Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Day in the Life of AmericanAmanda

Hey everyone! Ever wonder what a typical day in an American college student's life is like? Then look no further! Check out the video below, where I show you what a day in my life is really like. My days sure are busy, filled with class, meetings, and homework, but they are also filled with friends and fun!

What is a typical day in your life like? Let me know in the comments below!


Monday, April 21, 2014

Gone Greek

Hey everyone! These past few weeks have been insanely busy for me. Not only have I started my last quarter of my freshman year, but I also joined a sorority! "Greek letter organizations" (fraternities for boys and sororities for girls) are very popular at American universities and are a defining part of many college students' experiences. Sororities are basically an organization of girls who are called "sisters" and might live together in one sorority house or in different dorms around campus. The sorority has different girls from all undergraduate classes at the university but the girls that join the same year as you are called your "pledge class". With your sorority sisters, you go to crazy social events with fraternities, plan fun volunteer activities to support your sorority's philanthropy, and get to know your sisters really well through sisterhood bonding events. Joining a sorority is a great way to meet more people and expand your social circle while also helping your community and gaining a supportive group of girls as lifelong friends. "Greek life" is not for everyone and it is a huge time commitment. Now, I am even more swamped with schoolwork and all my added social and sisterhood events! If you are planning on joining a sorority or fraternity, make sure you have enough time in your schedule. Also, check out the specific reputations of the Greek organizations at your school to see if you fit because every school is different. For more general informations on these Greek organizations click here!
My pledge class!
Hanging with some older girls in my sorority
Some Alpha Phi girls on bid night
I recently went thorough the recruitment process for all sororities on campus, called "rush", and it was a hectic experience! Over the course of a few days, you meet with all the sororities and narrow down your choices until you find the one you belong in. It is a mutual selection process, so the girls in the sororities have to connect with you to ask you back, just like you do with them. It is a nerve-wracking process because you can only end up with one at the end, but once it is finally over you know you joined the best fit for you. I wanted a sorority that wasn't all party oriented but also focused on sisterhood and philanthropy, and I was able to find that through the sorority I joined, Alpha Phi! We have already had so many fun events. The night we got accepted was "bid night", so we had a fun dance and ice cream party and got to meet all the girls. The next day we were surprised at our rooms really early in the morning and "kidnapped" to a fun breakfast with all the girls! And during the weekend, we had a bunch of fun parties with fraternities, like our neon party you can see in pictures. Wearing fun clothes to fit the party theme is always a must!
Neon Party with my sorority
Throwing up the "AΦ" which are our Greek letters
Some schools have the recruitment process in the beginning of the school year, while Stanford has it in the spring. I liked having recruitment later, because I could meet a lot of friends outside of the Greek community before I joined. However, some people like having it at the beginning because it gives you an instant group of friends on campus! Either way, I am really glad I went through the process because I absolutely love all the girls who I can now call my sorority sisters. Greek life isn't huge at every American university, but it is definitely an important part of many U.S. college students' lives.

With the "AΦ" letters

Does your school/future school have Greek letter organizations? Would you join? Would you join a fraternity or sorority if your school offered them? Let me know in the comments!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring Break Bliss

Hey everyone! This week, I traded study sessions for sleeping in and textbooks for tan lines. This can only mean one thing: it's spring break for Stanford University students! Since Stanford is a quarter system school, spring break falls in-between winter quarter and spring quarter. And no quarter is complete without its share of final exams. Last week, I was basically living in the library preparing for my final exams. But now, finals and winter quarter have passed and I have time to relax on my week-long break before spring quarter begins. Schools on the semester system have spring break in the middle of their semester, normally after midterms. However, an advantage to the quarter system is having no work to do and no classes to worry about while on break!

College students on spring break normally travel somewhere coastal and warm. For southern schools, Florida is a popular destination while Mexico, especially Cabo San Lucas, is the hot spots for west coast students. Most freshman, myself included, take this time to travel home and visit family and friends. While I may be at home this break, I am still enjoying sunny southern California! I really wanted to spend the week relaxing and rejuvenating after my stressful finals, and there isn't any better place to take time off then at home. Even though the weather has been cloudy, it hasn't stopped me from visiting my favorite restaurants or hanging out with my hometown friends!

Best friend dessert run to celebrate being home for break
Reading on the beach even though its chilly!
Beach trip with the family
What do you like to do on your breaks from school? How do you relax after big exams? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, March 10, 2014

Live from Stanford Dining: Mardi Gras Spectacular

Hey everyone! Last week was Mardi Gras, a very popular holiday at American universities (and Stanford is no exception). To learn more about Mardi Gras celebrations all over the world, click here!

