25 November 2014

The End is Near!

It’s almost here. The end of my first semester at Lewis and Clark College. Boy, I can not wait to be done with this semester.

I am also not looking forward to finals. The next few weeks will be a very stressful time with all the studying coming. We finish classes on December 10 and have two days for reading and studying. Then my first final, in E&D, is on that Saturday. My next two finals will be on Tuesday and Wednesday, then I’m done!

That being said, I am very happy that Thanksgiving is here. This past week I had two tests and a draft on our ivy report due. Most of my weekend was spent working in the library studying for my chemistry test on Monday. Getting that test over with was such a huge relief. I spent most of Sunday afternoon in the library working with my bio lab group. We agreed to meet up in the late afternoon to get it over with. It took us almost around five hours to beat procrastination and fatigue to get it done. After that it was time to cram a bit for chemistry.  Now that it is over with, I can finally relax and get ready for my girlfriend Ava to get here on Wednesday. We are both going to spend Thanksgiving here! We are going to spend more time exploring the city and seeing what Portland has to offer.
Anna, Kelley, and I working on our project in the library. 

So since football has been over with, our offseason workouts have just started. Our coaching staff has already given us workouts to do. As a team, we usually lift in the mornings at 8 AM on Mondays and Fridays and at 6:30 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with Wednesdays being our days off. Personally, I enjoy working out in the mornings. Yes, I do have a hard time waking up and dragging myself out of bed. Once I am there though, I usually have a lot more energy than I would later in the evenings. On the Tuesday and Thursday morning lifts, we run for an hour with all the other sports teams that are out of season as well.Working the other athletes helps bring us all together and creates a very big family that supports one another.  Lewis and Clark is very fortunate to have Coach Ang, our own strength coach. She is incredibly helpful to all of us. She is the one that makes all of our workouts and keeps an eye to make sure that we are performing the lifts correctly.
Our awesome weight room!

My friend Dylan doing front squats.

Well, that’s all I have for now. It was a busy week and I didn’t get the chance to get out and do much, but after all, school does come first. Everyone have a fun and wonderful Thanksgiving!

-Until next time everyone,
Remington Campbell

Almost Break!

I’ve only got one more class, and then it’s Thanksgiving Break! I’m flying out tonight to Sacramento, where my mom’s going to pick me up and take me home. I am really excited to see my family. I'm not as excited as I was at this time last year, since that was my first year in college and I was moderately homesick by mid-November. This year I am more settled in and more used to the whole living-in-another-state thing, so going home doesn't feel as necessary. Regardless, I am still pretty stoked to be heading back to California.

Although I am going home for Thanksgiving, I’d say about half the people I know are staying here. There are a couple different on-campus activities that people attend to celebrate the holiday without having to buy an expensive plane ticket home. For instance, I've heard the sports teams are holding a Turkey Trot fun run on campus that is also a canned food drive. There are also at least two Thanksgiving potlucks I've heard about. One of them is sort of designed for international students so they get the chance to celebrate an American holiday and because most of them do not have the chance to fly all the way home for such a short break, but anyone can come. The other is a student-run thing that's vegan-friendly. Also, some of the students who live near Portland will sometimes invite their friends over for Thanksgiving. Last year, my roommate and a bunch of other people went to my friend India’s house because her parents live in Portland. I didn't go, but I heard it was a lot of fun to hang out with her pets, meet her parents, and do “home” things that people sort of forget about while living on campus – like sitting in a quiet dining room for dinner, or using squishy towels in the bathroom instead of paper towels. So, I guess what I'm getting at is that there are plenty of options for you over the breaks. I just tend to choose to go home because I like to do that at least once per semester. Hopefully, I can not only see my family, but some of my friends from home as well. 

However, I will only have so much time to do all that. I'll have a lot of work to do. For my education class, my professor asked everyone who’s going home for the holiday to find a recent article about educational reform in their hometown and also get some local opinions from family or friends. Then, when we get back from break, my class is going to discuss any differences or similarities in schools and school reform from different states and cities in America. Education is so relevant, so important, and so controversial, and I am really excited to do that assignment, as I am with basically all of my work in that class.

I’ll also be starting my final English paper, which is going to be on Milton’s Paradise Lost. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I think it’s going to deal with the recurring word “wanton” as used to describe both Eve and the Garden of Eden, and how that is indicative of the inherent deviance of Creation. I think a lot of ideas I’ve gotten from my philosophy class will play into my writing, like how omniscience/foreknowledge can indicate lack of free will, and things like that. It’s really cool to see overlap between my classes like that. Making connections across disciplines is my favorite thing about college. Speaking of philosophy, I'll also be starting my final philosophy paper on the separation of church and state. I'm less excited for that one because I like English papers more than philosophy papers, but it should still be really interesting.

And of course, there’ll be plenty of Japanese studying going on. I’m going to be reviewing all of the vocabulary and all of the kanji characters we’ve learned. Plus, when I get back, I am filming a skit with four other people from class, which I am super excited for. We wrote the script last night and it's going to be hilarious. The premise is a trip to Hawaii gone very wrong. 


