25 November 2014

The End is Near!

It’s almost here. The end of my first semester at Lewis and Clark College. Boy, I can not wait to be done with this semester.

I am also not looking forward to finals. The next few weeks will be a very stressful time with all the studying coming. We finish classes on December 10 and have two days for reading and studying. Then my first final, in E&D, is on that Saturday. My next two finals will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, then I’m done!

That being said, I am very happy that Thanksgiving is here. This past week I had two tests and a draft on our ivy report due. Most of my weekend was spent working in the library studying for my chemistry test on Monday. Getting that test over with was such a huge relief. I spent most of Sunday afternoon in the library working with my bio lab group. We agreed to meet up in the late afternoon to get it over with. It took us almost around five hours to beat procrastination and fatigue to get it done. After that it was time to cram a bit for chemistry.  Now that it is over with, I can finally relax and get ready for my girlfriend Ava to get here on Wednesday. We are both going to spend Thanksgiving here! We are going to spend more time exploring the city and seeing what Portland has to offer.
Anna, Kelley, and I working on our project in the library. 

So since football has been over with, our offseason workouts have just started. Our coaching staff has already given us workouts to do. As a team, we usually lift in the mornings at 8 AM on Mondays and Fridays and at 6:30 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays being our days off. Personally, I enjoy working out in the mornings. Yes, I do have a hard time waking up and dragging myself out of bed. Once I am there though, I usually have a lot more energy than I would later in the evenings. On the Tuesday and Thursday morning lifts, we run for an hour with all the other sports teams that are out of season as well.Working the other athletes helps bring us all together and creates a very big family that supports one another.  Lewis and Clark is very fortunate to have Coach Ang, our own strength coach. She is incredibly helpful to all of us. She is the one that makes all of our workouts and keeps an eye to make sure that we are performing the lifts correctly.
Our awesome weight room!

My friend Dylan doing front squats.

Well, that’s all I have for now. It was a busy week and I didn’t get the chance to get out and do much, but after all, school does come first. Everyone have a fun and wonderful Thanksgiving!

-Until next time everyone,
Remington Campbell

Almost Break!

I’ve only got one more class, and then it’s Thanksgiving Break! I’m flying out tonight to Sacramento, where my mom’s going to pick me up and take me home. I am really excited to see my family. I'm not as excited as I was at this time last year, since that was my first year in college and I was moderately homesick by mid-November. This year I am more settled in and more used to the whole living-in-another-state thing, so going home doesn't feel as necessary. Regardless, I am still pretty stoked to be heading back to California.

Although I am going home for Thanksgiving, I’d say about half the people I know are staying here. There are a couple different on-campus activities that people attend to celebrate the holiday without having to buy an expensive plane ticket home. For instance, I've heard the sports teams are holding a Turkey Trot fun run on campus that is also a canned food drive. There are also at least two Thanksgiving potlucks I've heard about. One of them is sort of designed for international students so they get the chance to celebrate an American holiday and because most of them do not have the chance to fly all the way home for such a short break, but anyone can come. The other is a student-run thing that's vegan-friendly. Also, some of the students who live near Portland will sometimes invite their friends over for Thanksgiving. Last year, my roommate and a bunch of other people went to my friend India’s house because her parents live in Portland. I didn't go, but I heard it was a lot of fun to hang out with her pets, meet her parents, and do “home” things that people sort of forget about while living on campus – like sitting in a quiet dining room for dinner, or using squishy towels in the bathroom instead of paper towels. So, I guess what I'm getting at is that there are plenty of options for you over the breaks. I just tend to choose to go home because I like to do that at least once per semester. Hopefully, I can not only see my family, but some of my friends from home as well. 

However, I will only have so much time to do all that. I'll have a lot of work to do. For my education class, my professor asked everyone who’s going home for the holiday to find a recent article about educational reform in their hometown and also get some local opinions from family or friends. Then, when we get back from break, my class is going to discuss any differences or similarities in schools and school reform from different states and cities in America. Education is so relevant, so important, and so controversial, and I am really excited to do that assignment, as I am with basically all of my work in that class.

