February 26, 2009 - 1:02 PM
This week, I received an email from one of the staff members of the UO Robert D. Clark Honors College. He asked if I could send him a photo of me because they are in the process of putting up a bulletin board to honor this year's scholarship recipients. I was lucky enough to be one of those recipients.
This year, the Joy Poust Scholarship is helping me pursue my education here at the University of Oregon. An individual, private donor funds the Joy Poust Scholarship. It is awarded based on financial need and academic excellence. To apply for it, I had to write an essay describing my academic interests and accomplishments and how the scholarship would help me in my future endeavors. This was not hard to do, since scholarships have become increasingly important to me throughout my college years.
I will be taking a fifth year to graduate, something that has become more and more common with college students. However, although it may be more common, that does not mean that it costs any less money. This is especially true for me since I pay out of state tuition, which is exorbitantly higher than in state tuition. Therefore, each year I apply for as many scholarships I can. I strive to maintain a high GPA that will set me apart from others, receive the best faculty recommendations I can, and work meticulously at writing the highest quality essays for the applications.
For the Joy Poust Scholarship, I discussed my newly chosen major of Planning, Public Policy, and Management and how with its interdisciplinary nature, it is an absolute perfect fit for me. I explained how I wanted to use it to do environmental sustainability plans. This dream has since changed, but as I stated in my application for next year that I recently sent in, that is because that's what college is for. This is the time to change your mind about things and try on different hats until the right one fits. I feel as though the liberal arts education I receive through the Honors College helps guide me in this direction.
Overall, I cannot even begin to describe how important scholarships are for me, my family, and all students pursuing a degree in higher education. The financial burden of college can be great, but scholarships help to ease that stress. I will forever be thankful to all of the donors to the UO who help support individual students in their quests for knowledge. Someday, I will create my own scholarship fund for a UO student, knowing how much it helps them.
February 24, 2009 - 10:10 PM
I have to do this research project for a class I'm taking called Visualizing Queerness. It is an Honors College colloquia class, so it fulfils one of my requirements. I have to admit that it has been about what? Nine weeks now? Yes, nine. I still don't get this class. I don't really know what's going on in it or what precisely I'm supposed to take away from it, but nevertheless, I march onward! I am determined to make something out of it even if it is just a good grade! However, this post is not about the class. It is about the UO libraries and how libraries are actually kind of cool.
My freshman year, I had to write a fifteenish page paper for my spring term of the Honors College history sequence. I began this project not at all knowing what I wanted to do. Somehow I decided on focusing on something to do with civil rights. Still, that was pretty broad. That term, I discovered the UO Special Collections Archives in the Knight Library. This library contains rare, and often original, documents from way back when. I started to explore this place and soon found all of these amazing pamphlets and letters of correspondence and newspaper articles and more concerning civil rights in Portland, Oregon during the World War II and post-World War II era. Soon I found myself completely enthralled in these resources. How cool was it to be actually holding a pamphlet that was distributed during this time of change? I would spend my time in the Special Collections Archives from the moment they opened until the moment they closed most days. I was such a nerd about it, but it was because it was so interesting! I ended up writing a paper entitled "The Urban League of Portland: Ending World War II Discrimination in the name of Democracy." I got the highest grade in my class on it and received an honorable mention in the Honors College History Essay Contest for it. I have the library to thank for that. That was the first time I realized how much you could find in that place!
However, after that, my relationship with the library quickly turned back to what it was before. I would stop by occasionally if I needed a quiet space to study, but there was no way that I was going to look at any books. Therefore, I soon forgot how helpful and resourceful it could be. That is, until this week!
Ok, now we are back to the beginning. This really has nothing to do with my Honors College essay, but instead my beautiful reunion with the library. I was recently in a similar situation as I was my freshman year. I am required to do a research project for my Visualizing Queerness class and we can pick really, whatever we want as a topic. I had no idea what I wanted to do. At all. So, I finally just picked an artist and decided to go find a couple of books on him. Andy Warhol. I went onto the UO library website and searched the catalog. It looked as though there were several books of interest located in the Architecture and Allied Arts library. I had never been there before. This would be an adventure.
