Looking the part: Hairstyles

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O-Week Bonding! Best friends in the first week!

First day of school, freshman year. Fresh from back to school shopping, ready to reinvent yourself. Outfit looks great and your hair cut looks safe. Yes, you get to be whoever you want in college, and most people want that to be a person with friends. By society’s constraints, people come to Rice wanting to impress others, looking particularly plain and approachable. And we will be completely not-surprised to see that it works! All new students with any hair cuts will find friends.There is nothing wrong with this! Going off to college is scary, and it is so natural to want to fit in. Luckily, that basic period of time is something that Rice has come to minimize. Going through an entire week of orientation with people you will live with for the next 4 years makes people very comfortable, very quickly. The people you meet (roommates, o-week groups, etc.), are chosen, by hand, to be people you will like. And they will like you right back.

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A rockin’ hair cut to go with international travels! Study abroad!

Coming back from winter break, sophomore year. Settled in and doing things we enjoy (like your German Fairytales class).  Hair cut: fresh and free. Finally solved the riddle of how to find happiness: being yourself. Not only have your old friends decided that they like the real you (the you who has ventured into Acroyoga), but a ton of new people have realized how awesome you are as well. Your close community grows bigger so that your support system now stretches across the entire campus. Your hair cut reflects how you try new things (like becoming a site leader for an alternative spring break), and maybe you didn’t know how growing organic vegetables was going to turn out, but you made a commitment, and you are still living through it. Because you rock the most at being yourself.

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Why not try all of the colors at once? BEER BIKE

Beer Bike, junior year. Hair cut: TBD Stress, we all feel it. The academics are hard, you’ve picked a major that you aren’t really sure about, you’ve been through your first heartbreak, and the servery is having green beans and mashed potatoes, again. Good thing that we plan a week around being incredibly spontaneous and ridiculous. It’s great that you, as a typical Rice student, stay on top of your work, because you aren’t going to want to open a book this week. You don’t have to worry, because no one is worrying. Your hair has changed three times during the week: dyed, cut, and filled with Holi powder and mud. This is a great week of your life. You realize that your summer internship is going to be amazing, you are doing well in your classes, and you love green beans. Everything you’ve been doing the past 3 years has, and will be worth it. Relax! And breath in this beautiful weather Houston gives us around this time of the year.

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You’ve made it! Looking like the well put together adult you are. 🙂

Graduation, senior year. Hair cut: perfect. Not only are you finished, you are ready. You have become substantially more yourself at Rice. An incredibly smart, well spoken, and friend-having graduate. You’ve just finished an incredible senior thesis about the correlation between gender and drug prices, you’ve impacted an incredible amount of lives through your volunteer work in the Medical Center, and you realize how good you are at problem solving. The last four years seem like a blur, so it is a good thing everyone documents everything in this generation (specifically to remind you of the time you forgot you had a presentation so you improvised on the topic of “Theory of Business Principles in 1920’s Cinema”).With your job lined up and ready to go, and your cap and gown on point, all you have to do is walk out of the Sallyport.

But your legs want nothing more than to take another lap around the inner loop.

Debunking Owl Days Myths

It’s mid-April, Rice, so brace yourselves: the prospies are coming. Owl Days is this week, Admit Days are today and next Monday – it’s the time of year when Rice welcomes on campus the hundreds of admitted prospective students – fondly called “prospies” – and helps them fall in love with Rice the same way we have.

I remember walking on campus for Owl Days with terror in my heart, mostly fueled by my anxiety about most social situations. Because I know many high school seniors feel the same way, I want to debunk a few of the myths your anxiety will try to tell you about Owl Days.

MYTH NUMBER 1: If you don’t meet your best friends over Owl Days, you will remain friendless and alone forever.

Owl Days is really great for meeting people. You’re likely to find a few people staying in the same suite/hall/residential college to talk to, but don’t worry if you don’t click and become instant best friends. I met great people that I still see around campus, but don’t feel totally alone if you don’t click at once with the people around you.

REALITY: Owl Days is great for getting to know your future classmates, but you’ll make friends in your classes and at your college as well!

More Reality: my only picture from Owl Days 2015 happens to be an appreciation of this artistic and tasty owl.

There will also be receptions and mingling opportunities galore, where you can pick up some tasty goodies like this beautiful cookie from Owl Days 2015.

MYTH NUMBER 2: The residential college you stay in is the absolute best college, and you must end up there.

Chances are, your host will be absolutely brimming with college pride and will explain to you that their college is the best college at Rice. It will be pretty easy to get attached, but don’t stay up late at night worrying about whether or not you’ll be placed in the “best” residential college. Every college is widely loved by its members. You’re likely to love whatever college you end up a member of, regardless of whether or not you stayed there over Owl Days.

REALITY: Residential college pride and inner-college friendly competition is strong, but most people absolutely love the college they are in. There is no “best” or “worst” college!

