March 28, 2010 - 5:24 PM
With 19 credits, it's bound to be adventure this term. Here are the classes I'm signed up for this spring:
ASL 103 - Alas, it will be my last term of American Sign Language with the fabulous Jo Larson. I will be starting the second-year sequence next year with a new teacher. I'm looking forward to getting back into it. Some friends of mine from class and I are thinking about starting our own weekly event where we get together for coffee and sign to each other. It will be a combo of good practice and good times!
PPPM 484 - Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations. This course is taught by the amazing Laura Leete. I took PPPM 330 with her last year and love her teaching style. We already got an email from her for this class saying that we're going to hit the ground running, so to come to class prepared with a scientific calculator and our textbook.
ART 116 - Basic Design: Fundamentals. Finally, I get to start taking some art classes! This is the beginning of my art minor that I'm hoping to pull off in four terms. Wish me luck.
ART 233 - Drawing. I've never considered myself a very good drawer. I like to paint because I feel like you have more freedom with it. I am very excited to be taking this class in order to work on my drawing skills and learn to conquer my fear of it. The only problem I see with this class is that it is at 8:00am. Wish me luck.
HC 477H - Honors College Thesis Prospectus. This term, I begin my thesis. I am terrified and excited all at the same time. I already have my thesis advisor from my department picked out though - Professor Laura Leete! It looks like we will be seeing a lot of each other this term.
In addition to classes, I'm planning on starting an application for the 2010-2011 Fulbright cycle, applying to be part of the Community Action Advisory Committee for Lane County, and continue working at the elementary school. Oh, and I also plan on living fully and enjoying myself. Here's to spring!
March 27, 2010 - 5:50 PM
My family is prone to philosophical discussion, repetitive humor, and general absurdity. Through these characteristics quite often springs what I believe are some of the most profound nuggets of wisdom that this world could ever ask for. Somewhere amidst the absurdity lies a striking truth. Sometimes the humor that leads to the revelations comes at the expense of your's truly. As a 21-year-old woman, my life apparently holds a beautiful mix of hilarity, angst, and textbook experience to lend itself as the perfect case study for some of my family's greatest revelations. This spring break, we solidified one of these findings - the Rom Com reality.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, Rom Com is the hipster way of referring to a film in the genre of Romantic Comedy. So, what does a Romantic Comedy have to do with my life? Well, after a detailed analysis of the data, absolutely everything.
Rom Coms run between roughly an hour and fifteen minutes to an hour and forty-five minutes. They are short, quickly hitting on several life themes experienced by all and hence, tugging on the heartstrings of viewers throughout the world. The star of the Rom Com usually falls within the 26 to 30 age range, as the years before that can be briefly summarized through quick flashbacks and asides. However, when you happen to be living a Rom Com, the film lasts for ten years. As my dad put it to me in a text message one day during spring break while I was home and we were exploring the foundations of this new reality, "Your Rom Com is happening in slow motion."
Here is what we mean. From the age of 20 to the age of 30, I will have many experiences. More times than not, I will probably let one of these experiences consume my mind, believing that it is the only important thing, that that it is my reality. However, soon enough, I will find myself consumed in yet another thing and the cycle goes on until the day it all comes together (at which point it starts all over again in a slightly revised way, but we'll ignore this fact for now). At the point it all comes together, there will be the great moment of "zzzt, zzzzt" - a metaphorical sound of electric current when the great realization is met. An example of this moment of "zzzt" is put very well in the Rom Com, "The Holiday." A woman and a man are both in a store looking for pajamas. The man holds up a pajama set and says to the sales associate, "I'm only looking for the bottoms." The woman holds up the same set of pajamas and looks at the sales associate and says, "I'm only looking for a top." At that moment, they turn and look into each other's eyes and then - zzzzzt! Zzzzzt's aside for a moment, what does any of this have to do with my Rom Com happening in slow motion?
Example one - relationships. I am currently in that stage of life where one dates various different guys and gets to know that whole world of relationships. I often come home to my family with the latest story of the latest date and most of the time a companion story of why it was all wrong. Occasionally I get wrapped up in something for an extended period of time and let my mind dwell on all of those things you dwell on when in a relationship. When it falls apart, I learn a few things, create some awesome art, get a few jokes out of it, and go have a great time with my friends. This will continue to happen in the previously mentioned cycle until some theoretical moment of "zzzzt" comes along. However, knowing this is the case does not always help when you are knees deep in a slow motion short-term relationship. It is easy to find yourself running your mind into knots. In a Rom Com, this phase often happens in a five or so minute montage. Steve was great, until it turned out he had some weird foot fetish. Gary was super, until she noticed his intense road rage. Tom was a winner, until she realized he was still hung up on his ex-girlfriend. The Rom Com makes it all seem so humorous, ignoring the fact that when it is slowly happening in real life, it is not always quite as pleasant. The female character continues through this montage until she finally surrenders (key word) that she'll never meet someone worthwhile and then - zzzzzt, zzzt.
