The Sunday before finals week, I went ice-skating with a bunch of my friends from McMurtry, my residential college. McMurtry had reserved the ice rink in the Galleria, one of Houston’s largest malls. We had the whole ice rink to ourselves, and we skated, laughed, fell (well, those who had never been ice-skating before, like me, did), and created memories. With the help of my roommate and another friend, I learned how to ice-skate! I managed to go around the rink six times without falling – progress!

McMurty was not the only residential college that had an ice-skating outing. Residential colleges do events like this – off-campus and on-campus – at various times during the year. There are study breaks, cultural events, etc.

What the residential colleges do is an extension of what Rice does for its students. In between all of the tests, papers, and projects, there is fun – room to relax and enjoy being with friends. During finals week, Rice brought dogs to Fondren, the library. I, along with many other students, got to pet adorable dogs to de-stress.

Whether it’s ice-skating at the mall or petting dogs in the library, at Rice, there are plenty of opportunities to have a great time with people you care about.

The Various Classes at Rice

My first semester of college is over! Time flies. Handing in the last essays, doing the last readings – all of these things felt bittersweet. On one hand, I know that this is just the beginning and I have three and a half years left, but on the other hand, I know that those three and a half years will pass by in a blink of an eye.

I’m going to miss the dynamic, enthusiastic lectures of my history professor every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’m going to miss the engaging, humorous atmosphere in my sociology class. I’m going to miss discussing everything from lyric poetry to Shakespeare in my English class. I’m going to miss comparing and contrasting religious practices from all around the world in my religious studies class. Having the chance to learn such interesting things from such interesting professors has been an incredible experience, and I am looking forward to more next semester.

There is a plethora of courses to take at Rice. I’m an English major, so the majority of my classes are humanities-based, but there is a rich array of science, engineering, math, and social science classes as well. Even within the humanities department, there is everything from Intermediate Korean to Theory of Knowledge. In fact, there are so many classes I want to take, that it isn’t possible to fit them all into my schedule! My range of classes this semester has let me explore, learn, and grow – after taking Introduction to Sociology and Introduction to the Study of Religion, for instance, I know I want to take more courses in these fields.

Rice Bonds

During the Centennial, I volunteered as a Shuttle Greeter. Essentially, my job was to help people get to their destination if they needed it. While I was on my shift, I witnessed something that is a true testament to the types of bonds built here at Rice.

One alumnus was walking several feet behind another. Suddenly, the one in the back called out “Hey!” to the one in the front. She turned around and asked, “Who are you?” to which he replied, “I’ve gained some weight since then…” Then, the alumnus in the front screamed, “Oh my goodness, that’s my freshman!” From what I gathered, years ago, she had been his advisor during O-Week, which is Rice’s weeklong orientation. Even after all that time, that connection was still there.

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Post Centennial Reflection

What a week Centennial was! From the Lecture Series to the picnic to the Spectacle, each event helped celebrate Rice’s 100th birthday, the world’s biggest party of the year. Over the span of several days, it was great seeing friends, alumni, staff, faculty, and members of the Houston area having fun and honoring Rice.

Not only did I get to hear influential people speak at the Lecture Series, but I also got to slide down a waterslide multiple times during the North College Block Party (an event with food, fun, and games for the North colleges – the South Colleges had the South College Block Party), eat delicious gumbo at the festive picnic, dress up for and dance at Esperanza, watch an incredible light show at the Spectacle, talk to recently graduated alumni at a career event hosted by the Baker Institute, and, most importantly, see people in both Rice’s past and present in the same space, celebrating the university.

This Centennial highlighted that at Rice, there exists a “work hard, play hard” line of thought. Yes, there were events that were more on the serious side, such as the lectures, but there were also events that were more light-hearted. At Rice, it is both the serious things and the non-serious things that draw people together, and as Rice enters another 100 years, this mentality will continue.

Centennial Lecture Series

What do a famous biologist, architect, angel investor, physicist, and the Chief Justice of the United States have in common?

During Centennial, they were all at Rice. That’s right – Craig Venter, Rem Koolhaas, Esther Dyson, Shirley Ann Jackson, and John Glover Roberts each gave wonderful, exciting lectures to Rice students, staff, faculty, alumni, and people from the Houston community.

Shirley Ann Jackson begins her Centennial Lecture

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Hall Culture

Have you ever experienced an awesome community within an awesome community, within yet another awesome community? This is the case at Rice.

On Wednesday, one of the people in my hall at McMurtry, my residential college, had a birthday. Many of the freshmen in my hall signed a birthday card that my roommate designed, and we got him a delicious vanilla cake. At 5:30 PM, we all hid in the back of our hall’s kitchen, and several minutes later, the birthday boy was led in by his roommate. We broke out into a rendition of “Happy Murtday” (we McMurtry-fied the traditional “Happy Birthday” song) and enjoyed each other’s company (and, of course, the cake).

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