February 26, 2010 - 7:38 PM
By the fire
The long day is over
The wind is gone
Asleep at dawn
The embers burn on
With no reprise
The sun will rise
The long day is over
-Norah Jones, "The Long Day is Over"
This week 8 may have possibly been the longest, most stressful week of my academic career so far. However, I think I handled it pretty well and now here I am, finally able to relax for a moment. Norah Jones' mellow music wraps itself around me and I dive into a bed of flannel sheets to write my blog. It feels good to breathe again. I look back at this week, however, and smile. The thing is, I accomplished so much this week that I am proud of and all of those late nights and busy days turn out to be incredibly worth it because I really do love my work, what I do. I take pride in my school, my job, and my additional pursuits.
So, what was I up to this week? Well, one of my main tasks was sending off what have become known to my internship advisor and I as the Big 3. Within the past twenty days, I created three flawless applications for three prestigious, competitive internship programs. As I write this blog now, they are off in cyber space. I hit the submit button and it felt good. I spent one three hour meeting with the PPPM internship director going over every word of my personal statements, making sure that they were as good as they could possibly be. We shared some good laughs throughout it all and I don't think anyone knows my writing styles quite as well as she does at this point. These applications took a huge amount of work, but now they are off. No matter what the outcome is, I am proud of them. These applications were for the Clinton Foundation in New York, the Carter Center in Atlanta, and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities in Washington, D.C.
On top of that, I was working. I am currently working two jobs on top of blogging. One is in the mornings at Howard Elementary School giving support to a first grade teacher there. It is such a great group of kids! The other job is with the ACE after school program I have been with for four years now. I recently switched to the program at Adams Elementary School, however. I am currently teaching a puppet and a fashion class.
I also had a few meetings for my internship with Project Homeless Connect of Lane County. The date for the event is coming up - March 18. I'll talk more about this program soon in another blog!
On top of these things, I had to keep up with school of course! I spent a couple nights in the SSIL computer lab working on maps in ArcGIS and spent other late nights finishing a planning proposal for my nonprofit organizational development course.
Needless to say, it has been a long week. I can barely believe I survived. In addition to being super busy, I ended up sick which just drained even more of my energy. The beauty of it though is that I got all of my work done so that I actually have a weekend! There is nothing I have to think about again until 8:30am on Monday morning. Have a nice weekend everyone. It's time for some needed relaxation!
February 25, 2010 - 8:30 PM
I know a lot of students in the Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon who hit it off with the department really quick. It seems like so many of the students within the college become instant friends and bond over the same quirky things. Many of the students are super involved in its student association and special events. I was always envious of these students. For one reason or another, I never felt like I really fit in with the Honors College. I always find this fact funny. If I am a nerdy girl who can't fit in within the Honors College, I must be this biggest dork on this planet! Anyway, this is perhaps why I haven't really blogged much about it until now. Unlike many Honors College students, it took me a bit longer to warm up to the program and finally have that realization of, "Wow, I think I really do belong here."
I have become increasingly passionate about the quality of higher education recently. I think it has been a mixture of a few things that have got me to thinking about this incredible gift in front of me. And, although controversial, I must say that a large part of what has gotten me riled up about the quality of higher education has to do with the Athletic Department. Now, let's get this straight before I say anything more - GO DUCKS! I love the Ducks and I always will.
This is not about team loyalty, but about where our school's, community's, and nation's priorities stand. Across the United States, are we truly beginning to sacrifice education for moneymaking sports industries? The UO used valuable real estate to build a building only for student athletes. Every time I see the moat-surrounded building or athlete-only parking, I can't help, but cringe a little. Meanwhile, if anyone has even been remotely following the news, they know that several of our student athletes have become entangled in legal trouble and have been getting into mischief. What a waste. I understand that athletics is a huge thing for them and that it is where they find intense passion (I understand not everyone finds passion in Kombucha and homelessness policy like I do), but why not open your eyes and look at what's being offered to you? Many have a full-ride to an incredible institution of higher learning. That is so wonderful! Take that gift and embrace the education, please! But, no, instead on the cover of newspapers, we see student athletes getting into trouble. Why doesn't the community instead care about what the University is really about? It's not a sports institution, it is an academic institution. Why not feature that incredible, high-achieving student on the front page of the Register-Guard? Anyway, this is a slight deviation from my initial topic of finally finding myself in the Honors College.
