It's here.

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It's the time of year where I want to stay in bed every single morning because of the grey, cold weather. Not only is the weather starting to get bad, but the weather gods decided to start winter during finals week.

Finals week is looking pretty rough. I have 1 on Thursday, and 2 finals Friday (in a row starting at 3:30 PM and ending at 9:30 PM) I'm pretty sure that's past my bedtime :) .

So this whole week is pretty simple. I'm going to be studying.

 
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This is a little comic I made. (If you haven't seen some of these before, then you're missing out. They're hilarious.)

Below is my edited one. (ragebuilder.com is where I made them.)


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I'm highly motivated for these. I'm not doing well in calculus, and if I don't do well on the final exam, I'll have to take the "management calculus boot camp" during winter break. So from now until Friday night, Calculus and I are going to become good friends.



Good luck to all.


Today.

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Today is probably the busiest day of my semester so far. I have to work, I have a class, a meeting, 2 assignments due tonight, and I have to finish an essay. With the semester coming to an end, it seems like most of my classes are playing "catch up". (It's to be expected)

Although it's a busy day, I'm actually excited  to do all of these. Work isn't bad at all, class is fun, the meeting will be interesting, my assignments are helpful, and the essay is unexpected.

The essay will be the highlight. I'm comparing The Swimmer to A Rose for Emily. These are both short stories, but they aren't really... comparable. A Rose to Emily has a crazy, dark, sudden ending while The Swimmer is very subtle. I've been brainstorming different similarities all night, and it just seems awkward. (But awkward should be fun)

My rest of the week seems to slow down. I just bought Battlefield 3, and it has been staring me in the eyes since I bought it. I REFUSE to play it until my homework is done. Hopefully I can try it out soon, but who knows. I will probably be assigned a last minute project. (Especially with my luck)

On a final note, one of my favorite bands is coming to the Tsongas center. Rise Against. I wrote about them before, but I never thought they'd come within a mile of campus. I'm SUPER excited. It's going to be a fun show, because I believe the crowd will mainly consist of UML students.

UML has been surprising me a lot lately, and I love it. It's only getting better.



Vermont pt. 2

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I wrote in my last blog entry how I was going to Vermont on Halloween weekend. The St.Michael's campus is absolutely beautiful. The leaves were colorful and the squirrels were actually friendly. (I know, that's pretty weird)

After spending Halloween in Vermont, I made it my goal to go back as much as possible. I actually went back this past weekend. I drove 3 and a half hours on Friday, and stayed until Sunday morning.

Once again, this place was incredible. They had an event out in the middle of an open field where they build a small tower, and made a ski ramp with man-made snow. They gave out free hot chocolate, hamburgers, and other goods for those who showed up.

Another interesting free-food moment happened later around 12 AM. As I was walking through the campus, there were two grills set up with a few people grilling some chicken. After asking a few questions, I learned that the people who were grilling were actually RAs! They grilled on both Friday AND Saturday night. (Once again, completely free to anyone who showed up)

On Sunday morning, I had a very long 200 mile drive back. I kept thinking about how awesome it would be if UMass Lowell had events like this during the cooler months. I thought of so many awesome scenarios, that I actually sent a few e-mails around.

Hopefully I can get something going to keep people busy on campus!



- Matt

So today is Thursday. I have no classes, but I have work at the Centers for Learning. I'm going to make it the most productive day EVER. I have a ton of homework due on Friday and Monday, but I'm getting it done today.

The reason for completing everything early is a good one. I'm going to be having a ton of fun this weekend. First thing happens tomorrow. (Friday) I'm going to Salem to take a walking night tour. (It makes stops at historical places. I really want to see Nathaniel Hawthorne's house. I've read a few of his works.) The only downside to this tour is that it takes place at 8 PM, which I normally wouldn't mind, but tomorrow's high is only going to be 48 degrees. yuck.

Saturday, I'm driving solo to St. Michaels in Vermont. It's about a 4 hour drive, but my dad just installed an Ipod player/charger in his car. (Along with an auto-starter. WOO!) I'd rather take my car though... (RIP) At St. Michaels, there is going to be a Halloween party. As of right now, I'm thinking of dressing up as a college student. I'm leaving my creativity for Monday, which is REALLY Halloween.

As you can probably tell, I'm super excited. Monday, I'm going to Salem again FOR Halloween.  (Same situation as last year.)


I'll be sure to take pictures and write about how everything went.

Have a good one!

Baystate 5k Race

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This weekend, the Baystate Marathon, half marathon, and 5k race took place here in Lowell. The 5k road race was in honor of Diane Geehan, and my late coach, Phil Riley.