At American universities, Mardi Gras is usually celebrated through a themed party or event where everyone dresses up in masks or green, yellow, and purple attire. However, my school took Mardi Gras above and beyond through a special Mardi Gras dinner celebration at my dining hall! The entire facility was decked head to toe in decorations, all in the green, yellow, and purple color scheme of Mardi Gras. There was special food to represent New Orleans (the center of Mardi Gras celebration in the United States) along with entertainment from student clubs on campus, like a live band and performances from different dance groups. There was even a fancy cocktail station (virgin, of course). It was so great to celebrate this fun and festive holiday in my own dining hall. Check out some pictures with the highlights below!

Special Mardi Gras photo booth! Say cheese!

The dining hall fully decorated

My (virgin) mint mojito!

The student band preforming live music for hungry students

A student tap dance group preforming

Overall, the event at the dining hall was an amazing celebration of New Orleans culture through specific food, decorations, and entertainment choices. I had so much fun celebrating Mardi Gras at Stanford!

Did you celebrate Mardi Gras? Let me know in the comments!


Monday, February 24, 2014

Prepare for the Parents

Hey everyone! This week, I decided to take a break from the student club posts to highlight an important event that happened this weekend. Last Friday and Saturday at Stanford University was Parents' Weekend! Almost all American universities have some sort of weekend for families to come up, visit their student, and learn about what their student has been doing (hopefully their tuition money is being put to good use!). This year, more than 3,600 family members participated in the 2014 Parents' Weekend at Stanford. The annual event gives family members a taste of what life is like for their Stanford undergraduates, and of course, allows them to spend time with their student! There were many events occurring all over campus to broadcast the amazing aspects of Stanford to parents and other family members, like a Q&A with the president, tours of different university programs and facilities, career planning seminars, and a showcase highlighting the amazing talents of different student groups on campus (like dance groups, a cappella groups, and other organizations that will be discusses in greater detail in later club posts!). Even though the events were informative and entertaining, I was most excited to spend time with my parents. It is going to be a long three weeks until I see them again for Spring Break!
Check out the photos and video below for some highlights from Parents' Weekend.

I loved showing my parents around campus!

Parents questioning the campus leaders

It isn't Parent's Weekend without the appropriate merchandise!

Do you like the idea of Parent's Weekend? Would you attend? Let me know in the comments! xoxo

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Groups and Government

Hey everyone! Another great club I am involved with on campus is Stanford in Government (SIG), a 50-year-old nonpartisan student organization dedicated to increasing political awareness at Stanford and connecting students with opportunities in public service. It is one of the oldest clubs on campus, as it was founded in 1963 as a program that offered summer internships to students in Washington, DC. Today, SIG does so much more that just offer internship opportunities, but serves as a policy forum for the entire school. We host large lecture and conference events about topical policy issues and run voter registration drives and public service workshops. I am on the Alumni Outreach Committee, so I am responsible for alumni communication and planning of campus-wide events with notable guests speakers.

Every board member gets a sign on their door!
A policy event in action
However, the most exciting part of SIG is the internship opportunities! Each year, SIG provides 43 state, national, and international summer fellowships. And the great part, any student regardless of age or major can apply! We had over 200 applicants this year! Some of the exciting fellowships this year were with the New York City Economic Development Corporation in New York City, the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington D.C., the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Geneva, Switzerland, and the World Wildlife Fund in Belize. Talk about some great opportunities! These would never be available to the Stanford students without the work of SIG.

Being in this club has been an amazing experience for me. I have been able to expand my passion for policy while meeting new people who share my same interests. I have also been able to meet key leaders in politics like Congressman Joe Kennedy (fun fact-he's a Stanford alumnus!). I have also been exposed to great internship position opportunities in Washington D.C. and expanded my political network. I cannot wait to see where this club takes me in the future!

I can't wait to talk about more exciting Stanford clubs with you! Would you join a club like Stanford in Government? Let me know in the comments!


Friday, January 31, 2014

Struttin' for Student Groups

Hey everyone! There are so many great things about American universities, but one of my favorites is the hundreds of student groups to join! There are clubs for everything on campus, and there is a group for every interest. It is a great way to meet new people at a big school who have your same interests! These next few weeks I am going to show you a look into a few Stanford's student groups that I am involved in!

A photo from the Mint Magazine Shoot
One group that I am a part of is Mint Magazine, Stanford University's only student-run fashion and culture publication. Not only is this a great way for me to meet other students interested in fashion, culture, journalism, and photography, but we get to see all of our hard work come together in an actual magazine circulated around the school! In this issue, I modeled for a few articles with my good friend from my dorm. Check out the online version of the magazine issue below, and see if you can find me!

Mint Magazine Winter 2014 Issue

This magazine is a great way to learn about things happening at Stanford and in youth popular culture. It is such a fun group to be apart of, and I cannot wait to start working on the next issue! When I see students around campus reading the magazine I helped make, I know all the hard work is worth it.

Come back next week to learn about another student club I am involved in!
What did you think about Mint Magazine? Let me know in the comments!