Kansas State University


Student Stories

Month: January 2014

Blank Slate

There’s nothing like a clean chalkboard. Walking into a class for the first time is hard because in a way you’re starting all over. On the other hand, it’s refreshing. What could be more inspiring than a blank slate full of possibilities? It’s a chance to get what YOU want out of the time ahead. Obviously I am excited for all this semester holds. Speaking of the new semester, I have a few resolutions to help me start things off the right way:

1) Eat at 3 new places in Manhattan or the surrounding area- I cooked a lot last semester, and I got a brand new cookbook, but sometimes I need to get out of the house and share a meal with friends.

2) Find a new hobby– I got a jewelry making kit and worked on that diligently for the first few days. I need to pick it back up because I have about ten projects I would like to complete before the end of the semester.

3) Practice Spanish more- I took multiple years of Spanish (and loved it) and I have friends that speak Spanish, but I hardly use it now that I am not enrolled in classes. I need to make sure to maintain my conversation and composition skills.

4) Visit ACIC (Academic Career Information Center)– I walked in and made an appointment today! I need to utilize the assessment and counseling services to narrow down my major and look for some career opportunities. I will let you know how this goes. Fingers crossed!

5) Take advantage of CES (Career and Employment Services)- I need to revise my resume. I know they have so much more to offer than just that service and I need to make time to use their resources.

6) Get more out of the Rec (Peters Rec Complex)- Having a physical outlet greatly improves my academic performance and also just generally makes me a much happier person. I plan on making a set time to go (like a class) and sticking with it. I’ve also been meaning to try out the climbing wall. Don’t worry, it’s inside where it’s nice and warm. I think having a friend go with me will make this even more fun!

Just for Fun

It seems like every semester I have been at K-State I have gotten busier and busier. All of the things that I am doing I really enjoy and are giving me great knowledge for the future. However, I realized that I was starting to do less and less things just for fun. I realized that I was feeling a lot of pressure to make sure everything I did was “working towards my future”. Don’t get me wrong. I think it is incredibly important to get involved and do things that are preparing you for your future. But I also think that it is important to do things you love just because you love them.

Let me give you an example from my life. In high school I was super into theatre. I did all of the plays and I absolutely loved acting. When I came to college I kind of walked away from theatre because it wasn’t my major and I didn’t think I had time for it. That didn’t last long though because by the end of freshman year I missed it a lot. I needed a fine arts credit for my major so I decided I would take Fundamentals if Acting. The class was so fun, and I was so happy to be acting again. As the end of the semester was nearing I was getting sad because I knew it was almost over. I expressed this to my theatre teacher as she told me I could take another theatre class. I was really torn because I knew this semester was going to be busy and I didn’t know if I could make time for something that wasn’t directly preparing me for my future. I realized though that I still love and enjoy theatre and that it is worth it to make time for things that you love – even if you can’t put it on a resume 🙂

Called to Lead

I mentioned to someone earlier today that this was one of my favorite days of the year. Why you might ask? Today was the K-State Civic Leadership Scholarship Day. Today, we welcomed to campus what I believe to be 12 of the best high school seniors in the nation to Manhattan and the Kansas State campus. Every one of these individuals has had a significant impact as they served a community in which they are passionate about. This year, the finalists’ projects ranged from being pushing a bill in the state legislature to provide health care to those with hearing impairment, to helping senior citizens become more tech savvy, to helping provide clean water in countries where that is not a luxury to everything in between. And no project was any less significant than the previous.

Three years ago, during my senior year of high school, I was fortunate to be a recipient of this award. And now, the last two years I have been able to serve on the interview and selection committee. Once again this year, I was blown away by the projects that were presented and the passion that each student had to make a difference in the lives for those around them. (It really almost makes you feel like you aren’t doing enough in this world! But it inspires me to strive everyday to be a civic leader like these students.) Unfortunately though, as a selection committee, we could only select three overall winners (which let me tell you, was a very tough task!). This just proves though, that the K-State has the best student leaders in the nation who passionate about improving the world that we live in.

Congratulations to not only the three award winners of the Civic Leadership Scholarship, but also all the finalists who came to Manhattan today. It was truly an honor to meet all of you, and I want to welcome you to the K-State Family. To all who are reading this as well, I challenge you to follow the example of these students and identify a need in your community. Then, engage yourself in civic leadership to tackle this issue and serve the people who we share this world with.

