Friday, April 24, 2009

Monday, Monday

We are now to the point in the school year where classes are coming to an end. With this comes all the little things that need to get done before we leave for summer. Because of this, I spent my Monday running around like a chicken with its head cut off and hoping to get everything done. I needed to make a list and plan out when I was going to do what or else it wasn't going to happen.

To start off my day, I was running late as always. I usually pack my bag the night before, so I don't have to worry about it the next day. This got done, but it was some of the little things of the week that I forgot about. I had someone that I needed to call during the day, but I forgot her number on my desk. That evening I was supposed to sign up for classes, but I didn't get my list of classes printed off.

After my three classes for the morning, I headed over to Lawson to get some work done before lunch. While I was there, I ran into a friend that I hadn't seen for a few weeks. This worked out because I needed to talk to her about some things, so this gave me a chance to do that. I also needed to print off a blog entry to bring in to English class the next day. While in Lawson, I also needed to stop by and talk to my adviser about sending in my acceptance forms for my Google program. She would be able to help me get this done without having to pay for it like I would have to if I faxed them for the residence halls. However, these forms were also left in my room that morning, so I would have to bring them back later. I had just enough time to grab some lunch with a friend before heading out to accomplish more of the day's tasks.

I recently joined the Events and Activities Team for my college group at church. I got assigned to plan out activity for next week. Since we decided to play kickball, I had to go over to the Co-Rec after lunch to reserve a softball field. When I got up to the main office, I was told that the person I needed to talk to was in a meeting, and I would have to come back later. This just gave me something else to add to my list for the day. I couldn't waste my time thinking about how inconvenient this was, so I just when on to do my next thing.

This week for my college group at church is Encouragement Week. During this week, people sign up to be involved, and you are given the name of someone else in the group that you are supposed to secretly encourage. This can be through gifts, e-mails, notes, or other means. Whatever you want to do is fine. I had a list of things that my person liked, so I went over to Boiler Crossing to pick up some encouraging gifts for her. Then I had to go back to my room to get these things ready for her and pick up what I had forgotten to grab earlier.

Because of my forgetfulness earlier in the day, I had to go back to my room in the afternoon. Usually during this time I work on my Computer Science project for the week, but it had to be put on hold. I got back to my room, printed off my class list, and picked up my Google paperwork. I also had a package sitting in my room that needed mailed. I hadn't mailed it yet because I didn't have any tape to seal it. My roommate had some, but she wasn't there at the time. I didn't want to just take it without asking, so I called up a friend to save me. Luckily she had some. I got the box taped up and took it over to the Boiler Mailroom.

After mailing my package, my next destination was Lawson. I needed to get my papers sent in to Google. I dropped them off with the secretary because she was also having a busy day and couldn't get them sent right away. She said they would be done by the end of the day though which was still okay. I just needed to get it done before I got busy and get forgot to send them. Since I still had a little time before class, I decided to go back to the Co-Rec to try to reserve our field again.

I had never made a field reservation before, so I didn't know what it involved. It ended up taking a lot longer than I expected. She needed to know what field we wanted and if we needed to rent any equipment too. Then I had a couple forms I needed to fill out, and then she put the information into the computer. With all this paperwork to do, I was wondering how long it was going to take. Thankfully I made it to my class on time.

While I was sitting in my 4:30 class, I realized that while I had printed off what classes I needed to sign up for, I had left my pin number in my room. Since my registration window opened at 6pm, I had to make a quick trip back to my room to get this. When I got there, I saw that I didn't have enough time to make it back to Lawson before my window opened, so I just decided to register in my room before heading over. This would have been fine if myPurdue would have been working. As soon as I went to put my classes in, the site went down. I continued trying for 45 minutes with no success. I had to be back in Lawson by 7pm to work on my project, so I shut down my computer and went over there. Hopefully I could get the site to work later.

Once in Lawson, the site still didn't work, so I got to work on my project. I had to work really hard since I didn't spend any time on it all afternoon. It took me awhile to figure out what I needed to do, but once I figured it out, the work wasn't too hard from there. Finally, after several hours, I got to sign up for my classes. The times on two of them weren't the greatest, but I was able to get one of them changed the next day. At least I had gotten into all the classes that I needed to take.

Thankfully this semester is almost over. I don't know how many more of these days I could handle, but I know that the years ahead are going to be just as bad if not even more busy. I'm just glad to see the year coming to an end and to know that I will be able to relax for a little bit. While I'm ready for the classes to end, I'm not ready to leave here. I will miss all the new friends that I've made throughout the year. Hopefully some of them will be able to visit me this summer, and I can visit them. If not I know that when we see each other again next fall, we will pick back up right where we left off.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Summer Plans

As the year comes to an end, many people are thinking about what they will do for the summer. Some are just looking for summer jobs, others want internships, and some people will just stay at home and be a bum all summer. My parents are not forcing me to get a job if I don't want to, however it will give me something to do.

A few months ago, I was nominated by my professor to apply for the Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI) being held this summer. CSSI is an all-expense paid two week program put on by Google at their headquarters in Mountain View, California. It is focused toward increasing interest in Computer Science for underrepresented groups such as women, Hispanics, African-Americans, and Native-Americans. Not knowing much about the program, I still decided to fill out the application. It would be a good chance to find out if my major is really a good fit for me. I didn't think I really had a chance since they only accept 20 people from colleges across the nation, but no matter what, the application process would still be good practice for me.

After filling out an application, students earn interview spots. Since not everyone can just get up and go to California for an interview, these were conducted over the phone. I was surprised when I got the email saying that I needed to set up a time for this. I had made it to the next round. The interview was about an hour long and consisted of technical question some of which were actual questions for potential Google employees. After completing this, there was another month to wait to find out who got in and who didn't.

Well, that email came out on Tuesday. I got in. The email was congratulating me on my acceptance and also contained some forms that I now have to fill out. I have to sign a release form due to some of the activities we will be doing. No, we won't be jumping through any hoops of fire or anything like that. We will be going on a boat tour in the San Francisco Bay and some other social activities. Google also has a volleyball court and other fun places to hang out on their complex. They just have to make sure that they have all their bases covered for insurance purposes. I also have to get a background check done since we will be given ID badges giving us access to Google's offices while we are there. This allows us to adventure through the complex freely and unescorted each day.

A typical day will start by getting a shuttle ride from out hotel to the Googleplex. Once we get there, we can get breakfast at one of the cafes before we meet as a group. Then we will have some classroom and work time before lunch. The afternoon may have some meetings, speakers, or a fun activity. We can also have dinner at the complex if we want. There will be plenty of time for us to network with the other participants as well as some of the employees.

