Archives—July 2010

Oh the Places You Will Go!

After spending the weekend traveling along the Upper Peninsula’s beautiful coast line I decided I would like to share with you all the great attractions you can visit when you bring your student to Michigan Tech in August.  Many families do not have the opportunity to travel through the beautiful Upper Peninsula often.  Driving your student to Michigan Tech can be the perfect time for a fun family vacation.  I would like to help your family make the most of the trip by sharing some of my favorite places to stop on the way to Houghton, Michigan.

From Lower Michigan

Enjoying the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline that borders U.S. 2.
Enjoying the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline that borders U.S. 2.

When I drive to Michigan Tech from my hometown Midland, Michigan I really enjoy traveling on U.S. 2 in the Upper Peninsula. U.S. 2 begins at Interstate 75 just after the Mackinaw Bridge.  Following U.S. 2 you can see miles of the beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline.  The side of the road has a large shoulder for vehicles to pull over.  Many motorists pull off the road and enjoy walking in the eight miles of great sand beach.  The views from the U.S. 2 highway are truly amazing, however, I do caution you to be very aware on that particular highway.  The beautiful scenery can be distracting for drivers and the route is typically busy with travelers.  Make sure you watch your speed limit and be aware of other drivers if you choose to take this route.  From U.S. 2 I usually cut through the middle of the Upper Peninsula by taking one of the highways that run north to south and connect with M-28.  The portion of M-28 that passes through the center of the Upper Peninsula between Seney and Shingleton runs along the border of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The Seney Stretch is considered to be a “straight-as-an-arrow highway”.  It is 25 miles long and has almost no curves and almost no change in elevation.  Although it may not be the most exciting section of highway to travel it will get you to the Lake Superior shoreline quickly.  The first major town that you will pass through along the Lake Superior shoreline on M-28 is Munising.  Munising is a nice town to stop in and stretch your legs after a couple hours of driving.  There are several restaurants in Munising and several visitors attractions.  One of the most well known visitor attractions are the Pictured Rocks Boat Cruises.  Although I have not been on a Pictured Rocks Boat Cruise yet I have heard that the views of the rocks are phenomenal.  The cruises last approximately 3 hours and tickets for adults are $34.  From Munising to Marquette M-28 travels along the Lake Superior shore line for several miles.  There are many road side parks along the way.  Marquette is a rather large town with pretty much every fast food or chain restaurant you can think of.  After passing through Marquette, M-28 veers away from the Lake Superior Shoreline and meets up with U.S. 41.  U.S. 41 runs straight up the Keweenaw Peninsula to Houghton.  A large portion of U.S. 41 also runs along the Lake Superior shoreline and there are several roadside parks here as well.

The beauty of Northern Michigan is truly unique and unforgettable.  Whether it’s walking the sandy shores, taking a boat tour, or simply stopping at a roadside park, I hope you and your family have the opportunity to enjoy the splendor of the Upper Peninsula.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have!  Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which guest article writer Erik Stolberg will be writing about traveling to Houghton from Wisconsin and Minnesota.


Shopping for Computers and Textbooks

Computers at Michigan TechComputers

At Michigan Tech each student will have access to a computer lab in the academic building their degree program is housed in.  Students typically have 24 hour access to their academic building and their computer lab with their Tech ID card.  The computer labs are equipped with all the necessary equipment and software that your student will need to successfully complete their degree at Michigan Tech.  Most of the computer labs also have unlimited printing for students.  Occasionally there are classes held in some of the labs throughout the day, but in my personal experience I have never experienced any difficulties finding a computer in the lab to work on.  Since the computer labs are designated by degree program they can be a great location for studying and doing homework.  Chances are the other students in the computer lab are in the same degree program and are either in the same course as your student or they have already taken the course.  Working in the computer lab provides students with a quiet place to study and also helps students build relationships with others in their degree program.

Since the computer labs have all the necessary programs and software that your student will need for their courses, your student can purchase a computer that truly suits their individual needs.  Does your students want a laptop?  A netbook?  A desktop?  It’s really up to them!  Laptops are nice because they are portable.  Your student can take it to the library, to class, or to a study lounge in the Residence Hall.  Professors policies on laptops differ from class to class.  Some professors may have strict policies on students bringing laptops to class while others may encourage it.  I started out at Michigan Tech with a laptop, however, I very rarely took it out of my room.  I found it to be too heavy to carry in my backpack with all my other books and I preferred taking class notes by hand.  Last summer I purchased a netbook.  Netbooks are smaller and more lightweight than laptops but they have a lot of the same features.  The netbook I purchased came with the basic Microsoft programs, internet capabilities, and a built in webcam.  The biggest thing that most netbooks lack is a cd drive.  This can make it a little more difficult to install any additional programs or use the computer for leisurely things like watching dvds or playing games.  I really enjoy having a netbook.  It is very lightweight and fits easily in my backpack or even my purse.  I also find my netbook to be less obtrusive when I do choose to use it in class.  Two months ago I purchased desktop computer.  I really enjoy the speed of my desktop and the storage space it has.

