“We’re leaving together, but still it’s farewell….”

Hey everybody,

As I’d expected, things have been crazy, crazy, crazy since Spring Break. It is, indeed, the final countdown. Every class has assignments that have to be squeezed in before semester’s end, so all sorts of work is popping up out of nowhere. It’s definitely been stressful, but I’ve managed to fit in some breaks now and then (though not as many breaks as my friends would like, since quite a few of them have been hassling me for being such a recluse).

In any case, I’ve wedged out some time now to fill you all in on the goings-on around campus and in my life.

I’ve often recommended that prospective students check out the Pioneer Log online (piolog.com) to take in even more perspectives on the school. This is especially relevant given that last week the PioLog put together a very special issue for Admitted Students Weekend. Some of the articles are available online here, here, and here. The issue is really great. If you were able to visit that weekend, I hope you had the chance to pick up a copy. If not, keep your eyes on the website and check back to see if/when the PDFs of the pages are uploaded (featured in the left hand column of the front page).

In other LC news, one of our alums recently received a Pulitzer! It’s amazing to attend the same school as someone awarded so prestigious of an award. One of the elements of Lewis & Clark that impressed me as a prospective student was all that had been accomplished by students and alums alike. The school website’s News section and the PioLog were both great sources to learn about all of the school’s accomplishments. Currently featured on the school site are the impressive eight Fulbright Scholarship recipients (including Real Life Blogs’ very own Kat) and our recent Pulitzer winner Matt Wuerker, who is a PioLog alum as well. I recommend you poke around the LC website to see some of the impressive work LC community members have done on campus, in Portland, and around the world.

Now that everyone’s living arrangements have been settled for next year, I finally know where I’ll be living! I’ve been planning since March to live with a friend who is going to be an RA in the apartments. As such, we’ve wound up in a four-person apartment in West (the dorm in which I currently live). I don’t know my other two roommates, but the way my friend has spoken about them makes it sound like it could be a really nice fit. We’re planning on having a roommate-bonding voyage to buy some pet fish at the start of the semester. I like the kind of tone and attitude that that activity indicates about how we all want to live.  It’s nervewracking to think of being in any living situation different from the one I’m now accustomed to, but I also think there are some great possibilities in it. I look forward to expanding my social circles while also having a safe place to retreat to when I’m drained of all social capacity. I’m mostly pretty positive about being in West again, too. It’s nice to have the comfort and familiarity that comes with here (and the ease of moving in/out), but I also was excited for the “adventure” of trying out someplace else. I’m pretty happy overall with how everything worked out, though, especially considering the terrifying period of limbo I went through trying to figure out some sort of housing solution. I’d say what I’ve ended up with is pretty close to perfect.

These past few weeks have consisted of a lot of setting up for next year and beyond. I’m all signed up for my classes for next semester. There was some minor chaos due to the sudden changing of course times, leading to my only being able to take one of the two courses that I really, really needed to. I was able to work it out and push one back to my final semester, but it was definitely panic-inducing. I was able to end up with a great schedule anyways, though. I’m signed up for Apocalyptic Imagination, Islamic Origins, Community Psychology, Photography I, and Yoga (in which I may or may not stay enrolled).

Apocalyptic Imagination is with the same professor I currently have for Christian Origins. I’m very, very excited. The course material itself sounds extremely interesting (we’ll be looking at different manifestations of apocalyptic traditions and the contexts that caused them), and I have had such positive experiences with Prof. Kugler. If you have the opportunity to take a class from him, do so. He’s so engaged in the material and is the most communicative teacher I’ve had so far here. He checks in with how students are doing and genuinely cares about your responses. Throughout the semester, he has altered the course trajectory to better fit our needs, and that’s been really remarkable and made such a huge impact. I’ve loved his class and can’t wait to take another. The school offers a program in which students can treat three of their professors to a meal in the Bon. I invited him to lunch and was able to have a really great discussion with him. I’m considering applying for a Fullbright English Teaching Assistantship position in Cyprus, and he was very helpful in informing my decision. It was also fun for me because his daughter will be attending LC as a transfer student next year, and I was able to give him some inside intel. to pass along. It was really just nice to have the chance to talk with him outside of class and get to know each other better. I don’t know that many students take advantage of the Friends in Fields program, but they should. It’s nice to feel like you’re able to give something back to your professors (even they like free food), and I absolutely endorse the program’s efforts to bring students and faculty closer together. Both parties can gain a lot from open communication, and I think this sort of program can really encourage that to happen. So, when you have the chance to bring a professor with you to the Bon, I encourage you to do so. I’m here to tell you that it can be a really positive experience.