This really is the chance of a lifetime. Sure people use Google on a daily basis. I use it multiply times a day. But how many opportunities do people get to actually experience life at Google? Not many. It still seems kind of crazy when I hear my phone ringing and look down at the caller ID to see that Google is calling. Hopefully this program will help confirm if Computer Science really is the career for me. As for the rest of the summer plans, we'll just have to wait and see how that goes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Please Pray

Not all news is good news. The fact of this statement really hit me last week as it seemed that I got bad news almost every day. I am thankful to have my friends around me during these times. Without them, I don't know what I would have done last week.

Thursday at our weekly prayer meeting with Salt and Light, a friend of mine asked for prayer for her old pastor's youngest son. Since we went to the same church back home, I was wondering what had happened. The news to come was not good.

Twelve year old Ryan had gone into diabetic shock on Wednesday and was now in a coma. His brain was also swelling, so the doctors had to do emergency surgery to relieve some of the pressure. They said that things did not look good and the next 12 hours would be crucial.

I didn't receive any more news on Ryan until the Good Friday service at church. Ryan's grandfather who is a member of our church called to say, "We have hope." I can still hear those words coming out of Pastor Bill's mouth. It was such a relief to hear, but they were still waiting on test results to find out how Ryan would be after he came out of the coma.

This news came to us on Sunday. It turns out that Ryan had suffered from a stroke. He had also developed pneumonia from being put on a ventilator. The doctors are expecting him to come out of the coma in a week, and it will probably be two weeks before they can put the scull back in place from his surgery. He had made some movement which was promising to the doctors. They would not have believed his current condition just a few days ago.

There was a negative side to this news though. Test results showed that he had suffered some brain damage. I do not know how much damage he had, but hopefully he will be able to continue on with a normal life. He is still in very critical condition, and I hope that he can make it through okay.

Please keep Ryan and his family in your thoughts and prayers. I know they would really appreciate it. Sometimes life throws things at us that we don't really understand. It is through these times that we grow the most. We just have to put our trust in God and know that He will take care of us.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Behind the Scenes

Tuesday, I was given the opportunity to do something that many students never get to experience in college unless they are athletes. I got to go with PASE behind the scenes of the athletic facilities.

Purdue Alumni Student Experience, better known as PASE, is one of the largest groups here on campus. It is sponsored by the Purdue Alumni Association. PASE's connections with the alumni are what allow them to get tours such as this one.

We started out our tour with the premium seating in the press box at Ross Ade. The elevator took us up to the Shively Club on the third floor. Members of the Shively Club can watch the game from inside the building or from their premium seating outdoors. This floor has two concession stands on game days, an upscale one along with a normal one. The Annual Payments for these seats are $2,208/seat for a three year license and $1,932/seat for a five year license.

Next our tour took us to the box seats on the fourth and fifth floors. Not only did we go into a regular box, but we also got to visit the President's suite. Each box comes with 18 tickets (36 for the President's suite). They have two rows of theater-type seats with some additional seating behind that. The widows open, so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the game from the comfort of your suite. For these seats, you preorder your food and drinks, and they will be stocked in your fridge and waiting for you when you get there. This luxury does come at a price though. Annual Payments here for a five year license is $49,913 and $44,660 for seven years. These prices can vary though with the location of the suite.

The last of the premium seating is in the Buchanan Club located on the fifth floor. Three rows of seats face the game with a lounge area behind them. The windows in this area do not open, but you also have the option of watching the game on one of the 26 televisions in the club. Why you would go to a game and watch it on TV, I don't know, but that is an option. Membership in the Buchanan Club includes complimentary food and drink with access to a cash bar. These seats have an Annual Payment of $4,786/seat for three years and $4,223/seat for five years.

Above the premium seating on the sixth floor is the Shively Media Center. This is where the press will come in to do their reports on the game. We did not get to go in any of the suites for the press. We did go into the main press room though. This room has four rows of tables with a computer hookup at each seat. This way the reporters can plug in their computers and get to work. The thing that stood out to me the most on this floor was the amount of wires. It made sense when I saw them, but it was just something that I had never thought of before.

There was one more stop on our tour at Ross Ade, the camera platform. The taping of all the games and practices happens from here. While there wasn't much to see besides the camera platforms out there, the views over campus were amazing. We could see for miles since we were above all the buildings. I was sad to see our tour of Ross Ade come to an end, but I knew that there were more athletic facilities to come.

After leaving Ross Ade, we headed over to Mackey. We would meet a new tour guide here to take us through Mollenkopf and the Intercollegiate Athletic Facility (IAF). When we got there, we had a surprise in store for us. Due to renovations, we were originally told that we would not be able to tour Mackey, but since they were behind schedule, the tour was back on. We were so excited to hear this; at least I knew I was.

There was not as much to see in Mackey, but that did not make it any less exciting. In fact, it might have been my favorite place on our tour. Our tour guide took us downstairs to the hallway where the locker rooms were. He talked like we couldn't go in, but then he had one of the workers to check to see how clean it was in there. He then said it was fine for us to go in and take a look around. I was so excited!

Inside the locker room, they have a room with couches, drinks, and a TV for the players to hang out. I'm sure that this is where they have their meetings during halftime at the games. They also have game systems, so they can play video games when they have nothing better to do. Off of this room is where the lockers are. Each player has their own area with their name above the locker. While we were in there, Lewis Jackson came in. He is a lot bigger in real life than he seems during the games.

After the locker room, we headed down the tunnel and onto the court. E'twaun Moore and Keaton Grant were have a closed practice, and we got to watch them for a little while. I'm pretty sure that one of the guys and I could have stayed there and watched them practice for the rest of the day. We were mesmerized. However, we had to leave to finish out our tour.

We then headed to Mollenkopf. This is where the big workout area is. It is also the home to many of our football trophies including those from our bowl games and the Old Oaken Bucket. The best part here is that we were given the opportunity to run down the indoor practice field for the football team. Only four people out of our group took them up on this opportunity. Of course I did. This was a once in a lifetime experience, and I wasn't going to miss it.

Our tour for the day ended with the IAF. Here we saw the football locker room, but we didn't get to go in this one. We did get to look in the window, and it looked pretty nice in there. We also got to watch a little bit of volleyball practice, and I have to say that those girls are pretty good.

