november 19th

Hello!

It’s been about a month since I last posted on here. Time flies; to think that I only have four weeks left of the semester-and next week barely even counts-is crazy. I’m in love with Minneapolis and my school and I couldn’t imagine myself anywhere else at this time in my life. If only I knew what the heck to major in!!!!!

I got a job working as a barista which has always been something I’ve wanted to do, so that’s cool, the only downfall is that it’s at a Caribou downtown and the commute is about an hour of different types of public transportation and skyway walking for shifts that start at about 6 or 7a.m. That part is a little rough, but I feel like I experience an entirely different world being outside at that time of morning. Thankfully it hasn’t been painfully cold yet.

The temperature definitely has dropped a lot since my last post, but it’s still not too cold. I’ve adjusted to a point where once the temperature goes above 40 degrees I am ready to wear shorts and short sleeves, so I guess that that can kind of describe the temperature. The only part of the weather that is a bother is the wind because the wind can make it feel 10+ degrees colder than it actually is, but then again, that’s how weather works when you’re up north and somewhere that’s super flat.

For the majority of the semester, I have been working on a community service based requirement for my English class where I tutor Somali immigrants in English, math, or working towards gaining the citizenship here in the U.S. I love this so much that it doesn’t feel like a requirement, even though this is another day with an early morning. I love that so far I have been able to balance my schoolwork, work, and volunteering and making a difference in people in the communities’ lives.

After Thanksgiving, I have a lot of work cut out for me to finish all of my projects/prepare for finals. I am most excited about the work that I have to put into my Anthropology project because I feel like it’s probably the most sophisticated thing I’ve ever had to put together for school. I had to formulate an ethnographic research question and then write a relatively large article (essay) on it. My question that I came up with was “How do Somali immigrants use art to represent their cultural identity in Minneapolis?” I then have a follow-up question relating to the boundaries that the Islamic faith presents to the visual arts, but the fun part has been traveling all over the city in order to find murals painted by Somali artists that portray what life was like back in Somali with the Civil War going on and then taking pictures of the murals and finding the coordinates as a “mapping” ethnographic tool. I also have to conduct some interviews with people of the younger and older generations about their views of how art relates to religion, but overall, I feel really cool and official doing this. I’ve met with my professor a few times and she seems to be really impressed with what all I’ve come up with and anticipates reading my paper, which is also really cool but puts a lot of pressure on me.

Back to Thanksgiving, I have to head back home on Wednesday, which I have unbalanced mixed feelings about. I am really only planning on spending time with my dogs and not leaving the house at all. I love my family, but the majority of them have already come to visit me so seeing them again isn’t going to be some crazy reunion. I have no plans to see anyone that I once knew from school except maybe two people. I have not kept in touch with essentially anyone from high school, and I love it. I have built such a cool life independently for myself here in Minneapolis and don’t want anyone from my old life to get in the way of this one. I don’t want to have the potential for things of the past to interfere with the present because I’m home. It’s complicated, but Minneapolis has done so many great things for me and I have (almost) full control over how my life goes and who gets to be my friend here and going home messes that up. Thankfully I’m only going home for five days, so winter break will be another story. So far it looks like I won’t have to be home for too long during that break.

On to what to do with my life.

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Why is this so hard? Why do I like so many things??? My only barriers here are that I don’t want to be a teacher (unless it’s maybe a professor but that’s a lot of school) and I can’t major in anything that needs me to take a bunch of sciences as pre-reqs or get up to a high level of calc, all because I’ll be a senior before I can even take classes related to whatever my major might be. I know I would love to do something relating to Earth and the environment but it can’t be earth science or environmental science because chem and physics and that’s a no. I might take on a “sustainability studies” minor though because I can get through that.

I constantly float around anthropology, history, and geography, but can’t find the one that I really want to pursue. I know that I still have time since I’m only a freshman (but actually a sophomore in credits after December 15th) and want to graduate school so I don’t need to know my career for sure right when I graduate. Right now I’m in an anthro class, an English class, and a journalism class and none of them really shout out to me as if they’re my calling, so honestly, who knows what I’ll do.

I can’t wait for all of the questions I’ll get asked about my major/what I want to do with my life at Thanksgiving. Haha.

