September 29, 2009 - 8:35 PM
This day has finally come and, in turn, has come to an end. The first day of classes for the 2009-10 academic year is over. Today, I only had one class and that one class wasn't until noon, so I can't say that it was too hard of a day for me. I was able to leisurely roll out of bed as if I were still on summer break. The one thing that just had to shove it in my face that it is no longer summer? Rain. I woke up to pouring rain. Later, on campus, I walked through a light hail. That's Eugene's wicked way of saying, "Welcome back, students!"
Rain and cold aside, I am looking forward to my classes this term and for the year in general (I think). This term I am beginning the American Sign Language sequence to fulfill my always-looming language requirement. I am also taking it, however, because it seems like a fabulous skill to have and I have only heard good things about the class from my friends who have taken it before. I met the infamous "Jo" who teaches it today and I could already tell that she is, in fact, as awesome as everyone makes her out to be. She seemed to have a great personality and solid investment in the class this afternoon.
I am taking two other classes in addition to ASL. On Friday, I will be attending my first class of HC 431H, better known as an Honors College colloquia class. This one happens to be known as Mental Illness in Literature. The title sounds pretty interesting and I picked up my required books for the class yesterday and they all look like fun reads (we'll see if I still choose the word "fun" later on). I love taking classes that seem completely random to anything I'm doing with my life. I think that is the best part of getting a liberal arts education.
My third class is PPPM 480, also known as Introduction to Nonprofit Management. This is something that is a little more related to my career interests (whatever those may be - still working on the fine tuning of this). I am excited for this class because I loved PPPM 280, Introduction to the Nonprofit Sector, which I took last spring. PPPM 480 is taught by Bob Choquette, the same teacher who taught PPPM 280. I also had Professor Choquette for a grant writing class I took. I was amazed how he could even get excited about something as, well, dry, as grant writing. My only concern for this class is the same concern that I have for my HC 431H class. Both of these classes only meet once a week and are hence three hours long. I hope I can keep my concentration that long! I must remember to pack snacks.
So, now that I have given an overview of what's to come for me this term, I can only assume that my reader is left thinking, "Why did she title her blog ‘Mind, Body, and Soul'?" Let me explain.
I had my class today, then I had a training for my work, and then I got home and was feeling burnt out and grumpy. Earlier in the day while I was on campus, I went and bought my rec fitness punch card for the term. The UO Recreation Center offers group fitness classes each term that are done by a drop in basis. You buy a punch card and then each time you go in, someone marks off that you went on your card. You can buy a punch card from one to twenty workouts or just buy an unlimited pass. Non-UO students can buy one too, but it just costs a bit more. I love it because you can try out a bunch of different classes and because it's a lot cheaper for me to do these classes than to pay out of state tuition for the one credit I would get from signing up for a PE class. Some of the classes offered are kickboxing, cycling, body sculpting, hip-hop, fitness yoga, stretch and flex, and basic step aerobics. Anyway, at home and grumpy, I heated up a can of soup and ate it - grumpily. I had no energy and did not want to do anything. Then I got to thinking that maybe I should force myself to go to one of the evening fitness classes. Perhaps a little movement might actually make me feel better and more energized. So, I reluctantly changed into my workout clothes and drove back to campus for the evening group cycling class.
After making a fool out of myself a few times because I had never used one of these bikes before and, hence, struggled to put the seat and handle bars on, I finally got into the rhythm of it and was soon pedaling away. I zoned out to the hypnotic music that played and pictured myself biking across the world. Sometimes I was with my bike gang, other times I rode solo. I was sweating profusely and at times I looked at the clock and thought to myself, "Dear Lord, we're only ten minutes into the class?" Then, all of a sudden, I had survived the hour. I got off my bike, walked to my car, and felt good. The exercise endorphins danced throughout my body. For a brief moment, I felt at one with the universe. As I drove home, I began to contemplate this feeling. By moving my body, I felt great. Then, I thought about how I had felt great the other day talking about academics with the PPPM internship director. "Take care of the body and feed the mind," I began to think and then it hit me, "Mind, Body, and Soul." I finally realized the strong truth in that historical threesome. "I could blog about this," I continued to think.
