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 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

 

Question yourself

High school and college are rather transformative times in your life. Whether it’s college applications or deciding your major, people are constantly asking you things like “Who are you?”, “What do you want to do?”, and “Why do you want to do it?”. While some people might already have the next decade of their life planned out to the hour, others might lack the faintest idea of what they’ll have for dinner. No matter which side of the spectrum you fall, it’s always a good idea to explore the resources you have, because you never know how they might change your mind.

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Handling the Houston Humidity

One thing you’ll quickly learn about Houston is that it’s humid. Even on the warmest of summer days, you can step outside and instantly feel all that moisture in that air clinging to your skin. Welcome to Houston!

I’m from Dallas, so I wasn’t used to the hot Houston summers when I first came here a year ago for O-Week. But Dallas is dry, unlike Houston, and the humidity took me by surprise. With all this humidity comes a lot of rain, and when it rains in Houston, it pours. I’m sure those of you reading from Houston are already quite used to this, but for those up north, it might take some getting used to. Instead of snowy winters, we have a rainy spring.

So here are my tips for prepping for the Houston weather:

  1. Bring an umbrella with you, always. Sometimes you’ll go to class, and on your way there, it’s beautifully sunny outside. Then, 50 minutes later when class has ended, you walk outside to find that it’s pouring outside. There’s nothing worse than not having your umbrella with you when you really need it, and believe me, running back to your room in the pouring rain is not fun – I learned this the hard way.
  2. Avoid the grove.  For those of you who don’t know, the grove, technically called the John and Anne Grove, is an walkway located in the South Colleges. It’s unpaved, and we all have a love-hate relationship with it. When it rains, there are huge muddy puddles in the grove, making it annoying to walk across. General life tip: don’t wear open-toed shoes on the grove if you can.
  3. Or, just get some rain boots! Is the grove the fastest path, but it’s too muddy outside to walk on it? Don’t worry, just get some nice rain boots. These are seriously useful, especially if you live in the South Colleges like I do.
  4. Get ready for some foggy glasses. There have been times where I step out of my nice, cold dorm to go somewhere outside, and my glasses instantly fog up. This isn’t really anything but a nuisance at most, but it took me by surprise since I was used to dry Dallas summers.

That being said, I still appreciate the rain. There’s nothing quite like stepping outside onto the Sid balconies while the rain falls down, enjoying a nice breeze outside and the quiet calm.

Also, watching people run to class without an umbrella is always entertaining.

A Homage to the Trees of Rice

As you may have known, Rice has a beautiful campus filled with memorable artistic structures and unique, Byzantine-styled buildings. However, when most visitors arrive on campus, this structural beauty is quickly overshadowed by the bountiful greenery that lies within the university grounds. A greenery that has allowed Rice to seamlessly become an acclaimed arboretum even while being located within the fourth largest city in the nation. Strikingly, it’s even been said that the number of trees on campus outnumber the entire undergraduate student population at Rice! This takes the designated “Tree Campus USA” title we got back in 2017 to an entirely different level.

As a student, I appreciate the almost ethereal sense of nature that the trees provide me with. They give shade to offset the sun’s heat in the summer months, a place for students to be able to relax or study, and, more importantly, they provide a home for Rice’s smaller residents: the squirrels. Each wooded path you may encounter portrays a different side of Rice—one which reminds you of your humanity and clears your mind from the transitory things in life that may be experienced. At around every corner, you will undoubtedly be greeted by one of over 4,300 trees on campus, each of which contain their own history by acting as symbols of significance and longevity.

As a tree lover, I really enjoy to simply be lost in the presence of trees. Whether this be achieved by either leaning against a tree-trunk while enjoying a good book next to Fondren Library or by jamming out to a Beyoncé song under the canopy of my favorite tree near Brochstein Pavilion is up to the mood I feel or want to feel. This ambiguity allows each tree to represent something different for each individual. It allows students to create their own atmosphere and to be able recognize trees as integral constituents of Rice’s culture of wellbeing.

A morning at ease.

Uncertainty is my Travel Buddy

Every time I go home to Saratoga, California for break, my family goes out to meet with extended family and family friends. The typical questions flood in: how is school? Great! I love Rice! How are your studies? They’re going well! What are you majoring in? Political Science and Psychology, and I’m minoring in Engineering Design.

Long pause. Oh. Interesting combination! What do you want to be?

It’s taken me awhile to find a response to this interaction that is both authentic and acceptable to the traditionalist Chinese aunties and uncles who grill me every holiday break. But the more time I spent talking to Rice people – peers and mentors alike – about my aspirations, the more I felt comfortable asserting my uncertainty.

When asked the same question now, I usually give an abridged version of the following rant — but since I’m presenting this in writing now I’ll indulge in the luxury of being a little flowery in my language.

Frankly, I’m not entirely sure what career path I want to pursue. I love working with people, and I love working with my hands. I love studying how people think and act, but I also love the intricate rules of math. I love the abstract and the concrete, the ambiguous and the clear-cut, the subjective and objective. But I know that I love them, and I know that I have fun studying them, and I know that at Rice I don’t have to be afraid of uncertainty for now. As long as I keep exploring and collecting new data points, pursuing the things I love to do, and asking for help along the way, the amazing people and resources at Rice will help me end up right where I’m supposed to be.