Homeward Bound

School is in full swing and once again I am back at what I do best: Be busy! With Sophomore Block, track, and STAR, I am one busy sophomore in college. Then if we add student government, Knight Riders, and service at the boys and girls club, I’m swamped! I’ve definitely had to take a step back and prioritize this semester, but I am good to go as of now. Let’s see how long this lasts! That’s why I am so grateful for this weekend…

We started off the weekend by going to Oshkosh for a meet on Friday. Each week, I am shocked at how much better we get as time goes on. My 400 and 200 were okay. I finished second in my heat for the 400 and first in my 200 heat, so not bad. We finished off the meet with a 4X4 which was so intense. With Taylor, Jake, Stephen and I, we definitely gave these other teams a run for their money. Taylor led us and got us in second. He’s got super speed and is a stud when he runs. Jake then got the baton got us first and finished strong even afterwards. He’s like a jack rabbit with super super endurance. Then I got the baton and kept us in first and then Stephen got the baton and us and Oshkosh were neck at neck. Stephen put up such a good fight and held him off the first lap, but then Oshkosh got him coming through that second lap. Regardless, we placed second and had our fastest time yet this year indoor, 3:28, which was even better than our time last year at conference. We are golden and I couldn’t be happier. I’d say we got a good days work in.

We got back pretty late from Oshkosh so Alex and I went to sleep for a couple of hours, but headed home to Chicago right away! I wanted to go home this weekend for an annual church retreat I went on in high school with Mooseheart and my peer ministry group in St. Charles, so it was so good being home and seeing everyone again. This was such a needed weekend and well worth a six hour car ride on the way home. I feel like I was on such a God high from the weekend and I learned a lot about people I thought we my friends before through their witness talks and testimonies. Some of my friends have had some really tough lives, but it was great watching them crying it out and finally let it all out in front of everyone. This was honestly a great weekend and great life choice. It really made me reflect on my life and even with all of its ups and downs and my struggles, I wouldn’t change one thing about it. If I did, I might not be the same person I am today. I guess I smile because God gave me so many reasons to do so.

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Thanks for the Memories 2012!

Christmas Break, for sure, was a much needed break! It was great finally kicking back and not having to worry about anything. I felt like Phineas and Ferb, asking myself the question, “What are we gonna do today?” Finals week was the longest week possible as I counted the days till break. Going to boarding school for high school, I really don’t find Chicago to be much fun. It’s one big tourist attraction unless you know a lot of people and since I don’t, i decided to hang around here for a bit. I stayed in Kaukauna with Devan and her family for the first 5 days of break. Best life decision ever. We tried to do everything under the sun and we nearly accomplished everything on our bucket list. In those five days we complete a 1000 piece Disney puzzle, go to basketball games, choir concerts, going to the Botanical Gardens, and just hanging out. I got so close to Devan, her brother Troy, her friend Cayla, and her family, and I had a great time. Honestly, didn’t want to go home, but I know there were people missing me.

As always, I had the best time when I went home. It was really great seeing all my friends, who I have missed a lot. I saw all my friends from peer ministry, which is like my 2nd family. We took a giant trip to Chicago, all 100 of us. We went to the Magnificent Mile and went ice skating in Millennium Park. We did a flash mob in the park which was interesting to say the least. With bowling trips, movies, and random get together, I definitely got a lot done in a week.  I also spent the holidays with Sean and the rest of the Topacio clan, which was never a dull time. Meet all 256 people in the family! They have one huge Filipino family for sure. I spent so much money Christmas shopping for friends and had a lot gift exchanged, but I’m just glad I got to see them all. I also spent a weekend with Sarah St. John and her family and we had a blast! I finally got to go ice skating like I wanted to. My break was cut short because of track, but I definitely had a great two week while at home.

I came back on New Year’s Eve and counting down the New Year with Devan, Troy, Cayla, and some of their other friends and family. We had a fondue dinner, went sledding and for a walk on the frozen Fox River, and played games while we watch the ball drop. It was such a great way to spend the night. Then January 2nd rolled around and I was back in gear with track. That break was short lived indeed. Track Camp was great though. It was definitely a lot of hard work, but rewarding. This is my season where I’m going to give it my all. Our team bonded so much during track camps with practices, mock meets, team dinners, and team videos. Forgot why I loved this team so much. Glad we all suffered through it together! Now with school back in swing and Sophomore Block, I have to really buckle down and get serious. This semester is going to be good, but has a lot in store. We’ll see what happens, wish me luck. One thing’s for sure, it’s good to be back!

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Home Sweet Home!!!