This was a great opportunity that PASE gave us, and I'm glad that I decided to go. I'm sure that some of the other members are regretting their decision to stay home. It was a lot of fun, and I hope that we will be able to do it again in the future. Just another reason for me to say that I love being a Boilermaker!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Blessed Be Your Name

Along with my recent trip to Chicago, going to the Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman concert on Sunday made last weekend a great one for me. The words these men brought in their testimonies and songs that night were amazing. One song that really stood out to me was Blessed Be Your Name.

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say
Lord, blessed be Your name.

I have always loved this song, but when Steven Curtis Chapman opened the concert with it that night, it had new meaning to me. A friend and I were spending time together recently when this song came on the radio. She went on to tell me that she had a miscarriage about a year ago. As she and her husband were driving home from the hospital, this song came on the radio. The words really stood out to them. They knew that they still needed to praise God even though they had just lost their baby. Now she is pregnant again and due in August. On the way home from her last ultrasound, this song came on the radio again. Now with the gift of their coming son, they are still able to say, "Lord, blessed be Your name."

This song is also an emotional one for Steven Curtis Chapman. His five year old daughter was killed in a tragic accident in the family's driveway last May. This song has brought strength to their family in knowing that they should always bless His name. Because of their faith, they know that they will see little Marie Sue again one day.

I know that things have not always been easy in my own life. It is good to have songs like these to remind myself to praise God in the good times as well as the bad. Things will work out in the end. We just have to trust Him throughout the whole process. With His help, we can make it through.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Windy City

Sometimes with all the stress of school, it is just good to get away for a little bit. I love traveling and experiencing other places, so when the opportunity came for me to spend the weekend in Chicago with a group from church, I jumped at the chance. As the weekend got closer, I was unsure if I would still be able to go due to a big project that I had to finish. Luckily I got it done, and I'm so glad I did. This weekend was one of the best I have had here at Purdue, and I will always be able to look back and smile at the time that we had.

Our team was made up of eight students and leaders from our college group. While in Chicago, we got to minister to Chicagoland Community Church. It is a small church located in the Lakeview area on the north side of the city. I have only been to Chicago a few times, and I wasn't really sure what to expect when we got there. We were given a rough idea of things we would be doing, but that was it.

We arrived a little later than expected on Friday night due to construction on the way up. When we got there, the pastor was waiting for us and ready to explain his plans for the weekend. We would be meeting Tyler, one of the church's interns, and a couple other guys later that night just to get to know them a little bit. Then our real work would happen on Saturday.

We got up on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, and got ready to meet with Pastor Jon and Tyler. Originally they just had the plan for all of us to paint a bathroom, but we knew we could do more. Plus I don't think we would all fit in that bathroom. He decided to also give us the job of building a CD display. Then we decided that the church also needed some cleaning done. With a couple single guys living there, you can only imagine how the kitchen looked.

We spent a good amount of the day on these projects. It took longer than we thought it would. That was okay because our next job was outside, and it was cold and raining. We were to go out on the streets in pairs doing surveys in the Lakeview community and passing out maps of the "L." This was not as successful as we hoped. Because of the weather, it was hard to get people to stop and talk to us. My group only got to talk to one guy, but that one guy was better than none. The other groups were a little more successful but not much more.

That evening, the church was having Safe Haven which is a weekly outreach to the homeless in the community. They didn't need our help during the event, so we got to go downtown for some famous Chicago Pizza. We decided to go to Giordano's. I had been to a couple pizza places in Chicago before, but I would have to say that this one was pretty good and reasonably priced. It might seem like a lot for a pizza, but when you consider how big it is, it's not bad at all.

On the way back to the church, our van decided to die in the middle of the road. We couldn't figure out what was wrong. It started back up again, but then began to die shortly afterward. We pulled off on a side street to see if we could figure out what was wrong. None of us knew much about cars, so we didn't know how much good this would do. I was thinking that we would have to call AAA, and who knows how long that would take?

We popped the hood, and a couple guys got out to see what the problem was. It ended up that the air hose had disconnected, and they just needed to get it back on. This problem was fixed with only a dime, literally. We all got a good laugh out of that one!

Back at the church, Safe Haven was over, and there was more cleaning for us to do. We had to get the place ready for Sunday services. While we were cleaning up, one of the guys found some Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers DVDs. We asked Tyler about them, and he said that he was waiting for the right time to watch them. Well the time had come. That's right, we spent the rest of the evening watching them.

We were all sad when Sunday morning came, and we had to head back to campus. We had such a great time over the weekend and wished that it could have lasted longer. We got to be a blessing to the church, and they were also a blessing to us. I love being able to help out other churches, and I can't wait until we get to go on another trip like this one!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The PEERS Project

A club that I was really involved with in high school is The PEERS Project or more commonly known as PEERS. PEERS is an acronym for Peers Educating and Encouraging Relationship Skills. In this group we have Peers Educating Peers (PEP) sessions where we will go in and talk to 6th through 10th graders. What do we talk about? Abstinence. The group motto is "Abstain from sex to Attain your goals." However we also talk about other forms of abstinence. Abstinence from sex, drugs, alcohol, and other things which can have a negative influence on your life.

For the PEP sessions, we have a packet of information to go over. A lot of the packet would seem boring to the students, so we would just pick out a few main things and then use our own ideas to fill the rest of the time. Many times we will share with the class about situations that we have been in and mistakes that we have made hoping that this will open their eyes, so they can avoid these things. Sharing with them also breaks down a barrier, so they feel comfortable talking to us. If they are going through a similar situation to one of the stories shared, they can go to that person and get some advice.

One of our presentations opened the eyes of a 6th grade girl. After the presentation, she came up and asked what someone should do if they were being sexually abused. We told her that they should talk to someone about getting them removed from the situation. Later we found out that this was about her. She had been removed from her parents' home and put with her grandparents because she was receiving this abuse from her father. Now she was getting it from her grandfather too. Our presentation allowed her to talk to someone to get removed from this home too. She has recently been adopted by her loving foster parents and having a much better life.

Not only has PEERS had a positive effect on the students but also the community as a whole. Before the program started, our county was one of the highest in the state for teen pregnancies. Implementation of this group has dropped our numbers significantly. The state saw this change and wanted to know how we did it. They are now watching our program to see how other counties can also benefit from this program.

PEER mentors have to watch their actions in and out of the classroom. If you give a presentation to a class, and then some of the students see you later going against what you just said, you will lose all credibility with them. They will probably let their friends know about it too. We want to make sure that we keep that trust with the students because they are looking up to us whether we're doing good or bad.

The only way to stay out of trouble with the temptations of drugs, sex, and alcohol is to avoid it all together. Sex is something that should be saved for a marriage. Stay pure until then. I'd like to leave you with a quote that a couple of my friends came up with, and we later had it put on a t-shirt to wear for our presentations. "Purity rocks my socks off... but keeps my clothes on!"

