Man, That Went Fast

So, this is it. This is my last blog post for Ball State.

I graduated.

Sh! I accidentally wore my cap backwards by accident right up until it was time to walk.

So, what does this mean?

Well, it means my four years at Ball State are over–but it also means that there’s a good chance that, for some of you high school seniors who have been following along all year, your four years at Ball State are about to begin.

So this is what I learned at Ball State.

I learned that it’s okay to change your major, and that I would be happier if I had learned that a long time ago.

I learned that you grow to appreciate your family more the less you’re around them, but that missing them means you value the time you do get with them even more.

I learned that professors are generally nice people and will work with you if something isn’t right.

I learned that professors are different from high school teachers, because you’re independent and are expected to turn your homework in whether they remind you that it’s due or not.

I learned my senior year that the University Police Department will jump your car so that you don’t have to figure out which one of your 200 acquaintances has jumper cables.

I learned that staying on campus all four years can be fun and rewarding, even if you do learn the menus of all the dining halls by heart.

I learned that no one will force you to eat healthily but yourself, and if you don’t learn it, you’ll gain it.

Finally, I learned that college is where you’ll meet some of the best friends you’ll ever have, and that when you leave the university, it’s like leaving a part of yourself behind. Make those connections and friends. Respect your high school life, sure, but while letting yourself live your new life at college.

And the best advice I can give you right now is to enjoy it while you’re there, because I can’t believe it’s already gone.

#chirpchirp

Rockin’ the Night Away

Q:  What university brought in which traveling production of an award-winning musical that had a major motion picture production come out last summer?

A:  Well, that’d be Ball State bringing in Rock of Ages for a rip-roaring night of bottled-up fun and entertainment released onstage in Emens Auditorium!

Once again, Ball State and the Emens donors were able to get a huge production to the mainstage so that students and Muncie residents alike could enjoy it when they might otherwise have to travel to Indianapolis or elsewhere and pay full-ticket prices for the shows. Students were allowed in free if they they got their tickets beforehand compared to the $45 entry fee for non-students.

This year, Ball State ended up bringing a good handful of musicals in, including West Side Story, Titanic: The Musical, Shrek: The Musical, and Menopause: The Musical. I bet you didn’t even need me to tell you those were musicals. Most of these were also the off-Broadway cast, too!

I have no idea what other entertainment they’ll bring next year, but you can guarantee that it could be anything from concerts, stage acrobatics, the annual Russian ballet performance, and more. And it’s not all old stuff, either. Rock of Ages debuted onstage in 2009. The band Fun. just rose to mainstream prominence in the last couple of years.

If you’re still on the edge of picking Ball State or another university, take a look at the Emens events page for an idea of what kinds of events might show up next year based on this past year’s selection.

It just might be what makes your decision for you.

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As always, hit up the comments with any questions about Ball State that you might have! That, or you can tweet them to my Twitter handle, @hrlambright.

A Little Friendly Competition

If you’ve been on a Ball State tour, you’ve probably heard that one residence hall is better than another. While I beg to differ, this past Saturday saw teams from every residence hall on campus jump into the Hall Wars competition to prove that their building is the best of the best.

The Hall Wars event was put on by Ball State’s Residence Hall Association. You’ve probably heard me mention them before, because they’re a pretty awesome organization for you to know about as you live on-campus for at least your first year as a student. The theme for Hall Wars this year was “Hall Wars – Witchcraft and Wizardry,” and since you guys are part of this same generation, then you probably know that it meant everyone was decked out for Harry Potter-style events.

Meet the Weasley family
Used w/ permission

We spent the day going on a scavenger hunt for Horcruxes and tracking down one of the RHA exec members themed as Sirius Black. I ended up needing to dive into the pool of Ball Gym like in the fourth Harry Potter book to retrieve a “precious item” representative of my building, DeHority Complex. Different members participated in the Quidditch relay race with a broom between their legs or did “wizard dueling” atop a giant inflatable platform.

Friendly competition was encouraged. We had a blast even though we came in fourth place by a mere two points. Still, DeHority’s team seemed to have a ton of fun–and the best part is that we almost had too many people wanting to be on the team, which didn’t seem likely until the last minute.

So we had some fun, some team-building activities, some strategic thinking activities, and above all a chance to share in the camaraderie of our building with people that I normally wouldn’t have had a chance to hang out with. And, if you’re a new student on campus in the fall, you’ll be living in the res-halls. Maybe this post will give you a chance to get in on some Hall Wars fun in case you would have missed it before!