My schedule for next semester is going to be a blow because I’m just trying to knock out the rest of my lib-ed’s. Yay.

That’s about all that I’ve got for now, so in the end, I’m just really excited to see my dog on Wednesday.

Peace

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happy fall

For a metropolitan area, Minneapolis sure does do fall pretty well. It’s actually really beautiful this year, the trees are taking their sweet time changing colors and the leaves are gently falling off of the trees in an elegant manner. The view outside my window has finally started to change into a lovely shade of mustard yellow, and I have no complaints.

Here are some pictures from my recent adventures:

These pictures range from spots on campus, bookstores, Uptown, Ecco, and a few others.

I’m enjoying fall while it lasts. Today was 75 degrees! In Minnesota!! I’m anticipating the day where the temperature just drops and we all freeze to death, but for now, I am enjoying it.

Rich People Problems book review

So far, college has taught me that I can do hours of homework a day yet still have hours of free time on my hands. I spend a lot of those free hours exploring the city, but for the rest, I have spent them reading.

I just recently finished Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan, and I have to say that I was thoroughly satisfied when I finished the novel.

This novel highlights the troubles that a very dramatic and wealthy few Asian families have to deal with when a family member passes away and it is uncertain as to who the her money should go to.

At first, it is very difficult to keep up with who’s who because there’s just so many characters in this book, but by the end, I was slightly more familiar (there is a chart though in the beginning for those of us who can’t keep track and get confused).

What I think that I enjoyed most about this book was that it was about a bunch of rich people and all of their rich people problems, yet there was somehow a genuine story and lesson that came out of a bunch of rich people dramatically anticipating who was going to receive the fortune, and it was even pretty funny at times, too.

I also enjoyed that the story revolved around Asian families and not the typical rich white people that we normally read about. I felt like I got a good amount of cultural education as I read it, and if a book can make that fun, I’m in.

Overall, highly recommend this book for a lightly suspenseful, genuine, and appropriately funny read.

downtown

This post is only titled downtown because I’ve spent most of my free time going/exploring downtown, Minneapolis.

Today marks the end of three weeks of classes, and many of my professors are already talking about midterms which blows my mind because I still feel like I just got here, but on the other side feel like I’ve been here forever and am not a freshman.

I’ve gotten involved with another college online publication, have talked to about five different academic/career advisors, have planned out every class that I want to take while I’m here, and have talked about doing a semester abroad and still graduating a year early. Big ambitions, I know, but I think that I can get it done. I’m also happy that everyone I have talked to has congratulated me on already being so informed and productive. I’ve gone to office hours for math every day this week to retake a factoring quiz that I finally passed, and I even scheduled my own flu shot.

It has been extremely hot here for the past few days. It is 90 degrees. In Minnesota. On September 21st. I feel like I have been lied to. Cold weather, please come soon.

I do miss New York and my dogs. I definitely stick out, being from the east coast, which makes calling the University of Minnesota home a little bit harder, but this campus truly is incredible and beautiful and there are so many things always going on and there are so many opportunities on campus as well as off if you look for them.

With all of my train rides downtown, I have definitely become pretty familiar with the city, which I take pride in because all of my new friends find it amazing that I know where I’m going and I’m from so far away and they have lived here all of their lives but have no idea where they’re going.

I am also pretty happy that I have found a specific study spot in Wilson Library that is about as quiet as possible and impossible to not be able to focus at.

To conclude; here are some cool pictures.

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stone arch bridge adventure

Yesterday was “free ride day,” so I went with two girls on my floor on a bit of an adventure.

Our goal was to go to the Stone Arch Bridge, but we didn’t really know how to get there other than it was by the Gold Metal Flour building off in the distance of the MPLS skyline.

So, we got on the Metro and rode it to the Viking’s stadium, and then walked to the building and found the bridge.

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I really wanted to get a picture of the bridge where you can see the arches, but after about five miles of walking trying to find a place where you can see that with downtown in the background, we gave up. No worries, though, I have four years to find it.

Next, we walked around on some of the cool trails on our side of the bridge, which was cool because it felt like you were in a jungle, and no longer the city. Eventually, we ended up on this beautiful street which I believe is called “St. Anthony’s Main.”

