30 April 2013

The end...

Hi everyone!

This is an exiting time. If you're a Senior in High School, at this point you have been accepted to LC and have sent in your YES that you're coming here! Yippee! If you're a Junior, perhaps you are beginning to think about actually applying to college. Yippee to you too! All in all good things are happening out there in prospective student land. But what's going on in our lives? What are we up to at LC?

It's basically the end of the year! We just have this week, then reading days (no class Friday or Monday to give us time to work and study. So, even though we have a 4 day weekend it is not at all a break), and then starting Tuesday FINAL EXAMS. Dun dun duuuuunnnnn. As a Junior having done a few finals periods already I know how to handle the work and stress. I have two finals secrets for all of you: first, get going on work early so you can space things out as best you can. Second, don't forget to have fun! If you cram everything into a few days not only will you be giving up all the wonderful sleep you could have, but also you will be a sad stressful person. I don't exactly always follow my own advice because, lets face it, we're slammed with work up until finals, but let me give you a run down of what my finals will look like.

First, I wrote two papers this past weekend, one 4 pages and one 10 pages (NOTE: the page numbers is a bit of a superficial way of qualifying the amount of work, sometimes a short paper can be way more difficult than a long one, but I want you guys to get a vague idea of the work we do!). Since I finished those two papers, I have all this week to write my 20 page paper. I set myself the goal of 3-4 pages a day, which will leave me reading days to edit. I have two actual sit down final exams that will require quite a bit of study, but luckily they're fun studying because I get to read about extraterrestrial life and look at Roman art. Last but not least I have to give a presentation on one of the papers I'm writing. So for this years finals I have a bit of everything. I'm feeling fairly on top of it right now, but come back and ask me again in a week!

But don't worry! Even among all the stress and all the work there are fun and good things that are happening. Like I said, I truly believe taking a little time for fun is essential to doing well. In order to focus really well, I have planned in a variety of short fun breaks/activities. That way I won't goof off when I'm supposed to be working! Here's the run down on the fun: Tonight at 8 there are bouncy castles set up in the Gym. I'm super pumped to go and be my inner 8 year-old. After that around 9 my Origin of Life in the Universe class is meeting in the observatory to look at Jupiter and Saturn! Even though this one is for class, I am really excited.

On Friday (our first reading day) I am heading to my Portland cousin's house to babysit. I'll do work during the kids naps and after they go to bed. It'll also be nice to get off campus and spend some time with people not in the 18-25 age category. It's back to campus Saturday and I'll be in the library all day. At 8pm I'll take a break, get a free professional massage (the library activities and campus activities groups bring professional masseuses to campus) maybe do some coloring at "Watzek Recess" (the finals break room in the library) and then get back to work!

Probably Tuesday I'll go downtown and study art history over some sushi. SO...that is the plan. With any luck finals this year will be a breeze!

Sadly, this is my last post for the year. It has been wonderful sharing my life with all ya'll (hope you got something from it!) and I've really enjoyed answering all the questions you send me. On that note please feel free to send me more questions to smiller@lclark.edu and I'll be around in Portland giving tours for admissions! So, maybe meet you soon!


29 April 2013

End of Freshman Year

Hey everyone,

Congratulations on making your college decisions! I know you technically still have a (very) little bit of time to figure it out, but most of you have probably decided. I'm sure you will all be wonderful wherever you decided to go! I'm excited to see a lot of you here next fall. Before you know it, it'll be the end of your first year here.

Naturally, I've been pretty reflective these last few weeks. As clichéd as it sounds, I cannot believe how quickly this year has gone. I not only feel like I just got here, but I feel like I was just in high school! I've been talking to my friends who are still in high school and are going through the application process and deciding where they're going and planning their grad parties and freaking out about mayterm (which is something my high school lets seniors do- the last few weeks of class after AP tests you can do a project instead of go to class), and I really can't believe that I now have a year of college under my belt.

