20 December 2012

Marimba and the Holidays

Last year when I was eating in the Bon (Fields Dining Room) one night there was some miraculous music being played for all of us to enjoy while we ate our dinner. It was so fun that it even made me get up and dance to it. After hearing the music I was determined that I would take a class in the African Marimba if I ever got a chance. Luckily, I was looking for an art credit for this semester and there were spots open in the course. Every Tuesday and Thursday I looked forward to going to class for an hour because the music is just so fun and relaxing. A couple of sundays ago for our class "final exam" we went down to the Saturday Market in downtown Portland to perform. It was really so much fun and a great way to realize how much I had actually learned throughout the semester.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the video to upload correctly but here are some pictures of the wreath making party the Spanish, German and French clubs co-hosted the week before finals :) In all three of the places where these languages are spoken wreaths are very common during this time of the year. Contrary to how the United States does wreaths though, these countries do not hang them on their doors. Instead they put four candles on the wreath and light one candle each week before Christmas. It was a really fun event and many people attended.

Finals are all done now and it is time to head home for winter break! I hope all you have a wonderful Holiday Season. I will try to write one or two blogs during vacation and then start up again on a regular basis once I get back to school.

Happy Holidays!

19 December 2012

The Great Peruvian Adventure and a Lot of Goodbyes

Hey everyone!

As I write this I have exactly 9 more hours in Chile. I'm freaking out a bit. Ok, a lot. I guess what is scaring me is that I can't picture myself at home or at LC right now. Not that I don't want to go back; to the contrary, I can't wait to be back on campus. However, I've been here in Chile since mid summer and it weirds me out to no end to think that tomorrow morning I will be in the USA again. I'm not sure if I'm ready! I've already done most of my "lasts" and I'm pretty much packed. All that is left is to have a last lunch with my host parents. We had our last "once" (Chilean tea time that families have instead of dinner) last night with the whole family which was incredibly sad. I can't express how much I'm going to miss this family. I realized that I've spent more time with this family in the past 6 months than I have with my own family in the past 2 years. Crazy right? Anyhow, a "Transfer" (shared cab) is coming to take me to the airport this evening and will whisk me away back to what should be familiar but from here seems glaringly different. Phase one of reverse culture shock I guess. 

Enough musings! So, I just got back from Peru! I went with my friend Margaret from Santiago to the Northern most part of Chile (city called Arica), crossed the boarder in a shared taxi to the city of Tacna, took a 6 hour bus from Tacna to Arequipa and then a 10 hour overnight bus to Cusco! It was a lot of travel but WAY cheaper then flying. It is also how all the locals travel. When we got to Cusco we jumped right into exploring. I couldn't write about everything we did because this post would be about 57 pages long. So I'll just ramble a bit about some of the things we did.

One day we hiked up out of the city to the big Jesus statue that the Palestinian government (during British Mandate) gave Cusco as a gift in the 1940´s. From there we were not sure where to go so we hired a guide to take us on the unbeaten track to various ruins around. It was awesome and the whole morning we saw 1 other tourist. We hiked for 3 hours all around the hills above Cusco and visited 6 different formal archaeological sites (all just sitting there, free to go in) including a series of subterranean tunnels filled with carved out walls that the Incas used for offerings. The quality and state of the ruins was amazing. We saw a PRE-Incan house that still had the complete layout. I mean, it was clear no one had touched this place or rebuilt it and you could see the cross sections of all the rooms. The bathroom rock was even still there! We also saw this really cool site called ¨Piedra de los monos¨ which was this rock outcropping with dozens of monkeys and snakes carved into the rocks. Aside from the ¨formal sites¨ we passed so many things, like a series of Inca built artificial channels (all leading down to Cusco to provide the city with water) and lakes. The stonework there is incredible. The walls are built from boulders of all shapes that still fit together seamlessly. I have no clue how they did it. One of the best parts of the morning was our return to Cusco, because we walked back to the city on one of the original Inca roads! It reminded me of the Appian Way. There were fountains every 100m or so people could water animals and things. The coolest part? If you were to take the road away from Cusco and followed it for a long time you´d arrive in Chile! How crazy is that! I know I´ve heard and read about the infrastructure of the Inca Empire but seeing it (even in just a tiny tiny corner outside of Cusco) was nuts. When we were coming out of the ¨Templo de la luna¨ one of the places we visited which is supposed to be a sacred spot for women (our guide wouldn´t go in and he made us take our shoes off when we did) it started to thunder and look stormy. Our guide made us offer some of our water to ¨Pachamama¨ the local version of Mother Earth and what do you know? At that very moment the storm cleared out and some farmer started blowing something called a Pututu which is a conch shell horn. It was an creepy moment!!! After our morning we went to this little place recommended to us by the hostel and ate way to much of really tasty food. 

