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When architecture comes to landscape.

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Hello everyone, this is Tony.
Since everyone is talking about their majors, and it is thanksgiving now, let's hit the pause button of the supermarket show. Today I want to talk about my current major, landscape architecture and give a quick glance of what we are doing now and might will be doing in the future.
Just to clarify some terminology here first. The major is called Landscape Architecture, which means it is the art of creating landscape, not creating a house like architecture. This is the professional degree; for undergraduate degree, which is the pre-professional degree, is called Landscape Design and Planning. I'm actually new to the program, I transferred from Journalism to LDP this summer ("From Journalism to LDP? These two have nothing in common, crazy man...") and started my LDP program this term so I can only give some limited information, but my friend, Sarah, is actually writing a blog about the LDP major, with her juicy description and funny tone, you guys can enjoy reading her blog and know more details about LDP program.
Here's her blog, please click the link until you need a new mouse, LOL:

First , why and how did I started majoring in Journalism but then transferred to LDP, which might be the biggest change in my lifetime.
Well, first of all, I'm a sort of artistic person who has some good idea, the work I would like to do is those need to have creative thinking, artistically. Then, becoming a journalist was one of my dream because a news reporter is the one who deals with something fresh, meeting with someone new everyday---I see this as a way to practice my creativity. So I decided to be a journalist, or an advertising designer. I became more passionated to the latter when I was taking my art courses. My paintings were always something new and eye-catching, visually strong enough to impressed the audiences but still had the subject matter to express the messages. I thought this was my strength to be a media designer and I still think it is, I felt I was so close to my dream, there's no barriers between me and my dream.
However, dream can always be beautiful a dream but reality can only be a cruel reality. I was rejected by the program and I still don't know why---maybe I didn't have a strong personal statement, maybe because my language skill was not good enough to be a journalism major student. Anyhow, The fact was the fact, in spite of how many major courses I've taken already or I was a junior already, so I had to find another major to graduate with a degree. I started seeking, and the rule was, something creative.
I thought about majoring in art, since I love doing art and drawing and painting were two of my favorite things to do. But I immediately rejected myself. "You can't major in something you love most, it might run out of your passion one day and you can't risk it" I kept repeating this and looking at the list of all majors in College of Design( CDes). I considered graphic design, which I felt to similar to the artwork I did for my art minor, so I quited. Then, came with Architecture, which I thought it was not fresh enough for me. I like the Chinese traditional architecture a lot and it's to learn anything about that in the United States. Eventually, I saw three words---landscape design and planning. A thought strike me right in my head---"this is what I was looking for!"So, without knowing much about this major, assuming it is about doing something new and creative because there's a "design" in the name, I became a landscape design and planning student this summer.
So, what exactly does landscape design and planning do? the name can tell some stories.
Landscape means we deal with the landscape, either change or create based on the original landscape; design and planning indicate the process, and they are different from each others. In a larger scale like a city, where does the park should be placed; in a community, where does the playground should be built, it is planning; In a smaller scale, detailed enough to each element like a single tree or a piece of brick, that's design. The priority of landscape design and planning is creating spaces, coordinating with the environment and the cultural context, people would better use the land and more efficiently . In a word, landscape architecture is the art of living.

To be more specific, I would like to show two of my work, And again, there's more in Sarah's blog.

1. Using vegetation to create the space.
This is a plan view hand drawing to show my design by using vegetation such as trees and shurbs to create space. QQ截图20121123222420.png
The trees or shurbs work as wall to limit/block people's walkable space, so that the circulation can be controlled. This is just step one, a rough plan. Then, we were asked to consider about the desity of vegetation. Heavy vegetaion can block the way, as well as the view if needed, so what's the density of the vegetation on one side and what's the density on another. What would be seen and what would be visible.
There's more, What kind of trees ore shurb would be fit in the site considering its contexts. what plants can grow together and what plants can not. What kind of aesthetical value can this type of plant create and most importantly, how these vegetation related to the way when people using the site. And there's more elements for one site to be considered when design it. Landform would be considered before vegetation, then comes structure, and the symbolism is another factor needed to be addressed, etc.
So landscape architecture is not a easy work, it is a cross-subject major, which refers to aspects such as art, architecture, hortculture, geology and many other field, and this is another reason why I really like this major---it gives me a great opportunity to explore more and more and keep learning. I'm actually really glad that I was rejected by Journalism.
People always say that, If life closes one door for you, there's always another window open, And this happened to me, which the window is much bigger than the door. I'm very excited about this and for the future, I will get my master degree to be a real landscape architect, I have a really huge dream, create a city, and to achieve that, I will work harder and harder step by step, I'm ready for this!!

