Monday, April 25, 2016

My Blogging Experience

Keeping a blog this semester has been an interesting experience.  I have never even read a blog before, let alone kept one of my own, so I was a little uncertain about the assignment.  It is always good to expose yourself to new forms or styles of writing, and blogging is definitely a first for me.  Overall, I think this was a beneficial experience.  Blogging allowed me to discuss some issues that I feel strongly about and kind of let out all of my thoughts.  At time, I found my posts to be almost a stream of consciousness, with me writing anything that came to mind on a particular topic.  I found my blog as a nice way to clear my mind and reflect upon various issues.  Whether it be something I learned in one of my classes or simply what I did over the weekend, I was able to collect my thoughts release them in a written form.  I could talk about whatever I wanted without being worried of what people might think.  At the same time, I found blogging to be challenging.  There were many times when I found myself struggling to come up with a topic to discuss.  This was probably the hardest part for me overall.  I can easily write on a topic that someone else gives to me, but coming up with topics I wanted to blog about was a challenge.  After I figured out a topic, blogging was pretty easy.  I just kind of let all of thoughts out and expressed my various feelings on issues kind of like I am doing right now.  Another challenge I faced while blogging was simply making the time for it.  There were many days when I had so many other things to do that I could not blog until late at night, or did not blog altogether.  I think bloggers deserve some credit.  I found it challenging to keep a blog for one semester, but there are bloggers who have been posting for years.  I think keeping a blog gave me a new appreciation for not only bloggers, but writers in general.  Writing can be challenging at times, but there are so many great bloggers and authors who successfully completed the challenge.  I am glad I had the opportunity to blog this semester.  It gave me a chance to try something new and a little out of comfort zone while enabling me to learn a little more about myself through the process.  Although it was challenging, I think blogging was a good learning experience for me.  

Course Evaluations

As the year draws to a close, it is time to complete course evaluations.  I really like that the students have an opportunity to give their input on a specific course or professor.  The students are the ones actually taking the course and doing the assignments everyday, so we know how beneficial various courses have been.  I know some professors really take these evaluations into consideration and make changes to their classes based on what students have to say.  One of my professors told us that she used to give her exams before spring break, but based on comments from students on their evaluations, she moved the test to before spring break.  It is nice to know that some professors really value what students have to say and want to know what they could do differently to improve their class in the future.  It shows that they really want the students to succeed and benefit from the class because they are willing to change certain aspects of their class to help future students.  It is nice to know that the university values our input and allows the students to share their feelings regarding certain classes and professors.  The evaluations also help me to reflect upon my experience in the class and see how relevant or beneficial the class was for me.  I am able to share my own thoughts on what I enjoyed about a class or what I think could be improved upon.  The evaluations are also anonymous, which is important because it allows students to express their true feelings on a specific class or professor without worrying that the professor will know what they said.  I really respect the professor that take the evaluations to heart and implement changes in their future classes.  It is nice to know that our voices are heard and or opinions matter.  I think evaluations are important for anything because you need to get a firsthand perspective of people actually in the situation you are evaluating, in this case, specific courses.  By understanding how the students feel, professors can tweak their classes to make sure students get the most out of their class.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Plans For Next Weekend

My grandpa's birthday is this Thursday, and we are going to celebrate it over the weekend.  t is a family tradition that we go out to dinner to celebrate someone's birthday.  We decided that we are going to go for pizza at Ledo's pizza for my grandpa's birthday.  Ledo's is a great little restaurant, well known for their pizza.  We have been there several times in the past for birthdays and other special occasion such as graduations.  They have a little version of an arcade in the back of the restaurant with some games and crane machines.  My little brother especially loves playing all of the games.  He likes the racing game, where he is able o drive his very own racecar.  His favorite game though is a machine that when you insert the quarter, the ball spins, and a prize comes out.  These prizes, of course, are very cheap and what you might consider junk, but he loves that he "wins" every time.  Anytime we go to Ledo's, we have to make sure we have plenty of quarters, so my brother can play and keep busy.  After we go out for pizza, we usually go back to my grandma's house to sing and have cake.  I always bake some sort of cake for the special occasion.  This is my dad's dad, and his side of the family is pretty small.  It is just my dad and his brother, so the dinner is pretty small and intimate.  It is always nice to spend time with my family though, especially hen we are celebrating a special occasion.  I am looking forward to next weekend and celebrating my grandpa's birthday.

