Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Finals Countdown

     As promised, here are some pictures of my friend's completed book-making project. This is certainly a time for projects! With finals looming, students are scrambling to complete final projects and papers and cram for exams.

The goal of the project was to "push the
boundaries of what a book is."

     Yes, finals are always tough time for students, requiring us to juggle multiple grade-defining projects at the same time. And—oh, yeah—life, too.

If you're feeling like this, read on!
 Here are a few tips for a successful finals week:

1. Be honest and upfront! Be honest with yourself about how much time everything on your plate is going to take. Let people like your roommate know in advance that you're going to need to stay up late or need extra space to finish anything from term papers to final paintings. And, if you're down to the wire, and you're not going to be able to get something in on time, let you're professors know as early as possible. They are often more understanding than you think, but they usually prefer to grant extensions, rather than feeling forced to accept late work.

2. Be healthy! If you pull an all-nighter, all the time spent cramming for your test might not be worth it because you will not be able to retain or recall crucial information during an actual exam. Carving out time for the gym, drinking enough water, and eating healthy will also help keep you on an even keel. (Did you know that, when you're even slightly dehydrated, it makes you feel tired and can cause headaches?)

3. Be happy! Finals suck, but they mean that the end of the year and summer are just days away!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Little 500 Week

     Little 500 week at IU is known by students all over Indiana. In the days leading up to the infamous bike race, students from across the state come to visit friends. This week has a reputation for being a week of insanity and drinking, but that's definitely not all there is to it!

     The weekend before the actual race weekend is when my living-learning center holds a traditional event appropriately called Collinsfest. On this day, all of the councils and groups that put on programming throughout the year come together to put on what is essentially a giant party for all Collins residents. Although this year's Collinsfest started out ominously with lots of rain, the weather soon cleared and residents resumed their fun!


Afternoons at Dunn Meadow
     Activities were taking place all week at Dunn Meadow. If the nearby fraternities weren't blasting music, music was blasting in the meadow, itself! On Monday people representing the IU Outdoor Pool held activities and passed out free day passes to the pool, along with popsicle sticks. Meanwhile, students walked their dogs, played ball, studied, and biked through the meadow.

Froshfest and Gnomes on Bikes
     Events were held throughout the week in the Collins courtyard. On one of these nights, the Collins community organized a tricycle race around this space, Gnomes on Bikes. After that followed a concert of freshman musicians from around Collins.

One of the Gnomes on Bikes teams.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


     Twinrocker is the largest handmade paper factory in the United States. And, last Saturday, thanks to my Living-Learning Community, I got to attend a paper-making workshop there! Collins, like the other LLCs on campus, regularly offers trips and workshops like this. Though some are only for Collins residents, like this paper-making workshop, many are open to the public. For example, tomorrow night we're having an amazing guest speaker come to give a presentation, Scientists are the New Rock Stars, in our coffeehouse from 7-9. Feel free to stop by! (Here's more info: http://tinyurl.com/69scq2f)

A quick demonstration before we get to work!
Making one of the first sheets.

     We left for Twinrocker, which is about two hours from Bloomington at 7:30 a.m., and we didn't get back until about 6:15 p.m. that night. This trip was definitely worth the early morning, though! At the event, participants heard a brief presentation on the history of paper and paper-making. We watched a demonstration on how the pulp is made and on rolling out a few pieces of paper, and then we got to work for the rest of the day! All the paper we made will be shipped to us, and we will be completing a book-making workshop with it soon!

Lunch at the cafe next door.
And, back to work!
Oh, we also got to make these little
sheets of paper to decorate!
And, one last thing to mention:
Paper pulp feels real weird!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Beautiful Books

     Several weeks ago, I featured the work of an artist friend of mine in a post. Here is my promised update on her finished project and a little preview on another beautiful project she's working on for her bookmaking, taught by Collin's Associate Director, Yara Cluver. I recently found out that most of these Collins courses are open to any student on campus, not just those that live here in Collins. With sign-up dates for next semester looming, I wanted give you all a sneak peak of some of the fascinating courses that my LLC will be offering in Fall 2011, in case you're interested! (That list can be found here: http://www.indiana.edu/~llc/forms/SeminarsFall11.pdf.)

