Three and a half Weeks Left!

Really? I cannot believe it. Time FLEW by. It’s like last week I was in orientation. But when I look back at all the things that I have done this year it makes me say ”ok yes, it has been a year”. I have done so much I should really thank FSU for that. It provided me with so many opportunities, all of which are really enjoyable. I tried to benefit fully from all that FSU has to offer, from extra classes, to the sports facilities and gym, to conferences like the FILC, and finally, for giving me the opportunity to have a job and gain work experience. All those things make the FSU campus such an outstanding place to be. You could really enjoy your university life without needing to leave campus much. You could just stay on campus all day everyday and everything you need and more is available to you. It makes life easy for its students. By always having so much to do, it feels like you days are so short and time goes by too fast. Before you know it, you’re writing your final assignments and registering for classes for the next semester.

This is probably the most hectic time of year for students. With two and a half weeks left until final exams, all final projects are due soon and final tests are coming up.  This is my first year of university, but generally, in high-school, towards the end of the year I feel like I just want the year to be over and laziness kicks in. That hasn’t changed now that I am in university. In fact, if anything, the feeling just got stronger. Although you enjoy your life at university here at FSU, it can be exhausting to always be doing things all the time. So towards the end, you feel like you can really use a summer vacation; and just that is what’s coming up pretty soon! 🙂

Thinking back to all that I’ve done, I started thinking about things that I absolutely enjoyed, and things that I would have liked to do but didn’t do them for whatever reason. In addition to the opportunities I talked about above, probably the best experience was the FILC. It was also great to be able to enjoy all the free services of the Leech Center – the gym, sports clubs, swimming pool and spa, etc.  Even having done all those things, there is much that I wish I had taken advantage of but didn’t. Such things include the SLC, the circus, the reservation, etc. The student life center plays recent movies such as Black Swan earlier this week, True Grit soon, and many more. I also did not go to the FSU circus which has a reputation of being better than you expect it to be. The reservation is a huge park, the best place for you to get to enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities and is reserved for FSU students only. It is one of the most relaxing and enjoyable places to be on nice weather weekends. With just a few weeks left, I still might be able to enjoy these things if I can manage my time well.

Spring Break!

I mentioned in my last post that I will be going down to Miami for spring break and to Key West, and then back up north to Panama City, all over the course of 5 days. Well, it didn’t go exactly as planned but it was definitely a spring break to remember! Here’s what happened…

We drove down to Miami as planned Friday night; or should I say Saturday morning since it was past midnight when we left Tallahassee, around 3am. I don’t know if that was such a great idea but it was the earliest we could go based on my friends’ and my schedules. We were headed to Miami Airport first to drop a friend off there. I must say it was not the safest of rides as my friend who was driving was a little drowsy. Half way down to Miami we stopped at a resting area and got something to eat/drink. The driver took a quick 20 minute nap to restore some energy, but that did not really help. Only one other person was eligible to drive so she took the helm. Our new driver was not as drowsy but she was only going to get us to Miami airport because she was the one we were dropping off there. The original driver took a long nap till we got close to the airport so he was good to drive after that. However, the anticipated 8 hour drive turned into a 11ish hour drive as the closer we got to the airport, the worse the traffic was. After being stuck in traffic for about an hour and barely moving, we decided to take another, longer route. We eventually got there and were finally headed towards a friend from FILC’s house. Who would have thought we would be close enough to the people we met at FILC that we ended up spending spring break with them. We met many of them down in Miami and we had such a great time! Miami Beach is such a beautiful beach and the road that runs along it, Ocean’s Drive is filled with great restaurants and hotels. The beach is always packed and there are many beach volleyball courts and other casual sports going on everywhere. Just being there has this positive, happy feeling in the air. That is basically what happened in Miami, a few great days spent on the beach, swimming, tanning, etc. I however, was bitten by some sort of creature in the shallow water; or probably a little crab pinched me. It wasn’t too bad though, just a little shocking at the moment. One restaurant in particular I must mention is called Shake Shack. The single best burger I have ever had. Sadly, Shake Shack is only located in Miami and New York City. That was the end of our Miami trip and we ended up not going to Key West just because we decided the beach was just as fun and we were tired of long drives; Key West was about 3 hours away from Miami.

 So we went back to Tallahassee, and again, the drive was exhausting. Instead of going to Panama City the next day, we

Panama City Beach. As you can see, very few people are in the freezing water.

stayed in Tally for 2 quiet days to rest up and then went to Panama City Friday morning and got back that same day at night. Panama City turned out to be such a beautiful city. The beach there was extremely tempting so despite the freezing water and windy weather, we could not resist the temptation of the water. It was begging us to jump in. We did, but did not stay in the water for long, as it was just way too cold. The beach was more crammed than in Miami, and more action packed, with sponsored events going on throughout the day. We spent the day on the beach, just like we did in Miami but it was a whole different experience, equally fun. That was pretty much the end of spring break as Saturday and Sunday were transition days where you try to set your mind set back to school mode. What better way is there to spend your spring break than chilling on the beach all break long? None! But now it’s time to focus on school as there is just a little more than a month before summer!!