So, I finally went one night and it was incredible! I found so many books that gave me so many ideas! I was thrilled with myself for using the library, my resources here at the UO, to do research! I felt so cool! Reading books and actually getting ideas from them! In the end, I still have a long way to go to pull this project off in time, but I do have to hand it to the library for sparking my interest, sending me in the right direction. Libraries have everything you need to do research right inside them! I'm glad that we've been reunited. My suggestion to all students - the library is your friend, use it! Don't put off getting introduced to it until it's too late!
February 16, 2009 - 6:00 PM
I'm searching for inspiration, moments of realness where people stand up for things that truly matter. Today was one of the most inspiring and exciting days that I have had since I returned from Greece. At 9:30 this morning, I met my friend, Amber, at South Eugene High School and boarded a 4j School District bright yellow school bus. Amber works with me at Meadowlark Elementary School in the ACE after school program and is also a fellow UO student. We were two of the many teachers, parents, students, and staff that had arrived to board the buses that would take us to the K-12 education rally happening in Salem.
I spent my time during the night before the rally making rally signs for Amber and I. One read "Children First!" and the other stated, "Better Education, Brighter Future." I made sure to use glitter on them to add a little flair and to represent our Meadowlark style. I brought them with me on the bus and could not have been more excited. Amber and I were handed stickers to wear that read "Stand for Children" on them. I looked around the bus at all of the unique faces, all concerned about the future of our education system. It was an amazing energy.
As we began our drive up to Salem, I only became more thrilled. Amber and I were sitting in the back of the bus, so I would turn around and look out the back window every now and then. It was amazing seeing a trail of bright yellow school buses behind ours. The people were being bused in for action.
When we finally pulled into Salem, Amber and I were ecstatic. I was smiling and ready for my first rally. I was so honored to be part of the change, to exercise my voice. Rebecca, the program coordinator for ACE, called me while our bus was pulling into Salem. Amber and I were so proud to tell her that we were going to represent our elementary school! We told her we would take a lot of pictures.
My first sight of the actual rally area outside of the capitol building made me tear up. I watched as what looked like first or maybe second grade aged children walked toward the crowd holding up signs that read things like "My School Needs Paper" and "I Need to Learn!" The streets were lined with school buses that had brought people in from all across Oregon. Over 5,000 people showed up to the rally.
Amber and I quickly made our way into the crowd, held up our signs, chanted things like "No more cuts!" and listened to inspiring speakers, fired up and ready for change. I have to say that the most inspirational speaker of all was a girl from a high school in the Portland area. She was such an incredible speaker! Just a high schooler, but such a powerful voice. I wish that I could give a speech the way that she did. She had so much support from the crowd as well. It was truly wonderful.
Once the rally was over, Amber and I went inside the capitol building for a while before we had to catch our bus back to Eugene. We walked around and both of us were so excited. We were probably a little dorky about it, but it didn't matter because we were on the same page. We were in awe, standing there in the building where the process actually happens, where change becomes reality. We both agreed that we want to be a part of that as we get older.
We ate lunch on the bus ride home. I was quite tired from all of the excitement, but my mind was still racing with the power of the event. I was truly inspired. I missed class today, but I got the opportunity to get out into the world and learn from it. I was part of something bigger than a lecture hall. I want to find that inspiration in my everyday life. I want to be a part of community movement. Everyone should go to a rally at some point in their life. Go stir it up a bit, make some noise, howl out against injustice. No more budget cuts in K-12 education!!!!!
February 15, 2009 - 8:00 AM
It comes once every year. Every store becomes jam packed with roses and chocolates and so much red and pink that even a pink-lover like me can feel a little nauseous. People mope around talking about how they wish they were in a relationship and how all they want to do is find that special someone. People come up to me and ask me why I'm not in a relationship and tell me that things would be so much better if I found one. My question to them is this, "Why?" I am single by choice and I love it. This time in my life is meant for meeting all sorts of people and doing whatever I want to and going wherever the wind blows me. That special someone will show up when it's time. However, don't be confused, I am not one of those Valentine's Day haters in the least bit. In fact, I love it. This is because to me, Valentine's Day is not about some lovey-dovey relationship that will probably only last a couple more months. To me, Valentine's Day is about friends and family, anyone you love. It's about having fun, telling people you care about them, and creating memories. That is exactly how my Valentine's Day went this year. It was, in fact, another successful day in pink.
