Balancing Social Life and Academics

As the Graduate Student Association Social Chair, my job entails involving my fellow students in many of the countless social opportunities IU and Bloomington have to offer. Having now spent five plus years in Bloomington, I’m always amazed to discover new unique social opportunities. My newest favorite social activity is the monthly oldies dance night at the Root Cellar, a hidden gem with retro (and random) memorabilia strung from the ceiling with antique movie theater seats lining the walls. These dance nights provide a much-needed break from coffee shops, group projects and the SPEA Atrium (all of which I do love…in small doses). Luckily there is never a shortage of friends needing a similar break for class and work.

Although IU is a large university with over 40,000 undergraduate and graduate students, the SPEA program is a small bubble within the university. As a small group of
students on a large campus, we reap the benefits of all the opportunities brought to IU, ranging from the Flaming Lips performing at the IU Auditorium to special screenings of “The Room” at the Union with its mysterious director Tommy Wiseau. Bloomington also boasts the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival, one of the oldest and largest of its kind. This year, a group of SPEA students volunteered one night in exchange for a free pass. What graduate student doesn’t love free events? (And perhaps more importantly, free food!) This year at Lotus I danced to Finnish string music, Creole gospel and Swedish hip-hop.

How do we balance social life with academics? Luckily the range of opportunities
available is endless, appealing to a range of different interests. I personally need my oldies dance nights and horror film showings at IU Cinema to keep myself sane post-Midterms. This weekend, GSA held its annual fundraising Halloween Party for SPEA graduate students. We had a great turnout and lots of creative costumes, including a giant shower, Mr. Mistofelees and Dora the Explorer. With the funds we raised from the party, GSA will throw more events for SPEONS, including an ice-skating activity before finals and possibly an “Ugly Holiday Sweater” event before Winter Break. Stay tuned for more social opportunities for the remainder of the semester!

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