Grayson’s Campus Journal

“Hmmm, difficult, VERY difficult….”

Hello readers,

From what I can tell based on my perusal of the Admissions page, more and more of you know your Lewis and Clark fate by now. Transfer students, I know you all are able to apply throughout a pretty liberal timeline, and your results are similarly free-form in terms of timing. My acceptance e-mail came approximately a month after I’d submitted all of my application materials. So, fear not if you haven’t heard back immediately. Admissions work takes a lot of time, and you should probably be glad if yours is going a little slower. It means that the committee has had the time to really look over your materials and assess who you are. My dad works on the admissions team for the school where he teaches, and I know that the really good applicants tend to call for more attention. People are more inclined to read something thoroughly if it’s of interest, so take heart if you don’t receive an instantaneous response. Additionally, your information has to make its way through a slew of committee members. Those of you who process through quickly may be just as exceptional as those who get through slowly (because, honestly, if you’re admitted to LC you’re exceptional no matter what), it’s simply a matter of how your file passes hands.

My own acceptance anniversary is fast approaching. I’ll be taking you guys through the ins and outs of my decision to attend LC over other schools then (so get excited).

In the meantime, I want to acknowledge one component of my acceptance that I know that those of you considering coming here will experience: Where on earth do I want to live once I get here?

It’s a huge decision to make, in that the community you choose to place yourself in can have a huge impact on your experience here as a student. Whether you need someplace socially stimulating, accepting of your lifestyle, or one that gives you opportunities to explore ideas outside of your own, all of these factor into what you want from a living situation and how you choose from what LC has to offer. In the case of transfer students, some of you have additional options, like off-campus living or the apartments.

With so many options in where you can live and such a narrow idea of what they’re all like, it’s hard not to wish for a Sorting Hat to make the decision for you.

….STEWART!!!

That being said, I think it’s worthwhile to try and frame the vast options in a more positive light. The fact that there are so many dorms with such different elements to them isn’t a downside. It means that you have options and can hopefully find a place that’s a surprisingly good fit. That being said, I do wish that as a prospective student I’d had a better feel for each dorm. Luckily for you all, that’s what I’m here to provide. Keep in mind, I live in the West apartments. My experience with the other housing options are purely from visiting or hearing about them from friends. Still, I hope that giving you some additional information may help you along your way. Later on, I’ll be asking friends for more comprehensive information about their dorm experiences, but I’ve come up with a little something to hold you guys over until then. If any of the descriptions spark your interest, click the dorm names to access the Campus Living page for that dorm.

You might belong in Akin,

The dorm where culture’s key,

There, International and US students,

Live in harmony.

Or maybe you’re for Stewart,

The dorm of wellness and health,

A strong sense of community,

Gives this dorm its wealth.

Its neighbor dorm Odell,

Is full of mirth and fun,

Not themed, like it’s SOAA mates,

But welcoming of everyone.

 Forest forms a lasting bond,

Amongst its many halls,

Strange that such a large compound,

Can come together like it’s small.

Hartzfeld, for the independent,

Hartzfeld, for the strong,

Hartzfeld, for self-reliance,

Perhaps it’s here you belong.

Copeland, for the social butterflies,

Activities always abound,

Boisterous halls, and plenty to do,

Someone’s always awake and around.

Platteau, where the artists go,

A safe place for all things great,

It welcomes artists and non,

To imagine and create.

Maybe you’re meant for Howard,

Close to all pursuits,

Full of diverse interests,

A great place to put down your roots.

Whatever dorm you may choose,

You’ll find it warms your heart,

For home is where the heart is,

And you’ll love LC from the start.

‘Til next time,

Grayson

19 March 2012 Comments Off on “Hmmm, difficult, VERY difficult….”

Beware the Ides of March

Hey everyone,

It’s been a stressful week, which led into a stressful weekend, which will again lead into a stressful week. For some reason, March really does bring out the madness in life (and basketball, apparently).

In the case of boarding schools, it appears to manifest as an alarmingly consistent spike in Disciplinary Committees during the month of March. Here at LC, it’s manifested in just about every aspect of life it can. From family drama to breakups, midterms to long-term projects, everything seems to come out in March. Everyone is stressed independently, then efforts to socialize while in this negative state just add to the fire. Perhaps in an effort to counterbalance all of the stress and moodiness, the school has wonderful events going on throughout the month. It’s a shame that some of us are too busy to attend, instead experiencing an essay-induced panic, making us question where on Earth our lives went wrong.

