16 December 2014

on leaving for nine months

Two days from now, I am going back to Minnesota, where I'll be until February 18th. Then, I'll be in Chile until the middle of July, before heading back to Minnesota until the end of August.

That means I won't be back in Portland for about nine months.

That's a really long time. My housemates all feel pretty bittersweet about these next few days. On one hand, we get to go home, see our families, celebrate the holidays, relax, eat good food... but on the other, some of us won't see each other until the end of August.

It really hit me today as I spent the afternoon packing up my room. Because I'm going abroad, I'm subletting my room, which means I had to take down all of my posters, put all of my clothes in my suitcases and boxes, and take all of my notebooks out of my desk. My room is now pretty empty.
look at how cozy my house is!
I'm trying to make the most out of my last few days here. On Thursday, the first reading day, I went to the coast with my housemate Annabel and my friend Daphne. We went to Ecola State Park, near Cannon Beach. The view was gorgeous. We ended up not being able to hike or go down by the water like we had wanted to, because it was so windy. We also hit up the Tillamook Cheese Factory while we were out there, so that was fun.

the view from Ecola State Park
On Sunday, I went downtown to see a movie and go to Saturday Market. The weather was amazing- it's been in the 50s and sunny, which is really nice. To think that in two days, I'll be back in a Minnesota winter, is kind of a downer.

a beautiful day downtown
I haven't just been relaxing, though. Saturday was my first final, in colonial Latin American history. I think it went pretty well. I had to study a lot for it, but I felt well prepared. Then on Monday, I had my final drawing critique. I finally finished my 6-foot tall portrait of Jane Goodall. I'm pretty happy with it- there are some things I know I can change, but I like it overall.

my final product, and me for size comparison!
Tomorrow is my last final, in environmental education. I don't have to do too much to prepare for it, but I'm going to look through my notes tonight. It's mainly a reflection on what we've learned, and an opportunity for us to synthesis everything.

And then, I go home! My family has a lot of traditions around the holidays, so I'm looking forward to that. After about the first week of January my friends will be heading back to school, so I'll get to spend a lot of time with my family and my few friends that stayed in the Twin Cities for college.

I'm excited and nervous to go abroad. I know it will be a great experience, but it's just so different than what I've been doing with my life for the last 21 years. I will keep you updated!

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


09 December 2014

Baudelaire, Break, and Brunch

Hey y'all,

    It's a busy evening in Watzek Library, and I'm not going to excite you with all the details of studying for finals and writing essays, but this has been home base for the past few weeks now. I have seen many friends here, who give me the silent nod that says "I'm happy to see you but I can't talk right now almost done with my thesis let's catch up later good luck!" Tonight I am working through a French paper on Charles Baudelaire, or as I affectionately call him, Charlie. Here is a picture of a typical finals evening-- it is my experienced opinion that chocolate and chai help with the writing process:

        It's hard to escape talking about homework in these last couple of weeks, but Lewis & Clark students are at their prime now, typingtypingtyping and I've seen a several killer presentations in my classes lately. This winter break will be earned. Speaking of breaks, Thanksgiving was a welcome pause button to this fast-moving semester. I stayed in Portland, and my mom came to visit me and we went out several times in order to partake in Portland's favorite meal: brunch.
       If any of you visit Portland, you'll notice that Portlanders at their happiest when they are sitting in front of a giant plate of waffles. Maybe we just like waking up later on the weekend...missing breakfast, aren't ready for lunch food... and are happy to remember that there is always BRUNCH! It also helps fuel the large population of outdoorsy people who go hike the Colombia River Gorge or are just generally active during the weekend. It's even been made into an episode in Portlandia: 

    Speaking of breakfast, the dining hall, "The Bon," has been making delicious meals as usual. Since it's study time and there is less time to cook, I am lately appreciating the easy access to food on campus. This morning I went to Bon breakfast, and on the way there I saw this very confusing squirrel sitting on a pumpkin, lodged in a tree. What?
I have no idea who is responsible for this, but I appreciate the humor it adds to my Tuesday. I hope everyone is getting through the final weeks without too much stress, and that there is a squirrel to lighten up your day. Good luck with those college apps! E-mail me if you have any questions or want to know more about LC. Thanks for reading!


Taking a Break from Studying

This week marks the last week of classes I have this semester. Tomorrow will be the final day of classes. Although I am very excited to get home, I have 3 finals (E&D, chemistry, and biology) and one more paper to edit. My first final is Saturday, the last two are on Tuesday and Wednesday. Then after that I can go home!