All types of computers have benefits and drawbacks.  Finding the right computer for your student depends on what they want to use their personal computer for.  Although Michigan Tech does not recommend any particular type or brand of computer, Dell and Toshiba offer special discounts to Michigan Tech students.  Other computer companies do not have specific Michigan Tech discounts but they may have a general education discount.  For more information about these special discounts and the computer specifications that Michigan Tech suggests check out the West Engineering Computer Network page.

Textbooks

I see on the main ParentNet site that many parents are beginning to ask when their student should purchase textbooks for class.  For most Michigan Tech students their schedule is already set up.  First-year students will find that their schedule is mostly finalized, however, they may choose to make some changes during Orientation week.  First-year students will most likely need to add in one more course for the fall called Perspectives on Inquiry.  They will do this at Orientation in August.  If your student is fairly certain that they are not going to change the courses they are already scheduled for they may choose to begin purchasing their textbooks now.  Student can check to see what books they will need for their courses in the fall by going to the Campus Bookstore and selecting Express Text. Express Text allows students to enter their User ID and Password (same information students use to login to their Michigan Tech email account) to access a complete listing of the books they will need.  Students may pre-order textbooks online and the books will be waiting for them when they get to campus or they may wait until they arrive to campus and purchase them at the Campus Bookstore located inside the Memorial Union Building. Students may also find textbooks at the College Bookshelf located in the Pearl Street Mall just off College Avenue or online at the BarkBoard Forum.

I hope you are enjoying summer!  Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have.


Room Assignments & What to Bring

Housing Room Assignments

Typical room setup with two lofted beds.  Approximatley half the room is pictured here.
Typical room setup with two lofted beds. Approximatley half the room is pictured here.

In just a little more than a month, Michigan Tech students will be moving into the Residence Halls and will be preparing for the start of the fall semester.  Students should be receiving their Housing Room Assignments within the next week.  When students receive their Housing Room Assignment Letter there will be a link to the Housing Welcome website.  Students can go to the Housing Welcome Website to view all the pertinent information regarding their room assignment.  The website will have information regarding the student’s room, room phone number, roommate, meal plan, and Resident Assistant.  The website also has helpful information such as floor plans of the room and photos of the furniture that will be in the room.  This helps students visualize just what their rooms will look like and what they should bring with them to Michigan Tech.  It is a great idea for student’s to contact their roommates before they arrive to Michigan Tech to get to know one another and plan out what they are bringing up for the room.  Regarding Housing Assignments, It is also important to remember that assignments are processed in the order in which they are received by the Housing Office.  Housing does their very best to place students in the Residence Hall they requested on their Housing Application.  From my experience whichever Residence Hall you end up in as a first year student, that is the Residence Hall that you really fall in love with.  That is where you are going to make some of your closest friends, have some of your best college memories, and that will be the place that will become your home while you are a Michigan Tech student.

Storage containers can make a student's closet at college very organized!
Storage containers can make a student's closet at college very organized!

What to Bring

I would strongly encourage students to begin the process of packing the items they are going to bring to Michigan Tech as soon as possible.  It is also very helpful to make a list of the items that you have packed up so that you don’t forget what you’ve already purchased and packed.  You should also have a running list of items that you still need to pack or still need to purchase.  For a list of items that student’s should expect to bring with them to campus go to the First-Year On-Campus Living page.  There are a lot of items to think about bring with you to campus!  The categories include:  academic supplies, room items, electronic items, laundry items, personal items, clothing items, and miscellaneous items.  Most academic supplies are pretty similar to those that student’s and their parents have been purchasing throughout high school.  Students should have a stock of notebooks, binders, sticky notes, highlighters, and pens.  In regards to room items students can expect to bring bedding to fit an extra long twin mattress, a small refrigerator, a microwave, cleaning supplies, and lots of storage containers.  Storage containers are a huge space saver for college students.  Roll away storage containers fit great under futons to store extra clothes or bed linens, drawer dividers help students make better use of their space, and extra large storage bins are great for storing winter coats and athletic gear.  For electronic items students will most likely want to bring a computer with them, possibly a printer, an external hard drive, power strips, a coaxial cable, and a television.  Students should also remember to bring their personal items, such as medications, a small first aid kit, a shower caddy, and toiletry items.  In regards to clothing items, in addition to typical wardrobe items students should bring with them a warm winter coat, warm winter boots, gloves, and long underwear.  Laundry rooms can be found in each Residence Hall.  Washing machines are free for students to use and dryers are just .25 cents per load.  Student should bring with them laundry soap, dryer sheets, stain remover, and a laundry bag.  As a female student at Michigan Tech I like to hang dry some of pants and shirts.  I find it helpful to also have a collapsible drying rack for delicate air dry items.  Lastly, some of the most forgotten and important items that a student should bring with them to Michigan Tech are the miscellaneous items.  Students should remember to bring their social security card, an ID, and a health insurance card.  Students will need an ID and a social security card if they would like to work on campus.