For instance, this weekend, CAB put together two great events. To start, was a screening of The Muppets on Friday. I volunteered to screen it, since I knew I would be attending and was happy to be able to help. It was exactly what I needed to counteract the week I’d had. 103 minutes of pure, childish delight.

It was wonderful. Of course, as soon as it ended I had to revert to my adult self and accept that I had much to do and not much time in which to do it. As a result, CAB’s other spectacular event (Sunburn) had to be put aside in “favor” of reading research articles for one of the two essays I’ve had to work on this weekend.

It’s been a busy chunk of time, and I blame March. February had its bumps, but March has decided to hit from all sides. Emotional devastation and academic warfare combine to form a mushroom cloud of miserable. Perhaps, if it had not had the lead-in of a rocky February, March might be fine, but the two together have left me feeling pretty wiped out.

Last week consisted of sitting in as a representative for a lengthy disciplinary hearing and two midterms. This week I have two papers and a late assignment due. Finally, March at LC closes out with one last midterm, and the sweet, sweet release of Spring Break. In the midst of all this there is some sunshine (both literally and metaphorically). This week, I’m looking forward to attending a few of the Gender Studies Symposium events(click here for details).

I’ve even worked out a schedule of events I want to and am theoretically able to attend. I’m not sure how many I’ll be able to fit in, but I’ve got my eye set on:

Real to Reel: Gender on Film

“Muslim Women, Sharia Law, and the Politics of Divorce”

Women and Gender in Islamic Law: Doctrine, Practice, and Reform

Sex Trafficking of Minors in the Pacific Northwest

Beyond the Pages the Bind Us: Voices and Images of Women in Literature

Radical Domesticity: A Craftivism Workshop

If you have plans to tour at any point this week, you should look into the schedule and see if there are any events you can attend. I imagine it would be a really valuable insight into Lewis and Clark and also a very strong experience on the whole.

In other news, class selection is starting to be upon us. The schedule for next year has been posted and I’ve begun the process of working out a schedule for my final year at LC. With this in mind, I’m actually a bit disappointed. There are classes that I want to take that never would have worked for me, and it’s a shame that the way the class distribution and scheduling works means that I’ll never have the chance to take some of the classes that really interested me. I know that as a result other people are given the chance to take classes they really want, but this is definitely a moment where I feel disadvantaged as a transfer student. I only have two years to take everything I want, and if the timing wasn’t quite right, then some things will never be an option. Bummer. Ah, well. In any case, once I’ve worked all the kinks out of my intended schedule, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Also, I’ll probably put together a post about schedule planning at some point, for those of you who might find it helpful.

Well, it’s back to the salt mines for me, but I hope the rest of you have had wonderful weekends and that those good moods carry on into the rest of the week.

‘Til next time,

Grayson

 

PS: 12 days until Spring Break!!!

11 March 2012 Comments Off on Beware the Ides of March

“8”: A Plea

Hi everyone,

I’ve explained to some friends here at LC my philosophy on sexuality. I don’t really like to make a big deal out of it, because I feel like when we’re able to truly treat it as a non-issue, that’s when equality between sexual orientations will have been reached. I have no issue with my own sexuality or with others’ sexualities. I simply long for the day when you aren’t heterosexual until proven otherwise. I’m not suggesting a society with reversed norms, but I look forward to the day when society allows heterosexuality and all sexualities encompassed within the LGBT community to be recognized as equal possibilities within the norm.

That being said, I feel that for the sake of context for this post, it’s worth mentioning that I’m bisexual. My experiences with my sexuality in school have either been neutral or relatively accepting. Coming into Lewis and Clark, though, I was swept away by how well handled it is on campus. To start, the general student population is incredibly accepting. From that, a subset of the population have taken on LGBT-related tasks with the Womyn’s Center, United Sexualities, and the Queer Resource Center. Furthermore, departments like Gender Studies develop entire workshops around the idea of sexualities and equality. The culmination of all of these different groups of people working in support of the LGBT population is a feeling of great security and acceptance.

