28 January 2015

Roommates and Dorms

Hello everyone!

Because I'm still at home, and will be for the next few weeks, I thought I would focus my next few blog posts on specific aspects of college that you may be wondering about. This week: roommates!

If you're stressed about what your roommate situation will be like when you get here, don't worry about it. It was definitely something I worried about before I came to college, and I know a lot of people did, too. It is scary. You're likely going to be living with someone you don't know for 8 months, which is intimidating. What if you don't get along? What if they are much messier than you, or too clean? What if they like to stay up late and you have to get to bed early because you have an early practice the next day?

Well, readers, I'm here to tell you that it will all be okay! The campus living department does a very good job of matching you with a roommate that you will mesh well with, and if you have any problems, the RAs are very well trained and can help you out. Even if you eventually feel like you have to move to another room, the RAs and the AD (area director- kind of the head of the dorm complex) will help you.

Before you move in your first year, you get sent a form to fill out that will help the ADs select your roommate. The form asks you logistical things, like when you go to bed, and if you like to study with music, as well as personality things, like what music you like. They use all of this information to find you a roommate they think you'll get along with and who you can live with peacefully. You also list what dorms you are interested in living in. I'm less in touch now with what the living/learning communities are, since they've changed since I lived on campus, but there are a handful of dorms with various themes where you live with people who are interested in similar things to you. I highly recommend trying to live in one of these dorms- I lived in Akin, the multicultural dorm, my freshman year, and it was great. I made a lot of close friends through that experience.

You can also verify that you are okay living with someone who identifies as LGBTQ, and if you feel like it's the right choice for you, you can request gender neutral housing, where your roommate is a gender that you feel comfortable living with. All dorms have gender neutral bathrooms, which is great, and if you are used to or prefer single-sex bathrooms, those are available as well.

My first year, I lived with a wonderful girl in a double. We got along pretty well, and got into kind of a rhythm of how to live together. We lived in Akin.

My second year, I lived with three friends in a quad in Manzanita (or Manzi), which is part of the Forest complex. At the time, the dorm wasn't themed (I think it is now). This was really fun. The room didn't feel too cramped, and we all managed to give each other space.

my sophomore year roommates- me, Emma, Tess, and Annabel
You only are required to live on campus for your first two years, so this year I moved to a house down the road ("on the hill") with my roommates from last year, and two other girls. It's a really great house and I miss it a lot.
my housemates from this year, and our house- from faces, left to right: Tess, Emma, Sam, me, Annabel, and Hannah
 Feel free to email me if you have any questions about roommates or housing, or LC in general! My email is rekidder@lclark.edu.


27 January 2015

PUPPIES and Poetry

       My housemates and I signed up to be a foster parents for cats or dogs last semester because we were all missing our pets. Everyone wants a dog or cat nearby when they're up late writing an essay right? Oregon Humane Society needed someone to take puppies just for a week, and I was feeling spontaneous, so now I have 9 puppies at my house. It's ridiculous, and a lot of work feeding and keeping their space clean. Luckily, my housemates and I share the responsibilities. Maybe it's not the best idea to foster puppies when you're a full time student, but who wants to be logical when you can have NINE PUPPIES. Nine of them. I picked them up last Saturday and I will return them this weekend. 
        It's worth it. Last night I think the atmosphere in my house made a lot of other LC students happy. About thirty friends were in and out visiting the dogs, and everyone got at least one good cuddle in. Meanwhile, I did all my Spanish homework with a puppy in my lap. 
Berry & Hudson

        Tonight I am going to start my thesis. That's right, it's the culmination of my academic career. I might as well do it while snuggling a small squishy animal. Homework is an excuse to stay at home with the puppies. Lately, I can't wait to do my homework anyway because classes this semester are amazing. I'm in a senior poetry class that has a very open and comfortable dynamic because I've written with all my classmates before, and I feel safe showing them my work. Also, our professor is the one and only Mary Szybist, a National Book Award winner and a kind person. 
        Check out some of her poetry (https://www.graywolfpress.org/blogs/five-poems-incarnadine) because it's incredible. Speaking of poets, William Stafford also taught here. His work is in Watzek Library Archives, and it's taken me until senior year to go and check them out. I have an appointment to view the Lewis & Clark Heritage Room and the archives on Thursday. I better soak it all in while I can.

