Badgers, Find Your Balance

Badgers, Find your balance

Its the start of another school year and after nine months, I’m officially back on campus at UW-Madison. Needless to say, the school work-load will be a bit of adjustment after spending four months abroad, but I’m excited for all that the semester will bring.

Apart from diving right back into school, I’m also jumping back into writing—this time for The Daily Cardinal, a school newspaper on campus that I have been involved in for the last two years. In the past, I have only done social media work for the Cardinal, so I am excited to take on writing for them this year.

My first piece focuses on the stressors that the first few weeks of college bring and how finding balance between school and extracurriculars can be difficult, but is not impossible. You can also find the original article published on the Daily Cardinal’s website here.


Badgers, Find Your Balance

September brings the start of a new school year and a clean slate for every student—the chance for reinvention.

As a freshman, the first year away at college can be overwhelming. After your parents leave you on move-in day, you’re on your own. No is one there to make decisions for you, instead, it’s all on you. House Fellows may encourage you to engage with the students on your floor and attend the Student Organization Fair, while professors point you towards the library. Ultimately, however, whether or not you participate in any of these activities is entirely up to you.

On the other hand, as a returning student, the new school year brings change and opportunity. The chance to try a new club or take on the leadership role you weren’t qualified for the year before. If another school year has passed you by without achieving your goals—now is the time to tackle what didn’t fit into your schedule before.

Whether you are a freshman or a returner, you attend countless welcome meetings, sit through various orientations and attend try-outs. Within the first few weeks of September, you’ve tried just about everything, switched classes multiple times and are running on an average of five and a half hours of sleep per night. Time to reevaluate your commitments and make some big decisions.

It’s easy to forget the real reason every student is on campus—to earn a degree and eventually graduate. Balancing school with extracurricular commitments and seeing your friends every once in awhile is like a puzzle. All the pieces will fall into place eventually, but it may take some time and hard work to get there.

In the first few weeks of school, it is important to take a step back and see the bigger picture. College is about doing what makes you happy. If juggling two jobs, a student org, intramurals and school is stressing you out, determine what you don’t need and let it go. There is always next semester to pick it up again.

So say yes to something new, but don’t be afraid to turn people and opportunities down if something doesn’t feel right. Most importantly, amid all the madness that is college, make time for yourself. Find the gap in your schedule for a quick nap or a trip to the gym. Take a night to hang out with your friends. You’ll be quick to find that you aren’t the only one feeling overloaded.

College is overwhelming, especially when everything is thrown at you at the start of September. Finding balance can be difficult, but is not impossible. It’s all about the choices you make.

Take a Trip to Madison, Wisconsin

Over the summer I’ve been interning at Milwaukee Magazine and have had the opportunity to write for their website. While many of the stories are regular weekly pieces, I have had the opportunity to get creative and write a few stories I’ve pitched myself.

Milwaukee Magazine has a series dedicated to “Weekend Getaways” that are just a few hours drive away from Milwaukee. Upon learning this, I immediately checked to see if an article had been written Madison, Wisconsin, a place I call my home for a majority of the year. Lucky for me, no such article had been written and I immediately pitched the story to my editor.

“Take a Weekend Getaway to Madison, Wisconsin” has been one of my favorite pieces to write so far at Milwaukee Magazine. Writing about a city I call a home away from home was a nice change from my typical assignments and made me evermore excited to head back at the beginning of next month.

If you haven’t seen the piece yet, you can find it here or below. Where would you spend your time if you had a weekend trip planned to Madison? Let me know in the comments!


TAKE A WEEKEND GETAWAY TO MADISON, WISCONSIN

Looking for a short trip away from Milwaukee this weekend? Head to Madison, just over an hour’s drive west of Milwaukee. Here’s a tentative weekend itinerary.

City life meets life at the lake(s) in Madison, Wisconsin.  Located on an isthmus nestled between Lake Mendota and Lake Monona, Madison is one of the country’s best known college towns, but also boasts various family friendly activities, quality restaurants and rich state history.