Islamic Origins should be really interesting. I’ve heard great things about the professor and have an interest in the material. I definitely see the value in trying to understand a culture and religious practice by really looking at where it came from, and from there we can start to think of what would have to happen for it to become what we think of it as today. I had been planning on taking the class in any case, but it just so happened that I had forgotten I was missing an International Studies requirement. Thankfully, this class fits that need and is something I’ve been looking forward to taking. I love when things work out like that.

Community Psychology is my Senior Capstone course for my major. I had struggled for a while about which capstone to take. I had planned on taking a neuroscience-related capstone, but found out that none of those are offered my senior year. It was difficult to adjust and I was frustrated, but I managed to find something that should suit me pretty well. Community Psychology focuses on learning about ways to implement psychology within the community around you. The large project of the class requires you to assess your community, find a problem within it, and come up with/implement a program to resolve your target issue. I like the idea of actively impacting the community around me, and I like the idea of helping people. I can see myself being far more passionate about this sort of project than a literature review, so I think the class could really work for me.

I was in a bit of a bind once I had to let Biology go to take Community Psych. (the timing dilemma previously mentioned). I suddenly only had 12 credits’ worth of classes I wanted to take and I needed to take at least 16 in order to stay on track for graduation. I had spent a long time looking through the catalog for things that fit my schedule and sparked my interest, but options were pretty limited. There were plenty of classes that I would have liked to take, but they all conflicted with something else I was resolute in taking. Finally, I decided to go ahead and sign up for Photography I.  I took black & white photo in high school and loved it… mostly. I’m a huge fan of shooting photos, developing, and printing. I’m not such a fan of critiques. I guess it’s just hard for me to have something so subjective be treated objectively. I understand being faulted for not doing something right procedurally, but it always bothered me when I would be criticized for my content. It’s a problem I’ve had in many art classes. I don’t have the most confidence in art courses, so lining myself up for judgment isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world for me. At this point, I’m thinking of taking this class for credit/no credit. That way, as long as I’m getting the work done, I don’t need to worry about what everyone thinks of it. As long as it’s decent enough to earn a passing grade, then I can just carry on taking photos the way I like to. I want to do everything I can to make this class for myself, not for my GPA.

A far more pleasant complication to my schedule has come about due to the fact that I have been hired for the position of Copy Editing Chief for the PioLog. It’s a very exciting opportunity that I’ve been preparing all semester for in anticipation. It’s a bit scary to take on such responsibility, but I have faith in myself. I’ve worked hard this semester to learn as much as I could from the graduating Copy Editing Chief, and I think I’ve soaked in as much as I could have. The position will take up some time, for sure. It’s a large factor into why I didn’t want to take four reading-intensive classes. I’m hoping that the flexibility of shooting/developing times for Photo will make my schedule a bit more manageable. I’m expecting busy weekends of receiving stories, busy Mondays distributing them to my copy editing staff (now THAT’S a new thing to say/type), busy Tuesdays going over edited stories, and busy Wednesday nights editing the paper as it’s finalized for print. At the moment, the excitement outweighs the anxiety. We’ll see how the balance shifts once I’m actually working… Speaking of working, any of you with any interest in working for the PioLog should contact them. There’s work available for writers, photographers, illustrators, copy editors, and more. Get in touch to find out what’s available.

In addition to that new job, I’ve also been hired as an NSO Group Leader. So, for those of you who will be attending LC as new students next year, I look forward to meeting you all. It should be a very fun experience for everyone, and I’m so happy and excited that I get to be a part of that again, this time as a Group Leader. NSO was a huge contributor to my life here at LC. Many of the friends I made were the result of NSO activities, so I encourage you all to engage with the community. Even the silly events you don’t really have much interest in can result in long-lasting friendships. NSO is a great chance to get to know the school and your peers when you still have time to really involve yourself in things. This is the best opportunity in the year for you to really focus on your social life. Take this time to get to know roommates, hallmates, and complete strangers. You’ll thank yourself later.

Given the fact that my homework has taken away from some of my blogging, I thought it only fair to share some of my work with you. The endless essays and reports probably won’t be of much interest to most of you, but you might get a kick out of the Outreach Project I put together for Cognitive Neuroscience. Our task was to create an educational book on the brain for children of any age range. Some people worked in groups, but I wound up flying solo and working on much of this over Spring Break. The final touches took place last week, and here’s the end result. My book is called Pat the Brain, and it’s a neuroanatomy book made of construction paper and felt. Enjoy!

 

‘Til next time,

Grayson

24 April 2012

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