10 February 2016

Busy Busy Busy

So it's my final semester of College and it looks like its going to be a busy one.  There isn't one large task that is taking up a lot of my time, instead I'm doing a lot of different things around campus.  So today I decided to talk about everything I do and will do this semester.

First off I am a student.  I am lucky that I got all of my General Education requirements out of the way early so that now I have a lot of freedom to choose what classes I want to to take.  This semester I am taking Drawing 1, Astronomy, Prevention and Care of Injuries, and Behavioral Genetics.  All of these but the last one are for fun and are not required for my Major or for any other Gen-Ed requirements.  If there is one tip that I give to anyone starting college it is that you get your Gen-Ed's out of the way as fast as you can so you don't have to worry about them and you can take classes that are fun and interest you that are out of your field of study.

The second largest commitment that I have is being an Resident Advisor.  This task hasn't changed much from last semester other that I now know everyone in my hall very well and the community that we have is very close.  It is surprising how close my residents have become even after living each other for a few short months.  The big thing now is that we are in the middle of hiring RA's for next year.  This means that I'm helping conduct interviews, along with other tasks to filter candidates. Along with this a few of my residents are applying and I'm attempting to help them through the process as well.

Another large commitment I have is being a Varsity Athlete again.  I decided to join the Track & Field team again (I came to L&C in part to be a hurdler) and I'm super excited to be competing again.  This season I will most likely be running the 400m, 800m, and doing long and triple jump.  It's been strange running again because I haven't actually ran track since my Senior Year of High School.  However it has also been super fun and the ream is full of great people that I am excited to be able to compete with for the next few months.

My final and strangest commitment is planning my life. I have 86 (no I'm not counting) days until Graduation and I have no clue what I will be doing next year.  My only plan right now is to hike the PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) this summer.  For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a Hiking Trail that runs 2,650(ish) miles from Mexico to Canada, and I plan on walking through all of it.  In my free time (of which I have very little) I am planning how I will get to and from the trail, how I will get my food resupplies, meet-ups with friends and family along the way, as well as surviving the entire ordeal.  Mixed in is some planning and applying for Jobs and Internships but I haven't started stressing about those too much yet.

Anyway that is how my semester is shaping out to be.  If you have any questions about whatever I am doing or just life at Lewis & Clark in general, feel free to shoot me an email at jprovost@lclark.edu.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

09 February 2016

Video Update: Bike Ride into Downtown & Field Trip to Coast

Hey all!

This Saturday was an all-day field trip with my Oceanography class. We traveled to the Columbia River Estuary to take measurements on ocean chemistry and wave characteristics. We ended the day at a nice Oregon beach. Great day to break in my new KEEN boots (made right here in Portland).

A photo posted by jay (@jayhidekichu) on

This Sunday was bright, warm, and sunny: too nice to stay inside. So of course, I stretched my legs on my beloved Cannondale Trail 5 mountain bike by heading into town from LC on the Willamette Greenway Trail.
I'm going to try mixing things ups by showing you a video I took on my cousin's old GoPro of the ride.
Sorry for the low-quality video editing, but enjoy the ride!

Questions, comments, in Portland for the weekend? Tag me @jayhidekichu on instagram or email me at jaychu@lclark.edu

Cheers everybody! Jay

About me: Transfer sophomore Lewis & Clark College. Major: Environmental Studies, Minor: Japanese

Snowboarding at Mt. Hood

What a nice weekend it was! The sun came out and there was a hardly a cloud in the sky, which was a very nice change from all the overcast days and rain we’ve been having. When it is sunny here, it feels so refreshing in the sun when I walk to class. Sadly, tomorrow is going to bring more rain for quite a while, so who knows when it’ll get sunny again.

Since the weather was so nice, my friends and I decided to take advantage of a good weekend to go snowboarding on Saturday at Mt. Hood. It was even better because nights at one of the three resorts on the mountain has skiing and snowboarding for only $34, which is great for college students! Once we woke up and ate brunch, we all piled into my friend’s car with all of our gear to drive up there. It was Blake, Cale, Dylan, and I who all went up for the day.

The three resorts on Mt. Hood are Timberline, Meadows, and Ski Bowl.  We went to Ski Bowl, which isn't technically on the mountain, but is right next to it and has a great view of the surrounding area. It was a lot of fun for all of us to get off campus and go do something really exciting. With the weather being so nice, it wasn’t all that cold which made me pretty happy since I usually don’t like the cold too much. Once we got hungry, we ate dinner at the lodge there and then snowboarded until 9ish before we headed back.

