Friday, September 24, 2010

The Real World

My mind was racing with thoughts trying to figure out where it may end up. I begin brainstorming ideas for this blog, Iowa City, Des Moines, Hawkeye Football, and working. Since moving home from Iowa City to Des Moines has been a big change for me. Living there for the last three years I thought of Des Moines as a vacation away from home during the summer. Now that I have been home since May I realize how much I miss Iowa City at times. There was always something going on whether it was school functions, home football games or just the atmosphere it was all very entertaining. As a student I enjoyed going to tailgate and sit in the student section at all the home Hawkeye football games. I realize how much I miss that and now have to settle for watching them on TV; it’s not quite the same. My time in Iowa City was fun; exciting and definitely a learning experience of what it’s like to live on your own, taking care of your own bills, getting up for class, working to earn spending money, plus having to go buy your own groceries.

The real world started when I found my Internship with Glazer’s Distributors of Iowa. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but would need to be organized, responsible and tackle any challenges that might come up. The freedom I once had living in Iowa City would be gone and less free time. Waking up at 7 most days wasn’t fun and working 8-4 can be rough at times. I have a better understanding of what my parents go through during a normal work week. Having now done it, my Internship has been phenomenal and fun. I have meet a lot of new people, made some friends and best of all getting the real life experience that I read about in a textbook or talk about it in class. My job working as a Merchandiser and Sales Representative in training has given me the opportunity to use what I learned in class. To go out and network with buyers, attend Holiday buying parties, attending weekly meetings with Representatives from products we distribute.

It has been a challenge to accomplish everything on time, working long days you’re tired by the time you’re off you just want to go to bed. Though that’s part of life and having used what I learn in college to be successful has help me in becoming more organized in the workplace. Moving forward I feel more grown up now than I did before. Hopefully with this internship I show my supervisor that I am a hard worker, responsible and willing to test myself. I would love to further my career at Glazer’s and gain the experience under my belt if offered a job once I complete this program.


My Love For the City

After reading through all of your guys’ posts regarding your feelings toward living in Des Moines during this internship process and the adjustment of leaving Iowa City, I realized that I wasn’t all alone on my bias towards IC. Over the past three years I have become very fond of the Iowa City lifestyle. I was born and raised in a small town in southwest Iowa called Creston. It’s a rarity for people to make it out and not somehow find themselves back living in Creston after finishing school. So when I left home back in August of 2007 to start school I made it a point to never return for longer than a weekend. Even when I go back for a couple days people ask me if I’m back for good. Can’t a guy visit his family and close friends for a couple days without looking like a failure who found himself back in “the black hole”? I shouldn’t be so negative towards my hometown but I’ve seen it swallow up too many of my childhood friends not to be a little bitter. So needless to say the city life was a pleasant change for me.

Iowa City became my new home and my love for the Hawkeyes reached a whole new level. So when the opportunity to join Aviva Investors came about last fall I realized that I would be forced to relocate temporarily. I don’t have a lot of friends or family in the Des Moines area besides my aunt and uncle in Waukee so I was hesitant to move from Iowa City for 6 months. But since I am nearing the end of my time at the University I realized that I better lock down a finance internship before I try to get some full time work next year. Scary to think I’ll probably be working around 70 to 80 hours a week a year from now so I’m taking this opportunity day by day….no need to rush all that. I am learning a lot about private fixed income and I am excited to apply what I’ve learned at Aviva in the classroom in my last two semesters back at Iowa.

The Des Moines life is starting to grow on me as well. I’ve gone out with the guys from work a few times and I like the all the different bars and restaurants. It is a little on the expensive side compared to Iowa City, but I definitely could get used to living in a city like Des Moines after I graduate. My attitude towards Creston hasn’t changed, and I am definitely not afraid to venture off to somewhere crazy like California or Arizona for a while after I’m done with school. Overall, I’m glad I took the internship at Aviva and to be honest, the money isn’t too bad either.

Keith P.

Thursday, September 23, 2010


With so many topics to write about, I wasn’t sure where to begin with this assignment. After thinking about it for awhile though, it became clearer to me what I should write about. Like Kaitlin, I also don’t really like talking about myself and am much more of a listener, but a few topics really get me jazzed. During Crystal’s site visit, she asked me what I geek, (because the library has a campaign asking people, “What do you Geek?”), and I had so many different thoughts. I wanted to find the one thing, one word, to describe what I geek and I found it – Greece.

