Monday, October 9, 2017

Kailee O'Brien: New Perspective through New Experiences

What is This World?

It has been a little over a month since I began my exploration of a city I did not know. But, I have discovered that this city would teach me more about myself than I anticipated. Growing up in a suburb of Des Moines, Iowa, I knew what city life was like, but to the extent of Denver, Colorado, I did not. I have a poster hung up in my room that says, “If you never leave, you’ll never find the road home”.

Because of numerous softball tournaments I participated in, I have traveled across the country with my family, going coast to coast just to play the best competition we could find. The biggest difference between traveling then and traveling now is, I am on my own. I am away from my family, my friends, my pets… everyone. The one thing I hold onto is the urge to travel.

Though it is hard being away from them, I am seeing the world through my own eyes. I am able to go up into the mountains, and breathe in the freshest air that God has given. I am able to see people that are completely different than they are from Iowa.

I have gained perspective. Whether it comes from different religious views, or simply the small acts that people do to make them happy, here in Denver, that scale is huge.

I recently went to a tattoo shop. I knew I wanted to get something that reminded me of Denver and the numerous adventures I have taken. The only thing that came to mind was traveling. In the smallest form, I now have on my arm “wanderlust,” which means a strong desire to travel.

While adventuring in Colorado, I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite bands, NEEDTOBREATHE at the Red Rocks Amphitheater. They have a song called “Keep Your Eyes Open,” and there is a line that says, “if you never leave home, never let go, you’ll never make it to the great unknown”.

Being completely wanderlust in a city that is full of opportunities, I have fully kept my eyes open. I have left home to a place I never knew I would fall in love with. I have traveled the unknown and, more importantly, I have discovered how to be a stronger person than I was before. Denver has challenged me and has given me a newer perspective on the world. It is an experience I would never take back.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Maria Munguia on the City, Mountains, and Adventures of Wartburg West

From small town Immokalee, Florida to small town Waverly, Iowa, I now find myself in the big city of Denver, Colorado. I always pictured myself living in a city, but I never imagined it to be this soon. I can’t believe I’m here, and I can’t believe I am living in Denver, Colorado. I have been exposed to the mountains, which is something I had never experienced before. Since I’ve been in Denver I have discovered a whole new Maria; I climbed Mount Elbert! I never in a million years thought I would be on the highest peak of Colorado, as I had never climbed anything before. I come from Florida, a pretty flat area with its occasional hill as you start heading up north. I didn’t think I could do the climb, but I did. I made it to the top of Mount Elbert, and that is so empowering for me to say. I felt like I was on top of the world, and I felt like I could do anything. I truly felt unstoppable, and amazing. We never think we can until we do it, and that’s why I say go for it.  I have learned how to live on my own so soon, and it has given me a glimpse at what will soon be my life and not just a semester experience. I have learned so much about Denver, and I can see why so many people are moving to this amazing city. I would be lying if I said I didn’t picture myself living here. There is so much to do, and not taking advantage of every opportunity here would be a loss to myself. I grew so much by leaving Florida and going to school in Iowa, and this experience is just helping me develop into the person I am called out to be. If you’re thinking about doing Wartburg West, I encourage you and support you. It may seem scary, but I promise you will love it just as much as I do. The mountains, the city, the adventures here are all calling your name. Do it, it’s so worth it. 
Blessings,
Maria Munguia

Friday, September 22, 2017

Mason McMillan: Transportation Lessons Learned in the Big City

Waukon, Iowa: Population 3,500. Stoplights in town: one.
Denver, Colorado: Population 3,200,000. Stoplights in town: thousands.

You could say it’s been a bit of a culture shock learning how to get around in such a large city compared to where I’m from.

My work-study advised me to bring a car, and so I did!  Driving in Denver is not difficult as long as you use GPS or know your route.  I personally like to use Google Maps because the app will point out parts of your desired route and explain if traffic will be heavy or congested.  Making sure that you have enough time to get to your destination and time to park is a major key to driving in Denver.

Driving in Denver is much different than driving in my hometown of Waukon, Iowa. Unlike Waukon, Denver has thousands of stoplights and intersections.  I never have to worry about rush hour or congested traffic in Waukon, but in Denver, it is the complete opposite.  To get to my work-study location, I do take main roads that can be congested at times.  There is no specific time of rush hour; it differs every day.

Parking can be very frustrating, but everyone is in the same predicament.  If you are bringing a car to Denver, I highly recommend practicing parallel parking before coming to Denver.  I have to parallel park almost every day, and before I came to Denver, I never really had to parallel park.  When parking, one has to pay very close to the parking signs.  Every road is different and the parking signs differ as well. Parking violations can be very costly, and having a car towed can cost up to $350.

However, you definitely don’t need a car to be able to get around Denver!  If I didn’t need a car for my work study, I would not have brought a car.  The bus and light rail systems are easy to use.  People can look up directions online or on Google Maps on where to board and exit the bus to be able to get around town.  The Kimberly apartments are located in a great part of Denver for accessing the public transportation routes.  The apartments are close to downtown but still out of the commotion.