K-State Proud,


New Shoes. Old Style.

A few days before I came back to Manhattan I bought a new pair of shoes. They are black, high top Converse and you could definitely say I love them. In fact, I think I have worn them every day since I got them. There is something about a new pair of shoes that just feels so good.  Every time I get a new pair it is exciting. They aren’t quite worn in yet and your feet have to adjust to the newness of them. The soles start to break in and the fabric gets softer. They are beginning their story. These shoes carry my travels. They know where I have been and they help me get there. In a way these shoes remind me of the start of a new semester. It is new and exciting. You don’t necessarily know what is going to happen, but there are so many adventures and new experiences waiting for you.

However, what I really love about them is that while these actual shoes are new to me, the style isn’t. I have many pairs of converse throughout my life and in a way they have started to feel a little bit like home. This is like the start of the spring semester. You have new classes and new places to go, but you also have some familiarity. You have your friends, you have your dorm room or house. It is just like a new pair of shoes with an old style.

At least for me, this semester is kind of this perfect balance of new and exciting, but familiar and comforting. I guess what I am trying to say is: I am excited to see where these new shoes take me, but I am glad they look and feel like the old shoes I love.

My Last First Day

Ok….so it really was probably in August as that is considered the “traditional” first day of school, but for the sake of the blog, let’s go with it.

Today, I made the cold trek to my last first day of classes in college EVER! I had a few moments to realize the magnitude of this day as I walked briskly, hands stuffed in my pockets, listening to my iPod, and burying my face in my scarf.

Today would be the last time I would receive a syllabus and eagerly jot down my exams coming up this semester.

Today would be the last time I would hesitate in the front of the class for a split second as I made the all-important decision of where to take a seat that I would sit in for the entirety of the semester.

Today would be the last time I would stand in front of my classmates and share my name, major, hometown and fun fact in order for my classmates to “get to know me”.

Today, I realized I will only have one more finals week, one more Spring Break, one more basketball game as a student vs. the other school down the road ;), and one more semester of carrying a backpack. I can’t even tell you how excited I am about that last one!

Looking back on these past 7 semesters, I truly believe that I went to the best school I could have ever chosen. How did I know this? Because I was glad to be going back to school today. I was glad to receive those last syllabi, choose that last seat, and write my information down for the sake of my teacher. Today meant that K-State still isn’t quite done with me. There are still things to be learned, mistakes to be made, friendships to begin, and memories to create. I can’t wait to see what this semester holds. My goal for this semester is to truly define what K-State has meant to me so that my experience will be etched in my heart forever as a “spot I love full well”.

This isn’t the beginning of the end. It is merely the best chapter in the book.

Happy first day back everyone!


A Refreshing Start

It’s so nice to be back!

My first day back on campus for the Spring 2014 semester was wonderful. I will admit it was a chilly walk when I left home this morning. I was also anxious (as I am on all first days) and slightly disoriented because I thought Thompson was where Throckmorton is. It happens to the best of us. I luckily had a friend who made sure I made it to my first class on time.

Less than ten minutes into my first class I was warm, relaxed and genuinely excited about my courses this semester. It helps that I have hilarious professors who are firm believers in the Open Door policy. I am so excited to get to know some of the students in my classes and to get to know my professors better. One professor said today “It just makes me so happy to see my students in my office!” as he was explaining that he is there for us no matter what is on our minds.

I mentioned above that one thing on my mind was the temperature today in Manhattan. Anything is cold in comparison to my spot on the couch under a heated blanket. On the bright side, I got to use my new gloves with rubber grips that can operate smart phones, zip zippers and turn doorknobs. I highly recommend these handy things! I also noticed on social media many other college students decided to treat themselves to something to celebrate their first day back and keep their hands warm. In honor of our first day of classes for the Spring of 2014, CHEERS! May our semester be full of friendship, the joy of learning, warm drinks on campus and the sun shining over Manhattan.

Welcome Back!


Service in the Heart of Texas…. K-State Style!

K-State’s emphasis on service knows no bounds. Students leave K-State with an arsenal of knowledge in their particular field of study, but also come away with a deep understanding of the importance of serving one another.