Anyway, hope all of you have great Thanksgiving breaks! If you have questions, just email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


24 November 2014

deadlines abound

It seems like deadlines tend to come in clumps. I always have small assignments due throughout the week, but all of the big things like to stack up on top of each other. This week was one of those weeks, especially because I tried to finish some things due after Thanksgiving in order to give myself a break while I'm home.

Today I presented on my final paper for my environmental education class. I created a unit for a fourth grade class about Monarch butterflies. My paper ended up being 16 pages (it was supposed to be 6-8, but my professor is fine with it), and my presentation just barely fit into our 11-minute time limit. I had so many ideas for lessons that I wanted to include that I ended up having to cut out, which was rough. One of the things I find hardest about writing is having to whittle down my ideas into something brief but thorough. It takes me a while to build up to what I want to say, and once I've written everything, it's almost impossible to cut things out. The presentation went well, though, and I'm pretty proud of the unit I created.

I also worked on a drawing project this weekend. It's not due until next Monday, but I can't really work on it while I'm home (since all of my drawing stuff is here), so I spent a while working on it yesterday. The assignment was to use brush and ink to draw a landscape viewed through a frame of some kind. I drew a lake (presumably in the Boundary Waters in northern Minnesota, because I based it off of a picture that I took there) being viewed through a phone camera. I thought I could make some kind of statement about really being in the moment when you're somewhere beautiful, and the way that we remember our experiences.
a semi-decent quality photo of my drawing
I'm really enjoying drawing, and I'm feeling like I'm learning a lot. I don't feel as confident with brush and ink as I do with some of the other media that we use, but I'm learning. Today I drew a model who came to our class, and I am pretty proud of it.
slowly learning
We have one more project in that class- to draw a six foot tall portrait of someone. I'm supposed to think of who I want to draw over break. I know I want to do some historically important woman, and right now Juliette Gordon Low is at the top of my list (the founder of Girl Scouts). I'm also thinking about Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson. I want to make it of a woman whose actions personally affected my life, and I found all of these women inspiring growing up and they each influenced certain decisions I've made and interests I've had. I'll keep you updated on who I end up choosing.

I also presented today in my Spanish conversation class about my dream vacation. After a lot of thought, I decided my dream vacation would be to travel to every single national park within the continental US. I had fun planning my presentation and the class was really engaged in it.

I had some reading to do for tomorrow, but I read it over the weekend, which means I just have one more class and then I'm out of here for break! I'm going home, which I'm looking forward to. This is my first year going home for break, and it's a treat. My first two years here, I went my entire first semester without seeing my family. It's nice being away from home, but it's really nice having your family buy you food and being able to see your pets and sleep in your own bed.

I will be checking my email over break, so please email me if you have any questions! rekidder@lclark.edu.


20 November 2014


Good evening everybody,

    Outside it's nice and wintery, so staying warm in a coffee shop with my homework and friends feels like the right choice. Here's a picture of the spot where I'm writing at this moment:

            We're at a cafe in South East Portland for a change of place and to cheer us up during the paper writing marathon. At the moment, I am immersed in an analysis of a Langston Hughes poem and getting ready to start another paper about Jorie Graham. It's been poetry, poetry, poetry for the last few weeks: poetry presentations, poetry writing, poetry analysis, discussion, and I'm going to a poetry appreciation potluck on Saturday with the Poetry 301 class and my professor, Jerry Harp, at a friend's house. Also, I just registered for Mary Szybist's workshop class next semester. She is a National book Award winner and very kind person, so I am looking forward to even more poetry. Sometimes I feel like I don't live in the real world with all this "deep thinking," but at the same time it's awesome. When will there be a time in the future when when I'll have literary discussions everyday?
        Having a quick visit from my dad helped make life a little more real. College has made me appreciate living on my own, but I also appreciate mom and dad more. He took the day off Wednesday and flew to Portland in the morning to see my Dinah Dodds Endowment Presentation on the poetry research I did in Strasbourg over the summer. He took a pic of me presenting:

      Seeing him was a good reminder that there is life outside of school and also a reminder that I am supposed to be here studying hard and makin' the fam proud. This week I'm feeling happy/stressed/tired/inspired and very much in college.

I hope you all are making it through the college applications. It's worth it, so good luck!

Any questions, comments, thoughts? I'm here: marissaburke@lclark.edu

18 November 2014

A Quick Blurb...

I'm sorry, but this is going to be a very short update. We’re at the part of the semester when things are just really, really, busy. I had a lull in my workload for a week or two, and then BOOM. It’s time to get down to business. I’m also feeling like I might be coming down with something on top of my workload, so there’s that. It's just that time of year, I guess. I think we're all ready for Thanksgiving Break next week.

On the other hand, I had a totally awesome weekend! Getting to go out with friends really relieved some of the end-of-semester stress.

