16 January 2018

Start of Spring Semester!

Hello everyone! How are you? How's it going?

I hope all of you had an amazing holiday and enjoyed your time off from school! Now that school and classes have begun, I wish all of you an amazing new semester and that this New Year brings you happiness in every way possible!

As for my break, it was awesome being able to see all my friends and family along with catching up with everyone. I did spend most of my time helping my mom out at her nail salon and, of course, got many questions about college. It felt like every second I was being asked: "Have you decided what you want to major in?" "How are you liking it?" "Is your roommate nice?" I really thought about just typing up a paper with all the answers on it and handing them out to everyone that started to ask me questions. I also spent a lot of my break being the family uber by taking and picking my siblings up from school, running errands for my mom, and driving my mom around.

The best thing from break was that after many, many, maaaaaaaaaaany years of me asking my mom to let me dye my hair, she finally said yes! I was super excited and two days before I left to come back to LC, I went to get my hair done. It was absolutely amazing to see my hair in such a different way since my hair has always been the typical dark brown hair.

My new hair!
So new year, new me?

Anyways, coming back to campus has also been super fun! While I do miss my friends and family from back home, coming back did feel nice. I was so happy to see all the wonderful friends that I have made here and being able to see my dorm again made me happy!

Today was also the first day of classes and I only had one class today at 12:50 PM but for some reason my body woke me up at 5 AM and would not let me go back to sleep! Tomorrow is going to be hectic since I have a full schedule tomorrow and I'm kinda nervous since I haven't memorized all the room numbers from my classes yet (I'll eventually get to remembering it)

Schedule this semester!
This weekend is also MLK Service Day and I am so excited to be volunteering with the Oregon Humane Society and working with shelter dogs! I absolutely love community service and I have been missing when I would be volunteering every weekend!

It is getting kinda late so I am going to end this post here! I apologize that my posts have been boring lately but I will try my best to spice them up a little bit more and try to post a vlog here and there that way there is a bit more of a variety! Anywho, I hope you all have an amazing first couple of days back at school and remember to always take care of yourself!

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:

jessicadoan@lclark.edu

Here's the quote of the week:

“I will love myself despite the ease with which I lean toward the opposite.” - Shane L. Koyczan

♥ Jessica


15 January 2018

HELLO FROM DOWN UNDA

HEY FRIENDS!!!!
FIRST BLOG POST FROM DOWN UNDA!!!

IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!


I am in SYDNEY AUSTRALIA!! It's my third day here and everything is absolutely INCREDIBLE but I am currently exhausted.

Me in front of the Uni of Sydney :D (It's basically Hogwarts!) 

Everything is a whirlwind and is so insane, we are jammed packed but each experience is amazing! While we're here theres three main parts of the program. The first is set in Sydney, we're currently staying and using the University of Sydney's facilities, but this program isn't affiliated with any of the universities here.  While here we are getting a great dive into an introduction of each of our classes: History and Culture of Australia, Indigenous Aboriginal History, Bio geography and Venom Biology. The second part will be a lot of travel. We'll be going to the Blue Mountains this weekend, a host of islands, national parks, the Lamington Plateau, some small cities as well as Tasmania! Through this portion we will be conducting loads of field research and hands-on experience with seeing the bio geography, interacting with the culture and learning the history of the Aboriginal people. The last leg of the semester will be in Brisbane with a little travel too. We will be doing loads of marine biology research, field research, and lab work.

I flew in Jan 13 and the first day was just an introduction to the program and how the schedule will run. The second day was a tour of Sydney! We bussed around and saw the different districts. We went to all the tourist places too and I fulfilled a HUGE DREAM of mine and went to the Sydney Opera House!!!! We also went around Darling Harbour, Hyde Park, and Bondi Beach!!!!


