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Kiera: March Madness

Happy March everyone!

February was busy with a lot of studying and keeping on top of homework as professors gave out more and more.  Things seem to be settling down and people seem to have their routines.  It was great to see so many prospective students show up for Competitive Scholarship Day!!  I hope everyone who came had a blast.  I enjoyed getting to meet so many wonderful people to are excited about college!!  I rearranged my schedule a little to make sure that I could dedicate enough time to sufficiently study for all of my classes.  Sadly, I dropped German, but in exchange I added Power Lifting for one credit and that course is laid back and the instructor is able to work with all of us individually.

March is that time of the semester again where everyone seems to have at least one exam of some sort.  I have two on Thursday!!  Eww. I have been doing so much studying and hopefully it all pays off during my exams this Thursday.

I have been running again and I want to do the Pi Day 5k run that we have at Linfield every year as well as a 10k in late April.  I am excited for both and have already made up a work-out plan to help me reach both of those goals.

3 weeks until spring break!  I can hardly believe it.  That is so soon!  In some ways it feels like we just started the semester and in others it feels like we’ve been plugging along for a while.

Have a great week and enjoy the spontaneous bursts of sunshine!!

Kiera: Bring on Spring!

What an exciting week it has been!  I started it off with my 21st birthday and I had a great time hanging out with my friends!  We are also going to get our nails done!  There was over 8 inches of snow on the ground and the last time it snowed this much at the beginning of February was 21 years ago!  I made a snow angel and I even made a snow cake and I really enjoyed running around in the snow!!

With all of the snow and ice on the ground classes were cancelled for Monday.  As exciting as this was, some professor still sent assignments and it just means more to do later.  :/  So, what classes am I taking?  I am taking French 202, German 202, Theories: Counseling & Psychotherapy, and Design & Analysis.  Taking two foreign languages can be challenging at times but it is manageable.  I am excited to be reading a short novel or two in each of those classes.  I think that Theories: Counseling & Psychotherapy is going to be a really interesting and insightful class.  Design & Analysis is research methods and statistics combined into one class and it is required for psychology majors.  I like math so I am excited about the statistics part and I have already noticed some course overlap with intro to cognition which I took last semester. :)

Good Luck to everyone who is taking a test this weekend for Competitive Scholarship Day and don’t forget that the application deadline is this Saturday, February 15th!

Kiera: An Awe-Inspiring Experience

Gōngxǐfācái!  Happy Lunar New Year!  January 31, 2014 marks the beginning of the year of the horse.  My family is going to celebrate this weekend and the international club is planning some events to celebrate during the first week of the semester, which starts on February 10th.

I have returned home from Mexico and I had a great trip.  Along with hiking, kayaking, and snorkeling, we also tagged sea turtles and learned to surf!!  I enjoyed every moment of it and I liked learning about the Mexican culture.

One of my favorite moments in Mexico was the snorkeling and looking at tide pools.  I was able to see so many new brilliant forms of life from King Angel fish to Trumpetfish and many species of urchins.  It was really remarkable!!  It was humbling to look out at the sea and then think about the abundance of life that I couldn’t see, but I know was swimming under the surface of the water.

Sea Urchin Slate Pencil Sea Star

I loved being able to interact with sea turtles and sea lions.  The sea turtle are beautiful reptiles with delicate eyes and the sea lions pups were just as curious about us as we were them.  Both animals are really strong swimmers in the water, but really quite clumsy on land.  We also went whale watching which was just fantastic.  We were out there for nearly 3 hours and the whole time we were following two gray whales that were courting.  There were also lots of dolphins, cormorants, pelicans, and a few sea lions.  The sea was just abundant with life!!

Turtle Sea Lions Whale Tale

I did so many new things, tried all sorts of new foods, and experienced life in such a different way.  It was such an awe-inspiring experience and I am so grateful for the experience!  It was such a wonderful place and  I hope that one day I am able to go back and visit.

Have a great weekend!!

Kiera: Camping in Mexico


I hope you all enjoyed your winter break.  I was glad to have some time to relax and see my family.

On January 6th I left with 10 other classmates to Baja California Sur.  We are embarking on a GREAT adventure and taking a class called Literary Biology in the Sea of Cortez.  It is AMAZING!!  We have class every other night.  Class consists of us sitting on the beach, sometimes around a campfire, for about an hour and discussing a part of the required reading before we left.  The required reading was a peer reviewed article, A Log in the Sea of Cortez, and The Pearl both by John Steinbeck.  The discussions are intellectually intense and really interesting.

The camping and kayaking have been great!!  We went along Isla Espirtu Santo and I’ve been learning a lot, outside of class too!!  I even learned how to pitch a tent and anchor it down to prevent it from blowing away with the wind.  We divided into groups to help make breakfast, lunch and dinner and the food has been GREAT!!  It is really cool learning how to cook Mexican dishes with the twist of doing it on a propane stove with limited cooking utensils.  Sea kayaking is fantastic and the colors and views of the sea and the island are just spectacular!!  I have never been snorkeling before and we’ve been snorkeling twice already.  I’ve seen lots of vibrant fish, urchins and brightly colored sea stars!!  We’ve hiked through some canyons on the occasional afternoon and the scenery is fantastic.  The canyons are very rocky so at times we were practically rock climbing which was just fantastic!!  Along with all of the rocks there are a lot of cacti and prickly plants, but there will be a river or pond to cool down in.

It’s been warm during the day so it feels like summer and sometimes I forget that it is really actually January and not July.

Stay warm and enjoy the weekend!!

Kiera: Thanksgiving Break

HAPPY DECEMBER!!  I hope you all had a wonderful break!!  I was very happy to have a few days off school to rest and not do homework!!  The week before break I did as little as possible because I was exhausted and needed a break.

During the break I did a lot of sleeping!! :D  I watched some TV as well and just rested up.  For Thanksgiving day it was me, my mom, my cousin and the Austrian and French teaching assistants from Linfield and it was great!  We cooked up all of the usual; turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, green bean casserole, apple pie and pumpkin pie.  I was glad to be eating my familiar home cooked food again, but Thanksgiving was just amazing!!

This week we only have four days of classes and next week is finals.  There is definitely going to be a lot of studying, but also a lot of mini breaks.  There is a Christmas candlelight service tonight with songs and all!!  It is going to be great!!  Other than that, the semester is coming to a close.

Stay warm and have a great few weeks before winter break!!