Of course we went to Machu Pichu which was intense. I'm not going to write too much about it, just that standing in the ruins (which by the way, according to the latest archaeological theory Machu Pichu was a royal training facility, AKA a private university! I hate to say it, but their campus is way prettier than ours at LC! And that my friends is hard to do...) there is just way to much to see. It is overwhelming. Do you look at the intricate detail of the stonework? The terracing running down every side of the mountain? The giant mountain peaks surrounding you? It's just too much to take in at once. Truly an amazing experience. 

Food is very important to me, and luckily to my friend Margaret as well. We spent a lot of time eating (there is a Chocolate museum in Cusco and I'm not ashamed to admit that one night we had chocolate there for dinner) and exploring the markets and eat in the markets. We didn't get sick despite some of the questionable (but delicious) things we ate.

Here are just a few pictures from the trip. My camera actually broke one of the first days, so these are just from the start of the trip!
 Lady selling herbs near the market in Cusco
 One of the many elaborate churches in Cusco
 View of the city from the Chocolate Museum. The rainbow flag is the traditional Incan flag.
Machu Pichu!

I have way more to say about Peru, but this has already turned into a pretty long post. Sooooooo, if you want to hear more or have any questions, comments etc. e-mail me at smiller@lclark.edu!

I'll try to post one more time from the USA. Until then,



Here is a picture of me and my host family. Notice the poodle butt on the ground. That is Mini the family dog.

14 December 2012

The Eight Best Features on Campus (That More People Should Use)

Hi folks,

I want to start with a blanket apology for the lack of posts. A mix of technical difficulties and the stresses of being a senior has kept me from updating, but I am back and eager to give you plenty of bloggy goodness before we head off to break.

Lewis & Clark has many obvious beneficial offerings, which I've talked about before. We have incredibly smart and involved teachers and a school dynamic that allows you to actually get to know them. We have small classes on interesting subjects. We have student organizations galore and the mass of engaging events that come with that. There are shuttles to downtown throughout the school year and to the airport for major vacations. What many people don't know, including current students, are some other offerings around campus that are worthwhile. I want to share with you some places and services you might not have been thinking about as you look at school, but that you'll want to know about. The breadth of efforts that Lewis & Clark College makes to accommodate students' needs and interests is amazing, but it can go unnoticed. This post is here to show how much the school prioritizes providing for its students, and hopefully it gives you an idea of how you can expect the school to provide for you.

1) The Center for Career & Community Engagement (3CE)
The Center for Career & Community Engagement, commonly referred to on campus as 3CE, is the go-to spot on campus for post-graduate assistance. The post-graduate side of 3CE is pretty well known. They do an excellent job hosting resume-writing workshops, mock-interview sessions, and providing students with information on job opportunities. However, 3CE has more to offer than just preparation for when you leave Lewis & Clark. One aspect of 3CE less commonly explored by students is the office's organization of volunteer opportunities. 3CE organizes frequent volunteer outings as well as special volunteer events. These can range in content from tutoring members of the college's housekeeping staff to working in Tryon Creek State Park in order to eliminate invasive ivy. Students interested in becoming involved with the LC community and the greater Portland community by giving back have opportunities aplenty thanks to 3CE. In addition to the post-graduate employment help for which they're known, 3CE is an excellent resource for students to make use of earlier on in their LC careers. One of the biggest problems with 3CE right now is the lack of younger students' taking advantage of their assistance, and this is a shame. 3CE has opportunities for internships in Portland and summer internships throughout various locations. They can provide excellent help for students looking to find their direction and professional interests. Students can learn the post-graduate skills highlighted above at any point, so you don't have to be putting together your first resume as you also apply for your first post-college job. Instead, 3CE is ready and eager to equip you with these career skills early on so that you are able to begin building towards your career while in college, making you confident as you move into your new career post-graduation. One excellent approach that 3CE and Campus Living has taken to accommodate student needs early on and from a variety of perspectives is through the Resident Career Advisor program. RCAs are resident advisors with specialized training to assist students in all of their career needs. They have set office hours to assist students, and they are able to find students internships, help with resume development, and offer advice on interviewing styles like the 3CE staff does. Students have multiple resources on campus to meet their career needs, both for their time here at LC and their time afterwards. The general enrichment and world/work experience offered by 3CE's volunteer and employment assistance is something students should be sure to involve themselves with; the earlier, the better.