BONDI BEACH

Sydney Harbour



IN FRONT OF THE SYDNEY OPERA HOUSE!!!! AHHHH 

Today we had our first set of lectures! It was a jam packed day and I am exhausted. Throughout the  trip we are having over 30 guest lecturers all talking on their expertise. We started today with our bio geography lectures on tectonic plates, the history of Australian Continent and Bio regions, as well as Australian Climate. It was a loaded morning with about 4 hours of lecture. My friend and I went walking and explored Hyde Park after that. It's been really fun to explore the city!

This semester is so full and the itinerary is truly incredible. Due to our immense amount of travel the only home bases we have with Internet access will really be in Sydney and Brisbane. Due to that we have front loaded a lot of assignments and class time because of the access to resources.

I'm also exhausted because I'm still not over the jet lag and have gotten up at 5am the last two morning.

Anyways, this is a loaded and disorganized post. I will try to post weekly, it might not happen every week due to our lack of wifi and service in some areas but I will do my best to post as much as I can.

However I can say this about Australia so far:

1. Their car's drivers seats are on the right side, and they drive on the left side of the road. This is confusing as heck when trying to cross the street and I have already almost stepped into traffic twice. whoops.

Cowellas: These are everywhere, and they are very noisy!
2. The left side thing? Yeah, that applies to walking too! I never realized how ingrained it is in me to always walk on the right.

3. The sun is strong. No joke. I have a small sunburn on my cheeks, tallying to be my second ever sunburn. Sunscreen is ESSENTIAL.

Flying fox bats that come out in the park across the street from our house
4. Wifi is really hard to come by. The house we stay at gives us a free 500MB per day. That is not a lot. To put in perspective streaming one Netflix show is about 1GB. If you ever come down, get a data plan.

Image result for ibis australia
ibis
5. There are the coolest birds and wildlife around! Their version of squirrels are birds call ibis. There are also parrots everywhere and they're beautiful!!! They also have loads of massive fruit bats that come out at dusk.

6. There are loads of little bugs around, and a lot of cockroaches; plus of course, the spiders...  the huntsmans that I'm so worried about are apparently not as present in Sydney, that being said I already have seen one small baby one and by baby I still mean about 2 inches in diameter.

7. US needs to catch the heck up with metrics. Everyone of our lectures today and just in general around, everything is in metric and I don't understand any of it. (That's a big goal I have while studying here - to come back knowing how to judge the units)


This has been a long day and a long post, so I'm going to leave it at that for now... I will keep you all updated... :) (I also might post multiple times in one week to make up for the lack of posts later on during our travels)

Coming up next time.... on Wednesday we're going to the wildlife park and will be able to go to the kangaroo enclosure!!!

Cheers for now!
Kate

12 January 2018

Back to School

Since I got back I've been hard at work preparing for spring semester, which starts on Tuesday the 16th. Right now I'm doing some contract work for Portland Community College. Every year the Sylvania campus puts on a winter powwow. This year I'm doing the promotion/marketing, community outreach and engagement. So essentially I've been running around town putting up posters, meeting with community members and organizations and working on logistical pieces leading up to next Saturday. 

In addition to that I've got some other back to school projects up at the law school. NALSA is the Native American Law Student Association, and I will be hosting an event today with them. We're bringing 14 students from NAYA's Early College Program. NAYA is the Native American Youth Association, a wonderful non-profit that does so much good work for the First Nations community. So the kids are going to come out, we'll talk to them about navigating higher ed, how to do a research project, use the library and answer other questions. Also one of my favorite local storytellers, an elder in the community, Esther Stutzman will be coming to tell traditional stories before lunch. 

I am part of the Northwest Indian Storytellers Association (NISA), so I get to see and perform along side of grandma Esther throughout the year. She's been a great teacher and example of how I hope to tell stories some day!

Monday is MLK Day of Service, so there is going to be a lot of different events happening, and then Tuesday is back to school!

