30 January 2013

New Beginnings

I am back on campus and finally starting to get into the swing of things again. Winter Break went by incredibly fast and I can't believe that it is already the second week of classes of my sophomore spring semester. I am just getting used to all of my wonderful new classes. I wasn't very excited about the two Gen Ed. courses I was signed up for this semester, but as they say a professor really can make or break a subject and my professors for both my Stats and especially my Physics class are both amazing.

To get just a little taste of what goes on in Physics check this out. Students actually made a blog about random funny stuff Broide says in class.


Other than the two courses I am taking to fill my requirements, I am also taking German and Linguistics, both classes for my major. Linguistics is going very well so far. We've been talking about language and how linguists view language verses how grammarians view languages, and now we are beginning to get more technical and talk about phonetics. Phonetics is actually a lot more interesting than I thought it would be. It's incredible how much we can break down a language, and all the small sounds that go together to make words. When you think about how easy it is for us to be able to create language and to be able to understand language, basically without really ever having to think about it or ever having to have learned it as we learn other things, by studying over and over again for example, it really is quite incredible.

My German class is also going quite well. We are taking a "tour through Europe" this semester in German class and the last few days we have been taking a look at what Vienna, Austria has to offer. It's extremely exciting to think about how next year I will most likely be in Munich, Germany studying abroad for the year and will get to have the opportunity to actually be able to go and visit Vienna.

If you're interested in maybe studying abroad in Germany while here at Lewis & Clark you should check this video out!


Anyways, I should probably go do my homework.
Hope you are all doing well!


One of the most shocking things about winter break is it makes you realize how close you are to all the friends you have made in college.  Every year, I leave home in early January to participate in winter training with the swim team.  And this year, when I got off the plane and my teammates started trickling in from afar, I started to appreciate how much of a family we truly were and how happy I was to see them all again. These are the people that I spend a majority of my time with, and to paraphrase one of our captains, Hannah Frank, there isn’t a group of people that I would rather spend it with.

This is a picture of the family, we each have our own personalities and bring something different to the table, and it is awesome! (Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)
When you leave home for the first time, there is a level of excitement and apprehension about what will happen to you in this new life.  Now, when I leave home to come back to school there is a level of anticipation of seeing my second family and being able to catch up with them again.  Maybe I am getting a little sentimental because our season is going to close in less than 2 weeks, but this has truly been an amazing season so far and I can’t wait to see how it ends and experience it again next year!

In other (related) news, since the official end of winter break, school has started up again and we have celebrated the Senior Swim Meet, or the last dual meet that our seniors will compete in at our home pool.  This meet came towards the end of an awesome season and I think that this team is the best one I have participated on at L&C so far.  Here are some pictures from the meet:
As a team we make posters for our graduating seniors for our final home meet of the season. (Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)
Our lovely seniors of the class of 2013! Left to Right: Josh, Evan, Caz, Gail, Rachel, and Hannah (Photo Credit: Alexa Morris)

29 January 2013

Start of Classes 2.0

The first week of second semester is done, and I can definitely say that we aren't wasting any time getting into this semester. I already have more work to do than I did last semester. I'm taking French 102 (just a continuation of the beginning French I took last semester), an intro to Spanish literature class, Into to Environmental Studies, and E&D (this semester my class is called "Family Matters," it's about how families have changed and how we define them). The last three all have a lot of reading, something that most of my friends experienced last semester but that somehow I managed to escape for the most part. On top of the bigger work load, I'm also volunteering to tutor once a week at an elementary school in Northeast Portland. It hasn't started yet, but the idea is that we will sit with second graders and read with them for about an hour every Wednesday. I also got a radio show.
I made a mildly creepy poster to advertise the show.
You can listen here. KLC is pretty booked this semester, so there should be a show airing most of the time. My show is called "Free Stuff!" and airs 10 AM (PST) on Sundays. I'm also thinking about joining the Ukelele Orchestra, but I need to see if I have enough time.

I went into town twice this weekend. Saturday, we found a coffee shop and did homework there until they kicked us out (at 2 PM!) then moved to another one. Sunday, after I did the rest of my homework, my friend Annabel and I went downtown again to try to find a trucker hat to buy.
We were unsuccessful, but we did find an orange and pink YOLO hat at Claire's
I'm looking forward to the rest of this semester. I'm surprised how quickly it felt like I had never left campus.

As always, email me with any questions at rekidder@lclark.edu. I know you have them! Even if you don't, I'm happy just to talk to you.