Valentine's Day always begins with my mom. For as long as I can remember, it just always has. One year when I was in elementary school, I remember my mom giving me this amazing teddy bear, suited up in a little summer dress with hearts on it and wearing a straw hat. I still have that bear and it means a great deal to me. This year, my mom sent chocolate covered fortune cookies, some very special teas, and a beautiful bouquet of tulips and roses. She bought the flowers locally at Cardae Flowers and Gifts on West 11th, knowing that I'm trying to start a shop local campaign. By the way, if you're looking for a great florist, Cardae does quite beautiful work! I am always my mother's little Korrin-ie-Pooh valentine, so it's just fitting that the day would start with her.
Later in the day, I took ample time to show some of my friends how much I love them. We had such a fun Valentine's Day night together, that we created memories I will never forget. The evening started with the four of us, Kate, Caitlin, Kelly, and myself, attending a "single mingle" party another friend of ours was throwing. Singles were asked to wear red or pink and dress to impress, while those in relationships (which the party stated were overrated) were asked to wear neutral colors that did not show any signs of being festive, such as green, blue, etc. We had fun hanging out there and I busted a few dance moves to some Snoop Dogg music, but we soon realized that it was 10:30pm and if we did not get going soon, Sweet Life would close without us! Sweet Life is definitely one of our favorite locations - ever.
We got there in time to get our cake, but the place was so packed with happy couples, that we had to get it to go. We went back to Kate and Caitlin's apartment and ate it while playing Catch Phrase, our favorite game. Kelly and I are a dominant team when in comes to Catch Phrase. We take it very seriously and have a lot of fun. The laughs from Catch Phrase eventually turned into a loud and often off-key sing-a-long to various songs. We did this in the dark with many glow sticks.
Finally, I said, "You wanna get some fries or something?" And we were once again off! We went to Shari's since it was still open at that hour. The conversation over food was incredible, as always, and the energy was strong. Somehow we all ended up eating a lot more than just fries, despite already being stuffed with desserts from the Sweet Life.
Shari's was followed by Wal-Mart for the plain fact that it was the only thing nearby that was still open. Kelly bought us all silk roses that played music and lit up. As we drove home at the end of the night (which by now was well into morning), the perfect song came on the radio. We belted it out like only we can do. Before we parted ways, we shared a group hug in the middle of the street outside of my house. If ever there was true love on Valentine's Day, I had found it. It was tucked into the precious souls of my friends and blossoming in the middle of a late night street. Happy Valentine's Day singles and couples alike!
February 14, 2009 - 5:00 PM
After going to UTSAV last week, when I found out about the International Student Association's Global Heart Warming Dance, I knew I had to go. It would be part of my quest to become more involved and aware of the interesting events happening on campus in the community. Every year, ISA puts on a winter formal dance. Many students visiting from other countries have never experienced what an American high school prom is like, so this events helps to enact what that is like.
After I got off work at 5:30pm on Friday, I drove over to my friend's apartment to get ready for the dance. We were all pretty excited. There were four of us going together. I brought two dresses with me, but quickly decided on one. I got dressed in my white, sparkly dress that had big black polka dots all over it and a bright red ribbon tied around the middle. I threw on some black, patent leather heels, added a little sparkle to my eye shadow, and was ready to go!
When we first showed up to the event, which was held in Agate Hall, there weren't that many people there. I'm not going to lie, it was a bit awkward. However, I feel as though that helped to catch the true awkward essence of an actual high school prom. The prom where everyone is a bit too shy to actually start dancing, so they just hang out by the snack table (which we did for a while). Later in the evening, more people showed up and we actually got to do some dancing. It was so much fun to just be dorks and not care about anything. We were just dancing and having a fun time hanging out together. It also felt great to help support this event put on by the International Students Association.
They had decorated the place perfectly. There were colorful balloons everywhere and even a cake put out on the snack table. Outside of the dancing area, they had even set up a spot where you could get "professional" prom photos taken. The four of us sat on the bench in front of the prom background they had created and got our photo taken. It was pretty awesome. Back inside the dancing area, the DJ seemed to be having the most fun. He was dancing to every song he played, full of energy, and was great at taking our requests.
Overall, the night was pretty amazing. I love being able to hang out with my friends and just be goofy. It was also great being a part of such an event. It gave me a connectedness to my university. I think that more students should go to and participate in events like these. Personally, I think that events like these are an excellent alternative to what has unfortunately become the traditional college Friday night out of "getting wasted." But maybe that's just me.