But before I describe why I love Greece so much, I should clarify what the word really means to me or what I think of when I hear the word. Other than the amazing memories from my study abroad experience there, Greece reminds me of many things I love: travel, lifelong friends, a giving/sharing culture, eating well, music & dancing, natural beauty, taking your time, relaxing, and enjoying life. I know it probably sounds pretty corny or cliché, but those words truly represent the Greek culture and what I think about the country and its people (and my feelings haven’t changed since its debt crisis).

Here are just a few reasons why I love the country:

· Because Greeks buy fresh food, eat slowly, and share with everyone
· Because nights in Greece finish in the morning
· Because Greeks take their coffee slowly and in good company
· Because Greeks never visit others empty handed
· Because in Greece family is still something valuable
· Because Greeks always make it, even if in the last moment
· Because whenever foreigners cannot find a word, they use a Greek one (like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, “You tell me a word and I tell you the root of the word, in Greek!”)
· Because Greeks spend their bad and low times with friends and family, not with shrinks
· Because Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were Greek
· Because they built the Parthenon
· Because Greeks don't use ketchup with food - it tastes good anyway
· Because Greeks are not ashamed to cry
· Because Greeks dance when they are sad
· Because Greeks work to live and do not live to work
· Because, although Greeks smoke more than anyone in the world and eat the most red meat in Europe they live the longest in EuropeBecause in Greece nobody is hungry (not even stray dogs)

Also, just for fun and to wrap up the many reasons why I geek Greece here’s an interesting article about the wonderful Greek diet and its positive impact on their lives: The Island Where People Live Longer.

(The island pictured to the left is not Icaria, the one mentioned in the article. Most of you probably know it's beautiful Santorini.)

Yamas (cheers!) Lauren S.

So What's a Fella to Do?

The constraints on living in Des Moines are a far cry from the near-complete freedom associated with the natural Iowa City lifestyle. While living in Des Moines, I've rediscovered what it means to live under another's roof and rule. My parents are the sweetest people in the world, but their lifestyle is no longer what I'm accustomed to. I've realized that I've had to change the way I go about my days and nights, though that is in part also influenced by my work. This is not to imply that living in Iowa City is the perfect living situation, but the differences between the two are enough as to warrant a comparison of the two situations.
When living in Iowa City, I realize exactly how much freedom I have on my own. In Des Moines, I can't cook my own meals without being interrogated by my parents as to why I'm not eating what they're eating. As much as I love my mom's cooking, my tastes have changed since I've moved off. The Des Moines situation is less than ideal due to the lack of control, but the freedom of Iowa City contains problems of its own.
For the most part, living in Iowa City is a beautiful situation. I can come and go as I please, I don't have to answer to anyone regarding anyone, I completely set my own schedule, and I don't have to worry about waking anyone at a late hour. The freedom of Iowa City, in fact, allows for a situation in which I allow bad habits, have no one to check them, and see the bad habits become permanent.
A balance between the two seems to be the option. A situation in which I have my own rules, but those rules reflect the lessons instilled in me by my parents, seems to be the way to go. Maybe, one day, after I get a job and my own place, I can embrace that lifestyle change.

by Justin H.

Happy to be Here

By: Hannah

I am doing my internship at Generation Next Child Development Center and Preschool. What I am doing is shadowing my supervisor and completing various tasks while learning the ins and outs of starting up and maintaining a business. I couldn't have asked for a better place to intern at. I was hesitent to even do an internship because you always hear how interns are just there to do "b**** work." This is far from that. I have learned so many things from my supervisor, Karen. She doesn't make me file or run errands for her all day. I sit down next to her and watch her do many different things, such as payroll and charging clients' accounts, and then she lets me do it myself. I feel like she really wants me to learn and it makes the job ten times more fun. This is exactly what I want to be doing in the future and doing this internship has only heightened that desire.

