Mixed Emotions

As the title suggests, my departure from Tallahassee is drawing near. The semester has ended, grades are out, and it is time to go see my family! I haven’t seen them for 5 months and counting which beats my previous record of not seeing them for a little less than 4 months. It was my niece’s birthday 2 days ago, yet another event that I missed. Soon though, I will be catching up with all that I’ve missed once I meet them and I cannot wait!

                Since I’m leaving soon, I’ve been trying to do a lot of things these days while I still have the chance. Of these things is the flamethrower challenge at Stevie B’s Pizza. To be honest, knowing how it would play out, I wouldn’t have done it. :p It was not worth it at all! I’m not a big fan of spicy food in the first place, but that sauce that they put on the pizza was way too spicy! The challenge started and the mood was so tense. They sit you in the “Flame room” which is a small isolated area, wall painted red, a poster of a man blowing fire out of his mouth right there on the wall next to you and a bucket on your side in case you needed it if you know what I mean. The timer started and I had 20 minutes to finish it. After 2 bites, the spiciness got to me and at that very moment I just stopped and said to myself “wow, this is overwhelmingly spicy, I can’t do it”. I kept drinking water while my friend was trying to convince me to keep going, but he was just delaying the inevitable. After 10 minutes of just drinking water and listening to the empty support of my friend, I quit. My advice? Don’t do it!

                Recently I have discovered a soccer field that is official sized and has perfectly clean-cut grass. It was the discovery of a lifetime! I hadn’t played in a field like that in soooo long. Another one of those things I wish I knew about earlier.

                Also, another thing I plan on doing before I leave is finally visiting Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando! As soon as I finish writing this post I will officially be completely free to do whatever I want until I leave to see my family! Whenever that happens, it will be with a heavy heart. It has been such a wonderful year in Tallahassee and I enjoyed every bit of it. I learned an awful lot from living here far away from any family and such. I believe I am even more responsible and mature now. It has been an exhilarating experience in which I have met so many different interesting people from all over the world. I met people from so many different countries with such different cultures. It is truly a diverse campus with endless opportunities to participate in organizational events, activity events, social events, etc. and meeting all sorts of people.

I wish I could write more perhaps about the visit to Orlando if it happens but unfortunately this is my last post before I leave. It has certainly been great to be able to share my experiences and information and I wish it was helpful to its respective audience. I am so grateful to have come to such an amazing university and would encourage anyone and everyone to study here. It does not disappoint! Form the students to the staff and faculty to the professors and instructors to all the events and opportunities to the campus itself I rate my first year of university a whopping 10/10!


Two Things

Cultural differences are inevitable. America is a huge country that is pretty self-dependent and many American students do not know much about the outside world other than what they learn in history class. That means many of them do not know anything at all about the Middle East. Being from Kuwait, I get all sorts of questions that can get pretty interesting.  A few days ago, I was having lunch with a group of 3 friends and two of them were telling me how they convinced the other friend that I am with Al- Qaeda. I laughed SO hard. You can’t take those things seriously and get upset about them or feel offended. You have to always remember that many students are clueless about the Middle East and have very, very vague and incorrect ideas about it. I haven’t heard anyone talk to me about camels yet which I am glad about because I wouldn’t be able to say much about that other than the fact that I have never seen a camel in Kuwait except on the logo of our national bank.  Instead of getting all worked up about things like that, just explain to them what it’s really like and inform them about life back home wherever home is for you. They are almost always surprised and interested in hearing about such matters. Cultural difference may or may not be a bit of a problem depending on how you react to it. In my case, I enjoy discussing things with students and letting them know what my culture is like, so it really isn’t much of a challenge.

                What could be a challenge for you whether you are an American at FSU or an international student, is that being alone without your parents to take care of financial matters, there is a lot you need to make sure you do not forget to take care of. It is a long list and some of those things on the list are only for international students, others are for everyone. Among those things are your monthly payments. If you live off campus, you need to remember to pay your rent and utilities. You also would have a phone bill you need to pay for every month. You also need to make sure your health insurance information is updated at the Thagard Health Center at the beginning of every semester which is a great Health Center. A few weeks ago when I was sick and had Pink eye, I went there around noon and got an appointment right away to see a doctor and they took care of me and gave me a prescription. It all took about an hour. Registration for classes also must be taken care of as soon as possible in order to guarantee that you get enrolled in all the classes you need to take, when you want to take them. On top of all that, you have all the class work that can be overwhelming at times. My suggestion is to make a list of those things and organize them in a chart so you can keep track of what you need to do every month. As long as you organize everything and remember to take care of those things at the right times, you’ll be fine. If you are slightly unorganized like me, you could face some problems with late fees whether for your phone bill, rent, utilities, or you might be forced to take a class at a time that you don’t really like because you were late in registering for classes. Because I registered for classes a little late, I am forced to wake up early every morning to get to my 8 AM math class.

What I want you to get from this are two things:

1)      Do not get offended by silly questions you might have thrown your way. Instead, deal with it in a calm, humorous, and pleasant manner. It will make things easier for you.