2) Academic Advising
Like most colleges, Lewis & Clark has a department-based advising system in which you are paired with a professor from your major throughout your Lewis & Clark career. In addition to this, however, we also offer a support network of staff looking to help you succeed as you plan for your future at Lewis & Clark. The Academic Advising staff is there to help you face any challenges you may have in following the academic path you set out to have as an LC student. The staff offer assistance in creating academic plans, including ones for your entire college career, that can help guide you towards your academic goals. Here, you can seek assistance in trouble-shooting graduation and major requirement complications. This office is here to ensure your success as an LC student by providing you with organized goals and ideas which you can use as tools to navigate your time as a Lewis & Clark student. Make good use of this resource, and you'll find yourself on the right track.

3) Interlibrary Loans
Watzek Library's interlibrary loans, or ILLs, are an excellent resource at Lewis & Clark. They have the obvious use of providing students with needed sources for research and writing, but they also can be an excellent resource for students' personal enrichment. The library has an already-impressive selection of databases and journals to which the school is subscribed, offering students many academic opportunities not necessarily available at other institutions. These can be used for classwork and the studying of personal interests. One of my primary interests in psychology is the treatment of traumatic brain injuries, so I used the library's article databases to find interesting articles relating to the topic. Had these articles not been available, however, that is where an interlibrary loan would have come in handy. In addition to the more scholarly pursuits, ILLs can be used for pure personal satisfaction. At one point last year, I heard of a collection of strange short stories by Neil Gaiman, and I was fascinated. Lewis & Clark did not have a copy of the book, however. Rather than being forced to buy a copy without knowing if I liked it or not, I was able to get the book via interlibrary loan from a fellow Pacific Northwest college. In addition to the incredible convenience of requesting a book from a school and receiving it within several days' time at the library's front desk, I am also incredibly impressed by the duration of rentals for these loaned materials. I had been concerned in taking on personal reading in the midst of my assignments, but the loan lasted for just over a month and allowed me to have all the time I needed to slowly make my way through the collection story by story. These loans can also be used for DVDs not held by the college. Again, this can have helpful academic applications for research and educational purposes, but this can also be a way for you to watch that one movie you just desperately need to make yourself feel better after a rough week. The rental is shorter for these, but understandably so. Still, the opportunity to have these books and DVDs provided to you at no cost is amazing, and I am endlessly impressed by Watzek for the fact that this is offered. Naturally, there is some cost to the library for these transactions, so students should be conscientious in their ordering. Still, if you need a little Beauty and the Beast to make it through a rough time and you can't find a copy elsewhere, Watzek's got your back.

4) Watzek Recess
The glories of Watzek continue with the joy that is Watzek Recess. During the first two reading days of finals week, Watzek staff and student contributors organize two nights of festivities in the library to save students' tired brains from overexertion. Tables are strewn with candy and coloring books, and classic childhood movies play in the background. These nighttime events are the chance for students to abandon the responsibilities of finals and academia, replacing them with the simplicity of childhood... at least for a little while. There are also some less childish snacks, if you're looking to just refuel and head back to work. Coffee and tea are available, as well as chips, veggies, and dip. For the students whose stress needs more soothing than food and frivolity can provide, Watzek has it covered. Two masseuses are invited in each night to provide free 10-minute massages to students throughout the duration of the event. Watzek is in tune to the many ways students take in and release stress, and they are ready to help in whatever way's best. This event is one of many ways Watzek looks to connect with the student community, and I encourage you to involve yourself in these efforts as much as you can.

5) Instructional Media Services
On the entry-level floor of Watzek (a rarely-explored realm), there lies an inconceivably helpful resource known as Instructional Media Services. This office connects students with the media technology they need for academic and personal projects, at no charge to the student. Many of my video blogs were made with the help of IMS, as they provide the cameras and tripods I typically use to film. Similarly, students can check out digital cameras, voice recorders, and virtually any other media equipment they may need. Use this resource to better record interviews for a lab project, or get together a group of friends and make a video for YouTube. This resource is here for students to use however they like, as long as the equipment is well taken care of, of course.