Today I had a new task to complete on my own. The co owner, who does a lot of the accounting stuff for Generation Next, is gone for a week and I had to learn how to enter parents' weekly tuition into the system and then write up a deposit slip and get it to the bank. You have to enter the correct amount into the correct spot on the system and make sure your totals are the same in the computer and the deposit slip. Sounds easy, right? Not so much. I was so nervous I was going to mess up while entering numbers in because this was a new job to me. But when owning your own business, little things like this have to be completed without messing up!

I have had to do many projects so far with Karen and the rest of the management staff. I have to say my favorite has been the networking event and coat drive I have organized. My networking event was last night and it was for parents to come in and socialize and meet each other since they usually just drop and pick up their children quickly. We served refreshments and appetizers and I feel it was a huge success! I even met some people who are in the business field that I want to be in and got to chat with them about their experience.

The coat drive has been a success also. I sent out a letter to the parent's letting them know I was going to put this together and take the donations to St. Joseph's Emergency Shelter once completed. I am suprised with all of the donations that have been brought so far, and the box has only been sitting out for two weeks!

My experience with my internship is turning out to be a huge learning experience for me and if I had a chance to change it, I wouldn't.

To the End of New in the Beginning

By Christine

I had a hard time coming up with something blog about until I went into work today. I realized by the end of the day that I am finally getting through the awkward stage, and becoming more comfortable with my environment.

I knew that living in Des Moines would be a change, and that taking this internship would mean new people, new apartment, new town, new friends….etc. I decided to take this internship because I really wanted the experience, but I must be honest and say that I really hate starting over. I hate new beginnings. I always want to fast forward a few weeks to where I no longer feel like the new person at work. To where I know my co-workers a little better and feel a little less awkward in my surroundings. Don’t get me wrong, I like trying new things but more like one thing at a time instead of everything being new at once. I always try to keep myself as busy as possible to help the awkward transition stage get over with faster. I try to be as invisible as possible, and not get in anyone’s way. I think part of me wants to study the people around me first before I interact with them. I’d have to say that’s the psychology part of me.

I like to try and read people and figure them out a little bit better before I chime in. If I decide to just be more open right away I always, always, always put my foot in my mouth. For example, the first day of my intermedia class my junior year at Iowa I introduced myself to the girl next to me. We started chatting, and eventually the conversation led to her telling me about her two friends who have been married about six weeks and are already fighting. She mentioned that she was pretty sure they were going to be divorced within 6 months. I replied “yea with the divorce rates the way they are today, I am just not sure if marriage is a good idea anymore” and she responded “I am getting married in May”. To say the least we didn’t have much to talk about after that.

My point is that I do not do well with a new environment. When I studied abroad in Ireland, the first night I was there I freaked out and had no idea why I put myself in that situation. Although I am really uncomfortable with everything changing at once I still force myself into those sorts of situations because in the end it is always worth it. Studying abroad is the best thing I ever did, and I am sure at the end of this internship I will feel the same way. Eventually everything always comes together. I feel that I am starting to get to that point in my internship. I am comfortable with the people I work with, and I am finally receiving more work from my boss which makes me believe that he is becoming more comfortable with me as well. I am thankful that my awkward stage is coming to an end.

I am glad to be taking the “new” out of my beginning.

*The image I added is very similar to the one we were given at orientaion. I could not think of anything else that would help demonstrate what I am talking about.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


By: Tamra

My experience this past weekend at the season opening concert for Civic Music Association can be summed up in two words; learning experience. Dealing with management teams, artists, volunteers, and other staff was a new experience that kept me on my toes.

The day started out rainy and cold, making everything a bit more challenging to begin with. My assignment of the morning was to hang around the auditorium and be at the beck and call of anyone doing any set up.

My supervisor had to run a few errands, which left me to answer any questions. After about ten minutes the artist’s manager asked me where the director was. I told him she had stepped out for a minute but that I was the intern in charge while she was away. He asked me where the “back line” was. I must have given him an unintentional blank stare because he chuckled and rephrased the question, “where are the drums” this I could understand. I was excited because this was a question I actually knew the answer to. I told him that our director had just spoken with the company providing the drums and his drums would be there within a few minutes.

Task one completed.

I sat around for another ten minutes while the drum company arrived and started setting up. The guy putting together the drums looked at me and asked if I was housekeeping. The artist’s manager immediately assured the drum guy that I was indeed housekeeping. I didn’t know many things that day but I did know that I was not housekeeping.

