February 27, 2011 - 8:00 PM
In one of my blogs from the past week, I had a reader post me a comment. The comment asked, "I would be curious to hear about the logistics of your existence while writing the thesis. What have you been eating? Do you even have time to cook? Consider making any brussel sprouts recently?" I highly encourage my readers to comment on my posts and ask questions. I often feel I'm running out of things to say, so these questions can spark some good discussion. So, Katie B., thank you for submitting your question and I shall answer in this post.
Part one is what have I been eating? The answer: it varies. For example, tonight I actually had a huge salad full of bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, and apples, as well as a few chips and salsa. Pretty healthy. This is because I finally had time to go to the store and do a big shop. I have been craving fresh vegetables for a while now, but have been unable to deal with having to go get them, cut them, eat them before they go bad, etc. The big shop I did today is one that I am hoping will last me until the end of the term. It couldn't come sooner. However, during the rest of the time when I don't have time to do a quality shop, I find myself relying heavily on cheerios, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, Clif bars, and this totally mellow Oregon cranberry juice I found. Occasionally, I will have a banana. During these prolonged phases of nothing too exciting to eat, I often find myself standing in my kitchen for a good ten minutes, just standing, completely lost on what to do - and then I have some cheerios.
The second part of Katie B.'s question was do I even have time to cook? Not usually, would be the simple answer. The more complex answer deals with the fact that when I do have time, I'm usually so exhausted and void of energy that I instead settle on some cheerios and a nap. This lack of time and energy can also be seen in the ongoing battle I am having with my house to keep it clean.
And, the last part of the question was, have I considered making any brussel sprouts lately? I would like to take this time to thank Katie B. for her suggestion, as I bought some today. I plan to fry them up with a little olive oil, garlic, pepper, and kosher rock salt. They should be fabulous.
I had fun writing this post, so please, whoever may still be reading this blog, feel free to post a question!
February 26, 2011 - 11:00 PM
Apathy: noun. Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern: widespread apathy among students.
I find it funny that when I went to go look up the definition of apathy, its primary example sentence used students. How silly. It must just be well known. The dictionary must have seen me coming.
So, don't get me wrong or anything, I love the University of Oregon. I love my Ducks. I have loved my time here. I even love this region's unpredictable weather patterns and abundance of hemp fiber clothing. That being said, I just don't care anymore!
I have been stricken hard with a bad case of senioritis and, in my case, its severity is only heightened by the fact that it is my second senior year. I am at the point where I could have the most incredible class I have ever taken, but it would still be a struggle to get to it everyday. I just feel like I've been there and I've done that and I just don't want to come to campus anymore! I am ready to graduate and to move onto a new chapter and to start taking all of this stuff I've crammed into my brain over the last (nearly) five years and put it into action! I want to start doing meaningful work beyond the college bubble. I can't take homework anymore and I can't take tests. I'm done. I don't care!
But, of course, I care. I'm one of those students that could declare that she's finished and just won't continue, but really means, I'm going to study tonight so I can get an A on that test tomorrow. However, although some lucky force within me is keeping me going, it has drained my creativity. I don't have time to paint anymore and do things that are creative and just fun for me. When I do have time, I just want to nap because I'm so burnt out and apathetic to the whole college thing. Take my blog, for example. I used to think it was pretty fun to write and fun to read. Now, I feel a little bit sad for all of you because I just can produce like I used to! All you hear about is my thesis! Because it has consumed me!
All of this being said, I think that my blog still stands with integrity as an important piece of this Annual Giving Program's attempt to connect donors and interested community members to students. This is because my blog speaks only truths. My blog shows the progression over three years from enthusiastic student to apathetic senior with a bad case of senioritis. This is an honest account of a UO student. I would never give you anything less.
I have senioritis. 107 days until graduation.
February 20, 2011 - 11:45 PM
This week's Blog Blast from the Past is one of my favorites! When I realized that this is what I was doing during this week one year ago, I couldn't believe time had flown by so fast. It seems like it was just yesterday that I was writing a letter to the editor of the Oregon Daily Emerald to describe my disappointment in the Department of Public Safety (DPS) kicking "Music Man" off campus. The previous day, the Oregon Daily Emerald had posted a picture of a DPS officer looking at the sad recorder player with the headline "Music Man Silenced." My blog on the topic was originally posted on February 17, 2010 and titled, "Music Man, Play On!"
I wrote this letter for two reasons. One was because I did find it quite silly that this recorder-playing man had been singled out for no great reason to be kicked off campus. The other was because of how much controversy had been going on around the University at that time. People were all riled up about particular topics and I thought it might be nice to throw something new and perhaps a tad humorous into the mix. This excerpt from the original post explains the campus environment at the time:
"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."
I went on to describe some of my reasoning as to why the campus community needed to take action on this dire situation:
"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."
