July 27, 2011 - 4:45 PM
Earlier this week I got one step closer to becoming an official Peace Corps invitee! I was finally able to complete the very extensive medical review, and I think I have all of the paperwork in order and ready to send off to the Peace Corps Headquarters. This is the step that takes the longest in the process, and I've double checked my paperwork several times to make sure that everything has been filled out just right!
As a reminder, I have gone through several steps in the Peace Corps application process, and I still have several more to go. Currently, I am a Peace Corps nominee to work in health education, specifically HIV/AIDS in Latin America. This is the absolutely ideal position that I could want, so I am doing everything in my power to make sure that there are no blips throughout the application process.
Much of the advice that I have gotten throughout this process has focused on flexibility. Even if my health paperwork goes flawlessly, there is still a large chance that I could get placed in another position or location. But, I'm just working to do my best to make sure that I get all of my paperwork right the first time around.
Just to give readers an idea of how intensive the Health Review is, I spent over two hours at the University Health Center yesterday, and I still need to go back to make sure that all of my health insurance forms are taken care of as well, and I was there last week to get all of the tests done ahead of time. I have been tested for just loads of diseases and undergone the most intense physical I have ever even heard of, and had any old injuries or health issues scrutinized. After hearing horror story after horror stories from friends and acquaintances, I'm happy to report that no crazy diseases were discovered. For awhile there before my appointment, the mild hypochondriac in me had managed to convince myself that I was unknowingly suffering from some terrible disease or disorder and would find out during this process, disqualifying me from service. Luckily, that is not the case, and my paperwork is nearly complete.
In spite of all of the intense paperwork, doctor appointments, and stress caused by the application process, each part of it gets me more and more excited about the prospect of working in health care in a foreign country. Even if my assignment gets shifted a little one way or another, I am so thrilled about the wonderful opportunity ahead of me!
July 23, 2011 - 9:00 AM
The goodbyes just keep going, and they aren't getting any easier. This morning I said goodbye to my wonderful friend and roommate Dana. Her and her boyfriend Winston left this morning to make the drive with Dana back to Chicago. They left bright and early this morning, as they were trying to make their way all the way to Jackson, Wyoming to see our old roommate Megan, so they had a lot of road to cover.
We gave Dana a proper send off, starting with a photo walk of campus in which Dana and I broke out our various cameras and photographed our favorite parts of the University and surrounding area. We both utilized our film as well as digital cameras, and I'm really looking forward to developing the film in my photo class over the next few weeks. Later that evening, amidst the last minute packing of the car, we hosted a goodbye barbeque and bonfire as a formal farewell. The barbeque is also likely the last event that we will be hosting, as this next week will leave us with a pretty vacant and clean house.
Not only am I going to miss Dana a lot, her leaving also meant the beginning of the moving and packing up process for my household. Dana sold a bunch of her big furniture, left some stuff on the curb that was promptly picked up by most likely some other student, and the deep cleaning process has now begun. With two bedrooms completely empty, this next week will be spent cleaning every nook and cranny in the house, with the hopes of getting our whole deposit back from our rental agency.
This process is getting more serious for me as well, as my mom is making her way down to Eugene next Wednesday to pack back the majority of my belongs to Oregon City as well. I will still be staying in Eugene a little bit longer, taking over a friend's room for the remainder of my class. I will be more or less living out of a suitcase though because I don't want to have to haul too much more up to my parents home more than once.
Moving and goodbyes are two things that are never fun, and I'm really not looking forward to my final goodbye to Eugene. It's been hard enough watching others leave! I am just hoping the cleaning and moving process isn't too horrible so that I can focus on saying my goodbyes to all of the wonderful people here.
July 20, 2011 - 6:45 PM
I have officially had my last first day of class. Never again will I experience the unofficial ‘syllabus day,' at least in my undergrad experience. My last class, Psychology and Gender (PSY 328) takes place at 10 am, Monday through Thursday, and the first week of four is almost through.
So far the class has been an interesting experience; there is a lot of discussion which is a benefit of the smaller class sizes that the upper division courses offer. Each day there is a quiz on the information from the day before, and the rest of our grade will be made up in participation and a final presentation. The presentation is one aspect of the class I'm really looking forward to, and I'm pretty excited that the project is a little more creative rather than the standard paper or final exam.
My last class of college was made even better when I found out that I would be joined by a friend (and fellow Annual Giving Caller) Cheyenne. It's always nice to have someone to study with in the class, especially since I have to miss a class she will be able to fill me in.
