Gabi Wilson, 21, of Urbandale, is preparing one last time for college. She is busy getting ready to hit the road this fall for her senior year at Central College in Pella. She is spending precious time with her family while she still can before leaving for school.
“In my preparation for my senior year, I am starting to stock up on professional clothing that I can wear for interviews and potential jobs that may come up this year. I am also spending time with friends and family before I leave for school,” she says.
Wilson says this year she will be living in a townhouse called Vance. She and her roommate have a unique way of making their home away from home cute and cozy.
“I have everything I will need for this next year as far as decorations,” she says. “My roommate and I love to repurpose items. We hang up maps of places we’ve been, running posters, old mirrors and frames, decorative paper and wooden boxes used for apples or oranges a long time ago. Our room is very shabby chic. We chose to decorate our room this way because means a lot to us that it’s environmentally friendly by not buying new items every year and supports local repurposing businesses within our communities. We have a board where we take the business cards of various antique/repurposing shops around Iowa and display them. It’s kinda cool that a lot of the items we use have a story that go along with them.”
According to Wilson, preparing for college, especially the moving and packing is a hassle.
“The fun part is decorating and being able to see friends once you’re at school. But packing and unpacking multiple times over the years, I’ve got it down to a science so it can be as hassle-free as possible,” she says. “ My freshman year I brought way too many things to college thinking I would need it or decorate with it. I had a giant craft box with lots of different materials and now it has shriveled down to some colored pencils and crayons. I have an artistic side, so it’s nice to let off some steam by creating things, but with my classes taking more of my time, I don’t have as much time for a giant craft box. I have pictures of family and friends around my room so it feels more like home.”
Saving money for school was a big part of how Wilson has prepared for her last year, and she got to do a job that was not only fun, but also quite memorable.
“This summer I had the opportunity to conduct undergraduate research on campus to make money,” she says. “I studied a threatened species of bat named the northern long-eared bat, and I worked on a prairie restoration project. It was a great experience for me since I would hope to attend veterinary school at Iowa State,” she says.
Wilson says she is happy she got into all of the classes that she wanted and needed for her degree.
“I am taking tropical ecology, biochemistry, mammalogy and interpersonal communication. I am so excited for this semester — especially for mammalogy. I want to be a veterinarian, so this class is right up my alley. I am a biology major with chemistry and art minors. Art is a passion of mine, so taking classes was a fun outlet for me,” she says.
Wilson says she chose Central College because it was close to home and has a stellar running program with great coaches.
“I ran in high school for Urbandale cross country and ran track for Des Moines Christian, so continuing my running career in college was important to me. Central also had small class sizes so that I could have student-professor contact because that’s what I needed to excel in college. It’s nice that I had a privilege to develop relationships with my professors so I could come to them if I had problems with any of the material that I was learning,” she says.
Wilson says she is excited for the opportunities she will have after she graduates, but is also sad that her years in college have gone by so fast.
“I will definitely take advantage of all the opportunities to get involved at Central and try to enjoy it as much as I can. I love Central, and I’m so thankful for the memories I have and will continue to make this year,” she says.
Teammates, roommates, it’s all good
Ryan Tunink, 19, of Urbandale, gets together with his roommates when preparing for the next year at Drake University. Coincidently, his bunkmates are also his fellow cross country and track teammates at Drake.
“ We have a lot in common being on a team together, so figuring things out for the room or whatever isn’t too tough,” he says. “Everyone’s input counts, so we definitely talk before school starts to figure out what we all should contribute.”
Tunink says he has a lot of respect for what his friend and roomy, Chris, wants to contribute for the school year.
“He comes here all the way from Chicago, so if he wants to make the room more home-like, it is OK with me,” Tunink says.
Tunink’s roommate, Chris Kaminski, 19, from Chicago, Illinois, agrees that it is important to communicate with roommates when planning the move back to school.
“To get ready, I am talking to my roommates who are also my teammates on the Drake mens cross country and track teams to discuss what all we need for this upcoming school year. Things such as a TV, futon, mini-fridge, and, of course, decorations. In order to personalize our dorm room, I bring a few pictures from home of my family and my favorite sports teams, being the Chicago Cubs, Bulls and Blackhawks. We also order some posters of our favorite TV shows and our favorite runners. I love preparing for college because it reminds me that I am going to be back there soon. I absolutely love my school.”
Kaminski has spent his summer living in the Des Moines area, working and saving up money for school.
“My major is finance and data analytics, and I got almost all of the classes I requested simply because I came in with a decent amount of credits from high school. To save up money for college, I am working under Dave Hebert at Principal Financial Group in West Des Moines for the summer, which is a paid internship that coincides with my majors.”
Kaminski says he is sad that summer is over, but is much more excited that school is going to start.
“I am looking forward to getting back with my roommates Ryan Tunink and Cory Erickson and continue my training for my sports,” he says.
Living at home saves money and allows time with the dog
Miranda Bochner, 19, of Urbandale, plans to attend Des Moines Area Community College this fall. Her plans include living at home so she can continue to work and spend valuable time with her dog, Big Hoss.
“I will not be living on campus; instead I am living at home,” she says. “A couple reasons for this — it saves money and also allows me to see my family and my dog every day. Oh, and free food.”
Bochner says that in preparation for college she is spending quite a bit of time organizing her class schedule to be sure she has the right classes needed for credits to get her AA degree.
“It’s also challenging to be sure my class schedule doesn’t conflict with my work schedule. In addition to classes, I work part time at Urban Pet Hospital and Resort in Urbandale,” she says.
Bochner says she hasn’t officially decided on a major yet.
“I am taking a lot of liberal arts classes, and basically exploring right now,” she says. “I am not sure right now what my dream job would be. I really enjoy my history classes, so being a history professor might be an option to consider. I have also been thinking about opening my own doggie daycare one day. Owning my own business would give me the opportunity to be my own boss and do creative and unique things to make my business stand out and be something that dogs and dog owners will feel good about. I really find my job to be very fulfilling and I honestly am excited to go to work there. The dogs and my co-workers are awesome.”