6) Resource Lab
Finished your video and looking to edit it? The Resource Lab is the place to be. Full of technology suited to fit your media needs, this office provides students with helpful resources in the editing and printing of media. In addition to video editing technology, this office is also equipped with expensive photo technology. Students have access to editing software for photos, as well as to several scanners throughout the office. The most popular feature of the Resource Lab is their large-scale printing. Like many of Watzek's resources, this feature is grounded in academic purposes but has personal entertainment applications. The large printing offered in the Resource Lab is useful for students looking to print presentation posters on research they've done in classes. This poster printing can go outside of the academic realm, however, and students can be charged the same basic fee to their printing balance in order to print whatever poster they'd like (including a life-size rendition of themselves).

7) Student Publications
The abundant extracurricular opportunities at Lewis & Clark are widely known across campus. One under-appreciated facet of these extracurricular options, however, are the student publications on campus. As of this post, there are at least eight on-campus forms of student publications. These include literary magazines, dramatic collections, and student newspapers. They are made up of an incredible variety of student contributions and voices. These publications deserve immense praise for all the work that goes in to composing and compiling written works, particularly with the amount of emphasis there is on their being student-run. These publications are all opportunities for students to be engaged in the community. Whether you are writing for them and putting your thoughts and opinions out there, or you're reading them to hear what these students voices have to say and shape a discussion around it, there is something that everyone can gain from these publications. Take advantage of this. As you tour Lewis & Clark, keep an eye out for copies of these journals, magazines, and reviews. They are widely distributed and there to be read. These publications offer you the opportunity to engage with Lewis & Clark as a prospective and a current student. My reading of the Pioneer Log as I made my college decision was hugely informative for me. I was able to see the students' perspectives of the school by listening to student voices. The content published is reflective of what matters to students, and this is valuable information for people looking to join or already a part of the LC community.

8) Pamplin Fitness Center
This resource, I confess, was the hardest for me to discover and explore. I am not overly keen on other people seeing me exercise. However, I do like getting in consistent and productive workouts. For this need, Pamplin is an excellent resource. Like all gyms, there is some discomfort in adjusting to being there. However, there is all the equipment you could need to do whatever workout suits your style. Cardio machines fill the room's back wall, and the path to them is lined with a variety of weight lifting options. Whether you prefer free weights or weight machines, you will find your needs met by what Pamplin has to offer. Looking to ease yourself into Pamplin instead of just boldly venturing in one day? Take a PE class that introduces you to the functions of the gym. There are weight lifting and fitness classes that are designed to familiarize you with Pamplin so that you can successfully meet your exercise needs there. I took one this semester, and it was just the push I needed to make myself at home in Pamplin and use it regularly. The gym has hours that are fairly accommodating of student schedules; they are often open until 9 p.m. on school nights. Looking for something else from your workouts? Consider using the Mat Room near the Fitness Center for yoga, also offered in this room as a PE course. Use the athletic facilities, including the pool, tennis courts, and track as you need. Some consideration of athletic schedules may need to be done, but the school makes athletic opportunities and facilities available to all students. You just have to be bold enough to give them a try. It's worth it when you do.

There are so many opportunities to discover at Lewis & Clark. Even in writing this, I'm sure there are more for me to find as I continue my time here as a student. I encourage you all to explore these opportunities as prospective, future, and current students. The school offers so much to meet student needs, we simply have to take advantage of what we're being given.

'Til next time,

10 December 2012

Last Stretch

We are almost there!

I have one more of each of my classes on Wednesday, then finals start on Saturday. My bio lab finished last week, and we turned in our final ivy investigation paper today. Because there's no need to meet now, I have tomorrow off- I have yet to decide if I'm going to use the majority of it to sleep, or to study-  it seems like both are in about equal need right now!

Last Friday, some friends and I decided to get off of campus and go downtown. We wandered around for a while, ate some ice cream, went in some stores (including a record store where I met a fellow Minnesotan!), and ended up seeing the new Twilight movie. It was definitely a... distraction from finals stress.
There's currently a giant Christmas tree downtown 
So, that happened.
Then, on Saturday, I went over to celebrate Hanukkah at my brother's apartment. The only bad part was shredding onions for the latkes (tears were literally running down my face), but I think it was worth it.
My roommate and I weren't sure if candles were allowed, so we drew a menorah on our board
The rest of my life, other than those adventures, has been studying for finals and finishing up some last projects. I recently found a new study spot, in the bottom of Templeton (the student center). It has a lot of couches, and is quiet, but not in the feel-guilty-if-you-zip-your-backpack way. I have a rough draft of my final E&D paper due Wednesday, various daily homework assignments left to do for a few classes, and reviewing all of everything I've learned. I'm stressed, but there are enough distractions that I'm doing okay. It snowed about a foot at my home a couple of nights ago, so I'm anxious to get to see it.