With all the rush of studying and writing, finding time to get out and relax is very important. My way to get out of the library is to play soccer. For the past five years, the football and baseball teams have faced each other in the MegaCup. Everyone is very excited for the game this Friday. One of the upperclassman even managed to reserve the football field for the game which is not easy to do.

Today was the football team’s first practice for MegaCup. Well, it wasn’t  really a practice. Half of the guys that wanted to play had class, so the rest of us were only out there for about an hour messing around and shooting the ball. On the football team, only a few have really played organized soccer, including my friend Mikey. He actually almost played soccer at another college, but instead came here to be a kicker for our team, which I am very happy he did.

Enjoying the field on a nice cloudy day.

Now, sports aside, the rest of my time will be spent sleeping, eating, and studying. I am trying really hard to finish all my classes on a very good note. This past weekend, I  went with my friend Blake, and we sat in a room in the library to study our own material. Going with him always helps me to stay focused and keep on task.

Blake trying to study. 

Well, that about sums up his post. I will let everyone know the results of the soccer game this Friday. Good luck to you if you have finals coming up as well. Christmas break is right around the corner!

-Remington Campbell

Study Breaks

'Tis the season to be studying! I have three in-class finals to prepare for (in philosophy, Japanese, and English), a philosophy paper to finish editing, and an education paper to finish writing and editing. Then that's it. I'm done. I'll be halfway through my sophomore year of college. I've had a really good semester. I enjoyed almost everything academically, and I continue to meet wonderful new people while strengthening the friendships I already have. I'm looking forward to next term though, because I will have basically the same schedule but philosophy (which was my weak point this term) will be swapped out for another English class. Also, two of my best friends who were abroad during the fall will be back in my dorm!! It's going to be awesome to see them again.

So, in this busy time of year, Lewis and Clark sponsors a lot of "de-stress" events, which are really convenient to, well, de-stress! Some of them are sponsored by the college, and some are sponsored by a residence hall or cluster of residence halls. Some are just events put on by clubs or classes. Here are some of the things you can do to take study breaks at the end of the year:

1. Okay, this one is super English-nerdy, but my English class is doing a reading of Paradise Lost in the Manor House. It's purely optional - i.e. you don't have to stay for all 11 hours of Paradise Lost and can just pop in whenever you want. Taking turns reading Milton's epic poetry aloud in comfy chairs as the rain taps on the window is my idea of a good time. Oh, and at the part where Satan persuades Eve to eat from the tree of knowledge, we're all going to take a bite of an apple.

2. Tonight, I'm going to a calligraphy night put on by the Japan club. Mostly because I know there will be Japanese food there.

3. A couple of the residence halls including mine had a joint end-of term hall dinner. I ate a lot of kahlua pork and met a bunch of people who I had always wanted to talk to but never got the chance until now!

4. Meditation.

5. Acupuncture (though I am a little afraid to try that) and massages.

6. PETTING THERAPY DOGS IN THE LIBRARY! This is just what everyone needs in their life. Dogs, dogs, dogs.

7. Watching Disney movies and do puzzles and color in coloring books. This is also in the library.

So, there's a lot of stuff going on. There are so many study break options one could hypothetically get absolutely no studying done because reading days would just be one long study break. I'm hoping to get a group together to study for the philosophy final, but mostly I prefer to study alone. I learn better when I'm in a quiet environment.

Anyways, some of you probably have finals to look forward to as well, so thanks for taking a study break to read this! Good luck. If you have questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


07 December 2014

maturing and... not

I would love to be able to say that college makes you more mature, and more of an adult. I guess to a point, it does. I'm now living in a house off campus where I pay bills, cook my own food, and transport myself to my classes. I have a resume and have had a few jobs. I have learned a bit more about our vast world and all of its intricacies.

And yet, as I write this, I am sitting on my bed stripped of all of its sheets, because I noticed a spider crawling on my blankets and immediately stripped all my bedding and threw it across the room. Both my roommate and I are too afraid to look through the blankets to kill it. I feel like I define "adult" in my head as "someone who lives independently, and can kill any spiders they come across by themself," so I don't quite fit the bill yet.