MYTH NUMBER 3: “Rice students are super cool and super busy and super superior to prospies and if you speak out of turn you’ll be shamed ahhhhhhhh”

Okay, so Rice students are pretty cool. Hosts come in every shape and size, from every residential college, and we all have different workloads. (Please forgive us if we have to study – our final tests and projects are happening now or are right around the corner!) Even if your host seems busy or way too cool to listen to your questions, ask questions anyway. People sign up to be hosts because they want to hang out with prospies. You’ll probably find people that aren’t hosts that want to get to know you, too! If you feel terrified and out of place like I did when I first stepped on campus, know that Rice kids are at most a few years older than you, they remember exactly what it was like to be in your shoes, and they’re volunteering their time because they want to get to know you!

REALITY: All we want to do is hang out with the cool prospies. Make yourselves at home!

A lot has happened in a year. I’m no longer the timid high school senior terrified of leaving home and making new friends. So if that’s you, it’s okay; we remember what that was like, and we can’t wait to meet you!

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What the picture says: WELCOME!

~Erika

Rice Packs in the Opportunities

Out of all of the tools that college has given me, my backpack has proved the most useful.

My backpack and I started our journey together right before college. I had never considered it more than an item, something that was useful but unnecessary. It sat in the corner of my room for 3 months during the summer. At least, I thought it was sitting, but really it was preparing.

Our first true adventure was move-in day. I began to see it as a partner, as I didn’t intend on getting a new backpack for the next few years. It politely waited on my desk through O-week as we prepared for the first day of school. All it held was 3 notebooks, 2 pens, a pencil, and a USB drive — all that my naïve new student brain thought I would need.

The backpack and I at a baseball game in Japan!

It was only two weeks in when I started to appreciate the third pocket. Office hours require text books, textbooks that couldn’t be forced into the laptop and folder pocket. They nestled nicely in the third pocket. And the back pack nestled nicely on my shoulders. I vaguely remembered the “EXTRA PADDING” tag, and although the back pack is heavier with text books, there was no digging in of the straps to my shoulders, as if my pack was taking at least part of the stress off of my shoulders. My back pack became my friend.

About halfway through my first semester, the Back Pack and I got a new member. As I joined two club sports teams, and realized I didn’t want to have the smell of outdoors in the same pocket as my essays, my sports bag became essential. It was essentially a large hole, carrying two pairs of shoes, 3 outfit changes, and a smaller pouch for snacks. This back pack has been across the country, won a national championship, and survived communal washers to help me live out the wannabe-varsity-athlete that lives in side of me.

These two back packs carried me through the first semester of my second year. Laptop, journals, Chap Stick, class. Resume, folder, heels, career fair. Band-Aids, cleats, knee brace, tournament. Nail polish, cookies, speaker, girls’ night in. My experiences at Rice University became more and more diversified. So diverse, that I needed yet another backpack. Because my first two packs had allowed my two travel to track meets and performances across campus, the city, and the country, I had met a lot of people. Most importantly, I met one person, who would go on to gift me my next pack.

The Back Pack Pack

This new back pack was pink with polka dots, a little smaller than the usual back pack, with only one compartment. Perfect for letting me run to Target to pick up lemons for my business project, or for carrying my journal to the engineering quad so I could relax on a sunny day. This backpack was like my best girlfriend, making sure I looked cute no matter what was going on. This addition to my pack family made me all the more efficient. I was able to pre-pack my packs, so I could get up and rush to whatever activity was necessary. They had my back, and I am grateful.

Rice University has allowed me the opportunity to participate in international research, civil rights demonstrations, and inner tube water polo. Whatever I have wanted to try, I have had the opportunity here. There are actually so many opportunities, that prioritizing has become my biggest struggle. I want to do everything, to be everything, but the overwhelming amount of activities has actually made me become more of myself. When you have to choose, you want to make sure that you choose wisely, because free time is a luxury. You will find out what you truly enjoy when you come to Rice, and you will have the backpacks to help you through it.

Food Trucks: The Hidden Gem of Rice University Public Dining

Last week, as I was browsing the Rice dining website, I stumbled upon the food trucks section. As a non-engineering major, I never wandered over by Mudd Labs or the OEDK (Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen), which is where the food trucks park from 5:30 PM until 9:00 PM.

Since I had never tried the food trucks, I challenged myself to eat at one everyday of the week (most likely at a detriment to my health). So, here’s where I ate:

Monday: Anna’s Gourmet Greek: I was daring and I ordered the chicken souvlaki. For those of you who have never had Greek food before, the chicken souvlaki is an excellent place to start. There are four to five pieces of chicken, topped with lettuce and tomatoes, and wrapped in pita bread. There’s also an indescribable sauce that coats the chicken. For the wallet-conscious, this item was on the higher end of food truck cuisine, costing $10.