Any questions about college? Or poetry? Portland? E-mail me: marissaburke@lclark.edu

26 January 2015

Wait I Left?

Well, I survived my first week back at Lewis and Clark! Winter break was exactly what I needed. It was amazing to go back home and be with my family, friends, and pets. In Brawley, the weather was substantially better than here in Portland. At home, I was never cold. Every day I wore flip flops outside and enjoyed the warm sun, a stark contrast from rainy Portland.

While I was home, I mostly sat around a lot and ate a ton of Mexican food. However, for my birthday, my girlfriend bought me tickets to go see the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. I am a huge Kings fan, and I was so excited to watch them play in person after so many years of watching them on TV. The day of the game, Ava and I drove about four hours to reach Staples Center. Although our seats were in the nosebleeds (you could only go two rows back until you were at the top), the view was amazing! You could see the puck clearly and observe every line change from our seats.

Being at the game was so awesome!  Watching the Kings play was so exciting. After giving up an early goal in the 1st period, the Kings scored three straight goals to beat the San Jose Sharks, their division rivals, 3-1. For most the game, my voice was so hoarse from chanting, “Go Kings Go” along with the crowd. That day was definitely the highlight of my break.

Staples Center, Nokia Plaza, and the view of the ice from our seats!

Also over break, I spent a lot of time helping my dad treat his animals, since he his an FFA advisor and helps his students raise their farm animals for our local fair. For the most part I would help my dad give the animals medicine and moving the animals from place to place.

Giving my brothers pig a belly rub.

For Christmas, my parents got me my first snowboard. So now that I'm back here in Oregon, my friends Mikey, Dylan, and I are going to be heading up to Mt. Hood to snowboard as much as we can (and can afford!).

This semester is shaping up to be a tough one. I have four classes this semester instead of my three last semester. I am taking biology 151, chemistry 120, and Exploration & Discovery again this semester. In addition, I added Spanish on. I am in the second year of Spanish. It’s going to be tough for me because I struggle with all the different tenses of the language. I will definitely have to stay on top of all these classes if I want to get good grades again.

That’s all for now, everyone. I hope you all had a great break and a Happy New Year!

Remington Campbell

P.S.- Heres a few more pictures of break.

January 26th, 2015

I’m still shell-shocked from enduring the first week of classes, and the second week is already under way. For some reason, transitioning back to school has been a little harder this semester than usual, but I’m doing better now that the first few days are behind me. It’s just hard to juggle schoolwork and applying to study abroad and finding a place to live next fall while also dealing with the excitement of seeing everybody again – whether I haven’t seen them in one month or in eight. It's so good to be back though. I truly love my residence hall! We’re just a big family.

A few things we’ve done together since we’ve all been back:

Had a “cuddle-puddle” in the lounge. This became normal during the stress of finals last term. Shortbread and cookies made from chocolate cake batter were involved. The caption refers to Akin, the name of the residence hall. 

Took a trip downtown to eat pad Thai at the food carts and go to Salt N Straw ice cream in the Pearl District. My friend Sarah’s friend Salim was visiting from Belgium, so he got to come and experience Portland with us! It’s his first time in America.

Several of us played Ninja over the weekend. This fantastic event is sort of like capture the flag, but is so much more than that. It begins at 12am and involves running around campus wearing all black and carrying foam swords. No pictures available. Ninjas cannot be caught on camera.

Watched Rurouni Kenshin: a live-action adaptation of an anime. It was in Japanese, of course, with English subtitles. I think I caught like four words I knew in Japanese. The fighting was awesome – we were all screaming at the television in excitement! What’s even better… it’s the first movie in a trilogy. I know what we’re doing for study breaks next weekend.

As for my schoolwork, there hasn't been a crazy amount yet, but it’ll get there. Right now my time is devoted to reading the poetry of Wordsworth, as well as More’s Utopia. Plus, there's a lot of studying Japanese and thinking about current issues in American education. Extracurriculars are starting up now too. This week, I’ll be starting to attend sessions at the on-campus yoga club again. I’m also getting ready to continue the volunteer position I had last semester in the kindergarten classroom. Finally, I’m taking a 2-credit class in the theatre department that involves building the set and constructing the costumes for the production this spring (a play called Exit the King), so work will start for that soon. Plus, I’ve got to keep blogging! And sleeping. Maybe I’ll have time for that at some point, but not in the foreseeable future.