Looking back at this blog, I think of a few things. The first is, where in the world was I finding the time to sit down and write a quite lengthy letter to the Oregon Daily Emerald on this topic? I believe this was during the same time I was completing several applications for competitive summer internships. Anyway, that question aside, I still stand by my post. The quirky campus culture of the University of Oregon has shaped my time here. It has left me with incredible memories and a strong sense of identity. I think it's important to keep Eugene unique in its many weird ways.
Although I am ready to move on and explore other parts of the world, I will miss Eugene. I will miss this community and the University of Oregon. This is a great school. Thinking of how great of a school this is kind of makes me want to rant about the ridiculous percentage of alumni donations going to athletics instead of academics, but I'll save that for next week. It is getting late and I have too many feelings for that topic to begin right now. I will end with this plea, however - Please donate to the many incredible, enriching, wonderful, life-changing, mind-opening, soul-nourishing, community-bettering, meaningful academic departments and programs of the University of Oregon. Your donation to academics, not athletics, maintains the true culture of this campus. Trust me, the athletic department will be just fine. Now, goodnight.
February 19, 2011 - 8:30 PM
I have confessed in previous posts that I do, in fact, bring shame to my sustainable Planning, Public Policy and Management department. I drive a car. As a member of a department that prides itself on city bike lane planning and green energy policy (and much, much more, but for the sake of exaggeration, I will only list those two), I fail. Perhaps it was my own looming hypocrisy that led to the recent events that brought me back to public transportation. In short, my car is having problem. More specifically, its power steering rack is shot and a few other things. Therefore, I had to take my car into the shop Thursday afternoon and was then told I probably won't get it back until late Monday.
Now, I used to ride the bus. Up until the place I live now, I was always on a convenient bus line to the UO. I have always been a fan of LTD and its transportation service to Lane County. However, since last year, I have been living up a large hill, not exactly on a bus line. Fortunately, I still believe that my undying love for my house cancels out the many parking tickets, time spent trying to find a parking spot, that tow I got last year, and all of the many other woes associated with driving to campus that my living location has caused.
Being without my own transportation, up in the woods, on a hill, however, left me no choice than to return to the bus I once loved. So, today, I bundled up in several layers of clothing and walked my way down my hill and through the neighborhood to the nearest bus line. I was going to meet up with a friend on campus to go see my first basketball game at the new Matthew Knight Arena. I sat at the bus stop for a while, wondering if I had already missed it, despite my near running pace down the hill. I got nostalgic as I looked up the street waiting to see the bus nearing. Finally, right on schedule, it did.
I flashed my UO student ID to the driver and got onto the bus for free. I think this is possibly one of the best uses of the student incidental fee. Anyway, I loved it! It felt neat to be back on the bus and to observe the diverse faces it held. It got me to my final destination right on time and I met up with my friend for a great basketball game. The only downside was when it was time to return home. Not knowing the schedule, I waited in the cold for about 45 minutes and then once I got back to the stop near my house it was dark and cold, as I began my walk back up the hill. In the end, I will still probably go back to my car when I get it because with my schedule and location, the bus just doesn't always work for me. However, this experience did reinstate my gratitude for LTD and my love for public transportation adventures.
February 13, 2011 - 11:45 PM
And, it has returned! My Blog Blast from the Past series, which analyzes what I was talking about in my blog at this time one or two years ago, is back!
This Blog Blast from the Past was originally titled, "A GIS Miracle." On this exact date, February 13, one year ago, I had just finished my most triumphant feat in my GIS class. GIS was a new requirement for the PPPM major and although I found it very interesting, I initially struggled with the technology. On this day, one year ago, I completely dominated my GIS midterm. Two excerpts from the original blog follow:
"On Thursday, I walked into my lab class and remembered - Oh yeah, it's test day. The test was open book, but, of course, I forgot my book at home. I sat down with an impending sense of doom lurking over me. The tests were handed out and I quickly read through all of the directions, studying the test's entirety. I looked up at my computer screen, let out a sigh, furrowed my brow, bit my lip, felt my stomach drop, and whispered, "Dang..." I was pretty much convinced that I was going to leave that class with nothing to turn in."
"Then, somehow, someway, about a half hour into the class, it just started coming together. I projected my rivers and creeks layer and then got my urban growth boundary to project in the same way so that they were finally layered on top of each other as one and looked like an actual map! I remembered how to label things and change colors and make a legend and add a north arrow. It was amazing. It was as if some divine force had just reached down and touched my computer and said in a powerful, booming voice, "Let there be a map!" And there was, and it was good!
I was sweating down until the very last minute when I printed my map. I handed it into my professor, laughing. He didn't even understand the incredibly intense journey I had just gone on in the past hour and fifty minutes. I was riding high on adrenaline."
So where am I now? Well, not quite riding the adrenaline wave of GIS. This term I am primarily taking thesis credits, so I don't have to worry so much about tests and classwork. However, I am knees deep in a thesis where I spend a majority of my days surrounded by homelessness literature, so there are trade offs. Next term I will have to take three classes along with finishing and defending my thesis. Now that should be the ultimate test of my scholastic ability. Wish me luck!