“GOOAAAL” Is Universally Understood Whether It’s Liga Live, Telemundo, or Fox Sports

I have a complicated relationship with men’s professional soccer as a whole.

As an Oregon Native, I love me a Timbers win. I love when Seattle (and subsequently Vancouver) loses almost as much. As far as rivalries are concerned, being a fan of the Portland Timbers and wearing green and gold as an Oregon State Grad can be challenging. Oregon State’s rival, the University of Oregon’s school colors are scotch broom green and yellow, slightly different than the Timbers. As a Beaver, any instance of wearing green and yellow together raises an eyebrow and suspicion long before the context of Timbers allegiance registers by passersby so I typically avoid the color combination outside of Providence Park.

I saw an infographic some time ago that showed, by county in Oregon, the team preference of the University of Oregon vs. Oregon State Civil War and with the exception of Benton County where Oregon State is based out of, there was an overwhelming majority for the University of Oregon. As a Beaver grad, I’m accustom to rooting for the underdog.

Most days, my knowledge of soccer wins for my teams rarely expands beyond “Oh. Timbers tied at home today.” Or “Thorns won away 3-1.” If it’s a Thorns home game at Providence Park, there’s a decent chance I’m there in the stands but I rarely know stats beyond overall wins or if it’s close to playoffs, what score standings are needed to advance to the playoffs. I’m shaky at best at naming all the soccer positions (but am steadfast about soccer teams being comprised of 11 players and a few other crucial things) but I am far from a fanatic. I am also far from being someone who has grown up in a soccer culture all my life.

In the United States, soccer trails behind football, basketball, and baseball according to a recent Gallup Poll. But the composition of who is a modern-day soccer fan becomes interesting when broken down by age. According to the survey, “those who determine the future of spectator sports — 18- to 34-year-olds — are the age group least likely to favor football. But even among them, football tops all other sports by a comfortable margin. Soccer and baseball show meaningful differences by age, with soccer appealing more to adults younger than 55 and baseball more to adults aged 55 and older” and that’s a statistic I am very at home being a part of.

In a matter of minutes, the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final will begin between France and Croatia. This World Cup has been a doozy to say the least. Brazil got knocked out in the quarterfinals and the semi-finals were all European teams. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, some of the best players of all time will not be making appearances in the championship final. My guess is France is likely to win, but with the way things have unfolded this World Cup, Croatia could pull it off and a victory would be well earned.

While I’m slightly bummed that the United States Men’s National Team failed to qualify in this World Cup and kind of sucks overall (Vox’s words), the fact that I have cheered for multiple teams to advance over the last few weeks reminds me of some of the strengths of soccer—bringing people together in spectatorship wrapped up in almost, if not more, national pride than food and as uniting or divisive as policy- foreign or domestic.

I’m currently watching the opening minutes of this final game from Tagbilaran City in the Philippines, almost seven thousand miles from home. Three years ago, I watched the US Women’s National Team win the final from my then-apartment in Cebu and before that I watched a game with family in the Monkey Room in NYC when Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup. Before that, games of the 2010 World Cup hosted in South Africa with family just down the street from the house I grew up in.

I realize few things in life are constant. Time moving on at a steady pace is one of them, but so is a Men’s FIFA World Cup every four years, and a Women’s FIFA World Cup the following year (and also every four years) and somewhere in there, every four years the Summer Olympics brings yet another international display of athleticism and soccer prowess to the forefront where more people are brought together by one world event than most others. To some extent, many life events happen in and around notable soccer events, World Cups or Olympics, and I find comfort in that, even if my country’s team isn’t competing on the world stage, hazy memories are cataloged between bookends of soccer events and not just presidencies or where I am in education.

Maybe someday I will get to experience an international professional soccer on my home turf. With North America hosting the 2026 World Cup, it’s certainly a possibility and something I hope I might get to someday cross off my bucket list. The 2019 Women’s FIFA World Cup is in France. I doubt I’ll be there in person, but I hope I can carry on this semi-tradition of collecting diverse and faraway places where I can catch a World Cup Game or two on the TV. I hear Quebec, a French-speaking province, is nice in July. Maybe I’ll watch the 2019 Women’s Championship from a time zone more in sync with the host country.