Despite this, it is impressive to look back and see how I've grown in my two and a half years here. I've taken 22 classes, organized a symposium, applied to study abroad, made amazing friends, gotten scholarships, moved into a house, learned how much I took the dining hall for granted when I lived on campus, learned to play ukulele, tutored in some of the classes I've taken... the list goes on. Somewhere in the list, taking up a large portion of it, is "learned a lot about myself." That includes learning how I communicate with others (especially roommates), what kinds of social situations I like (and don't like), what I need to do to motivate myself, and how I best study.

How I study is on my mind right now, because finals are coming up in less than a week. My first final is for colonial Latin American history on Saturday. After four semesters of experience of finals, I know what I need to do to productively study:

1) be in a room with one or two other people, but don't talk with them
2) listen to music that doesn't have words. Scores work best, especially if they're from Lord of the Rings
3) create smallish, obtainable goals, and reward myself for completing them (eg: read through all your notes, then eat a chocolate. Write a rough draft, then watch an episode of Parks and Rec)
4) find time to relax. Save my evenings for watching movies or playing games- don't try to spend all of my time studying
5) remember to sleep, eat, and not stress too much
6) productivity browser add-ons help- they block websites like facebook and tumblr and force me to ignore them while I work

I haven't really started studying yet. I spent this weekend relaxing, because I knew that this upcoming week would be stressful and busy. We only have three days of classes, and then two reading days before finals start. I went downtown to get a new charger (lesson for you future students: don't leave your charger in your backpack when you bike through the rain. It will get soggy, and will stop working, and you will have to go buy a new one).

someone downtown has "knit-bombed" a bunch of the statues with winter sweaters
On Saturday, I went to my environmental education professor's house for dinner. He and his wife cooked us amazing vegetarian chili, cornbread, and brownies. We hung out with them, his dog, his cat, and each other in front of a fireplace. It was an amazing night. I felt really close to my classmates, and I felt a renewed love of Lewis & Clark.
we played this game where we had to balance these metal rods on each other- everyone got very into it
 I love the relationships students have with faculty here. Everyone really cares about each other, and I think it's so cool that these relationships can go outside of the classroom.

If you have any questions, they will be a welcome break from studying for finals! Email me at rekidder@lclark.edu.


02 December 2014

Thanksgiving Break

First of all, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope you all had a great dinner and ate too much. I know I did! My girlfriend Ava came up to Portland, and we really had a great time. We went to my friend Mikey’s house for Thanksgiving. His mother prepared turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, and rolls for dinner. It was so good. After dinner we went “Black Friday” shopping, even though it was Thursday night. Apparently everyone wants to have a head start on Friday. Mikey, our friend Will, Ava and I went shopping at Target. People were lined up outside since at least an hour before the store opened. It was crazy! The lines at Target snaked through the aisles. When we arrived, people were already leaving with new TVs. I was able to get Fifa 15, a soccer game for my xBox One,  and Ava got some makeup for great prices. The whole night was so much fun, and I am so grateful that Mikey’s family invited us to his house.

The rest of the weekend was spent exploring more of Portland. One place that we found was Powell’s Bookstore. I have never seen a bookstore that huge! There were several floors and many different rooms just filled with all kinds of books. My brother, who loves reading, could get lost in there for an entire month. Also, Ava was determined to find a Dutch Bros, a coffee shop chain.  We walked across the Morrison Bridge and through Southeast Portland in search of one. Once we found it, it started to rain. At that point it was around 35 degrees, and we were freezing! The hot coffee really hit the spot. Our first time having Dutch Bros was certainly memorable. Most nights however, Ava and I sat around eating pizza and watching Netflix. The whole weekend off was such a great way to get my mind off of school for a few days.
This part was only the entrance. It was so huge!

Ava and I waiting for our coffee. 

Now that Ava is back home, it’s time to focus on school and finishing this semester. I am almost done with my final paper for my Exploration and Discovery class. It is a response to reading the Iliad and the Odyssey. In it I argue that Hector is an overlooked hero. All my final exams are looming. I know that my biology and chemistry tests will be the hardest. Each test has a three hour time slot. I better get going with the studying. For me, I find that heading into the library and looking at extra materials from class really help. Other people like to get into groups and study together. After that, I will be excited to be able to go home and relax for a month!

Until next week guys,
Some awesome fall colors. 

Portlandia statue on the Portland building.


It’s hard to believe it’s already December. Some things I’ve been involved with are winding down. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been volunteering in a kindergarten classroom this term as a part of my Education in a Complex World class. I work at Roseway Heights School in Northeast Portland. Today was my last day there, and no one was very happy about that - not me, not the teacher, and certainly not the kids. It was hard to leave, but I got plenty of hugs from everyone. The teacher I had been working with even said she thought I had all the makings of a great educator.

