Sumertime Sadness

After classes ended for the year, I was admittedly burnt out. I’ve talked before about the horrors of finals season, and they came again full-force this semester. Come the last week of my junior year, I was tired, grouchy, and suffering from severe carpal tunnel syndrome after writing my copious amounts of papers. (This was not formally diagnosed, but I think I’ve seen enough Grey’s Anatomy to successfully detect pretty much any ailment).

Anyway, now that I’m home, I took a few days off. I slept, I ate things other than my finals diet of cookie dough and old jelly beans, and I began to slowly relax a little. These days, I’m feeling pretty good. I’m mentally and physically rested and able to look back on what was, in retrospect, a pretty great semester. Not only did I learn a lot in the classroom these past few months, but I grew a lot outside of it. As an almost senior, I can say I’m now older, wiser, and more comfortable than ever in my Drake home and in Des Moines.

With this period of rest and reflection under my belt, something strange began happening. I not only began to miss Drake, Des Moines, and all my friends, but I began to miss school itself. I miss my Habitat for Humanity meetings and chatting with my professors in Howard Hall. I miss my classes and getting to discuss with other students. I miss all my readings, and yes, I even miss my homework.

Maybe I’m a little crazy or maybe it’s a case of pre-summer nostalgia. But maybe, just maybe, I go to a really great school that deserves to be missed.

Movin’ On Out

Entering into my Drake career, I received a lot of advice about classes, friends, and the college experience in general. Family and friends would tell me what to expect and all that I should look out for. But none of those people told me the biggest challenge I’d face in my time at Drake, the habitual, soul-sucking hurdle I’d face every year: moving.

College is a transient existence, based on temporary uncertainty in the name of stability to come. And while that’s all well and good metaphorically, physically, it means you have to move all your stuff a couple times every year and IT IS THE WORST.

So in an effort to cleanse my soul after this year’s packing misery, I’ve written a few simple haikus about what it’s like to move during college. Forgive me for eschewing the customary nature-centered content of the haiku for this purpose. But to be fair, traditional Japanese poets probably could look at the trees so much cause they didn’t have these kinds of packing concerns.

Where are all my clothes?

Hidden, packed, or gone for good?

There’s no way to tell.


Elevator down.

I am my own packing mule.

Elevator up.


Load in, load out now.

Clear tape, full car, but can lose.

No more packing, please.

The Dez with David Byrne

Last night I hung out with David Byrne. Well, technically we stood 20 feet apart and he was on stage and I didn’t really ever talk to him, but still. Perhaps I should truthfully say that I heard David Byrne speak, but you tell me what’s the better story.

Anyway the reason David and I were spending such quality time together was the grand opening of the new Des Moines Social Club downtown. It’s a cultural center for art, music, theatre, dance, socializing, and really anything cool. Oh, and did I mention it’s in an old restored art-deco firehouse? So, yeah, it’s kind of the hippest.

The ribbon cutting of the Des Moines Social Club! That one guy's head is blocking the very cool, edgy DMSC logo banner, but you can imagine.

The ribbon cutting of the Des Moines Social Club! That one guy’s head is blocking the very cool, edgy DMSC logo banner, but you can imagine.

The grand opening party was a chance for the people of the city to come and explore the new digs, get a peek at the kinds of the events the Social Club will be offering, and just have a great time. The sheer number and great variety of people at the party wasn’t really surprising, but it did reaffirm something I’ve known for a while: Des Moines is a really, seriously cool town.

It just so happens that David Byrne (of Talking Heads fame) agrees with me on this point and thus made the trip out to present the keynote at the DMSC opening. After performing at the 80/35 music festival this past summer, David wrote about the why Des Moines is a great city, socially and culturally. He presented a lot of this information Saturday night, talking about how “The Dez” (as he called it and it will henceforth be known as) is a fun, vibrant place. It’s a city bustling with young people doing really inspiring things. There’s a huge population of artists, chefs, musicians, and just generally cool, creative folks concentrated in this town, which makes for a great place to work and live.

