20 November 2014


Good evening everybody,

    Outside it's nice and wintery, so staying warm in a coffee shop with my homework and friends feels like the right choice. Here's a picture of them, and the spot where I'm writing at this moment:

            We're at a cafe in South East Portland for a change of place and to cheer us up during the paper writing marathon. At the moment, I am immersed in an analysis of a Langston Hughes poem and getting ready to start another paper about Jorie Graham. It's been poetry, poetry, poetry for the last few weeks: poetry presentations, poetry writing, poetry analysis, discussion, and I'm going to a poetry appreciation potluck on Saturday with the Poetry 301 class and my professor, Jerry Harp, at a friend's house. Also, I just registered for Mary Szybist's workshop class next semester. She is a National book Award winner and very kind person, so I am looking forward to even more poetry. Sometimes I feel like I don't live in the real world with all this "deep thinking," but at the same time it's awesome. When will there be a time in the future when when I'll have literary discussions everyday?
        Having a quick visit from my dad helped make life a little more real. College has made me appreciate living on my own, but I also appreciate mom and dad more. He took the day off Wednesday and flew to Portland in the morning to see my Dinah Dodds Endowment Presentation on the poetry research I did in Strasbourg over the summer. He took a pic of me presenting:

      Seeing him was a good reminder that there is life outside of school and also a reminder that I am supposed to be here studying hard and makin' the fam proud. This week I'm feeling happy/stressed/tired/inspired and very much in college.

I hope you all are making it through the college applications. It's worth it, so good luck!

Any questions, comments, thoughts? I'm here: marissaburke@lclark.edu

18 November 2014

A Quick Blurb...

I'm sorry, but this is going to be a very short update. We’re at the part of the semester when things are just really, really, busy. I had a lull in my workload for a week or two, and then BOOM. It’s time to get down to business. I'm particularly worried about my final paper for my philosophy class. The outline is due on Friday and I haven't even had time to find my sources yet. I’m also feeling like I might be coming down with something on top of my workload, so there’s that. I won't try to sugar-coat it... I’m just generally exhausted and stressed out and counting the days until Thanksgiving break. So, basically, it’s not a great week to dedicate a lot of time to blogging.

On the other hand, I had a totally awesome weekend! I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves because I am far too sleepy to come up with coherent sentences right now.

Saturday night was Fall Ball. Originally, I wasn't going to go, but I made a last-minute decision and I' so glad I did! I had a blast. I LOVE dancing. 

Before Frankenstein.

My roommate and I took the Pioneer Express, the LC bus, and went downtown Sunday night to see a screening of the play Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature. It was probably one of the highlights of the semester so far. It was so true to the book, and so beautifully and artistically done. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors.

After Frankenstein.

We were emotional wrecks and passionately shouting about all the allusions to Paradise Lost on the way back to LC (she's an English major too).

Also, I found Ramune at Fred Meyer?? Whaaaa..? It's a Japanese drink also known as marble soda. (and you can see the previous years Fall Ball and Spring Fling pictures in the background, haha)

Anyway, I need to go take a nap or something. Hope you are all doing well in your search for the "right" school! I use quotes because no school is perfect and there is probably no "right" answer, but I hope my blog gives you at least a little bit of help in what it's like to be a student at LC.

If you have questions, feel free to email them to me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


Weekend Home

This week, snow was in the forecast for Portland. That’s a rare occurrence here. So while everyone was bundling up to prepare for cold weather, I was breaking out my flips and shorts because I was going home for the weekend! I live about two hours east of San Diego out in the desert, so it was 80 degrees there when I was leaving 32 degree Portland.

My flight was at 6:30 in the morning, so I took the Pio and the Max out to the airport late Wednesday since the Pio does not run that early in the morning. I got to PDX airport around 11 at night and settled in to wait for my flight. I was bursting with excitement all that night, but I had to busy myself with watching movies on my tablet.

I arrived in San Diego Thursday morning at about 8:30, and then I had to learn how to use San Diego’s public transportation. I had to take the 992 bus to Santa Fe station, then get on the green line for the Trolley to get to San Diego State University, where my girlfriend Ava was waiting for me! After walking around for a few minutes, she found me and gave me a tour of the entire campus. SDSU campus was huge.