Well, that's it for this semester! I will try to post during break, to keep you lovely people updated on what is going on. As always, feel free to email me at rekidder@lclark.edu with any questions or comments about anything, be it the application process to just life happenings!

Until later,


P.S. I recently got a care package from my wonderful cousin, which included a ton of random things, among which was a CD of the 2003 Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards. I've been jamming out pretty hard to the music, especially this song. Enjoy!

06 December 2012

I'm a star!!

Hello dear readership!!

I write to you on a momentous occasion...I finished with finals!!! All I have to do is turn in an essay tomorrow and I am done done done. Chilean style. I am beyond proud of myself for writing no less than 5 full length papers (5 pages and up) all in Spanish in the past 2 weeks. Today I had my last exam and I just finished up the last paper.

This week has been a lot of lasts. I had my last day at the school volunteering and had the last of my classes. All have left in Santiago is really this weekend! It is impossible to believe how fast the time has gone by. Have I really been here almost 6 months? However long I've been here, this place never stops surprising me! Yesterday, I was in a movie!!!

Through a Chilean friend I heard about an American movie being shot in Santiago that was looking for gringo extras! I thought what the hell and sent an e-mail in. Whaddaya know! I got chosen! Me and another girl on the program named Heather went yesterday and spent the day on the movie set being extras! The extremely funny part is that the scenes we were filming were supposed to be at Columbia University in New York, but since they were already in Peru shooting and it's way expensive to film in New York they decided to film all the NYC footage in Santiago! The scenes we participated in were the scenes at "Columbia", actually on the campus of La Universidad de los Andes in Santiago, Chile. Anyways, we ended up in 3 different scenes. We'll see if they make it into the final cut! Either way it was a fun experience (and they payed us!). In case you're curious the movie is called "The Green Inferno". Even though I'm usually not a big fan of horror films I'm gunna go see this one for sure.  The picture is of me and Heather in the special shirts they gave us to wear...Sadly we didn't get to keep them.

In other news this weekend I will spend mostly packing up. I leave for a week long trip to Peru on Sunday with my friend Margaret and my room needs to be all packed up before I go. After I get back I have a few days here and then head back to the USA. It's a mixed bag of feelings. On the one hand I can't wait to get home and relax, see my family and eat the wonderful food offerings that the US of A has to offer. On the other hand I've come to feel comfortable here and even when I'm frustrated or getting tear gassed I'm learning so much. I'll miss that my first and last conversations of the day are always in Spanish (and most of the conversations in between come to think of it) and just the fact that I'm here living in Chile. And I'll miss my host family so much. Lots of opposing feelings.

But before leaving South America it's off to Peru! We're flying to the north-most part of Chile and then busing it to Cuzco. We'll go to Machu Picchu (!!!!!) among other things. I promise at least one more blog post this semester telling all about it!

SO, to all of you at LC right now GOOD LUCK ON FINALS!! And as always please send me any questions or musings to smiller@lclark.edu.

Love from Chile,

05 December 2012

Almost Done!

Well, it's that time of year again.  I can no longer deny it: finals are here.

Luckily for me, there is enough going on around campus to keep me away from the books just long enough to stay sane.  For example, I spent this evening in Pamplin watching the men and women's basketball games.  If you're going to be on campus during the winter sports season, I highly recommend  trying to catch a game.  The Women are ranked #6 in the country, and are super exciting to watch.  The men are really competitive, too.

Tonight was great because both teams won.  The Women probably could have played with one arm tied behind their backs, and still won.  The other team wasn't even bad, that's just how good these girls are.  The Men's game was much closer, but was really fun to watch.

There's a bunch of other stuff going on during the next few weeks as the semester winds down.  SAAC is putting on the annual dodgeball tournament, there are some pretty interesting speakers coming to campus that I'm going to check out, and, although it's kinda weird to already be thinking about it, I'm super excited for finals brunch (tons of food, people, and karaoke in the Bon on the last Sunday of the semester).

Anyway, sorry about how short this blog is, but I have to run.  Lots of studying to do, and not much time to do it!