26 January 2013

Oh Hello LC!

Hey All!

Let me be honest with you, I have no idea how to start this blog post. I suppose I'll start by stating the obvious facts. Before I get going with my nice little list, let me let you all know that I am SUPER happy to be back. This post is to show you a little of what is going through my head as I get used to LC again after being abroad. All though transitions and re-transitions can be tough and I'm about to sound a bit like a negative-Nancy I am mostly jazzed to be here. So, here we go...my list of things...

1) I have been back in the USA for a little more than a month and back at Lewis & Clark for almost 2 weeks. It's weird because most days I still expect to wake up in Chile, but in some ways it also feels very distant and like I made up the whole semester. 

2) Reverse culture shock (or whatever you want to call it) is a real thing. Coming back can be more difficult after being abroad than your first time arriving on campus. Some of it is what campus feels like right now. It makes me a little sad to walk around campus and recognize way less people. If you think about it, all the Seniors I knew graduated, a lot of my class (the Juniors) are abroad, and a whole new class of Freshmen have arrived. There are so many people on campus now that I don't know! And it's not like the beginning of the year when all the Freshmen are confused and lost and still wearing their ID's around their necks; these Freshmen know what's up. They've had a semester under their belts are are mean lean LC machines. This time I am the one looking around like a lost little alpaca. HOWEVER, I am confident that as the semester zooms ahead I'll get into the swing of things. 

3) For the first time I am living off campus. I now live on what we call "The Hill", which is the immediate area around LC. It takes me 15 minutes to walk to class. It's a bit of an adjustment from the 3 minutes it took when I lived on campus, but less of one from the hour it took in Santiago! I have five roommates one of whom is still my roommate from Freshman year! We still live close enough to get to campus to take the Raz (free LC bus also sometimes known as the Pio) to Fred Meyer or downtown which is super handy. It's both nice and annoying to have to cook for one's self; most nights I like choosing and making what I want to eat, but sometimes I still wish I had dinner always waiting for me.

Alright, that's enough for now. Next week you get to hear about my classes and things of that ilk.

As always send me all your thoughts and stuff at smiller@lclark.edu!


21 January 2013

Back to LC

Hey everyone,

I'm currently waiting for my flight in the airport, so I figured I'd use this time to update everyone on the end of my break and the beginning of the semester.

The rest of my break went well. It was really warm for Minnesota, in the high 30s and 40s a lot of the time. Given, today the windchill is like -30 and the high is -4, so I think I got out in time. Most of my friends left a week or two before our break ended, but a couple friends were still home.
At one point we went ice skating. I'm a bad Minnesotan and haven't skated since I was about 7, so I had some issues staying upright. I didn't fall, though!
I left home yesterday, because I had to be back on campus today for the Day of Service. I have a leadership and service scholarship that requires me to volunteer a couple of times a year, and there is a city wide volunteer event today in honor of MLK day. Thinking I was going to get into Portland around 8 last night, I thought I had plenty of time. I was wrong. My first plane was delayed, so I missed my connection from Phoenix to Portland. Long story short, the airline paid for a hotel room and I'm flying out of Phoenix this morning. Hopefully I'll be back in my dorm around noon today, but if I've learned anything from this experience, it's to not be sure of anything when it comes to traveling.

Once I get back, I need to pick up my books for my classes next semester (Spanish, French, E&D and intro to environmental studies). I'm excited to see all of my friends again (especially since I was supposed to see them yesterday). Then, classes start tomorrow! This semester I'm planning on tutoring some elementary school kids and also having a radio show, in addition to how busy I was with schoolwork last semester. I'm looking forward to it!

If you have any questions, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu. I'm here to help!

18 January 2013

Winter Break - Back on the East Coast!

Hello everyone!

So I have been home on vacation for the past four and a half weeks and I am going to be heading back to school on Sunday. I can't believe that the time has passed by so quickly. I have had a wonderful time at home seeing all my family and my friends both from high school and from the camp that I worked at this summer.

My first two weeks back at home were mostly spent with my family, celebrating Christmas and New Years. I also was able to meet the new addition to our family, Zoots! Zoots is our new dog that my parents decided to get around October 2012. He is so adorable and energetic. I'm not normally a dog person but something about Zoots made me give him a second chance, even though he is a dog. Here's a cute picture of him in an outfit my dad decided to put him in.