In preparation for this post I went back and looked at all of my previous posts on this blog. I came into this school with a lot of general expectations but few specific expectations. I was expecting to enjoy it and hoping to make some friends and learn things, but I didn't know everything the year was going to hold. I came in wanting to double major in foreign languages and environmental studies, and now I've declared Hispanic studies and am on the path of declaring environmental studies next year. I came in hoping to explore the amazing wilderness that the pacific northwest has to offer, and as I go back home I can reflect on the trips during my NST to the coast, Mt. Hood, and the gorge, my yoga trip last fall at the coast, my birding trip in Washington, kayaking on a bay off of the Columbia, and my waterfall and wildflower hike in the gorge. I made some amazing friends my first week on my NST, and am leaving this year with those friends and many others I've made through my classes, ukulele orchestra, college outdoors, and all of the other wonderful activities LC has to offer. I came in never having thought about playing a ukulele, and now can play one and do often with an amazing group of people. I've made connections with faculty, kids at an elementary school in Northeast Portland, the families of my friends here, people who run volunteer events at Tryon, the people who work at the frozen yogurt place my friends always go to, and students of all different class standings at LC.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into by coming here, but neither does anyone. People like me who are here to answer your questions about the school can try really hard to get you to have a good sense of what it's like here, but until you come here and you live in the dorms and eat almost all of your meals in the Bon and experience planning your own schedule and taking classes, you won't know what it's like here. Same goes for any school. I definitely made the right choice in coming here, and I couldn't be happier. I'm going home this summer excited to spend some time with my family and friends in a familiar place, but I'm already looking forward to coming back to this familiar place in the fall. It's a weird thing about college: I feel at home both here and in Minnesota, and miss both when I'm not there. I suppose that's part of growing up; making connections with people and places all over, and it makes me eager to see where I'll be going in the future.

We are in our final week of classes, and finals are next week. I'm pretty busy studying, but a lot of my classes have final presentations or papers in addition to tests that I've already done. It's not as stressful as finals were last semester, but I think I'm kind of alone in that feeling- most of my friends are stressing pretty hard right now. All I have between now and going home is editing the rough draft of my E&D paper, a Spanish presentation on Huidobro, a written Spanish final, a French oral and written final, and an online final quiz for ENVS. I've already turned in my ENVS course project, and ENVS group final project, and I've done my E&D presentation. I can see the end! This weekend has Friday and Monday attached onto it as reading days, and I also have Tuesday off because I don't have my first final until Wednesday. I'm planning on going to the coast with some people for a day or two during reading days, and we will probably go downtown a fair amount too.

This is my final post for the semester, so I'll leave you with some photo-highlights of my year (conveniently comparing some befores and afters of things!). I look forward to talking with you next year! And please, if you have any "last-minute-I-still-haven't-decided-where-I'm-going" questions or any "I-already-decided-but-am-curious" questions, don't hesitate to email me at rekidder@lclark.edu. I am going to be checking my email over the summer, so really, email me anytime!
My NST cleared areas around campus for ivy research in Bio 141
I took Bio 141 and made a presentation about the relationship between ivy and mushroom abundance!
My friends and I went to Fall Ball
Instead of going to Spring Fling, Gaby and I did glow-in-the-dark mini golf
The first time we got Voodoo it was a normal amount
Somehow this last weekend we ended up with this huge bucket, for only $8... way more than a normal amount
The first time I saw uke orch I wasn't in them, but I enjoyed the show
Now I'm with them! This is only about half the group at a performance we had last Thursday
That one time it snowed on campus
Me in MN during spring break (note the snow)
Beautiful spring on campus! Right now!

I hope you all have lovely summers!


23 April 2013

Out With a Bang

I just had an amazingly busy weekend! It didn't leave much time for homework, but luckily I was a little bit ahead so it didn't take too long to catch back up.

Friday night I just relaxed in my room and did some work. One of the things I had least anticipated before I came to college was the small amount of alone time you get. Everything becomes a social event, and if you're introverted (like I am), it can be hard to find time to decompress. Because it was Friday, people were out doing things so my room was pretty quiet. It was a well-needed night in. I also started to pack a little bit, which was bittersweet. I'm really looking forward to being home (even though apparently there was a snowstorm there tonight) and being done with finals, but I am honestly in love with this place. I can go on and on about how gorgeous it is, how nice everyone is, how great my classes and professors are, and how happy I feel here. I couldn't be more confident in my decision to come here.

My activities on Saturday and Sunday are just examples of why I love it here. I woke up early (for a Saturday) on Saturday and walked over to Sequoia, the College Outdoors building on the graduate school campus. There, I met with a group and we drove about an hour away to Scappoose Bay, which is off of the Columbia River. We kayaked around for most of the day, stopping for lunch about half way through. It was really pretty, but unfortunately I don't have many pictures of it (cameras are hard to use when you're in a boat!).
I do have a picture modeling the beautiful outfit we all got to wear, complete with a skirt to keep the water out, a PFD, a wetsuit, and a paddle jacket!
It was a long day and I'm still kind of sore, but it was amazing. I've never really been kayaking before, although I've done a lot of canoeing. It was pretty therapeutic. We saw some eagles and osprey, some beaver-chewed logs, and a lot of water!