This year, I have grown to really appreciate the Robert D. Clark Honors College at the University of Oregon. It is such an amazing opportunity for students to take advantage of. It is a place where you can really let your brain soar and feel like the faculty truly cares about you. It is a more personal approach to education, nestled within a large research university. My teachers know me and remember me. Not only do they remember my name, but they also remember where and when I studied abroad, what I'm majoring in, what my hobbies are, and so on. They know me and care about my progress within the program. The Honors College has such a quaint little library and student lounge that are perfect for studying in. They offer their own scholarships for academic merit. They are fabulous. I cannot wait to start my thesis next term with the reassurance that the Honors College faculty will be there to support me throughout the entire process.
When I registered for classes this week, I couldn't register for more than 18 initially and I needed 19. However, the Honors College recognizes my needs as a student and with a quick and easy talk with faculty, I was told that they would hold my spot in the Honors College thesis prospectus class until week ten when I would be authorized to register for more credits. I just felt so taken care of.
In summary, I love education and I am becoming a bigger and bigger supporter of it every day. This love is helping me to finally find my place within the Honors College. I belong there. I think my readers can expect to hear more about it in the last four terms of my undergraduate career.
February 21, 2010 - 11:39 PM
I took a stand. I believed in the Music Man and so I wrote a letter to the editor of the Oregon Daily Emerald about how I was upset about Music Man being asked to leave campus. On Friday, February 19, 2010, my article was printed in the Opinion section and posted on the online site . I stood up for humanity, passion, and recorders everywhere. I must admit, it was kind of fun seeing my name in print and I got a very positive response from several members of the student body. It is clear that the majority opposes the removal of Music Man. Hopefully, we will see some positive work done in the near future to fix this blunder.
I am hoping that I can hold on to the excitement I got from this event as I go, drearily, into week eight. I have officially reached that point in the term where I wish I could just close my eyes and when I open them, be taking my last final. These last three weeks are going to be rough. I am burnt out and keep finding myself far more intrigued to work on other projects not related to my classes than I am to do my homework and reading. My mind is exhausted and on top of that I think I'm getting a stress cold, which means that my mind now hurts both metaphorically AND physically. I shall overcome.
One thing to look forward to this week is sending off three more internship applications! Yay! There is nothing more relaxing than finally, after a month of working on an application, hitting that submit button online and releasing all attachment to the outcome. These applications, no matter how close to being done, are always on the back of my mind until the moment I actually send them off. It is an odd rush of endorphins as I recognize the extent of my work. I did this. I created this. I edited it a thousands times. I could probably recite it to you by memory at this point. Ah, yes, I cannot wait for that moment. I hope to have my applications for the Clinton Foundation, Carter Center, and Center on Budget and Policy Priorities all sent off by Wednesday.
Week eight may exhaust me, but it will never break my spirit! Onward!
February 17, 2010 - 12:00 AM
Today, the cover of the Oregon Daily Emerald showed a photo of one of the regulars of campus. He is a community member often seen walking up and down 13th Avenue playing his recorder. I have a fondness for him, as I find his choice of instrument and peaceful presence rather endearing. I believe he adds to the quirky culture of the campus. However, the photo showed a Department of Public Safety Officer asking him to leave campus after alleged noise complaints. From one little recorder? Please! Outraged, of course, I decided to write a letter to the editor, detailing my concerns. I have posted this below. It has been submitted and I will keep you informed of the outcome. Until then, I say, Viva La Recorder!
His name is Misha Seymour. By now, most of campus probably knows him as the Music Man. I just always knew him as that man who made me smile when I saw him.
In the past months, the University of Oregon has dealt with many controversial topics, each creating a stir of passion amongst the student body. Some students have taken it upon themselves to stand up for the integrity of education in relation to the opening of the John E. Jaqua Academic Center for Student Athletes. Others have chosen to stand up for the rights of everyone to feel safe and included in relation to the Pacifica Forum. I am usually a fairly quiet girl. However, inspired by the recent actions of these students and deeply saddened by what I saw on the cover of the February 16 edition of the Oregon Daily Emerald, I feel I can no longer allow myself to be silenced.