I’ll also be starting my final English paper, which is going to be on Milton’s Paradise Lost. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I think it’s going to deal with the recurring word “wanton” as used to describe both Eve and the Garden of Eden, and how that is indicative of the inherent deviance of Creation. I think a lot of ideas I’ve gotten from my philosophy class will play into my writing, like how omniscience/foreknowledge can indicate lack of free will, and things like that. It’s really cool to see overlap between my classes like that. Making connections across disciplines is my favorite thing about college. Speaking of philosophy, I'll also be starting my final philosophy paper on the separation of church and state. I'm less excited for that one because I like English papers more than philosophy papers, but it should still be really interesting.

And of course, there’ll be plenty of Japanese studying going on. I’m going to be reviewing all of the vocabulary and all of the kanji characters we’ve learned. Plus, when I get back, I am filming a skit with four other people from class, which I am super excited for. We wrote the script last night and it's going to be hilarious. The premise is a trip to Hawaii gone very wrong. 


Anyway, hope all of you have great Thanksgiving breaks! If you have questions, just email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


24 November 2014

deadlines abound

It seems like deadlines tend to come in clumps. I always have small assignments due throughout the week, but all of the big things like to stack up on top of each other. This week was one of those weeks, especially because I tried to finish some things due after Thanksgiving in order to give myself a break while I'm home.

Today I presented on my final paper for my environmental education class. I created a unit for a fourth grade class about Monarch butterflies. My paper ended up being 16 pages (it was supposed to be 6-8, but my professor is fine with it), and my presentation just barely fit into our 11-minute time limit. I had so many ideas for lessons that I wanted to include that I ended up having to cut out, which was rough. One of the things I find hardest about writing is having to whittle down my ideas into something brief but thorough. It takes me a while to build up to what I want to say, and once I've written everything, it's almost impossible to cut things out. The presentation went well, though, and I'm pretty proud of the unit I created.

I also worked on a drawing project this weekend. It's not due until next Monday, but I can't really work on it while I'm home (since all of my drawing stuff is here), so I spent a while working on it yesterday. The assignment was to use brush and ink to draw a landscape viewed through a frame of some kind. I drew a lake (presumably in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota, because I based it off of a picture that I took there) being viewed through a phone camera. I thought I could make some kind of statement about really being in the moment when you're somewhere beautiful, and the way that we remember our experiences.
a semi-decent quality photo of my drawing
I'm really enjoying drawing, and I'm feeling like I'm learning a lot. I don't feel as confident with brush and ink as I do with some of the other media that we use, but I'm learning. Today I drew a model who came to our class, and I am pretty proud of it.
slowly learning
We have one more project in that class- to draw a six foot tall portrait of someone. I'm supposed to think of who I want to draw over break. I know I want to do some historically important woman, and right now Juliette Gordon Low is at the top of my list (the founder of Girl Scouts). I'm also thinking about Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson. I want to make it of a woman whose actions personally affected my life, and I found all of these women inspiring growing up and they each influenced certain decisions I've made and interests I've had. I'll keep you updated on who I end up choosing.

I also presented today in my Spanish conversation class about my dream vacation. After a lot of thought, I decided my dream vacation would be to travel to every single national park within the continental US. I had fun planning my presentation and the class was really engaged in it.

I had some reading to do for tomorrow, but I read it over the weekend, which means I just have one more class and then I'm out of here for break! I'm going home, which I'm looking forward to. This is my first year going home for break, and it's a treat. My first two years here, I went my entire first semester without seeing my family. It's nice being away from home, but it's really nice having your family buy you food and being able to see your pets and sleep in your own bed.

I will be checking my email over break, so please email me if you have any questions! rekidder@lclark.edu.


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 also feeling like I might be coming down with something on top of my workload, so there’s that. It's just that time of year, I guess. I think we're all ready for Thanksgiving Break next week.

On the other hand, I had a totally awesome weekend! Getting to go out with friends really relieved some of the end-of-semester stress.

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 LOVE dancing. 

Before Frankenstein.

My roommate and I took the Pioneer Express, which is 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)

The rest of my weekend was spent studying, as per usual. Anyway, I need to stop writing and 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!