The completed book.

     Feel like studying mummies and zombies? Want to understand what the heck is going on in North Korea? In the mood to get interdisciplinary? Or, maybe you're interested in learning from famous academic Doug Hofstadter? Collins courses often sound off-the-wall, but for me they have proven to be some of my most rewarding courses yet! Because professors must apply to teach them and these courses go through a lengthy application process—one that is led by students, by the way—teachers are passionate about the material, and courses reflect specific student interests. One of this spring's Collins classes, for example, focuses on the mythology of this cult classic, Star Trek. Students got to attend a comic convention in the course of the class—for which students had to pay a very small amount because most of the cost was covered by the LLC. Even if you don't feel like discussing the farthest reaches of the galaxy, though, you might enjoy taking one of the somewhat more traditional classes that Collins offers—such as Cluver's artist book class.

The intention of this project was to push the boundaries
of what constitutes a book. These small birdcages will
 be assembled into something resembling a mobile.
Another of four birdcages.
     I'll post a quick update on the completed version of this project, when it is finished!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Spring Sunshine

     The Spring Equinox was just a couple of days ago, and for the past couple of days, the Bloomington weather has been playing along with the calendar. It looks like spring! And, when those first few days of good weather show up, students flock outdoors to take in the spring sunshine. My fellow bloggers and I have posted entries about the weather several times now. The thing is, weather, for a college student, is not just idle chit chat. When you walk around as much as you do on a big campus like IU, weather becomes a big deal.

The Collins courtyard, buzzing with life.
I brought a couple of old blankets with me at the
beginning of the school year for just this purpose.
     When the weather permits, students around my res hall, Collins, are drawn out into the courtyard. Students spread out in the grass, studying in the spring weather—or not, as the case may be! This area becomes a hive of social activity. The running joke is that the nice weather brings out people you didn't even know lived in your res hall. So, make the most of the spring weather, while it's here! Other spots to try for some outdoor studying, socializing, napping, or a little bit of all of the above: the Arboretum, Dunn Meadow, the woodsy spot behind Woodburn Hall, the little stone garden area outside the Honors College while you wait for the 6 bus, or any green patches on your res hall's front lawn.

Spring weather cheers everyone up!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Chesh

     One of my fellow bloggers recently did a great story about the Crimson Creamery, so I thought I'd share one of my favorite spots for a late-night snack on campus. If you're in the know, you probably visit often. If it isn't yet on your radar, check it out: Collins has its own in-house coffeehouse, The Cheshire Cafe. This little spot features a wide variety of drinks and desserts at very reasonable prices.

You have to love the ambiance and the Alice in Wonderland theme.
Not to mention the pricing of the drinks!
     Instead of walking over to Starbucks the next time you're up late studying, you might want to try the Cheshire Cafe. This little spot is located just off of the Collins coffeehouse (the large room where events are often held, on the same floor as the dining hall). "The Chesh," as it is commonly called, is open from 8 p.m. to midnight every night. (You can get into the building at this time by going in Collins' front doors and heading down one flight of stairs.)

Baristas are always willing to make drink suggestions.
I got a classic latte for $1.75.
     The Chesh is run entirely by students. It features all kinds of delicious drinks, and the max price on any drink is around $2. The Chesh also features fun weekly themed specials. Plus, at the end of the night, the regular coffee that is left over is free!

This week's theme? The Powerpuff Girls!
Grabbing some free coffee
at the end of the night.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


     One of my favorite things about living in Collins Living-Learning Center is the involvement level of the residents. This fall I was involved in creating a cooking group. Every month this group, which we call Nourish, meets on a Friday evening to cook dinner together!