Anyways, the Holidays were great. I always love getting to see my family around this time of year and spend time with them. On New Years, I went up to the "big city" in Vermont, Burlington with some friends of mine from high school. We went out to Olive Garden for dinner and then went over to a friends house from High School to celebrate New Years all together. It was a ton of fun and I was able to bring in the New Year with some really good people. It was a great time. 

My friends and I at Olive Garden 
A few days into the New Year I went up to Burlington again to meet up with my friend from camp this summer and then we drove down to Boston together to meet up with some other friends from our camp. We stayed with our friend who has an apartment right outside of Boston in Somerville. All weekend we spent hanging out, seeing movies, walking around Boston and Quincy Market area etc.

My Friends and I in Quincy Market

Now I am back in Montpelier, Vermont and I am getting ready to head back for Spring Semester at Lewis and Clark. I am very excited for all of my classes and to see my friends again and to be busy again. This semester I am signed up for Linguistics, German 202, Great Ideas in Physics and Psych Stats. I am also signed up to do Step Aerobics, which I am very excited to get into and learn how to do. These last few days at home I am going to spend packing, applying to study abroad in Germany next year and saying good bye to my family. 

See you in a few days Lewis and Clark!!

10 January 2013

Home Again

Hello everyone!

I hope that everyone's winters are going well. I know a lot of college apps were due at the beginning of the month (luckily, you still have time to do LC's! Get on that if you haven't yet!). Good luck with all of that!

I promised I'd update during break, so here I am. I've been home since December 19th, and have been really busy. There was a ton of holiday stuff happening at first: my family has a myriad of traditions, including baking cookies (and playing Beatle's Rockband), having a gift exchange, going sledding and eating peanut brittle on Boxing Day, and seeing movies with the whole family. All of my cousins on my mom's side are from the Minneapolis area, so I got to see a lot of them. My cousin also got married a few days ago, so my extra family stayed in town past the holidays for the wedding. I've also been seeing a lot of friends, and some of them have already gone back to school.

Highlights of my break include:
Family sledding! One of our many failed trains.
A visit to the science museum in St. Paul.
And the view of St. Paul
A reunion with my cats
And a reunion with Tess, from LC!
And seeing other friends. We tried to go ice skating today, but it started raining (in January! In Minnesota! It was sad)
 Other highlights would be sleeping a lot, reading, watching endless television, eating home-cooked meals, and having unlimited washing machine use.

That being said, I am really looking forward to going back to school. Understandably, college has been the topic of conversation with a lot of people at home. I've taken away some things from these conversations that I think you would all benefit from.

First, all of my friends are happy at their schools. Some are at small schools, some are at bigger schools, some stayed in Minnesota and others are on the east and west coasts. Some go to public schools, some are private, some go to schools that are "better" known than others. But, they are all happy. The point is two fold: you can find happiness almost anywhere you end up going, and there is a school out there that will suit what you want. I can't emphasize enough that, while it is important to find somewhere that you feel happy and comfortable, it's probable that you can make friends and find appropriate challenges in more than one of the schools you are looking at.

Second, I've come to appreciate some things specifically about LC:
-The location is wonderful. Some of my friends go to schools in much more rural areas. Sometimes they like the secludedness, but they've had some problems with transportation to the area, and they've also felt somewhat trapped on campus. One of my favorite things about our location is that it's really easy to go downtown (there's a free hourly shuttle), and there are always things happening, both on campus and in Portland.
-Our food is good! It's true, I, like many people, sometimes complain about the food. But over all, it's pretty good. There are a variety of options, and each station has a vegetarian option. And the provider, Bon Appetit, is very environmentally friendly, which is a plus.
-The professors are all readily available and wanting to help.
-The campus is small enough that you at least recognize most people. This is a more personal thing that I like about the college. Some people find campuses this size too small- that's something you want to find out about yourself before you commit to a small school. I like being able to recognize most people, because I feel like it adds to the sense of community. Other people like to be able to be lost in the crowd, which is hard to do at LC, because it's so small. It just depends on what kind of community you prefer.
-We choose our classes before break! Some of my friends have to "shop" for classes once they get back on campus, and are stressing out about what they are going to take. I get to act superior and emphasize how chill I feel, because I already registered for classes and know what my schedule is next semester.

There are a lot more things I really like about Lewis & Clark, but it would take a while to type them all out. Basically, I really like the school.

If you have any questions or just want to talk, my email address is rekidder@lclark.edu. Feel free to email me about anything! That's what I'm here for!