And the countdown is almost coming to a close!! Interesting fact about Akeem: I gotta keep a countdown to the next time I go home to keep sane. Love SNC but, sometimes I get homesick from time to time. And according my countdown, I have exactly 2 days till I go home. Tuesday night couldn’t come any sooner and I still have tons to do like lessons plans, track practices, and classes. This is going to be the longest two days of my life. But lucky for me, I don’t have class until 1:40 pm or Mondays and I’m done with classes on Tuesday at 1 pm. Then after that, everything is smooth sailing. Everything else has been going well though. This week, one of the site coordinators for the grant that STAR received came to observe the program and see us at work. I think she loved the program and what we were doing. She really enjoyed talking with our students who had nothing but good things to say about the program. So I give Bridgit, Maria, and myself a pat on the back for a job well done. This week I also made another huge life discovery. This past Friday, I went Xavier High School with Alex and Devan to go see Devan’s brother, Troy’s, musical, Music Man. It was amazing, even though Devan might say I was a tad bit sleep! But while at Xavier High School I learned that Devan was a musical genius herself and in fact was none other than Belle from Beauty and the Beast. If you have ever met Devan Lenz, there is no argument that personality, looks, and incredible voice make her perfect for the role. So now, she is suffering from multiple personalities as I continue to call her Belle and bow to her. She’ll get use to it. This Thanksgiving Break is going to be great and I can’t wait to see the gang again. We’ve already made plans for Tuesday night to have a reunion and “loaf around” as Melissa puts it. We are officially back together, reunited and it feels so good!

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This weekend sadly didn’t go by as fast as the last two weeks. The random advisement days definitely made those two weeks quick and planning activities with my STAR mentees to Terror on The Fox (remind us to never bring screaming Bryant again!) and dinner at Olive Garden. The Presidential Elections also made these last few weeks exciting and extremely hostile for some. It was cool just being able to vote for the first time. Sadly Vanessa Cuevas left SNC for good to go back to California. That put a huge damper on the Multicultural Student Services office for sure because she did so much in the year and a half she was here. She also came to SNC with my class so I told her she will always be a part of the class of 2015! For a going away present, we made a Brady Bunch portrait. While working in the office, she always stressed the importance of being proud of our heritage and getting an education. She also ordered the student workers shirts that said “Caution: Educated Student of Color”. So we took a portrait with our shirts and gave it to her. It was sad to see her leave, but I know we’ll see her again. An exciting part of the week was that I got to have dinner with the president of the college, President Thomas Kunkel, two nights in a row. I had one with the SGA Exec. Board and the next night with my STAR mentees. They were both great dinners and President Kunkel definitely listens. I feel empowered at this school for sure. I also feel like I spent so much time with Tori this week, more than usual. We raided Alex’s closet as a study break and had our own little photoshoot. GOOD TIMES, since Alex was gone. He has thing for nice shoes, so he wasn’t too happy to know we tried his shoes on. Next time Alex, don’t leave our room unattended! I also got to watch Tori do her thing this weekend as she was the DJ for the Highlight the Night Dance at SNC. It was a black light party she got to host which is cool that she got asked to DJ and people loved her! Talent clearly runs in our blood. We’re not siblings, but close enough.

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Another Weekend to Remember!

Being in college never ceases to amaze me! This weekend was probably one of the greatest weekends of my life and even the week overall was great. Of course, with everything going on I am constantly stressing, but I think Halloween definitely helped to lighten the mood. For track, we were divided into teams and we were going to do team functions as Disney Characters. We never had this team get together, but I still used myself and put together a costume and owned the Aladdin look! 117 likes on one photo, record for this kid! So Halloween definitely got me through the week and then I went to Colfax, Wisconsin which is right next to Eau Claire and I have to say, it was a huge milestone in my life. I went with Tori and our friend, Lacey, who works at the Boys and girls Club with us and is the one who lives in Colfax. Her family remembered her cousin’s 18th birthday, but Lacey decided to bring us home with her. Her cousin, Trent, passed away on June 3rd, 2012, so not even 6 months ago. The pain for her family was fresh and Sunday was his birthday. Tori and I went into the trip not knowing this. Her family, although greiving, was just so welcoming. We had so many good laughs and shared stories and grew so close to Lacey AND her family in just a matter on two days. We grew so close, they gave Tori and I each a wristband to remember Trent, and it is something that Tori and I wear everyday. I don’t know if it was the family being so welcoming and close, or the fact that I learned of a 17 year old who was a brother, son, cousin, nephew, grandson, and friend to so many had passed away, but this weekend really touched my life. This really made me put so much of my life into perspective and look at things different. The saying on Trent’s wristband is “Gone But Never Forgotten” and this is the perfect way to describe my weekend in Colfax.