Anyways, it might be useful to know the time difference between Paris and the West Coast, USA is nine hours.

Solace and Solidarity in Music

My first music concert was in November 2006 at the Anaheim House of Blues. I went with my dad and sister and we saw Thomas Dolby and BT, and the opening local band did some song about strawberry jelly. The show was roughly nine years ago today (best guess from memory was that it was one of the last days of the month of November), and I have been going to concerts ever since.

I find the question, “What’s your favorite concert that you’ve every gone to?” a difficult question to answer. At difference stages in my life, different shows have stood out to me. My fist concert was with family and countless others have been as well. Music has been a critical element of my identity since I was born. My senior year of high school I stumbled into a “right place at the right time” opportunity to run a music venue for under age musicians in a bar heavy hometown. I freelance write for a label on occasion. Last spring I helped organize Pink Martini at one of the theatres on campus. Music helped me feel connected to my friends back home while I was in the Philippines.

I took an anthropology course this term focused on comparing music of resistance and solidarity in Brazil, Jamaica, Hawaii, and Cambodia. The class has been offered for several years now and I think the solidarity of music is coming through particularly strong in the last few days. The interconnectedness of it all. I look forward to class on Tuesday.

The Barclays Theatre is a venue many of the bands I admire have some history with. Whether they played there weeks ago, months ago, three nights in a row some years back- it seems to be one of those venues with shared experiences. A piece of my anthropology class that is resonating most strongly right now with me is music of solidarity and the solidarity of music. The events in Paris on the night of November 13th, 2015 and events in Syria, Beirut, Mexico, Japan and countless others this week, music seems to help at least some of us heal. Music is something I have fallen deeply in love with and have found personal peace through music. I found out about the events in Paris through the newsbreak on an Australian radio stream. And on my personal feed, it seems that some of the world is at least finding strength and peace through music.

Davide Martello traveled over 400 miles from Germany to Paris to play John Lennon’s Imagine on a grand piano outside the Barclays Theatre and the rendition is incredibly beautiful. The cover has been appearing on my social media feed, from friends, to musicians who have played the theatre in years past. The original by Lennon has appeared on several playlists focusing on Peace, shuffled between the likes of “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens and “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield.

The events of late have been heartbreaking but it is slightly reassuring to see so many people come together around something like music as we all process through the anger and sadness and frustration as the world keeps on spinning. I know for me personally, going to a show at a historic theatre last night in my college town, just blocks from where I live and work was foundation for a lot of reflection and was more positivity than I could have asked for. I was happy. I was smiling. I was thinking about the amazing people who I was there with and everyone else who was there because of our love for music.

The world we wake up in every day is not the world it was yesterday. The solace and solidarity of music is a beautiful constant I’m thankful I can appreciate. It is times like these I love music more than anything else and I want nothing more than to make a career out of it. The hope and light I’ve seen in the past few days and it’s been sound tracked incredibly well. And I think in the mean time, the best thing I can do is turn the music up as it helps stitch a broken world a little closer together.

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Freedom of Fear

I can never say that I was too interested in history growing up. But one of the rare moments from my relationship with history that profoundly stands out to me was in the 5th grade when we read about some guy named Norman Rockwell and some of his famous paintings. It was one of the first times my reaction wasn’t to shrug it off and say, whatever. Granted, I was ten or eleven years old at the time so not much of this made sense, but I distinctly remember The Four Freedoms paintings Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear. The paintings have cropped up elsewhere since then, but there was something about the quartet that struck a cord with me. And over the last few days I have been thinking about the one that resonates loudest, Freedom from Fear.

The paintings are based on a speech from 1941 from Franklin D. Roosevelt to the United Nations and appeared on the Saturday Evening Post over four consecutive weeks in 1943. Seventy-two years later, both Rockwell and the paintings are cornerstones of classic Americana. After the events of Thursday, October 1st, 2015 I have been thinking about Freedom from Fear and how we have more to fear in the present day than in 1943, half way through the Second World War.

On May 21st, 1998, a full year before the Columbine Massacre, which set the world stage for large scale violence, the Thurston High School Shooting occurred fifty-three miles from where I currently sit, right now, in the safety and comfort of my dorm room, and seventeen years in the past.