Post FILC – Memories to Cherish

Wow…just, wow…  I am the type of person who tries to never really have any expectations when he participates in an event or activity, or when he goes out to some place he’s never been to before. I would like to take a moment and thank God for that trait… thank you God! FILC blew my mind! It is probably the best thing I have done since coming to the US. I met a group of around 16 people about a week before the conference, and we met 3 times to work on that poster I mentioned in my last post. Those meetings were successful on two fronts: first of all, our poster got 2nd place in the competition! Second and more importantly, it brought us closer to each other, broke the ice, hammered it, BURNED it… So, anyways, going into the conference I had a basic idea about each of the members of my group, in particular, Oriana. She works with me at the Center for Global Engagement. You know, polite, always smiling, typical front-desk girl. Or so I thought… let me just stop there. I don’t want to, well… what happens in FILC… yeah. Now, it is safe to say that I know my group well and I love each and every one of them!

                The conference started off on a good note. We went through some activities and got to know a little about each of the participants, something like 130 students from 61 different countries.  One of the highlights was not something I expected to enjoy that much at all: kayaking. It was the first thing my group and I did when we were given some free time. They had a shack by the lake with a bunch of kayaks and paddles and life jackets. We enjoyed it enough that both mornings we woke up early to go kayaking and see the sunrise view from the lake. It was amazing but one thing was missing, the sunrise! The clouds just had to disappoint us, but no! We didn’t let some… clouds let us down!  We demanded to have fun and such were the type of people at the camp. They all wanted to enjoy the camp to the fullest and accordingly everyone was so fun oriented and open-minded and social; and that gave the conference a special ambience. So to enjoy ourselves, we played a few rounds of bumper kayaks! The thrill of your kayak wobbling violently and of the possibility of it flipping over after being rammed into by another kayak was intense! For many of us kayaking was a new skill that we acquired and it was quite enjoyable.

                There was no ‘world cup’ soccer tournament like last year, but (coming from me it may sound weird) that was a good thing. Many students wanted to play other sports. In respect to that we had three different sports going on at the same time, soccer, volleyball, and basketball, and the lesser amount of people at each sport made it more organized and gave more playing time to each participant. Since obviously, I played soccer, I can only speak for those who played soccer; it was a great game! as I was told the volleyball and basket ball games were. The conference activities were rounded up with a nice little Dance, and people showed off their different traditional dances and there was a mask competition as the theme of the dance was Mardi Gras. Finally, on the last day the closing ceremony involved words from each of the peer leaders and other participants who received the talking football. A football was passed around and whoever catches gets to give a little speech in front of eveyone, no pressure, about the experience, best memory, gratitude, etc. It was sad to watch the vans leave and eventually to leave yourself, looking back at the camp form the rear window.

                Of particular significance was the presence of Florida Black Bears! Unfortunately, it was always dark when we saw them and we had to keep a distance from them so it was difficult to take good pictures of them. We also saw some beautiful cranes!  Some people saw alligators and frogs as well, a raccoon, squirrels obviously; a nice mixture of animals.

                What surprised me the most, (maybe it wasn’t the most enjoyable thing at the conference, but) the speakers were really interesting. They spoke to us about motivation, leadership, and answered numerous questions that we posed at random in a brilliant fashion.

I could ramble on and on and on… and on about FILC and just how awesome it is but it wouldn’t be enough for you to understand. You have to be there and go through it yourself! Days later and until now people are posting things like “I miss FILC”, “There should be an FILC every month”, “thank you guys for an amazing experience, see you all next year”, and so on. People are already looking forward to doing this again next year!

Post-FILC Effects:

1)      Tons of amazing new friends

2)      Positive, happy attitude – effect won’t  start to fade until maybe a week after the conference

3)      Exhaustion caused by the lack of sleep at the camp

4)      Huge increase in the amount of time spent on Facebook

5)      Ego boost – an ‘I went to FILC therefore I am a leader now’ mentality

6)      Increased invitations to events (goes with number 1)

7)      A new you!

Some day hopefully, YOU will go to the FILC and then you can create your own list!

FILC

Tomorrow morning along with 15 others from FSU, I am going to the Florida International Leadership Conference (FILC). The way I see it, I am going camping with a group of friends that I met recently, except we’re going to sleep in cabins instead of tents. We are to meet with many other students from different universities all around Florida who are also participating in FILC. Every day, there are several activities going on and you choose which of those you want to participate in. That is besides the main events such as the bon fire gathering where we are to gather around a bon fire and… roast marshmallows or something. I am not entirely sure exactly what we will be doing evidently, but that’s just how I prefer things. I want everything to be a surprise. Other than that, I don’t really know a whole lot about this camp but it seems like it is going to be really fun because we have a cool group and I am so anxious to go! One thing I know is that it will definitely be worthwhile. After all, there will be a soccer tournament! About soccer, I finally played my first soccer intramurals match of the season; it didn’t quite go as well as expected. The problems started when we first arrived at the field and our captain was told that he can’t play because he had lost his FSU student ID card. Then when the time came for the game to start, we were two players short. So we started with 5 players on the pitch (the games are played with seven players on each team) and then towards the end of the first half we finally had a complete team. We ended losing 3-5, which is not too bad considering the circumstances, which is no excuse by the way but, I’m just saying.

 

Back to the topic, we had to create a poster to represent FSU and we, the 14 student participants, met a few times to get it done. The final product is a potential contest winning one. The coolest thing about it is that those speakers you can see attached to it at the bottom are going to be playing the FSU Seminole War Chant in repeat. Intimidating…  🙂

The down side to this whole thing is that I am missing all my classes on Friday. On top of that, those three days I am spending at the conference are three days in which I won’t be doing any school work. However, considering the work I had to do to catch up earlier this semester, I am now a pro at catching up so it shouldn’t be that bad; also my instructors are notified, and are understanding and helpful.

Next post I will have pictures and detailed info on this FILC; so stay posted!

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