Much of what I’ve learned during my time at K-State has been from fellow students – some older, and some younger than myself. Last night, we elected new officers in my fraternity, and we’ll now be going through a week-long transition and training period for the new chapter leaders. As my year as President draws to a close, I’m reminded of the individuals within my fraternity and across campus who have and continue to serve as my mentors and have taught me some of the most important things I’ve learned at college. I believe this focus on mentoring relationships and learning from our peers sets K-State apart – much like our unique focus on student leadership that I’ve discussed before.
As a freshman, I was paired up with a senior mentor through Quest Freshman Honorary, and I learned a great deal – and had a lot of fun – hanging out with my mentor. As I continued to get involved at K-State, I was fortunate to form several other informal mentorship relationships as well. It’s comforting to know that I always have a few people I can go to for advice and guidance. College is stressful at times, not to mention that living on your own for the first time and making major decisions that affect your future are not always easy. As I’ve dealt with several of these factors, I often find myself wondering where I would be were it not for those at K-State who have taken the time to help me out.
On the flip side, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve had the opportunity to serve as a mentor in my fraternity and a couple of other organizations on campus. It’s not only rewarding, but fun to apply many of the skills I’ve learned from my own mentors. K-State provides unique opportunities to be mentored and in turn, to mentor. College is so much more than the in-the-classroom experiences one will gain, and I feel confident saying that K-State strikes the perfect balance between enabling achievement as a student and development as a person.
I love everything about this time of year! Yes, I mean everything. I love lights and glittery decorations, cheery music, holiday movies, the spirit of giving, and especially the food! You may be thinking there is a big elephant in the room, but yes, I am aware that finals are approaching.
In fact, in my History class the other day some classmates and I worked out a plan to study together for 3-5 hours this week, increase study time next week, and then we have two solid days blocked off for review the beginning of finals week. One of my classmates has missed a lot of class lately due to illness, which I personally think is the biggest hazard to finishing strong. I noticed this student was missing for 2-3 class periods but I was surprised at my professor’s reaction when they returned.
Before class, my professor sat down in the seat next to them. I was expecting to overhear a lecture on how important attendance is. Instead, I heard genuine concern for my fellow student’s well-being. My professor’s kindness was a reminder to me that during these stressful times it is still important to be kind to those around us and to spend time with those we care for.
I spent a few hours tonight decorating my dorm room with my two roommates. Garland, wrapping paper, glitter, and lights were hung to the tune of holiday radio. We watched holiday movies in our pajamas and talked about different traditions our families have. One of the girls on my hall celebrates Chanukah, has a neat cloth menorah with fake cloth candles and flames for her dorm room, and invited us all to come to the “lighting” ceremonies. Another group of friends hung decorated stockings for their friends and hung them over their window. Across the Derby Complex in Haymaker my friend’s floor went all out in decorating their floor lobby.
In addition to the fun activities and decorations on campus, this Friday is also the Mayor’s Holiday Tree Lighting and a Food & Fundraiser for the Flint Hills Breadbasket. I also heard a rumor about Horse Drawn Carriage Rides! I think this weekend will be a great kick-off to the most intensive part of my study plan.
I think most students can agree with me that the moment you open up your laptop and log-on to your email after Thanksgiving Break is one of the scariest moments had throughout the semester. At home this past Saturday night, reflecting on Thanksgiving week with long nights of sleep and days filled with laughter and food, I opened up my laptop to be greeted with new emails and the rush of responsibility come flooding back.
The saying goes, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.” This is apparent as decorations are hung for the holiday season, students bring their tacky christmas sweaters from home to wear to holiday parties, and the feeling of the semester finally coming to a close. Who wouldn’t be excited for these final two to three weeks in between Thanksgiving and Christmas break?
Unfortunately, those things bring as much stress as they do joy. As I look to the week ahead, I see projects that need finishing for class and last homework assignments that need completing. The term of my officer position in my sorority is coming to a close and with that, I have many responsibilities in preparing the next sister in line. I see my bank account take a bit of a hit as I buy numerous gifts for friends and coworkers who are dear to me. And finally, I realize that the arrival of this holiday season means the soon arrival of my senior year and the WAY TO SOON arrival of graduation.