It took place on Saturday, and it was absolutely beautiful. After 5 months of laziness, I figured the weather was the best possible weather for my out-of-shape body. Not too hot, and not too cold. It was sunny, around 60 degrees, with a nice breeze.

5 months ago, I ran the same course, but a different race. The course starts next to Lowell High School, goes behind the east campus residence halls, across the bridge to north campus, down the VFW highway, back across a bridge, and it ends on a tree-shaded path that follows the Merrimack river.

In the summer, this course was tough. The heat was making me sweat quickly, and I fatigued faster than usual.

But Saturday, things were the opposite. The sun was out, but the heat wasn't a factor. The run was extremely nice, and the breeze was at my back.


It was such a special race, and I enjoyed every bit of it.

Been a while

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It has been a while, but I didn't realize how long! September 14th was my last blog entry, but this month has flown by, so it doesn't seem so long ago.

I've been super busy with everything. Ever since I wrote the entry about my lack of sleep, I've been attempting to get my work done even earlier while also trying to get to bed at a decent time. So far, it's been tough.

Just last night, I spent 6-7 hours on calc homework, and was up until 12:30. (7 hours of calc homework? That's unheard of! I didn't even finish either....)

There was a bit of fun earlier in the day though...

A photographer came to my apartment with an RA and took pictures. She told us that "UMass likes people in their pictures.", so my RA and I started acting "natural".

It was actually the funniest thing ever. He sat in opposite chairs with guitars, and serenaded each other with guitars while trying to keep a straight face for the camera. (I'm pretty sure I gave in and started laughing a few times.)

We then ended up doing other "natural" things around the apartment which ended in a bunch of laughs.

It was a good time.

The photos were taken for a future UML brochure. Lets see if any of the funny guitar ones are on there.



- Matt
I'm not gonna lie, it took me up until this week to get back into the feel of things. With the start of school, I wasn't as focused as I should have been.

Now, I feel like I'm used to everything. I'm used to waking up early and walking through Lowell traffic to get to North, and I'm used to staying up late to do homework. (It's my own fault I'm up late. I try to go to the gym every night, and I HAVE to watch the Patriots when they're on.)

Although I love the classes I'm taking, I've noticed that most of them are online based. Calculus, and Economics are great, because the online programs come with textbooks.

Financial Accounting is a struggle though, because the textbook is online, and ONLY online. I dropped it early this year, because I could already tell I was going to struggle. I'm currently doing research on seeing if I can somehow turn it into a book. (Maybe there is a service somewhere that can bind all of the pages?)

For some reason, I can't learn with an online textbook. I find it so much easier to have the pages right in front of me, as opposed to scrolling through a PDF file.


Moving away from the academic side of my semester, Southwick has made the most incredible addition to their menu. They now have a BURRITO BAR. YES. A burrito bar. I just bought my first burrito bowl a few days ago. They fill the bottom of the bowl with rice, add either chicken, steak, or shredded beef, and top it with a bunch of stuff. (of your choice.)

I had guacamole, pico de gallo, red peppers, and pinto beans.

I suggest it. It's only 6 or 7 dollars. Here's a picture:

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Yea, it looks gross, but I can assure you... it was DELICIOUS.



Have a great rest of the week.



- Matt

I can't believe it has taken me 2 semesters to think about writing about one of the most important parts of an education. Sleep.

I was on North Campus from 8:30 AM to 7:00 PM last night, and I went home, ate and went to the gym. I was out until 10 PM, and then came back to finish some homework.

I ended up going to bed around 12:30 or 1 AM. I woke up at 6. That equals 5 hours of sleep.

5 hours of sleep or less is nothing to learn on. During my 8 AM class, I was struggling to stay awake. During my 10 AM class, I was awake, but spent the 50 minutes spacing out.

I am sitting here 7 hours after arriving on North, and I am waiting for my last class. I'm sure it will be a struggle.

So the point of all of my babbling is.... GET ENOUGH SLEEP. Save the late nights for the weekends. Trust me on that one.

Yes, I know this whole blog was poorly written. Sorry in advance!


- Matt

Move in tomorrow!

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In 26 hours, I will be moving in to my new apartment. As I've said before, they are run by the College of Management. From pictures that I've seen, they look incredible..

After I move in, there will be a scavenger hunt with my apartment neighbors and a dinner with the COM faculty.

I am COMPLETELY excited. My whole room is completely packed up and ready to go. (Computer, T.V, xbox 360, record player, clothes, supplies etc.) It will be awesome because I will have PLENTY of room for everything. (My last dorm was very small.)