It is commonly accepted that a “mass shooting” is four or more people shot in relation to gun violence. And depending on where you look, numbers suggest that there has been a mass shooting every week for the year 2015, or there have been some 142-school shootings since Sandy Hook, or there has been a gun related tragedy every day this year. The numbers rarely agree beyond, “This happens to often and something needs to change.”

In just the last few years I remember where I was when the news of the South Carolina church shooting broke this summer. Where I was when headlines broke about Sandy Hook, the Isla Vista Killings in 2014 at the University of California Santa Barbra, Aurora Theatre, the Arapahoe High School shooting in 2013 because of the effects it had on the National Speech and Debate Association of which I was a member, the Clackamas Mall Shooting, which also happened too close to home for comfort.

The fact I can name so many without having to look at an official list is saddening. The fact that the most recent tragedy happened so close to home is heartbreaking. My university is closely connected with Umpqua Community College both for its dual enrollment program and because so many students are from the area. The increased presence of Oregon State Police on campus is just a reminder of the fact we are not free from fear. Mass shootings can happen anywhere, at any time, often with little warning. My university has recently started a campaign of what to do if there is a shooting, which in an ideal world would not be necessary.

What really hit home last Thursday came from talking with my mom.

                                    “I told your sister last week how difficult it is                                                                      as a parent to send your kid off to school,                                                                            wishing them a good day, and hoping you                                        see them safe, at home later that day.”        

 The conversation I had with my dad was equally numbing. “Parents shouldn’t have to bury their children. It goes against the natural order of things.” I now feel an obligation to keep in touch with my parents more frequently because of fear. I am afraid of something happening and them getting horrible news because of the status quo and even vice versa.

Before details reach reporters, we can often guess reoccurring elements of mass shootings since they are so frequent and often go one of only a few ways. Mass shootings have become formulaic. As someone who follows the news, it is merely a waiting game of when the next one unfolds since this country has become so numb to what should not be a regular or frequent occurrence.

I think Stephen Colbert has said it best since Thursday. Between John Oliver and Colbert, the sobering fact is finally coming to the forefront from these two well-known comedians- something has to change and after a mass shooting is the worse time to talk about mental health. My hope is that Umpqua will be a turning point for change, especially with the upcoming election year, and that UCC might be the last scar on this country before something finally changes for the better. And I hope that some day in the near future the Freedom of Fear is once again just a painting and a guaranteed freedom.