Therefore, I have decided that my theme for the 2009-10 academic year is going to be "Mind, Body, and Soul." I have already described a bit of my senior year angst in my previous blog and I know that at times this year, I may hit some rough patches, but I have decided to just always come back to Mind, Body, and Soul. This year, I am going to feed my mind with every bit of knowledge that I can soak up from my classes. I want to work extra hard this year and really take my studies seriously. This year, I am going to take care of my body. I am going to eat fabulous foods and I am going to exercise on a regular basis. I want to do exercises that are fun, not just treadmilling with the masses. I shall count my private dance parties as exercise, although hopefully they will be in addition to other activities. Ellen Degeneres always says, you have to move it or you lose it. I'm going to move it. This year, I am also going to nourish my soul. I have set up a craft table in my new studio and right now it is covered in acrylic paints and canvasses of all sizes. I'm going to start painting again. I'm going to journal. I'm going to buy an oversized hat just because it's fabulous. I am going to do the things that make my soul sing.
Readers of my blog this year can expect to follow me through a pure journey of love of self and space as I nurture the Mind, Body, and Soul.
September 27, 2009 - 1:00 PM
So, here it goes, my senior year. Well, my first senior year - let's be honest, everyone deserves to have two! Now, in my seasoned age here at the University of Oregon, I have already begun to notice a few changes. I'm not sure quite why, but for some reason, this year already seems so much different to me than the past three and, technically, it hasn't even begun yet. I shall explain.
I have just had so many feelings since my return to the Emerald City. First of all, I was expecting to come back to Eugene and breathe a sigh of relief. Here it is! My beautiful Eugene, so full of incredible things to do and amazing people to see! Although this feeling still existed to a certain extent, I also found myself hit a brick wall of boredom. Maybe it wasn't boredom, but I cannot think of a better word right now. I came back to Eugene after romping around all summer in the city that never sleeps and found, well, exactly what I had left. I have been in Eugene for three solid years now and although I still find it to be a wonderful city, I'm growing restless. I want more. I want adventure! I want new streets to drive down and new coffee shops to explore. I want the world!
My next feeling came when I met with the internship director for the Planning, Public Policy, and Management (PPPM) department a few days ago. I was talking with her about future possibilities for competitive internships and how I can get more connected with various organizations throughout Eugene. She invited me to go watch the second year PPPM graduate students present their policy proposals from a 48-hour project they were assigned. Basically, they had to assess an assigned policy failure and come up with a policy alternative within 48 hours. There was a large clock in the PPPM department counting down their every second. I found it so fun and fascinating. Talking with the internship director made my mind dance. The intellectual conversation we had enlightened my very being. I became oddly excited for writing my honors thesis and for all of the academic opportunity that awaits me. All of a sudden I couldn't wait to just - learn. Go figure, after three years of college all I really want to do is...learn more.