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at hhigger@lclark.edu

04 December 2012

Just keep swimming…

This reference to Finding Nemo is also a little mantra I say to myself during rough patches in the season and at big competitions, like the one L&C swimming traveled to last weekend.  We went to the 63rd Husky Invitational swim meet formerly hosted by the University of Washington before their swim team was cut.  Over the course of three days, over 1000 swimmers from clubs and colleges gathered in Federal Way Washington to swim against very fast competition. In the mix were a bunch of NCAA Division I teams (Oregon State, University of British Columbia, Grand Canyon University, etc…), a couple Division II teams (University of San Diego and Seattle University) and a bunch of club teams from all over the west coast (from northern Washington to southern California). Overall, our L&Cteam did really well with a bunch of season best times and a few PR’s which are awesome at this point in the season. And, our big end of season meet will be held at the same venue, making it a good practice run for our actual competition. Which is super exciting considering the season is coming to a close in early February, just weeks away!
Look how giant the pool is! To put it in perspective, on the back wall is a 10m diving platform! (Photo Credit: Chris Fantz)

A group of LCers cheering for Rachael Cazden swimming backstroke.  We wave our hands above our heads when we cheer because backstrokers can see that as they push off the wall so they know we're there even if they can't hear us. (Photo Credit: Ali Brauer)

Swimmers are really intimidating. (Photo Credit: Ali Brauer)
Personally, one of the biggest hurdles for me to overcome is balancing my end of the semester stress with the added anxieties of racing. This balance was tested this week as I committed three full days to swimming which can be both physically and emotionally draining. As an athlete (or any student with time consuming extra curricular activities), this is just one of the things I have chosen to take part in and  I deal with it by maximizing efficiency through organization. To do so, I live and breathe by my iCal, which is color-coded by activity.  From my iCal I can then prioritize my tasks visually and then just take it from there.  By being able to stay on track time wise, I can then manage juggling athletics and academics. Because of this extreme organization of time, I am able to schedule in study breaks and fun extra-extra activities like PioPup!
This is a screen shot of my iCal for last week, the colors make it look a little crazy but also helps me keep track of what is going on in my life!
PioPup is an event hosted by SAAC where student athletes invite faculty, staff, and alumi to bring their kids (the pups, get it?) to campus to play with some of the L&C athletes. As a student, it was awesome to see professors in a more relaxed atmosphere and even better to get to see them with their kids who were all super cute!
All the Pups and Pios for a big group picture! (Photo Credit: SAAC)
A little duck-duck-goose to get warmed up. (Photo Credit: SAAC)

A little break between rounds of sharks and minnows! (Photo Credit: SAAC)
Everyone playing a big game of tag! (Photo Credit: SAAC)

If you have any questions about swimming, balancing college life as a student-athlete, SAAC, or Pio-Pup, feel free to ask at katyyeh@lclark.edu!

03 December 2012


By some fluke, I'm still on a couple of colleges email lists, so I've been getting the occasional email prodding me to "apply soon," because "they've been waiting for me." I can't believe that I got my acceptance letter from LC almost a year ago (December 16). I remember dreading the time between when I got that email and when I finally came here last August. It seemed to take forever, and I just wanted to get here and start college. Now, I'm having a really hard time believing that in 17 days, the first semester of my first year of college will be over.

Waiting is hard, but I can't stress enough that you should appreciate every moment. Looking back, I feel like I just was applying to schools, and here I am, available to help you with the process! A lot of my friends here I made on my new student trip, and we've been talking a lot about how it feels like we just went on the trip.
A whole 3 and a half months ago?
Before you know it, you'll be here (or wherever you end up going), and then you'll be out working or traveling or doing whatever you end up doing with your life. I'm extremely happy that I get to spend four years here: I've made great friends, the professors are excellent, I'm learning a lot, there are tons of clubs and events put on throughout the semester, I'm in a beautiful part of the country, I've met people from all over the world, the list goes on. I wish everyone knew how cool this school is, and I wish you all the best of luck with your applications. Know, though, that wherever you end up, you will make friends and find a community. True, the communities at different schools are different from each other, and it's likely that you'll feel more comfortable in some than in some others. However, there is rarely one right answer to big choices in your life like this (though, and I am biased, I'd say that LC is the best).

I only have classes until next Wednesday, then two reading days before finals start. I'm anxious, but I am confident that I'll do well on the tests. I'm trying to squeeze in some "more fun" activities before finals, like going bowling and watching movies, but it's hard to find time between studying. I will succeed!
We had a studying break to watch Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. We fit 6 people on my bed.
Please email me with any questions or comments about the college, or applying, or anything (things related to fuzzy animals are appreciated, too). My email is rekidder@lclark.edu. 

P.S. I would like to share my current favorite video, that's getting me through studying (1:15 is the best part of the video).