Items to Leave at Home

Students should make sure they leave candles, electric heaters, air conditioners, halogen lights, toasters, and toaster ovens at home.  These items are not permitted in Michigan Tech’s Residence Halls.

Packing Tips

As a college student moving away from home for the first time you may be tempted to take all of your belongings with you but remember most students go back home for fall break and winter break.  Going home for fall break and winter break is a great time to grab any items that were forgotten and take home any items that are not needed anymore.  It is also important to remember that you are going to be living with another person who is also going to be bringing all their essentials with them too.  Some parents and students struggle getting everything to fit in the vehicle they are driving up to Michigan Tech.  One tip that I heard from a Michigan Tech parent was to do the Ship-To-Store Option at Walmart.  We have a Walmart just minutes from Michigan Tech’s campus.  Parents and students can order their items online and have them shipped to the Houghton Walmart.  This is a great way to make sure you have everything you need without trying to squeeze it all in the vehicle you are bringing to Michigan Tech.  Supplies also can get pretty low in the stores in the local area because so many parents and students run out to get last minute items during move-in weekend.  By making sure you have everything packed or ordered before you come to Michigan Tech you won’t have to worry about not being able to find essential items.  Also, some students may be tempted to bring along with them a vacuum, lots of cooking supplies, or games.  Students can bring these items with them to Michigan Tech, however, each Residence Hall has a reception desk that has many cooking supplies, games, and several vacuums available for students to check-out.

I hope you are as excited to start the fall semester as I am!  Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have!  Don’t forget to check back for next week’s article in which I will be writing about the purchasing a computer and purchasing textbooks.


Copper Country Strawberry Festival

I spent my 4th of July weekend adventuring and hiking to waterfalls in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
I spent my 4th of July weekend adventuring and hiking to waterfalls in the Keweenaw Peninsula.

I hope you all enjoyed the 4th of July weekend and that you had the opportunity to spend time with family and loved ones.  In celebration of Independence Day, there were activities and events going on all weekend long in the Keweenaw Peninsula.  Whether you are in search of live music, fireworks, food, or an adventure, the Keweenaw Peninsula has it all.  During summertime in the Houghton area, the festivities are truly endless.  From one weekend to the next there is always something to do.  This upcoming weekend the 62nd Copper Country Strawberry Festival will be taking place in Chassell, Michigan.  The Strawberry Festival is known for its parade, entertainment, and of course, it’s delicious strawberries!

Friday, July 9

The Strawberry Festival begins at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, July 9 with the serving of strawberry shortcake, brats, hot dogs, and ice cream.  What a way to start a morning!  Starting at 10:00 a.m. a quilt and craft show will be taking place along the Chassell Bay.  From 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. the Chassell Heritage Center will be hosting an open house.  The activities on Friday evening continue with a fish boil, a dance, a children’s parade, and the crowning of the Strawberry Festival Queen.

Saturday, July 10

Saturday, the day begins bright and early with a scrumptious start.  From 6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. pancakes and sausage will be served at the Firehall.  Starting at 9:00 a.m. strawberry shortcake will be available.  The quilt and craft show will continue on Saturday.  The Strawberry Festival Parade will take place at 11:00 a.m..  Also, taking place throughout the afternoon on Saturday is a chicken BBQ, horse-drawn wagon rides, live music, and children’s games.  From 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. attendees of the Strawberry Festival will have a  very special opportunity.  The Western Upper Peninsula Center for Science, Mathematics, and Environmental Education will be offering free scientific excursions on Michigan Tech’s very own research vessel, the Agassiz.  This will be the fifth year that the public will have the opportunity to take a 45 minute excursion on the vessel.  In previous years the Agassiz trips were very popular.  The vessel can only hold 17 people and there are currently just three departures planned for the Agassiz.  It is strongly encouraged that those who are interested arrive early and sign up for a trip upon arrival.  The Agassiz is planned to depart from the Strawberry Festival grounds at 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.  For further information regrading the Agassiz trips check out this article in the Mining Gazette or check out the Schedule of Events.

I hope all the Michigan Tech students in the local area make it out to the Strawberry Festival this weekend to enjoy the fun times and the delicious strawberry shortcake.

Please feel free to email me with any questions, comments, or suggestions you may have! Check back for next week’s article, I will be writing about the Residence Hall housing assignments and what to bring to campus.