2)      Make sure you organize yourself to remember to pay all your bills, register for classes, and all the little things that you need to do on a monthly/per semester basis.

“Wish I Was There” Disease

When you’re studying in the US and home is somewhere else, you’re bound to miss so many things that happen in your home country. Sometimes all you can think about is how much you wish you were there when they happened. It can be a dangerous way to lose motivation to work. You must deal with it carefully and try to get your mind off of it, which is harder than you might think. So much has happened in Kuwait since I left and every time something new happens I think to myself “I wish I was there”. I had to somehow deal with this weak mental state in order to focus on school. The best way that I have found to deal with it which seems to work quite well, is this. First of all, you must communicate with your family, more than just on Facebook or MSN. It has to be a video call or at the very least, phone calls. You need to hear from someone briefly about what happened and get all the details that allow you to envision yourself being there. This envisage gives you the comfort of mind and you feel the joy of the event. It’s the closest thing to actually being there. Pictures of the event also help greatly.

                Some of the things that happened that I wish I was there for are: my cousin’s wedding and my sister-in-law’s delivery of her second son.  Then there are other things that normally, you would be happy to have missed. Someone like me however, would much rather be there and experience. In saying this I am referring to the sandstorm that hit Kuwait a few days ago. It was the biggest sand storm to ever hit Kuwait and it was actually very interesting as it looked like nothing I have ever seen before. It started as an enormous cloud of sand hovering above of the ground coming from a distance. It got closer and closer and eventually, you would be inside that cloud. While there, you can barely see the anything! You’re range of vision goes down to about 2 yards in darker areas where there is little light, and about 15 yards in brighter areas. It would have been interesting to be an eye witness of that phenomenon.

                I mentioned one way to try to deal with this “wish I was there” problem. Another way is to keep busy. Classes themselves do a pretty good job at that, but there are always some weeks that just aren’t as busy as usual. So to keep busy, you must start a new habit, hopefully a good one. I for instance, took up a new sport, tennis. It is so much fun, it takes your mind off of those things that happened back home, and its good exercise. You kill not only 2, but 3 birds in one stone.

Events and updates

I like Google. Especially when it has a new theme for its homepage every time some random or important event in history occurs. However it did not have a page for pi-day/Einstein’s Birthday on Monday. How shocking 😛 especially because the significance of pi in Science and Engineering is enormous.

An interesting fact about the letter pi, throughout history there has been much effort to determine the actual nature of π accurately. According to Wikipedia, “the simplicity of its definition, the concept of π has become entrenched in popular culture to a degree far greater than almost any other mathematical construct… The current record for the decimal expansion of π, if verified, stands at 5 trillion digits!” I think that that’s amazing but maybe it’s just the nerd in me that’s fascinated. WIMSE (the LLC that I am a part of) joined in the celebrations of pi day and we actually had a social event in which we all ate….pies, and did trivia of course 😀

So coming back to FSU news more precisely College of Engineering news. The top news which is the talk of all research hopefuls is that two of our professors, Dr. Anant K. Paravastu in Chemical and Biomedical Engineering and Dr. William S. Oates in Mechanical Engineering, were recently awarded very competitive grants by the National Science Foundation for their research. For those who don’t know what this means, it basically, for a freshman like me means that they have lots of funding for their projects and those that sign up to research with them get a bonus in their pay. And yes freshman can research with Professors, even if they have no previous lab exposure, you get to learn about everything and how it is done+ get to mention that in the experience part of your resume. You would in most cases not get to handle all the groundbreaking experiments but you get a front row seat to how the experiments were done and learn how to make decisions and find solutions to problems that might arise, so it’s all very cool.

On another note, FSU Center of Global Engagement is going to host an International Bazaar on Saturday 26th of March. From what I have heard from people it is an excellent way to share the culture and traditions with other individuals. It celebrates cuisine as organizations/groups set up sample tables, it gives groups a chance to represent or highlight their communities by displaying their culture and there are cultural performances like dances and poetry reading and plays. I look forward to attend this especially because it is on a Saturday and I have heard that the food is always good 😀

Another piece of Information I ran into was regarding the Undergraduate tuition waivers. The waivers however are not based on your high school GPA but on the FSU GPA, therefore you need to spend a semester at FSU and then get evaluated. The waiver is awarded on a semester by semester basis and the minimum GPA requirement is a 3.3. More information is on the CGE website.

I Miss My Babies…

Innocent? Nah. Deceptive.

The beat goes on, and the beat goes on…

I miss my babies so I’m writing this song

I’d wake up to the sound of them crying

Get shaken up, on my bed they’re trying

to wake me up. Get up!” they scream into my ear

At which time I decide to use fear        

I shush them and tell them to leave my room

Backfire, they come at me with a broom

With a broom the ‘beat’ goes on, the ‘beat’ goes on…

…until I wake up. So that’s basically how I used to wake up on weekends. It doesn’t really sound nice but honestly, I like it. I start my day messing around with these kids and tricking them into doing the craziest stuff. Even better, I make them call me Sassano, Uncle Sassano. There is nothing better than having a little thing that you can manipulate however you want, even making it say things like “Saleh is the strongest person in the world”. Or the sincere hug full of love that I get from these kids that shows the true appreciation of the time I spend with them every time they visit. I feel soothed for the rest of the night after they kiss me goodbye. Only one thing can beat that and soothe me even more: ice cream!