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IMDB’s Top 250 Films

Rank & Title Date Seen
1. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
2. The Godfather (1972)
3. The Godfather: Part II (1974)
4. The Dark Knight (2008)
5. 12 Angry Men (1957)
6. Schindler’s List (1993)
7. Pulp Fiction (1994)
8. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
9. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)
10. Fight Club (1999)
11. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring(2001)
12. Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back(1980)
13. Forrest Gump (1994)
14. Inception (2010)
15. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)
16. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002)
17. Goodfellas (1990)
18. The Matrix (1999)
19. Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
20. Seven Samurai (1954)
21. City of God (2002)
22. Se7en (1995)
23. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
24. The Usual Suspects (1995)
25. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
26. Life Is Beautiful (1997)
27. Léon: The Professional (1994)
28. Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
29. Interstellar (2014)
30. Saving Private Ryan (1998)
31. American History X (1998)
32. Spirited Away (2001)
33. Casablanca (1942)
34. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
35. Psycho (1960)
36. City Lights (1931)
37. Rear Window (1954)
38. The Intouchables (2011)
39. Modern Times (1936)
40. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
41. Whiplash (2014)
42. The Green Mile (1999)
43. The Pianist (2002)
44. Memento (2000)
45. The Departed (2006)
46. Gladiator (2000)
47. Apocalypse Now (1979)
48. Back to the Future (1985)
49. Sunset Blvd. (1950)
50. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
51. The Prestige (2006)
52. Alien (1979)
53. The Lion King (1994)
54. The Lives of Others (2006)
55. The Great Dictator (1940)
56. Inside Out (2015)
57. Cinema Paradiso (1988)
58. The Shining (1980)
59. Paths of Glory (1957)
60. Django Unchained (2012)
61. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
62. WALL·E (2008)
63. American Beauty (1999)
64. Grave of the Fireflies (1988)
65. Aliens (1986)
66. Citizen Kane (1941)
67. North by Northwest (1959)
68. Princess Mononoke (1997)
69. Oldboy (2003)
70. Vertigo (1958)
71. Das Boot (1981)
72. M (1931)
73. Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983)
74. Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
75. Amélie (2001)
76. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)
77. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
78. Braveheart (1995)
79. Toy Story 3 (2010)
80. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
81. Taxi Driver (1976)
82. Double Indemnity (1944)
83. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
84. To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
85. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
86. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
87. Full Metal Jacket (1987)
88. The Sting (1973)
89. Amadeus (1984)
90. Bicycle Thieves (1948)
91. Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
92. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
93. Snatch. (2000)
94. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
95. The Kid (1921)
96. L.A. Confidential (1997)
97. Rashomon (1950)
98. For a Few Dollars More (1965)
99. Toy Story (1995)
100. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
101. The Apartment (1960)
102. All About Eve (1950)
103. The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948)
104. A Separation (2011)
105. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
106. Metropolis (1927)
107. Yojimbo (1961)
108. The Third Man (1949)
109. Scarface (1983)
110. Batman Begins (2005)
111. Some Like It Hot (1959)
112. Unforgiven (1992)
113. 3 Idiots (2009)
114. Up (2009)
115. Raging Bull (1980)
116. Downfall (2004)
117. The Hunt (2012)
118. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
119. Chinatown (1974)
120. The Great Escape (1963)
121. Die Hard (1988)
122. Good Will Hunting (1997)
123. Heat (1995)
124. On the Waterfront (1954)
125. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
126. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
127. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
128. My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
129. Ran (1985)
130. The Gold Rush (1925)
131. Ikiru (1952)
132. The Seventh Seal (1957)
133. Blade Runner (1982)
134. The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
135. Wild Strawberries (1957)
136. The General (1926)
137. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
138. The Elephant Man (1980)
139. Casino (1995)
140. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
141. Howl’s Moving Castle (2004)
142. Warrior (2011)
143. Gran Torino (2008)
144. V for Vendetta (2005)
145. The Big Lebowski (1998)
146. Rebecca (1940)
147. Judgment at Nuremberg (1961)
148. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
149. The Deer Hunter (1978)
150. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)
151. Cool Hand Luke (1967)
152. Gone with the Wind (1939)
153. Fargo (1996)
154. Trainspotting (1996)
155. It Happened One Night (1934)
156. Dial M for Murder (1954)
157. Into the Wild (2007)
158. Gone Girl (2014)
159. The Sixth Sense (1999)
160. Rush (2013)
161. Finding Nemo (2003)
162. The Maltese Falcon (1941)
163. Mary and Max (2009)
164. No Country for Old Men (2007)
165. The Thing (1982)
166. Incendies (2010)
167. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
168. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
169. Life of Brian (1979)
170. Platoon (1986)
171. The Wages of Fear (1953)
172. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
173. There Will Be Blood (2007)
174. Network (1976)
175. Touch of Evil (1958)
176. The 400 Blows (1959)
177. Stand by Me (1986)
178. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
179. The Princess Bride (1987)
180. Annie Hall (1977)
181. Persona (1966)
182. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
183. Amores Perros (2000)
184. In the Name of the Father (1993)
185. Million Dollar Baby (2004)
186. Ben-Hur (1959)
187. The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
188. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)
189. Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984)
190. Shutter Island (2010)
191. Diabolique (1955)
192. Sin City (2005)
193. The Wizard of Oz (1939)
194. Gandhi (1982)
195. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
196. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
197. Stalker (1979)
198. Donnie Darko (2001)
199. Wild Tales (2014)
200. Strangers on a Train (1951)
201. 8½ (1963)
202. Jurassic Park (1993)
203. The Avengers (2012)
204. Before Sunrise (1995)
205. Twelve Monkeys (1995)
206. The Terminator (1984)
207. Infernal Affairs (2002)
208. Jaws (1975)
209. Memories of Murder (2003)
210. Groundhog Day (1993)
211. The Battle of Algiers (1966)
212. Monsters, Inc. (2001)
213. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
214. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 (2011)
215. Throne of Blood (1957)
216. The Truman Show (1998)
217. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
218. Barry Lyndon (1975)
219. Rocky (1976)
220. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
221. The Imitation Game (2014)
222. Ip Man (2008)
223. The King’s Speech (2010)
224. High Noon (1952)
225. La Haine (1995)
226. A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
227. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)
228. Notorious (1946)
229. Castle in the Sky (1986)
230. Prisoners (2013)
231. The Help (2011)
232. Roman Holiday (1953)
233. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966)
234. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring (2003)
235. The Night of the Hunter (1955)
236. Beauty and the Beast (1991)
237. Papillon (1973)
238. La Strada (1954)
239. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
240. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
241. Before Sunset (2004)
242. The Hustler (1961)
243. The Graduate (1967)
244. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)
245. The Big Sleep (1946)
246. Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
247. Akira (1988)
248. Departures (2008)
249. Underground (1995)
250. Three Colors: Red (1994)


