September 28, 2010 - 11:50 PM
I am proud to say that one of my cousins is a fellow Duck. She is in her sophomore year now and majoring in Journalism. She just moved into her first apartment post-dorms and invited me over for dinner this week. I thought it was such a great idea for the start of a term.
Her new place is close to campus, an experience I never really had post-dorms. It was actually quite cute and looked recently remodeled. It is set up in a quad-style, so that everyone has their own private entrance to their own bedroom and half bath and then the full bathroom and kitchen is shared by all four residents. I think that is a great way to do it. She did say that the area gets a bit noisy at night with all of the students around, but it is very convenient that she can just walk right to campus in about five minutes.
She made a delicious chicken stir-fry and we got to enjoy it over some great conversation. We got to discuss our very different, but very interesting summers and get caught up on what each of us are doing this term. It is neat to see what she is up to and to think about what I was doing at her age and year in college.
Overall, it was nice to see her again and I am hoping to set up a time to have her come over to my place for some dinner. I also invited her to stop by our tailgate at this weekend's football game against Stanford. Go Ducks!
I think it is so important to be able to keep in touch with your family members and it is pretty neat that I have one here in Eugene now.
September 28, 2010 - 5:40 PM
I didn't get as much as I planned on getting done with my thesis this summer. However, that is ok because I kind of planned on that. This fact did mean though that I wanted to get started on it right away when fall term began and start setting deadlines for myself.
For those of my readers not quite up to speed, I have begun my Honors College thesis. I will be defending it in the spring and it is my baby. I am writing on the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). HPRP is a recent federal policy that was part of the American Recovery and Re-Investment Act. It provides funds to communities to help those who have been hit hardest by the financial crisis get re-housed or prevent them from losing housing. It aims to give communities the opportunity to stop homeless before it starts. Pretty cool, if you ask me. I will be looking at its implementation in Lane County, Oregon to gauge its effectiveness.
To get immersed back into the thesis process, I went in today for an advising appointment with my primary thesis advisor, PPPM Professor Laura Leete. We had a great chat to start off with about my summer internship and the South before beginning to discuss where I was at in my thesis. Professor Leete is one of the many excellent professors in the Planning, Public Policy and Management department. I like that the size and care of the department made it so she knew my name even before I asked her to be my advisor.
I had an agenda of things to discuss for our meeting, including some new readings I had found, questions on how to perform my interviews, and general questions on how I should frame my research.
We spent a majority of the time talking about the interviews I have planned. I would like to speak with people in charge of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program at all levels of its implementation, including federal, state, and local government leads, as well as the leads at the local organizations providing the services. I am also hoping to get to talk to some of the individuals and families who have received HPRP funding and see how it has helped them achieve housing stability. It is important that I get my interviews done early on in my research process, as I have to get Human Subjects approval for them first and because it might take some time to schedule all of them. In the meantime, I need to continue reading and trying to become as much of an expert of the information out there on the policy as possible. I want to be able to have well-formed questions to ask them all.
We set my first deadline. By Tuesday, October 9 at around 2:00pm, I will have my Human Subjects approval application completed and a good draft of my interview questions.
September 26, 2010 - 2:27 PM
I guess it is about that time that I start giving a preview of my fall term. Wow, I cannot believe that school starts tomorrow. Summer just flew by and I have a feeling that my second and final senior year here at the University of Oregon will as well.
This term, I am taking three classes, working three jobs, researching and writing my thesis, and, of course, throwing myself into more community involvement. I mean, it's all about building the world up one community at a time, right? I must do my part.
One of my classes will be with me all year. I am embarking on the second year American Sign Language sequence. This class is taught by a deaf instructor and should be great for immersing myself more into the language. My other two classes are both Honors College colloquia classes. As Honors College students, we are required to take five of these diverse, discussion and writing-based classes during our time at the UO. They are limited to about twenty students each, so there is a nice personal feel to them. I have taken two so far at the UO and then petitioned to have one of my study abroad classes count for a third. The last two I took were Visualizing Queerness and Mental Illness in Literature. This term I will be taking Assisted Reproductive Technologies and Global Topics in Energy Policy. I think what I love about the colloquia requirements is that they force students to take classes out of their focused study area. They open up new possibilities and are always such interesting topics. I'm looking forward to the two I am taking this year.
As for jobs this year, I will continue to be a student blogger for the Annual Giving Program, of course! I am also going to be working with PPPM Internship Director, Rhonda Smith, as another job. I will be helping get the internship website together and find funding options for students who get offered unpaid internships. My third job is with the American English Institute (http://aei.uoregon.edu/) at the UO. In this position, I will be helping tutor students in English as a second language. I am really excited to get to meet all of the AEI students and learn from them, while helping them learn as well.
