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,