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

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We Need More Strawberries!

ANNOUNCEMENT FROM THE TABLE: It’s been so long! We’re so sorry! We won’t make excuses though, those are pointless. We’ll just apologize for slacking and get back to it…

Hey guys! Guess who I saw!?

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Anissa!! I visited her at Dartmouth over my spring break and it was a blast!  It was one of those things you always talk about in high school and then a lot of times it just doesn’t happen.  But it did! I was there for four days and I brought her birthday gifts because she turned 19 this past Friday!

The journey was pretty long: 1.5 hours in a car then 2 on a plane and then 3 on a bus.  It was my first time flying alone which was exciting! I’m a really good traveler too so I don’t mind long trips.

While I was there she showed me all of her favorite spots on campus and took me to all the food places.  It’s a lot like Valpo in regards to size and student population and the feel, but Dartmouth’s buildings are cooler because they’re so old.

Day One I met all of Anissa’s friends, who were nice, and I had Indian food for the first time which tasted good.

Day Two I went to Chemistry class with her, which everyone thought I was crazy for. But being a Creative Writing Major I don’t have to take any of those big science lecture classes so it’s not like I sit in them everyday and get bored.  It was one and done and I wanted to get Anissa’s full college experience.  That night we went to the Dartmouth v. Princeton hockey game and I LOVED it!  I had no idea watching hockey was so fun! So I asked her if we could go again the next night and we did.  Dartmouth won both times.  This is us at the game sporting school spirit!

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Before that we took the bus to the store to get baking supplies because we like to be domestic together.  So on Day Three we made Strawberry Cream Cheese Icebox Cake with this recipe:  http://www.southyourmouth.com/2014/07/strawberry-cream-cheese-icebox-cake.html

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It was really, really good, and very rich.  Also super easy to make and nice if you want something that’s no-bake. Too bad we ate too many strawberries while we were mixing and kind of ran out at the end…

But anyway, back to Day Two.  We ended the night at a frat house (my first time at a frat!) but we didn’t go for a party, we went to see her friend perform in an A Capella show.  Opening for them was an Improv Comedy group (fun fact: it was the group Mindy Kaling was in).  Both performances were phenomenal.

It was then, at 1:00am, that I realized Anissa was about to royally screw up my sleep schedule. So I spent four days living the night life of my friend, and let me tell you, it’s exhausting.

So on Day Three we made the dessert, we went to the hockey game, and we went to see Still Alice at the movie theater.  Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her part as a mother and esteemed professor with Early-Onset Alzheimer’s. It was a really emotional movie based off a book I read.   I recommend both to anyone interested in a realistic depiction of the disease.

That night we stayed up late (really late) working on our novels!  They’re technically separate novels because she has hers and I have mine, but it’s more complicated than that because they share some characters and events so we have to work on them together.  But anyway, that’s a whole different blog post for a different time.

Day Four was when I had to go home, but we got breakfast at a cute diner called Lou’s first.  Unfortunately, there was a point in the meal where I may have tried to hit Anissa and in the process I may have knocked over my full glass of water instead. Karma I guess.

I had a great time.  It was absolutely the highlight of my 2015 year thus far and I hope to visit again in the future.  My favorite quote from the trip was from one of Anissa’s friends as she watched us bicker.  She said, “I’m a fan of this relationship.”

Me too.  I’m a fan of it too.

Adult Life Stuff: Resumes.

Hello.

Congrats on reaching the moment in your life when you realize you need a resume!

Well, I am here to share a few words of wisdom I picked up from attending a seminar led by a man who works in career services.  His tips have landed people dream jobs and helped save others from complete and utter embarrassment.  Plus they just make sense.  So if you are applying to a job, a scholarship, or some other competitive…thing, then listen up because this will be helpful!

IMAGE IS EVERYTHING.  I know your parents,teachers, and fictional character friends have taught you that what matters is on the inside but that just kinda sorta applies here.  I’m not saying throw fancy borders on it with rainbow letters, clip art, and comic sans.  No, in fact, do the opposite, use crisp, clean white paper.  Use Times New Roman–11pt (for the most part.)  Avoid using those “super convenient user friendly templates.”  They are often rigid and not very easy to personalize.  Just do it in Word–one inch margins, one page long.  (If absolutely necessary you can go onto two pages as long as they’re back to  back, not stapled)  Also, NEVER include a picture.  Most employers are not legally allowed to accept a resume that includes a picture.  So just don’t bother.