The two pictures blow here are another design we make for one of the countyard on campus, Vincent Countyard. We did some huge changes based on the original plan, trying to figure out the way to encourage more people to use this countyard.
Exercise #5 Zhuo C.jpg


What can you do with a Liberal Arts Degree?!

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Let's face it: What is the most common question people ask you as a college student? "What are you studying?"

If you answer is one of the liberal arts majors like mine, then, most people might wonder "What are you going to do with that degree?" Well, you can do almost anything with a Liberal Arts Degree! But what is "anything"? You can do a lot of things. You just don't know what exactly they are?!

I still remember having a conversation with my career advisor. He told me that employee look for people with Communication skill but they don't look for a specific person with Communication degree. the degree worthless? NO. Do we need Liberal Arts Degree? YES.


Last Friday, I had a chance to meet with the academic advisor from College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota. She shared that a Liberal Arts Degree should have been a requirement for every college student in order to have a wide knowledge about different things going on in the world. According to her, liberal arts degrees provide students with different perspectives to make them think critically.

I'm not an expert. I haven't got out of college and of course I haven't had chance to prove what I have gained throught my liberal arts degrees. However, during the last summer, I got two internships. We can also see a lot of succesful people with Liberal Arts Degrees. I would want to quote some experts' opinions about Liberal Arts Degree.

"I keep reading statistics about how many times today's graduates will change careers during their lifetimes," he says. "A liberal arts degree is the ideal preparation for that kind of world, even if the degree does not channel one neatly into one's first post-college job."says Paul D'Anieri, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Florida.

"A liberal arts degree provides an inherent advantage in written and oral communication, interpersonal skills, problem solving, critical and analytical thinking, and adaptability to change," says JP Hansen, career expert and author of The Bliss List: The Ultimate Guide to Living the Dream at Work and Beyond. "The ability to comprehend, communicate, and conquer problems is the name of the game and is implied with a liberal arts degree."

On top of that, a report from the Social Science Research Council shows students with skills typically taught in liberal arts programs tend to be more successful after graduation.

Fox news

At the same time, College of Liberal Arts at University of Minnesota is the only college that requires students to know another language in order to graduate. Knowing another language is one of the biggest advantage you can have in daily life as well as work life. Most of us here are international students, which means we might speak another language other than English.

Please follow my next blogs when I discuss more about how knowing another language is beneficial and why College of Liberal Arts at University of Minnesota should be your destination!

ESL program at the University of Minnesota!

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English Literature major. I'm pretty sure it is not a common major to have among the international student. I got a lot of question regarding English.
"How could you survive?"

My answer is, "I would not, if I didn't prepare myself."
English skills are necessary to survive in American college as an international student regardless of their major.

There are few tips for the students who need to improve their English skills through MELP program at the University of Minnesota

University of Minnesota has ESL program call "MELP" (Minnesota English Language Program).
For more than 40 years, the University of Minnesota has led the way in ESL and TESL training. Students have access to a wealth of academic resources, exceptional faculty, cutting-edge technology, and other facilities at one of the largest research universities in the United States.

MELP offers three distinct services:

Academic English Program - Credit classes for students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate degree programs who are seeking to improve their English language skills while taking other academic course work.

Intensive English Program - A program designed for students who need to improve their English skills in preparation for study at a University or college, and for those who wish to prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Short-term Learning - Customizable training for groups of 12 or more non-native English speakers.

TOEFL score preparation course

Professional English Course

As an international student, I strongly recommend taking ESL classes both for prospective students and current students who need extra English skills.

1. It will help you to improve not only your basic English skills but also essential academic English skills for university student.

- you may not have any problem to just "live" and "communicate" in your daily life. For being a successful college student, however, you may need extra academic skills!

2. It will help you to prepare yourself

-Jumping into hard major classes can be a lot for most of the students !
Lets take a step by step with MELP Program!
In my case, it help me to adjust myself into University life.

3. You can earn credits though ESL classes as well

- A lot of current international students do not know you ESL classes are also counted as credits!

4. You can meet a lot of friends!

- This is your chance to meet many international students just like you!

If you have any question, please contact MELP at


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Hi everyone,

Final is coming in two weeks!!! Are you ready???
There are so many resources we can use for preparing finals.