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Any questions? Leave ‘em in the comments or shoot them to me on Twitter (@hrlambright)! I’ll be back soon with more awesome stuff from BSU!

Ball State brings in PostSecret

Heya, readers. Are you fans of the PostSecret.com website?

For those who don’t know, PostSecret is an ongoing art project where readers mail in their deepest, darkest secrets on postcards to Frank Warren, who posts a selection of those anonymous secrets on his website each week. On top of that, Frank goes around the country (and, really, the world) as a motivational speaker, using the success of the PostSecret project to talk about the power and catharsis that sharing a secret can have.

And, oh yeah, did I mention that happened just a couple of weeks ago here at Ball State?

Used with permission, taken during the 5-minute “permission granted” photo time.

Ball State takes its students seriously, and knowing that PostSecret is one of those phenomena that mostly has hit people like you and me, found a way to get themselves on Frank’s latest tour of college campuses across the United States.

I found out about the event early and was able to get a seat pretty close to the front. You could tell that there was a lot of power in that room as Frank shared secrets that got him started on his journey and the ones that had hit him the hardest. He told us about secrets that made him realize things about himself and secrets that had brought joy or relief to the lives of others. He told us about postcard proposals and anonymous confessions of unrequited love.

More importantly, the event took place a short time after Ball State’s Alive Campaign’s Self-Injury and Suicide Awareness Week. As a non-profit entity, PostSecret donates everything above net costs to suicide prevention campaigns and hotlines.

For me, I think it was one more way that it became obvious that Ball State cares about the well-being of its students. PostSecret wasn’t necessarily a hot-ticket event, but it was definitely an event that meant the world for those who attended. Students managed to fill most of the lower level of Emens to wish Frank a happy birthday and to learn a little more about the effect that sharing a secret can have on bettering your own life.

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As always, if you have any questions about Ball State, admissions, anything like that, please leave a comment or tweet at me (@hrlambright)! Even though there are some things I can’t answer, I know who will have the answer, so give me a shout!

Breathing Room (Underwater)

Welcome back!

So here’s something I didn’t learn until my senior year–Ball State offers SCUBA certification classes. Yeah, that’s right. When my friends ask me what homework I’m doing, I get to say I’m doing SCUBA homework. It turns out that one of Ball State’s lesser-known programs is its AQUA program, which you can take classes in without having a major or minor in aquatics.

Via Wikimedia Commons

Even though I didn’t get into SCUBA until my final semester, there is also a class that teaches students who have their initial certification more technical diving (including deeper than 100 feet).

Other lesser-known gems that Ball State students can take as electives include CPR training, lifeguard certification, and other life skills that might give us a leg up when we move on into our careers–or earlier on in college, into our summer jobs. They almost always send an e-mail reminding students about this before registration, but now you get to plan ahead. How cool is that?

As a sidenote, when I’m throwing out plugs for awesome classes that you may not get a chance to take otherwise, if out-there is your specialty, try our honors program. The colloquium classes they offer range from science fiction books to Disney to barefoot running. I took a class all about Muncie, actually, if you’d believe it. I may be more of a local than a lot of students, but it taught me a lot about the city and gave me a new appreciation of it.

So sure, I’m loving my SCUBA class, but I didn’t think it would hurt to jump into a few of the other opportunities Ball State offers class-wise. As always, hit me up with questions in the comments!

Campus Services

How ya doing? Hopefully you’re surviving this mess of snow outside!

Today, I wanted to shine some light on some things that you probably don’t get to hear about on your tours. Ball State has some awesome services that don’t always get a spotlight, but that could very well influence your decision about whether or not you choose to go to school here.

This isn’t a forced plug, either. These are a few offices and resources that I’ve used a few times since I’ve been here, and I wish I’d known about them sooner!

Did you forget to take your car back to the stadium until late at night, when the shuttles aren’t running anymore? Never fear, Charlie’s Charter is here! Charlie’s Charter is a service that will pick students up when they call late at night so that students always have a way to get back to campus. Nobody wants to be stranded, and Charlie’s Charter helps make sure that doesn’t happen. Did I mention that it’s free?

This sounds like a good time to talk about the Motorist Assistance Program. Say you go to your car and find out–ah, darn it!–your keys are locked inside. Or hey, maybe the battery is totally dead and you can’t find a single person with jumper cables. Did you run out of gas? Are your locks frozen or is your vehicle snowed in? Or maybe you just have a flat tire? Ball State’s University Police Department will come and help you out as part of the Motorist Assistance program. And oh, hey, just like Charlie’s Charter, it’s free.

