ASBest Break Ever

My ASB group and our supervisors at the construction site

First things first: Sorry for being so lax in my postings this semester! Even though our spring break was a week ago (we have break a lot earlier than many other schools), for this post I’ll be talking about what I did for spring break, because it was just too good not to share.

For my spring break, I went on an Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trip to Lake Charles, Louisiana. The Community Involvement Center at Rice sends Rice students all over the country in order to do a variety of week-long, intensive service projects. My trip worked with Habitat for Humanity, and since I had never done any type of hard labor before, it was an entirely new experience for me. I absolutely loved the trip and became such good friends with all of the other students who went. I encourage everyone I meet at Rice to go on an ASB at some time during their time here, because they’re such fulfilling experiences in so many ways. You do something good for other people, come back with a tight-knit group of friends from other residential colleges, and are personally motivated to think about ways that you can use your talents to give back to others. In other words, it’s the perfect spring break experience, and I encourage all of you who are reading who end up at Rice to apply for an ASB when the time comes!

They trusted me with a saw!







In Which I Try to Join the Real World

The beginning of a new semester usually means a somewhat lighter workload, fewer meetings, and more time to hang out with your friends. But I’m quickly finding out that the beginning of spring semester also brings lots of deadlines for internships and other types of summer programs, and it can sometimes be hard to motivate yourself to write cover letter after cover letter. Luckily, Rice has a lot of great resources to help those of us who haven’t gone through the internship application process before (last summer, I worked at the Gap, but this year I want to do something more exciting that will prepare me for my career).

One great resource on campus is the Center for Career Development. They offer one-on-one resume reviews, which are super helpful–I had an appointment last week and I feel a lot more confident in my resume now. I learned a lot about how to phrase your experience in order to best suit whatever internship or job you’re applying to. Various departments and programs at Rice (like the PJHC minor, Social Sciences Gateway program, and Leadership Rice Summer Mentorship Experience program) also offer stipends for Rice students who find a challenging internship in the field that interests them. Rice now I have about 10 tabs of internship programs open on my computer, and I can’t wait to submit all of my applications and wait for the results. Wish me luck!

Back to Reality

This week was our first week back to Rice after winter break, and I am beyond excited to be back! Don’t get me wrong, my break was amazing: my family visited Universal Studios (three words: Harry. Potter. World.) and I caught up on all of the sleep, trashy TV (I watched an embarrassing amount of Keeping Up with the Kardashians) and leisure reading that I don’t usually get to enjoy during the school year. But after New Year’s, I was ready to get back to my Rice routine.

One of the things that always strikes me as weird when I go back home is that I feel like I’m living in a hotel. I brought most of my wall decorations and clothes with me to college, so my room and closet at home are eerily empty. As funny as it sounds to my friends at other schools, I was excited to come back to the dorms because I love living on-campus.

For this post, I thought I would post some pics of my dorm room and list some of the things I love about living on campus. I live in a double in the old wing of Baker (since Baker was the first college, old wing Baker was the original dorm for all Rice undergraduates), but what type of room you get will depend on your residential college. Rice offers everything from singles to eight-person suites, so chances are you’ll get to try several different rooming arrangements while you’re here.

Why I Love Living on Campus

  1. No commute. Houston is a notoriously car-centric city. Our public transportation is getting better, but driving is still your best bet to get around the city. By living on campus, I totally avoid rush-hour traffic or having to wait for a bus. I am also a self-proclaimed bad driver, so I’m probably protecting other Houstonians by living on-campus (You’re welcome, Houston).
  2. No cooking. I might be the world’s worst cook. My recipe book includes toast, cereal, microwave and frozen meals, and spaghetti. Needless to say, I am so grateful that the Baker servery is just a few steps away and that I don’t have to worry about making my own food on top of my already busy schedule.
  3. Friends are always around. Thanks to the residential college system, it’s impossible to feel lonely. If I don’t feel like studying, no matter what time of the day or night it is, I can go to the commons or visit my friends upstairs for some instant friend time. This can be dangerous around midterms or finals, but on a day to day basis I love it!
Finally, here are some pictures of my dorm room to give y’all an idea of what dorms at Rice (or at least part of Baker) are like. Old wings are some of the largest on campus, have classy wood floors, and walk-in closets. In other words, I’m in heaven. (I apologize in advance for the iPhone pics, and I don’t know how to make them fancy thumbnails like Lexi.)

My bed--should I have cleaned it off, but I was in a hurry! My mom will be proud that I at least made it.


The desk/dresser area

My closet. The strange black blob on the left is a rasta wig leftover from Baker's college night last semester.



Putting up the tree--I wasn't lying when I said it was huge!

December is finally here, which means it’s not socially acceptable to play Christmas music 24/7 (not that I haven’t already been doing that for the past few weeks) and go shopping a lot more often than usual on the pretense of “holiday shopping.” The weather in Houston might not feel very wintery–we’ve got a frigid high temperature of 78 degrees on Saturday–but holiday spirit is alive and well at Baker. Like Lovett, we have Christmas decorations, but ours come in the form of a real Christmas tree that reaches the top of our commons ceiling. It’s a Baker tradition that the freshmen go on a camping trip together, cut down the tree, and bring it back to Baker. The tree is literally impossible to miss, and glancing up at it now and then definitely makes studying a bit more bearable.

I hope you all have a good and relatively stress-free end of the semester!


In the Home Stretch

Thanksgiving break is finally here, and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Between final projects, final papers, and all of my extracurricular commitments, I’ve been super stressed these past few weeks. Luckily, both of my classes today were canceled, so I had some down time to catch up on work and pack. I drove home this evening and am looking forward to a long weekend with my family.

Here’s what’s on my agenda:

  • Lots of home-cooked food
  • Watching the UT vs A&M football game
  • Black Friday shopping
  • Getting ahead on my schoolwork for next week (fingers crossed that this one actually happens)
I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Rice at Rice

Such good seats!

Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to listen to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speak at Rice. Rice students got free tickets, and since I’ve never been even relatively near to anyone as famous as Condi, I was super excited for this event. A bunch of my friends and I inhaled our dinners at the servery and then rushed over to Tudor Fieldhouse–we ended up being almost an hour early, but it was totally worth it! We got floor seats and were only about twelve rows away from Secretary Rice herself.

Because Secretary Rice was here to promote her new book, No Higher Honor, I was initially worried that her talk was going to be pretty dry and straightforward. But I was definitely proved wrong! Secretary Rice spoke about a wide variety of topics–my favorite part was when she touched on America’s education system, a topic I’m personally really interested in–and she was so engaging to listen to. The first 45 minutes or so was an interview between her and Ernie Manouse from Houston PBS, and then they opened it up for a Q&A session from the audience. After that, there was a book signing opportunity.

This talk was definitely one of my favorite intellectual moments at Rice so far this semester. I was so motivated after listening to Secretary Rice speak, and her autobiography is now on my list of books to read over winter break. I might have been a little behind on homework after sacrificing two hours of an already-packed day, but it was totally worth it! This talk was an awesome way to spend my Tuesday night and is definitely something I’ll be telling my family and friends about when I go back home.