Roomie Love

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I always thought people were exaggerating when saying, whoever you room with, will become one of your best friends, and also sometimes your worst nightmare. But for me, this is exactly what happened! Starting my freshman year, one of my roommates, Katie Pierce and I, became great friends. At the beginning of freshman year, we joined the same sorority, bringing us ever closer. All four of us roommates lived together for two years. As Katie and I became closer, the other two went their separate ways, and did not exactly get along with us at times. Sadly, currently, for my third year at SIUE, I did not live with any of them.

katie and i Although I do not live with Katie this year, we have spent so many nights bonding through visiting each other, late night ice cream runs, and going out with all of our friends on the weekends. I was so glad to hear the final decision of her living situation for next year! She will be one of my roommates at Enclave West, right outside of SIUE’s campus, in the Alpha Phi housing wing. She has been and will continue to be such a great friend with me, that can be there to listen to whatever my problems may be, have a great time, act completely silly, and so much more. I cannot wait to be roommates again!

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New Opportunities

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Here at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, I joined Public Relation Student Society of America (PRSSA) the beginning of this year. Every other week we have meetings, learning about the different ethics and strategies of being involved in Public Relations. Sometimes they have guest speakers who can further tell us about their experiences or careers, to give us a better insight about what the field all entails.

Occasionally the PRSSA members carpool together to a bigger business that is offering our members to come observe, tour, ask questions about the company, etc. I have only been to one business so far, which was yesterday morning. We toured the premises of The Hauser Group. This company offers a wide variety of public relations skills and strategic counsel.

After showing us the building, and what happens in each location, we were then all seated in a conference room, and offered pastries and beverages. Here the staff introduced themselves, explaining how PR connected to their current job, a listing of their previous jobs, and how exactly they “traveled up the ladder” to where they presently are. Two interns were also present, which was nice because their input would be most relevant to where we were at currently in our lives. The workers then opened the conversation to any questions we, students, had.

It was a very nice experience to “shake a hand” and make future connections, that maybe one day will land us an internship, or even just give us insight about questions we may have yet to come. I am now even more thankful I joined an organization that helps us, students, further our career path and making great connections. Thank you PRSSA!

Mischievous but sweet… almost like the Sour Patch Kids ;)

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Currently this fall semester I started working at Southern Illinois Univeristy Edwardsville’s Early Childhood Center. This daycare is located on campus and cares for children between the ages of two through four. I was so excited to be called back and hired there! Not that I didn’t think I would “love” the job, but I wasn’t expecting how attached I would get to the kids. I wouldn’t think of work as a chore to make money, but rather a chance to spend time with the children, and help them learn and grow.

What exactly comes to mind when you think about kids? I guess the first thought would be dirty, sickly kids that need to blow their nose. Or, they can be thought of as messy hellions that you have to clean up after. Those were a few ideas that came to mind before I started working there! Until I started working there I didn’t realize, that yes they can be messy and gross, but there also is so much more to them than that!

Everything about them is amazing. I love how much they are willing (capable) to learn. They absorb everything! It’s great that as adults, we can think more in a comprehensive way than the toddlers, but I wish we would think a teensy bit like them. A child’s world is so magical, not just in thinking about rainbows and unicorns. They have a positive mindset, not knowing all the troubles and crimes in the world, and they can aspire to be anything they want to be. No matter if that child hasn’t been exposed to a lot, or doesn’t have it the greatest in their home life, they aren’t exposed to materialistic ways that they “think” their life should be. So therefore, they are content with everything they have and their surroundings.

But besides them being so amazing, I love how not only are the children adorable, I get to learn from them to better myself as a person. Each and every day I learn something new. I either learn about that child and the different home-style and teachings, ways to better take care of children depending on their actions and personalities, and also how I can better enhance myself in how I act and communicate to that child and others.

New Adventures

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So if you all know me, I don’t exactly “like” stepping out of my comfort zone. Also I am not exactly the most athletic person… I realized trying different things that I am not exactly used to will push me out of my little “coziness stage” and force me to go further.

The PanHellenic Council at Southern Illinois Univeristy Edwardsville hosts a flag football tournament for the sororities every year. We have four sororities here on campus, so we will each have a turn to play every team, and from the results, there will be a winner.

The girls in the sorority said it was a wonderful opportunity to meet and bond with the other girls, so I joined! Our tournament is October 25th, which is less than 2 weeks away. The only past sports I’ve played in high school were golf and cheerleading, which everything remained stationary except for the bodies we threw, which were a little easier since it was a bigger mass than a flying football.

Even though it was a hard commitment of being at every practice while having homework and studies, I am so thankful I am a part of the team. Our sorority has about 150 members, so it is a little difficult to know them all on a personal level. Since the football team has spent so much time together, it was such a good opportunity to further bond with girls. Whether or not we win the tournament, we all will know that we did our best and had such a great experience making so many new connections!

Irreplaceable

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I always thought the feeling of losing a loved one would get better over time. Better? Maybe a different word could be easier. But, I still don’t know how I feel about that…

It will be two years on this coming November 1st since my Grandma, Kathryn Hartke passed away. My grandparents live (grandpa now does) five miles away from my home in Teutopolis, Illinois. These two lovely grandparents are the parents of my mother. My grandparents had two kids, resulting in 6 grandkids! A little smaller than some families, but I love it just the way it is. My uncle and his family were next-door neighbors to my grandparents, so we were all very close, in location and our relationships. Growing up, I had so many fond memories at their house and spending time with my family. Having the treats of grandma’s famous cookies and cinnamon rolls, swimming all summer in their pool, going on adventures through their farm and hay barns, and building a mountainous (sizing in terms of our kid memory) 1551552_10200787635008207_856690091_nsized snow glacier that we could climb, are such great memories that I will always treasure. My grandparents, parents, and relatives made it a NECESSITY to always spend our Sunday nights having dinner together.