That night was Spring Fling, which is a dance/concert of student bands that happens in the spring. The school rents out the Chrystal Ballroom, which is a really cool venue downtown with a floor that has springs under it, so it bounces (I think I talked about this in my post last fall about Fall Ball). I didn't go, because I'm not a huge dance person. Instead, my friend Gaby and I dressed up in random clothes we felt like wearing but don't a lot of the time (I wore overalls and she wore an awesome dress), and we went downtown. We treated ourselves to McDonald's milkshakes and fries (which was ironic because we just learned some pretty bad things about the french fry industry in environmental studies, but we were hungry and don't have too much money so we went for it). Then we went to a glow-in-the-dark mini-golf place that's pretty close to the bus stop. It was really fun!

My sleeves glowed!
 We were both pretty bad (sorry, Gaby), but it was refreshing because we both always go mini-golfing with people who are way better than us.

Sunday I went on another College Outdoors trip. This time, we went to the Columbia River gorge to look at wildflowers and waterfalls.
These flowers are 100 years old!

We all got to match in these beautiful blue shirts and tan pants.
The spray from the waterfall was so strong that we were all soaked just from standing next to it!
 It was also an amazing day. One of our leaders, Joe, knew an insane amount of things about the history of the area and about wildflowers. I learned a lot about the geology of the gorge, and about all of the flowers we saw.

During the hike, my roommates for next year went and chose our room. We unfortunately had an extremely high number (1220 out of about 1300), so there were pretty slim pickings by the time we got to choose. We ended up with a quad in Forest (Manzi! Maybe we'll be neighbors!). We wanted a room in either Holmes or Hartzfeld, both of which are sophomore-and-up dorms, and we honestly hadn't even considered living in Forest (mainly because you just put down your top three choices on the form). At first I wasn't sure how I felt, but it's growing on me. I've heard good things about the community within Forest, and I'm looking at the longer walk as a way to get more exercise into my day. Our room is going to be pretty big, since it's a quad. Forest is available to all students, so there's a chance we will be neighbors next year! I'm sure it's a great dorm, I just don't know a lot about it.

Last night, after I got back, I just did some homework then went to bed. Today I had classes, and afterwards I sat outside for a long time. It was super sunny and a ton of people were outside.
You may know Sam! She hosts prospies! We ukulele'd it up in the sun.
I did homework there for a bit, played my ukulele, then went to dinner. Afterwards I had ukulele orchestra, which met outside, and since then I've been catching up on homework in my room.

If you have any questions about anything, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu!

16 April 2013

Three Weeks

We only have three weeks of classes left! Then a week of finals, then we're done!

Last weekend was pretty busy. On Saturday, I was a project leader for Spring Into Action. I was supposed to help lead a group going to the Oregon Food Bank, but due to some last-minute changes I ended up co-leading the group going to Tryon. Tryon is a state park right next to campus, so we walked as a group from Stamm, where the day's activities began, to the nature center in the park. It was kind of a long walk from LC to the spot we were pulling ivy, but everyone stayed in good spirits and had a good time. It was really cool to be participating as a leader, because most of my community service experience has been as a participant, not a leader. I definitely relied on my weirdly large repertoire of camp songs to keep the group entertained.

That evening, I went over to my brother's apartment. He and his fiancee got kittens! They were both pretty shy so I didn't get many good pictures of them together. It was really nice to have a cat fix.
They piled on top of each other!
I dedicated Sunday to homework, locking myself in my room after brunch to write a 10-page paper. I somehow managed to get it all down, which is good because my rough draft for the paper is due next Monday. I knew I had to do it last weekend, because I'm going on two college outdoor trips next weekend and won't have time to write it at all then.

I had the pre-trip meetings for those trips tonight, and I am really excited! On Saturday I'm going to go kayaking in Scappoose Bay. I've only been kayaking a few times on a smallish lake in Vermont, and not for very long. I've done a bunch of canoeing, so I'm interested to see how similar kayaking is to that. I got to pick out a wetsuit and everything today! I don't know anyone going on that trip, but that's the great thing about CO trips- you get to meet new people. Then on Sunday I'm going on a "waterfall and wildflower" hike in the Columbia River Gorge. I have a couple of friends also going on that trip. I'm really excited. Apparently the Columbia Gorge is one of the best places in the world to see wildflowers.