I’ve been blessed to live a relatively non-difficult existence as someone who identifies as a bisexual. However, despite all of this acceptance, I faced the same devastation as many when I realized that it didn’t matter that my friends, my family, and my classmates accepted me, because my state rejected me. I’m a Californian. I was 17 years old , in college, and unable to vote when Prop 8 came into the picture. My inability to tell the government how strongly I felt about gay marriage through voting meant that I took on the charge elsewhere. I informed, I educated, and did whatever was in my realm of means to stop Prop 8 from passing.

I don’t know who I’ll want to spend the rest of my life with, or whether they’ll be a man or a woman, but I know that when I meet them, I want to be able to relish in every aspect of what marriage would bring us. Prop 8 threatened my right to happiness with someone I love, and I was devastated that any group of people would want something so terrible for me, for the entire LGBT community. There are, if you’re lucky, only a rare number of devastating historical moments in your life that you remember vividly. I spent the night that the Prop 8 decision came in refreshing the voting page county by county, tallying up the decision. I remember the feeling of elation at my county’s majority voting ‘No’ and sadness at the fact that 46.8% still voted ‘Yes’. I remember the horror of seeing the overwhelmingly large chunks of the state that voted ‘Yes’. Finally, I remember the drop in my stomach as I realized that the law had passed.

From http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-2008election-california-results,0,3304898.htmlstory

Following the decision, I was so proud and happy that those in opposition of Prop 8 continued to fight. The trials to repeal Prop 8 were of great interest to me, but also of little access. I read any story I could, but hated how hard it was to find out information. I was rooting for my team, but could never find out if we were winning or losing. The fight reached its culmination last month, with the overturning of Prop 8. It was a moment for great excitement, but not quite time for victory. Gay marriage is still not yet in effect until those in support of Prop 8 have the opportunity to appeal. During the wait for marriage, the LGBT community isn’t simply twiddling their thumbs and patiently waiting to be given the rights they deserve. Instead, a recent theatrical production has been released in the efforts of educating the world on what actually happened during the Prop 8 hearings.

“8”: A Play is a play written from compiled court documents and press coverage of Perry v. Brown (formerly Perry v. Schwarzenegger). The play is put together by some of the most highly regarded people in Hollywood, many of whom have become similarly well-regarded in the LGBT community for their involvement in the cause. The play was written by Dustin Lance Black, best known for his screenplay for the movie Milk. It’s directed by Rob Reiner and stars Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Jamie Lee Curtis, Christine Lahti, and many other recognizable names/faces. The production debuted in Los Angeles last night and was aired live simultaneously on Youtube. I had the luck of finding out about the production mere hours before it took place, allowing me to watch it as it livestreamed. The play is informative, moving, funny, and inspiring. It allows the LGBT community and its supporters that moment and feeling of victory of which we were deprived because of the trial’s privacy.

The play is now online to be viewed. I’m sharing it with as many people as I can, because I think that this production has the ability to make a real difference, either in the minds & hearts of the public, or in the eyes of the government. You really should watch it and share it with any and everyone you know. It is such a good production while also serving such a good function, and I think that is nothing short of exquisite.

Please, enjoy and pass it along.

‘Til next time,

Grayson

4 March 2012 Comments Off on “8”: A Plea

It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Not-So-Best of Times…

Hello folks,

Happy Leap Day! I think that’s the appropriate well-wishing for the occasion… To be honest, Leap Day happens so infrequently that by the time it comes back around I’ve forgotten what one is supposed to say. It’s not exactly a holiday of celebration, either, so I don’t know how much merriment one is supposed to treat it with. In any case, I hope you all have a wonderful day.

Also, this movie/song is what I think of whenever I think of Leap Day:

Now then, onto business. My last post was written during a period of waiting for a bunch of different things to happen. I’ve now gotten everything back and thought I’d fill you in on how things are going.

I’m incredibly excited to announce that my Christian Origins work went over very well. I received an A on the essay I had mentioned, which is so gratifying. I worked really hard on it and was uneasy going into it, but everything paid off. I also got an A on the test, making the intensive re-reading, studying, and minor sleep loss well worth it. I’m really happy that taking on a class that challenges and excites me has been going so well so far. It’s a lot of work and can cause me a good deal of anxiety, but doing so well in spite of this makes it all the more rewarding.