It’s during this time of year that I take a moment and realize how grateful I am for stress. How is one grateful stress you ask? You realize that stress is the biproduct of blessings bestowed upon you.
I have the stress of school work because I have been granted the privilege to attend a wonderful university that pushes me to become the best student and future career women. I have the stress of completing duties for campus organizations because my university is committed to my education not only inside the classroom, but outside working with my peers. And finally, I have the stress of buying Christmas presents because I have been afforded a job on campus that allows me to purchase gifts for the wonderful people I have surrounded myself with.
I have heard it said, “The grass isn’t greener on the other side, it’s greener where you water it.” These next two weeks, I will “water” my stresses, realizing that without them, life could be a whole lot easier, but a whole lot less exciting.
Wish me luck!!
Now that I am thoroughly rested up from sleeping in throughout Fall Break, and that I have stuffed my face with Thanksgiving dinner and leftovers, it is now time to get back to classes, books, studying, and those semester finals. After a long, hard (but still awesome!) semester, the end is finally in sight. These last few weeks will be full of renewed interest in classes, cram studying (if only I didn’t procrastinate…) and calculations of the minimum test scores needed to obtain a certain grade. As usual, it’s going to be a busy end to the semester with finals, Christmas preparations and did I mention studying for finals? All I can say is: wish me and all other K-State students luck. Some of us are really going to need it.
As you all know this week was Thanksgiving, which means lots of good food and family time. It also means that I had sometime to mentally prepare for the final weeks of the semester. (SO crazy! I really feel like I just got to school – can’t believe the first semester is almost over.)
As I was beginning to think about the upcoming weeks I kept hearing people talk about “dead week”. I really had no idea what they were talking about. In fact I was a little scared by the idea of a dead week – nothing about it sounded particularly good. I finally decided to ask someone what exactly it was. I learned that “dead week” is the week right before finals. The week is full of studying and preparing for finals week – the week when you take all of your final exams. Generally you don’t have homework in classes so you can just study for your finals.
I am glad that slowly but surely I am learning some K-State lingo. Now I am just excited to experience my first dead week!
As I think about Thanksgiving break, my first thought is “oh my gosh, where did my 9 days off go?” Quickly followed by “wait a minute…I only have two weeks left of school then graduation and finals. WHAT IS GOING ON!” Thinking about the short amount of time I have left as a student at K-State makes me realize the things I am most thankful for from my time here.
1. The amazing friendships I have made. Deciding to attend K-State, work on campus, and participate in various on campus activities resulted in friendships that will last a lifetime. (yes, this is a subtle shout out to you)
2. The connections I made with faculty and staff across campus. From my on campus employer to my professors to my academic and honors program advisors, my life has been positively influenced by numerous professionals at K-State.
3. The opportunities for involvement both on and off campus. Whether it be serving as Chair of Student Review Board, participating as a CASA Volunteer, or my time in a Greek organization, each endeavor turned out to be an amazing adventure and learning experience.
4. The future that awaits me as a result of my decision to attend K-State for my undergraduate career. As I approach graduation, I have an amazing offer from one law school and am waiting responses from the other two. K-State provided me with the academic rigor and opportunities for success to make my career goals a reality.
This list may seem short, but its four components are vastly important to me. I cannot imagine my undergraduate career without any single component. And for that, there is only one thing I would like to say:
Thank you, K-State.
Many of my friends know that I love to travel, so it’s no surprise that one of my favorite aspects of college thus far has been the road trips I’ve gotten to go on. It seems like some of the most fun, random, and at-times ridiculous things occur on road trips – whether driving in a larger city or discovering a “forgotten” small town somewhere along the way. Road trips aren’t just for finding a good laugh though; I believe they also provide an awesome opportunity to get to know individuals better, turning acquaintances into friends.