Let’s hop out of vehicular services and take a look at those meant for students instead. Whether you have difficulty with mobility or know that you have a learning disability that inhibits your ability to take tests, you may find the office of Disabled Student Development useful. This office will work with students who find themselves at a disadvantage and help them figure out just what needs to happen so that those students are on a more even footing with other students.

If you’re part of a minority group or want to learn more about your culture, you may wanna check out the Multicultural Center. This building on the south side of campus is a haven for anyone no matter their race or ethnic background. It also houses the Malcolm X Library, which has a ton of different articles and books on different cultures and ethnicities, many of which the library may not have.

See, I’ve only listed four different things here, and I’m already at that word count where I’m threatening to lose your interest. Look for another one of these in the near future! As for me, I’m behind still. *sigh*

So to remedy that, see you tomorrow! As always, hit me up with any questions on anything Ball State in the comments!

Taking a (Spring) Break

Hot off the heels of my post about burnout, can I just tell you how great it’s been to have this week off?

(Sh! I thought I’d use it to get caught up on everything, but obviously that’s not panning out too terribly well).

The only time I’ve ever gone traveling before this year for spring break, we went to Holland, Michigan for a week and found ourselves practically snowed in. I was dog sick for the entire week and found myself married to the couch with a video game system and tea the entire time. I swore to myself that if I was ever going to go on a trip for spring break again, I would go south.

I did go south this year. I went to Galena, Illinois, which is, y’know, south of Michigan. I tried.

In all seriousness, though, and not to beat a dead horse, but this break was crucial for me. It’s the last break we get before the end of the semester, and it also happens to signal the two month mark for my time as an undergraduate college student. Use your breaks, high school seniors! Catch up on sleep, on things you enjoy, anything like that. It’ll give you the fuel for the time you have left.

Anyway, back to Galena. I grew up in  a small town, but Galena pushed the boundaries of quaint (in the best possible meaning of the word). Shops lined the streets of its historic district, and there were shops of every kind lining the road. I tried to be frugal, but even I couldn’t resist buying a jar of Apple Hickory Barebecue Sauce (that’s a thing!) or a chance to eat kangaroo jerky. I also found out that there are several dozen glass bottle root beer manufacturers, and that there are stores that specialize in it. I’m like halfway to pretending I’m a root beer connoisseur.

Seriously, this is the nicest town.

Maybe that’s today’s life lesson, since I can’t let that go every time I make a post. College is like your last chance before you have a career to take a full week that isn’t spent doing things like home repairs and doctor appointments and things you wish you had time for in the middle of the week. Take advantage of those breaks. Make memories, experience different things, and spend time getting to know the best friends you’re ever going to have in your life.

Spring’s always been this really cheesy metaphor for birth and life, right? So go out and figure out who you’re going to be this year with a week of abandon from the stressors of school. It’s worth a shot.

The Danger of Burnout (a.k.a a Senioritis Post)

Whether you’re a senior in high school or college, or nearing the end of your time in just about anything, you’ve probably run into that feeling of apathy–the one where you know it’s going to be over soon, so you stop caring.

It’s terrible. I want to slap my brain.

In high school, yeah, it was a bad thing, but I had an easier time dealing with it. Parents were there to keep me up on my grades. Coaches and teachers kept me accountable for practices and schoolwork. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. Not having those people and being answerable only to yourself? That’s the hardest part of college.

So how do you avoid burning out like I am right now?

I think it comes down to a few things, so if this sounds like you? Listen up.

1. Avoid overcommitment.  I’m a yes-man. I hate disappointing people. You know those people who wanna sell you something when you’re walking down the street? I actually feel bad when I say I’m not interested. So when it comes to actual people I know wanting me to be involved in actual things that will know that I said no? I don’t say no. When you have a ton of things on your plate that you’re not entirely invested in, you’re well on your way to being an energy-less husk. Don’t overcommit yourself. Instead, figure out what you really want to do and make those the things you say yes to. Find a limit to how many extra things you want to do on top of schoolwork. If one ends, or something you’d rather be involved in comes up, that’s when you choose between them. I try to add them both on instead, and it hasn’t worked. Look at me, right?