Example two - career path. As my readers know by now, I spent most of last term in a laborious effort to send off applications to several competitive summer internships. As the results come in, I prepare for both devastation and intense excitement. I am in that stage of my Rom Com where I am trying to figure it all out. What do I want to do with my life? What about just after I graduate? Do I stay goal focused and build my resume or give in to the youthful pull to travel the world as a bum for a while? The answer to, "What am I going to do with my life?" in a Rom Com comes by the end of an hour and a half. In real life, the slow motion version of the Rom Com, it might come through years of questioning and trying different jobs and changing majors and breaking down and deciding to just travel and so on. In reality, it's easy to miss that moment of "zzzt" in your career path. You go through the steps, you ask the questions, and then someday I suppose you wake up and realize that you're doing just what you're supposed to be doing. The moment of when this actually manifested cannot be found through the many layers of life experiences.
Ok, so now that the whole reality that the 20-something year old's life is merely a Rom Com in slow motion has been revealed to you in this blog post, I can only assume that you are asking, "So what?" Good for you! I'm so proud of you for asking this! This is the point where I circle this entire post back to life as a student at the UO.
This spring term, I plan to completely surrender myself to the Rom Com reality. I won't let myself get too entangled in some pseudo-relationship, as I will know that it is just part of my Rom Com montage to learn what does and does not work. I will look forward to the humor in its ending and attempt to not drown myself in the scrutiny of its every detail. I surrender to the fact that this is just how that dating phase goes and it should be enjoyed. I further surrender myself to all outcomes of my internship applications. Perhaps they all turn me down. Perhaps the perfect one says yes and next thing I know I'm on a plane to D.C. Perhaps the wrong one says yes and next thing I know I'm in D.C. wishing I was in Eugene. It doesn't matter because it's all just part of my slow motion journey to the promise land!
People get so wrapped up in the drama of the moment without being able to see that it is just a moment, just a two-minute blurp in a ten-year Rom Com. I hereby surrender myself to spring term 2010. I shall embrace its every turn, every bump and know that I am just living out my Rom Com and all will be well.
And here I must give the proper citation to my family, as the ideas expressed in this post were not solely my own.
March 22, 2010 - 1:00 AM
The practice of homeopathy believes that like cures like. Therefore, when the soul trashes about in waves of emotion, it only makes sense to throw it into the furious waves of the ocean. When the body longs for connection, it is logical to cuddle up with a tender, loving hound. And when the heart can't find a sense of space, it's time to send it home. Saturday began my homeopathic treatment, healing myself with these three remedies in particular.
Winter term has officially come to a close. I took my last final at 10:15am Friday and then was finally free. I must say that it was an incredibly busy term, but at the same time a quite wonderful term as well. However, by 12:15pm Friday, I wanted nothing more than to rid myself of all of it. By Saturday morning, I wanted out of Eugene as fast as I could possibly go.
I hurriedly packed my bags, put on my California music mix, and hit I-5 South. A little more than four hours later, I saw my first stretch of gorgeous Northern California coastline. This is always my favorite part of the drive home. The second I see the ocean again I have such a calming, reassuring feeling. I pulled over at the first opportunity I had, kicked off my shoes, rolled up my pants, and ran out into the crashing waves of the Pacific. The ice-cold water hit my feet and as the waves pulled back out into the sea, I felt the stress of the term being washed out of my very soul. The ocean always lets me start over again.
About another hour later, I was pulling into my driveway. Seconds after that, I was hugging and petting and playing with my favorite dog in the entire world. I fell asleep that night in my room that I painted hot pink, lime green, neon orange, and neon blue when I was in high school. It was a very good sleep.
Sunday was a gorgeous day here, so I went to go hit a few buckets of balls at the golf course with my dad. I hadn't been back to a golf course since I played my absolute worst game of golf at the Northcoast Sections tournament my senior year in high school. I was expecting to be pretty awful, but my swing came back to me quicker than I thought it would. It could still use some definite fine-tuning, but it felt good to be back out there. I think I'm going to bring my clubs back up to Eugene with me this time.
In summary, I left Eugene in a hurry and in a huff. I needed some change and was ready to leave winter term behind. I have only been home one full day now, but I already feel the energy coming back to me. I'll need it to sustain my upcoming 19-credit spring quarter.
March 20, 2010 - 9:30 PM
Every now and then I have these moments where I feel like I am doing what I am suppose to be doing in the Universe. Brief moments that reassure me that all of this work I am doing is toward the right direction. This last Thursday was one of those moments for me.