You May Now Take the Floor in State Finals Competition

Indoor Percussion is a competitive group which takes place in the winter. It is similar to marching band except it is just the percussion section. I got to participate in this group one year in high school and really enjoyed it. We ended up getting 4th place at state that year. My brother is now involved in the group, and he also likes it. I was excited when I saw that both the state prelims and state finals were during my spring break. This way, I was able to see him perform in his competition.

The morning of state prelims, I got up to get ready and felt really awful, so I decided not to go. I was pretty disappointed because I really wanted to go to this, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to handle going. I ended up going to the doctor so that I could go see him if they made it to state finals, which they did!

My dad was going to go with us to state finals, but he had to work that day. It ended up just being my mom, grandma, sister, and I who went to cheer on my brother. I had heard about their show, but I had not seen it yet. Now it was time for their last performance of the season. I couldn't wait to see what the show was going to be like.

The name of their show is Modern Times. For props, they had a giant switch and electrical outlet which had a plug going into it. To start off the show, they flipped the switch on. This gave them the energy to perform. Throughout the show, they had a girl who would jokingly turn the switch on and off to give them/take away their energy.

Halfway through the show, they yelled at this girl because everyone ran out of "energy." She then pointed to the switch to show them that she had not done anything. The pit section then had to play in order to recharge the drumline which had completely stopped played and fallen to the ground.

They all got recharged back to their high energy levels in order to finish off the show with high excitement. To end the show, they pulled the plug and dropped it to the ground to cut off all the energy supply. The crowd then cheered to show their appreciation of the performance and the performers.

Now we had to wait to go through the rest of the performances before awards. Luckily we were toward the end, so there weren't very many groups left to go. After the groups were done and the scores were calculated, it was time for all the groups to come back for an on-court retreat for awards.

The groups all lined up, and you could tell they were nervous. The places were announced in reverse order, so the longer they went without hearing their name, the better. Everyone wanted to be called last. One by one, they announced school names. We waited and waited to be called. In the end, they got 5th out of the 17 groups in their class. I thought that they had done really well and was proud of what they had accomplished. Of course, they thought they could have done better, but you will always have that.

I really enjoyed getting to go to state finals to see the different shows and support my brother. I wish I could have gone to prelims too, but at least I got to see his show once. Indoor Percussion will always be exciting to me since I actually got the opportunity to participate in it. I hope that my brother stays in it the next two years, so I will have a good excuse to go and watch these fun competitions.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Estoy Enferma

The week before spring break is always a busy time for students. Professors want to get exams and projects in before all the students leave. I know that this week I had an exam, an essay, an interview, and a major project. While this seems like a lot of work, it wouldn't have been so bad if I wasn't sick all week.

I'm pretty sure that I got this sickness Sunday from all that rain we got. Sunday morning I was perfectly fine, but as the afternoon and evening came, I just got worse. I couldn't tell my mom that I was sick because that was one of her big worries when I left. She kept asking who would be there to take care of me. I knew that if she found out, I would be seeing her before long.

I am really thankful for the friends I have here to look after me. I was talking to a friend on Monday and told her that I wasn't feeling well. She knew that since I am a freshman in the dorms, I probably didn't have access to any medication, so she offered to get me some. I said no and thanked her for the offer, but she just insisted more that she would get me something. I just told her not to worry about it since she had three exams on Wednesday to study for. I would be home on Friday, and I could get something then.

I should have known that she couldn't take no for an answer. She text me later that evening asking me to come outside. Immediately I knew what she had done, but I still questioned her about it. She went on to say how she had gone to Wal-mart and gotten me some cough drops. While I was a little upset with her for wasting her study time to take care of me, I was also grateful for her kindness.

Another friend of mine kept telling me to drink plenty of water and orange juice and go to bed early. I'm used to getting about six hours of sleep a night, so the nine hours I got last night was wonderful. I just had so much to worry about this past week that I couldn't really go to bed too early. Hopefully I can catch up on this sleep this coming week.

I am really thankful for these people that care so much about me. I love them to death and know that my life would be totally different without them. I will miss seeing them over spring break but can't wait to give them that giant hug as soon as I feel better and don't have to worry about passing my germs on to them.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'm a VIP

Everyone wants to feel important. When you go to a concert, it is great to have backstage passes. You feel like your status increases when you get invited to a VIP party. Well, here at Purdue, I am a VIP. You can be one to. How can you do this? VIP is the all sports pass here at Purdue. With this pass, you get ticket vouchers to all the football, volleyball, and basketball games. You can get in to some sporting events by just showing your card. Other sports are just free to the public.

Starting next year, there will no longer be reserved seating for the football games. The whole student sections will now be general admission. This gives all students access to the lower part of the stadium. This would happen as soon as I was eligible to get these seats. The people in charge of the seating were tired of students with reserved seats not showing up until right before the game began. The lower section would be empty, while the people with general admission tickets got there early to get good seats. They wanted to give the students who got to the game early the opportunity to get close seats, so they can cheer on their Boilers. This would get the energy going in the stadium before the game even starts.

The idea of getting rid of the reserved seating came from watching the Paint Crew. They saw how committed this group was to getting their seats. People, including my friends and me, would camp out before the games to get the best view possible. I wonder if camping will be an option for the football games too. There really is no good spot up at Ross Ade to do this. We would have to worry about the larger amount of students and also the student/tailgater interactions. It just doesn't seem as safe of an atmosphere to me.

While the camping was fun for basketball, I know I was really looking forward to getting reserved seats next year. I wanted to be able to show up late and still have my seat there. I would also be able to leave freely at halftime. With basketball camping, we got to go inside to enjoy the game. While the first football games won't be cold, the weather will change by the end of the season. I don't want to have to wait outside for a few hours to get seats, and then stand in the cold another three hours during the game. It's just asking for people to get sick, but I know I will still do it. My friends and I are dedicated to our Boilers, and we want to be there to support them in their victories and losses.

Tickets aren't all you get for being a VIP. There are also some other great benefits. You can earn points by having your card scanned at each event you go to. These points then add up to get you prizes. I have already gotten the free shirt for 8 points and am almost to the 24 point level. Here I get a $25 gift card to Arby's. Now doesn't that make you think? You also get prizes at 48, 60, and 85 points, but I don't think that I'll get that high. I can always try for it next year.

