28 April 2015

Last Post of the Year!

Well, my second year of college is drawing to a close. It's the last week of class, and I just have one more paper, one more project, reading days, and finals. Luckily, the semester seems to be ending on - well, if not a high note, then not a low one at the very least. I feel okay about the last pieces of work I'm turning in, and I don't feel too daunted by the prospect of exams. I've been doing well in Japanese, so I'm not worried about the final. I'm just planning to get together with some of my classmates and study on one of the reading days. One of the fun parts of learning a foreign language - especially one in a small department like Japanese - is that you have the same people in your class every semester, so you can get to know them. Unfortunately, it's not looking like I'm going to continue with Japanese next term. My schedule is a little up in the air, but I'll probably be taking a creative writing course called Introduction to Fiction, two literature courses (one on William Faulkner and one on William Shakespeare) with some of the my favorite professors, and a course in ancient and medieval theatrical literature through the Theatre department. I'm also on the waitlist for Acting, so that might replace something if I get in. If not, my schedule might be a bit too much literature for one semester. I wish I was taking Japanese to break things up a little, but I just don't have room. Maybe I'll take it my senior year.

Anyway, back to my end-of-term musings. The last weekend unmarred by studying for finals was super crazy in a good way. On Friday night, I saw my friend Sam's thesis performance for her theatre major. It was a one-woman show about the Russian folk character Baba Yaga that she both wrote and starred in. There was some really interesting storytelling using silhouettes and a lot of swapping in and out of different accents. It was a truly incredible piece of art and the ending gave me chills down my spine. Of course, it was all the better for having a close friendship with Sam, the star. This has been something she's worked incredibly hard on, and it combined her two great loves of theatre and Russian. I truly believe that she could take this show on the road after she graduates and really make something out of it. I'm really proud of her.

After the thesis festival was over and all the seniors' performances were done, I helped strike the set as a part of my theatre lab class. It was really cool. There's just something about being at the theatre late at night lifting heavy equipment and breaking down sets that made me feel strong and powerful on the inside, and connected to a passionate team of people. I hope to continue to be involved with theatre in other ways next semester.

On Sunday night, I went to my first ever concert. The show was Nightwish, which is a Finnish symphonic metal band, though it opened with two other metal bands, Sabaton (from Sweden) and Delain (from the Netherlands). It was at the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland, so it was easy to get to on the Pioneer Express bus. I went by myself and had a fantastic time. The pictures aren't great, but I hope you like them anyway.

So, I'm a little exhausted from doing so many late-night things this weekend. It was totally worth it though, and I managed to stay relatively on top of my paper-writing during the day too.

This morning, I had my last day of kindergarten, and said goodbye to my mentor teacher and the kids I worked with all year. The children were so sad to see me go and didn't understand why I couldn't just stay with them! I am going to miss them. It's been really rewarding to see them progress from September until now. They've gotten so much better at reading and writing and just talking in class in general. I feel lucky to have gotten to know them. Best of all, they made me this as a class project!

It was the most wonderful gift.

Well, that's all for this year. I sincerely hope that what I've shared with you has helped you make a decision on where to go to school. Personally, I really love Lewis and Clark and I'm proud to go here. I have so many opportunities, whether they are a part of my English major, or part of my career path as a teacher, or part of just trying new things like working in the theatre department or taking Japanese. Things aren't always sunshine and rainbows of course, but I find that what makes college life the most difficult is what I carry with me and not anything that Lewis and Clark could do differently. In fact, Lewis and Clark does a lot to improve what I carry with me. For instance, there's the on-campus counseling service! That has really done a lot for me this semester. And of course, most importantly, there's the group of friends that I've made here through living in the dorms. Just in case you're wondering, I would say that this is a campus that is very supportive to people who struggle with their mental health.

Well, that's all for now. Overall, I'm looking forward to my next two years here - both on-campus and abroad in Australia. Have a wonderful summer, and I hope to see you at LC! If you have any questions, you can email me at jessicakostka@lclark.edu.