Saturday night was Fall Ball. Originally, I wasn't going to go, but I made a last-minute decision and I' so glad I did! I LOVE dancing. 

Before Frankenstein.

My roommate and I took the Pioneer Express, which is the LC bus, and went downtown Sunday night to see a screening of the play Frankenstein, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature. It was probably one of the highlights of the semester so far. It was so true to the book, and so beautifully and artistically done. Plus, Benedict Cumberbatch is one of my favorite actors.

After Frankenstein.

We were emotional wrecks and passionately shouting about all the allusions to Paradise Lost on the way back to LC (she's an English major too).

Also, I found Ramune at Fred Meyer?? Whaaaa..? It's a Japanese drink also known as marble soda. (and you can see the previous years Fall Ball and Spring Fling pictures in the background, haha)

The rest of my weekend was spent studying, as per usual. Anyway, I need to stop writing and go take a nap or something. Hope you are all doing well in your search for the "right" school! I use quotes because no school is perfect and there is probably no "right" answer, but I hope my blog gives you at least a little bit of help in what it's like to be a student at LC.

If you have questions, feel free to email them to me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


Weekend Home

This week, snow was in the forecast for Portland. That’s a rare occurrence here. So while everyone was bundling up to prepare for cold weather, I was breaking out my flips and shorts because I was going home for the weekend! I live about two hours east of San Diego out in the desert, so it was 80 degrees there when I was leaving 32 degree Portland.

My flight was at 6:30 in the morning, so I took the Pio and the Max out to the airport late Wednesday since the Pio does not run that early in the morning. I got to PDX airport around 11 at night and settled in to wait for my flight. I was bursting with excitement all that night, but I had to busy myself with watching movies on my tablet.

I arrived in San Diego Thursday morning at about 8:30, and then I had to learn how to use San Diego’s public transportation. I had to take the 992 bus to Santa Fe station, then get on the green line for the Trolley to get to San Diego State University, where my girlfriend Ava was waiting for me! After walking around for a few minutes, she found me and gave me a tour of the entire campus. SDSU campus was huge.

Once her classes were over, we went down to the beach to watch the sunset. Also  I wanted to be able to rub it in for some of my friends in Portland who were sitting in the snow. It was nice being able to relax on the beach and watch the sun set. Once it got darker, we headed over to a Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner.

Friday morning, after Ava finished classes again, we headed home. My friend from high school, Donovin, who also attends SDSU, got a ride with us. It was amusing watching him (he is 6’5”) fit into Ava’s two door Honda Civic. Driving back, I felt as if I was in a dream. It had been almost three months since I had been there and it didn’t feel real. Seeing all the brown and dusty light green was such a contrast from Portland’s dark green forests.
Donovin enjoying the ride. 

Once I got home, time flew by too quickly. I spent a of lot of time either with my family, being with Ava, or eating carne asada (Mexican marinated beef - a local favorite). It was so wonderful to sleep in my bed and see my family. Also, seeing my dogs was a lot of fun! I missed how dumb they are. It was all over too fast. Now I just need to wait one more month until Christmas break.

Carne Asada Plate.

Now that I am back at Lewis and Clark, I am in full work mode. I have two tests within the next week for biology and chemistry and an essay due next Wednesday for E&D. Also my bio lab group needs to put together our draft of the ivy study we conducted. You can say that this week might be a bit stressful, but I am ready to take on this challenge so that I can get to Thanksgiving.

Until next week guys,

Alex, my brother, and I at breakfast.

Ava enjoying the beach!


17 November 2014

inclement weather day and closing in on the end


I am feeling very well rested as I write this, because my weekend was extra long. My one class was cancelled on Thursday due to "inclement weather." Forecasters were calling for 4-6 inches of snow and 1/4 inch of freezing rain, which is really weird for Portland--especially in November. It ended up not happening (it snowed maybe a dusting), but classes were cancelled Thursday morning because some roads were icy, and the threat of snow still loomed. Because I just had one class, that meant my whole day was free! I stayed home and watched Christmas movies with my housemate while we drank hot chocolate. We figured it was appropriate for the weather.

It's been pretty cold here-- just look at this picture of the reflecting pool I took this morning!
usually they drain the water from the pool before it's cold enough to freeze, but the cold weather came early this year!
There are still little patches of snow and ice left over from last Thursday. I don't think they'll go away any time soon, but I like it. Maybe it's because I'm from Minnesota, but I really like snow and it makes me feel like I'm home.

Besides having Thursday off, I had a pretty restful weekend. On Saturday I went downtown to get brunch to belatedly celebrate my birthday (I turned 21 last Monday!). After brunch a couple of friends and I ventured down Hawthorne in southeast Portland, then decided to go to a mall in Clackamas. We took a series of busses and ended up really far from campus, and really close to Santa's workshop (we decided against sitting on his lap though). On our way home we stopped at a Chinese restaurant in northwest. It was a busy, fun day.