1. I would say the most important resource for me is the study guide or practice exam which professor will hand out maybe 1~2 week before finals. I always follow the study guide to review my textbook. I took intro psychology class and we had study guide for each of our test( in total four exams) I answered each of the study guide questions for six or seven pages. But the good thing is the study guide questions really helped me to review each of the chapter and let me know the key points from each chapter. In that way, study guide really helped me prepared my final and it brought me a good result:D

2. go to professors office hour. Usually, instructors will have extra office hour before finals. some of the instructors hold review session for students. My suggestion is bring specific questions to the professor. A lot of instructors will go through the practice exam during the review session, some of the instructors will summarize each chapters. it really depends on different instructors. Usually, instructors will left 30 minutes or even more to answer students questions. So do waste your study time, bring questions to them.

3. go to tutor or TA. TA is a great resource to go for ask questions. They are students too and they can explain things really clear. Sometimes, I go for tutor on the second floor in Walter library or in the Wilson library. They are just as same as TA for me.

Recently, I talked to my little 12-year-old cousin in China. She was super confused about why I am so busy around final, and she said: come down, it is just final! You just need to study for it. How could that be hard." Okay.. I have to say she is kinda right but not absolutely right. Yes, I need to study really hard so that I can have a good grade. However, it is not just about final exams. There are something called presentation which I like but will spend me a lot of time to do it. I like it because it is a team work project. Usually, we do case study. It can help me to understand a company better. Also, we work as a group so it is easy to hear others ideas. The most important part is speak out to the public. I use to afraid of speaking in the public, and that is the reason I took public speaking class. However, after you did a few presentations, you will enjoy the feeling. It feels great to explain things to the whole class and the most exciting part is they listen so carefully and they may have questions for you. At that time, I feel like yeahhhh I am rock in the class!!!!!!!

Some classes have final paper due during final. My suggestion is start it early and go to the writing center for revising.

This is my suggestions for finals. Good luck everyone!! and for our cute little perspective students: be ready!! You will rock in the University!!!!

College of Biological Sciences

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Are you fascinated by the existence of micro-organisms? Do you aspire to pursue medical profession some day? Do you wish to work in open fields and explore the beauty of nature? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then College of Biological Sciences (CBS) is the one for you.

CBS is one of the very few colleges nationwide that is solely devoted to biological sciences. It offers you with amazing majors that include neuroscience, genetics and plant biology. The journey of a typical CBS student begins with the Nature of Life (NOL) program. It is a 3 days camp, in which students get to take intensive seminars at Lake Itasca, the headwaters of Mississippi. I have so many beautiful memories from this camp, which in include living in cabins in the middle of a forest, doing research in a natural environment and spending time with my peers and the amazing CBS faculty. Below are a few pictures from my trip to Lake Itasca.




CBS also offers its students the opportunity to work in research labs under the guidance of world-class professors. It was immediately after my freshman year, that I got an amazing opportunity to work in a genetics lab. I have gained so many laboratory skills that I wouldn't have learned if I wasn't involved in this research lab. Therefore, I recommend that one should get involved in research labs because there's so much more that you can learn by doing things practically. One can either earn credits by doing directed research in a lab or earn money by participating in Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program.


CBS has a number of leadership programs that let its students build leadership skills. I am involved in one such program named the Deans' Scholars program. This program offered me with opportunities to do community volunteer work, attend leadership seminars and reflect on my leadership philosophy. It's an amazing opportunity for any student who is keen to polish their leadership skills by getting involved in the community.

A poster that I made along with my fellow Deans' Scholars highlighting our volunteer experience.

College of Biological Sciences is a heaven for anyone who is truly interested in exploring the world of biological sciences.

Is There Even a Single Fun Class in This World???

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Have you ever thought of a class as a fun class to take? Or have you ever longed to take a class because you thought you'd love it for sure? I think we usually take classes because they are required, and we really have no other options other than that or we wouldn't graduate from college.
Personally, I think classes that are out of one's major are most subject to this problem. However, the good news is that I finally found my favorite class, which is actually out of my major, but it is at the same time somehow related to my major, which is architecture. It is totally the most interesting class I have so far taken. It is my favorite class, and it is the beginning Sculpture.
We have so much fun in this class. We are encouraged to be creative and produce whatever we wish to. We use different materials, such as plaster, wood, and metal. We are not assigned to necessarily make a dog or a duck, as my professor always insist on saying! Therefore, everyone has a different project with a totally different subject and narrative to talk about. This is my second project that I have made with metal sheets. However, it is not yet complete.
Project 2, Fatemeh Serajzadeh
I think it is necessary for everyone to find their favorite class and take at least one fun class in their college studies. It will give you so much positive energy, and will help you to do your other homework as well.