Yesterday’s group presentation in Cognitive Neuroscience went very smoothly. I was a bit nervous, but things went pretty well. The teacher was very happy with our presentation style, format, and content, so I don’t think there was anything that could have been improved. My score on Exam #1 was about where I expected it, given the way my studying didn’t quite line up with test material. What I had forgotten to take into account, however, was how much extra credit I had earned through my participation in optional things like meeting with the teacher to discuss career aspirations, project ideas, etc. As a result, my exam grade wound up being pretty solid B. Considering how challenging the course is, I’m very happy with that score. Also, it gives me some room for growth. With better knowledge of how the tests will run from now on, I think I have the potential to slide that score up with each progressive exam. It’s also great to know that the exams are non-cumulative. It means I have an absolutely clean slate as we go into our new material. Based on the lectures we’ve had so far, I’m feeling pretty comfortable with it and think I can perform well on the next exam.

Now, onto the less successful news. I didn’t get offered a position as an RA. It’s a disappointment, of course, but I think the hardest part of the rejection was how surprising it was to me. I, probably like  many of my fellow unhired applicants, thought I’d done very well throughout the process. I was happy with how I’d done in interviews, group process, and how I’d handled myself during a roommate conflict that had the potential to play a factor in the residential living community’s view of me. My involvement on campus and in the dorms also made me feel confidence in my eligibility as a candidate. I can speculate some reasons Campus Living might have not chosen me, but I prefer to think that it was more a matter of why they chose who they did. In order to feel good with the decision they made and continue my current trust in the Campus Living staff, I have to believe that the people who were chosen are exceptionally right for the job. It’s not a matter of how the people not chosen were wrong for the position, but it is instead a matter of how utterly right the hired applicants were for their spots. I really hope that this is the case (not just because it allows me the pleasure of not feeling guilty or ashamed in my not being hired), because it also means that next year’s residential staff will be incredible. Taking the best of the best from current staff and combining that with the strongest applicants from this year should mean that next year will be a wonderful experience for RAs, residents, staff, and–through a ripple effect–the whole community. I definitely wish that I could have been a part of this as an RA, especially as I only have one year left here, but I look forward to experiencing the benefits as a resident.

In case I have any recently hired/re-hired RAs in the audience, I do want to offer you all congratulations. There was some tough competition this year and you earned your spot. I think next year’s staff team will be really remarkable and look forward to seeing what you all do.

I hope everyone’s weeks are treating them well and continue to do so.

‘Til next time,

Grayson

29 February 2012 Comments Off on It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Not-So-Best of Times…

Keep Calm and _________ On

25 February 2012 Comments Off on Keep Calm and _________ On

Which is busier? a) Beaver, b) Bee, c) Grayson

Hello readers,

It’s been a busy couple of weeks. Summarized, it pretty much goes as follows:

Wake up, AAAAAAAAAAH!, eat, AAAAAAAAAAH!, eat, AAAAAAAAAAH!, eat, AAAAAAAAAAAAH!, sleep, repeat.

For the ‘AAAAAAAAH!’, just imagine the first few seconds of this video:

I knew coming into the end of February and beginning of March that things would be… hectic, to say the least. Essays, lab reports, doctors appointments, exams, midterms, presentations, and field trips have all consumed my time and attention for the past two weeks. Not all of it was negative, and it says a lot about my classes that one of the challenges I faced as I studied was forcing myself to move on from things I found interesting and make sure I covered all of the material necessary.  That being said, I’m glad for a slightly mellower pace these next few weeks.

My Religious Studies essay was due Monday the 13th. I feel alright about it. Whenever I come out of an exam or essay experience, my default is to commend myself for the bare minimum and not be overly negative or positive about it. So, I wrote the essay. It was turned in on time. Both good things. To be honest, though, the longer it’s taken to get the essay back the better I’ve felt about it. I think I approached the material well and wrote nicely. Hopefully my professor agrees.

The following day I had a Lab Report due in Cognitive Neuroscience. Work for the lab component of that class is pretty varied, which is good. I definitely think that by the end I’ll have a pretty comprehensive set of skills for psychological writing. It’s a bit of a pain in the mean time, since it can be a lot of work, but I know it’ll pay off.