Once her classes were over, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. Also  I wanted to be able to rub it in for some of my friends in Portland who were sitting in the snow. It was nice being able to relax on the beach and watch the sun set. Once it got darker, we headed over to a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.

Friday morning, after Ava finished classes again, we headed home. My friend from high school, Donovin, who also attends SDSU, got a ride with us. It was amusing watching him (he is 6’5”) fit into Ava’s two door Honda Civic. Driving back, I felt as if I was in a dream. It had been almost three months since I had been there and it didn’t feel real. Seeing all the brown and dusty light green was such a contrast from Portland’s dark green forests.
Donovin enjoying the ride. 

Once I got home, time flew by too quickly. I spent a of lot of time either with my family, being with Ava, or eating carne asada (Mexican marinated beef - a local favorite). It was so wonderful to sleep in my bed and see my family. Also, seeing my dogs was a lot of fun! I missed how dumb they are. It was all over too fast. Now I just need to wait one more month until Christmas break.

Carne Asada Plate.

Now that I am back at Lewis and Clark, I am in full work mode. I have two tests within the next week for biology and chemistry and an essay due next Wednesday for E&D. Also my bio lab group needs to put together our draft of the ivy study we conducted. You can say that this week might be a bit stressful, but I am ready to take on this challenge so that I can get to Thanksgiving.

Until next week guys,

Alex, my brother, and I at breakfast.

Ava enjoying the beach!


17 November 2014

inclement weather day and closing in on the end


I am feeling very well rested as I write this, because my weekend was extra long. My one class was cancelled on Thursday due to "inclement weather." Forecasters were calling for 4-6 inches of snow and 1/4 inch of freezing rain, which is really weird for Portland--especially in November. It ended up not happening (it snowed maybe a dusting), but classes were cancelled Thursday morning because some roads were icy, and the threat of snow still loomed. Because I just had one class, that meant my whole day was free! I stayed home and watched Christmas movies with my housemate while we drank hot chocolate. We figured it was appropriate for the weather.

It's been pretty cold here-- just look at this picture of the reflecting pool I took this morning!
usually they drain the water from the pool before it's cold enough to freeze, but the cold weather came early this year!
There are still little patches of snow and ice left over from last Thursday. I don't think they'll go away any time soon, but I like it. Maybe it's because I'm from Minnesota, but I really like snow and it makes me feel like I'm home.

Besides having Thursday off, I had a pretty restful weekend. On Saturday I went downtown to get brunch to belatedly celebrate my birthday (I turned 21 last Monday!). After brunch a couple of friends and I ventured down Hawthorne in southeast Portland, then decided to go to a mall in Clackamas. We took a series of busses and ended up really far from campus, and really close to Santa's workshop (we decided against sitting on his lap though). On our way home we stopped at a Chinese restaurant in northwest. It was a busy, fun day.

Sunday was more filled with doing work. I finished my abstract wave drawing that I talked about in my last post. I'm pretty pleased with it, and my class seemed to like it. Every time we have a project due, my class spends a while critiquing each piece. It's a good way to get feedback, both positive and negative, and to give you ideas of what you can change. It's also kind of fun because often people will interpret your drawing in a way that you hadn't even though of. It gives you a sense of how authors must feel when high school students analyze every line of a text- as someone on tumblr puts it, sometimes a blue curtain is just a blue curtain. It's fun, though, because it makes you think about what your subconscious was saying.

We are very, very close to the end of the semester. We have this week, half a week next week (and Thanksgiving), and a week and a half of classes after that. Then reading days and finals. That means I only have 6 of my T/Th and M/W classes and 9 of my M/W/F classes left. I have a lot to do before the end of the semester! 