My class schedule this semester is as follows:

Tues/Thur -- 8-9:30am 
Numbers as Social Facts

Tues/Thur -- 9:40 - 11:10am 
Education & Social Inequality

Tues/Thur -- 1:50 - 3:20pm
Gender/Sexuality in Latin America

Tuesday -- 7:00 - 8:00 pm
Ghanian Music/Dance Ensemble 

Wednesday -- 6:00 - 9:00pm 
Anthropology of the Body

It should be a good semester, and I look forward to the content of the courses. As you can see I was able to get pretty much everything down to Tues/Thurs, with the exception of my Wed. evening class. This will make it much easier to work, unlike last semester where I had all my classes spread out throughout the week, I am not making that mistake again. 

Anyways, enough for now.. I will update in a couple days about some of the events I had done at the end of the semester like OSCC... Glad to be back and looking forward to the spring. I have a bunch of scholarship deadlines coming up so I'll be busy plugging away at those through the weekend, more later.

Cheers, 
Lukas

lukasmsoto@lclark.edu

Counting down the days...

Hey everyone,

I wanted to give an update since I had disappeared for a while from posting. The last month leading up to finals was very chaotic for me due to travel plans I had made prior to knowing I would attend LC. So essentially I had to finish my semester two weeks early to leave for my trip December 13th. After feeling like I was totally losing my mind from stress and pressure I was able to leave for two weeks and RELAXXXXXX!

I had an amazing vacation with my family to New Orleans, where we hopped on a cruise ship and went to Central America via the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea. We ended up traveling to -- Costa Maya, Mexico; Roatan, Honduras; Grand Cayman, The Cayman Islands; Santo Tomas de Castillo, Guatemala; Belize City, Belize; and Cozumel, Mexico. Then we returned December 23rd to New Orleans and I was there until the 26th.

Needless to say it was AMAZING! Some highlights of the trip:

  • I officiated my mother's wedding on the cruise ship, on the roof of the ship, on top of a helicopter pad, in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.. super legit
  • I kissed a dolphin
  • I held a sloth in my arms like a little baby
  • I saw a monkey tied to a leash, to someone's tree in their front yard
  • I jumped off waterfalls in the rain forest in Guatemala
  • I did zip-lining in the rain forest of Honduras
  • I went to a Mayan ruin in Mexico and made friends with the locals (I'm definitely going back)
  • I danced a lot
  • the best part was getting to spend quality time with my family because I rarely get to see a lot of them due to my demanding and busy schedule
 We went cave tubing in Belize -- that's a photo of my cousins Paulette, Genny, myself and Vincent.
 The spot we went cave tubing at, like once you got further downstream. There was giant orange iguanas in the trees
 From my mom's wedding day


 They dye the baby chickens different colors in Guatemala, we were so shocked to see this!

 
 Our whole group that went on the cruise.
 This is Flashlightning the most amazing sweet little honey pie sloth. I love him!
 Fresh meat!

Sorry to the vegans reading this.

 All types of seafood in the feria (street market)
Delicious vegetables for the vegans
Here is the poor lil guy tied to the tree

And now,... back to reality... 

see next post for more!

-Lukas
lukasmsoto@lclark.edu

19 December 2017

Happy Holidays!

Hey everyone! How are you? How's it going?

I apologize for not posting last week! I was super busy with studying for finals (ノ°益°)ノ
Most of them went pretty well and my brain is now all pooped out and I'm ready for break! I'm actually sitting in the Portland Airport right now but my flight is not for another 2 hours!! 

What I love about the Portland Airport is how big but chill it is. Unlike LAX, no one is in a rush and TSA isn't as stressful. BTW I totally recommend TSA precheck! It saves me so much time and I don't have to wait in the super long TSA line! 

Anyway, I'm super excited to go home and be able to catch up on sleep and be in a kind of warmer weather. I love the cold but sometimes I wonder how I'm still able to walk around because my feet are freezing cold! But that doesn't stop me and my friends from having fun! My friend and I actually took the MAX to Lloyd Center yesterday, after our very last final, to do some Christmas shopping and for me to pick up this book that I have been wanting to get my hands on! 

I'm going to end my blog post short today but I hope all of have an amazing break! Use this time to relax and enjoy being with your friends and family. Try not to leave that winter break homework until the very last minute! Get it down sooner rather than later! I wish all of you an amazing holiday and bring in the New Year with open arms! 

