here on two different days next week in regards to sending students abroad for securities languages-which is what I was involved in, as well as an internship possibilities presentation.  It is an amazing thing that these opportunities are presented to everyone on Drake campus, but it is sad when one remembers why they have to come.  May we never forget 9/11. 

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Ambassador and Educator

I just got back from lunch.  Granted cafeteria lunch is only slightly better than high school lunch, but with more entertaining chefs, and better drinks (plus all the ice cream you can eat.)  This lunch was amazing however.  I got to eat with a group of people I am very familiar with, because they all live on my floor.  However we had an addition.  His Excellency, Ambassador R. McMullen agreed to meet us before he gave a lecture which we attended as part of our Freshman class.  We got a whole hour of intimate face time with an expert in the field.  He talked about obvious political things, which I would prefer to keep off my blog for fear of my obvious bias.  However he also told some war stories, which considering the past face meetings I have had, I still thoroughly enjoy.  One more reason I am glad for being at Drake; they bring in experts who not only lecture, but that I can have an actual conversation with.  We got to talk about Jordan-he was there in April.  I got advice, and we had a less conventional class.  This was awesome, and guess what? It will happen 17 more times this year.  The Arabic word for things such as this is Al Humdilallah-Thanks be to God!


This morning in my comparative politics class I had something I have never had before.  The professor was not sure how he was doing, so he told the class to get out paper and write what they thought of the class.  He then had other students read then anonymously, after which he addressed the points.  I have never seen that kind of evaluation done unless it was at the end of a semester.  Dr. Hamad is a fluid and dynamic teacher who cares about his class.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

A fitness of one

Take every opportunity to stay in shape in college.  Drake has what amounts to a very very very nice work out gym/club that students get into for free.  This is not just some bench presses.  There is two different weight rooms with state of the art equipment, numerous classes, multiple tracks, a pool, a wonderful tennis facility (not just a court-because Drake OWNS at tennis) basketball courts, and even racquetball  courts.

One of my electives this semester has been the Army Physical Readiness class.  This trains one to be able to pass through the PT test one would take if they went to Basic.  Today we had our first PT test.  I did not pass nearly close enough to go to war anytime soon, but the whole point is to make improvements.  I was rather proud, I ran an 18:35 2 mile run had 19 push ups.  Regardless of how much you “Be all that you can be,” at least be in shape.  It is a great way to get out stress.  

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

One week down

The first week of school went very well.  The biggest difference between college and previous schooling is the amount of free time I have.  Granted very little of it is spent doing absolutely nothing.  I have spent a fair amount of time reading, much more than I ever have in my life.  There is a lot of preparing, which is paying off.  Whether it is rereading notes or checking internet news sites, or loading up on carbs for the morning workout of the ROTC class, there is tons to prepare for.  In terms of the first week of college, the basic rule is meet as many folks as possible.  Everyone is feeling awkward, and you don’t need a magic bullet for conversation.  There were so many times I engaged in the dance of; Hi my names Ian…International Relations major…From Wisconsin.  Everyone does it, because it works.  Our floor still feels like a family, which was nice over the Labor Day weekend, as a fair amount of people spent the time with their families.  It really helped going to all the little icebreaker sessions, which were informative and meaningful, but more so because I met more people, and reconnected with folks I had previously met. 

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