It has been really nice here. Today I studied outside for a while on a lawn. I have a lot of work to do, but it's actually pretty enjoyable when you can do it while lying on the grass.
I took this picture after ukulele orchestra yesterday. So pretty!
I'm beginning to be able to check projects and things to do off of my list, which is a really good feeling. I can see the finish line!

Please email me with questions! My address is rekidder@lclark.edu.
This last weekend, as always, was an extremely busy weekend. I always have so many fun activities to participate in that it's hard to find time to do work!

This past friday was International Karaoke night, saturday was Spring into Action and Salsa Fiesta, and sunday my roommates and I took a trip to a Tulip farm!

(First annual) International Karaoke was a blast. Every language assistant learned and performed a song in a language that was not their own, and students from all of the conversation classes performed a song in the language they were learning. It was so much fun and quite hilarious. All of the language assistants also made delicious appetizers from their home countries. In the end my roommates and I stuck around and jammed out to some "Baby got back," "Rabiosa," etc. Overall I would say the event was quite a success.

Saturday, was Spring into Action (the annual day of community service that Lewis & Clark has every spring). I went with about 20 other students to Hoyt Arboretum to pull some ivy. The experience was wonderful, and it was great to feel as if I were helping out in some way. I had never been to the Hoyt Arboretum before and it was absolutely beautiful. Here is a picture of our group after 3 hours of ivy pulling.

There were many other service projects happening on saturday as well all over Portland, even some taking place on our very own campus. Around 200-300 students participated. 

After getting back from Spring into Action I went straight to help set up for the Salsa Fiesta. The Salsa Fiesta is an annual event put on by the Spanish club and department, Copeland Hall, the Dean of Students as well as others. A local salsa instructor is brought in to teach everyone how to dance different types of latin dance such as the merengue, the bachata etc. It was so much fun to dance salsa all night. There was also a photo booth, appetizers and great music.

Finally, on sunday, my friends and I went to visit the tulip farm which was absolutely beautiful. I will leave you with some pictures from that.

Please let me know if you have any questions about Lewis & Clark! I know you are all making your college decisions right about now. Feel free to email me at drussosavage@lclark.edu

09 April 2013

Next Year

We just keep getting closer to the end of the year! This week we start signing up for classes for next semester, and also figure out our housing. It's kind of stressful, but LC's support with both things is comforting. I know that I will eventually end up with the classes I need, because the school is good at helping you figure that kind of thing out. Professors know that it can be hard to juggle major requirements (especially if you're double majoring) and general ed requirements, and help you figure out how to get into the classes that you need. For example, my environmental studies professor said that anyone who is majoring in environmental studies is guaranteed a spot in the class we have to talk next fall, even though there are only thirty spots. It takes some stress out of planning knowing that there will be space for you in the classes you need.

Housing is stressful because I'm not sure if I'm going to get into my first choice dorm, but because of the residency requirement, I'm guaranteed housing on campus next year. It's definitely less stressful than at some bigger schools, where I know people who don't know at all where they are going to live because there aren't enough dorms. Both my first registration time and the housing lottery are on Thursday, so I'm eager for that to be over with.

Classes are getting really, really busy. On Friday, I have a rough draft of my environmental studies course project due, an annotated bibliography and revised artifact proposal due in E&D, and normal French and Spanish homework (which includes writing a sonnet) on top of that. Saturday is Spring Into Action, which is a day where a lot of LC students go out and volunteer around Portland. I am one of two project leaders for the group that's going to the Oregon Food Bank, and had training for that tonight. It will be nice to get off campus for something other than studying! Next weekend I'm going on two College Outdoor trips (kayaking and hiking). I'm really excited for those, though I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to fit my homework in. Then we have two more weekends, finals, and we're done!

I think the highlight of my last weekend was when I went downtown to study on Saturday. Every time we go downtown, my friends and I notice this sign outside of this restaurant that says "café and wine bar." We've always assumed we could go in and get coffee, so last weekend my friend Annabel and I decided to try and do homework in there. Turns out it was a seafood restaurant, and not the type of restaurant where it's especially okay to get out your laptop and work.
Annabel got tea, at least
We finished our food pretty quickly and went next door to the best frozen yogurt place in Portland and studied there instead. At least it was an adventure!

As always, if you have any questions or would just like to talk, email me at rekidder@lclark.edu.

05 April 2013

Spring Break and such

Hello lovely readers!