Sunday was more filled with doing work. I finished my abstract wave drawing that I talked about in my last post. I'm pretty pleased with it, and my class seemed to like it. Every time we have a project due, my class spends a while critiquing each piece. It's a good way to get feedback, both positive and negative, and to give you ideas of what you can change. It's also kind of fun because often people will interpret your drawing in a way that you hadn't even though of. It gives you a sense of how authors must feel when high school students analyze every line of a text- as someone on tumblr puts it, sometimes a blue curtain is just a blue curtain. It's fun, though, because it makes you think about what your subconscious was saying.

We are very, very close to the end of the semester. We have this week, half a week next week (and Thanksgiving), and a week and a half of classes after that. Then reading days and finals. That means I only have 6 of my T/Th and M/W classes and 9 of my M/W/F classes left. I have a lot to do before the end of the semester! 

The biggest thing on my to do list right now is getting my visa for Chile. Because I'll be studying in a university and will be living there for 5 months, I am required to get a student visa. Right now I'm waiting to get the analysis of my finger prints I sent the FBI, which I need to send with my visa application. I also set up a doctor's appointment in our health center today for after Thanksgiving break. I need to include a letter from a doctor in my application, that says I'm healthy and don't have any communicable diseases. I'm also waiting for copies of my acceptance letter from the study abroad program. Once I have all of this, I'll send it to the Chilean consulate in Chicago, where I'll then have to go (unless I can figure out how to do it at the honorary consul in Minneapolis) to sign and pick up my visa. I'm a little bit stressed about it, but I'm making myself think about all of the people who did it before me. If everyone else has been able to do it successfully, I'm pretty sure I can, too. I'll keep you updated.

I have to go work on my final project for environmental education, so I'll sign off here. Please email me if you have any questions! rekidder@lclark.edu!


10 November 2014

Weekend Update

November 10, 2014

Well, this is going to be a shorter entry because I have at least eight more things to do tonight after this. I probably shouldn’t have spent an hour watching Avatar: The Last Airbender instead of folding my laundry. Oh well…

I had a pretty good weekend because I was really able to strike a balance between schoolwork and fun things. Right after classes on Friday, I went to a meeting for the Multicultural Engagement Living Learning Community (LLC) to discuss plans for the rest of the term. The LLCs are new this year, although the Multicultural theme has always been present in the hall I live in, Akin Hall. This year it’s just more formalized. Hence, the community meeting. Anyway, the other members of the council and I decided on some cool events to have. One thing we are doing is hosting a discussion about misogyny and harassment in video gaming culture. We also are having a cultural music night where people share their favorite music videos. Another thing that might happen is a sort of story-telling session where everyone talks about their experiences living in or traveling in other countries. I’m pretty excited!

After that, a bunch of my friends went down to the academic side of campus and holed up in one of the larger lecture halls to play The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug (Extended Edition) on the projector. That was really awesome. We do that a lot – we saw the first Hobbit movie earlier in the term, and last spring we watched the third season of Sherlock. It’s so great to be able to utilize the academic spaces however we want, even on Friday nights!

As I’ve mentioned before, I am taking a class called Education in a Complex World, and I volunteer at an elementary school as a part of it. On Saturday, I met with the kindergarten teacher I work with to interview her for one of my classes. I took the bus to Starbucks and we just talked about her experiences in the education system. It was really cool to talk to her! We never get the chance to chat one-on-one in class because we’re too busy dealing with the kids, so it was nice to get to know her more, and hear her thoughts on things like gender in the classroom, and standardized testing. In the evening, I saw an on-campus production of Spring Awakening. Our theatre department is so cool! I wish I had the guts and the time to be more involved with it. Afterwards, I played Cards Against Humanity with a bunch of people in the lounge, which was a blast.

On Sunday, I spent many hours in the library reading Paradise Lost. That was about it. I love the text, but after I finished the assignment, my brain was just fried. It’s so dense. What really helps me is to listen to the audio version as I read. The Lewis and Clark library website has great resources like that. It's really helpful for reading Milton and Shakespeare, especially because in the latter, the recording has different actors voicing each character. It’s the next best thing to watching the play.

Well, this turned out longer than I anticipated. I guess I’m just proud of myself for having a weekend that was both really fun and really productive. That very rarely happens, it seems.

If you have questions, don’t hesitate to contact me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!


Last Football Game

This week was a last for a couple things. It was my last game for football, and it was the last time I had to collect data for my ivy project. For football, I have mixed feelings about it ending, but I am very happy the ivy collection is over.

On Saturday we played George Fox University at their stadium in nearby Newberg, Oregon. It was a surprisingly sunny day, and it was amazing weather for playing football. The game started out very slowly with both of us being tied 6-6 at the end of the first quarter. After that the game slowly went south for us. Our defense played a very good game, but our offense just had trouble moving the ball. In the end, we lost 30-12, ending our season on a sour note. After the game, we all took a moment to say goodbye to our seniors. It was a very sad moment realizing that we wouldn’t play with them again.