Having kids around the house is just awesome. You keep seeing things from each of them that just crack you up. They all have their unique ways of being funny. The best thing about it is that I’m not any of their parents, so I’m not technically responsible for them. I get to enjoy them without having to change their diapers or clean up their messes!

I was in bed the other night and before I slept I was thinking to myself, “oh they probably forgot me and don’t love me anymore”. I was surprised when the other night I spoke with my mom and she told me this story… My brother was teaching his 4 year old kid how to be tough and they were wrestling, and fighting for a while, trying to get his son to build some confidence in himself, telling him things like “Look at you! You are strong!” or “Ow, you hurt me” and finally after he was ‘defeated’ in the fight by his son, he asked him “who’s the strongest in the world?” Obviously the answer he was looking for was an enthusiastic and confident “Me!” His answer had all the confidence and enthusiasm alright but it was not “me”, it was “Uncle Sassano!” That’s right, me! I taught them well. Above all though, it was so good to hear that because it proves my thoughts wrong and re-assures me that I am not forgotten. Every time my parents call me on the phone and I hear the ruckus in the background that the kids were causing it makes me want to see them ever more. I miss them more than anything.

Notice: as you can see below this post, in addition to liking and commenting, you can now share any of my beautiful posts on facebook or twitter, email, etc.


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!

my happy days continue….

And my happy streak continues!!! But I lied I haven’t gotten over my sushi addiction as yet and it been two weeks…but I shouldn’t complain its healthy right? Hahaha I just googled the benefits of sushi and I was right 😀 Sushi is low in calories, helps to reduce heart disease, can prevent mental illness (hmmm…interesting), it has fiber, proteins and vitamins and omega 3…yay! Who knew I could be unintentionally so smart! :/

So anyway today the Asian American Students Union (AASU) had an Asian themed lunch for $7 at the international center and my advisor tells me that it was pretty awesome…only if I hadn’t slugged down a whole Grande hot chocolate and a huge bowl of cereals before coming I could have been able to eat it too….I can smell the food from this room even though I am a whole floor above.

There are about 550 student organizations currently recognized here at FSU. I haven’t joined anyone yet and they are fortunately not exclusively for members so I have participated in a variety of events organized by different groups and I find them to be extremely interesting.

I can still smell the food, its distracting me….

So today the sun is shining again and even though I stayed up till 2 last night I woke up this morning at 7:45 and made it to class before class had even started and, wait for it, I actually stayed awake during class so yes I am feeling pretty smug about that. Then because we are having conferences for my English class this week I didn’t have to go to that class which is awesome cause I got more free time. I came back and listened to cat powers and Regina Spektor while I finally cleaned our room. My “get things done” levels are soaring.

Anyway back to getting up for classes. I think many people especially me lack the will to get up for a morning class and to be honest they are really a pain. I learned from my mistakes last semester and developed new strategies the first one being not signing up for 8 o’clock classes, except for one, I don’t like being woken up by an alarm for anything. So once again I’ll share my wise ways 😀

Okay so the first it’s best to sign up for a morning class with a friend. This kind of gives you a reason to get up if you know that there would be someone else with you. For example I have an 8 o’clock class at the engineering campus every Thursday which means that I have to catch the 7:15 bus and therefore be awake by 6:30 so that I can make it to the bus stop. I have a girl on my floor who takes the class with me so we now walk together. It’s for one safer to have someone walk with that early in the morning and second you have someone who you can talk to on the way or in the class.

Second, if your roommate has early classes or a class before yours ask them to wake you up before they leave for class.

Third, get more sleep. If you sleep early the more likely you would be to wake up feeling more active.

Lastly, if you are like me and just can’t sleep early then condition yourself to get lesser sleep i.e. set up an internal clock. We are in college after all missing classes is not fun, trust me, especially because you have to be the one who has to make up for the missed lecture.

Then comes the more fun part. You’re awake. You made it to class. You fall asleep during the lecture :/ not cool….especially after you put in all the effort to make it there.  So my strategies:

  • Take notes by hand. It’s easier, you don’t miss out on what the professor says because you seriously can’t type that fast, at least I can’t and it helps to cement the lecture in your mind.
  • Eat. Food energizes you. And keep yourself hydrated too.
  • Take good professors or take classes in which you would be interested in. If you think the lecture will be boring you will be bored it’s like a psychological thing. Even if the class is required try to be interested in the lecture. Like for example if you go with the mindset that you want  to learn something new that you didn’t know before it would help because you end up listening to the lecture more seriously

Adios for now!!! 😀

P.S. i know the guys eye in the picture is creepy but I think it sits well with the text :p

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