Hearing that meant a lot to me because before I started volunteering there, I never saw myself being able to work in a classroom, especially with young children. But I have definitely learned a lot about teaching this semester, and a lot about myself. The education class sparked my passion to teach, and the volunteering showed me that I was capable of it and could even enjoy it. I am starting to see myself as a future teacher. It was such a cool experience to be able to get off-campus each week and work with the Portland community, and I’m going to miss not being able to do that next term. But mostly, I am just going to miss the kids. It was amazing to come back to the classroom each week and see how much they’d learned since the last time I’d been there. When I first met them in September, they had just begun their journey into school. And now, they are well on their way to learning how to read and write! It's really heart-warming.

Although that saga is ending, most everything else is ramping up for the last full week of classes. I have three papers due on Thursday and Friday, and another two due next week. We’re going to be filming our Japanese skit this weekend. I’ll eat, I’ll sleep, I’ll study like mad. Then, I’ll take three final exams. Yikes. It is definitely a stressful part of the year.

Despite my workload, I was still able to come home to California for Thanksgiving break last week. It was good to see my family.

My dog is always the happiest to see me.

My little brother and me twinning it up in our plaid for Thanksgiving. We spent Thanksgiving at my grandparents' house in the Bay Area.

The food was all delicious. We also went hiking in the canyons near my house. The weather was very Portland-y for California.

My dad and brother (in the Santa hat).

And here's the view out the window of the airplane on the way back! Check out the snowy mountains! I thought this was Mount Hood, but I wasn't sure. 

Now I'm pretty much settled in here again. Time to get down to business! The last sprint to the finish!

If you have any questions, email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.


01 December 2014

Sprinting to the end

After being home for five days, I am busy today trying to get back in the swing of my life here at LC. I went home on Tuesday and just got back yesterday afternoon. It was nice to be home. I surprisingly didn't have very much work to do, so I spent my time hanging out with my dad and sister and meeting up with some friends. It was just long enough that it was a bit of a shock to come back and have class this morning, but knowing that I am going home again in just two and a half weeks is helping me get through it.

it's full-blown winter in Minnesota- a change from the 35 degree, rainy weather here!
reunited with my dog
It's a sprint to the finish line from here. Today in drawing we started on our final projects- 6 feet tall portraits. I am drawing Jane Goodall. It took me a while to figure out who I wanted to draw. I wanted to draw a woman, because I think women are awesome and are often overlooked, and I wanted to draw someone whose life work influenced me. I narrowed it down to Juliette Gordon Low (the founder of Girl Scouts), Rachel Carson (the author of Silent Spring and an advocate of getting kids into nature), Beverly Cleary (author of the Ramona and Beezus books), and Jane Goodall (scientist and chimpanzee advocate). I ended up choosing Jane Goodall, in part because the picture I found of her was better quality than the others I found, and in part because she's awesome. I loved animals as a kid (still do), I think in part because of my awareness of Jane Goodall. I think it's so important for girls (and people of all genders, for that matter) to have female role models and to see strong and powerful women in the media. I grew up with Jane Goodall being a familiar name, and I think she influenced my interest in the environment and in animals. On top of that, she's done a bunch of awesome work researching and protecting chimpanzees.

She's also just plain cool. She named some of the chimps she worked with "Mr. McGregor," "Mike," "Frodo," and "David Greybeard." I think they're really cool names. I'm enjoying learning about her as I work on this. We have to make our portrait "go beyond the photograph," so I'm trying to learn more about her in order to express her work and personality somehow. I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do this, but it's a fun challenge.

Spanish is pretty much wrapped up. We are watching one final movie, "Instructions Not Included" or "No se aceptan devoluciones" and then we are done. I'm also pretty much done in environmental education. We have a few more readings, but I've already written my final paper (due tomorrow) and done my final presentation. Our professor invited us to all come over to his house this weekend, where he's going to cook us chili. That's one thing I love about going to LC- students and professors get to know each other really well, and something like this isn't uncommon at all.

My last class, colonial Latin American history, is getting close to wrapping up. It's my only class with a "real" final, or at least a test/essay completed during the final period. I have a lot of studying to do, and we still have one more reading to do for Thursday.

Please send me any questions you have about LC, Portland, or anything! I'm happy to answer! My email is rekidder@lclark.edu.