Although it was a very tough season I definitely gained knowledge that will help me in the future here at Lewis and Clark. One of the biggest things I picked up is time management. Before coming to college, I was a pretty good student that never really needed to try to get good grades. Once getting here, that all changed. I had to tell myself that I needed to sit down at this time and plan out when I would do homework, go lift, and go to meetings.

Now that football is over, I have the challenge of figuring out what to do with all my free time. For one thing, I will get to sleep in most mornings now! Without practices in the morning I will definitely be catching up on a little more sleep. I will also be working out a lot to prepare for next season so that we will have a much better season. I hope that I will play more and make a significant contribution to my team!

As for  my biology class this was the last time that I collected data for my ivy study. We have yet to analyze any of our data, which is what we will performing in lab this week.  My whole group was very glad that we didn’t have to go out into the field and tromp around in the forest in plots of ivy. Why? Now we move on to our write-ups and analyzing our data.  It will be a great relief once we can knock this out. I really am glad that we have to do this write-up. This lab has really helped with my ability to write a scientific paper and work with peers to complete a task. Since I want to be a veterinarian, this will be a helpful learning experience as I move toward grad school.

Now that football is over, I am going have more time to find a lot more adventures (like my snowboarding class!) so that I can tell everyone about all the great things at Lewis and Clark College!

Until next week everyone!
-Remington Campbell
Our field on the morning of game day! Before we left for George Fox.

The two pictures above are from our field work in biology.
We were observing native species that grew near ivy. 

Here is a picture my brother sent me of my two dogs back home.
They are of questionable intelligence, hence the title he sent me. 

09 November 2014

On Mondays

Hey all!

This week started out the way it usually does, with an incredibly busy Monday. Mondays I have class on and off (mostly on) from 9:40 to 5:30, so it's always a full day. Luckily I like all of my classes, so I enjoy everything. This week in drawing we started working with crosshatching, which is somewhat therapeutic. The goal of the assignment was to create shapes that were pleasing to us, and fill it in with a gradient of light grey to black, using only crosshatching.
where I'm at right now- I have to fill in the whole page!
The other project I'm working on right now for that class is a "pairing" project. We had to draw a pair of something on a combination of white paper and black paper. On the white paper we can only use black charcoal and on the black paper we can only use white chalk. It's been a lot of work, but I'm almost done with mine- I was initially going to draw a pair of earrings hanging from my ears, but the shadows ended up making the earrings difficult to see. You can see my lips in the drawing, though, so I can argue I did a pair of lips. I've been amazed how much more confident I feel in my drawing abilities since I started this class.

One of my other classes on Monday is Spanish conversation. This week we've been presenting on our favorite songs, so I presented on Graceland by Paul Simon. It's a song I grew up listening to on car trips with my family, and I enjoyed getting to research it some more (for example, I learned that it wasn't originally going to talk about Graceland, and Elvis, and Simon just used "I'm going to Graceland" as a filler. Eventually he decided to visit the city, and afterwards he decided to keep that as the chorus of the song). I've also been introduced to other songs through the other presentations, which has been neat.

My other Monday class is environmental education. We've been doing a lot of interesting readings about place based education, which is the idea that education should be based in learning about place- students should utilize the area they live in order to learn and better understand concepts and their community. In order to implement this in our class, we have a practicum at a nearby site. I've explained this before, but I am at Tryon Creek State Park, just a few blocks from campus. This Saturday I visited the site again, this time to attend a talk by LC's own Liz Safran, an environmental studies and geology professor. She presented on the geomorphology of Tryon Creek. Similar to the programs for children that I've attended so far, we started out with a presentation in the classroom, then moved outside for a hike. The main difference was that this was a program for adults, and we got to go off-trail (something you only get to do in Tryon with special permission).
the view (off-trail) of Tryon! It was very flat and had lots of deciduous trees, making it feel more midwestern than other parts of the park (which I like, since I'm a fan of the midwest)
I learned a lot, and the audience was very engaged.

The rest of the week went by fairly smoothly. I had my classes as usual (my fourth class is colonial Latin American history, in which we learned about the Pueblo Indians in the current American Southwest), and watched "The Mission," a film about Jesuit missions on the Argentina/Brazil/Paraguay border. Tuesday I had an exciting ukulele orchestra practice, in which we decided to work on Taylor Swift's new album. This weekend I went downtown to get my hair cut, and did a lot of homework.
downtown is full of beautiful fall colors!
the view from the stop for the pioneer express (the shuttle downtown) next to my house
My birthday is this next week, and my classes continue! I'll write about it next week.

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


05 November 2014

French Week!

Bonjour tout le monde!