My Day Today

Today was a great day filled with fun and family.  We started our day by going downtown to Lincoln Park Zoo.  My little brother has been wanting to go to the zoo for such a long time and has been asking every single day.  He was really excited and had a great time.  I have not been to Lincoln Park Zoo in quite a while, so it was nice to go back.  It was pretty crowded, but we still managed to have a nice time.  After walking around for a while and seeing the animals, we walked across the street to a nature museum.  The nature museum was also enjoyable, especially for my little brother.  There was a room full of different water tables and activities for younger kids, so we spent a lot of time in there.  He had a blast moving boats around and sticking his hands in the water.  They also had some fish tanks around, and he kept running from table to table.  The museum also had a butterfly room, which was pretty cool.  You walk into a room filled with sunlight and flowers, and butterflies are flying all around.  There are many different types of butterflies, and they have charts and pictures so you can tell which butterfly is which.  After this, we came back home and ate dinner.  Later, we went out for ice cream at our favorite ice cream place, The Plush Horse.  There are so many different flavors to choose from, and they are unique flavors that you really do not see at other ice cream places.  We got our ice cream and sat outside at the picnic tables.  The ice cream was really good.  It was such a beautiful day today, and I am glad I was able to spend it having fun with my family.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Car Trouble

I just got my car back from being worked on today.  It had been making weird sound the past few weeks, and finally we brought it in to be looked at.  There was a problem with the strut mounts, but thankfully it is fixed and ready to go.  This made me think how dependent we are on cars.  Cars are the main way everyone gets around, and without cars, it would be very difficult to get from place to place.  We didn't always have cars though, and people still got by.  We have evolved so much from the days of walking or riding horses.  Cars are definitely a great help to everyday life, but there are also some drawbacks to cars.  Cars are one of the main contributors to pollution and consume a lot of gasoline.  They are pretty bad for the environment which is why there has been a recent push toward electric cars and alternate fuel sources.  Carpooling is also being encouraged and promoted through new services, such as Uber.  I know I definitely depend on my car as I commute to school everyday.  It would be impossible for me to get to school without my car or to get anywhere for that matter.  Although cars are not the best things for the environment, they are important and necessary for people to work and travel.  People depend heavily upon cars, so it would be great if we could all find a way to make them cleaner and safer for the environment.  That way, everyone can get to where they need to go in a cleaner, more efficient way.

60th Wedding Anniversary

My Nani and Papa recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary.  This is so amazing and is truly a huge accomplishment.  With so many divorces and unhappy marriages, it is nice to see a long, happy marriage.  My Nani and Papa have spent 60 years together, experiencing the birth of their eight children and nearly thirty grandchildren.  They commemorated their anniversary by renewing their vows in Mass.  Our whole family went to Church together and witnessed this beautiful moment.  After Church, the whole family went over to my uncle's house to celebrate their anniversary with dinner and a party.  It was really nice to see everyone.  My uncle came in from California to celebrate, along with my cousins from St. Louis.  It was really nice to see them because they are not able to come in often.  Some of my Nani and Papa's friends and neighbors came to celebrate as well.  All of my aunts and uncles cooked something to bring to the party, so needless to say, there was a ton of food.  It was definitely delicious and appreciated by everyone.  The basement was decorated very nicely with balloons, streamers, and pictures.  My mom actually made a photo collage with pictures of my Nani and Papa through the years.  She put them all on a cardboard cutout in the shape of a 60.  Everyone got a kick out of this, and my Nani and Papa enjoyed reminiscing.  Events like this deserve to be celebrated, and I am really glad we all got the chance to be together and celebrate this special event.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Staying Alive

Hawks win!  Hawks win!  They did it, the Hawks won last night's game and are still in the running for winning the series.  It was a nail biter, going into double overtime, but the Hawks pulled through and were victorious.  The series is now 3-2, with the St. Louis Blues up by one game.  Even when the Hawks are down, and its seems like it is over, they have a habit of surprising their fans and making a comeback.  Kaner scored the game winning goal, keeping the Hawks alive in the series.  They play again tomorrow and have a home ice advantage.  Hopefully, this will allow them to tie up the series in front of their fans.  All Hawks games are pretty intense and keep you on the edge of your seat, but when the games are playoff games, there is even more intensity, along with a greater urgency to win.  I think being down one games in the series will actually give the Hawks an advantage tomorrow.  They have to win to sty in the playoffs, whereas the Blues are already ahead and can afford to lose another game.  Sometimes, the underdog pulls through because there is a greater desire to win and stay alive, so the players have that much more stamina and drive.  If they win tomorrow's game, I definitely think they will carry that momentum and clench the series.  I hope the Hawks pull through tomorrow and win this pivotal game.  The Hawks deserve to move on and prove themselves in the second round of the playoffs.  I think all that is left to say is, Go Hawks!!!