Hey all!! I'm pretty sure many of you must have come across circumstances when certain concepts in class make no sense and drive you nuts. These situations can be really tedious and de-motivating for any student. But don't worry, U of Minnesota has got a lot of FREE resources to help you overcome problems in academics. Some of these resources are the Smart Learning Commons, Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE), University Counseling & Consulting Services and Center for Writing.

I would first start off with the Smart Learning Commons(SLC). I really like SLC because it provides tutoring in a vast variety of subjects, ranging from physics and chemistry to math and humanities. They are located in libraries on all three campuses- Wilson Library, Walter Library and Magrath Library. They even have test banks from selected courses- isn't that just AMAZING??! On the other hand, if you need information on other resources in addition to course help, then you can seek Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence (MCAE). MCAE not only provides help with different subjects, but it also provides advising on internship opportunities, campus resources, scholarships and mentoring programs. However, sometimes college life can become so hectic that it might inflict mental imbalances in a student's life. In such situations, students can seek counseling from University Counseling & Consulting Services (UCCS). UCCS provides useful counseling to students about a variety of learning and success skill topics.

Last but not the least is my favorite resource, the Center for Writing (CW)!! Located in 10 Nicholson Hall, I have visited this place like infinite number of times. Every semester one can come across a class that requires writing essays. Now that nobody is a genius, we can need help with brainstorming ideas, writing an outline or even proofreading the final draft. CW provides individualized writing instructions, both face-to-face and online to students. I highly recommend you to check out this place if you ever need help with writing essays for a class or even for graduate/professional school applications!

So, that's all I wanted to share with you today. I hope you found these resources helpful and would make the best use out of them. However, let me know if you want to know more about any of these academic services, I would be more than happy to tell you. Till then take care and good bye. :)

Need some help for your writing?

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When I introduce my major/minor, people usually surprise and ask me back "English major? But you are not a native speaker!"
(Actually, I really want to say English major is actually really fun if you like reading and writing.)

I was born and raised in Korean until when I was 21 year old. Although my major was English before I came to U.S., I didn't have any confidence in my English.

I still remember how I was frustrated when I couldn't even order my favorite coffee at Starbucks. I wanted to order "caramel macchiato" but the worker couldn't understand my pronunciation. I was shocked and embarrassed.

So, I was very scared when I declared my major as English major. However, I really enjoy my University of Minnesota life as an English major student now.

However, I think, English should not be the reason which lets you down. There are TONS of resources to help you out in University of Minnesota. Today, I want to introduce "writing center" in University of Minnesota. Writing center is one of the helpful resources for your essay assignments.

Are you still afraid of using English? Don't give up!
You can be so much better. (We should admit the fact English is you Second (or third) Language to you. It is natural that you are learning by making mistakes.

If you haven't had chance to visit writing center, YOU ARE MISSING OUT! Writing center is always ready to help you.

There are three ways to use writing center

1: Appleby Hall writing center: (room 9)


You can walk-in without making an appointment. (So, you might need to wait little bit. However if you didn't have time to set an appointment, you can always visit here!)
Recently, they add Nicholson room 15 to have walk-in hours as well. Hooray!

2: Nicholson Hall writing center: (room 15)


You can make an appointment on line (mySWS) (it is very easy). You can even choose the adviser who has the same (similar) major with you. Because you will let them know what type of paper you will bring, they can jump into your paper right away!

3: on-line writing center:
You will submit your paper and question online. Your adviser will send you back your paper with corrections and answers to your question. The greatest part of on-line writing center is after you got a reply from your adviser, you can have follow-up chatting with them!

Yes, many of us are non-native speaker of English
which means, we can speak more than two languages ! :)

Check it out voices from Minnesota's multilingual writers.



A day in Minji's life at the UofM

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Hey Everyone,
It's been a while, since I posted last time.
I thought I would share my typical day at the UofM these days :)
I am taking many fun extra classes in addition to my design classes this semester. Since I am a senior and am expecting to graduate in May 2011, I'm taking advantage of being a college student by joining Taekwondo and Jazz dance class!! The UofM offers so many different courses and I would like to share my two fun extra classes.

Blog of the Week

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Make sure to check out our Blog of the Week winners :)

Week 1 (October 10 - 16, 2010): Choose UofM and Have the Best of Both Worlds! by Minji Kye

Week 2 (October 24 - 30, 2010): Is This the State of Being Overwhelmed by Questions?! by Sifa Sarica

Week 3 (November 7 - 13, 2010): What an Amazing Program! by ShinHyoung Choi

Week 4 (December 5 - 11, 2010): Build a Better Bridge by Mengyao Luan

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