09 December 2018

FINALS!!

Hello everyone!

This week was our last full week of classes. Just three more day of
The Circuit Bouldering Gym
classes, then reading days and final exams. I cannot believe that I only have a week and a half left of my first semester of college. Lewis & Clark really feels more like home now. On Thursday I went to the Circuit Bouldering gym to go rock climbing which was really fun. LC College Outdoors offers a free shuttle on Monday and Thursday nights that takes students to various bouldering gyms in the area. It was really nice to get off campus, workout, and take a moment to reset before finals. Currently, I am sitting in the library working on final essays and this blog post.

In my Colonial Latin American History class, I am working on my final project which is a group project about African influences on Colonial Latin American music. I really like my history class because we get to show our knowledge through essays and projects rather than cumulative content exams. It has also been really interesting to research the topic of African influences on music because I am taking on the role of an ethnomusicologist which is something I have never done before and I am learning so much about Latin American music and its origins. The final project is cool because we are creating a museum exhibit that looks at the larger theme of African influence on Colonial Latin American society in relation to race and labor. Each group has a different topic. One group is looking at religion, another is looking into cuisine and other aspects.

For my Exploration & Discovery class, I am working on my final paper where I discuss Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own and its relation to The Communist Manifesto. In my E&D class, we are also finishing up the semester by reading poems by Saeed Jones.


Have a wonderful day,

Sarah

02 December 2018

Studying & Staying Organized in College

Hello everyone!

We only have a week and a half of classes left before finals begin which means lots of time spent studying and writing essays before this semester ends. This past weekend I was able to fly home to Minnesota and spend the weekend with family and friends that I haven’t seen in three months. This semester I have 3 tests, 2 essays, and 1 project to complete in the next couple of weeks. My exploration and discovery class has our final essay due and an exam, in international affairs and Chinese class we have our last exam, and in my colonial Latin American history class, we have group projects along with a short essay.


I am going to talk a little about study tips and organizing tips that I’ve found personally useful during this semester and the best place to study:

  1. Group Studying vs. Solo Studying
This semester I’ve done a mix of studying with a group of people as well as studying on my own. Definitely studying with people can lead to more distractions but if we are all on task it can also be really productive and motivating to be surrounded by others who are doing work. If I am studying material for a class I enjoy working with other people because we can quiz each other and clarify things but when I am trying to read my textbooks I prefer being alone so I can focus on understanding the content. I also like being around my friends when I am working on essays because I can ask them for advice and to review my writing.

  1. Use a Planner!!
I think one of the easiest things you can do to help yourself stay organized and be productive is utilizing a planner. I just have a little one from Target that I use every day but you should use whatever style of notebook, journal, a planner that works for you. After every class, I write my homework down so I don’t forget about it. I also frequently go through the calendar that is in mine and add things like meetings, appointments, when things are due, and fun plans I may have so I can see my month easily all at once. I personally also really enjoy crossing things off when they’re done because it makes me feel productive and accomplished when I get everything crossed out for the day.

  1. Spreading it Out
When it comes to studying, I feel that it is really helpful to spread out your studying. Sometimes you do need to cram the night before - we have all done it - but if you can spread it out over a few days or even a week it really helps! For my international affairs class, I have found that when my friends and I study together for a little bit each night the week leading up to the exam I feel way more prepared and less stressed about the exam. Overall this method is less stressful, it can be easier to manage (since it’s just a little time each day), and you’ll do better because you have been exposed to the information multiple times and are able to understand the material rather than just memorizing it.

  1. Going in with a plan/goal
I think going in with a study plan or goal helps keep you on task and productive. Sometimes when I head to the library I bring all my different assignments and don’t actually get anything done. For example, I’ll be working on an essay but then still be thinking about some reading I have to do so then I try to do that instead. I have found that sometimes I just need to focus on one thing at a time. Going into the library it is better when I know exactly what I plan to work on and sticking to it.

  1. Sleep!
Personally, for me, I have been sleeping more in college than I ever did in high school. I have been getting all my homework done, doing sports, and various clubs/other activities and still getting plenty of sleep. One thing is that I just do have more time to get my stuff done than I did in high school since I don’t have 7 classes in a row. I also have just come to the realization that sleep is something I want to prioritize since I know I won’t do as well in general if I am tired the next day. Sleep is also just good for your body and mind which helps you then retain information better and do well on tests. I still spend a lot of time studying and definitely do stay up later when I need to but any night that I can get to bed earlier I do. I also don’t let myself study past midnight because I know that by then I’m not really benefiting from the studying. The big thing here is that if you have good time management by spreading out your work, staying organized, and not procrastinating until the last hour you will have plenty of time to do fun things and sleep too.