I have been interning all winter term with Project Homeless Connect for Lane County. I have mentioned this event before in previous posts, but as a summary, Project Homeless Connect is a one-day event held at the fairgrounds in Eugene that brings several critical services to the homeless residents of Lane County. Last year, I volunteered at the event and this year I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to help with the planning of the event. After several planning meetings and a Wednesday filled with setting up the bare fairgrounds to look like a small city of service booths, Thursday was the actual event. All of the planners and myself crossed our fingers for a smooth and helpful event.
I arrived at the fairgrounds at 8:00am. The doors didn't opened for our guests until 9:00am, but there were already several homeless residents sleeping in locations around the facility, waiting to get in. From the moment I entered the main exhibition hall of our event, I could feel my heart warming. I looked around, completely inspired by the bundles of volunteers and the tables after tables of service providers. The event has everything from medical and dental to pet care and bike repair. It was going to be a long day, but I knew I was going to leave with a great feeling that we had accomplished a wonderful thing for these members of our community.
I started the day doing some of the intake paperwork with guests. I got to sit down individually with guests and ask them some of our basic survey questions and find out what services they needed most out of the event. I love being able to have this personal interaction with the homeless community. Each individual at the event has their own unique, personal story and it is so educational to hear them. I got to continue this personal interaction throughout the rest of the day as I worked over in the giveaways section of the event.
The giveaways section is where the guests can come and get all of the in-kind donations that we were able to roundup, such as sleeping bags, coats, socks, hygiene items, tents, and so on. Every guest I talked to during this was so incredibly grateful. I could not stop smiling. I loved talking to each and every one of them, hearing their incredible, sometimes quite humorous, stories. I would help guests find coats in their sizes. I remember one woman who tried on so many and was just so cute as she'd model the different styles and ask for my opinion on what would be the best looking one for spring. At the event, I saw a population of such diverse backgrounds, each person so resilient, thankful, and determined. I talked to another woman who had just gotten married and was getting ready to go back to school. She wanted to find a jacket that would help her look more presentable for her upcoming classes. Another guest told me about the work they were doing to start a new sobriety program in the community after having such great success with their own treatment. These were people who were breaking down the stereotypes of homelessness and using every little bit of their remaining strength to rebuild.
Throughout my education and path toward figuring out what I want to do for the rest of my life, I have developed and adopted a motto: By strengthening our communities, we strengthen our nation. On Thursday, I felt as though I was living out this motto. I left the fairgrounds at 6:00pm. It had been a long day and I was so tired. I definitely did not feel like going home and studying for my final that was the next morning. However, I was able to shake the tiredness by contemplating what had taken place that day. I had been part of serving over 1,400 homeless Lane County residents. I saw my future work flash in front of my eyes for a brief moment and I felt pretty good about its direction.
March 14, 2010 - 11:00 PM
This is my fourth year working in the ACE after school program with the Eugene School District 4j. I first found this job when I was looking for a work-study position my freshman year. That year, I was placed as a work-study tutor at Meadowlark Elementary. Since then, my position within the program has grown and I have been hired through both the Eugene School District 4j, as well as through the City of Eugene Recreation Division. This term, I have moved to a new school, Adams Elementary. It has been an adjustment getting used to a new set of kids and some new staff, but it has been overall a lot of fun and I think I finally felt settled this past Thursday at our big Family Fun Night.
There are about four family nights throughout the year in the ACE program. These are used to highlight what we've been doing in the program and to encourage parents to find fun ways to interact more with their kids. Our theme for this family night was Game Show Night. We had kids come up in groups onto the stage in the cafeteria for different games. Some included pie eating contests, wrapping up participants in toilet paper the fastest, a family feud style game, and more. In between games, we would have the kids come up and tell jokes or put on a performance. I have been teaching a puppet making class for the past four weeks, so I had a group from my class come up and perform their puppet show. It was very cute. They all had designed their own sock puppets, created their own stage, and wrote their own script. Our students are so talented!
I think my favorite part of the night was an impromptu sing-a-long put on by myself and one other staff member. We needed some way to keep the kids engaged for a while during set up for the night. They were getting very antsy, so another staff member asked me if I knew any songs we could sing. I quickly thought back fondly to my days at Camp ABC with the Fresh Air Fund and began singing a repeat after me song as loudly and enthusiastically as I could. This song was followed by two others. The kids were totally into it and it was a lot of fun. I was sweating and singing and dancing and completely making a fool out of myself. That's what this job is all about, I suppose.
Overall, it was a great night of community building. I went out for some dinner and conversation with some of my coworkers afterwards. We did some great bonding that night. Work really isn't such a bad thing when you can truly enjoy what you're doing and whom you're doing it with. I'm glad I found this job my freshman year, as it has lead to many more opportunities for me.