A third feeling embarked upon me on Saturday when I attended the football game against Cal at Autzen Stadium. As a side note, what a game! 43-3, Oregon victory! Thirty-nine unanswered points! Taking down the number six ranked Cal Bears! Go Ducks! Now, I have always been a HUGE Duck fan and I still am and I will forever be. However, I'm a senior now and my metabolism for sports enthusiasm just isn't quite what it used to be. During my freshman year, I can't even count the amount of times I camped out for tickets or the amount of times I camped out just to get inside Autzen just so that I could stand for three hours before the game even started. Game by game, I soon found my attendance at Autzen to become somewhat of a spiritual journey. I would surrender myself to its almighty power and breathe in its earth quacking energy. I thought of going to Autzen as going to church. On Saturday, some of my friends told me to meet them on campus at 10:15am, so we could all walk over the great footbridge together. I woke up, got in the shower, and then received a call a little after 8:30am saying that they had already left and to hurry. One of my friends was awesome enough to wait for me and so I met her at 9:30am and we began our sprint to the admired stadium. Why we needed to sprint, I had no idea. Why we needed to get there so early just to stand around forever waiting for the game to start, didn't feel very relaxing to me. It was all just too stressful. As I stood in Autzen on Saturday and watched the cheerleaders twirling about and glanced around at all of the topless male fans drunkenly yelling who knows what, I noticed that there was something missing. I couldn't find the feeling. In a stadium with over 58,000 Duck fans, I couldn't find my spirit. Now, don't get this confused, I still loved the game and I still love the Ducks and I will still be attending more games this season. All I'm saying, is that I wouldn't have minded taking a bow and graciously letting the freshman take on the responsibility of the crazy fan. I could've been happier sitting at the top of the student section with some nice back support. I realized, maybe sports aren't all that the University is about. I mean, just the other day, all I could think about was - learning.
The final "feeling-evoking" event that I will reflect on happened just today. My cousin is now attending the University of Oregon. She is a freshman and is living in the dorms. I met her on campus today to have some lunch. For anyone who does not know, the Fire and Spice Grill in the Hamilton Complex makes the best omelets this side of the equator and on the weekends, they make these delicious omelets until 4:00pm. I had an omelet today with my cousin. She paid with meal points and I paid with cash. I was the only one in that building paying with cash. Anyway, my cousin had lost her student ID card, so she just told the cashier what her number was. I don't remember the last six digits she said. All that stuck in my head was the, "951." 951?! 1?! When did that happen?! It is 950, thank you. Everyone knows that student ID numbers start with 950. Emphasis on the "0!" They always have and they always, well, won't, I found out. I felt too old for that building, but for the love of omelet, I embraced the feeling. I really enjoyed talking with my cousin. I found myself reminiscing on my year as a freshman and I could so easily relate to so many of the things that she was feeling and doing. I had to stop myself at times from talking too much and giving too much advice. I sounded OLD!
Moral of the story? College is shaping me into a woman with endless possibilities. My world is expanding before my very eyes and with that comes great change. As my college years go by, I find myself facing more and more of these "senior moments." I feel the pull away from deranged fanaticism and instead toward academic opportunity. I feel the need to get out and see more of the world before a career settles me down. I feel myself looking at my younger peers and trying to guide them down a good path, while knowing that every experience is part of their journey. The one thing that has remained constant since my freshman year? My love of spur of the moment dance parties alone with myself in my room. Tonight's playlist: "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift.
September 26, 2009 - 7:00 PM
Back to school also means back to work. This year I will be working my fourth year in the After school Community Education (ACE) program at Meadowlark Elementary School. I started working in this amazing program my freshman year as a work-study student. I had found the job online one day when I popped into the UO Career Center to figure out what this whole work-study thing was anyway. I quickly learned that I had found a special job and signed up my sophomore year to be a work-study helper in the program again. ACE is a program designed to give low-income children a safe space after school where they can enjoy a warm meal, enhance their writing skills, partake in enriching recreational activities. I have always been amazed with the program's strong sense of community. It was probably this fact that made me have to find a way to stay involved in the program when I didn't receive work-study money in my financial aid package the third year. My junior year, I ended up getting hired through the City of Eugene Recreation Division to be a recreational leader in the program. I loved taking on this new role and getting to design my own arts and crafts classes to teach the kids!
Well, now I'm hooked. One may think that after spending an entire summer working with kids, 24 hours a day, at the Fresh Air Fund's Camp ABC, that I might just be sick of working with children? If you had of asked me a couple of weeks ago, I might've just said yes. However, I knew the moment I walked back into Meadowlark Elementary School and saw all of those familiar little faces running up to me and yelling with such enthusiasm, "Ms. Korrin!!!!" - I wasn't quite sick of it yet. This year I have been hired on through the Eugene School District 4j to be an Instructional Assistant. This means that this year I will be in charge of the academic portion of the program, as opposed to the recreational section. I will be teaching our program's group of first graders some writing skills. I am very excited to take on this new leadership role in the program. I have been busy these past couple of weeks with various trainings and time spent lesson planning. I am hoping to do a poetry unit with the kids, as well as a letter writing activity. I have some friends in other countries who are willing to exchange some postcards with us. I think the kids will be very excited!