During my time in college, I’ve gone on several road trips, and made a lot of memories in the process. As a part of my fraternity, I’ve gotten to go all sorts of places: to a leadership conferences in Kansas City, to a convention in Ohio, to another fraternity chapter in Illinois, and on our annual ski trip to Colorado. As a part of my involvement in Student Governing Association, I got to travel to Washington, D.C., last Spring Break to attend a meeting with the leaders of the other student governments from around the Big XII. And of course, I can’t forget about one of the most fun reasons to hit the road: K-State sporting events. This year, I attended the K-State v. Iowa State football game in Ames, Iowa and I’ve gone to various other basketball and football games on the road.
Wherever I’ve been, I’ve had fun with the K-Staters I’ve traveled with, and at sporting events in particular, the “wildcat spirit” has made me feel like I’m at home in Manhattan, no matter how far we’ve gone. Road trips are memorable, and college schedules often afford one the opportunity to go on several of them. So get a car, grab some K-State friends, and head out on the open road! You’ll be glad you did.
This past week one of my roommates and I attended an event hosted by the International Coordinating Council. For a low price we were able to attend an International Food Festival on campus.
Needless to say, the food was amazing! Students from countries all over the world prepared dishes native to their home for attendees to sample. Some of the nations represented included Egypt, Ecuador, Mexico, Pakistan, Cameroon, and others. We were able to sample traditional main dishes as well as desserts. While we were eating the students each presented a 2-3 minute power point describing the food they prepared and the ingredients necessary to prepare it. It was such a cool experience! I loved learning about the different cultures and trying new, unique dishes. Not to mention, it was neat to see a lot of other K-State students and members of the Manhattan community in attendance. I think a great time was had by all! I am looking forward to supporting a group of students traveling to Ecuador by attending their dinner after Thanksgiving break.
Being away from K-State always has a way of reminding me just what it is I love most about my time in Manhattan – what it is that has made my experience so far at K-State so incredible. While K-State provides a number of awesome services to students and opportunities to get involved, when I’m away from campus it becomes clear that it’s the relationships with the people I’ve met in college that I miss the most. Sure, K-State’s campus is beautiful, my classes this semester are engaging, and I enjoy the activities I’m involved with, but if it wasn’t for the “people aspect,” my K-State experience would not be complete.
When I left high school and set off for college (making the lengthy 35 mile drive to Manhattan!), I somehow doubted I’d be exposed to individuals who would one day become some of my best friends. Fortunately, my doubts about college friend-making at K-State were erased within weeks! While I still maintain a number of my high school friendships, I’ve been lucky to meet a number of awesome individuals at K-State. What do they all have in common? They value relationships and the people around them. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the biggest lessons I’ve learned at K-State are the true value of relationships and the importance of putting in the time to get to know those around me.
I see examples of this unique attention to relationships on K-State’s campus daily. From my former academic advisor who still offers to assist me whenever needed to the numerous members of my fraternity willing to do nearly anything for each other, it’s a fact about our university that is impossible to ignore. The bottom line? K-State has taught me the importance of relationships. As I enjoy a break at home for the next few days, I hope to live out that principle while spending time with my family. I’ve experienced firsthand the fulfillment of knowing others well, and I’ll never be the same because of it.
So I am composing this post from somewhere in the middle of Oklahoma as my brother and I are on our way down to Waco, Texas to cheer on the ‘Cats tomorrow against Baylor. Hopefully I will have some good pictures from the game for next weeks post! Anyway, with Thanksgiving just right around the corner, I decided to write on all the things I am thankful for in my life. I know that it is a littel cliche, but I believe that you can never give enough thanks.
I am thankful for…
- My family. They are always there for me when I need them and they support me no matter what. And my parents and brother have taught me so many valuable lessons throughout my life. I love them so much and I couldn’t imagine my life without them.
- K-State ( a.k.a. my second family). I am so thankful for this institution and especially the people here. They have really always gone the extra mile for me and made me feel like I am truly a part of a special, special family.
- My friends. I have the world’s most amazing friends and I would be lost without them!
- Our 10-0 football team. I think that one is pretty self explanatory.
- And finally, the service men and women who unselfishly serve our country. If you are or have been in the military or if you are a part of a military family, thank you from the bottom of my heart. And if you aren’t, please go out and give thanks to someone who has, and let them know how much we all appreciate their service.
Have a very happy Thanksgiving everybody! And if you are traveling, please be sure to get to your destination safely!