FUN FACT: An employer spends an average of 20 seconds looking over a resume!  These are things an employer wants to see:

1. Name and Contact Information.

That means full legal name; no nicknames.  This will be your header.  (Not actually in the header on a Word document, just the first thing on the page..)  Your name should be nice and big so the reader knows with whom he or she is dealing.  Align your contact information directly underneath your name–UNLESS you are a student living on campus.  Then split up your school address and your home address and respective phone numbers to opposite sides of the page.  Your email should be something moderately professional.  i.e.  omg8fluffybunnyluv_starQT4lyfe@yahoo.com is not acceptable.  Your email should reflect your age.  So should your voicemail message.

2. Objective Statement.

This is only necessary if you are applying to something super crazy specific.  And make sure it’s mutually beneficial.  Don’t be that person whose objective is “to get a job.”  No duh…why else would you hand someone a resume?

3. Education.

So this is why that GPA thing matters.  Unless it’s awful.  Then it’s okay to omit.  And if you do choose to include it, make sure it’s accurate.  If you are not completely done with college yet or you are applying to something right out of high school, then definitely include your high school.  Just make sure they are on separate sides of the page.  If high school is a bit outdated (after college sophomore year) then by all means omit it.

4. International Experience.

Work done outside the country captures attention and gives you an edge.  This is where you note your internaional volunteer hours, study abroad, or foreign internships.  Your exotic honeymoon and hectic family vacations do not have a place here.   It’s also totally okay if you have never been out of the country.  (I haven’t.)

5. Work Experience.

Always list the most recent career/job first and work chronologically backwards.  Use bullet points to briefly describe what you did through action words and buzzwords but NO PRONOUNS. (I, you, he, she, it, me, us, them, etc.)

If you’re low on work experience, impress with volunteer experience.

6. Activities and Honors.

This is the fun stuff.  Again if high school is relevant, brag about it.  But really focus on any collegiate activities and achievements, leadership positions and awards, etc.

7. References.

Always ask your references if they are okay being a reference.  Make sure their contact information is up to date.  If possible, students should provide two academic references and one work reference.  Include the phrase “Available Upon Request” if it is absolutely true.  DO NOT use a family member as a reference.  They love you too much not to be biased.

8. Whatever Else You Deem Necessary To Include.

If there is a special skill you think can help you get ahead in thee runnings, go ahead and list it.  No, wall twerking is not a special skill you should list.

Key Pointers!

  • All major headers should be 14pt font.
  • The bulk of your text should be 11pt or 12pt font (the more important, the larger the font).
  • DON’T list personal things.  Potential employers don’t need to know your sexuality, race, ethnicity, cats’ names, shoe size, etc to consider you for hire.
  • Use the correct tense:  if you did it in the past, use past tense.  If you are still doing it, use present tense.
  • If for some reason a negative pops up, spin it into a positive!
  • NEVER TELL A LIE.  Don’t exaggerate either.  If you can’t back it up with facts/proof, then don’t include it on your resume.
  • If you have to mail your resume, send it in a manila folder.  Creased resumes can appear crumpled and messy.  Remember, image is everything.
  • A resume is an active document.  You should be adding and adjusting throughout life as things happen.  It’s not static or ever really finished.
  •  ALWAYS TRIPLE CHECK BEFORE YOU PRINT (or hit submit).  People tend to type a document and move on.  Typos are a big no-no and you want to catch them before it’s too late.

I set up a guideline for myself while working on my resume.  I attached it here!  It’s not a template. All of the information is typed up in textboxes so they can be moved, replaced, and resized or adjusted as needed.  Mine includes high school as well as University information since I’m still a student so those of you confused about the “separate sides of the page” thing can see what I meant.  I hope this helps!  Good luck with life.

Bye For Now,

Frankie :-*

I Killed Tula…?

It all happened so quickly.
It was Saturday the 17th when I bought my betta fish “Tula” (after the main character in My Big Fat Greek Wedding). Before leaving for the pet store I’d already set up her tank with water (duh), pebbles and a bamboo plant. We got home, set her in the tank, fed her some nasty-looking fish food and placed her near some light.
Five hours later my brother noticed her lack of movement.
Time of death: 8:12 p.m.

tula dead
Time of rebirth: 11:00 a.m. the next day.
As my mom was taking Tula out of the tank, the fish went wild (because, you know, it was out of water)
It turns out that I just have a really lazy fish.

tula live

Buying Books Blows

Even if you’re only a freshman in college, you know the pain of buying textbooks.  All that hard earned money out the window and then you can only sell them for what feels like pennies in comparison, if you can sell them at all.  It’s especially painful if a professor tells you a book is “required” and then you only use it once. Evil schemers.