After my class, and before my friend Leslie's last first day of class, we met up to congratulate each other because the finish line is in sight. We took a celebratory picture, and documented the beginning of our spirit days. Being our last first day of class, we decided that Monday would be smarty pants day. The picture does not fully depict our wardrobe choices, but I think Leslie's "smarty-pants" glasses give the idea. We continued the spirit days throughout the week, with Tuesday being tie-dye day, and Wednesday being sweats day (it's been a pretty rainy week in Eugene). Unfortunately I have to miss tomorrow's class for a doctor appointment to make headway on my Peace Corps health review, so we decided we get a freebee pass for Thursday.
I'm looking forward to the next three weeks, and what the class will bring! I can't believe that's all that is left of my undergraduate education!
July 17, 2011 - 10:45 PM
Yesterday marked a special day for my friend Emma, her 22nd birthday. Those of us still around Eugene celebrated in style with her. Emma (and the rest of us) has wanted to go camping for awhile now at Silver Falls State Park (which is not too far from Salem). Unfortunately, my tent got left with my family and no one else had anything bigger than a two person tent, and with fifteen or so of us, it wasn't going to cut it. Also standing in our way was the fact that Silver Falls State Park was completely booked up for this weekend, thus we improvised.
My cabin is not too far from Silver Falls, so we decided to spend the day hiking around the park, and then head back to my cabin for the rest of the weekend. We tried our best to get an early start on Friday morning; this plan did not work out well. With a spur of the moment trip like this, organizing all fifteen of us was no easy task. We left a bit later than we hoped, but we still made it over to Silver Falls with plenty of time to hike around the park.
Unfortunately, the rest of the trip was not flawless. We drove out two cars to the park, and having left at separate times we ended up going to two different trail heads. The park is without cell phone reception, so we ended up missing each other, but nonetheless the hikes were wonderful for both parties. I would highly recommend checking out Silver Falls if you're in the area; the park features several waterfalls that you can walk behind, and many more throughout the park. The park is also just incredibly beautiful, lots of green plants and wildflowers.
From Silver Falls, we headed a little more east to Detroit Lake. The McAlister crew has had some quality time at the lake with me this summer, and this was another great time with friends. Unfortunately, the Oregon weather was not quite as cooperative as it has been in the past, and rained much of the weekend. The rainy weather did not put too much of a damper on our fun, as we still managed to get a little time out on the boat and some wakeboarding in. The few brave souls who ventured out on the boat found it worth it, as everyone was able to get up on the wakeboard, even if some of us were doing so in the rain.
Time not be drenched on the boat was spent eating some pretty delicious food, playing games, and enjoying each other's company in celebration of Emma's 22nd birthday, and I think it's safe to say everyone had a wonderful weekend.
July 14, 2011 - 4:23 PM
Today was the last day of Spanish 328, which means I'm halfway done with my summer classes, and now only one class away from becoming an official alum of the University of Oregon! On Monday, classes will pick back up again, and I will be finishing up the psychology portion of my degree.
My summer class experience has been much different from the last summer I spent taking classes. Before I studied abroad, I needed to begin the human physiology and anatomy sequences earlier so that I would be caught up in winter when I returned. That meant that I spent four weeks taking 10 credits that translated to four separate classes, each being worth two or three credits each. Those were four weeks of little sleep, a lot of studying, and doing nothing else but pouring over my texts and lecture notes. By only taking four credits my summer term has been much more relaxed, and if you have been reading any of my past blogs, I have found plenty of time for some summer fun.
I really enjoyed Spanish 328; the class focused on Hispanic literature in the United States, and featured a lot of relevant and interesting stories, along with lots of media and readings featuring Spanglish, which was an interesting perspective that I had not previously been exposed to. I was also very pleased that the class consisted of several papers and a presentation, and no final. This is a very different set up from the majority of the science focused classes I've taken over the years, so it was a nice change of pace for me.
After the break that the weekend will provide, a whole new term of four weeks will begin. While I do have some sentimental feelings about this being the last class of my undergraduate experience, the novelty has worn off a bit and I'm looking forward to being completely done. Luckily, I have a friend in the class with me, and another close friend, Leslie, is also taking a summer class this term. We have decided to spice up the experience a bit by making each day a spirit day, so Monday we're starting it off right by having "smarty pants" day. Other spirit days will include such as "hat day," "tie-dye day," "UO day," and our last day of classes we want to wear our caps again. We have a lengthy list going, but we're going to need to think of 16 spirit days. We are also intending to meet up each day to document the experience.
The finish line is in sight folks. It's strange to finally be this close to the end, and yet it's been feeling close for a long time now. I'm pretty excited to be ending my education with Gender and Psychology as all parts of the title have been large parts of my education here at the U of O.