Summertime Fun in MKE

Hello readers!  I hope your summer is going well, whether you’re staying busy or are able to relax a bit!  Me, for the most part I’m staying around Milwaukee due to work, but that doesn’t mean I’m not able to spend a little down time in my hometown.  So here are a few of my favorite things to do in Milwaukee in the summertime.

Summerfest: For those of you who haven’t heard of Summerfest, it’s an 11 day music festival hosted on the lakefront here in Milwaukee.  According to the Summerfest website, they host over 800 (yes, you read that right) bands, and tickets to get in are only $17 unless you see a band in the amphitheater.  I’ve seen some pretty awesome concerts over the past few years, including Imagine Dragons, The Neighbourhood, and GroupLove, all on free stages.  This year I did splurge and I saw Linkin Park at the amphitheater, but it was well worth it!

The Domes: Now, I will admit it took me 19 years to get around to going to the Domes, but better late than never right?  The Domes are, you guessed it, three dome shaped buildings that are full of flowers and plants.  Michele’ and I spent probably a little over an hour exploring the three different themed areas, and since we had college ID’s, it was only $5 to get in.

Milwaukee Art Museum: If you were a grade school/middle school/high school art class at any school within a 20 mile radius from Milwaukee, you took a field trip to the Milwaukee Art Museum.  But that doesn’t mean that it still isn’t worth a visit for non-school related purposes.  There have been some pretty cool exhibits there, and a few of their permanent exhibits are fun no matter how many times you’ve been there.  My personal favorite: the chair exhibit which features a myriad of different styles of chairs which yes, you can sit on.

State Fair: Well technically this is in West Allis, this is one my most looked forward to activities every summer.  And how can it not?  The food alone is reason to spend a day here.  There’s chocolate covered bacon, cookie dough on a stick, and not to mention the famous Wisconsin Cream Puffs.  There’s also looking at the very cute farm animals, which even though is a little smelly, they’re just so cute!  For people who like rides, the Midway offers ride for all ages.  Me, I just like walking around and going where my eyes take me, whether it be into the horticultural building or into the Expo Center to see what vendors are here this year.

Milwaukee has a lot to offer.  There are so many different neighborhoods and so many different things to do, that sometimes just exploring is the way to go.  I hope if anyone comes to Milwaukee in the summertime you take a look into some of these things to do and maybe explore a little for yourself too.  Enjoy your summer in your hometown readers!

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Money on My Mind

Money makes the world go round. It also happens to be a hot commodity on any college campus. My first year of college consisted of studying, working, a little bit of socialization, and a lot of worrying about money. After first semester, it became apparent that although I thought a relative was helping me pay for school, I would now be paying for the remainder of my college. At first I was okay with this. My parents never claimed that they would be able to pay upfront. But soon the reality of how much money it really costs to go to college set in. My second semester was marked by a lot of stress: about classes, about money, and about a personal situation that came up halfway into the semester. 

It’s hard for me to write this post because right now, I don’t know what I’m doing for school next semester. I may stay at Marquette, but more likely than not I will be transferring to a community college. After this year, I’m tired of money consuming my thoughts and of every decision I make being made with money in mind.

While this may seem like a negative post, my freshwoman year was not all negative. It wasn’t what I expected, but things rarely are.  I met some awesome people and was lucky to participate in some awesome events, including meeting Laverne Cox! I learned a lot about myself, including that I need to be more disciplined with studying 😛 I also learned that no matter the distance, if you care about keeping friendships alive, you will. And that’s all.

Spring Break in the 313

Hi all!  Wow, it seems like just yesterday I was posting about college finances in honor of the new semester!  Since then, I have received a scholarship that paid for the rest of semester’s tuition so yay!!! But that’s not the point of the post.  I’m going to share what I did on my spring break!

So for all who don’t go to Marquette, they have a special alternative spring break program called Marquette Action Program, or MAP for short.  Each trip is focused on a certain social justice issue.  My group went to Detroit, where we focused on urban poverty.  We stayed at a Catholic Worker house, and it was overall a really awesome trip.

Now, when I told my family I was going to Detroit for spring break, I was met with the same concerns.  “Can’t you go somewhere else?” “What neighborhood are you staying in?” “Do you want me to buy you pepper spray before you go?”  While yes, the crime rates don’t lie, no one in my group was harassed or mugged or anything of the sort while we were there, and I actually felt really safe while we were there.

Basically the schedule was pretty much the same each day.  We woke up and went to the soup kitchen for the morning to serve.  The soup kitchen was really rewarding work, and by the end of the week, we were all really sad that we had to leave.  One of the patrons actually came up to me, gave me a hug, and told me that she would miss me.  In the afternoons, since we were living in a community house setting, we did chores.  I actually learned a new life skill: steam cleaning carpeting!  After some trial and error (which included me spilling dirty water on the carpet because I hadn’t realized how to keep the tank on the machine) I steam cleaned a room and one flight of stairs worth of carpet.