Last week, I had the fortune of being a part of a program called Alternative Breaks through the School of Leadership Studies. This program allows teams of students to travel to different locations around the U.S. and learn about a specific social issue. My team went to Fort Worth, TX where we engaged with those experiencing homelessness, along with assisting shelters and resource centers to fulfill their missions to serve these people.

I can say without a doubt it was one of the best trips I have ever taken! Our eyes were opened to the needs of those that surround us everyday and the importance of serving people to help meet their basic needs.

We worked closely with the Day Resource Center of Fort Worth, providing resources and creating individual connections with people who used the services at the center. We spent time at the Salvation Army where we served dinner to 200 hundred people in a matter of an hour, 3 nights in a row! We spent a morning at a shelter where we sorted thousands of canned food items to be stored, along with spending some time to maintain a garden nearby. The work was hard, but the looks on the faces of those we served was the best compensation for our hard work that we could receive. 

The staff at each of the locations we served were so grateful to host us and learn about us. They asked us questions about Kansas, often criticizing us for bringing the cold weather down with us 😉 and talking sports with us due to the immense success K-State basketball has been having. We even met one gentlemen who is an alum of Texas Christian University who provided us tickets to go watch our Wildcats take on the TCU Horned Frogs while we were there. We were in such awe of the hospitality and kindness we were met with wherever we went!

Looking back on this trip, I understand that service is a universal language. When we have the ability to humble ourselves and place the needs of others before us, the opportunities to make relationships become endless.
At K-State, you will find service at the heart of all things we do. We recognize that we have been blessed with the opportunity to obtain a wonderful education, but acknowledge that becoming a true steward to the world is by maintaining an attitude with human service at the core.

Service can change a heart for the better. Let K-State be your stepping stone to a life full of fulfilling service!

Go Cats!



Preparing for Spring Semester

Hey guys!

It’s almost time to get back to K-State… and start doing homework again. It can be hard to get back into that academic mindset after spending weeks watching Netflix and generally doing nothing. To get my head back in the game I start thinking about everything I’m excited about, that doesn’t include anything academic. Thinking about these things helps me to get pumped about the upcoming semester, and not worried about having homework again. Here are just a couple of things that I’m looking forward to,

Seeing my friends again: It’s nice to connect with high school friends, but I miss my friends from K-State too! I can’t wait to get back and hear some funny stories about how everyone’s break.

Club meetings: I can’t wait to get back into club meetings! I love hanging out with people who have the same interests as me and I’m looking forward to being able to do that again.

Late nights: I don’t have a bedtime anymore because, you know, I’m an adult now. But my parents definitely don’t like my insane sleeping schedule. I’m looking forward to getting back to campus where it’s not weird to make a full meal with your roommates at 3am.

The college atmosphere: Yeah, I know this sounds weird, but Manhattan has a certain atmosphere. I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s sort of like a sense of camaraderie and pride in our school I guess? I don’t know, but I miss it a lot!

Go cats!


A year in the life

As the new year gently unravels, many tend to reflect upon the past 12 months as a way to bring closure and look ahead to what’s to come. As a self-proclaimed list aficionado, I find myself clicking on almost every “year-end” article shared on Facebook and take great interest in how others recap their year—whether through a list of favorite albums, movies, or even moments in pop culture.  As a college student, all of those things play a large part in my day-to-day life; but as you can probably assume, school plays the main role. In hopes of shedding some light on what a year in college actually looks like, I’m going to share with you a (somewhat Sparknotes) rendition of the most significant moments of my year at K-State:

THE ‘CATS: We kicked off the year by going to watch our beloved ‘Cats battle in the Fiesta Bowl in Arizona. Tons of students road trip down (even though the drive was more than 13 hours!) so it was a blast getting to cheer on our football team with thousands of members of the Family.  Additionally, attending games throughout the year is always a highlight and has created some of my fondest memories.

MAJORS AND MINORS: At the beginning of the year, I finally made the transition from a Marketing major to a Pre-Journalism and Mass Communications student. I begin taking classes in the JMC school in the spring and later applied and officially became an Advertising major in the fall. Although it took me a little longer to finally figure it out, I couldn’t be happier with my academic path and, at last, feel fully connected with my curriculum, fellow students, and faculty.