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A Weekend To Remember

This week turned out to be a pretty exciting week! For starters, my Music and Movement Class ended this week which was actually really sad. I’m glad because it means less classwork, BUT I don’t get to work with the students in the daycare as much which was the highlight of the class. Also, Yoko Mogi-Hein is a pretty great professor, so I recommend her if you ever have the opportunity. This week was also the very first weekend that the KnightRiders Hockey Fan Bus was in full swing. It was a huge success and the Green Knights Won of course, so all went well. Saturday was also a big day for the Cross Country Team as they headed into Conference. So of course I went all out in supporting my teammates! They all went really hard and were so close to winning. The women were especially close, who placed second by only 4 points. They were all really hard on themselves, but I think they played hard and at the end of the day that is all that matters. The rest of the day, I got to spend with Devan lenz, as we went shopping for little knick knacks and Alex’s birthday gift. We ended up getting him a phone charger because he always uses mine and a Pokemon game for his DS which I’ve been playing now! We ended the night by going to see Pitch Perfect with Devan, Alex, Silas, and Maddie. BEST MOVIE EVER! I might be a huge music geek soo……This weekend overall was great. The one thing to put a damper on it was Packer Clean Up at Lambeau Field, but cleaning the field went quicker than usual so no worries. I’m especially excited to see what next week has in store with Halloween. I can honestly say I have never dressed up for the occassion, but I can make an exception this one year, who knows?

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This week of school was definitely one that threw me for a turn. I actually felt stressed which doesn’t happen very often. I had a midterm for History and Philosophy this week, a Lifespan of Human Development exam which might as well be a midterm with its level of difficulty, track workouts, practices for 2 choir concerts, and STAR planning to work on. This week was just overwhelming and even though I got through it in one piece, I’m glad it’s over! The plus side was that the weekend came and I got to relax. We had our fall music concert this Friday and afterward we went to my first ever Zam Jams! It was great and so glad I got to sing a duet with Sarah St. John and Lean On Me with Zephyr, Everette, Julie, Cassie, Silas, Dylan, and Marco! We were great so check us out on facebook! I also gave a tour this Saturday for a fall visit and Tori’s cousin was on it looking at SNC, so I gave a tour to Tori, her family, and two other families. Let’s hope I was convincing! Afterward I took the best 3 hour nap of my life! It was very much needed. Then I went to Latin@ Gala: Noche de Unidad y Fuerza which was formerly known as Fiesta! It was a dinner in honor of Hispanic Heritage month that was put on by the Multicultural Student Services. It was an all around great event from the guest speaker to the live entertainment by Ketzali which is a Latin dance performance. It was the coolest thing to see! Then we had another great movie night at Devan Lenz’s in her townhouse. It was more of a sleepover for me since I was knocked out 15 minutes into the movie! Then today, Sunday, I got all pumped up for mock track meet. Today was our last official team practice for fall season so we went out with a bang and competed against one another. It was all in good fun and you could really see everyone’s hard work paying off. This is going to be a great season! Next week should be a lot of fun and less stressful with no class on Wednesday for advisement and Tuesday night with Shack-A-Thon! Good things in store for sure!

P.S. This week is also Alex and Gaby’s B-Day. They don’t know that I have great things in store for them and even though this is also over the website, I know they never read my blog anyway! They’ll just have to wait and see!

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Wedding Crashers!

With Homecoming in the air, this week was tons of fun! This weekend was so relaxing and care free, it was great. That could be because I worked ahead in my classes and nothing to worry about this weekend, but whatever it was it was nice. Friday afternoon, I got Zephyr, Eden, Silas, Chantre, and I all a chance to do a photoshoot for admissions. It was so much fun and they loved the idea of seeing their faces plastered all over SNC, so it worked out very nicely.

Then Friday night, Alex, Tori, Gaby, Chantre, and I all went to a wedding reception for our friend, Amanda, who just got married. Can I just say, we were the life of the party! We of course were fashionably late, but we showed up and showed out! We had our own little photo shoot with the bride (Tori and I got married-ish!) and then we went straight to the dance floor to get that party started. We requested songs like “The Electric Slide”, “The Cupid Shuffle”, and “The Wobble” and started a dance party.
They loved us after we left. We of course, still have dance fever, so we brought ourselves over to the Homecoming dance, and made an appearance there. We didn’t stay long. We literally requested “The Wobble”, went to the front of dance floor, jammed out, then left! But not before we took a picture with Norby and our friends. Then after I left Homecoming, I went over to the townhouses with my summer FYE family: Devan Lenz, Alex, Maddie Cremer, Maggie Schwanke, and Caitlin Grow. I have missed these guys so of course when we got together we had to have a movie night and watch Disney! (It’s a summer FYE thing, enough said). Great way to end the night for sure. I spent Saturday, knocking out some more homework, sleeping, and then I went out to dinner with friends, and went over to Schuldes for Airbands! These fraternities, sororities,and social groups cheer louder at Homecoming events than they do at sporting events! The atmosphere in Schuldes was crazy and it was so cool seeing them all dressed up as childhood cartoons and lip singing and choreographing dances. Shout outs to Delta Phi Epsilon!
With a Rugrats Theme, they were destined to win! The worst part about this weekend was all this rain! I think it’s Monsoon Season in De Pere because this campus is flooding. But one things for sure, nothing can rain on my parade! Let’s hope I can have this mentality as we roll into Midterm Week -_-Wish us ALL luck on that one!

