28 April 2016

New Adventures Ahead...

Hey all!

I've just finished officially finished lectures today, and we all know what that means.
Well, exams. But after that!
It's only after college that most people realize the summers breaks between years in college are the PERFECT times to get some experience under your belt. For those lucky few, this may be the first time that they have any sort of job, and while bussing tables or working at the local grocery might not be the most appealing summer experience, trust me it's just as valuable in terms of life experience as an internship. For those prospective high school students, regardless of where you end up choosing as your home for the next 4 years, make use of the summer you have between high school and college, you will not regret it!

As for myself, I'll be packing up my bags soon after the last exam and heading off to the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon. Working with the Forest Service has been a great pleasure for me in the past few years, and I'm excited to get back outdoors doing field work for conservation.

This may be the last blog post I write for Real Life LC, so I hope that everyone out there has a wonderful summer and finishes the school year strong.

Much love, jay

Questions, comments, in Portland for the weekend? Tag me @jayhidekichu on instagram or email me at jaychu@lclark.edu

Cheers everybody! Jay

About me: Transfer sophomore Lewis & Clark College. Major: Environmental Studies, Minor: Japanese

24 April 2016

Finishing Projects

The semester is almost over and practically everyone was finishing up projects this weekend.  Papers, reports, and presentations of all sorts are due this next week.  Today I will be meeting with both my biology lab and chemistry lab teams to work on final papers and presentations.

My chemistry team has been working on crystal x-ray diffraction.  Basically, we have been growing crystals, cutting them to pieces under a microscope, and then sending them through a machine that uses x-rays to determine how the crystals are put together.  This has led to lots of interesting pictures.

Meanwhile, my biology team has been working on seafood barcoding. For this one we are running a DNA test on a fish sample collected from a Portland store or restaurant to see if it really is the kind of fish it was labeled as. So far, ¼ of the samples for the entire biology class have been mislabeled.  The FDA has specific guidelines for the names fish can be sold under to help prevent fraud, but somewhere along the line from boat to store the fish gets its name changed so it will sell for a higher price.

Also, this weekend has been Fire Art’s spring show.  Our theme this year is science fiction so there’s been an interesting collection of songs ranging from “The Saga Begins” to “Flash Gordon” to random anime music.  We held the show outside of Maggie’s (the campus store) and despite the dampness were able to hold a successful show and entertain a decent sized crowd after a long day of homework.

Have questions about anything? Send me an email at ameliaberle@lclark.edu 

19 April 2016

Mountains Outside, Mountains Inside

Hey all!

There are now more beautiful days than rainy ones! Celebrate, summer is here!
With only a week and a half of classes left and exams soon after, the LC community is in a strange limbo state of summer break (and all of its adventures) is just on the other side of a huge mountain of school-work. Many LC students indeed are stressing over last-minute “midterm” exams, presentations, posters, papers, thesis, and the like, but this rarely stops us from going out and enjoying our campus, which really is one of the most beautiful campuses in the country in good weather.

To really make the most out of the weather, I recommend joining one of the many outdoors-oriented groups on campus. There’s College Outdoors, which takes students on trips all over the Pacific Northwest, and there are lower-key student groups such as surfing and rock climbing. Clubs like yoga also hold sessions outdoors, and you can actually get into outdoor sports classes like sailing or mountain biking! Of course, if you don’t want anything too official, the campus’s lawns and landscapes are begging you to lay a blanket and soak up some much-needed rays. I’m actually writing this while sitting right outside the Reflection Pond… it’s killer.
This past week has been the definition of making the most out of your time. From day hikes to case studies and presentations and mountain biking, I've done it all! The important thing to remember during these stressful end-of-year times is to try and have balance.

Peace everyone!

Questions, comments, in Portland for the weekend? Tag me @jayhidekichu on instagram or email me at jaychu@lclark.edu

Cheers everybody! Jay

About me: Transfer sophomore Lewis & Clark College. Major: Environmental Studies, Minor: Japanese

17 April 2016

The Hills Are Alive

…With a million flowers.

Because of a cancellation, I was called last minute to be a student coordinator for the College Outdoors ethnobotany hike this Saturday. Since I am interested in edible plants and one of my good friends here was going on the hike I promptly agreed and signed up for the trip.

I arrived at Sequoia, the gear warehouse, at 7am Saturday and the leaders and I started packing the van for the trip.  The participants arrived at about 7:30 and we all ate breakfast before heading off.  Our first stop was Starvation Creek State Park. (What could be a better place to start an edible plants hike?)  After a waterfall, miner’s lettuce, and a story (see below) we headed onward to Memaloose State Park.

Starvation Creek got its name from a train accident in 1884.  On December 18, the Pacific Express ran into a 25-foot-tall snowdrift.  No one was injured, but the train was stuck.  The passengers were paid $3 a day to help shovel snow and everyone was fed with food that was being shipped on the train.  On January 7th, 1885 the train finally arrived in Portland. While newspapers had reported otherwise, no one actually died during their adventure at starvation creek.

Memaloose was amazing.  We followed a trail through fields, spotting many different types of wildflowers, until we arrived at a hill completely coated in balsamroot flowers (a relative of the sunflower). We hiked up to the lookout at the top of the hill and had lunch there while admiring the field of flowers and the snow covered peaks or Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood.  It was a fantastic way to spend a day.