My cousins and I were fairly close in age. Once the youngest of the grandkids turned 11, surprisingly their family was expecting another! There were only five grandkids, one boy and four girls, so the thought of another on the way was extremely exciting. My grandparents were so excited that my uncle and aunt were expecting their first boy! My brother turned out not to be the only male grandchild. Since we were all a little older than the new cousin, Jack, we all spoiled him rotten, especially my grandma. She couldn’t contain her excitement that he lived next-door and could see him often.

My grandma was a power princess that I will always wish to be. She was diagnosed with breast cancer, and later underwent a double mastectomy, removing both breasts in hopes of eliminating the cancer. A year later, her right arm suffered problems with lymphedema, known as lymphatic destruction. After all of these obstacles, her love for us grew. Even though she was tired from her chemotherapy treatments, she still found time to spend with us. She never missed a Relay for Life event, supporting anyone who has suffered, deceased or survivors, from any form of cancer.

Skip several years later, and my grandma was at the age of 68. She was going to undergo knee replacement surgery. The pain was so severe that it disabled her to walk far distances, so the surgery was a necessity. She was nervous for the surgery, but heard such positive stories of neighbors/friends that endured a successful knee surgery. After her surgery, she was feeling great! I remember calling her after, hearing about her latest gossip. Little did I know, that would be the last time I would speak with her. Sadly, because of her past cancer and the surgery procedure, the surgery caused for her blood to clot easily. She completed her last lap in the hall of the hospital (mandatory to see if she was feeling better before she could leave) and she collapsed because of a blood clot in her leg. This blood clot began to travel to her lung, later going to her heart. My grandma then passed away.

I cannot even attempt to express the shock, anger, and sadness after being told the news. It wasn’t fair. Death happens so often, but it couldn’t possibly have taken the life of my grandma who I visited habitually. Jack, the youngest grandson who was only three years old, could not be without a grandma. I miss her more th162931_188684204491798_2257424_nan I can express. I always will…

People think that the sadness will fade with time after a loved one passes, but it’s the exact opposite. Your yearn to see them, hug them, love them, hold them so tight you can’t ever let go, only grows stronger. Your anger goes away, and a happiness somewhat takes place to one day see them again. But most of all, you feel extremely blessed to have ever had the chance to love and know the person. She played such a huge role in my life; she is irreplaceable.

Family Is Everything

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As you know from my prior blogs, I belong to a sorority, Alpha Phi. Our sorority has many events and fundraisers for our philanthropy, women’s cardiac care. Besides all of the supporting we do for our philanthropic research, we also do miscellaneous sisterhood/bonding events, and days to celebrate our caregivers (Parent/Guardian’s Day, Mom’s Day, Dad’s Day, etc., or any other important female or male in our lives).

This Saturday is our Dad’s Day celebration, taking place at Anheuser Busch Brewery, in St. Louis, Missouri. Private tours are booked for the Alpha Phi members and our important men we invited (brothers, grandfathers, dads, etc.). After the tours, a lunch buffet consisting of a meat, cheese, and cracker tray, German potato salad, cheddar pretzel, and barbecue sauce wings with multiple beverages of choice will be served. Besides the exciting venue, I cannot wait to spend the day with my father and brother.

My family has always meant everything to me. The fact that I will have a chance to spend a day with two of the most important male role models in my life, makes me so happy. As the years go by, everyone seems to get busier and busier. Especially with having a small family of four, I am used to being so close and having the chance to see each other often. After going to college a300188_269637629729788_3357837_nnd leaving home, I was exposed to what it is like to not to see my family as often as I would like. Although I didn’t think it to be possible to appreciate my family any more than I already did, my love for them grew. I cannot wait for Alpha Phi, Dad’s Day. Let the countdown begin!300511_269637489729802_4592463_n

Looking Beyond the Horizons

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I am currently applying to be accepted and volunteer at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s Alternative Spring Break. Instead of spending an excess use of money with friends down at the beach, I would be devoting my time to families in Jamaica. With the theme of the trip being poverty relief and education, individual and group projects will be assigned throughout the community. With the hands-on experience throughout the community, they will hope to gain a context for learning about partnerships, reciprocity, capacity building, sustainability, cross-cultural understanding, and problem solving.

Photo Credit: United Nations Photo via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: United Nations Photo via Compfight cc  

I first saw this opportunity being broadcasted at the SOLO (Student Organization Leadership Organization) event I just attended for representing New Horizon’s Disability Awareness’s Secretary. If I originally would not have been “Greek” and joined the organization Alpha Phi the sorority, I would not have even heard about the opportunity of joining New Horizon, later becoming the secretary. Without being in New Horizon on the executive board, I would not have attended the SOLO event, then hearing about this remarkable opportunity! Amazing how everything works out and happens for a reason.

It would be such a blessing for my application to be accepted, but sadly, only 15 students will be allowed to attend. There are so many wonderful opportunities in the world and this one is right up my ally! I have always longed to volunteer my time at the Peace Corps, but too afraid to leave my family for a few years, while being in a foreign country. Being culturally immersed in a foreign country while studying and experiencing their ethnicity would be such a beautiful oportunity. Always take advantage of the people you are meeting and what club/organizations you can join! You never know what your new experiences will help you with in the future whether it is your job, meeting new people, or taking your life on a route you never expected, but enjoy greatly. Try to open your eyes and think what else is there that you can do for yourself in the long run. Everyone’s journey will be different, but that is the beauty of it.