    So this week is FRENCH WEEK, yep, La Semaine Française. It's recognized nationally and at LC it's celebrated with some awesome francophone activities, and more importantly, some buttery French cuisine. It also includes more work for me! It's my favorite though. Today I presented about the research I did in France through the Dinah Dodds Endowment. After finishing up my academic semester in Strasbourg, France, I stayed after research a local poet in a national library. The poet is named André Weckmann, and he is Alsatian, or from Alsace. Alsace is northeastern provence of France, bordering Germany. It has a pretty unique history, having switched hands back and forth from France and Germany five times, four times in the change from the nineteenth to twentieth century. Before I get too carried away talking about an obscure French poet, here is the French club flyer:

       My presentation was one of today's events, and I was SO NERVOUS. Public speaking = hard. Public speaking in foreign language = AHHHH. However, it's over now! It took me a while to become slightly less nervous, but I think I got my enthusiasm for the topic across. Plus I got to show people some beautiful and sad poems in a language they have never heard before, Alsatian. André Weckmann wrote most of his works in Alsatian, French, and German because he thought each was important to the culture. I can only understand the French poems, but what I can understand, I love. I will be writing my Honors Thesis on him in the spring. I can't believe that's happening...
Here is a pic of me presenting:

      Even though I was busy prepping my presentations, I managed to have fun this weekend. I was Dumbledore for Halloween, complete with a beard made out of fake snow. The LC students in my neighborhood (Sellwood) opened their houses for Halloween parties, and it was awesome to see everyone's costumes and meet some neighbors. I will upload photos soon, once I find out which housemate was the photographer. Other than that, it's been a rainy week. Here is a pic of the Dovecote, our school café on a rainy day. The girl next to me seemed to be interested in what she was doing, so like a real blogging creep, I took her photo. I checked to make sure it was okay though! Her name is Jackie Bersson, and I found out she is going on the same trip to Seville, Spain that I went on. She has no idea how great it's going to be.

Sorry this post was so random! It's been that kind of week. I just want to remind y'all that LC has awesome abroad trips and research opportunities that I have personally benefited from. Keep them in mind while making your choice. I'll leave you with one of my favorite pics of studying in Strasbourg. This is Amaya and I at the castle Haute-Koenigsborg: 

À toute!

04 November 2014

Here We Go Again

So much has been happening both on- and off- campus in the last few days, and it will continue to happen for (probably) the rest of term. November is always an exciting month. Firstly, Halloween!! Naturally, everyone was stoked that Halloween fell on a Friday this year. I had a pretty great evening. First, I organized a little costume procession in the lounge of my residence hall because I wanted to get all my friends in one place to see everyone’s costumes and take pictures. If any of you are Doctor Who fans, you’ll probably get a kick out of my costume. I was Professor River Song. And, totally independently of my decision to be River, someone in my dorm dressed up as the Eleventh Doctor! So we were both pretty excited about that.

There was also a Fire Arts show, which was Halloween themed. It was totally awesome to see zombies and other monsters spinning fire against the night sky to eerie music like Florence and the Machine and that spooky scary skeletons song. It was super intense. Luckily, only two people caught on fire. I have now decided to join the club and become a fire spinner. Maybe. If I’m brave enough.

My friends!

The rest of the weekend I spent with my Mom. It was Parent’s Weekend, so she definitely wasn’t the only parent on campus. It’s always a little weird to have all these older people in the dining hall. Anyway, my mom and I had a really chill weekend. We went to Salt N Straw ice cream in Northwest Portland, which was definitely a highlight. The strangest thing I tried was Salted Caramel Turkey ice cream. It had little flecks of crispy caramelized turkey skin and the base was made with turkey fat. It sounded disgusting, so of course, I had to try it, and of course, it was delicious. But I didn’t think I could finish a whole scoop of it, so I went for the Olive Oil instead. Mmmmmm. Salt N Straw is the best. My mom got the Spiced Chevre Pumpkin Pie. I tried that one too, but it was a little too cheesy to justify getting a whole scoop of it. If any of you are in Portland ever, GET ICE CREAM THERE.

I also finished my paper on compassion and narcissism in the title character of King Lear. And I had a Japanese exam Monday. I actually felt incredibly good about the speaking portion. My partner was great, and afterwards our professor said our conversation sounded really natural. But I definitely bombed the listening portion. The speakers talked so fast I could barely catch anything. And then later this week, registration for next term starts. Yikes. I mentioned this earlier, but I am signing up for two English classes for my major, plus Japanese, and I think the last slot will be another Education class. I have been really excited about what I’m learning in my current Education class, and I really want to continue those discussions into another semester. Maybe this class shouldn’t be making me feel like teaching is the profession for me (because most of what we do is highlight all the problems in the education system teachers and students face), but it is. I just feel so passionate about education, and teaching is the only thing I can picture myself doing right now. Maybe it’s because it runs in my blood (both my grandparents were elementary school teachers and my mom homeschooled my brother and me), maybe it’s because I have a masochistic streak when it comes to choosing my workload, maybe it’s just because I have never been outside the education system and so can’t really fathom what leaving would be like. Regardless, it’s something to consider when people ask me what I'm going to do when I graduate.