Please feel free to send me an email at ameliaberle@lclark.edu if you have any questions.

12 April 2016

Summer? Spring? Summer? Spring?

The past few weeks have been BEAUTIFUL on campus.  It has been in the mid 80°'s and sunny almost every day for 2 weeks now.  This is pretty rare in spring and everyone has been taking advantage of it.  There are so many more people out and about along with people tanning, throwing frisbees, hammock-ing, and just hanging out on any green space around campus.  

Generally during the spring weather in Portland is known to be erratic.  One year walking to class (which took all of 3 minutes) I experienced rain, sleet, fog, sun, hail, and then rain again.  This is what generally happens until late April or early May but this year has been different.  

As I am writing this it is currently raining, however it was supposed to rain this morning but it hadn't started until after track practice which ended after 5:30.  Also, rain should end by this weekend and the warm weather should return.  This back and forth of summer weather and spring weather is confusing but it is certainly getting me very excited for summer as I know everyone else is as well.  We only have a few weeks to go and everyone working hard to finish out the semester.  I hope that the end of your semesters/trimesters/years go well and that you enjoy the rest of your week.  

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask me at jprovost@lclark.edu.  Have an amazing week!

Team Game Night

Even though my fourth semester at Lewis & Clark is winding down, the interesting activities don’t stop. Last Friday, my football team had a game night in our locker room. Our coaches and a few kids on the team had the idea for the whole team to get together and play video games and other games for the evening. Several of us made a tournament playing NBA 2k16 and the UFC 2 video games, while others started a poker game. It was a lot of fun to relax with my teammates and play each other in video games. It gave those of us who live on campus a chance to hangout with those who live off campus. In addition to playing video games and poker, our coaches also ordered pizza, which was a delicious dinner. That’s one one my favorite things about our head coach: he does a very good job building a team and doing things like this to ensure that we really are a team.

Even though the semester is winding down, we are doing a really cool experiment in our organic chemistry lab. To start the lab off, we are given an unknown solid and liquid. In this lab, we have to use every test we have used this year in order to determine what our unknown is and pick it off a list of unknowns. Several of the tests we use are fairly simple. One of the biggest tests that helps indicate what we have is the melting point of the solid and the boiling point of the liquid. For these, all we have to do is watch the unknown and record the value at which it either melts or boils. Other tests involve NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance), which is essentially a giant magnet and is very similar to MRI, that allows us to see where certain elements are located in the compound. Based on the graph we generate, we can use it to compare to known parts of a compound which gives us clues to what it is. It’s almost like a giant puzzle for Organic Chemistry.

Other than that, I am getting ready for finals. It will be here before I know it. That's all for this week.


Next Semester: Japan

Hey all!
This weekend's adventures started out with the Mirror Lake hike on Mt. Hood (in the background) and ended with tons of single-track mountain biking 30 mins. north of Portland!

For many at LC, the end of this week will mark the beginning of the end. Was that confusing?
Let me try again: at the end of this week, we will have exactly 2 weeks left of classes. That means it will very soon be prime time for finals prep., presentations, papers, thesis goodies, and stress eating.
Not to mention LC students are now beginning to register for their Fall 2016 semester classes, which can be another stressful thing to add to the list.

But for a lucky few, the next semester will take place far from LC's pruned and manicured campus. This fall, I will be joining a handful of other LC students in a study abroad semester in Japan.
To give you a little background about myself, I am a transfer student, and I was SHOCKED when LC told me I could study abroad and still graduate on time. Needless to say, I was on that boat immediately once I found out that all my financial aid is applied to the study abroad semester as if I were staying on campus (there are a few exceptions that did not apply to me).

LC has a HUGE range of study abroad programs and is eager to help you get experience outside of the US, and transfers fear not! Another transfer friend of mine is also heading out next fall!

Questions, comments, in Portland for the weekend? Tag me @jayhidekichu on instagram or email me at jaychu@lclark.edu

Cheers everybody! Jay

About me: Transfer sophomore Lewis & Clark College. Major: Environmental Studies, Minor: Japanese

11 April 2016

Spring is Here!

There are only three weeks left of classes and the campus is doing its best to convince us to stay.  The air is warm, the sun is out, and everything is blooming.  You’ll see students in hammocks or sleeping in the grass enjoying the sun. You’ll also see a few students colored a nice shade of pink because, during the cloudy months, they forgot how easily they burn.  (My roommate for example).  The gardens are stunning, the students are outside, and spring is in the air.

It is also the time where everything starts being due.  I have tuned in a research paper and now my biology team are working on our presentation.  We wanted to see if there was a correlation between hating cilantro and sensitivity to three different chemicals (PTC, sodium benzoate, and thiourea). Short answer: there wasn’t. Our presentation is tomorrow afternoon so we spent this evening practicing for it in academic Howard (vs residential Howard, the dorm). 

Both first round class registration and the housing lottery happened this last week.  The first round of registration is where every student picks the class they are most interested in and the second round (next Thursday) is where we pick the rest of them.  For the housing lottery, you and your chosen roommate show up at Templeton, turn in your housing contracts, and each pick a number.  The average of your numbers determines when you get to choose your room for the next year. My roommate and I will be living in the new STEM LLC (Living Learning Community) in Copeland so I’ll keep you informed on how that goes.