I introduced myself at the Civic Music Intern and that I could try to help him with anything that he needed. He then proceeded to ask me if I had a vacuum. I spent the next twenty minutes running around looking for a vacuum. My twenty minutes had been wasted; there was no vacuum in sight.

Task two failed.

The director finally returned and I was partly relieved she was back to handle all the questions and odd requests. I was partly disappointed that my time in charge had been so short. The rest of the day was a blur filled with many more odd tasks. When it was time to go home I couldn’t believe it was ten o’clock already.

I concluded that my first concert was a success because I had not personally caused any major problems and everyone seemed to enjoy the concert.

Concert one success!

Chapter 5 - The Real World

If my life were chronicled in a book, and elementary school thru college were chapters 1-4, this book is starting the 5th chapter here in about 3 months. Chapter 5: The Real World.....gulp. Ever since school started back in the old days of 1994, there has always been a sense of security. Next year is just another year of school, I knew where I would be, what I would be doing, and who I would be with. This next chapter in my life is something I have never experienced before. To be honest, it is a little unnerving to know that by the end of 2010, I will be done with school for the long haul, barring some need to go back. At this point, I'm simply trying to get as much out of this internship as I can, and hopefully work hard enough to show them that I can fill a spot on their team and land a job. That would be the best thing that could happen right now, being that I haven't begun looking for other places to go since Iowa doesn't necessarily have the best opportunities to work in sports. It is at this point when the "what ifs" start.

What if I don't get a job? Where will I go? How long do I hold out to stay in sports until I have to go a different direction? What if I can't find a job? What will I do then?

These types of questions can stress a person out, but as I look at the situation, I realize that every college graduate goes through this transition into the real world, and most people turn out alright, so why sweat it?

I'm just trying to enjoy this experience to the fullest and gain the most knowledge that I possibly can working in the industry I want to have a career in. All I can do is try my hardest and good things will happen. I can't say that I've ever had a negative return out of something I gave 110%, and I am not about to start now. This internship is a testament of my hard work. It wasn't even an option when I initially gained interest in the DSM Center Program, but I went after it and was proactive and made things happen, and look what turned out. I'm working for the company I wanted, and the one that I went after.

And who says that this new chapter will be bad? There is a lot of good coming from this transition. A chance to experience new things like buying a new place, or possibly a car, moving to another city, or even a dog, etc.

A new page is turned everyday and come December, Chapter 5 will begin. What will I do? I don't completely know, but what I DO know is that I will be prepared to deal with whatever I run into because I've been spending the last 18 years of my life readying myself for it and have had the best teachers, parents, and role models to learn from.

~Doug L.

Tough Choice...