If you have any questions or just want to talk, you can reach me at:

jessicadoan@lclark.edu

Here's the quote of the week: 

"Confidence isn't a destination at which you can arrive; it's more like a journey you take every day. And since it is a journey, you must learn how to become a better traveler." - Lindsy Tsang (aka bubzbeauty)

♥ Jessica

10 December 2017

DANCE X (and finals)

Hey friends!

Dead Week finally is coming to an end, I'm still running on about an average of 4-5 hours of sleep per night; but we're down to the the LAST TWO DAYS OF CLASSES! WHAT??? AHHHH That's literally INSANE. This semester FLEW by and I can't believe in exactly a month and day I fly to AUSTRALIA!!!!

This past weekend was DANCE X!!!!

We perform only one weekend, but 2 shows per night resulting in a total of 4 shows Friday - Saturday. It's a really realllyyyy long weekend for the dancers, choreographers and techies and is exhausting, but also crazy rewarding. We finally get to show off all our hard work from this whole semester.

I'm currently trying to finish a molecular biology problem set and work on my psychology term paper; so I will keep this blog a bit short, but I'll flood you with some of the photos from my dance!


CAST!!!: From left to right: myself, Amanda, Kelleen (our choreographer), Peyton (she couldn't actually perform because she got injured two weeks before the performance), Hannah
eyy ^.^
Amanda, Hannah, Myself 
Amanda, Myself, Hannah

The dance photos are still being sent out, but I'm always obsessed with seeing them. 

The pieces are all very cool, they tend to mostly be lyrical/modern/contemporary with a few splashes of hip hop and jazz. Each choreographer comes up with a story and a "statement" about their piece, while the pieces themselves often tell a story. 

Our story was all about women empowerment and becoming your own "super hero", inner warrior type alter ego. It was super fun to be able to get out on stage and transform through the movements into this strong female warrior.

This is now my third Dance X, I've been involved every year and I always love it. I always learn something new about myself through the pieces, and always am pushed out of my comfort zone and grow. It's a great process and I love being a part of it all. 

I'm sorry I've been so bad with posting on time. I have been so busy!!! 

The great news though, I'm finished with all of my oral presentations and my oral final. My final lab report is finished and handed in and it's on the decline of work and into the rise of just the study grind.

We have class tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday and then we're done! Wednesday and Thursday are reading days where we have nothing, we just study and finals begin Friday!!!!

I'm super excited, I'm going to study Wednesday, but that night I'll take a break and I'm going to ZOO LIGHTS! I've never been and I'm so excited to go! 

That's all for right now,
Cheers,
Kate

05 December 2017

Project Weekend



Everything is getting busy as we enter our last full week of classes.  Final projects abound.  This weekend I did not get up to much because I’m busy with multiple end-of-semester projects.

The first is for my algorithms class, my partner and I are building a game similar to Oregon Trail.  This version however is set in a dystopian future where you are trapped on campus and have to find a way to escape.  The faculty and staff here have formed rival groups and fight over resources.   It’s mostly a text based adventure, but with a very minimal map to help you stay oriented.

For my other project, we are making a phylogenetic tree of various biofluorescence genes in coral.  A surprising amount of marine life expresses fluorescence (look at these fish!) and we wanted to try to get a better understanding of how similar the genes for different colors are.  They have turned out to be very similar to one another with the different colors of fluorescence mixed in with one another.

It’s hard to imagine, but in under six weeks I’ll be studying in Australia.   Time is flying by fast and those few weeks between now and then are completely packed. I don’t believe I have a single day left unscheduled between now and then.  My family leaves on a trip the day after I get home, when I’m back from that I’m visiting friends for New Year’s, then I run a winter camp, then I visit a different set of friends, then I have most of a day to pack, and then I fly to Australia. It's crazy, but I'm looking forward to it.

Questions? Send them to me at ameliaberle@lclark.edu