I’ll be the first to admit that it is extremely hard to find the time to do fun stuff with the schedule that we have at ICO. But I also know the importance of taking a break when things feel overwhelming. One of the many things I take advantage of as a healthy time away from books and practicing skills is hanging out with my colleague group. When one arrives at ICO as a first year, s/he is put into a group with a faculty member during the orientation weekend according to the region that they are from. This year, instead of just being a group member, myself and two other second years have had the privilege of leading a group of seven first years from Texas, New York and Wisconsin. Random, I know. Our faculty colleague, Dr. Yi Pang, suspects that it may be due to most of us having multiple places of origin–she’s originally from China and has lived in a variety of places; I’m originally from South Korea and moved to the Dairy State as a teenager. Whatever the reason, we try to get together at least once every quarter and make sure everything is going smoothly for the first years and force ourselves to forget about school for a few hours.
After having a great time visiting Chinatown for dim sum last quarter, this time around we have decided to eat some free pizza (thank you, Dr. Pang!) and go bowling. We looked did some research and found that our neighbor school, the Illinois Institute of Technology, has FREE bowling on Thursday and Friday evenings. No questions asked. The fact that one of us was in a competitive bowling team in college and averages 240 a game made this event much more interesting. Unfortunately, not everyone did as well–I found that I need to hit the lanes a little more frequently before I can tell people I’m decent at bowling–but it was the most fun I had in weeks. It definitely was cheaper and more accessible (a five minute walk across IIT campus) than our plan B option of going ice skating in Millennium Park. As of our next meeting? Who knows!