The next day was the Super Bowl, so Blake and I rented a projector from the library to watch the game. We set it up in his common room so that we could have a bigger screen to view the game. A few of our teammates came by and sat with us while the game was being played. It was a very nice day to relax and enjoy a football game. I was really happy that the Broncos won and that Peyton Manning got another ring.

Now that the weekend is over, it’s time to buckle down and start studying for all my tests that are coming up soon. All four of my classes have tests within a week of each other, so it is going to be a lot of time spent studying in the library for a while. That’ll keep me busy until next week.

Until next week,
My friend messing around. 

Taking in Mt. Hood. 

View from the very top of Ski Bowl. 

07 February 2016

Of Vicious Buses and Far Off Parks

Yesterday I caught the bus down to Oregon City to visit a small park run by the Nature Conservancy.  Minus the fact that the bus tried to eat me (read: slammed shut on me, but left everyone else alone), the travel went without a hitch.  Since Oregon City is south of Portland, instead of catching the Pio (L&C’s shuttle) into Portland and taking public transportation from there like I normally do, I walked about 20 minutes down Palatine Hill Rd to catch the southbound 35.  Oregon City, at least the portion I was in, is decorated with waterfalls and one very long staircase.

Camassia Natural Area is a small park in West Linn (a town just above Oregon City).  One of my biology professors volunteers there over the summer so I decided to go and visit it.  The park is beautiful and well kept; they have volunteers year round removing invasive species and working to maintain the historic oak woodland.  It’s a bit out of the way, but if you are interested in seeing what the Willamette Valley looked like 150 years ago this would be the place to go.

L&C Everyday Life: Bio Help Center

For some classes here, TAs will host help centers in the evening for any students who are having problems or just want to get to get together to study for a while.  My biology lab team got together at the help center tonight to finish up the introduction to one of our upcoming papers.  Lots of other students form study groups or just work on homework together.

 Helpful links:

Shuttles at L&C: http://www.lclark.edu/offices/transportation_and_parking/shuttle/

Portland public transportation: http://trimet.org/

06 February 2016

Post Abroad get together at Advisor's home

Bruce and students chatting

Last semester I had the opportunity to travel all over India with 18 other Lewis & Clark students, Nicole Schneider, the overseas program coordinator and Bruce Podobnik, a Sociology professor who led the the trip (not to mention, he is also my advisor)! As the third week of Spring term was coming to an end, I had ran into almost everyone either on campus, a party, or downtown, except Bruce. I had yet to see him. Last night, we had a get together at his home, which I was excited about. Yeah, you read right! We met at my advisors home! That was not the first time we had gathered at his home though. A few months before we left for our trip we had an orientation their. At that time, I did not know anyone (besides Bruce), and I remember I was feeling a bit anxious about starting new friendships and simultaneously embarking into what was going to be a challenging time abroad. I say challenging because, we were all going to emerge into a whole a different country where the cultural norms and expectations are completely different than to the ones in the U.S.

One recurring topic that came up in some of the conversations I had last night, was how many of us have a difficult time summarizing our time abroad in 1-3 sentences. I have been asked a number of times "How was India?" While I am not sure what part of India people want to hear me respond about, I usually respond by saying, "It was good... a challenging and learning experience, but overall it was good." While some people ask further questions such as "what was your favorite part about India?" or "how did you like the food?", these interactions have somewhat of an awkward feeling to it. I know that I cannot put into a short number of words how my experience was and I also know that my responses do no do it justice.
One of my friends mentioned how she was not able to talk about India until a few weeks since arriving had gone by. Not because she was not given the chance to, its just that how do you summarize three+ months into a few sentences?

Overall, I want to emphasize how fortunate I feel to have traveled with these 20 other individuals and if I had a chance to do it again, I would! Last night, I was able to see the growth of each individual that was present as well as the bond that traveling and experiencing India together had created between us. Every time I run into someone from my trip, I greet them with a huge smile and I too, receive a large smile in return. By traveling with a group I definitely got the opportunity to learn small details about each other lives and that's whats special about it.

While I can talk about my trip forever, I am glad we were able to gather last night and catch-up. Most of all, I am fortunate that we have professors and faculty at Lewis and Clark who are willing to create close bonds with students as well as be a life support, like Bruce and Nicole are to me.