Let's get cooking!
Mmm, rice.
     This month was the third meeting of Nourish, and a record-breaking 13 people attended the event! You may be wondering where such an event could be held. An older Collins resident has been opening her Hillcrest apartment to the group every month. (Hillcrest is Collins in-house apartment building, a facility that allows older students the enjoyment of apartment living without moving off-campus or even out of Collins.)

Making baklava on the coffee table.
     Although the kitchen isn't big enough it fit everyone, Nourish attendees make use of the living space in the apartment to prepare the meal. This month we made Indian food—a curry and chapati bread—for dinner and baklava for dessert.

Ready to dig in!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Center Desk Secrets and Surprises

     As a college student, finding a package in your mailbox is something to look forward to. Getting mail—no matter whether it's from home or something you bought for yourself—always has the capacity to brighten my day! I recently picked up a package that had come for me while my RA was working at the center desk, and she told me about a lot of helpful center-desk services that go beyond the basic mail pick-up.

Step right up!
Little boxes upon boxes of possibility.
     Did you know that center desks often have helpful tools like bicycle pumps on hand in case you get a flat? Or that you can send and receive faxes through your center desk? The center desk also sells stamps for the few people who wander in every week with outbound mail. (You can't send packages through the center desk, but you can definitely send letters!) Who knew?

     In living-learning centers or res halls with special facilities—like Collins with its textiles studio, cinema, darkroom, and so on—students can also pick up the keys to such facilities at their center desk, as long as they've received approval to do so in advance!

Center desk workers are always friendly!
     Go forth and make the most of your center desk!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Jordan Greenhouses

     Although I don't do this as often as I'd like, I make it a point to do some exploring on campus every semester. In the fall I fell in love with Lilly Library. I recently found a new favorite campus spot—the Jordan Greenhouses.

The view from Third Street.

The view from inside.
      This weekend my parents came to town. Every time they visit, we always do the quintessential catch-up lunch. This visit, however, we made a new tradition—a visit to one of the most lush and beautiful spots on campus, the greenhouses. This was something we had been talking about doing since freshman year, and I think we were all glad that we finally made time to do it!

Mom and Pops, pondering a plant.
     The greenhouses are such a beautiful place to visit on campus, whether it's just you or you're with parents or friends. They're open every day of the week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. They feature a linked collection of rooms which house all different sorts of plants from desert plants to tropical varieties, ferns to flowers, cotton to carnivorous plants. (See more here: http://www.iub.edu/videos/Jordan-Greenhouse-Tour.shtml)

Aren't these little guys adorable?
IU colors.
The textures of the different
cacti were amazing.
    The entrance to the greenhouses is found through Jordan Hall. It can be a bit difficult to figure out how to get in! We found it simplest to come in through the Third Street entrance to Jordan Hall. From there, you just walk in the doors, turn right, and feast your eyes!

A little bit of botany humor for your trouble.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Keeping it Cozy

     A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about making it through the winter on campus. Well, this weekend, thanks to a good friend, I had the occasion to genuinely enjoy the winter weather, spending the weekend at my friend's family condo on nearby Lake Monroe.

Winter walk
Winter isn't all bad!
     Last Friday after everyone was done with class, I packed up my car with some friends from my res hall floor, and we headed out to the lake. We crammed my car full of blankets, pillows, board games, and the makings of a gourmet meal—courtesy of my friend and the gracious host of our weekend trip. Cozy-making supplies take up so much space!

Passing around our tasty, tasty dinner.
Pretty self-explanatory.
     Just 20-30 minutes away, Lake Monroe is a beautiful place in either winter or summer weather, and it served as a very cozy weekend retreat. We lounged in the cabin, playing games and eating tasty, tasty food, and in the morning, we took a short winter hike. It was certainly a beautiful and refreshing way to spend the weekend!

Good times!