2 Days to Houston!

While I know I said I was going to talk about the holidays at Brown (and they were wonderful!), holiday spirit before and during finals period has a fair amount of overlap with the other colleges, so since Graham and Roxana already talked about it, and we’d like you to hold interest in the blog and keep reading, I figure I’ll share my list of reasons I’ve been counting down the days until I go back to Rice. These aren’t in any particular order, and occasionally a little trivial, but suffice to say that I am very excited.

1)      The Weather- Those of you from actual cold weather probably think DC is not very cold, but I am a wimp when it comes to weather. I have been bundled up for three and a half weeks now and am ready to head back to balmy Houston. In case you’re wondering, the Houston forecast for Saturday is high 67 low 47. The DC forecast is high 37 low 25; Houston wins.

2)      Classes- Ok, I’m a dork, but I’m really excited about the classes I’m taking next semester. I’m taking Spanish 202 with the same awesome professor I took 201 with. I’m taking Logic which sounds really fun. I’m taking statistics, I’m actually a little nervous for this, but it’s a requirement for my major. And, I’m taking an econ elective, I’m not sure which one yet, it’ll probably be Game Theory or World Economy and Social Development. Either way, I’m really excited to take my first elective for my major. To round things out, I’m taking Intro to Fencing and a 1-credit neuroscience seminar called Art and Science in Dialogue. It’s a bit of a random mix, but it should be really fun.

3)      Internship- I’m a social science major, which makes me especially lucky that Rice has its own think tank on campus, the Baker Institute of Public Policy. The Baker Institute provides a ton of cool opportunities for students from bringing in interesting speakers to having scholars teach classes in their area of expertise. They also have several student interns throughout the year, and this semester I will be interning for the Baker Institute Energy Forum. I don’t exactly know what I’ll be doing yet, but I find out Monday and am really excited.

4)      Residential Life/ Friends- It’s not until you get home for a break that you realize how unique it is that in college at any given point in the day, if you want to hang out with someone, it’s as easy as knocking on a door and 30 seconds later having something to do. Sometimes it’s even easier, you’re in your room doing work and you hear people hanging out down the hall and join the party (and your productivity declines substantially). I’m not saying you never need, or can’t get your alone time, but whether it’s groggily walking to your first class on a Monday morning or having a dance party at 1 AM right before you go to bed after a long day of studying, it’s great to have your friends so close by.

5)      Spring Semester- As you will figure out over time if you keep reading this blog, spring semester is amazing. With Impact, Willy Week, Brown Day, among others, there is so much to look forward to in the coming semester. Last year second semester blew first semester away. I can’t imagine that happening again given that my first semester this year blew freshman year away, but maybe I’ll be surprised.

There are plenty of other things I’m also exciting about going back to, but 5 seems like a good number. So, happy new year, congrats to the seniors on presumably finishing your college applications, and I hope you’re as excited for your second semester as I am for mine!

Associates Night at Brown

Well, this is my first blog post ever (not Rice Blog ever, ever ever) so I guess I’ll start by introducing myself. My name is Kathleen, I’m a sophomore at Rice, and I’m from Washington, DC. I’m majoring in mathematical economic analysis and philosophy, and I’m a member of Brown College. I’m going to be blogging about every other week, and as I mentioned, I’ve never done this before, so I don’t really know what I’m doing. I’ll start by just talking about things that have happened recently or I’m interested in, but if there are specific things you’re interested in hearing about email ricesac@rice.edu. The whole point of this blog is to help you get to know Rice better, so feedback is definitely encouraged!

So, that was the general introduction, and I’m sure I’ll end up talking about Brown, majors, DC and whatnot more in the future, but for right now I want to talk about an awesome Rice event called Associates Night! To provide a little bit of background, Rice has residential colleges which will become your home during your time at Rice. Your college is where you live and eat, sort of like a typical dorm, but it is also a major part of the social and academic aspects of Rice. Associates play into this academic part. Associates of a college are members of the Rice community who are affiliated with the college. They can be faculty, staff, or alumni in the area. They participate in various aspects of the college life from being a buddy, providing the student with an adult mentor (who if you’re lucky will put candy in your mailbox periodically!) to having informational lunches with freshmen during o-week to help them pick majors and classes. To thank these associates for all they do for the college, once a semester each college invites its associates to a nice dinner, Associates Night.

Brown does Associates Night on a grand scale, with a theme every semester and lots of decorations. We had a 50s theme this semester, and as one of Brown’s associates coordinators, I got to help plan our big event. The two other associates coordinators, our college coordinator, and I spent several weeks before cutting out stars, making fake records and glitterfying everything. We met with the incredible North Servery kitchen coordinator and chef to plan the menu and we spent several Saturdays at various craft and party stores around Houston. The day of, we got a ton of help from other students to set up the commons and mostly fill balloons with helium. One of the things that continues to impress and overwhelm me about being a part of Brown is the extent to which people will show up to set up for or clean up after an event just to be helpful. We honestly could not have done it without them, and with their help I at least thought the Commons (our dining/theater/meeting/study area) looked amazing. I’m including some pictures for you to see for yourself!

The Whole Commons         A Column, So much Glitter!    Our Dance Floor and Balloon Arch

Once the Commons were ready, we ran back to our rooms and changed quickly (my mom had made poodle skirts!) and waited for the associates to arrive. The way things work is that there is a reception on our patio and then everyone comes into the commons. At each table there is one or two associates seated with a group of students so everyone gets a chance to know each other. Once the associates got here we all enjoyed socializing, eating the yummy food, and dancing on the dance floor we had painted. We even had a turntable, although most of the night we ended up using a 50s Pandora station for music. Towards the end of the night we had a Grease sing-along and dance party as well. Overall, things turned out really well and I think (or at least hope!) that people enjoyed themselves. I really do think that the associates program is one of the best things about Rice. It gives students an opportunity to interact with professors, alums, and friends in a very relaxed and informal setting, and Associates Night is a celebration of this.

Anyway, that’s about it for my first post. Let me know if you have any questions or comments, and enjoy the holiday season! I’ll be back after finals to talk about holiday season fun-times complete with decorations, ice skating, and hot chocolate, so check back for a new post in a couple of weeks 🙂