Anyway, enough about my future. It’s a big part of college, but you shouldn't let it consume your life or anything.  (annnnd maybe I should follow my own advice here…). Anyway, after that, the Ray Warren Symposium starts (which is going to be amazing because it's about beauty and aesthetics and race), and then it’s the Fall musical on-campus (Spring Awakening), then Fall Ball, and then a bunch of movies I am dying to see are coming out – The Imitation Game, The Theory of Everything, and a special screening of the play Frankenstein starring Benedict Cumberbatch – and then it’s Thanksgiving break, and then it’s finals… Wow.

Well, the people I'm hanging out with right now are discussing the voting results, so time to stop blogging and jump into that. Any questions? Email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


Parents Weekend and the Last Home Game

This weekend there were a whole bunch of activities! It was Halloween, Homecoming, Parents Weekend, Senior Day, and our final home football game of the season.

My whole family came for this weekend. My dad, mom. brother, grandma, and aunt all showed up to come see me play and to visit. It was really amazing to see all of them again. I hadn’t seen them since my last game in California, against Whittier in September (well, except my grandma came to my game against Puget Sound in Tacoma).

On Friday my mom, aunt, and grandma all arrived here at LC, and I was able to have lunch with them at the Bon. While eating lunch, we caught up on everything that happened since we last saw each other and laughed at the Halloween costumes. My friend was a banana, there was a carton of milk, a jellyfish, a nun, a cardinal, and a pope, and one of my coaches was dressed up as Serena Williams!  After we finished, they went on a tour of the school while I finished classes for the day.  Then came the part I was looking forward to the most: my family took me out to dinner! As a poor college student, it was wonderful to get off campus and enjoy food I would otherwise be unable to find or afford. We went to a pizza place called Cibo in southeast Portland. The bartender was dressed up for Halloween! I think he was Einstein...at least his hair looked like it! After dinner, I came back to campus to get some rest for our game the next day.

The next day we played Pacific University, one of the top teams in our conference. With all the activities of the weekend happening all at once, emotions were running high for our team. Before we got ready, I got the chance to go out and see my brother and dad, who had just arrived that morning. For the game, the school set up a giant tent for a special tailgate event at the end of the endzone for alumni, parents, and faculty to eat clam chowder and watch the game. We even got to wear our special orange jerseys for the first time all season for this game.

Now as the game got started, we realized that this team wasn’t even that good. The first half was close, with our two teams going back and forth. The second half is when we caught fire! Our offense was able to score 42 points in the game, almost all the total points we have had for the season up to that point. In the 4th quarter things got wild. Our teams were tied when we kicked a pooch kick (a short kick that only goes 10 or 20 yards) that we were able to recover! Then a few minutes later we scored to take the lead 42-35 with only two minutes left! Unfortunately, they managed to tie the game and send it into overtime. They won the coin toss and elected to give us the ball first. Now in college football, overtime is different from the NFL. Each team gets a chance to score by starting from the 25 yard line, and has to try to score. If each team is tied after each possession, then it is repeated until someone wins.

On our first possession, we were unable to move the ball and had to settle for a field goal attempt. Sadly, we missed, ending our turn and giving Pacific the ball. Within four plays they had scored a touchdown and won. It was heartbreaking, but it was one of the best games I have ever been a part of. It gives me a lot of hope that we can win our last game against George Fox University.

After the game I went out to dinner with my family again and hung out with my brother that night. I took them to downtown Portland and gave them a mini tour of where I had been. My brother was extremely happy to see the huge Nike store. He wanted to go to Voodoo Doughnut, but there was a long line, and we were tired. We decided not to stand in line. I spent the night in the hotel with my family where my brother hogged the whole bed!

Overall, it was an exciting weekend!

Until next week, guys,

Remington Campbell
Action shot from the game that my mom took of me!

My brother, Alex, and I in front of Copeland. 

02 November 2014

Getting it done

My world was absorbed by my environmental studies (ENVS) major this past week. We turned in our concentration proposals -- a landmark in the world of ENVS  as every major must create one in ENVS 220 ("Environmental Analysis"). A concentration is a semi-broad topic in a specific context, for example, "Conflicts over Surface Water Management in newly industrialized countries" or "the Political Economy of Industrial Agriculture in the global North." The only real restriction on concentrations is their scale -- it cannot be something as broad as "global climate change" and it cannot be something as specific as "lettuce farmers in the Central Valley of California."

I went into creating my concentration thinking that I was going to double major in ENVS and Sociology/Anthropology. My original idea was to focus on energy justice on the global and local scales, but it just was not coming together in a way I was satisfied with. I wracked my brain, trying to bring the many ideas into my head together to create a cohesive topic that I felt passionate and excited about. I spent the majority of the week brainstorming for my concentration, yet it wasn't until the night before my final proposal was due that I had my breakthrough (a classic situation in college - sometimes things just don't come together until the last minute). My concentration is titled "The Politics of Greenhouse Gas Remediation among the G20 Nations" (to provide context: the G20 are the twenty richest countries in the world). If you are interested in reading my proposal, which gives a full summary about what this topic is and why I am interested in it, go to my concentration page ENVS student site. In teasing out my interests and ideas, I realized that double majoring was in fact not the right decision for me. Though I love sociology/anthropology, I am more excited thinking about politics, political economy, and international affairs. My concentration has far more to do with those topics than it does the study of individual people and cultures. I recognized that, for me, double majoring actually would restrict my academic opportunities, not expand them.