I hope I'm not stealing what someone else wanted to blog about and the reason I say this is because I had no intention on talking about myself and/or my experience in Des Moines compared to Iowa City. I HATE talking about myself, I always feel awkward. Which is my weakness when I'm being interviewed. Interesting how I get to practice getting rid of this weakness tomorrow at the career fair... Anyway, with the fair tomorrow and my goal of the semester being to find a job by the time I graduate in December, I figured I better try to hash out some thoughts on Des Moines versus Iowa City and see if I come out with a clearer picture on where I might want to look for a job and spend at least the next few years. I'm definitely feeling torn between my love for this exciting and new bigger city I find myself in and my hometown with my family, friends and duh... the Iowa Hawkeyes. As opposed to the majority of our class, I grew up in Iowa City instead of Des Moines. I worked for the admissions office at the University of Iowa all throughout undergrad and trying to explain to both perspective and even current students why I chose Iowa being from Iowa City was extremely difficult. Everyone figured I would have wanted to escape the state of Iowa or at least get out of the town. Without giving you my typical admissions speech about why I chose Iowa, (because in some respects, it is kind of corny) one thing I don't think my fellow students can understand is that the University of Iowa has been around my entire life, (this will sound creepy) almost like a third parent. You name it, the university probably sponsored it or was somehow connected to it. Educational field trips were to Hancher, the Old Capitol, MacBride Nature, etc. Your friends' parents were probably doctors, professors or lawyers who had attended/worked at the university. I think a lot of Iowa Citians cared more about the politics of the university than actual Iowa City government. And then of course the lack of professional teams in Iowa leads to the ridiculous following of the Hawkeyes (which is also a state pride thing, but I think for us in Iowa City it goes even deeper- we almost feel like the Hawks ARE Iowa City's professional team) and we all know how the downtown scene and the university go hand in hand. I promise this is not a one sided post- I've been coming to Des Moines all my life to visit relatives and go shopping, Iowa State Fair etc. In terms of big or, bigger cities, I could say I've frequented Des Moines the most, possibly even more than Cedar Rapids. I think it's the perfect size for an urban community. Its got suburbs, its got a downtown with, at least, a couple of tall buildings! I like the fact that there is more than one of the store you're looking for. As in: more than one Target/Walmart, Menards, Subway, Younkers, Gap, and on and on. If there is one or two in Iowa City- there are three, four or five plus in Des Moines so even if you do have to do more driving in Des Moines, there are more locations of what you need to go to. I love the amount of job opportunities with all of the major insurance companies and businesses. As a history major, I appreciate that Des Moines has the state capitol. I feel like I'm starting to make sentence lists, sorry... I think the thing I'm most excited about is that I don't know everything about Des Moines... I learn new things all the time! I'm having a great time discovering new little restuarants and bars to try out, concerts to go see and networking events to attend which sometimes even a university can't bring to its town. So maybe in this post I just made giant lists about mostly pros and a few cons over Iowa City and Des Moines but I guess maybe I just wanted to point out that I'm struggling over where I'm going to be come December. The more I get to know Des Moines the harder it is going to be to leave (that is, if I do), geez I didn't even mention how much I love my office/internship! Alright fellow classmates- if you've got reasons I should stay in Des Moines I'd love to hear them! :)

-Kaitlin D

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

“Aye Yo, Is That a Ghost Out There? Yo, What is That?” “Be Cool Man, It’s Just Jesus”

By Justin Hayes

First, let it be stated: I did not pick this image because it has religious undertones. Now that that’s out of the way, let me explain to you why I DID choose this image: I love the color blue. It’s easily, without a doubt, my absolute favorite color. That, however, is not what I’m going to talk about with regard to this painting. Upon further review, what really struck me about this image is just how ghastly of an image it is. One could argue that the loneliness portrayed in the image is a commentary on religion (and how ‘alone’ one is without it), or possibly some kind of statement about mankind and its pursuit of meaning within life (and how, without organized religion, the meaning of life is bleak and dreary). Again, just thoughts that I’m kicking around, but I would bet I’m not *that* far off of the mark.

When I first noticed this image, it struck me. The variety of shades of blue immediately caught my eye, and that was before I even had an inkling of an idea of what the image was trying to say. My personal religious beliefs notwithstanding (because this isn’t really the forum to talk about that kind of thing), this image simply cannot be discussed without some kind of talk of the religious element displayed here. The image of Christ (which will be discussed further later) walking on the water, appearing before the sailors (who appear to be lost far away from land and dead in the middle of a thick haze of fog), make it seem as if Christ is possibly guiding these poor, lost souls to land.

The specter on the water is portrayed as “Christ” in the title of the painting, but the figure we see walking on the water is not an image of Christ as we are used to seeing him in other works of art. A closer look shows that the figure on the water is just as hazy as the fog, leading us to wonder if that really is “Christ” guiding the sailors to land or possibly even some kind of malevolent spirit guiding the sailors to their doom. This can also be interpreted as a commentary on religion as a whole, in that no one truly knows which the “right” religion is, or which religion is the “best”. All different forms of religion ask for a blind trust, in the hope that it will guide you through the fog and onto the Promised Land you so dearly desire.

A still painting can say as much or as little as the painter intends or as the viewer interprets. As Susan Sontag states with relation to photographs, “Whatever the limitations (through amateurism) or pretensions (through artistry) of the individual photographer, a photograph seems to have a more innocent, and therefore more accurate, relation to visible reality than do other mimetic objects,” (Sontag, 2). This holds true for the painter, who as an amateur may try to master the perfect lighting on a bowl of fruit, and as a master may struggle with the perfect texture of the orange in the same bowl. A painting is simply the artist’s interpretation of the scene as their mind’s eye sees it, leaving it up for the viewer to come to their own conclusions as to what the artist is truly trying to say.