Some of my fave place to study:

  1. Watzek Library
In Watzek there are lots of different places you can study. So far, I have found that I really like studying in the conference rooms & group study rooms. You can easily reserve the different rooms for periods of time and they’re nice to be in because they have big tables and you’re not distracted by other people in the library. I really like the big meeting room on the third floor of Watzek because it has a huge table, fun spinning chairs, and large windows. The silent sections of the library are also really nice - especially at night. They’re cool because they have open tables as well as more private desks to study at and it is always quiet (but sometimes it’s too quiet), the area also is lined with windows which makes it feel really big. On the second floor past the silent section, there is a little area with tables, couches, and a fireplace which is just nice and cozy and can be a fun place to study.

  1. Outside!!
When it is warm and sunny out I love nothing more than sitting out in the sun on the grass and studying. The LC campus really is beautiful and this year we had a lot of sun in September and October so I was out every afternoon soaking up the sun. Sitting down by the reflecting pool or on the lower lawns are great places to study. There are picnic tables down by the outdoor swimming pool which are nice too. Sometimes my friends will hang up their hammocks to do some reading in which is also really nice - I am looking forward to putting my own hammock up sometime in the spring when the sun comes out.

  1. Dorm Common Rooms
I have found that I don’t really like studying in my personal dorm room just because I get more distracted and I also like to try to separate my living space from school as much as I can. However, I have done a lot of work just hanging out in the common rooms of my dorm, Copeland, and my friend's dorms too. The common rooms are nice because they have tables, chairs, and couches and sometimes you just don’t want to walk to the library, Sometimes I’ll bring some snacks into my common room and sit down and work on things.

  1. Coffee Shops Downtown
In high school, I frequently did my homework at coffee shops alone and with my friends. Since coming to college I haven’t gone to very many coffee shops to study mostly because I study at night and going downtown at night just to do homework isn’t what I am feeling up to do. I did go to a coffee shop a little while ago to work on an essay and it was nice to be in a different location other than campus. If I have something big and just need to sit down for a few hours and work I’ll head downtown.

I hope these tips were helpful or interesting - they’re just the things that have been working for me so far so I thought I’d share it with you all.

Have a wonderful day,

Sarah

28 November 2018

Final Stretch!



Image result for finals
Back from Break
Coming back to campus after Thanksgiving break it feels like winter as finally set in. There is a cold crispness to the air, and a creeping stress in the atmosphere. It's hard to believe there are only 3 full weeks left in the semester at this point, and I know it will go fast with all of the essays and projects and studying there is to do between now and then. I thought it might be helpful to share a little bit about what the end of the semester is like and what to expect from finals.
Motivation
Image result for motivational playlist cover artFirst things first: it's after Thanksgiving which means it's time for lots of Micheal Buble and Mariah Carrey to get in the holiday spirit for the end of the year. Or if Christmas music isn't your thing, a great motivational playlist is key for surviving the end of the semester in my opinion.

To Do 
Related imageRelated imageOnce you're all set with some good music it's time to take on the essays! This semester I'm taking Intro to Comparative Politics, Intro to International Affairs, Intro to Environmental Studies, Exploration and Discovery, and a Spanish conversational class. As you might be able to guess, these classes are mostly reading and writing intensive (math is by far not my strong suit). So as a result, at the end of the year, I have a lot of essays to write, which may be different from people taking more science or math-heavy classes. For me, I have a 6-page literary analysis essay for E&D due first, and then a comparative politics essay comparing and contrasting the regimes two countries, and then I have an environmental studies term paper due where I'm writing about urban development and design policies in the developing world compared to the developed world. I also have a short Spanish powerpoint presentation due about a movie we're watching in class, and a group poster to proposre and environmental engagement project in Environmental Studies. And then finally in the last few days of the semester we have reading days and final exams! Listed out like this it might sound like a lot, and I am a little stressed, to be honest, but there's a lot of resources and strategies I know I can use to make the end of the semester go smoothly.

Study Srategies
Related imageRelated imageMost of these due dates are well spaced out over the next few weeks, so I'm going to focus on time management and accomplishing one thing at a time as the deadlines approach. All of my professors have emphasized over and over how they want to help people during office hours, and they're always flexible about meeting with students. I know if I'm struggling with something I can always go to my professors for help or clarifications. I'm also know that my peers are in the same position that I am, and that we can work together to help eachother make finals less stressful. I've had really helpful stufy groups for my IA class in the past, and in my Spanish class we're having discussions about the movie to aid our personal presentations about it, and doing group work for my environmental engagement project makes things less stressful because we can all pitch it. And overall all of my friends are really supportive and it's nice to have people to complain to and help support each other while we allget things done. Finally, for me keeping a physical calendar with all the important deadlines and events I have coming up is  a great visual way to keep track of how much time have or don't have for different tasks


















25 November 2018

Thanksgiving on the Oregon Coast

Hello everyone!