Working on the thesis is pretty self-explanatory and I'm sure I will blog much more about it in the future, so this brings us to community involvement. I must admit that during my time at the UO, I haven't been super involved with on-campus groups and activities, but I sure have been involved in the Eugene community. I really enjoy getting to give back to my community while learning ways to put my education into action. This year, I will be a member on Lane County's Community Action and Advisory Committee. CAAC makes recommendations on federal and local anti-poverty policies to the Human Services Commission. It also monitors the progress of Lane County's 10-year Plan to End Homelessness. I think this will be a great group to learn from, give back to the community with, and meet people who might be interested in my thesis work on homelessness. I will also be helping again with in-kind donations for Project Homeless Connect of Lane County (http://homelessconnect.org/), so expect to hear about that again! I am also hoping to do some volunteer work with FOOD for Lane County and St. Vincent de Paul.
Ok, so, with that general outline of my fall term complete, I am ready to start school tomorrow morning! Well, kind of.
September 25, 2010 - 6:30 PM
I think generally, high school is a pretty great thing to go through and then move on from. Those are some pretty awkward years. However, I spent the last ten days on a blast from the past with an old friend of mine and she helped remind me of the things that I actually did like about high school.
I met my friend, Rachael, in the fifth grade. She spent her first year of high school at the same one as me, but then moved to the one a city over for the next two. Despite not being at the same school, we always remained friends and would get together just to dress up crazy and gorge ourselves on candy. We always had so much fun together. At the end of junior year, she moved away to Arizona and then within a year or two, to Utah. Two years after she had left California, I made it out to Utah to visit with her. Now, three years after that, she just made it back out here to see me.
Rachael and I made our way from San Francisco to Eugene and then back down to our hometown in Humboldt County, California. It was nice getting to show her around and just be able to relax with her. One night, we had a total spa experience full of body wraps, facials, and deep conditioning for our hair. Rachael is also in the process of finishing up cosmetology school, so she cut and highlighted my hair for me while she was in town as well! We ate at all of our favorite places back home, returning to some of them several times. What I love most about Rachael is she is honest and true to herself. She is still the craziest girl and most loyal friend she was five years ago when we still lived in the same city. It was neat for her to get to come back.
My favorite part about our visit, however, came at the end. I happened to find three VHS tapes in my room back home. One of them was a school project I had done with two other students in sixth grade, another was our eighth grade trip video, and the third was a tape Rachael had made for me once when she was grounded so that we could still talk! I have a VCR still up in Eugene, so when we drove back up to stay the night before she flew out of Portland, we had a little movie night. Complete with desserts, we watched ourselves with embarrassment in junior high. We were, and probably still are, complete dorks! It was neat seeing everyone we went to school with look so little and we had to cringe at some of our outfit choices back then. The funniest video was by far the one Rachael had made for me. We used to write in a notebook and she'd leave it on the corner near her house for me to pick up. While she was grounded once, she decided to make her entry as a tape instead. It was hilarious listening to all of the things we thought were so important back then! My advice to junior high students after seeing that would definitely be - don't sweat the small stuff!
It was nice to see Rachael again and have a sweet little stroll down memory lane. I'm happy I am no longer a high school student, but remembering the fun times I had with Rachael reminded me that it wasn't completely awful. We vowed to try and see each other for a quick visit once a year from now on.
September 20, 2010 - 10:15 AM
This past week, I have covered some ground. Please don't tell my fellow Planning, Public Policy and Management majors, as I'm sure I will be shunned for my excess gas usage.
Anyway, it was a lot of time, a little exhausting, but overall very nice to just cruise. I started in Eugene and then drove down to my hometown of Arcata, California first. I stayed there for a while, mostly spending time with my brother as he was moving to Irvine on the 7th to start school again.
After Arcata, I continued south to Napa. I spent a few days in Napa spending time with my aunt, cousin, uncle, and grandma. I love getting the chance to see them at least once a year and I'm hoping to make it back down there again this winter.
Come the 15th, a friend of mine from middle school was coming to visit me. She moved away our junior year in high school and I hadn't seen her for about five years. I was pretty excited. The plan was that she would take the shuttle from San Francisco to Napa and we would leave from there to Eugene. Unfortunately, I realized that I had to be back in Eugene on the 16th for a meeting after she had already booked her flight. Originally, we were going to meander our way back up California and spend some more time in Arcata before going up to Eugene and then flying her out of Portland.
Anyway, she missed her flight out of Salt Lake City, which ended up making her miss her shuttle to Napa. Therefore, I drove into the city to pick her up. It ended up working out just fine though, as I love San Francisco. We got the chance to walk around downtown a little bit and have some dinner before hitting the road. Someday, I would like to live in San Francisco.
We chose to break up the drive since it was late now, so we headed back to Arcata to spend the night and then wake up really early to hopefully make my noon meeting in Eugene on time (about a five hour drive away). We got back into Eugene just about noon. It had been a close one! All went well with the meeting though and we spent the next couple of days going around Eugene, including going to the Saturday football game against Portland State.
Sunday, the driving began again, as we came back down to Arcata to spend some time here before getting her up to Portland for her Saturday flight back to Utah.
Oh, and then I start school again on Monday. What a last couple of weeks of summer this has been!