If you have any questions about whether Lewis and Clark might be a good fit for you, contact me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu. I’m happy to answer any and all questions. Have you all heard back about your admissions decisions by now? Hope it was good news!


20 January 2015

Sweet Sweet Spring Semester

Hey y'all,

     It's my last first day of school, and it feels just like every other first day of school: AWESOME. I'm in a Spanish literature class with my housemate (yay) and my boyfriend (distracting but manageable) and a lot of people that I look forward to getting to know better, so it's been a great first day. One of my favorite professors, Juan Carlos Toledano Redondo, is teaching the class, and I like hearing his Spanish accent when he pronounces c's and z's as "th." It reminds me of Spain. I can't believe it's been two years since I studied abroad there! Here are a few photos:

The group! A lot of these people have graduated and I miss them :'(

My Spanish friend, Cristina, and I during La Feria, a weeklong celebration where everyone wears traditional Spanish clothing. Best. Week. Ever.

      Anyway, back to the subject of school. Finals week was a blur last semester, and I barely had time to pack for my visit to my parent's new home in Asheville, North Carolina. It's a beautiful place, very much like Portland, with amazing landscapes, artwork, crafts, and tasty food. It was good to see the fam, and we spent Christmas in Maine where my stepdad was working during the holidays.                         
        While I was there, I got to visit my good friend Passage, who I never thought I would be able to visit because she lives so far. Her hometown is in rural Maine, and we met freshman year in the Platt East dormitory. Here is a pic of us hiking in Orland, Maine:

I'll tell you all more about break and this week when I have another free moment. Right now I am going to run off and catch up with friends before we all have homework. If you have any questions about LC or college apps, please let me know:


¡Hasta luego!

an extended break, and how to go abroad

Hello, readers!

I hope you have all had a wonderful winter so far! Those of you in high school are likely back in classes (and maybe have been for a while) by now. Keep working hard- the rest of the school year will go by more quickly than you'd think!

Classes started up again today at LC, but I'm actually still at home in Minnesota. Because I'm going abroad, I'm not going back to Portland at all this semester. And because my program is through a university in the southern hemisphere, it doesn't start until February, when their fall semester starts. So, here I am at home with my family for another month.

My break has been alright- it hasn't felt like I've been home for a month. I remember my first two years at LC thinking that my month long break was almost unbearably long, and here I am talking about how short it's felt. I think it's a combination of going into it with the mindset that I'd be home for two months, and the fact that I'm getting older and that time seems to go by more quickly (cue my parents' generation telling me how young I am- I know, I know...). It's great because most of my mom's side of the family lives in the Twin Cities, so I've gotten to see them fairly often while I've been home. I've hung out with my friends, sister, and dad a lot, which has been nice. I've spent a lot of time home alone with my pets, which sounds kind of sad, but which I enjoy. I've read two whole books for fun, which I think is more than I've done since I started college (to those of you wondering, they were Wild by Cheryl Strayed and Yes Please by Amy Poehler. I'm now working on The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver).

Tess (one of my housemates in Portland) and I visited a frozen Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis!
But, enough with boring you with the details of my break. Even though I'm not at LC right now, I've been thinking about it a lot. I've also been thinking about going abroad a lot! In case you're curious about how one goes about going abroad, let me explain the process I went through.

1) As a prospective student, I researched schools that had notable overseas programs. I knew I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to go abroad, so I made it a priority to make sure that the schools I applied to had good programs and supported students who wished to go abroad

2) The summer before my freshman year, I emailed the then-head of the ENVS department with a rough 4-year plan including details on which semester I wanted to go abroad. This was excessive, and you shouldn't feel like you have to do this at all. That said, the then-department head was very friendly and helpful and helped me figure out how I could fit a semester overseas into my plan. You really don't need to do this, but if you do want to email any professor with questions about their program, my experience has shown that they are always happy to answer them and talk with you!

3) I researched specific programs at LC. I knew I wanted to be a Hispanic Studies major, so I looked at programs that fulfilled the major's requirement to go overseas. This narrowed it down to two programs in the Dominican Republic, one in Spain, and two in Chile.