So Saturday, I'm helping freshman move in with my fellow Business LLC members. At first, I thought it was during the epic "Hurricane Irene." My first thought was "Wow. Great. I get to carry mini fridges and boxes while dodging debris. This will be an adventure." Luckily, it isn't hitting us until Sunday.

Speaking of hurricane Irene, those who are supposed to move in on Sunday are allowed to move in when the weather cooperates. (Monday or Tuesday)


Good luck on move in day!

- Matt
I've made plenty of mistakes, and learned things in the most difficult ways possible. Luckily, I'm a blogger and I have the ability to recreate my experiences on a blog entry for readers to learn and enjoy.

Freshman year is arguably one of the most overwhelming years of your college career. You're coming from high school, community college, or even from a job. You don't really know what to expect, and at times, you'll feel like you may be doing something wrong.

With the following suggestions, you will realize that Freshman year isn't that bad. In fact, you will probably have a great amount of fun. (While also doing well in school)

So here you go... I have it set up in 3 sections: Class Related, Social life, and Dorm life.

Freshman Tips

Class related
  • Take an interest in your classes - Yeah. Some classes are boring. But in order to get a decent grade, you'll have to put in the work. Taking an interest in the class will make the class seem short, and it may make the work easier.
  • Get to know your professors - You'd be surprised as how determined your professors are to help their students. For example, I had one professor who would show up to class early to help students, and she would also stay late to help students. The same professor helped me get more involved in the College of Management, and I'm enjoying the experience.
  • Work on your homework during breaks - Are you someone who wants to go out to party every night? Or are you the type of person to play xbox 360 all night? Either way, if you want to free up some of your night-time schedule, try to get some work done in between classes.
  • Don't wait, just get it done. - Don't wait until the night before to finish some homework. I can't tell you how many hours of sleep I've lost, just by starting (and finishing) an essay that was due the next day. My grades weren't bad, but they could've been better if I spent more time on the assignment.
  • Use the tutoring center - I've only used the tutoring center a few times, but I wish I would have used it more. It's quick and easy. You literally scan your i.d, meet with a fellow student, and learn how to work through problems. Your grades will thank you.
Social Life

  • STAY AT SCHOOL ON THE WEEKENDS - This needed to be in capital letters. My main regret for freshman year was going home on weekends. It's a domino effect actually. When a few people go home, then EVERYONE goes home. This makes for a very boring campus.
  • Rec Center = Godly - UML's rec center is awesome. Try out the racquetball courts, the ping pong tables, run on the indoor track, or lift at the gym. Always something to do.
  • Downtown Lowell - I've only been twice, but it's really cool. Has a "Boston" feel to it. Cool shops. Cool restaurants. Cool people.
  • Check out campus events- Every once in a while, the campus will be doing something fun. For example, last year we had a few famous folk come to town. Snoop Dog, Wiz, Louis CK. It was all pretty epic. This year, I know we have Matisyahu coming for a show. I can't wait.
  • TRY EGGROLL CAFE- Seriously. I'm not gonna even explain this. You'll have to try it for yourself.
  • Don't party TOO much - I've noticed that the people who start partying early in the school year are the ones who party A LOT at the end of the school year. What does this mean? Bad Grades. Trust me on this one. Partying is okay when done in moderation.
Dorm life
  • Get to the room first!- If you want to set the room up YOUR way, get to your room early on move-in day.
  • Respect your roommate - Being FRIENDS with your roommate is great, but the next best thing is to at least respect each other. Set some rules, and follow them. You will both live together with ease.
  • Hide your food - There are always friends who will take food that is visible. In my case, I was friends with a guy who would always take a bottle of Sunny Delight when he'd enter my room. (Luckily, I hated Sunny D.) If he took my Mountain Dew, I wouldn't have been too happy. 
  • BUY a lock box - Having a lock box is great. One night, someone broke in to my room and stole a bunch of stuff. LUCKILY, the valuables in my lock box were still there.
  • LOCK YOUR WINDOWS- It should be a given to keep your door locked when you're not in the room. That's what I always did. BUT. I was STILL robbed. Someone broke in through my window. So be sure to lock those too.
  • Save Money. Use the dining hall - Dining hall food might be gross after a few months, but it's a lot cheaper than spending money every night on a few slices of pizza or Taco Bell.

I'm sure there are plenty of other things I've probably missed. I'll be back to edit this a few more times, but until then, take a while to think of things that can make your life easier in college.

If you have any ideas of things I should add, feel free to e-mail me at matthew_lawson1@student.uml.edu or leave a comment!


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