2. Take breaks.  You’re a human being, right? So you like to do all kinds of things besides homework and other commitments. You enjoy reading, maybe, or watching a certain TV show, or anything else. That’s totally normal, really. But when was the last time that you did something for you? I’ll be honest. I love to write. But the last time that I sat down and wrote a story with one of the hundreds of characters running around in my noggin was maybe two, three months ago. I need to find a way to fit that in. If you’re doing a ton of reading for English, maybe your break is going for a run. If you’re doing a bunch of logical homework like math (like me!), then maybe your break is something creative like writing or painting. Do something that breaks you out of the same mindset that keeps you hammering away on the road to burnout.

3. Breathe.  This probably reads as similar to the last one, but it’s different. This isn’t about finding you time, because sometimes finding time for yourself can be stressful. This is when you look at the thousand things piled up in front of you and you just take a deep breath. I find that I panic and rush around and boom! I burn out on doing anything because I panicked and used up that energy in one short burst. Don’t be me. When things look hairy, take a deep breath and look again, and then tackle them one by one.

And now I’m going to take some of my own advice, my fellow seniors displaced by four years. I’m going to breathe. I’m going to look at what I have to do, and I’m going to reward myself between tasks with breaks.

Of course, I’ll be right back with another blog post. I’ve neglected you all again, and that’s just no good for anybody.

As always, post questions in the comments! If you want to know more about my senior year at Ball State, I’d love to entertain questions. You people make my day.

What I’ve Been Up To

I’ve been too quiet on here, so here are some bullet points on what I’ve been doing lately!

  • The Residence Hall Association‘s Fire & Ice Dance was on Friday, 2/15. It was a lot of fun! They trucked in a portable ice skating rink from West Virginia and students could choose to skate, dance, or both at any time all night. I learned that I can wobble when the Wobble comes on while wearing ice skates, and I can do the Wobble when the song comes on when I’m not wearing ice skates.
  • I’ve been applying to graduate school, getting a LinkedIn profile, and doing all kinds of business-y things. I’m growing up. I feel adult (not really).
  • I spent this past weekend at the Indiana Residence Hall Organization Conference at IUPUI representing Ball State. We spent hours dancing, cheering, attending leadership seminars, and then dancing and cheer some more. While we didn’t win the Spirit Award, we gave it our all. Good times were had.

The theme was School of Rock. My hair is blue.

  • I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to figure out what works for me when trying to avoid burning out. More on that coming up.
  • I’ve done some deadline dodging. That’s when a deadline looks like it’s gonna smack you in the face and instead you duck and squeeze in at the last second. Woohoo!
  • There’s been some motivation lately to write more often. I know I’ve told you all that I’m a math minor so that I can teach math in high schools, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say my dream job would be writing for a living. Thanks to a good friend, that feels a lot closer to being a real possibility in the future.

Seriously, how cool is this?

My sincerest apologies for my laxness in posting. You all deserve better than that. Really, you do. I do this for you, so as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me here in the comments, on Twitter (@hrlambright), or really any way you can.

 

Lead the Way

So who’s out there thinking that they want to hold some leadership positions, but they’re afraid to do it when they have 18,000 classmates instead of however many they have now?

If that’s you, then never fear, fair citizen! I’ve never run into that problem here at Ball State University.

Maybe leadership is on my mind because of last weekend’s NRHH Leadership Conference. The National Residence Hall Honorary at Ball State puts on a leadership conference every semester, and the one held last weekend was the last one of my undergraduate experience. We had a lot of fun. I know we kicked it off with “The Wobble,” and then we followed it up with sessions and talent shows and all sorts of amazing things.

This was the first time I’ve ever hosted a program. I wasn’t on-schedule to host, but when I found out that someone wouldn’t be able to present a program I had really enjoyed the year before, I stepped in to host. The program, called “The Web We Weave,” focused on stereotyping by giving everyone in the room notecards with stereotypes that they then had to stereotype someone else in the room as having that card apply to them. We talked about why it was hard to stereotype people and why we felt bad doing it in the room and not when we do it every day when we meet new people. NRHH’s Leadership Conference also has a service component. The residence hall students raised a combined $1200 (a new record!) to send a boy from the Make-a-Wish Foundation to Disneyworld.

And we got to make stuffed animals for kids in hospitals!

The best part of this was that it didn’t matter who you were. If you were a member of a residence hall delegation (and to qualify, you just had to sign up), you were allowed to come. There was no limit. People got to make new friends from all over campus. They were able to get new experience on how to better lead their constituents (if they already held leadership positions) or how to take that initiative if it was something they were looking to do.

Don’t worry about being lost in the crowd, I guess, is what I’m saying.

There are literally hundreds of leadership opportunities at Ball State, and I guarantee at least one of them will have your name on it.