I’m here to tell you how to save as much money as possible on your college textbooks.  I read my dear friend Megan’s post from a few days ago and I think $1000 a semester for books is blasphemy.  Blasphemy! Unless you’re in 8 or 9 classes (in which case I wish you good luck) your books SHOULD NOT be that much if you use the right venues.  I admit, sometimes it takes a smidge more effort to do it my way, but if it means saving a bunch of money I’ll put the time in.

To put it into perspective, I spent around $300 dollars on my books this semester and around the same last semester.  I’m only in 5 classes right now but I had to buy 18 books which is a pretty decent amount.  Unfortunately, there are some circumstances where you’ll have no other choice but to pay over $100 dollars for a book, but a lot of times that can be avoided.  This might happen to you if:

a. the book is rare or old-last semester the textbook my French teacher wanted us to have had been out of print since the 90’s so the only place I could find it was at my University’s bookstore.

b. the book is customized for a specific course at your school-all freshman at my school are required to take a Valparaiso University designed class we call CORE which doesn’t really fit into any subject category. As a result, if I were to transfer, there’s a large chance the credits from that course wouldn’t transfer over with me.  That also means my University designed the textbook so it literally does not exist anywhere else but here.

Besides these two cases, most books can be found in numerous online and offline locations.  Of course, your University will have all those books ready for you to order with one click, but looking somewhere else can mean the biggest difference.  At first I was skeptical to buy my books on any random website that claimed “We sell and buy new and used textbooks!” But to be honest, I’ve bought from at least 4 websites and haven’t run into any problems or scams.

I stumbled across this website: http://www.slugbooks.com and holy crap do I love it.  You enter the title or ISBN (I recommend the ISBN) of the book you want to buy and it will tell you the availability of that book as well as compare prices of it on 10 different websites! Awesome, right?  Every book is different, but with the majority of mine I found that http://www.chegg.com is always the most expensive and either http://www.amazon.com or http://www.valorebooks.com is your best bet.  Shipping can seem expensive, but I did the math and still came out on top.

I don’t know if I’ve said this yet but DO NOT buy your books from your University if you can help it! To put it into some more perspective, if I had bought/rented all my books at the cheapest prices my University was offering they would have cost me $600 without shipping. I cut my spending in half! To be fair, I know I won’t always be able to do that, but it’s worth it when you can.

So! I hope something I’ve said helps you out, even just a little.  And maybe in the future your book buying experience won’t blow so much.

Mich out.

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!

Dear Dad,

I am so angry at you.

I’m angry at you for all the things you said to me and all the things you never said to me.  I know Honesty is the best policy but sometimes I just needed to hear, “I’m proud of you.”

I’m angry at you for not being my hero.

I’m angry at you for making me grow up too fast, for treating me like a child but expecting me not to mess up like one.

I’m technically an adult now and I spent a lot of years pretending I didn’t need you, but I do. And I’m sorry if I never told you that.  I think I convinced myself I didn’t.

No matter how many times I tell people, “I’m okay.  With all his health problems we’ve kind of just been waiting for this” that doesn’t change the fact that the first thing I said when mom told me you died was, “You’re kidding.”  When she said no, I looked at Marshall and asked, “Is she kidding?”  But death is never kidding and I keep realizing that over and over at the most random and inconvenient times.

I’m angry at you for having Christmas presents for everyone in your closet.

I’m angry at you for leaving everything you have to Marshall and I, a fact which everyone won’t stop reminding us of.  “You were his pride and joy.  All of it’s yours.  You get to decide what we do with it.”  But you had so much shit a part of me just wants to burn it all because that would mean not having to face all the memories you collected.

They won’t stop calling. “How are you? How are you? How are you?” I’d be better if you hadn’t had a lock box with a crumpled poem I wrote when I was nine that you saved from the trash.  I’d be better if your calendar hadn’t been marked “Michy’s coming home” for the day after you died.  I’d be a whole lot better if your voice-mail from two months ago hadn’t been so different than the one from two weeks ago, because in the second one it sounds like you’re dying.

I’m angry at you for usually being the reason I cried, but also for being the person I wanted to impress the most.  It meant something when you told me I’d done a good job because you didn’t hand those out for free.

And I’m angry at you for taking almost all of my eighteen years to realize your mistakes.  I had to move to college three hours away before you owned up to your part in our broken relationship.  And when you wrote that stupid five page letter about all the good times we’d had it was almost enough to forgive everything else.  So I’m angry at you for apologizing, but more angry at you for not apologizing sooner.  For that reason I’m angry at God, because it’s a little sadistic of him to take you now, right when everything was about to change.