Tuesday: Yummy Dog: I didn’t know what to expect from Tuesday night’s food truck offering. According to the dining website, I thought that both the Bonjour Creperie and the Yummy Dog would have trucks present. As it turns out, they alternate Tuesday nights, so only the Yummy Dog was there. TBH, I was feeling like crepes, especially on Crepe Day, but I decided to try something new: a “Texan” hotdog. Most of the time, I am a hotdog purist, meaning that I only eat the hotdog on a bun, sans condiments. Occasionally, I will put chili on top (is my Texan-ness showing?). The Texan hotdog was a beef hotdog on a pretzel bun, topped with jalapenos, onions, and barbecue sauce. In terms of pricing, this item was average, weighing in at about $8.

Wednesday: Bubba Burger: I was a bit rushed this night because I didn’t have a ton of time between my Law and Economics class and Dance Team practice, but I still ran over to the food trucks regardless. The food truck specialized in buffalo burgers, but I ordered a plain burger with lettuce and tomato only (this combination will forever be known as “The Hailey”). The 1/3-pound of beef on a bready bun with an excellent lettuce/tomato/meat ratio was stellar. My wallet smiled since this was the cheapest item from a food truck all week, priced at $5 (before tax).

Thursday: Foreign Policy: “American food with an International Flavor.” This food truck specialized in Korean, Mexican, Greek, and American cuisine. I decided to go with the Korean burger, even though it seemed spicy. This burger was huge – I could only eat about half before filling up. However, that could have been my fault, as I also had to get one of their stuffed donuts. There’s a complex process associated with making these donuts, but here’s the gist of it: They fry a tortilla and cover it in caramel and stick it between a sweet, succulent donut. This burger cost $9, in the middle in terms of pricing. The donut was $5 (probably the best food truck item I had all week – would strongly recommend!).

Friday: Off-campus dinner with my parents: I don’t have class on Friday this semester, so I usually don’t come on campus. I’ll probably try The Waffle Bus later, as the name “Waffle Bus” is impossible to pass up.

 

Overall, there are so many dining options on-campus, and even more off-campus. So far, I have been at Rice 3 semesters and still continue to discover new places to eat.

Are you ready for the food truck challenge?

Rice in South Carolina!

I’ve had a whirlwind end of school year and summer!

At the end of the school year I participated in a fundraising event for an organization called St. Baldricks focused on raising money to support research towards the cure to children’s cancer. In order to raise money, I pledged to shaved my head on April 24th. Over the course of 3 weeks, I raised almost $2,000 and raised awareness for children’s cancer around Rice’s campus! The day of the shave ended up being a huge success and helped bring the Rice community together for a good cause.

A few weeks later, I flew down to Charleston, South Carolina for a summer research experience (Research Experience Undergraduates funded by the National Science Foundation – Minorities in Marine and Environmental Sciences) and had been having an amazing summer so far. Not only am I getting valuable research experience, learning how to structure and write my own research paper, but I am also getting to explore Charleston for the entire summer. While working here, I even had the great opportunity to meet a Rice Graduate School Alum working on my project with me. Dr. Dan Bearden got his Masters in 1983 and PhD in 1987 in Physics from Rice University and is now working here in the Hollings Marine Lab using nuclear magnetic resonance to discover metabolic trends in marine animals. We’ve been able to chat about all things Rice as well as marine and environmental sciences over the course of the summer

All in all, I’ve had some wonderful learning experiences this summer but I’m still very excited to get started back at Rice in the next couple of weeks!

Me in Winyah Bay, South Carolina holding a wild Red drum (my focal species for the summer)

Me in Winyah Bay, South Carolina holding a wild Red drum (my focal species for the summer)

Me and Dr. Dan Bearden, a Rice alum and current student

Me and Dr. Dan Bearden, a Rice alum and current student

Theatre at Rice – Bob: A Life in Five Acts

This semester, Rice’s Visual and Dramatic Arts (VADA) department is producing the modern play Bob: A Life in Five Acts by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb. We essentially began rehearsals and working on this production on the first day of the second semester and will open on February 13th! Being in such a fast production has been a whirlwind of rehearsals, production meetings, and emails, but it has been a blast. It’s been great getting to know people from different colleges who are passionate about the same things I am.

The show is also really comical, so we spend a lot of our rehearsals laughing at each other, the script, and the different ways that each of the characters are physicalized on stage. Getting to work with a guest director, to try out a wild and crazy scenes, accents, and actions as well as learning more about the acting processes makes it even more fun. One of my favorite moments so far is at the beginning of the show, our main character is born. We made the decision to use the full grown actor as a baby, instead of a doll baby. It has been so entertaining having our main character, a 6’1″, full grown man, squirm around the stage, speak in baby gibberish, and act like he can’t even hold his head up. At one point, his adopted mother, hides him under a table, and he lays down there squirming for the entire scene. As you can imagine, this is hilarious and often puts me, the director, and everyone around into a fit of laughter. The more and more we work through this show, the crazier it gets, but it’s been an amazing experience.

Being a part of this show is a great example of Theatre at Rice University, no matter what, you’re sure to have fun on stage at Rice.

In reherasal, the main character (Bob) hides under the table.