On Thursday, we had the whole day off, and we were able to both sleep in and explore some of Detroit.  Now, I have family who live in the suburbs of Detroit, so the area wasn’t totally new territory, but pretty much my knowledge is from going to sporting events and that’s it.  So it was cool to explore more areas of the city.  Specifically, we went to the Detroit Institute of Art and Bell Isle, an island on the Detroit River.  Bell Isle’s main attractions were closed except for the conservatory, but that was still really nice, considering they keep it 90 degrees in there for the plants!

All in all, I’m really glad I went on the MAP trip.  I learned so much about Detroit, more than I have known my entire life of having family who lives there.  I’m also really glad that I was able to really immerse myself in the city while also doing service.  I definitely recommend all college students taking advantage of an alternative break program at least once in their college career!

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Vegetarian Lasagna prepared by five college students!  (We concluded that five college students equate to one mom, seeing as how moms whip up lasagnas in what seems like no time and we took about an hour and a half to put everything together)

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Pretty flowers from the Bell Isle Conservatory

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A panoramic view of downtown Detroit as seen from Hart Plaza

College $$$

(OMG It’s already second semester!  Sorry the posts have been few and far in between but we’ve all been busy dealing with adjustments for spring and spending much time with loved ones before moving out again.  Here is a nice realistic post to go along with the college thing.)

So hello everyone!  I hope everyone who is in college had an awesome break, and that everyone who doesn’t have a month long break at least had a nice time celebrating the winter holidays!  I want to take some time today to talk about college finances, which I know for some may not be the most comfortable topic for everyone, but I’d like to share what I’ve experienced and some tips for everyone.

Going to a private high school that had a yearly tuition of over $10,000, I have some experience with trying to creatively pay for expensive education.  I was lucky enough to receive both academic scholarships and participate in a work-study program, which made it possible for me to attend DSHA for a much reduced price.

Now, both going to school and living on campus at Marquette come at a much higher price than high school.  To be exact, tuition for this year is $35,480, plus another $11,000 to live on campus, plus another $450 for ‘fees’, whatever the heck that means.  This doesn’t include paying for books (which could be easily be another $1,000 depending on your class load and if you buy or rent), paying for travel between college and home, and paying for the multiple miscellaneous expenses that come up in college.  Basically, college is freaking expensive if you want to go to a private university. (Or any University)

Over the summer, I was unsure if I was going to be able to go to Marquette.  I would have been okay with switching to another nursing program, but Marquette has one of the most respected nursing programs in the area and has an awesome reputation not only in Milwaukee, but in Wisconsin.  I was convinced though that I would have to give up my dream school and go somewhere else or take a semester off to save up money.  However, after getting another loan, my dad offered to pay for the first year.

Just a little breakdown of what I have to pay for before I go further, after everything, loans, grants, and scholarships, I have about $7,000 due for the year.  I decided to commute to save myself that extra $11,000 in fees.  Because we pay here per semester, it shapes up to be about $3,500 per semester plus books and other miscellaneous expenses.

This semester, my dad expressed to me that he does need help paying for school.  I’m totally okay with that, I never expected that either of my parents would just be able to straight up pay all of my tuition.  I have two jobs that both pay pretty decently, and I’m applying for a scholarship that if I get it, I would only have to come up with about $1,000 each semester.  Obviously everyone’s situation is different, I just wanted to share mine with everyone.

Now there are definitely some things I wish I would have done differently!  One of the biggest mistakes I made was not taking more advantage of private scholarship searches.  Now some of them were really involved scholarships that wouldn’t have been a lot of money for the application, but some of them I could have easily applied for!  I encourage everyone to look for scholarships; free money is always the best money.  I highly recommend exhausting your free money before you look for loans.

Another thing I learned about college finance: you can’t just go to a bank and get a loan like magic.  Because you most likely won’t have any credit, you need a cosigner.  I don’t have anyone in my family who would be willing to cosign for such a large loan.  This is why you exhaust your free money options, so you don’t have to get a loan!

I hope I didn’t scare anyone… Yes paying for college is a huge responsibility, but there are so many options!  There’s scholarships, grants, loans, work study!  Apply for everything, don’t write off any opportunity for free money, and try to have fun!  One of the perks of college is that there are so many free things going on, from free speakers to excursions to club sponsored activities, having fun doesn’t have to be expensive!  So have fun everyone, and Happy January!

Merry Christmas to All!

Hey everyone!  On behalf of myself and the entire Table, we just wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas!  Or a happy winter holiday, however you’re choosing to celebrate or not celebrate!  We’ll be celebrating all together with a Secret Santa/potluck dinner on Sunday night!