Twenty Something

Tomorrow, September 17th, I turn 20. I’m a firm believer in not just using the start of a new calendar year for a chance to take up new goals, so I’m incorporating some into my birthday! A whole new decade. And my parents are already gushing on baby photos and, “I remember the day you were born,” stories. I will say that it has been one of those semi-birthday traditions to shower or take a bath on the day before your birthday to “wash away” the previous year of life. And I think that’s one of the cooler aspects of getting older- you can start to make things you thought were “silly” when you were younger into traditions you keep for yourself as you get older.

  1. Read new 20 books for fun (outside of an academic requirement), by authors both living an dead, in both fiction and non-fiction genres
  2. Watch 20 new-to-me films off IMDB’s Top 250 Movies. A post of films I have seen prior to turning 20 is available here.
  3. Take one significant step forward towards my dream career, may or may not be academic related.
  4. As always, travel somewhere new – both instate and out of state.
  5. Go on an adventure that includes seeing the sun set and rise in the same go. Cannot be academic related.
  6. Invest in decent stationary and use it (often) for thank you notes.
  7. See something on a stage other than a concert- the ballet, a play, etc.
  8. Apply and get accepted into Pro-School.
  9. Add at least two new stamps to my National Parks Passport (bonus if I add to my US passport).
  10. Move out- vacate my room at my parentals taking all my stuff with and, with my own money, buy a new piece of furniture for my new living arrangements.
  11. Get certified in something- Motorcycle endorsement or dive certified are very likely contenders.
  12. Pick up a new ‘adult’ skill- knowing my luck, probably car related. Otherwise most likely DIY at home
  13. Visit one of the places significant to my parents. Bonus points if it’s the Rocky Horror Picture Show at the Clinton Street Theatre in Portland.
  14. Attend as many sporting events as possible and hit the Big Three at least once- Football, Basketball, and Baseball. Keep the ticket stubs
  15. Attempt to save all full coffee punch cards for use when I’m no longer living in the residence halls and things cost “real” money.
  16. Take up the valiant quest to raise my GPA- 3.41 and a goal of 3.5 of higher.
  17. Sign up for a class has nothing to do with my major and or minor. A 101 probably doesn’t count. I’m looking at you Biology.
  18. Take summer classes and start Fall Term 2016 ahead of where I need to be to graduate on time (Spring 2018).
  19. Register to vote and participate in the necessary preliminaries for the 2016 Presidential election. Because Oregon is weird.
  20. Take care of myself. Life’s hard and it’s a rarity when it’s easy. Life’s too short not to be happy and content with everything. Challenge by choice. Know when to say no, but say yes more often.

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(Less Than) Twenty-Twenty-Four Hours To Go

I take my last college final of my freshman year tomorrow at 7:30am (a small improvement from the notion that it was actually at 7). By 9:20 I will have handed in my booklet and by noon tomorrow I will have turned in my keys to my dorm room and be officially done with my first year.