You can start purchasing your VIP passes for the 2009-2010 school year starting March 23 at Only 5,000 passes are available, so get one while you can. The cost is $225 which I think is a great deal for all you are getting. You are only in college for so long, so why not get the most out of your experience? I think that being able to support our great Big 10 teams here at Purdue is a wonderful opportunity. The memories that you make at these events will last you a lifetime.

Friday, March 6, 2009


Many times the activities that occur after dark are pretty sketchy, especially those on a college campus. However, the event I attended on Monday night was not. It was actually uplifting to the student who came out. That's right, Afterdark came to Purdue.

Afterdark is a religious convocation that goes around to different universities in the country. After a concert by Dave Barnes, Joe White came out to tell us a story. This story was about a Roman cross maker from 2,000 years ago. He was instructed to build a cross for a man who called himself the Son of God. This man was even going to come back to life after He had died this painful death. The cross maker could not believe it, but he was just doing his job. He would wait and see what happened.

This cross that Joe White built was symbolic of the one Christ was crucified on so many years ago. He told us how our debt of sin had been paid on this cross. He even had a sheet of some of his sins that he had committed. He took it and nailed it to the cross for all to see. Then we were given the chance to do the same. People wrote their thoughts and feelings on index cards and brought them up to the stage. There were guys up there with hammers and nails to nail these cards up. The cross was packed. It was amazing to see all these things that were standing between the students and God be handed over to Him.

As I think about this, a verse from the hymn It Is Well with My Soul by Horatio Spafford and Philip Bliss comes to my mind.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

That is just what we did that night. Our sins were nailed to the cross, and Jesus had died to take these sins from us. The sins of the whole world were put on Jesus that day that He died. He knew it was coming, but He still chose to endure this punishment. Why? Because He loves us and cares so much about us. I know that there is no way for me to ever come close to repaying Him for this. All I can do is live completely for Him, and that is what I strive to do with my life.

Senior Night

Wednesday night was the final home basketball game for four of the Boilers. Bobby Riddell, Chris Reid, Nemanja Calasan, and Marcus Green played their last game in Mackey Arena. The players were joined by their families on the court for a special presentation before the game. Well Calasan was joined by his American family and girlfriend since his real family couldn't make the trip from Srbinja, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Members in the Paint Crew even dressed up like and made signs for their favorite players. There was a giant twenty dollar bill with Green on it, a couple guys painted for Calasan, another guy with an afro and American flag shirt for Reid, and numerous buckets for Bobby "Buckets." The fans couldn't be more proud of their seniors.

After this presentation, the game against Northwestern began. We were favored to win this game since Purdue (11-6 Big Ten, 22-8 Overall) is number two in the Big Ten standings, and Northwestern (8-9 Big Ten, 17-11 Overall) is only number eight. While we couldn't win the Big Ten title thanks to Michigan State's victory over Indiana on Tuesday, surely we could lock in this win on Senior Night.

While the passes and ball handling were not that great, we still managed to stay ahead in the first half. Things looked promising especially after our big run. We went into halftime with a seven point lead, but then it all changed when the second half started. We got behind and never really took the opportunities we had to come back resulting in the 64-61 loss.

We had several chances to make free throws, but they just weren't going through the net. Only losing by three, I can't imagine how the players felt about this. They probably are saying to themselves, "If only I would have done this at this time, or if only I would have made that one shot." I know that I would feel as if the loss was all my fault. Even the player that sat the bench probably wondered how the game would have turned out if they had gotten some playing time.

Don't get me wrong. I know the players work hard in their practices and spend numerous hours going over different drills and plays. In no way could I do any better than they did. I wouldn't even stand a chance. It was just the fact that our record was so much better than theirs, and the crowd was so excited to see this match up on Senior Night that made this loss so disappointing and frustrating.

The fans are so used to seeing wins especially at home that we didn't really know how to handle this. I know that at some points I was getting so frustrated that I just wanted to get up and leave. That's what some of the other "fans" did. I could not let this frustration overcome my pride for the Boilers. I needed to be there to support them no matter what happened.

In the last few minutes of the game, it looked as if we might be able to pull it out, so it was a good thing that I didn't leave. We cut their lead down to two and had to chance to get ahead with those free throws that we missed. However, Northwestern increased their lead by making their free throws at the very end bringing them to the point where we could not catch up in the last seconds.

Even after this loss, I still have my love for the Boilers. There is always next year for us to win the Big Ten Conference title. I will definitely be getting tickets again. For me, the games were always a highlight to my week, and I can't wait to see how our next group of Boilers will add to the team.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ruckus is No More

I don't know how many of you knew about Ruckus, but I loved it. It was a ad-supported site where college students had access to legally download over 3 million songs and all for free! It was great, especially for poor college students, and greatly decreased illegal file sharing. The only thing is that the songs were DRM protected, so you could not transfer them off your computer and on to your iPod or other portable music player. While this was kind of sad, it was still nice to get this free music. That is, until the unexpected happened.

A friend of mine was telling me about this group that she really liked, but I had not heard of them. Naturally I thought, "Hey, I'll just look them up on Ruckus." Unfortunately when I went to the site, it said that the service will no longer be provided. I was shocked. I didn't see this coming. It happened without any warning at all. I checked to see if my music that I already downloaded still worked. Some of it did, and some of it didn't. With this service, you had to renew your license to each song each month. All you had to do was sign into your account, and it would automatically renew them. Once the site shut down, you could no longer sign into your account. This means that once the license is up, the songs can no longer be played.

This all happened about a month ago, so the rest of my songs will expire on March 3rd. This makes for a very sad day. I have kept a list of the songs that I have now, so hopefully I will be able to find them somewhere else. Maybe I'll just break down and buy the CDs on ebay, Amazon, or another site where I can get them cheaply. If anyone knows of another site where you can download free and legal music, I would greatly appreciate it if you let me know about it.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Camping Adventures

Well, I did it. I survived the pregame campout. It was actually a lot warmer than I thought it would be, at least in the tent. We had all planned on freezing, so we brought as many layers and blankets as we could. It turns out we only needed about half of them. I got so warm walking over to Mackey that I had to take off a layer once I got there. I think two of the biggest reasons we stayed so warm were that we had a layer of sleeping bags underneath our own to cushion the ground and keep the cold cement away from our bodies and the fact that we had four people sleeping in a three man tent.

We also got some free food perks for our dedication. About one o'clock in the morning, the blow horn siren went off. At first I thought we were having a roll call to make sure that all the groups still had their representative and tickets there. Instead, they told us that it was not a roll call, and Regions Bank across the street was giving out free hot chocolate and popcorn. Of course we were going to take advantage of this opportunity. Another girl and I stayed in the tent while the others went to get food. When they came back, they also had Jimmy John's sandwiches with them. We then all decided that we loved Regions Bank and were all going to switch our money to there, ok maybe not.