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Long Weekend Wasn’t LONG ENOUGH!!

This past weekend summed up in one word was definitely perfect! I was so glad to be home and it was very much needed. I was sad to be away from my Boys and Girls kids for so long, but Tori and Alex took good care of them. I spent the Long Weekend at the Topacios. They’re like my home away from home and they’re so welcoming when I come over. We spent Thursday just running errands, buying a new state ID (I MAY have lost that = ? ), and I registered to vote, woot woot! I just have to wait for my voters card to come in the mail and I official will have the power to make a change. Like they say, every vote counts! One highlight is always home cooked meals at the Topacios. Hands down, better than the cafeteria any day and that’s saying something.

Friday, I got the chance to go back to my high school and see my teachers, who were so happy to see me. I’ve missed Mooseheart, so it was nice going back and walking around my old home and school. I went out to lunch with Jenise (my “mom”) and Chris ,one of my old housemates, so our little reunion was good. I also met up with Kim and Becca, so of course we had to keep tradition going and make a pit stop at the infamous Steak and Shake before heading over to see Taken 2. As Tori pointed out, it should be called Taken AGAIN, but since it was an awesome movie, I guess I can overlook this minor detail. This movie doesn’t make me ever want to leave the States and go abroad, but that might change with time. We just had good time and I’ve missed my friends so much.

My Saturday was spent taking a road trip to Milwaukee with my peer ministry team to Holy Hill! Minus the long bus ride and the freaking cold weather, it was another great memory for the books!
1.) Any day with my friends, especially peer ministry ones, is a life changing event no matter what we do. They’re like my second family.
2.)Holy Hill has a beautiful church at the top which was cool to actually have to take an elevator to get to.
3.) It was a youth day, so it was great meeting a bunch of new people from all over Wisconsin and Illinois.
4.) I love taking pictures, so this was the opportune time to do so! My camera went to work that day.

When Sunday rolled around, I was definitely super depressed to actually have to go back to college. This weekend was perfect and it was a nice break from the stress of college. I missed everyone back home and now Thanksgiving Break is going to take forever to come. Homecoming week should make things a bit exciting around campus and I’ll see everyone again soon. One thing is for sure, there’s definitely no place like home!

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Longer than long!!

Long Weekend is literally only days away and I am stoked! I can not wait to go home and see my friends back home, see my youth group, and revisit my high school again. This past weekend was Homecoming weekend, which I didn’t get to attend, but it’ll be just as good going home and seeing everyone! This week has been a tad bit stressful with homework, classes, STAR, track, and everything else imaginable that I’m involved with. So I am glad that I can get away for a few days and regroup. This is MUCH needed!

This past week was something I looked forward to even with a few minor setbacks. I love everyday that I get to work at Fort Howard with the boys and girls club. I know this probably sounds crazy, but those screaming, energetic children are probably my stress reliever. Still the highlight of every week! I also got to go on the Emerging Leaders retreat with the current freshmen class as a mentor this year. A lot of them I knew from FYE or STAR so it was a lot of fun and just watching everyone mingle and get out there comfort zones was great! Unfortunately Maggie and I had to leave early because the next day we worked in Admissions, but it was fun while it lasted. Our Admission event on Saturday was nice. I love talking with new students about my experiencing and student panels ARE A BLAST so I had fun and anything with Alex turns out to be good. Alex, Tori, Gaby and I also went to the mall for a mini shopping spree, which is always great when I get to be a Ken doll for the girls and squeeze into photo booths! Speaking of Alex, he almost burnt down Michel’s in his attempt to warm up two cookies. Word to the wise: Never put 2 cookies, in styrofoam, in a microwave for two minutes and then walk away. Our entire floor STILL smells like burnt cookies. I’m starting to think this is a trend with Alex and I when it comes to microwaves and residence halls! (see the November 10th blog for more details).

SNC I’m gonna miss you for the next week or so, but it’s time for me to hit the road! DEUCES =)

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