So check out what the Social Club is up to in its opening summer, and if you haven’t already, check out Des Moines. Cause according to David Byrne, me, and a whole lot of other people, it’s pretty cool.

Make It Work

Ah, yes. Here’s the post in which I utilize my vast wisdom to teach you all how to skillfully and blissfully handle finals weeks. I’ll help you navigate the onslaught of papers, tests, and projects with poise and…just kidding. I ate popcorn and a popsicle for dinner today, so it’s safe to say I am not qualified to dole out life advice about finals studying habits. In fact, if you guys have any advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Without embarrassing myself too much, I will simply say that I’m not the model for timely academic prowess.  But you know what? Who is?  We all came to Drake to be challenged and we certainly are. Between activities and academics, things are real busy these last couple weeks, and each of us has to find our own methods to get through. For some, that process may include a textbook eight hours of sleep, balanced breakfast, and zero procrastination. But for the rest of us, the story may be a little different. I mean, some students might even find themselves writing papers while lying on the living room floor at 2am surrounded by empty candy wrappers. That’s clearly just a random hypothetical, though…no one in particular.

So, not to get to Fleetwood Mac on you, but the moral of the story is that we just all have to find our own way during finals. Very rarely is that way gonna be the vision of the perfect student with the perfect study habits. But maybe that’s okay. As the future Drake University speaker Tim Gunn would say, we all find a way to make it work. It may not be smooth, and it certainly won’t be pretty, but at the end of the day, as long as you make it though finals, I’d call that a success.

Drake Relays Week (Part 2)

Okay so you can finally catch your breath. Here is the dramatic conclusion to my two part Drake Relays Week series!

Pole Vaulting in the Mall I’ve talked about this Relays Wednesday staple before, because I am mildly (read super) obsessed with it. The gist is that Olympic caliber, world record holder-type pole vaulters prep for Relays…at the Jordan Creek Mall in West Des Moines. The action takes place in an atrium of the mall, but honestly, there’s not a bad seat in the house. Some of my friend hung out on the upper deck where they could see the athletes flying through the air and over the bar. I stuck down near the runway where I could casually hang with the valuters as they got ready for their jumps. With the possible exception of some intense Bath and Body Works sales, it’s safe to say I’ve never been so invested in the drama of a mall.

A peak at the Relays bustle from inside Drake Stadium.

A peek at the Relays bustle from inside Drake Stadium. I know it looks like a tornado, but I promise it was actually very nice. 

Court Ave Relays week Friday night makes one of the biggest, most exciting, and longest nights of my Drake experience. The Student Activities Board hosts a concert with a big name act downtown on the streets of Des Moines for Drake students and community members to come enjoy. It’s an amazing experience to host our own mini music festival on Court Avenue, partly because we all get to break outside of campus and remind ourselves that we really do celebrate Relays with the whole city. This year’s act was rapper Hoodie Allen, and let me tell you, It. Was. A. Crazy. Show. Even though I was working the concert, it was still a blast (in the most exhausting way possible, that is).

Relays Track events After three years, I gotta tell you I still get overwhelmed walking into the Blue Oval come Relays time. The place is consistently packed with world-class athletes, students, families, faculty, fans, and basically everyone else you can imagine. There’s events going on in every corner of the track. World records are being set over here, an underdog is completing an amazing finish over there…it’s awesome, especially if you’re lucky enough to call yourself a Bulldog.

Pancakes Ah, the grand finale! The Relays dénouement, if you will: Pancakes. Our last SAB event is a late night pancake breakfast in a tent on campus. It’s tasty, it’s fun, it’s a collective celebration of the Relays spirit. I technically spent the evening filling syrup bottles, but more so, I did a lot of chatting with all of the students, friends, and acquaintances who came through for some pancakes. A lot of people I knew, and a lot I didn’t, but during Relays especially, we are all friends who can share the awesome times we’ve had and the amazing things we’ve been a part of. Pancakes is the perfect event to recap the Relays madness and bid farewell to all the fun. Until next year, that is.