Driving in Denver has taught me a lot about living in a heavily populated city.  I am glad that I took this opportunity to study in Denver because it is helping me decide if I want to live in a city after college.  I am looking forward to all of the educational experiences and memories that are to come!


Mason McMillan ’20 is a current sophomore attending the Urban Studies program this semester in Denver, Colorado. During his semester in Denver he is taking part in the “sophomore experience” which consists of three essential education classes as well as a work study with a local business - Nostalgic Homes Realty. Back on campus, Mason is a Business Administration major and also a Knightcaller for the Annual Giving office.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Zachary Nullmeyer on Sustainability and Positive Change

           After being in Denver for over 3 months, the only complaint I have is that it all went by too fast! It is going to be hard to go back to Iowa. The thrill of adventure is so enticing and I have loved doing something new and different this semester.
           One of the things which I have been thinking about since I have been here is a way to use my accounting/business degree to promote sustainability and to make positive change in my community. The class trips which we have taken have been good ways for me to get ideas and see how other people used their educations to contribute. One particularly thought-provoking trip for me was the Stanley Marketplace in Aurora.
           The first thing you would notice about the Stanley Marketplace is how different it is. The founders wanted to create something special. They took an old, abandoned airport, reused as much of the building as they could, and turned it into what they call an anti-mall. Stanley is a place for Colorado businesses only. No chains are allowed. The building is fascinating. Bits and pieces from the airport were reused, a reminder of the historic site which they took over. When you shop in the Stanley Marketplace, you can rest assured that you are buying local, quality products. You are giving back to the community. The Stanley Marketplace is a gift to citizens in the Greater Denver area.
           The tour guide, who was one of the founders, was so passionate about the project and his vision for sustainability. Not only was the marketplace a great business investment, but he could feel good in it too. I have always thought that one of the keys to happiness in life is to help others. Even though I doubt I will ever start a marketplace, the overall mission was so inspirational for me. The founders had found a way to use their backgrounds to make a difference.
           When I think about my own vocation, I am sometimes overwhelmed. The world can be so big, which is even more apparent when you live in a metropolis like Denver. Can one person like myself really make a difference? The Stanley Marketplace was one of the many trips in Denver that have really caused me to believe in my own vocation. This semester has been more than skiing, hiking, and eating tasty Denver food. I have developed a passion to do my part in creating a smarter, more sustainable world. When I go back to Wartburg, I am excited to bring that with me.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Maya Weatherall on New Growth and Fresh Perspectives

Before coming to Denver I was very nervous about a lot of little issues, like how am I going to afford food, where am I going to church, how will I get to my internship? So many questions and fears but very little answers. I didn’t think, coming to Denver, I was going to find my voice and be confident in my ideas. Taking RE 325 and ID 360 has really shown me what it is like believing in an issue and then going out into the community and talking with different individuals who are also passionate about the same thing.
I am not much of a person who is into talking about politics or religion in a group manner, but I have shared my own opinions at several events we went to, like Interfaith Alliance and going to the Aurora Area Strategy at a Lutheran church where I spoke with Lutheran pastors about how the church can play a vital role in the community. From all these experiences I have learned that there are things that I am very passionate about at Wartburg College, and I want to take what I have learned in the classroom and the community and make that same difference in Waverly.
From the classroom I have met so many people at my internship at Fourth Wall Productions who are passionate about the work they do for Colorado through video. Every day, I am happy to get up and get ready for my internship. I have grown mentally and emotionally by working with so many different personalities and physically by humbly learning more about video. Alongside, outside of the classroom I have had the opportunity of participating in a service trip and making a difference in little kids’ lives by tutoring them or helping a mother and her daughter clean their house and yard. I can go on and on about how many blessings I have received, but Wartburg West is not just a time to be in a new city, but to grow and learn more about yourself and the community that is around you. You start to realize that you can make your voice heard, that you can make a difference by meeting people, and that you do gain new perspectives at your internship. I love that I made the decision to come out to Denver for a semester. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Garrett Grimsman Discusses Handling Conflict