The biggest thing on my to do list right now is getting my visa for Chile. Because I'll be studying in a university and will be living there for 5 months, I am required to get a student visa. Right now I'm waiting to get the analysis of my finger prints I sent the FBI, which I need to send with my visa application. I also set up a doctor's appointment in our health center today for after Thanksgiving break. I need to include a letter from a doctor in my application, that says I'm healthy and don't have any communicable diseases. I'm also waiting for copies of my acceptance letter from the study abroad program. Once I have all of this, I'll send it to the Chilean consulate in Chicago, where I'll then have to go (unless I can figure out how to do it at the honorary consul in Minneapolis) to sign and pick up my visa. I'm a little bit stressed about it, but I'm making myself think about all of the people who did it before me. If everyone else has been able to do it successfully, I'm pretty sure I can, too. I'll keep you updated.

I have to go work on my final project for environmental education, so I'll sign off here. Please email me if you have any questions! rekidder@lclark.edu!


10 November 2014

Weekend Update

November 10, 2014

Well, this is going to be a shorter entry because I have at least eight more things to do tonight after this. I probably shouldn’t have spent an hour watching Avatar: The Last Airbender instead of folding my laundry. Oh well…

I had a pretty good weekend because I was really able to strike a balance between schoolwork and fun things. Right after classes on Friday, I went to a meeting for the Multicultural Engagement Living Learning Community (LLC) to discuss plans for the rest of the term. The LLCs are new this year, although the Multicultural theme has always been present in the hall I live in, Akin Hall. This year it’s just more formalized. Hence, the community meeting. Anyway, the other members of the council and I decided on some cool events to have. One thing we are doing is hosting a discussion about misogyny and harassment in video gaming culture. We also are having a cultural music night where people share their favorite music videos. Another thing that might happen is a sort of story-telling session where everyone talks about their experiences living in or traveling in other countries. I’m pretty excited!

After that, a bunch of my friends went down to the academic side of campus and holed up in one of the larger lecture halls to play The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) on the projector. That was really awesome. We do that a lot – we saw the first Hobbit movie earlier in the term, and last spring we watched the third season of Sherlock. It’s so great to be able to utilize the academic spaces however we want, even on Friday nights!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am taking a class called Education in a Complex World, and I volunteer at an elementary school as a part of it. On Saturday, I met with the kindergarten teacher I work with to interview her for one of my classes. I took the bus to Starbucks and we just talked about her experiences in the education system. It was really cool to talk to her! We never get the chance to chat one-on-one in class because we’re too busy dealing with the kids, so it was nice to get to know her more, and hear her thoughts on things like gender in the classroom, and standardized testing. In the evening, I saw an on-campus production of Spring Awakening. Our theatre department is so cool! I wish I had the guts and the time to be more involved with it. Afterwards, I played Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of people in the lounge, which was a blast.

On Sunday, I spent many hours in the library reading Paradise Lost. That was about it. I love the text, but after I finished the assignment, my brain was just fried. It’s so dense. What really helps me is to listen to the audio version as I read. The Lewis and Clark library website has great resources like that. It's really helpful for reading Milton and Shakespeare, especially because in the latter, the recording has different actors voicing each character. It’s the next best thing to watching the play.

Well, this turned out longer than I anticipated. I guess I’m just proud of myself for having a weekend that was both really fun and really productive. That very rarely happens, it seems.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!


Last Football Game

This week was a last for a couple things. It was my last game for football, and it was the last time I had to collect data for my ivy project. For football, I have mixed feelings about it ending, but I am very happy the ivy collection is over.

On Saturday we played George Fox University at their stadium in nearby Newberg, Oregon. It was a surprisingly sunny day, and it was amazing weather for playing football. The game started out very slowly with both of us being tied 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. After that the game slowly went south for us. Our defense played a very good game, but our offense just had trouble moving the ball. In the end, we lost 30-12, ending our season on a sour note. After the game, we all took a moment to say goodbye to our seniors. It was a very sad moment realizing that we wouldn’t play with them again.

Although it was a very tough season I definitely gained knowledge that will help me in the future here at Lewis and Clark. One of the biggest things I picked up is time management. Before coming to college, I was a pretty good student that never really needed to try to get good grades. Once getting here, that all changed. I had to tell myself that I needed to sit down at this time and plan out when I would do homework, go lift, and go to meetings.