Spring has sprung and brought with it the joys of a week off. Well, it brought a week off. Now we're back to classes and the end of the semester seems to be speeding towards the end at an alarming rate. Spring break was full of lots of relaxing days plus a bunch of days giving tours for admissions. Maybe I met some of you? 

Anyways, this week back to classes was marked by some gorgeously sunny days. In the 70s and Sunday in March? No way Portland! Because of the gorgeous weather we did lots of outdoorsie things like going to the farmers market and exploring the state park (Tryon). One of my housemates and I tackled the back garden and planted a whole bunch of herbs and things. I wish I had more exciting things to report but this was a fairly low key week. Classes, work, a little bit of sun. Fortunately, I like my classes and my work. So despite not huge events or adventures It was a nice time. Here we go into the last of the semester. There will be lots more to tell as we reach the end!!

As always e-mail me at smiller@lclark.edu with questions!


A little bit of everything...

It's finally April! Congratulations to all of you who have been accepted to Lewis & Clark! Whether or not you end up deciding to go here, I wish you all the best in your decisions. Wherever you end up, although colleges are all different and they all have special factors to them, a large part of the college experience is what you make of it.

This last week was Spring Break for all of us at LC. It was a much needed break. Two of my close friends and I decided to take a trip up to Vancouver, BC for a few days since none of us had ever been and one of my friends just got accepted to Grad school there! People here at LC usually do one of 5 things for Spring Break: Go to California, Seattle, Vancouver, home, on a College Outdoors trip or stay at LC.

My time in Vancouver was absolutely wonderful. It was really funny to see how many people from LC we would run into there. Another group of people from LC were actually staying at the same hostel as us.

We did so much exploring during our time in Vancouver. We went to Stanley Park twice, once just to walk around and the other time we rented bikes and biked around the whole park. We also went to the aquarium that same day which was in the park itself. My friend and I rented a tandem bike, and it was the first time I had ever ridden one! It was so much fun but  it was tough at times to make sure we were pedaling in sync.

The view there was absolutely gorgeous as well. Vancouver has an ocean front, towering mountains, and a beautiful skyline. We wanted to do some hiking but unfortunately the mountain we were looking at hiking didn't open until April 1st.

During our time in Vancouver we also ate at Japadog (a japanese hot dog cart), explored Gastown (the older part of the city), went to clubs and bars and hung out at a hostel with many other people around our age who had come to Vancouver from all over the world.

The one thing that shocked me while in Vancouver was the tax! I got so used to the fact that Oregon has no sales tax and when I went to Vancouver the amount we were taxed on items was incredible. Oh well, I guess I better get used to that again for next year when I go to Germany.

We came back a few days early from Vancouver, and the weather here was sooo gorgeous that a couple of my friends and I decided to drive up to Cannon Beach, Oregon for a day. It was so warm that we could suntan. It was wonderful! Living in Portland has definitely made me appreciate the time I have with the sun so much more than I ever did before.

Anyways, now we are back in the final push of classes. We have about 3 and a half more weeks until study days for finals. These next few weeks will be all work, work, work and then we get rewarded with summer! I'm excited about summer but it will also be hard to leave this beautiful place.

I won't get too ahead of myself now though.

Until next week,


01 April 2013

Almost the End

Congratulations to everyone who just got accepted to LC (and congrats on your other acceptances, as well). Hopefully I will be seeing a lot of you around campus in the coming weeks!

I only have 24 days of classes left, about a week of finals, then my freshman year will be over! It's insane to think about how quickly this year has gone. I feel like I just got on campus. I went home over spring break, and it was really strange comparing my flight back to school with my trip here last summer. It's so easy to call this place "home," and it actually felt relieving to get back into my dorm and see my friends and go to class today (as much as I love my Minnesota home).

Break was a much-needed, adequately named, break. Midterm stress was starting to turn into pre-finals stress, so it was super nice to have a week where I didn't have many obligations. I got to go to the zoo, see some high school teachers, hang out with my family, and sleep (a lot).

It wasn't quite so spring-like in Minnesota
But it was gorgeous in Oregon!

There was a really awesome rainbow last week (though I didn't take this picture)
We are really jumping right back into this week. I have a big Spanish test on Tuesday, and deadlines are closing in on my course projects for environmental studies and E&D. We are registering really soon for classes for next semester, and for housing next year. Things are busy, but we're almost done!

Especially as you all get closer to choosing where you're going to go to school, please email me at rekidder@lclark.edu. I respond quickly!