We only have two and a half more weeks of classes and then reading days and finals! Where has the time gone? I can’t wait for winter break and spring semester!

This year I was not able to go home to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family, but I did get to celebrate it with friends on the Oregon coast through a College Outdoors trip.

Wednesday night through Saturday evening was spent with CO. During the trip we stayed at Camp Kiwanilong in northwestern Oregon. The cabin that my friends and I slept in was unheated but we had nice sleeping bags to keep us warm at night. The main lodge was heated and spacious with a large kitchen for all of the Thanksgiving food we made.
Making Thanksgiving Dinner!

Wednesday night when we arrived we stayed up late playing games and solving riddles. Thursday was spent just hanging out in the lodge. It was very relaxing. I helped peel vegetables and make pumpkin pies. People worked on homework, read books, watch movies, played guitar, napped, and played frisbee. It was really fun to hang out in the kitchen because it smelled amazing and we were listening to fun music.
Hiking

On Friday we drove closer to the coast and did a hike through the forest that overlooked the ocean. The hike was so beautiful. It was very green and had huge trees but it was also very muddy and slippery. After our hike, we stopped to look at the ocean from the beach.

I was definitely feeling a little sad and homesick to not be going home when everyone else was. The CO trip really made me feel much better. I got to hang out with some of my good friends I had already made and I met some new people as well. It was also nice to just have a chance to finally relax and do nothing at all after always being crazy busy with everything at school. I would highly recommend going on the CO Thanksgiving trip if you are ever unable to go home for break.

Have a wonderful day,

Sarah

18 November 2018

Copeland Quad Life

Hello everyone!

Beautiful trees in Tryon
This past week has been unusual for Portland - we’ve had a week of sunshine and clear skies. I have been soaking up the sun while it’s here. Some people thought the 55-degree weather was a bit chilly but I thought it was great running weather. I started running in Tryon State Park which is located just a few blocks from campus. It has great trails to run and it is really nice to surround yourself in nature after a day full of classes.

In this post I am going to share my dorm experience so far:
The bridge that connects D wing to E & F wing

I currently live in a quad in Copeland Hall. I really like living in Copeland for the most part. Copeland is the largest dorm on campus and it has an A,B,C,D,E,F, and G wing which are all connected by hallways and even an enclosed bridge thing. Each wing is a little different and kind of has a different vibe to it just based on the mix of people living there each year.

I live in D wing of Copeland and I really enjoy it. My room is on the first floor so I never have to go up any stairs.  D wing is home to the “Xperiment” Living-Learning Community (LLC). When I signed up for housing last spring I did not sign up to be in an LLC, but because I live in D wing of Copeland I have now joined the Xperiment LLC because why not. Xperiment is focused around STEM (the LLC hasn’t done anything yet but it can do group study sessions, fun science experiments & outings, etc)  and I know that there are a lot of STEM majors in D wing, myself included.

Copeland is the furthest
purple pin on the left
Honestly, the only downside to living in Copeland is that it is just a little further away from things. Also, the bridge that crosses the ravine that shortens the distance is still under construction and isn’t supposed to be finished until February or so. And when I say it’s “far” I mean I walk for maybe 6 or 7 minutes to get to class - so in reality it’s not very far but sometimes it feels far. However, I do kind of like that it’s slightly further away because I feel that I get more of a separation between my academics and my home space that way.

My bottom bunk bed with my lights
When I signed up for housing, my first choice was to be put in just a regular double room and then a quad and then a triple as my last choice (since triples at LC are 3 people in a room that’s made for a double). I remember opening my housing packet in July and pulling out the piece of paper and realizing I had been placed in a quad. I was so excited to be in a quad because you get to meet three new people and have a separate bedroom and living space which is super nice. I think LC does a pretty good job at matching roommates up. My roommates and I all get along really well and I am really happy that I get to live with them. 
Our main room

The separate room is nice, especially because we all go to bed at different times and it allows for more flexibility. I go to be pretty early as much as I can since I have morning practices for rowing on some days (I wake up at 5:40am) and the other days I like to wake up at 7am and spend my morning having breakfast in the dining hall before my classes. Also, there is just more space in the quads which is nice. We don’t have closets but we each have a wardrobe to hang and store stuff as well as a stack of drawers with a mirror. In our room, we also have a microwave, mini fridge, and coffee machine that my various roommates brought. A nice thing the school offers is a microwave and mini-fridge rental if you don’t want to buy your own for school.
This is roughly what my layout is like

Currently, our room is all decorated for the holidays! I really like Christmas decorations so I’ve been putting some stuff up. On our door we have a countdown to Christmas thing, we have little Christmas lights and banners up around the room as well as paper snowflakes and a 3ft tree. Decorating is definitely important when it comes to living in a dorm because it makes it more homey and personal. Some of my friends have hung tapestries on their fluorescent ceiling lights to subdue the harsh white light and give off a cozy vibe. Lots of people have plants, string lights, posters, pictures, seasonal decorations, and much more!