As a side note: if you are interested in the ENVS program at Lewis & Clark, explore the rest of my student site ("Grasping Environmental Studies") to read about some of the things I am doing and learning about in in ENVS 220. This site includes my synthesis posts reflecting on what I learned in the past week, my lab group's reports digesting what we completed in each of our weekly lab sessions, and has all of my concentration work. It could give you a good taste of the "ENVS experience."

In other news, I ran my last cross country race of the season at the Lewis & Clark Invite. I got the stomach flu earlier in the week, so it was actually a pretty horrible race for me. However, the rest of the day (that is, the entire time spent not running) was a blast! It is a LCXC tradition for the entire team to jump in the nearby river -- so cold, but so invigorating! Here are some pics from the day:

Last weekend I went to the AASHE (Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education) 2014 Conference & Student Summit. It was exhausting --I was there for more than ten hours-- but it was so awesome! I am the On-Campus Sustainability Intern and I have been looking for some inspiration for projects and initiatives. I attended keynote addresses from the founder of Chico Bags (who came out in a suit made of single-use plastic bags...), Anna Lappé (the author of "Diet for a Hot Planet" and significant sustainable food activist), and Annie Leonard (the Executive Director for Green Peace and creator of the famous youtube video "the Story of Stuff"). I also went to workshops about how to engage others in sustainability, student activism, and building connections between students, faculty, and staff. I left so excited to get to work at LC -- I'll talk about some of the projects I am working on in my next blog post.

At the AASHE Student Summit 

Myself and Annie Leonard, creator of "the Story of Stuff" and Executive Director for Green Peace

HALLOWEEkeNd and passing on the baton

The weeks keep coming!

This week I had a flurry of meetings. Tuesday I had a mandatory overseas meeting, where we talked about health and wellness while abroad. I haven't had any meetings specifically pertaining to my trip yet, so this was my first meeting at all regarding it. I'm so excited! We talked some about culture shock, as well as things like being aware of our surroundings and staying physically and mentally healthy. It was informative.

That same day, I met with my environmental education professor to talk about my final project. We have a lot of flexibility in what we write about, but it comes down to an ~8 page paper on a topic of our choice. One of the options was to create a possible unit for a class, which is what I'm doing. I want to base mine on studying monarch butterflies. I know I want to incorporate field trips, like looking for milkweed and visiting farmers. I also want the unit to include raising monarchs and releasing them outside. I'm also going to figure out how to bring in the different subjects kids learn in elementary school, like language arts and math. I'm going to end up planning multiple lessons. It'll involve a lot of thought, but I'm looking forward to it. It's fun to put together something based on what we've been talking about all semester.

I also had my final Environmental Affairs Symposium meeting. Even though Symposium just happened a couple of weeks ago, it's already time to start planning for next year. This meeting served as a wrap-up for this year's event, as well as a way for people to express their interest and start thinking about next year. We had some good discussions, and it was bittersweet. I got to "pass my baton" onto the group interested in chairing next year. I had such a good time and learned so much from chairing this year; I wish I could do it again (I would if I weren't going abroad this spring). I am excited about next year, though, and being as involved as I can from afar.

Besides all of my classes, I also had two visits to my practicum site for environmental education. I'm shadowing nature guides at Tryon Creek State Park, just a few blocks from campus. This week I helped with a Kindergarten field trip about trees, and a family night hike about nocturnal creatures. Both were fun, and I learned a lot (like salmon have an incredibly good sense of smell, and owls fly silently!). 

Finally, it was Halloween! A couple of my housemates went out, and a couple stayed here with me. Those of us who stayed home watched Hocus Pocus and waited for trick-or-treaters who never came (more candy for us, right?). We had a wide variety of costumes in our house. I was a frat boy, Annabel was Kiki from Kiki's Delivery Service, Sam was Kim Possible and Tess was Ron Stoppable, Hannah was a Burning Man attendee, and Emma was Cruella de Vil. 

Continuing with the exciting weekend, Liliana (Tess, Emma, Annabel's and my RA from last year) came over this morning for brunch. We cooked a ton of food, including omelets, challah, bacon, pancakes, and fruit. It was good to catch up with her, and also to cook- given we have a kitchen, you'd think we would cook more, but we don't. So, it's always a treat when we do.

I'll leave you with some pictures of my pets that my dad sent me on Halloween.

my dog as a princess
my dog as a pirate
my cat as a jester
As always, email me if you have any questions! rekidder@lclark.edu!