The campers got another surprise for breakfast. The basketball team came out with boxes of donuts for everyone. Unfortunately, I had been relieved from my shift and had not come back yet when this happened. At least some of my group got to enjoy it though. Maybe I will be luckier this weekend when we camp for the Purdue vs. Ohio State game.

You may ask how much sleep we actually got with all the excitement going on. The next morning, my friends all said that they slept for most of the night. The only time they really woke up was for the roll call at 3 a.m., but they were still half asleep for that. I was up for most of the night though. The people next to us decided to camp out without a tent, and talk all night. I'm pretty sure they had been drinking, but their stories were pretty funny to listen to.

Once I finally got to sleep, I was woken up by a strange sound. At first, I wasn't sure what it was, but then I figured out what it was. It was rain. Immediately, I thought about our neighbors who were camping without a tent. Then I remembered them asking someone to find them a tent and hearing a bunch of crinkly noises over there earlier. They must have gotten one. The next morning when we looked over there we saw that they had a little one person tent set up, and I'm glad that they did. It would have been awful to sit outside all night in the cold rain.

After my night shift, I went back to my room to get ready. Since I had more time than I needed, I decided to lay down on my couch for a little bit. Since I was suffering from lack of sleep, I dozed off. I was so tired that my dad called me eight times, and I missed every single one of them! Luckily I woke up in time to make it back for the game. That would have been awful if I slept through it. I just had to really hurry to get ready.

My friend also texted me while I was sleeping. She said that while they were taking down the tent, it started to rain/sleet/snow, and they had gotten soaked. I asked if she wanted me to bring her some dry clothes, but she had already gotten a hold of her roommate to bring them some. The Mackey security was also really nice and let everyone inside for awhile to keep them out of the weather.

Overall, I think we all had a lot of fun on our "camping" trip even with the not so desirable weather and lack of sleep. One girl from our group even won the Fazoli's Dance for Your Dinner competition during halftime. I don't know about the rest of them, but I know I can't wait to do it again this weekend!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Only in Indiana

I'm sure that we've all heard the phrases, "Only in Indiana," and, "Crazy Indiana weather." You may have even heard them recently. This has been some pretty crazy weather we've been having the past couple weeks. We started off the semester and had that week with record windchill lows. It would be super cold during the week and then warm up on the weekends. This was good for our weekend plans, but it made our walks to class pretty miserable. There were times I couldn't even feel my face!

Shortly after this, we got all that snow. I asked a friend how long she thought the snow would stay around, and her guess was March. Obviously she was wrong. The weather turned unusually warm, and it all melted. The temperatures continued to rise into the 50s and 60s during the day at the beginning of last week, and people were even going to class in shorts, tshirts, and flip flops. I thought they were crazy. It might have warmer than what we had been having, but it wasn't that warm.

Then last Wednesday, we got that wonderful February rain. I wasn't just rain. It was more of a downpour with lots of wind. I don't usually mind the rain since I always carry an umbrella with me, but the wind makes it worse. It blows the rain under your umbrella or turns it inside out. This is never pleasant.

The rain came and went, and it took our warm weather with it. Yesterday the windchill dropped into the negatives again. I was glad to see that it warmed up a little today especially since I am camping out with the Paint Crew outside of Mackey tonight. We are going to have to be close together to use each other's body heat for warmth. There is a light wintry mix turning into snow in the forecast for tonight, so hopefully that won't be too bad. I don't really want to get sick from this.

We can just hope that the worth of the winter is over with. Spring break is only three weeks away with the official first day of spring that week too. Hopefully the change of season will bring the warm weather along with it to stay.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mackey Campground?

As many people know, this Saturday is the famous Purdue vs. Indiana men's basketball game. As a member of the student section, The Paint Crew, you can imagine that I am pretty excited for this game. This year, The Paint Crew is allowed to have camping before four big games this season: Duke, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio State. This camping is not for tickets, but it is to get the best seats we can in the general admission section for these great games.

The Indiana game starts Saturday at 2pm with the gates opening between 12:30 and 1, but the line for seats starts Friday at noon.
You can form groups of up to ten people, and anyone who has their group's tickets at Mackey by noon on Friday will be entered in a lottery to get their place in line. Anyone who shows up after this will just be added to the end of the line. In order to keep your spot, someone from your group must be in line with all your tickets at all times. This includes the whole night. Since none of us had camping supplies, my friends went out and bought a tent just for these camping events. Now that's dedication. We want to get the best seats we can for this Big 10 rival game.

Now you may wonder, what we are going to do while we wait in line for more than 24 hours. Well we have tried to come up with different things to keep us occupied. We have also set up a schedule, splitting our group into smaller groups, so everyone doesn't have to stay in line the whole time. While some of us are still in class, the groups are smaller than in the evening, but we are never by ourselves. This way, hopefully we won't get as bored. Insomnia Cookies is close to Mackey just off of Northwestern, and since I have never had them, they are a must for the night. We are also getting together the different games that we have for a night of fun for those staying during the evening hours. So far we have cards, backgammon, and some others. We also have Apples to Apples which we may play with some of the other groups around us. That could be really interesting. In order to collect cards in this game, you have to be able to read the judge and tell if they are in a serious or funny mood.

I volunteered to be in the group that spent the night at Mackey. This way I can spend my time doing something that I value. As you may have guessed, this is sleeping. What better way to pass the time than by taking a little snooze. Hopefully the other groups will also sleep, so they are not making too much noise all night. If they do, I will just have to try to block out all the noise. I am also going to be there once we get our spot to help set up the tent. Then I have another shift after I get out of class for the day. Hopefully all this waiting will be worth it.

The scouting report for the game went out to the Paint Crew members today. In it, we were told the strength and weaknesses of the Indiana team. Mostly what they are lacking is size and experience. They are doing well in steals, but they have the highest turnover rate in the Big 10. I think this will be a downfall for them in Saturday's game as Purdue will be able to take advantage of these opportunities to get the ball. Purdue should be able to add another win to their record after this game.

I am really hoping that everything goes well for us this weekend, for me, my group, and the team. No matter what happens, I am excited for the opportunity I have to spend time with this great group of people even if we do freeze. I want Mackey Campground to be something that I remember among the other fun times I have had here at Purdue. Make sure to watch the game, and Boiler Up!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Great Egg Drop

While many college students are out having "a good time" on Thursday night, my friends and I from church have our own version of fun. Last night our HOOT (Hanging Out On Thursdays) activity was guys versus girls game night. We started off with some trivia games followed by four men on a couch. To finish off the night, we had The Great Egg Drop. Each team was given a package of bendy straws, a roll of tape, and five Exponents to build protection to keep our two eggs from breaking when dropped from a certain height.