In the meantime, here are pictures of my dog Sadie with one of her gifts, a fleece blanket that she prefers to use as a chew toy.

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She was not very happy about not being able to chew on the blanket in order to take a semi normal picture!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Secret Santa with the Commuters

This week, I participated in my first Marquette Commuters Tradition.  We did Secret Santa!  Now, the day of Secret Santa was way more than just getting a gift for me.

Depending on my schedule, I prefer to leave campus earlier because normally I take the bus.  But since I was staying for Secret Santa, I was staying on campus later.  So I finally participated in a commuter tradition of going to wings night!  Let me explain.  There’s a dive/restaurant on campus called Sobelman’s, which if you’re ever in Milwaukee, you should check it out.  It’s been voted one of the top burger places in Milwaukee for… Well, for a long time.  Every Wednesday, they have 30 cent chicken wings, which if you’re not familiar with chicken wing pricing, is really cheap.

Every week this semester I’ve watched my friends go for lunch for wings, and I’ve sat sitting my sad looking PB&J sandwich.  A group also goes for dinner.  I finally joined the dinner group and had my first Sobelman’s chicken wings!

After dinner, everyone came back to the Commuter Lounge and we started the festivities!  Our setup of presents was epic, especially compared to our half decorated tree (with one of the ‘ornaments’ being a leftover Nerf gun dart from Humans vs. Zombies) and our fireplace projected from our TV via Netflix (which has three episodes of a roaring fireplace if you’re interestedJ ) .  I volunteered to be Santa, and soon everyone got their gifts!  The gifts included: play dough, a miniature pool table, science fiction books, and lots, I mean lots, of candy and chocolate.

I received a set of light up lava lamp looking speakers, which I’m very excited to put in my room eventually (my room is chronically messy, which is why I say eventually).  I can’t for next year’s Secret Santa!

 

Pros and Cons of Being a Commuter

Disclaimer: When I chose Marquette as the college I would be attending, I was intending to live on campus.  However, due to unforeseen financial circumstances, the only way I could still attend Marquette would be to commute.  Obviously, if I had chosen a college farther away, I wouldn’t have had any choice in staying at home.

“Oh, you live at home?”

“How do you make friends?”

“Why don’t you live on campus?”

“Are you still getting the college experience?”

These are all questions that I, as a commuter at Marquette University, get asked.  Sometimes I can hear a twinge of pity in the person’s voice, sometimes they really are just curious.  They are all valid questions, though, questions that I had to answer for myself before I made the decision to withdraw from my residence hall and commute.  So in this blog post, I’m going to clear up for everyone what it means to “commute” to college.

I’ll address the first question.  Yes, I live at home.  However, you don’t have to live at home with your parents in order to be considered a commuter.  If you live anywhere that isn’t university owned, you’re a commuter.  In a few years, this may mean that I live in an apartment only a few blocks away from campus, but for now, I live in West Allis with my Mom and adorable dog for roommates.

Just because I commute doesn’t mean that all I do is go to class and study all the time.  While some days I do go home right after class is over, there are some days I stay later, whether it be for a club meeting or just to hang out.  Marquette has a Commuters’ Lounge just for commuters to hang in, which is where I spend most of my time and where I’ve met most of my friends.  I also do have a few friends who live on campus, and I’ve actually spent time inside an actual dorm room!  So to everyone who asks me this question, just because I commute does not mean that I’m a hermit!

As for the college experience, I really think that the stereotypical college experience is just something that is sold way too hard by movies and television shows.  Even if I were living in the dorms, my ‘college experience’ would still be different from Anissa’s, which is different than Mia’s, which is different from Sabrina’s, and so on and so forth.  College is probably the most unique experience of your life.  You get to choose who you hang out with, where you go and at what times, and what you prioritize.  I’m still joining clubs, I’m taking classes that I want to take, and I’m making friends.  College is definitely an experience that will give you what you put into it, so just because I’m living at home doesn’t mean I’m any different than any other person attending.

That said, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some drawbacks.  I don’t have a car, which means I either rely on public transportation or my family to drive me to and from school.  If I had my own car, I’d definitely be on campus more often, but since I don’t, I don’t have the luxury of being down at school as much as I would like to be.  But a perk to this is that my commuter friends who have cars and live close can pick me up when we decide to do stuff like go to the movies or other things around town.

Either way, I’m really happy that at the least, I get to attend Marquette, which is an awesome university! If you’re considering being a commuter, or maybe even dreading it, don’t because college is what you make it.

 

Megs and Freinds oct 2014

Me and my friends! (I’m the girl in the bottom right corner).  Photo cred to Joshua.