Friday Afternoon

There is no shortage of great hotels to stay at when visiting Madison. The most recent addition is the stylish AC Hotel Madison Downtown by Marriott located just off of Capitol Square. The modern hotel offers fantastic views of Madison from the rooftop restaurant and bar, Eno Vino Wine Bar & Bistro, so it’s most definitely worth a stop even if you decide to stay the night somewhere else.

After checking in to your hotel, make your way to the Henry Vilas Zoo, located just south of the University of Wisconsin campus. The Henry Vilas Zoo is a 28-acre public zoo that is open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The zoo is home to various animals, such as African lions, polar bears and of course three American badgers, fittingly named Bucky, Dekker and Kaminsky. Admission to the zoo is free.

Post zoo trip, make your way by bicycle or car to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum, a teaching and research facility that offers more than 20 miles of footpaths, boardwalks and fire lanes to explore. You can stroll through the beautiful forests, prairies and wetlands for hours and snap some picturesque photos. The peaceful and stunning arboretum trails are open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.

A day spent in Madison is not complete without stopping for an after-dinner dessert or late-night snack at Greenbush Bakery, which opened in 1996 and has been serving delicious donuts to the public ever since. Their late-night hours are ideal for a college town — they are open until midnight Monday through Thursday and until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Another perk of Greenbush: their classic donuts are only a dollar a piece. There’s no better way to spend a dollar in Madison.


Saturday Morning

Set your alarms and get up bright and early on Saturday morning. Saturday on the Square, the Dane County Farmers Market, begins at 6:15 a.m. The farmers market surrounds the Wisconsin State Capitol Building and offers many fresh and local vegetables, fruits, baked goods and fresh-cut flowers. Saturday on the Square is the place to be on Saturday mornings, and it fills up quickly, so be sure to go early to get the best selection.

Next, head west down State Street toward the University of Wisconsin campus. While the walk down State Street should normally only take about 20 minutes, there are numerous stores to stop in and explore. Ranging from chain clothing stores like Gap and Urban Outfitters to local bookstores and art galleries, State Street has something for everyone. If you didn’t get your fill at the farmers market, there are plenty of coffee shops, bars and restaurants to choose from along State Street. The street is closed to local traffic apart from buses — yet another reason to make the walk.

Saturday Afternoon

There’s no better place to spend an afternoon (and evening!) in Madison than at the Memorial Union Terrace, situated on the shores of Lake Mendota and recently renovated. After getting your picture taken in one of the large, iconic terrace chairs, head to Outdoor UW to rent a paddle board, canoe or kayak and spend the afternoon out on the water. If water sports aren’t your forte, locate a table on the Terrace and bask in the sun all afternoon while enjoying some delicious Babcock Ice Cream.

Saturday Evening

Not ready to leave the Terrace yet? No worries. There are plenty of dining options inside the Union, including sandwiches and grilled food from Der Rathskeller, Italian dishes from Strada and plenty of healthy options from Carte. Don’t lose your spot on the Terrace, though, as sunset over Lake Mendota is not a sight to be missed. The festivities don’t stop after the sun sets, either: Terrace after Dark, a summer program that includes free concerts and movies, runs from May 12 to September 4.


Sunday Morning

Sunday brunch in Madison is a must. And Madison’s brunch scene is an embarrassment of riches. Some of the most iconic venues include Bassett Street Brunch ClubThe Old Fashioned and of course Mickies Dairy Bar. Located near Camp Randall, Mickies Dairy Bar has been around since the 1950s and hasn’t changed much since then. Be prepared to wait, as there is most always a line to get in the door. Their scrambler is legendary.

Sunday Afternoon

Before leaving the city, visit the State Capitol Building and learn about the building’s and state’s history on a free guided tour. Tours are offered daily and begin at the information desk. If you don’t have the time to spend 45 minutes on the tour, at least wander into the rotunda and take a moment to appreciate the beautiful architecture.