Everyone got to work right away. We started putting the straws together in squares to make a cube for one of our eggs. We made two cubes and put newspaper on one side of each cube. The egg was then put between the newspaper on the cubes and taped in there. As long as it hit on one of the ends, this egg should be safe.

Our other idea was to wrap the egg in newspaper. If it was loose enough to make a cushion, it should absorb some of the impact of the fall. We also taped a bunch of straws to the newspaper hoping this would help. It may have looked like a mess, but looks didn't matter. We just wanted to protect our little egg.

The guys had their own ideas. They made a bigger cube than we did and filled it with newspaper with the egg in the middle. Then they wrapped the cube in newspaper to keep the egg from falling out. Their other design also had the egg in the center but this time with no cube. Then straws were taped pointing in two directions around the outside. The ends were then bent down to make "feet" to support the structure when it hit the ground.

Now it was time to test them. We all went outside to see them dropped out of the second story window. To our surprised none of the eggs were eliminated. We needed something bigger. Where could we go? We ended going down the street to the University Parking Garage. Surely this would do the trick.

We handed over our eggs, and they were taken to the top. Which eggs would survive? We got there just as an exam was getting done, so people were looking around trying to figure out what we were doing. Some of them even stopped just to watch. Once the sidewalk was clear, it was time for the drop. One by one they fell. Sadly, both of our eggs broke, and neither of the guys' did. If only they would have landed the way we expected, they would have been okay. Oh well. We had fun anyway.

I encourage you to go out and have some real fun with your friends. Think up some new ideas. Be creative. Have a good time that you will remember the next day. I know these activities are usually the highlight of my week. I can't wait to see what we will do next!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Body Image

People are becoming more and more obsessed these days with how they look and how people look at them. Why are people not happy with the way they are? They always want to be different. Society is putting so much pressure on people, especially females, to be skinny. This pressure is now coming at younger and younger ages. We see images on TV and in magazine which are unrealistic to most people. Many of those images are not even real. They have been digitally altered. However, young girls do not know this. They just want to become like those images and will try their hardest to accomplish this goal. Some of these girls even take this to unhealthy measures which only turns out badly in the long run.

The other night, my hall sponsored an event where we got free pizza for dinner. While we were eating, we had a chance to talk to the people around us. One of these conversations really bothered me. It came from a guy across the table. He was talking about how he viewed women and was saying that they should never weigh over 150 pounds. He then went on to say that his daughters better never weigh more than 140! He was going to force them to work out all the time, so he wouldn't have fat girls. The guys around him tried to tell him that he was being rude. They asked him if it was okay for them to weigh more if they were really muscular since they would be at the gym a lot. He countered this saying that he had seen some pretty "ripped" girls before which only weighed 125, so they would have no excuse to be much more than that.

This is just one example of something that causes people to have a negative body image of themselves. Everyone has a different body build. While 140 may be overweight for some, it could be unhealthy for others. A healthy body is so much more than a number on the scales, but when others are always pointing out your flaws, it is hard to stay positive. You want to listen to what they are saying even though it can be hurtful. It also harms your self esteem. You question why you are the way you are and even start to put yourself down. Instead, you should try complimenting yourself and those you come into contact with each day. Not only will you be building your self esteem, but it will also benefit those around you. Maybe they would even catch on and join in on the kindness. I mean, who wouldn't want to help spread positive messages. In increasing your self esteem, you will also improve your body image.

Do you think that a California girl is supposed to have curls and wear a jean size 3?
All the curves in all the right places, spray tanned faces just like on TV?
And we read in the gospel of Vogue that we're all suppose to dress and move and be
Visions of perfection
Such a misconception
'Cause the real connection is deeper than the eye can see.

As I was writing this, these words from Mandisa's True Beauty came on my iPod, and the lyrics caught my attention. They made me stop and listen since they went so well with what I was doing. In this song, she talks about how the world has all these expectations for the way we should look and act. This is not what is important though. We need to worry about our true beauty. In time, our looks will fade, but who we are will stick with us. The guy from the above story needs to be more worried about the way he raises his daughters rather than if they meet his pound expectations or not. A beautiful personality will allow your outward appearance to shine. Would you rather be remembered for your body or your character?

Friday, February 6, 2009

Do You Really Know a Person?

People go through many changes during their life. A big one is the change from high school to college. This is when many people go out on their own and start making decisions for themselves. You get to see who everyone really is. Students are often advised not to live with their best friend as freshman because they will end up hating each other by the end of the year. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that you may not change in the same way and develop different values which may pull you apart.

Recently I found out about some of the changes my friends from high school have gone through. While some of them are still as wonderful as they used to be, others have gone downhill. A guy that I had almost every class with last year is now a heavy drinker. Another friend that I graduated with finished the semester with a GPA of .16! When I heard these things, I was shocked. They were both fairly motivated students in high school and were even in the AP classes, but their new found freedom here at Purdue got the best of them. I hope that they realize the mistakes that they are making and return to the people I used to know.

I encourage you to think of these examples as you continue to change throughout your college career. I thought that I knew these people, but it turns out that there was a side of them I hadn't seen. Don't disappoint those who care about you. One decision can change their opinion of you, and it is always harder to regain their trust than it is to lose it.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Intensity Comes to Mackey

Saturday's men's basketball game was intense to say the least. The game versus Michigan started off well for Purdue. They kept Michigan scoreless for the beginning of the first half. However, they only managed to score four points for themselves in this amount of time. While neither team was scoring many points, it still looked like a win for Purdue. I mean, what fan wouldn't think this of their team? Before long though, Michigan had caught up. The score was kept close from then until halftime.

Just before the half, Purdue's Robbie Hummel reached for the ball and was knocked to the ground by one of Michigan's players. Hummel, who has been having back problems recently, laid there on the court until after the buzzer sounded. Meanwhile, Michigan dribbled down the court to make a basket, putting them in the lead at 26-25. It was questionable as to whether they scored the points before time ran out, so the referees had to review the play. Purdue coach, Matt Painter, was also arguing with the officials at this time because he believed that Hummel had been fouled when he was knocked to the ground. All this cause the fans and especially the Paint Crew to boo continuously for several minutes. It was so loud that you couldn't even hear "Hail, Purdue!" as the team left the court.