Have a wonderful day!

Sarah

Home for the Holidays


Image result for sandia mountains

This weekend I'm getting ready to go home for Thanksgiving and I'm really excited to see all of my family and enjoy the holiday with them. I'm from Albuquerque, NM and I'm also really looking forward to flying in and seeing the Sandia mountains because I've missed them too. The last week I've been talking with all my friends and my roommates and we've all been discussing out plans to go home for Thanksgiving and I think it's a pretty common theme to hear everyone saying how excited they are to go home and see their family, but also how excited they are to return to LC after the break.

I really enjoy going to a school where most of the student body comes from out of state or out of the country, and even most of those that come from Oregon are from outside of Portland.  Talking about where we're all from is a really nice way to bond and learn more about each other. It's also really nice to bond over how excited we all are to go home and see our families. I'm really glad that I looked at the percentage of students from out of state as a factor in where I wanted to go to school because I think it would feel harder to fit in at a school where most of the students come from that area. I like that most of the freshman class had only ever visited Portland once or twice before coming here to go to school. It means that we all get to explore the city together and find all the good restaurants, and the best food truck parks, and the coolest stores, and the best places to go for a walk or a run just off campus. I have loved getting to explore these things about the city will all of my friends.  And because we're all from different states and cities I also feel like I get to learn lots of stuff about other cities that I've never been to. A lot of people are from the Bay Area so I've learned a lot about the different neighborhoods and cities in the bay area. And I have a few friends from Minnesota and I always enjoy hearing their accents. I also like that as it's getting cold we all compare what the weather is like where we're from to the weather here. It's always really nice to have these conversations about home and about how we're adjusting to life here. I think going through this process of adjusting to life here all together and being able to talk about it with lot's of people going through the same experience is really great.

And so, I'm really looking forward to going home and all the things I'll do there: seeing my parents; catching up with my younger brother; playing with my little cousins; sleeping in my bedroom; visiting my old high school; and of course, spending Thanksgiving together with all of the people I love. But as much as I'm excited about that I also know I'll be really happy to come back to my second home at LC because I know there are lots of people I care about here too, and I'm happy here just as much as I am at home. 







13 November 2018

College Outdoors!


Image result for chart of willapa bay
Chart of Willapa Bay where we paddled 

College Outdoors is, in my opinion, one of the coolest organizations/extracurriculars on campus and I highly suggest getting involved with CO. This weekend I went on a college outdoors student coordinator training trip to kayak in Willapa Bay. I had a great time and learned a lot, and I'm planning on becoming a student coordinator.

If you don't know that much about college outdoors, it is an organization on campus that organizes outdoor trips (day trips and overnights) throughout the school year. They also organize the New Student Trips (NSTs) at the beginning of each year. CO trains and employs students as trip leaders. They also organize Wilderness First Responder trainings, have weekly skill workshops, and rent out gear to students.

The kayaking trip that I went on this weekend is part of being trained to be a trip leader in the future. CO has a leadership ladder where you work your way up from participants to student coordinator to assistant leader to trip leader. To work your way up this chain you have to complete a number of requirements such as getting certified to drive CO vehicles, and trained to drive with trailers. It's also recommended that you go to the weekly college outdoors "Open Houses" where you learn various camping and outdoors skills and you also learn about all the processes and procedures that CO uses. To be an assistant leader or trip leader you have to be WFR certified, and CO offers courses for that every winter break and right after school lets out in the summer.

Right now I'm attending open houses and I'm planning on getting driver certified so that I can help student coordinate next spring. The kayaking trip that I went on this weekend was a training trip for people who signed up to help lead kayaking or water-related trips. I had an amazing time this weekend. It was a small group of people and we were all super interested in learning as much as we could about how to be student coordinators and all of the kayaking skills we could. We got to stay in cabins with running water and hot showers which was a nice treat after a chilly day. We did a lot of goal setting on the trip and helped eachother work towards those goals. I wanted to improve my turning when paddling and I learned a lot of new ways to do that so I'm excited to keep practicing the new skills I have. The other great part about CO trips is I also met a lot of new people and got to spend a lot of time getting to know them so I'm also excited about seeing them around campus and saying hi, or meeting up with them for dinner or lunch.

If you love the outdoors I highly suggest checking out college outdoors and thinking about how it could fit into your college experience. I personally know that CO is a really great part of my experience in college.