November 28, 2010 - 12:00 PM
This weekend has been one filled with lots of fun, laughter, and spontaneity, as well as time for reflection on the road that lies ahead. My Thanksgiving Break began on Wednesday morning, when my friend Kelsey and I decided to use the snowy weather as excuse to skip our classes and hit the road a tad earlier. Once we arrived at her parent's house, we spent the rest of the day relaxing and helping her mom in the kitchen to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. There's honestly nothing quite like walking into a guest room with a queen size bed, flannel sheets, a bathroom with a door that shuts all to myself, and a living room with a fire place. Living in the dorms a second year and having to share every bit of space around me has really made me appreciate the simple things in life.
We spent Thanksgiving with Kelsey's mom's best friend and her family. I'm happy to say that I got more than my fair share of mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, my two favorite Thanksgiving foods. The culinary feast carried into Black Friday, which also happened to be my 20th Birthday! We started my special day by meeting up with my friend Natasha, who goes to Evergreen State in Olympia, Washington, but happened to be with her aunt and uncle in Northeast Portland for the weekend. From there, me, Kelsey and Natasha drove to Pioneer Place in downtown, where we had a lovely lunch at Macaroni Grill. Kelsey knew that our time in Portland would not be complete without a trip to Powell's Books and Voodoo Donuts.
Good food. Great friends. Great memories. Two Portland icons visited and checked off my list. That's a lot to be grateful for as I dive head first into this next decade of life!
November 23, 2010 - 1:30 PM
It's currently two days before Thanksgiving and there's snow on the ground in Eugene! The snow flurries started last night, and from my dorm room I could hear people excitedly screaming "Snow!!!" and frolicking around on the ice covered grass outside. There's still ice on the ground right now, and because of this, it's proven impossible for me to get to my one and only class this afternoon. Crutches + ice = hazardous situation! Although the university didn't close, I've declared today my own personal snow day, and I'm probably not alone in this choice.
I've decided to make the best of my afternoon and take care of lots of mundane tasks I've neglected this week such as cleaning and doing laundry. Finals are just around the corner and I want to come back from Thanksgiving Break feeling rejuvenated, focused, and ready to hit the books. I've never seen it snow in the year and a half that I've been here, so this has been quite the treat to see. I'm off to Portland tomorrow to spend Thanksgiving with my friend Kelsey and her family. We'll see what adventures unfold...
November 20, 2010 - 6:00 PM
The end of this week has been a time for celebrating many successes. The first one came yesterday at 10:30 with a surprisingly easy registration. Although I didn't get all the classes I wanted, I was ready with a plan B. I'm taking SPAN 305: Cambios Sociales, SOC 301: The Sociology of American Culture, PPPM 407: Urban Revitalization, a seminar called Social Action Career Exploration, and a meditation class through the Rec Center. I'm hoping it's a more relaxed quarter, because frankly, I'm tired of taking classes that I just need to graduate. The seminar is going to involve some fieldwork with a local non-profit, and lots of reading on theories of leadership. I'm excited because I learn best when I'm engaged in hands-on projects.
After registering for my classes, I anxiously sat through my geography lab before heading over to a meeting with John Duncan at the Holden Leadership Center. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss more possibilities for expanding the Alternative Spring Break's international trips. However, at the end of the meeting, he gave me some news that I'd been waiting to hear for about a month. I am the recipient of the $1,000 Leadershape Vision grant, which I will be using to implement three community service projects on campus during National Volunteer Week in April. It's time to start planning!
The icing on the cake is a dream come true! I'm going to JAMAICA for Alternative Spring Break in March!!! I'm so happy! Details will be announced as the trip itinerary develops. This is the best way to head into Thanksgiving Break and my 20th birthday, which is on Friday. Life almost feels too good to be true!
November 18, 2010 - 4:00 PM
Right now, I am in awe of how much technology broadens my classroom experience. This afternoon in my PPPM 201 class, we had a guest speaker who was a colleague of my professor's when he was interning at the World Bank in Washington D.C. My professor, Dr. Sandoval, is a brand new professor here at UO, and while he was getting his Master's, he interned for a summer at the World Bank. The topic of our guest lecture was international planning, which is precisely what I want to go into! Aside from being extremely relevant to my career aspirations, our lecture was conducted entirely via DimDim, a free video conferencing program, which allowed our guest speaker, who is currently working as a development consultant in Japan, to do a live video chat with us as well as share his powerpoint slides with us online.
Watching his presentation unfold online when our guest was very interesting to watch. It's amazing to think about how technology has revolutionized the way students of my generation learn.
November 14, 2010 - 9:30 PM
Wow, what a busy weekend! It's 9:30 on Sunday night, and I've been up since early this morning dialing in on conference calls related to the planning of this national leadership conference I'm working on for an amazing organization called Challenge Day. I had one call this morning, then clocked in for my shift as a student caller at the Annual Giving Program, then came back to three and a half more hours of conference calls. It's been an unusually hectic Sunday.
Yesterday afternoon, I had my interview to be considered for a spot in one of the Service Learning Program's Alternative Spring Break trips to go to Jamaica, San Diego or Los Angeles. These trips are all student driven, service based trips, where groups of 10-15 students spend the week immersed in the local issues of the various cities they visit. The theme of the Jamaica trip centers on Poverty and Youth Development. This trip is my first choice and the one I'm most passionate about, especially since I'm on my way to officially becoming an International Studies major!
The interview process was relatively informal, although still intense. We started with a group go around of names, majors and favorite ice cream flavors just to break the ice. Just in case you are curious, my favorite ice cream flavor is Ben and Jerry's Phish Food, so named after the 80's band. I don't know what era Phish is from exactly, but I got a resounding agreement from the group when I broke the monotonous chain of mint chip and cookie dough ice cream lovers.
After this, we each had a minute to explain why we wanted to go to Jamaica. My one minute pitch was that trips like this one are the reason why I'm studying what I'm studying and that my other travels have truly changed my life, and that is the mindset I would hope to share with participants if I get accepted. To conclude the interview, the facilitators had us work through a team building exercise where we were handed a list of twenty items you might need in a disaster and told to pick the most important ten to help the group survive after a gruesome plane crash. Clipboards, notes and pens aside, I took a cautiously confident deep breath and began to hedge my bets on which ten out of the fifty applicants will be chosen. For now, I will anxiously await word to come on November 22nd.