After halftime, Michigan went to the line to shoot free throws from a technical foul. We wondered where this technical came from. The half had just started, and no plays had been made. Had the NCAA made a new rule against booing and called this foul on the Paint Crew? Later my friend and I found out from another fan that the technical was called on Painter. Evidently his arguing at the half had gotten out of control, but he was just trying to defend his players.

No one expected what was to come next. When Manny Harris received the ball from one of his teammates, he turned hitting Chris Kramer square in the nose with his elbow. Kramer immediately fell face down on the court. I did not get to see the play due to a tall guy with big curly hair in front of me, but I knew that whatever happened wasn't good. People started to stand on the bleachers in order to get a better view. Once I got a chance to see, I saw Kramer just lying on the court. He wasn't moving, and I was worried. I hoped that wasn't hurt too badly. He had blacked out, and when he came to, he found himself in a pool of blood. He rolled onto his back, and the crowd gasped as they saw the blood on his face and the court. The trainers treated him while the referees decided what to do. The Paint Crew had an idea. They started chanting, "Throw him out!" in reference to Harris. And that is what in fact happened. While this seems like a harsh punishment, I couldn't imagine how the fans would have treated him the rest of the game if he had stayed in.

After this, I figured that Hummel and Kramer would both be out for the rest of the game. However, it was Hummel who shot the free throws for the technical called on Harris. The team played with more intensity than ever going on a 30-8 run. Kramer also came back into the game wearing a face mask with a little less than 15 minutes to play. Even though you could tell the mask bothered him, Painter would not take him out. There was no way Michigan was going to win. Kramer was taken out with two minutes left to play in order for the bench warmers to get some time on the court. The Boilers went on to add a 67-49 victory to their record.

In a post game interview, player from both Purdue and Michigan agreed that Harris's punishment was probably too severe, but there was nothing they could do about it. The referees thought that it was intentional, so they just did what they thought was needed. Kramer's nose ended up being broken, and he had to have surgery on Wednesday. Last I heard, he was in a lot of pain. He is still able to play but has to wear a protective mask for the next three weeks, and will have to have another surgery most likely after the end of the season.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Experience in Culture

While I was home over the weekend, I found out that I would be having lunch after church on Sunday with a group of students from South Korea. No one really knew much about it, but I was excited about getting to meet people from a different culture.

On Sunday, we found out that they were here for two weeks on an exchange program between their school in South Korea and Indiana University of Kokomo School of Nursing. This is the 7th year that IUK has been part of this exchange. The five girls, Sojin Kim, Hyeongju Kim, Hyejin Park, Hyojun Park, and Ahrang Song, ranging in age from 21-23 came with their professor, Dr. Hyo Soon Jang, to experience school at an American university. They arrived January 17 and are leaving tomorrow the 30th to go visit Chicago before heading back home.

Since the Director of Nursing at IUK goes to my home church, the girls came with her on Sunday. We were introduced to them, but we were not told the name of their school right away. I just assumed that it was some Korean name that none of us would be able to pronounce anyway. I couldn't even pronounce the girls' names! Later we found out that their school had been founded as The Jesus University School of Nursing in South Korea. Over the years the name has changed several times from Margaret Pritchard School of Nursing to Margaret Pritchard College to Margaret Pritchard University. Recently, they decided to go back to their original name of The Jesus University.

During lunch, we found out that the girls had a love for soups, fruits, and vegetables. They also found their love of junk food while they were here. It was just another way for them to fit into our culture. Americans are probably the most unhealthy eaters in the world. We will see if they miss our wonderful foods such as triple chocolate cake once they get home.

While they may prefer the healthier foods to our unhealthy yet delicious snacks, one thing will always connect girls together. That is fashion. One of the girls, Ahrang, came up to me while I was arranging the vegetable tray just to say that she really liked my shoes. This gave us a little bit of a conversation starter, so it was really fun for me to get to talk to her for a little bit.

Before they left after lunch, the girls presented my pastor, Keith Treadway, with a gift for Korea. He opened it, and inside was a wall hanging with the South Korean flag and some Korean writing on it. We never figured out what it said since it was written in older Korean characters, but it was still neat to see how different their language was from ours.

Meeting these girls was a really fun experience for me. I always enjoyed getting to know the foreign exchange students in high school, so this was no different. I think part of this has to do with my love for travel. My goal is to someday travel the world. Hopefully I will get to go see some of my new friends in their hometowns like they got to see me.

The Band Plays On

In high school, band was a big part of my life. I did marching band, concert band, and pep band each year. I also did some jazz band and winter percussion. Each year, the pep band hosts an alumni night at one of the basketball games in January. This is a time for past Maconaquah band member and also alumni of other schools to get together to reconnect and share their love of music.

This year's alumni night was on Saturday. Being my first time as part of the alumni, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go home for the game. I had always gone before, but that was because I always knew that some of my friends would be there. Sure I still knew some of the current members, but it was still going to be different than it was before. My parents kept telling me that they thought it was a good idea for me to go. My mom even talked to the director, and he said to tell me that I had to be there. Finally I called home on Friday night for someone to come pick me up, so I could go to the game.

When I got to practice before the game, I was immediately greeted by some old friends. I was so excited to see them. I was glad that my parents had talked me into coming. Then I heard someone behind me calling my name. It was my section leader from my freshman year. She was the person that I was most excited to see. She had been someone for me to look up to during my 8th and 9th grade years. She had played the piccolo like me, and I wanted to be able to play as well as she did someday. With what she taught me during those years, I was able to take her place as the piccolo player after she graduated and also became section leader in my senior year.

The turnout that night was bigger than I expected. I think we had more alumni than I remember from any other year. After going over the songs that we would play during the game, we headed down to the teachers' lounge for some snacks and a trip down memory lane. Each year, the lounge is decorated with old pictures and memorabilia from the years gone by. This year, pictures from my graduating class were added. It was just a fun time to get to look through the pictures at how the group has changed over the years. There were even some pictures of my director's years in band.

It wasn't just my old band friends that I got to reconnect with that night. I was surprised to see a couple of my other friends that I graduated with. I got to talk with my friend, Kayla, who now plays basketball for Indiana University South Bend. Her brother still plays on the high school team, so she had come down to support him in his game. It was good to hear from her about how her season was going since I don't get to see her play anymore.

In all, I was glad that I got to participate on alumni night. If your school has a night like this, I would encourage you to go. If not, find a school around you that does. It's fun to go back and enjoy some of your old hobbies. You never realize how much things meant to you until you don't have them anymore.