• Malvern Madondo

    Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

    Malvern's Bio:
    I have heard that the average human being uses 10% of their brain's potential. Whether that's true or not, this blog is a mirror of at least part of my brain's functionality and activity. It is an outlet through which I share my experiences and escapades here at CSS. I hope that in between the mixed metaphors and rambling in my posts, you find something valuable. I have an overwhelming interest learning new things and expanding my horizons (which is why I am here). Wait, I just lost my train of thought... Welcome to my 'Pensieve' ~ thinking out loud..

  • Takudzwa Munjanja

    Gweru, Zimbabwe
    Health Information Management, CIS minor

    Halle Nystrom

    Graduate Student
    Fargo, ND
    M.S. Health Information Management

    Daniela Moreno Gomez

    San Salvador, El Salvador
    Computer Information Systems and Finance

    Shivani Singh

    Mumbai, India
    Management & Marketing

  • Katelyn Gehling

    East Bethel, MN
    Exercise Physiology for Pre-Physical Therapy

    Jason Chavez

    Minneapolis, MN
    Psychology, Organizational Behavior, and Social Work

    Laila Zemar

    Casablanca, Morocco
    Biochemistry, Biology and Pre-med

    Malvern Madondo

    Harare, Zimbabwe
    Mathematics & Computer Science

  • Brooke Elvehjem

    Mora, MN

    Jin Baek

    Aurora, CO
    Biology and Chemistry (Pre-Med)

    Yael Ikoba-Ndjip

    Brussels, Belgium
    Accounting Major; Finance minor

    Neena Koslowski

    Apple Valley, MN

  • Kathryn McCarrick

    Saint Paul, MN
    Elementary Education

    Bryan Chavez

    Richfield, MN
    Accounting and Finance

    Conrado Eiroa Solans

    Madrid, Spain
    Psychology Major, Biology minor

    Shauney Moen

    Graduate Student
    Oak Grove, MN
    Doctorate of Physical Therapy

  • Laura Salazar

    Bogotá, Colombia
    Marketing and Business Management

A First Year’s Time Capsule


Just a month ago, I was looking forward to my first Halloween experience in the U.S. Just a month before that, I was settling in my classes and brushing off the last bits of jetlag while trying to adjust and settle in. Just a month before that, I was at home, getting ready to embark on the longest journey of my life yet, saying farewell to friends, family and home. Adding these events together and all the moments in between, I realize how time has swiftly passed. Strolling down memory lane, to the start of the year, I realize that I have come a long way, from where I began, and there is still a long way to go for the roads go ever on and on.

While being a college student is remarkably a challenging thing, being an international student can be a little bit more challenging, especially all you know about your school and the place where you will be learning is based on the information provided in the brochure or international student handbook or online perhaps. Nonetheless, this does not mean there are no brighter days. Like everyone else in college, you will certainly have memorable experiences, make history or at least help others make theirs, have fun, joy and laughter. In light of all these various experiences, I thought I would create this memoir, briefly highlighting some of my experiences and sharing my thoughts and my hopes. So without further ado, brace yourself for a peak into my college life.

85 Days ago…


Last day home and first leg of my 8000+ miles journey to CSS. One of the most bittersweet days of my life. Didn’t want to leave. Wanted to leave.






…and a day later, close to midnight, I arrived on campus and it all began…

85 Days ago… but a week later…



… what do you think I said?

During the first week, I was a bit dazed, unknowingly took the longest routes to get to places, was scared of asking (never ever do this), had a lot of fun with international students (whom I had just met) and established new friendships. There was a lot of free food on campus too… In addition clubs and organizations were recruiting! I signed up for eight clubs and days later, found myself being invited to club meetings and the fun began.



And I also realized that…

…because, you see, there are some nights where you don’t sleep at all and would appreciate a quick nap in the morning and then there are other nights where all you want to do is sleep in and wake up just in time for lunch. Sadly, I never do that.


85 days ago and a month later…


Now fully used to the system, I go through the first stages of the W-Curve and emerge victorious. Many thanks to several resources on campus and to friends and nice folks on campus.


Classes are in full swing and I have taken quite a number of exams to know that in college you have to work twice as hard to get ‘nice’ results. Sometimes, you do not have to work at all, you apply yourself. Wait, what?

Then a month later…


Halloween, midterms and all that day-long midterm break

… the trick-ing and the treat-ing…

… the pomp and the fanfare…



Fall as I know it, faded, and winter began…in the Midwest perhaps? My roommates would say, “Oh wait until it gets cold… this is nothing..”



All this while, I am also trying to get my schoolwork done and sharpen my time-management skills – a cure to procrastination.

after a hard day...

/source/                 ….after a hard day…


after a long night and before another hard day

/source/     …..after a long night and before another hard day

Be time conscious! /source/

Be time conscious! /source/

Delayed work does not mean avoided work... /source/

Delayed work does not mean avoided work… /source/


































“With freedom comes great responsibility” – E. Roosevelt.

I have gone through a pleasant metamorphosis over the past few months and have become a more independent individual. With a full time job as a college student, I now have more responsibility to invest my time wisely and spend it productively. This is one aspect that I find a challenge– especially the application part. I find it easy to rant all day long that ‘Oh I am going to do this… and that.. and that… after doing this … before doing that…’, but words are meaningless without action if productivity goals are to be realized. In addition, each day I have to make important decisions and wise choices regarding how I am going to spend my time, where and when. Someone once quipped, “The best decision you will ever make in college is deciding when to wake up. Usually ‘Now!’ is the best decision.” I am still learning 🙂 Still on learning, so far I have found my classes to be pretty challenging (that’s what they should be, right?) and simultaneously, enjoyable. I will write more on this topic close to the end of the semester (when I am sure exactly how much I know and have learned based on this semester!!!).

Ultimate Goal(s):

‘Know thyself!’ This is what I am trying to accomplish. To know myself well in order to apply and engage myself in meaningful ways. I am looking forward to know more than I knew at the beginning of the semester, of course.

Bucket List:

So many things! First, I don’t want to get cold. This may seem invalid but considering the fact that I want to do a little bit of ice fishing, skating, snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow-that-and-this, I think it is most appropriate!! Do you have any suggestions? As long as I don’t get frozen hahaha I want to have some nice winter experiences. You can probably tell, I am scared of the getting cold, Minnesota cold. On top of this, I want to spent quality time exploring new subjects and new things as well as meet new people. I just want to expand out of my comfort zone. Did I mention I want to build a snowman and snow angel?

Who will I better at the end of the year?

Good question. I am still building on the answer. I hope I will be more educated and evolve into a better person. I hope, above all, to apply what I have learned in situations across various aspects of life. I hope to figure out my talent(s) (I am always questioning this especially after being asked by some), develop my non-existent winter skills and experiences and develop my academic passions. I look forward to positive experiences and memorable encounters. I wrote a letter to my future self (twice) and I hope my past me will not be disappointed by my future me!


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