As a senior member of the ACE staff, I am also ready to take on some leadership in other aspects of the program. In past years during our lunchtime, we have presented the kids with some fun entertainment that they can look forward to. Last year, we did Travel Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, we would talk about a different state and the kids would learn its capitol and other fun facts. The year before that, we did Fun Food Fridays. For Fun Food Fridays, we went through the alphabet and each week we would eat something that started with the letter we were on. For example, when it was "E," the kids tried some eggplant and when it was "F," the kids tried some figs. There are two of these types of activities that I am hoping to initiate this year.
First, I would like to encourage the students in our program to expand their minds. Many students do not yet grasp the fact that there is more to the world than Eugene. Therefore, I would love to "travel" with them to a different country once a month during our lunchtime. I am thinking about sharing some information with the kids about the country and then doing things like playing some music from it and giving them some food that is native to the area. It would also be nice to be able to have some of the international students or groups from the UO to come in and share with the kids.
This brings me to idea number two. I had a discussion with the coordinator of our program last year about sharing more information about college with the kids and how it's an important thing to get them curious about it early on. We talked last year about having the kids take a field trip to the UO campus, but it unfortunately did not happen because we didn't have enough time to plan. However, I am determined to have it happen this year. Not only do I want them to come to the campus, but I also want to make sure that they get to meet people from all different parts of the campus. I am hoping to schedule a speaker once a month during our lunchtime to come in and speak to the kids about what they do and why they love the UO. Many of the kids know about the UO, that it exists nearby, and almost all of them are quick to throw out a "Go Ducks!" However, most of them do not really understand what the University is, where exactly it is, and why it's so important. By having speakers come in, the students will be able to see the diverse aspects of the college and expand their minds about what it is and what it means. I am hoping to have people from groups like the music and theater department, the athletic department, student government, the Craft Center, Student Life, the art museum, the Alumni Association, and many others join in on this unique opportunity to come talk with our kids. I have already emailed the UO Jam Squad to see if they can come in and perform for us and talk a little about their group at our New York Family Night in November. I also think it would amazing if we could somehow schedule an appearance from everyone's favorite mascot!
It is always a little overwhelming getting started with a new year. There is so much planning that goes into it, but I have a feeling that this one will be a great one. I cannot wait to bring new learning opportunities to the children.
September 20, 2009 - 9:00 PM
I have spent a good deal of time away from Eugene this summer, but I have not forgotten about one of my goals surrounding this blog. I think a large part of the University of Oregon experience comes from its surrounding community. Therefore, it is important to learn about some of the amazing local businesses in the area. Support local business! Shop local!
I have recently moved into a new neighborhood of Eugene and with a new neighborhood comes a new business scene. I love the feel of a neighborhood community. A good neighborhood has a little mom and pop restaurant, a quirky convenient shop, and some superb coffee, right? Well, then I live in small neighborhood paradise.
Let's start with the quirky convenient store. In my neighborhood is a little shop called Jiffy Market Wine & Deli. This store is like a hidden gem. First of all, it is excellent for the wine connoisseur. The market offers any type of wine you could desire, including a large selection of the increasingly popular Willamette Valley Pinots. The market also offers your standard selection of chips and other snack foods, but the best thing about it is probably its included deli. At this deli, you can order anything from pancakes to garden burgers and eat it at one of the many available tables. I could see myself coming here in the near future to grab a bite to eat and study with my books and papers spread out all over the entire table. Oh my, I can't wait for those nights...