Last group picture before we left India

05 February 2016

What A Busy Week

Wow! It's only been two weeks (okay, three weeks including this one) and it has already been so incredibly busy with schoolwork and events around campus.

First, and obviously of great importance to me, was that my first thesis proposal draft was due last Friday. It was a very long and late night, but I submitted it and got a very positive reception from my professor. I'm currently revising some parts and digging into raw data for my particular case study. I'll be looking at recent escalations between Israel and Palestine over disputed ownership of heritage sites.
I had a major breakthrough today after meeting with my thesis advisor and clarifying my hypotheses. I then met with a librarian at Watzek library who helped me find sources for raw evidence and data for my theories that I will be testing. So far, so good! I will definitely be working hard this weekend to edit my proposal and make serious headway in seeking more data sources.

Other great things around campus...

Last Wednesday, I went to a fiction reading in the Frank Manor House by Natalie Serber. She was invited to campus by the English Department, and the reading was from one of her current works-in-progress. It was funny, heartbreaking, and ultimately relatable - I found it especially compelling as inspiration as I was working later that night on my English class's writing assignment.

Natalie Serber at the Manor House reading

Well, I'm still very sore from Fit Club, the club that meets weekdays for group exercises. We did cardio and some pilates on Monday and Tuesday respectively, and I am still sore!

This Wednesday, my and a friend got free pie at an event hosted by Pioneers for Pioneers, a new initiative started by ASLC (student government) for students. Their goal is to fundraise to help supplement existing financial aid to help LC students when the situation changes too quickly for traditional aid to kick in.

Pie-oneers for Pioneers

That same night, I went to a Chamberlain Social Justice event with the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life. There was a reading of a one-act play written by LC alum Jeannie LaFrance ('88) by the Community of Welcoming Congregation's acting troupe, "The Drama Queens." The play, called "You Have Always Been Welcome Here" follows the actual stories of four trans people as they navigate questions of identity, community, and faith. The reading was followed by an intimate and honest discussion with the actors and audience about the piece and the historical context that it existed in.

I think I'll include the events of today in my next blog entry, but I'll leave you with these photos of the clear days we had last week, before the current downpour hit us. Bonus points for that incredible view of Mt. Hood!


02 February 2016

What Else is there to do in Portland?

Hey all!

If you've never been to Portland, anything you've heard about Portland probably includes a combination of hipsters and food, but there is much more. Of course, not mentioning the classy+grungy fashion and endless cheap yet gourmet food in Portland would be totally unfair, I want to focus in on a few other things that make Portland such a hot place to live as a student and beyond.

1. Nooks & Crannies: For a relatively small city, Portland has tons of nooks and crannies for every little thing, whether it be food, crafts, music, tea, coffee, music, galleries, chocolate, books, stationaries, desserts... you name it. In my experience, there are few places in the world where you can take a walk and would feel the urge to stop every few meters because everything seems interesting.

Cacao in Downtown, A gourmet chocolate & espresso bar. Yes, it exists.

2. Beer-vana: For those who are 21 or older, read on. For those who are not, skip to #3. I've lived in San Diego, and I've lived in Portland. Still today (and for good reason), San Diego is ranked as the top city for beer lovers because of its killer micro-brewery scene and general atmosphere that is so conducive to drinking a nice cold brew. But Portland is different. As a beer drinker in Portland, you'll get a completely different brew experience than in San Diego, or anywhere else of that matter. In San Diego, you go to the beach to surf some waves (or watch surfers) and then head to a local brew pub. In Portland, you'll bike through the cold rain and meet up with your friends for a colder pint. Pick and choose wisely!

3. Coffee-vana: You might've already heard about the coffee scene in Portland and rightfully so. Before moving to Portland some time ago, I didn't even like coffee, but cup after cup, I was  mercilessly converted. A short blog like this will NEVER give the coffee scene here justice, but trust me, you will love it, no matter who you are. If you aren't a coffee drinker, you'll still appreciate the sheer variety of coffee joints around Portland, each with its own unique twist like vinyl background music (Courier), standing-only marble counters (Spella), European style (Case Study), or desserts-galore (Palio). You'll simultaneously find your new favorite coffee shop and hear about a new place worthy of your #1 ranking.

4. 5. 6. etc. It'll be impossible to list all the things that make Portland great other than hipster-culture and food, but if you're curious about anything in particular, you are totally welcome to shoot me an email at jaychu@lclark.edu

Cheers everybody!