Be Amazed at Owl Days

Congratulations to those of you that have been admitted to Rice! Whether you have already paid your deposit or are still trying to make your college decision, I highly recommend attending Owl Days, a two-day program for admitted students that allows you to experience everything that Rice has to offer. Here are seven reasons why you should come to Owl Days:

#1: You’ll get to interact with current students—Staying with my host and her roommate gave me the opportunity to ask them questions about their classes, favorite activities, and the best (and worst) parts of the school year. There are some things about a school that you just can’t learn from a website—hearing from freshmen about their experiences as first-year students gave me a new outlook on what I could do with my time at Rice.

#2: Experience residential college life—Sleeping, showering, playing, eating, and lounging around a residential college during Owl Days gives you a feel for life as a Rice student. I enjoyed my time at Jones College during Owl Days even though it’s not where I ended up when I matriculated in the fall (Will Rice Will Sweep!)

#3: Eat in the serveries—Each of Rice’s serveries has a different menu, and at Owl Days you can try all the food our chefs have to offer!

#4: Learn your way around campus—Though I’ve lived near Rice my entire life, I realized that I didn’t know my way around campus as well as I thought I did when I attended Owl Days. Walking around campus between activities and lectures made me feel much more prepared to move into my dorm in August.

#5: Attend classes in your intended field(s) of study—I was nervous about going to a small English class during Owl Days, but I am so glad that I went. Sitting in on a course for my prospective major helped me feel right at home in the academic environment at Rice and reaffirmed my desire to study English as an undergraduate.

#6: Check out what different clubs have to offer—Seeing students share their passions for singing, dancing, acting, and performing reassured me that I could balance my schoolwork and hobbies as an Owl.

#7: Meet other prospective students—One of the best parts about Owl Days is getting to meet other admitted students. I had so much fun navigating Rice for a couple of days with people I met, some of whom became my classmates, fellow Will Ricers, and best friends at Rice. I went to Owl Days to see what Rice was all about, and I came back with memories to last a lifetime.

A Thoughtful Tuesday on the Topic of Admissions

Alexa play “This is The Day” by The The. March 26th. A Tuesday. For thousands of kids out there, today is the day Rice Admissions come out. The day you find out if your future includes Rice. The wait will finally be over after months of anxious email checking and stress eating. As you prep for the release of admissions in the afternoon, make sure to take a deep breath. Below are some final thoughts to think on while you count down the remaining hours:

Rice may be a great college. Arguably, one of the best in my opinion. However, it may not be the right choice for everyone. Weigh your options accordingly and pick the place you are going to feel the happiest at. Big college names mean nothing when it comes to experience and education. Wherever you feel safest and wherever you feel you can obtain the best education suited for your needs is where you should choose to go come August.

A college decision doesn’t define you. Whether you are accepted, rejected, or waitlisted, at one school doesn’t mean you will never end up at that school. Some schools with higher rankings may accept you while lower ranked colleges won’t. With so many different colleges in the U.S. alone, there is bound to be some college that accepts you. So, fear not, young whippersnapper, there is still time to find the one. If anything, college decisions are like dating experiences. At the end of the first date, you are basically asking the college if they would be interested in a second date. Rejection will hurt but there is always another shot be it as a transfer student or a grad student.

Waitlist doesn’t mean rejection either. You should consider it an honor that the particular college thinks you are a great fit for the college and would take you if there were more available spots. You would be surprised at the number of students who get in off the waitlist too. Hold on to hope but keep looking at backup colleges too.

Finally, don’t flex your admission to Rice too hard. Not everyone gets in and not everyone likes to hear about someone else’s achievement. No matter how you celebrate or when you check, no one remembers. No one will care how you celebrated getting into Rice in a year. The only thing that truly matters is what you do after finding out. How will you finish your last year of high school? How will you remain focused in college? What will become of you?

A school will never define who you are as a person. A college won’t be your end all be all. You have to follow your dreams, your goals, your aspirations no matter where it takes you. Celebrate how far you have come, no matter what result you get today.

FREE FOOD

As any good college student knows, one of the best things about college is that free food is literally everywhere. It’s the number one lure for getting people to leave their rooms or go to club events, and Rice is obviously no exception. There are literally so many places to get free food on campus. Here are a couple of my favorites:

  1. RPC Night Bites: The RPC is the Rice Program Council, and they plan a whole slew of events throughout the school year to keep you entertained. One of their signature events is Night Bites, which is literally just free food. All you have to do is show that you’ve liked the RPC social media pages, and you’re set! In the past there have been Tiff’s Treats, Taco Bell, and more. A word of advice: there tends to be a crazy long line for these events. Arrive either a few minutes early or 30 minutes afterwards when the line is shorter – don’t worry, they have so much food that they won’t run out.
  2. Club Meetings and Events: Every single club knows that the best way to get people to come their events is to have free food. It’s also a great way to find out about organizations that might interest you! There are also seminars held frequently throughout the school year that will offer dinner as well. However, don’t count on club meeting food to act as a stand in for a meal. They’re usually small snacks, since clubs have budgets and can’t afford to give everyone a full meal.
  3. Center for Career Development: The career center is definitely somewhere that you should be going to often! As well as getting career advice, they also host lots of workshops during lunch hours, such as LinkedIn workshops, resume workshops, and all sorts of other helpful advice. There’s usually free pizza at these workshops, so it’s a great two-in-one: get free food and get career advice!
  4. Boba: Rice students love boba! So much so, we literally have free boba multiple times a week. East-West Tea, a student-run boba shop, offers free boba at each servery once per week. They’re usually really generous too – the cups are filled to the brim with tea. Plus, they usually have a selection between three types of tea and as well as either lychee jelly or boba. It can’t get better than that!
  5. Beer Bike: Free food. EVERYWHERE. It’s basically a giant party! If you stay until the end of the bike races, they will literally start giving out all their leftover food. Last year, I walked away with 3 whole cheese pizzas.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There’s definitely way more places to get free food than just what I’ve listed. We even have a Facebook group dedicated to telling people where there’s free food. Once you get to Rice, you’ll realize that there’s a lot to offer, especially when it comes to food!