Now that football is over, I have the challenge of figuring out what to do with all my free time. For one thing, I will get to sleep in most mornings now! Without practices in the morning I will definitely be catching up on a little more sleep. I will also be working out a lot to prepare for next season so that we will have a much better season. I hope that I will play more and make a significant contribution to my team!

As for  my biology class this was the last time that I collected data for my ivy study. We have yet to analyze any of our data, which is what we will performing in lab this week.  My whole group was very glad that we didn’t have to go out into the field and tromp around in the forest in plots of ivy. Why? Now we move on to our write-ups and analyzing our data.  It will be a great relief once we can knock this out. I really am glad that we have to do this write-up. This lab has really helped with my ability to write a scientific paper and work with peers to complete a task. Since I want to be a veterinarian, this will be a helpful learning experience as I move toward grad school.

Now that football is over, I am going have more time to find a lot more adventures (like my snowboarding class!) so that I can tell everyone about all the great things at Lewis and Clark College!

Until next week everyone!
-Remington Campbell
Our field on the morning of game day! Before we left for George Fox.

The two pictures above are from our field work in biology.
We were observing native species that grew near ivy. 

Here is a picture my brother sent me of my two dogs back home.
They are of questionable intelligence, hence the title he sent me. 

09 November 2014

On Mondays

Hey all!

This week started out the way it usually does, with an incredibly busy Monday. Mondays I have class on and off (mostly on) from 9:40 to 5:30, so it's always a full day. Luckily I like all of my classes, so I enjoy everything. This week in drawing we started working with crosshatching, which is somewhat therapeutic. The goal of the assignment was to create shapes that were pleasing to us, and fill it in with a gradient of light grey to black, using only crosshatching.
where I'm at right now- I have to fill in the whole page!
The other project I'm working on right now for that class is a "pairing" project. We had to draw a pair of something on a combination of white paper and black paper. On the white paper we can only use black charcoal and on the black paper we can only use white chalk. It's been a lot of work, but I'm almost done with mine- I was initially going to draw a pair of earrings hanging from my ears, but the shadows ended up making the earrings difficult to see. You can see my lips in the drawing, though, so I can argue I did a pair of lips. I've been amazed how much more confident I feel in my drawing abilities since I started this class.

One of my other classes on Monday is Spanish conversation. This week we've been presenting on our favorite songs, so I presented on Graceland by Paul Simon. It's a song I grew up listening to on car trips with my family, and I enjoyed getting to research it some more (for example, I learned that it wasn't originally going to talk about Graceland, and Elvis, and Simon just used "I'm going to Graceland" as a filler. Eventually he decided to visit the city, and afterwards he decided to keep that as the chorus of the song). I've also been introduced to other songs through the other presentations, which has been neat.

My other Monday class is environmental education. We've been doing a lot of interesting readings about place based education, which is the idea that education should be based in learning about place- students should utilize the area they live in order to learn and better understand concepts and their community. In order to implement this in our class, we have a practicum at a nearby site. I've explained this before, but I am at Tryon Creek State Park, just a few blocks from campus. This Saturday I visited the site again, this time to attend a talk by LC's own Liz Safran, an environmental studies and geology professor. She presented on the geomorphology of Tryon Creek. Similar to the programs for children that I've attended so far, we started out with a presentation in the classroom, then moved outside for a hike. The main difference was that this was a program for adults, and we got to go off-trail (something you only get to do in Tryon with special permission).
the view (off-trail) of Tryon! It was very flat and had lots of deciduous trees, making it feel more midwestern than other parts of the park (which I like, since I'm a fan of the midwest)
I learned a lot, and the audience was very engaged.

The rest of the week went by fairly smoothly. I had my classes as usual (my fourth class is colonial Latin American history, in which we learned about the Pueblo Indians in the current American Southwest), and watched "The Mission," a film about Jesuit missions on the Argentina/Brazil/Paraguay border. Tuesday I had an exciting ukulele orchestra practice, in which we decided to work on Taylor Swift's new album. This weekend I went downtown to get my hair cut, and did a lot of homework.
downtown is full of beautiful fall colors!
the view from the stop for the pioneer express (the shuttle downtown) next to my house
My birthday is this next week, and my classes continue! I'll write about it next week.

If you have any questions, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!