Right across the parking lot from Jiffy Market is a lovely restaurant called Bruno's Chef's Kitchen. Bruno's is a fine dining experience that allows its customers to feel comfortable and cozy. It is run by a husband, who cooks delicious food, and a wife, who is the friendliest, most knowledgeable hostess ever. The restaurant offers indoor seating in a well-decorated room, as well as plenty of lovely outdoor seating. The plates of food look like the most fun a dinner plate has ever had, covered in colorful garnishes and spices. I had a very tasty halibut and the chocolate mousse for dessert was to die for. As a food enthusiast, I must say that Bruno's was a refreshing change. The food was unique and exciting!
So, with a locally ran convenient store and restaurant covered, all that's left is coffee. I am obsessed with coffee shops. I am constantly on the search to find the perfect coffee shop to hang out in and journal or do school work or meet with a friend. Nearby my new neighborhood is a café called the Supreme Bean. I found it for the first time the other day when I found myself with an intense need to get a chai latte. I thought I would just get one from the Market of Choice café, but then I saw this place right next-door. I walked into such a cute and friendly place. The staff was courteous and the place had a warm, bright feeling to it. Supreme Bean offers food, as well as an assortment of beverages, including some delicious looking savory and sweet crepes. As I waited for my chai and slice of quiche to go, I investigated. It turns out that Supreme Bean also has bands come in several nights a week to play. How fun! It didn't seem to be set up very well for laptoping and I'm not sure if it has WiFi, but it is definitely the ultimate journaling environment. Supreme Bean - highly recommended. I can't wait to go back to hear some live music!
As a recap, you should check out the following locally owned Eugene businesses: Jiffy Market Wine and Deli, Bruno's Chef's Kitchen, and Supreme Bean. It is these types of local businesses that help make the University of Oregon such a great place to go to school. A school is as strong as its community!
September 19, 2009 - 7:00 PM
I have officially been in Eugene now for a little over a week. These past days have been spent reconnecting with my friends, but mostly unpacking box after box into my new place. I have had extreme moments of being overwhelmed. There have been times where I have looked around at my floor that has been completely covered in boxes and wondered, "Is it ever going to all get unpacked?" And then have felt discouraged when friends and family reply to my anxiety with remarks such as, "Yeah, I still have boxes that have been stored in the back for years!" or "I haven't finished unpacking and it has been two years now!" The thing is, my place is small, well, cozy. Due to this fact, I can't just not unpack. I need the space. It has been a very important process for me to keep what I need, let go of what I don't, and perfectly place all that is left in order to allow for the perfect energy flow.
My new studio is incredible. I know that I have already mentioned this fact in my previous post, but I only repeat it because it is so ridiculously true. It's perfect. Even during my moments of dark moods and frustration these past few days, I have been able to hold on to the knowledge that I have found the college student's perfect realm, the dream that someday when it is all put together it will be the ultimate shade of mellow.
This weekend, it has all come together. My dad came up with my desk, the last large furniture piece that needed to be fit into the space. It fit just right, of course. Then, after a little more unpacking and placing of various items, we began to hang some of my art on the wall. I am a firm believer in art. I have a few paintings of my own that I have to hang up, as well as something artwork made for me by friends and some I have purchased from local artists. Art is amazing. It can truly change a space.
The second we hung some of my art on my walls, I felt connected to the space. Nothing sings, "I live here! Yes, me, in this beautiful space!" quite like art on the walls. Sometimes, you just need to put a nail in the wall. I only keep getting more excited about my new place as it comes together. A little studio that only about a week ago seemed impossible to unpack is molding into quite an enjoyable oasis up in Eugene's wooded hills.
I have spent the last two nights curled up and cozy under several fuzzy blankets and swimming in a sea of decorative pillows, watching romantic comedies. I forgot how much I love a good romantic comedy. My little thirteen-inch TV sits up in front of my bed in my little loft. There is no better place to watch a romantic comedy. And now I can enjoy gazing at some artwork from up here too!
I live here. Yes, me, in this beautiful space.