Art Center (Images of Iowa)

Art Center (Images of Iowa)

What artwork means to me?

In visiting the Des Moines Art Center to view the different variety of art collections, I thought about Sontag’s article on Photography and using her definitions to help relate to the pieces of art I witnessed. I began searching around looking for unique pieces to write about when I came across Leslie Hall’s collection that consisted of disturbing and irritating photos of horrendous sweaters and annoying music videos. I thought to myself “ That art is more like garbage.”. I eventually found something that caught my eye. An intriguing art sculpture “Man and Pegasus” I was still a little confused on how this would relate to the idea of photography. As I looked the article, Sontag calls photographs “a grammar and, even more importantly, an ethics of seeing” (3). I realized that the interpretation didn’t necessary have to be from the artist and theire definition, but more importantly come from what I saw.

The “Man and Pegasus” by Carl Mills reminded me of something I would see in a movie or dream about. I imagined what it must feel like to fly alongside a winged horse with magical powers, which could be my best friend. The horse would not only protect me but transport me to wherever I needed to go. In this sculpture Mills uses a very powerful approach making the Man look strong and ready for combat, traveling like Superman. When observing the sculpture one gets a sense of the time and imagination that went into creating such an extraordinary and decorated piece. This piece provides us with great craftsmanship, with great detailed image of both the man and horse. Mills was inspired by the Bellerophon. (A hero of Greek mythology).

Understanding Sontag and her definitions allowed me to build a better relationship and appreciation for artwork. Sontag writes “even though a photo “seems to have a more innocent, and therefore more accurate relation to visible reality than do other mimetic objects”, it is an illusion.” (6) I believe this gives you a free rein of interpretation for example this sculpture could be from a children’s book like a Harry Potter, a Greek Mythology, or a little boys pet that he takes on walks, or seeing oneself as the Man and becoming a super hero fighting off crime with the winged horse.

By going to the Des Moines Art Center it gave me a chance to experience something that I might not otherwise do. I enjoyed getting a chance to roam and view different pieces. Though it is hard to understand just what the artist is thinking in his artwork, I enjoyed coming up with my own interpretation or even making up a fantasy.

By Cody

Great Art

By: Tamra Gredell

I have not been to an art museum since about the fifth grade. Looking at art as an eleven year old is much different than looking at art at twenty-one. As a child I considered the best art to be the pieces with the prettiest colors. Now I consider great art to be pieces with open interpretation and personal meaning. This is why I chose to write about Ada’s Garden.

Alex Katz’s piece titled Ada’s Garden is a contemporary piece painted in 2000. Depicted in this piece is a cocktail party with a clear divide between the guests attending the party. In Sontag’s reading she writes “In deciding how a picture should look, in preferring one exposure to another, standards are always being imposed on the subject.” (Sontag 3) Katz chose to paint in mostly dark colors. Half of the guests are wearing darks suits and the background of the painting is presented in a charcoal color. These dark colors in contrast with the brighter colors that the other guests are wearing adds to the effect of the division of the cocktail party.

When I saw this piece I immediately thought those in the brighter colors looked left out of the party. I saw those in the dark suits as an exclusive group that did not want to include those in the brighter colors. Upon further consideration I realized the painting could be interpreted where those in the bright colors are excluding those around them. They do not wish to socialize with those in the dark suits; they are choosing to exclude themselves. This piece created personal meaning with me because of those who are being excluded. I sympathize with those in the brighter colors who are being excluded, there are times in life when everyone is excluded and it is never a good feeling.

“Strictly speaking, there is never any understanding in a photograph, but only an invitation to fantasy and speculation.” (Sontag 12) There is no right or wrong way to interpret this painting. Katz has left in open for the viewer to interpret the painting however they wish. I was able to take my own understanding of this piece and create multiple interpretations, and that is what makes this piece great art.

Works cited:

Sontag, Susan. “Photography.” The New York Review of Books Vol. 20 Num. 16. 1973: Print.

Katz, Alex. Ada’s Garden. 2000. Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA. Web. 14 Sept 2010.