GREEK LIFE: After falling in love with our chapter’s national philanthropy as a underclassman, I decided to apply for Philanthropy Chair—and was lucky enough to get it! Our chapter has an event each semester, so I was in charge of coordinating both and getting the chapter excited. We helped raise over $6,500 for our national philanthropy, Make-A-Wish, and my position came to a close in December after a full year of hard work. (I also discovered that event planning is definitely NOT my forte.)

STUDENT GOVERNING ASSOCIATION: In late October of 2012, I began working for a team campaigning for Student Body President and Vice President. Campaign season is in full force during January and February, and closes in March. Working as a campaign manager was by far the most challenging, time-consuming leadership position I had ever taken on, but after winning the election and watching two close friends and incredible mentors take office, it quickly solidified my love for student government at K-State and paid off 110%.

In early spring, our organization hosts the K-State Proud campaign, which helps raise money for fellow K-State students who are struggling financially to keep them on campus. I then got to take on the position of Vice President of Membership, which means I basically get to plan fun socials and retreats for our group, along with new member recruitment, selections, and training. In late summer, we took a trip to New Orleans for a national conference where we got to present our organization’s practices and learn from dozens of other similar programs from universities across the nation.

EMPLOYMENT: I spent the year working for New Student Services in Anderson Hall and returned for my 2nd summer serving as a Wildcat Warm-up Counselor for Orientation and Enrollment. Over the course of the year, I was able to give several campus tours, sit on student panels, and help coordinate visits for all of the talented students interested in K-State. Nothing beats the challenge of recruiting the top students to K-State, and hopefully this post has helped express why I’m so passionate about it.

The point of this recap wasn’t to celebrate or show off the feats of my year; rather, to show you how many unbelievable opportunities there are to take advantage of at this university every single day. While I can easily express the things I did over the past year, I cannot even begin to express the personal development I’ve achieved through fully immersing myself in undergraduate life. At the end of the day (or year, I suppose), I owe every ounce of my growth and success to the relationships with the lifelong mentors, leaders, and friends that make this place the unique and special place I will forever call home—from 2013, to 2014, and forever and ever until I’m old and graduated and gray and blogs aren’t even cool anymore.  ‘Cats, man.

xoxo, ellen


“Just try not to be around loud noises.” This was the advice I received from my doctor on Christmas Eve after finding out I ruptured my ear drum (awesome). Little did they know that I would soon be standing in front of the loudest, almost 400 person, band in the country and cheering on our wildcat football team to an absolutely beautiful victory at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Arizona. Needless to say, there were lots of loud noises, and the pain medicine came in very handy. I can say though, that I do not regret a second of enduring the noise that the wildcat nation is capable of making.

I wanted to hit on some of my New Year thoughts. Now I know that it seems like everyone has their opinion on New Year’s resolutions, whether that be positive or negative. I personally believe it solely relies on the person and their attitude about the particular resolution. I do however, want to share a story that inspired me and my own resolutions this past week.

On Christmas day, in track to the bowl game, 9 charter buses arrived at a Sheraton hotel in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This happened to be the same hotel stayed at the previous year for the Fiesta Bowl. After sending the Wolverines home pouting, we returned back to the same Sheraton before continuing the trip to Manhattan. As the crowd of tired, sleep deprived, and probably hungry college students walked through the doors, we were greeted by hotel staff holding up congratulatory signs made just for the winning school’s arrival. Now many would say this was a money scheme, obviously striving to get a good reputation and more of our business. I, however, was really struck by the gesture. Their smiles and welcome put a new light in the eyes of us students, and made the trip up the stairs with our bags weighing on us just a little less painful. I’m aware that I wasn’t the one catching the football in the end zone, but the staff made us feel as if we had accomplished something just by being  a part of Kansas State University.

After thinking this over, I realized how easy it is to simply congratulate someone. Sometimes the competitiveness in students nowadays can make us less likely to admire what someone is capable of doing. Being congratulated by a peer is a small task with a big impact. My 2014 change is to stop comparing and start congratulating. You can’t win at everything, you shouldn’t want to. It is just as important to know the strengths of others as it is to know the strengths of yourself. Maybe not literally, but definitely figuratively, I decided it’s time to hold up some congratulations signs in my life. 

Go cats,