Throughout high school, college had been made into this over-hyped and dramatic experience full of constant stress and varying degrees of “adulting” from what I had read and heard from other people. I was under the impression that my freshman year of college living away from home would be the hardest thing I had ever done and would be saleable to a solo climb of Everest. But in a lot of ways, my first year of college was easier than high school. I do not have the expectation for the coming years of college, but for a first year out of the house, I could not have asked for a better year.

Fall term got off on a rocky start if for no other reason than I did not have a routine. High school had always been get up at 6:30, get ready, leave by 7, class starts at 7:30, I was there until 1:30 and then I went to work for a couple hours, came home to do homework, eat dinner, fill whatever remaining time I had before usually falling asleep by 11:30, rinse, and repeat. Fall term included an 8am class three days a week and an interesting living situation. To say they least, I was the odd sheep out and moved right after Thanksgiving into a better space. Looking back, I would have liked to have heard from an experienced college student to not judge your year by the first term/ first ten weeks, because a lot is happening, and a lot is new to you and every other freshman that is in the same position. By the start of winter term, a lot mellows out. Fall term was my least favorite. Winter term was enjoyable. Spring term kicked the pants off all notions I had of college and I cannot wait to take on the coming years of undergrad.

Yesterday I took two of my online exams and I should get official grades back next Monday. I know I pulled A’s in at least two of my classes already and the remaining three are wildcards. I’m signed up for an online class for the summer. Fall term is looking great as far as my schedule is concerned. I will start my new job in August and move into my new residence hall just before training.

If freshman year was this good, I can’t wait to see what the first summer as a college student has in store and how fall term comes together. Hats off to summer. Well, in this heat and all the sun I intend on keeping mine on. But you get the idea.

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I Don’t Always Staycation, But When I Do . . .

I have been lucky enough to travel a decent amount for a 19 year old- Two additional continents, New York, Seattle- varying degrees of travel and distances. One of my favorite things whenever I’m somewhere new is to watch the city wake up and prepare itself for the day. People delivering papers and the day’s dairy, garbage pick up before the shops open. The first breath of morning as the sun lifts itself up.

This morning I had the fortunate opportunity to see streets around my dorm in that very light when I was up at 6:30 for a 7am interview. The sunlight seemed so fragile and pristine as the day got going I could not help but think of the words of C.S. Lewis in the Magician’s Nephew as the land of Narnia was being created. The view I caught of the sun rising over the Cascades from my lowly little dorm room made me envious of those who had the time to stop watch it as I had to get on with my day and like Narnia, I felt a freshness and newness I can only associate with the Pacific Northwest.

The last time I was up hellish early was right after Valentine’s and I was trying to kill time before a ten am interview. By early, I mean I was awake at five o’clock and could not for the life of me get back to sleep so as the sky lightened I went down to the parking garage and watched the day begin from the fifth floor roof. To be honest, I guess I’m infatuated with sunrises as a metaphor for new beginnings; my dorm room is currently a mess as I organize things to pack out tomorrow afternoon. I have a lull between my last class (done at 12 noon on a Friday) and my 7am final next Thursday so I’m going home for a long weekend. In just a little over two weeks my next adventure begins. In the meantime, it’s wrapping up year one of college before my summer adventure begins and I couldn’t be more excited.

To put life in perspective, you really underestimate the size of a 12 by 14 foot dorm room until you starting boxing up everything you have amassed over the last nine months- all the spirit gear and free t-shirts the university likes to hand out, miscellaneous pieces of furniture that mysteriously ended up in your room, university specific textbooks the bookstore has no interest in buying back that you fully intend to throw in the hall’s donation bins. While I may not be at Hogwarts and I never got to be a wizard, this past year of college has been hard to beat. As of June 6th, I will have been a high school grad for a full year and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I even have a jar that I write all the things I’ve completed- whether it’s not missing a single class all term (Fall term) or working with the Pink Martini team, it’s a nice reminder that a little determination can get you lots of places.

The sun is definitely higher in the sky now than it was at 6:30 and it’s a reminder to keep going. Day after day, life goes on and each little bit deserves recognition. While I may not be able to wander around sleepy Corvallis and experience the wonders of a city coming to life, I do get to hear the campus come alive. The pieces that get the coffee shop up and running, the first people of the morning calling the elevator- little details that seem so regular here that I would be mesmerized by anywhere else in the world. I have one class today and I can tell that it’s going to be a gorgeous June day, which means any thing can happen. Only the best adventure awaits.