 

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After a little more exploring, we circled back around to sit down at Aster Cafe, which had live swing music and dancing going on, making me feel like I was in Germany for a short while. I got a pretty good iced coffee, the only downside was that it was $4 and it was quite small. College!

Lastly, on the walk home, I took some other cool pictures and realized that the Stone Arch Bridge is actually really close to my dorm.

first week of “college”

Yes, it has been awhile, but “college” so far has been pretty busy for me, which is crazy because classes haven’t even started yet.

Classes start tomorrow, which is slightly terrifying, but I’m also partly glad because I need stuff to do. Our welcome week here started out extremely busy but has significantly slowed down the past two days, leaving us with an incredibly large amount of free time.

Upon arriving in Minneapolis, we just walked around campus a bit.

The next day, we called to move in early and I decorated my dorm.

I have made a few additions since last Monday, including a large mustard floor pillow and a cool darker mustard throw pillow for up on my bed, and the Vera Bradley duffle that matches with absolutely nothing has been thrown into the closet, too.  (Our closets are WAAAY bigger than I would’ve ever expected.)

Our first big event, other than learning all about campus and being forced into making artificial friendships was the first football game against Buffalo. The school spirit and hype is awesome, but I’m looking forward to a Big10 game against an actual opponent.

Next, we made the iconic M 2021.

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It took forever, but in the end it turned out pretty cool.

Overall, this week has been pretty hectic, and I have learned that knowing absolutely nobody and having to start from scratch making friends is pretty hard. Oh, and that food is really expensive. Not fair.

I can’t say much more than that considering that classes haven’t even started yet, but so far I like being in a new city and place and the potential for the future, but I do miss my friends and family from home. And my dog.

Also, here’s the view from my dorm window and then right outside of my dorm. Pretty nice, huh?

we should all be more like dogs

This is an article that I’m writing for my internship at The Odyssey Online, which I typically keep separate from my blog, but I like this one and feel like it fits, so, here we go:

We Should All Be More Like Dogs

During times like these-times of uncertainty, turmoil, and stress-one of the simplest things that we as humans can do to make ourselves feel better is to look at pictures of, pet, or wish we were dogs. Dogs rarely let us down. Dogs are loyal, have unconditional love to give, don’t care about who you are, and don’t care about what’s going on in the world around them unless it’s people, other dogs, toys, and grass.

As a human, it is often hard to feel like you can trust other people around you, even your closest friends. True loyalty from person to person is something that is very hard to come by. With dogs, loyalty is a given. Your dog will never let you down (other than tearing valuable items apart and peeing on the floor), and if they did, they probably didn’t mean it. Dogs truly are “man’s best friend.” They look at you as if you are the most amazing person alive, and it will always feel so good.

Something else that dogs also rule in is their ability to love you no matter what. Granted that you’re not absolutely terrible to your dog, your dog will always greet you with that adorable excitement-as if you’ve been gone for years-every time that you walk through your door. Even if your relationship with your dog goes south, your dog will not give up on loving you until it absolutely has to. The simplicity of love is so easily demonstrated through the bond that a dog has with its owner.

Above all, dogs are as non-judgmental as it gets. Your dog doesn’t care who you are, what you look like, or how you live your life as long as you show them that you care about them. Dogs may judge each other based on size and aggressiveness but with people they just don’t judge.

Taking all of this, imagine if people could be more like dogs based on these simple traits.

What if we could all try to be more loyal to each other, especially the people we care about? I can’t say for sure, but I’m relatively sure that dogs don’t go around stabbing each other in the back over petty circumstances.

I understand that unconditional love is far more complex for humans to implement into their lives, but maybe we could all try to be a little less harsh towards each other. Maybe we could try and look at things from a perspective of love and not hate and try and make the world a more loving place.

Lastly, and my personal favorite, what if we could just try to be less judgmental towards each other? We could all try to look at other people from a dog’s perspective. If they’re nice, loving, and caring, it shouldn’t matter where they came from, what they look like, what they believe, etc. Dogs see us all as “just people,” and that’s exactly what each and every one of us are, “just people.”

In the end, if you’re having a rough day go find a dog to pet. And if you can’t find one, just look at some pictures of dogs. My favorite is @thedogist on Instagram.

also: whenever this posts on my Facebook, Emma Irwin, please go check it out because that gets me more views 🙂