4) I decided on Chile because I went there for a week in high school, and loved it. I also knew I didn't want to go to Europe, because I figured I can fairly easily figure out how to travel there when I'm older, and I decided against the DR because I don't like hot weather (and it is very hot there). That left Chile. I eventually decided on Valparaiso because I liked the idea of a smaller city (as opposed to Santiago) and I wanted to live by the ocean.

5) Once I decided on a program, I had to apply. I did this during the spring semester of my sophomore year (students going abroad in the fall semester apply to do so the fall before). The application consisted of some essay questions and recommendations.

6) I heard back later that spring!

7) This last fall, I had a couple of meetings regarding my trip. Some were with everyone who was going abroad this spring, regardless of their program. They covered general health and safety procedures, as well as details about registering for classes and how credits transfer while we're abroad. I also had some meetings with just my group (combined with those going to the Dominican Republic), to tell us details about our programs. One of them included alumni of the programs coming to talk about their experiences.

8) I also had to apply directly to the organization running the program, CIEE. Most programs don't include this step, but my program is kind of weird for LC in that it is actually run through an outside organization. This means there will be other, non-LC students in my program. I haven't met any of them yet. This application was due last October, and was a bit less selective than the LC application (meaning that if you get into the program through LC, you can generally get into the CIEE program directly).

9) During all of this, I was applying for my student visa. The visa application process is different for everyone. I have a friend who went to Senegal for this semester, and her visa was waiting for her when she got there. She had to fill out something like one form. The process for the Chilean student visa, on the other hand, took months of me sending my fingerprints to the FBI for a background check and going to a doctor for a health checkup and waiting for forms from the Chilean university. Once I got everything together, I sent it all to the consulate in Chicago, along with instructions for them to send it to an honorary consul in Minneapolis for pickup. I just received word today that they sent it, which is great (and a load off of my chest)!

10) And now, I wait. I still have a little bit less than a month before I leave. My plane tickets are all figured out, thanks to an earlier step I forgot to mention (the school continuously asks for some forms from you throughout the semester before you leave. They help you get plane tickets, make sure your mail goes to the right place, and get you registered for classes). I don't know anything about my host family or what classes I am taking until I'm there. I'm eager for it to start!

If you have any questions about going abroad, or anything related to Lewis & Clark, let me know! My email is rekidder@lclark.edu.


Back Home in Akin Hall

Happy Martin Luther King Day! People are slowly trickling back into the residence halls after our month-long winter break. I arrived on campus last night, and I am so thrilled to be back. The best part of the last twenty-four hours has been getting to see my two friends who were abroad last term. Sarah was in Osaka, Japan, and Sam was in Moscow, Russia. Together we went out to Chipotle and Voodoo Doughnut downtown and had a long and much-needed conversation. It was wonderful to reconnect after not seeing each other since May. Sam showed us a really cool video of her theatre group in Russia doing a production of The Lion King. There were no words, only bodies in motion. There was a lot of partner acrobatics and movement based in yoga, which I found really cool. Sam even offered to teach me some of the routine! I’ve done a lot of yoga, but never partner yoga, and never to epic music! Of course, that’s only if we can find time in our schedules this semester. She’s a theatre major and a senior, so she’s going to be doing her thesis. I’ll be pretty busy with my classes too, but I’m so excited for them to start.
First, I am continuing on into my second semester of Japanese. Then, I have two English classes. One is the second half of the sophomore survey class for English majors. We will just pick up where we left off in December – which, as I recall, is somewhere in the 1800s. The other class is Literature of the English Renaissance. I really loved that time period when we touched upon it in the fall survey, so I wanted to take an upper-division class more focused on it. We’ll be reading everything from the era of Shakespeare except for Shakespeare (because he gets a course to himself!). Finally, I’m taking a 400-level education course. I've already had to do some background reading on the history of educational reform in America to prepare for class, and it was very interesting. I can't wait to learn more.

My friends and I are taking the bus downtown to see the newest Hobbit movie tonight, so I’ve got to go now. Hope you all had spectacular winter vacations, and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu!

Until next time,


P.S. Here are some photos from over break, when I went home to California!

Had a little LC student reunion with my friends Charlie and Minoru when they stopped by on their way to Lake Tahoe.

Other highlights of my break include spending plenty of time with my family.

And skiing.

And In-N-Out Burger, of course.