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Home Stretch

I am now one weekend closer to my summer and one weekend closer to being finished with my freshman year of college. One of my projects is wrapping up and it’s just a matter of one “next thing” after another until I’m done. Less than three weeks of school left, a couple finals, and a few papers stand between me June 12th.

Looking outside it would be hard to gauge that Memorial Day Weekend is at the tail end of this week. If I had to guess, I would say it’s September rolling into October instead of May inching towards June. It’s stereotypically Oregon.

I think the most notable part out of anything happening right now is that three months from now I’ll be moving back into the dorms so start my job for my sophomore year. I met with some of my fellow staff for my building this past weekend and I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited to work with a group of strangers in my life. This group went from “You’re a bunch of strangers, I don’t know any of your names.” to “I can’t wait to get to know you guys and I want to be August now.” Some people get excited about Christmas, I get excited about people.

The next few weeks will be one to-do list after another. I sign up for Fall Term classes on Friday next week. Meanwhile I’m waiting to get off the wait-list for a summer class. Anyone can tell you- patience is not my strong suit but the only thing I can do is wait. I’ve typed up a list of all the assignments I have to do between now and the end of the term and it’s only a matter of time before I throw numbers up on my calendar to count down the days until I’m done. I’m in the home stretch and the best things I can do are to stay on top of my homework and be proactive and try and go to bed before midnight (something that I don’t think has happened yet this term).

If I thought the days leading up to graduation were a test of my patience, high school had nothing on college. It’s time to start cracking. Being impatient and ready to be fine as long as the essays are done and there’s nothing more you can do. Which is not the case right now. Time to draw up a battle plan and take action. It’s cloudy out, which means it is the perfect weather for staying inside and doing homework. If it were sunny and warm, it would be even harder for me to focus. It’s time to start crossing things off that list.

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Smooth Seas Have Never Made Skillful Sailors

One month from today I will have my first year of college behind me. June 11th I take my last final (a wonderful 7:30 am bright and early math exam) and the 12th is anticipated move out day. One month from today I will be one quarter of the way through my collegiate education and as they say, ‘a real adult’. A real adult with a really expensive piece of paper to hang on my wall.

With thirty days to go, I have reached the point where every weekend marks one more project done and one step closer to summer. But if you happen to be the Oregon Weather Gnome responsible for the weather, today is gray with over cast skies with a nice misty Oregon rain that makes it feel like it’s October instead of June. This Saturday my team and I are executing a wine walk to benefit local businesses and the Marion-Polk Food Share. Next Friday I’m helping run a concert in one of the auditoriums for 1,200 people (Pink Martini, last I checked there about 350 tickets left so I’m very excited) to kick off my Memorial Day Weekend. Following that I will be hanging out at the student run music festival which is happening just feet from my dorm. And then it’s one weekend before Dead Week and Finals.

Smooth seas never made a skillful sailor, and I think it is safe to say I’m doing an okay job learning the ropes of college. If anything, I’m walking away with the knowledge of not judging the remainder of your first year of college based solely on Fall Term (advice I wished every single person who told about ‘Their College Advice” would have mentioned), which for those of you keeping score at home, I did not enjoy. Winter Term was better, and Spring Term is leaving me as happy as a seagull with a French fry. But without challenges throughout the year I would not have learned as much, and for that I am grateful.

You’re not going to get along with people you live with, and that’s okay. And it’s perfectly within reason that if people are making your miserable, you can do something about it. You shouldn’t have to live in an environment that makes you miserable 100% of the time. If you complain about something every day, do something to resolve it. And that’s exactly what I did. My college experience was better because of it.

I look forward to seeing the growth of where I will be a year from now, a month from being done with my sophomore year, and then the inevitable, “I’m a month away from being a college graduate,” which I know will have in due time. Maybe my next year will involve a kraken or a Siren. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll have to sail by starlight. All I know is I’m ready to leave port for open waters.

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