           The biggest conflict in my mind is definitely when the office has not prepared in the right way or has fallen behind in its preparation for the weekend when the games usually are. This is a huge source of conflict because when it comes to game day, everyone is scrambling to get tasks done. Alternatively, if the preparation is done, but not done thoroughly, then it makes for an awkward situation where things don’t run as smoothly or there are more issues that pop up that have to be dealt with. I have seen this conflict come up a couple times, but in the instances I saw it, it was a preparation problem, and more so a problem that was kind of unlucky. The first time I saw conflict on game day was the first weekend of softball and baseball at home, and the conflict was mainly just due to it being the first time that there were softball and baseball games for the year. Whenever you start a new season, things have to be refreshed to everyone. A lot of it had to do with making sure everyone was getting their particular job done right and refreshing everyone on how everything would work. Because there were some new individuals to this process, including both Abby and I, it definitely was a little shaky to begin with, and Abby was not really herself at the beginning of the day. I saw her get extremely stressed and a little upset about how things were running to begin the day, and John basically had to calm her down and help her understand that everything would end up working out all right. At the same time, there was not a whole lot he could do to help her out because he had his own responsibilities. At the end of the day, everything ended up turning out just fine, and I think that was due to the leadership that is present within the administration, especially John himself. There is a lot of experience within the administration that helps take over in these situations and brings calmness to the various issues and problems that come up. You have to have this leadership though in athletics to have successful programs because there are always problems and issues that arise from day to day. Often times, these issues are out of the control of those in charge of the tasks and operations.
           Another instance of conflict that I saw on a game day was for a men’s/women’ basketball doubleheader. The conflict arose because the individuals in charge of the stats book and running the clock for the game both got stuck in traffic on the way to the game, and were going to be late. Just as I explained above, this is a major problem that is out of the control of the individuals in charge of making sure game days run smoothly. John was on it right away, and showed great communication skills to get everyone in the right places necessary to get the jobs done right. He had to make a few changes to make it all work until the individuals got to the gym. Once again, he showed an extreme calmness because I am sure he has been in situations plenty of times before that are similar to this; it’s probably almost second nature to him at this point in how he handles things. Just the way he carries himself in such a professional manner during these situations where it would be so easy to just get upset and start blaming others is incredible and has honestly taught me quite a bit about myself. It really has showed me how in times of stress I am not nearly as professional and calm as John is, and I don’t handle these types of situations in the best manner all the time. That doesn’t mean at all that I struggle in stressful situations because I actually think I do pretty well for the most part in situations of conflict, but I definitely don’t handle them the best all the time. I just struggle to communicate in an appropriate manner, as a lot of times I will raise my voice at other individuals and really get into them because I feel like I am doing my job, but they aren’t. That isn’t the right attitude for me to have at all, especially as someone who strives to be someone who positively impacts others through great leadership. So this has definitely helped me see in person what really good leadership looks like and how to act as a great leader in tough situations that can be extremely conflicting at times. Game days are extremely important in showing this manner of professionalism because they are public events and you want to carry yourself in a manner that represents the program in the right way. That means all the way down to me, and I feel like this administration does that extremely well in the way they present themselves in public as people that are extremely approachable people that enjoy conversation with the fans of the athletics program. I just feel like I always see them having conversations and building relationships with students, faculty, and members of the public that are all fans of the program. This is an extremely important part of building a successful program because this is how you get donations and fundraisers started that help to fund the growth of the program so it doesn’t just flat line, but instead continues to improve and rise in the amount of success that it’s having.
           Finally, although I mentioned a couple of conflicts on game days, within the office the days are much more stressful because that is when all the preparation happens. In order to have successful game days, there is so much work done each week. So in the office you see much more frustration between the administration at times, as well as especially with people outside the organization that are partners or that play a role in the program’s success.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Garrett Grimsman on Exploring and Interacting in the City

           My post has to do with my walk to my internship everyday and how much I walk in the city in general. I walk down Colfax everyday about 40 minutes to my internship. Simply observing and exploring the area is an experience in itself; walking around the city and doing as much walking as possible is the best way to get an understanding of the city life, as well as experiencing all that Denver has to offer. There have been plenty of times that we have been told that many individuals really do not enjoy walking on Colfax and around areas where there is a large homeless population. However, I do not mind it at all, and actually enjoy interacting with the people in this area regardless of who they are. I am able to learn a lot more from talking and being in the same space as individuals that are very different from me even when some of the situations can be a little awkward to begin with. It also helps that I care about the issues surrounding the problems with homelessness; it gives me a chance to learn from and actually see what is going in these parts of the city.
           Not only is it interesting to interact with these individuals on my own, but it is also remarkable to see how they interact with one another. I saw individuals that did not look too well off, from my perspective, playing/rolling dice and betting money on the games. This was probably the most interesting thing that I observed on my way to and back from work. It was interesting to see that they feel the only way to get back on their feet is to get lucky and win money some way from playing a game or from taking big risks to be able to make enough money to get going down the right direction. I do not feel like they are confident to try to make this move in a slow and steady way. Likely, they probably feel like they do not have the time to be able to get back on their feet. Perhaps doing it the slow and steady way makes them feel that they are falling into an even bigger hole then they are already in.
           Not only is it much more of an experience interacting with these people, but through walking, it is much easier to figure out all the places within the city that are a must-visit. It also helps that our apartment building is in such a great location where it is easy to get to practically every part of the Denver and surrounding area. Because Denver is so nice in the winter, it is a perfect time to be out here to be able to see all that I want to see without even having to drive anywhere. I have had such a great experience so far because of how much I have taken advantage of the different things to do, and how much I enjoy trying new things and taking on new challenges that are much different from what I am used to. So far, Denver has been everything I could have imagined and more. It has allowed me to experience so many new things that I have never had a chance to experience before. Denver is definitely a place I could see myself living after school and far into my future. I am enjoying it so far and plan to keep enjoying it and keep learning more and more about this wonderful city.