Spring Break at Other Colleges

Over Spring Break, I had the opportunity to return home and visit friends who attend universities in California. I was able see into the lives of both those who attended public and private universities. These visits gave me a glimpse into the life I would have had if I had chosen to attend such universities.

When I was going through the application process, I did not have the opportunity to visit or stay overnight at many of the colleges that I applied to. The only college I stayed at overnight was Rice, and this definitely impacted my decision to come here. Visiting colleges, and specifically staying overnight, can give you a completely different view of a college and the ability to more personally judge the fit of a college for you.

However, when visiting colleges, there is often a great deal of importance placed on the food and the dorms. Take this information with a grain of salt. For example, when visiting my friends back home, some of them had very nice dorm rooms and great food but talked about how their classes had hundreds of people or how crowded the libraries are or even difficulty getting transfer credit.

When looking at colleges, it is important to look at the full picture, the academic life, the social life, and the personal life. Visit as many colleges as possible and talk to the students there. Get as much first-hand information as possible and gauge your judgement of each college personally. Things read or seen online may not necessarily reflect what you experience at a college.

Although I enjoyed visiting my friends, seeing their lives in their respective colleges reaffirmed my decision to choose Rice. I would encourage all of you that can to come and visit Rice and get a glimpse into our lives.

Spring Break at Rice

Spring has finally arrived to the city of Houston. After a rather cold and dreary winter, at least by Texas standards, the sun has finally decided to show its brilliant face. Through the stress of midterms and problem sets, we as a school have collectively survived. This has created bonds between each and every single one of us that are extremely difficult to break. And yes, I know what you’re thinking and the answer is no, not the covalent kinds. Within the eyes of each student, a subtle emotion of excitement exists. The academic year is coming to an end, summer is steadily approaching, and Beer Bike is only weeks away. All is good and all is right at Rice. As these positive thoughts fill our minds, another one begins to form. One that comes at a slow yet sure realization: “What am I going to do for Spring Break?”. The short answer is: there is tons to do both inside and outside of Houston during our break! Of course, I must acknowledge and respect the desire to stay indoors and simply relax for break. Afterall, allergy season is at full force. However, going out and exploring Houston and surrounding areas is a fun activity to do with the amazing individuals you meet at Rice. Here are my top three of the many things you can do during Spring Break:

Houston Rodeo

The Houston Rodeo is both a major fair of the city and the largest livestock exhibition of the world. It runs from the 25th of February to the 17th of March. Between then, be ready to experience near daily artist performances at the NRG stadium located about a 15 minute train-ride or 10 minute car-ride away from Rice. The NRG stadium sits around 70,000  people and can often host major performers like Cardi B and George Strait. This year, Rice’s Passport to Houston program offered free tickets for the Panic! At the Disco concert to selected Rice students.

Houston Rodeo

Visiting Hermann Park

Located a block from Rice, Hermann Park is a perfect place to escape the bustling city life of Houston. If you want to see even more trees and vegetation, this place is perfect for you. Dotted with sculptures and other art, Hermann Park is a 445 acre stretch of well gardened land surrounded by museums, golf courses, and a zoo. Inside the park, you will be able to find the Japanese Tea Gardens of Houston, the Miller Outdoor Theatre perfect for weekend performances, and the McGovern Centennial Gardens.

McGovern Centennial Gardens

Texas Road-trip with Friends

If you have the time, energy, and an amazing group of friends (which I’m sure you’ll make when in Rice), leaving Houston and traveling to cities like San Antonio and Dallas is a perfect week-long getaway that allows students to experience more of the proudly proclaimed “yee-haw” state. Bus companies like Greyhound and Megabus are able to offer cheap alternatives to cars for traveling to these places.

Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, Texas

 

Undergradautes Rule!

Undergraduates really do rule here, and that isn’t an understatement. When I was deciding between schools and whether to stay in state or not, undergraduate focus was the most important thing I was looking for. I didn’t want to go to an institution where I might get lost among the large populations of undergraduate and graduate students or one that is so focused on its own research endeavors that it doesn’t invest time in helping its new students. I have no regret in my decision on Rice seeing the attention, focus, and freedom in which Rice reserves for its ever strong undergraduate student population.

So many aspects of our daily lives are lie in our own hands. The residential colleges systems and college government puts the residential college community in the hands of its students. Students get to vote on what social events and physical changes they want to see within their college. Being from Martel College, our Fundeck Sundeck events get ever better with every legislation. But it doesn’t stop here. The Rice Student Association is the student government across Rice, creating important legislation at all times to change Rice as whole. Becoming more green, helping disadvantaged students, and supporting student mental health initiatives are some examples. And there groups like the Rice Programming Counsel that keeps things at Rice fun. Holding events like the Gingerbread building contest and Esperanza/Rondelet formals, the RPC keeps Rice students busy with social events to enjoy with their friends. All of this planned for and executed by Rice Students.

Overall, I was shocked and pleasantly surprised how easy it is for undergraduate students to directly have an impact on the Rice community. It’s empowering as a student and at the same time teaches us valuable lessons in responsibility, communication, and leadership. At the end of the day, undergraduates are just trying to figure out big life decisions; It’s just reassuring and exciting to know that the culture at Rice is centered around fostering that curiosity. A university built for the undergraduates, by the undergraduates.