#1 Dude This Class I’m In…

…is the bomb.  So, here I am, sitting in the library, listening to the Legally Blonde Broadway soundtrack, fresh out of my Chemistry for the Health Professions class. I’m almost a month into the school year (time is passing way too fast for me!) and I think that after this month, my favorite hands down class is not my chemistry class, but my Nursing in the Jesuit Tradition class.

Okay, first I’ll get the boring specifics out of the way. It’s a 3 credit class that I have two days a week; Tuesday and Thursday. It doesn’t start until 11 a.m. and it’s my first class of the day, which is why I may be a little biased towards it (I don’t mind waking up early, but waking up later is always preferable). My teacher is Dr. Boaz, who is a really awesome lady. She not only teaches our class but she also works as a nurse practitioner and  does research for the Veterans’ Affairs Center in Milwaukee. She’s been a nurse for a long time, and she’s able to tell us a lot of things about nursing that she’s learned firsthand. There are only around 30 people in the class, which makes it easier for everyone to get their questions answered (however, these 30 people don’t include a male, which makes me sad because I’d really like to see nursing from a male perspective).

As a nursing major, I have to take this class. I really love it because nursing is something that I’m really passionate about, and I don’t mind reading and learning about it one bit. The homework is really only reading at this point, but I know we’ll have a midterm exam and a final exam. Other than that, our grades will come from journal entries and two projects. The journals all pertain to nursing and what we’re learning about during that week, which makes them pretty easy to write.

I’m really excited about our two projects, though! One of them is called a dashboard survey. Basically, my small group and I will head out into a neighborhood around Marquette and ‘survey’ the area. We’ll gather information about stuff that pertains to health, like how easy is it to access alcohol and tobacco products, are there grocery stores in the area, etc. The second project will be more of a research project where we’ll gather information about a certain health issue and present it to the class.

One thing that I’ve loved learning about so far is the history of nursing. My mom and grandma are both nurses, and I’ve always respected the profession because of this. But up until the mid to late 1800’s, nursing was actually the lowest form of employment for women! It was the last resort after prostitution! It wasn’t really up until after the Civil War that the profession started getting the recognition and respect that it deserves.

I definitely give this class a 10! It’s cool to see nursing not just from the science perspective, but as a social science, too. I’m not sure if you’re really able to take this class if you’re not a nursing major but if you are able to and have an interest in nursing theory and stuff like that, I’d definitely recommend it!

Wisconsin: Cows and Commuting

Hello cyberworld!  I’m Megan.  Of my table comrades, I’m the only one who chose to stay not only very close to home, but to live at home.  I’m a commuter student at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  I’m in the College of Nursing, and I’d like to hopefully minor in Spanish for the Health Professions.  Now, since I don’t have any cool move-in stories for y’all, I’ll just tell you a little bit about my college experience so far.

On the Wednesday before school started, I attended an event specifically for commuters.  My mom dropped me off, and even though I would be seeing her in a matter of hours, she still started crying.  She managed to calm down before I got out of the car, but then she told me that after I left, she started blubbering like a baby again.  Any who, I got out of the car, walked into the Alumni Memorial Union (AMU) and looked around like a typical freshman. Thankfully I found a few other people heading to the commuter lounge and just followed them to the event.

So orientation went well, I met people during small group.  Even though the college claims we’ll be friends forever, I’m pretty sure I’ll never speak to any of them again, blah blah blah.  Since I don’t live on campus, it can be really easy for me tofeel like I don’t belong anywhere, which is where the Commuters Lounge comes in!  On the third day of class I hiked up my big girl panties and walked in so I wasn’t eating alone (which, contrary to Anissa’s belief, is not sad, it’s actually relaxing).  Over the past week or so, I’ve gotten to know some pretty awesome people.  I’ve also learned a new card game for when the Table reunites (get ready for Polish Poker everyone!).

While it does seem like being a commuter takes a lot of work, I’m actually really enjoying living at home.  I can come and go on campus as I please, even though I am at the whim of the Milwaukee County Transit System.  And since I don’t have anywhere to go and  just chill out on campus, I get a majority of my homework and reading done for the next day while I’m still at school.  Which means when I go home, I get to do whatever I want ( watch trashy reality television).

That doesn’t mean I don’t plan on being involved.  Marquette has a ton of great service opportunities, many of which I hope to take advantage of.  I’m also an automatic member of the Marquette University Student Nurses Association, a club that does fun get togethers to do service and do other nurse-y stuff.  I’m also going to be a member of The Stitch Society, which is a knitting and crocheting club.  I’m sure there’ll be more clubs in the next four years, but I’m going to stick with two for now!

All in all, I’m really excited to see what the next four years have in store for me

So as a part of this post Michelé has asked each of us to write three goals for the year.  Here are mine:

  1. Volunteer with Marquette at least twice a month.
  2. Save at least $500 to go to Peru my junior summer.
  3. Become involved with one student organization.

Megs and her parents Aug 2014

Megan and her parents