As I unfolded the newspaper, my heart sank. There in front of me was a photo displaying a Department of Public Safety Officer staunchly standing in front of a dejected Music Man. The photo accurately portrayed the immense hurt in Music Man's soul. His off-white recorder almost slipping from his hand, as his dreams were ripped away from him. His long, forlorn face stared back at the man given the task of crushing them. The photo's caption cited "several noise complaints" as the reason for Music Man being asked to leave campus.
I ask you, how could one little man with one small recorder cause so much alleged turmoil on campus? With thousands of students walking by throughout the day, service vehicles rumbling about, and a clock chiming every fifteen minutes, how could one recorder be the source of so much noise pollution?
Music Man always made me smile when I saw him. He always looked content in what he did. He found his passion in the underappreciated recorder. Most people cannot handle the demanding nature of the recorder after about third grade and those who make it to fifth are few. However, Music Man was a rare gem. He was a man unafraid to play a rendition of "When the Saints Go Marching In" that could spark nostalgia in just about anyone. He made us all remember that there's an instrument out there that we have forgotten and its name is the recorder. It is important for us as students and as a community to recognize and encourage this type of devotion and enthusiasm.
Music Man was an important piece of the University of Oregon campus culture. If we allow him to be pushed to the outskirts of our school, who will be next? Can you imagine a campus without Frog roaming with his comic books? What about a place where that one guy no longer walks through campus yelling, "Go Ducks!" quickly followed by profanities aimed at LTD? And what about no more man standing in the amphitheater telling us we're all sinners and riling up a strong student response? What culture will our campus have left if we allow this to happen?
The University of Oregon has taught me to stand up for what I believe in. I believe in this. I will leave you with my vision. I see a group of concerned students, banding together, walking in bold solidarity down 13th Avenue, Music Man our leader, each playing on his or her recorder, "We Shall Overcome." Do not let the culture of our campus be pushed aside.
February 14, 2010 - 10:17 PM
I'm not going to be cynical and make this post about how everyone should just love each other every day instead of waiting for some scheduled moment to decide, "Oh yeah, I like you." I'm not going to ramble about the problem of having holidays create unmet expectations. Instead, in honor of Valentine's Day, I am going to focus on love. In the end, that is all there is. This blog post is a small summary of the many loves of my life.
My Mother - If I can have one expectation every Valentine's Day that never lets me down, it is this woman. For as long as I can remember, she has taken that moment to make my day special. I remember being little and having her give me this old-fashioned looking teddy bear that wore a sundress and a straw hat with wooden heart-shaped buttons. This year, I received two boxes in the mail, both from Harry and David. One was a box of the most delicious cherries I may have ever eaten and a small box of chocolates and the other was a box of scrumptious, ripe pears. My mother never ceases to amaze me with her oddly perfect, unique Valentine's Day gifts. I love my mom.
My Father - A man whose quirky, humble, moody behaviors scarily mimic my own. He may be a total guy when it comes to the holidays, but he's there throughout the year with his fatherly advice and positive reinforcement. I couldn't imagine my college years without his perfectly timed phone calls. I love my dad.
My Brother - We have come a long way since I was little and tried to throw that rock at him (You know how older brothers can get! Don't worry, I completely, totally missed.). My brother has become increasingly important to me as we have gotten older. We have amazing conversations and are some of the only people who get our intellectual, somewhat cynical sense of humor. We understand each other and that is not an easy task. I love my brother.
My BFF - You know who you are. The one person I can truly just trip on life with and walk side by side with. We've enjoyed some of Oregon's best microbrews together and have created some of the best memories a person could ever ask for. She is a beautiful force in my life. I love my BFF.
My Education & My Work - Oddly enough, sometimes when I am feeling down, the best way to pick myself back up is to focus on the incredible opportunity I have before me and to do the best work I can with my various educational projects. I get a high from my research and writing that I can't get from anything else. I am continually grateful that I have this opportunity in front of me, that I get to be educated. My internship applications may periodically consume my life, but it's a feeling I oddly enjoy. I love my education and my work.
As I'm writing this post, I realize that it could go on for quite sometime. I'm happy I did it though, as now I can go to sleep feeling as though I have paid proper tribute to this uber-pink holiday. I will close with a more condensed list of other loves of my life. They are as follows: Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie, my dog Scooby, art, my studio, the ocean, planners, scholarships, the internship director for the PPPM department and her strong belief in what she does, rain, sun, airplanes, food, and an infinite amount of other feel goods.