A week after the Tuesday my Lab Report was due, I had my first exam in Cognitive Neuroscience. It was definitely hard. I spent the weekend studying, hoping that my Christian Origins teacher would also post his study guide so I could get ahead on studying for that, too. Alas, the Christian Origins guide only appeared on Sunday night, so all of my weekend work went towards Cognitive Neuroscience. Still, it was a hard exam to prepare for. The questions covered a broad range of material deeply but briefly. As a result, there were a good deal of things I knew well but wasn’t really tested on and things I hadn’t really covered that were on the test. In any case, that’s one exam down and two to go. Now I’ll have a better idea of what to anticipate on the next one.

On Wednesday, my Drugs and Behavior night class took a field trip to OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science & Industry). The trip stressed me out quite a bit initially, since I had no idea how I would get from school to the museum. Thankfully the class worked out rideshares so that everyone could make it. I’m so grateful to have found a generous classmate with a car who was able to drive me there & back. At OMSI, we listened to a lecture given by an OHSU neurological researcher of addiction and went to see the Body Worlds exhibit. I hadn’t been to OMSI before, but I had seen Body Worlds previously. In a decision I still question to this day, my middle school decided to take the entire 8th grade to see it down in LA. We woke up insanely early, rode a bus for far too long in horrible traffic, and finally saw the exhibit. That period of your life may be the most awkward time to go through an entire exhibit of very naked people, especially when accompanied by teachers and classmates. I still remember the strangest part being that each body had its own “set”, so the one posed as a teacher was pointing at an actual chalkboard with a mini classroom setting surrounding him. Awkward. In any case, I liked the way OMSI presented the exhibit. It was very minimalist and kept with the idea the exhibit was trying to promote, which was that it was about the magnificence of the bodies, not about the people specifically (hence the anonymity and lack of background information for each person). My favorite parts of the exhibit were all of the animal displays, actually, since they took some pretty dramatic approaches to them. The circulatory system displays of a rooster and a baby lamb were incredible, and being able to stand so close to a giraffe was kind of insane. I now have a much clearer idea of how big a giraffe actually is for the next time I try to compare something to it.

The exhibit was great, but it took away a lot of studying time I would have liked to have used for the exam I had yesterday. Christian Origins had its midterm exam yesterday, and I feel pretty alright about it. Problems arose not from a lack of studying, but simply from a lack of comprehension. Some of the things we talk about in class are complex and take me longer to process than I think they do for some of my classmates. I learn by connecting material to each other, and we hadn’t gone far enough into these ideas for me to make those connections. Still, I think I understood the basics enough to do alright on those questions, and I feel confident about most of the others. My only complaint would be that only about half the material from the study guide actually appeared on the test, so I was over-prepared and under-rested. Not the end of the world, by any means.

Coming up for me is a group oral presentation on Tuesday and my Piano midterm on Wednesday. I’m setting aside a lot of practice time for Piano and hoping that it pays off (or at least staves off chances of mortal humiliation).

In case this post has stressed you out in an empathetic response to my own stress levels from weeks past, rest assured there was some fun in there too. I competed in a group trivia competition on campus. Our team won, thanks to a surprisingly broad range of knowledge throughout the team. The week before that, I had the Anti-Valentine’s Concert. It went amazingly. I’m waiting for recordings to be posted so I can share the awesome with all of you. This weekend, I’m shadowing a Forest RA tonight as she does her duty-rounds and tomorrow I’ll be attending my brother’s Annual Oscar Party. I find out about my RA Application next week (cross your fingers for me), which is exciting. My re-interview went well and I think I’m really suited for the job, so I hope I get it. Either way, getting a feel for the duty process will be good to do. I’m familiar with the systems used at both my high schools, and it’ll be interesting to see how they compare. The Oscar Party is especially exciting because, like the Halloween party, it is something that I’ve heard a lot about but haven’t had the chance to attend. My brother and his wife make food dishes that are puns of the Best Picture nominees (ie The Hurt Latke, Avatart, A Tapenaducation, etc.) and I’m excited to see and taste what they’ve come up with this time.

Stay on the lookout for an upcoming video I’m putting together about stress relief. Given how many stressful things I’ve faced these past few weeks without losing my mind, I figure I’ll pass along some tips that might work for you as you face any stresses coming your way.

‘Til next time,

Grayson

25 February 2012 Comments Off on Which is busier? a) Beaver, b) Bee, c) Grayson