We used to run football patterns in your driveway for hours. You bought me my own box of cereal for your house and didn’t get angry when I ate out of yours every time.  When you got sick the first time, you would give me and Marshall money so we could run across the alley to the A&W to get dinner and we felt like grown ups.  When my knee surgery got cancelled the first time you let me cry to you.  When it got rescheduled you said you’d be there.

I’m angry at you for lying.  I’m having surgery Monday and you promised you’d be there.  You were the one who passed your knee problems on to my brother and I so I knew you would understand the frustration.  You would be there to take care of me.  For the first time in my whole life I felt like you could be something my mom couldn’t.  You even marked it on your calendar.

I’m 18 but I’m just a kid. And you had no right to leave me.

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!

Spread the Cheer

In an earlier post,  I told everyone about the #Holidaycardproject.  While this time of year was super crammed with finals and papers and holiday celebration preparations, it was nice to take time to create something special for those who could use some holiday spirit.  So, I pulled out my colored pencils and went to work on a couple of greeting cards for the #Holidaycardproject that I came across on deviantART one day.  Here are the finished products:

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I’m rather fond of the little snowman 🙂
I hope that my cards will put a smile on someone’s face this holiday season.  Did anyone else participate in something like this? We’d love to hear about it!
With that, Happy Holidays to everyone!
I’ll leave you a few pictures of my Christmas tree to help set the Holiday mood.

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Winter Isn’t the Enemy

When people hear me say I hate summer their eyes do that bug-out-of-your-face thing you see in cartoons.  I get it, I’m the minority not the majority, but there are other people who love winter too! For example, my roommate, which is pretty lucky since we have to agree on the temperature of our room. All I can say is that the window is always open and at night it gets cold enough to keep my water bottle chilled.

I’m here to convince all you non-believers that winter isn’t so bad and that it has more to offer than just the pretty white snow.  Being from Wisconsin, and right next to the lake, no less, the Table and I get some of the worst winters there are.  If you don’t know what lake effect snow is, you’re really missing out.  It’s a beast.  Here are my reasons for loving the weather from November to March:

1. Let’s start with the obvious one: snow.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

Here are a few pictures from the winter they cancelled school on six different occasions.  The first one is of my brother peeking through a tunnel we dug on the hood of a car.  The red thing in the second one is our car.  When we opened the garage door that’s how high the snow was.  The third one has the criss-cross imprint of our fence.  We moved the fence and the snow just stayed there because it was so heavy. You can see me in the background and it was almost higher than my waist.

car snow  garage snow  fence snow

When I was little I loved to play in the snow and if I still had a pair of snow pants that fit me I would lay in it and just look at the sky.  Even if you hate everything else about winter, you can’t deny that snow is beautiful.

2. Hats, mittens, and scarves.

Besides the fact that they’re super cute, hats are so fun to wear.  I’ll admit I often wear them around the house just for fun. And I say mittens because I don’t like gloves.  The way they separate my fingers feels like they’re making them colder not warmer.  Below is a picture of a scarf I wove that I’m particularly proud of. The scarf is laying on the next item of my list.

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3. blankets, slippers, and sweatshirts.

The blanket above is special to me because I got it in North Dakota the first time on a mission trip which I now do annually.  Don’t you guys just love curling up inside with a blanket and a movie?

4. Hot Chocolate

I’m one of those people who can eat ice cream year round, but hot chocolate is seasonal.  I don’t like coffee but that can count too.  A warm drink is just ten times better when it’s cold out and you can feel it warming up your insides.  Doesn’t this picture look like it could be a Starbucks add?

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5. Seeing my breath and letting the tips of my ears get red.

I once heard someone compare seeing your breath to feeling like a dragon which I thought was funny, but I think it’s more like seeing my life.  This is evidence that I am alive, and every part of my body is buzzing with the cold.  And then you go inside and press your palms to your ears and you can feel them thaw.  I love that.

6. But one of my favorite parts is the smell.

I could go one forever with this list: ice skating, snow days, icicles, but I always get most excited by the smell that tells me winter is coming. It’s not so much a distinct smell as it is just crisp air.  When you breathe is deeply and it smells cold and fresh.  That’s one of my favorite parts.  So for all you winter haters I hope there’s at least one thing on this list that convinced you to hate the season maybe just 1% less.  Now it’s your turn to convince me why I should like summer.