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Kyra

Kyra: Life Comes At You Fast

The school year is quickly coming to a close! I graduate in less than 30 days! It seems incredible that four years have flown by so quickly. Change is always good, but it definitely comes with a good deal of anxiety–there are just so many opportunities and choices to make as graduation, and “real life”, approaches. It’s all very exciting and very confusing. For now, as I’m finishing up my honors thesis and preparing for post-grad life, I’m just trying to take advantage of the time I have left here on campus. Linfield has been an absolutely lovely place to live for the past four years. I’ve had opportunities and grown in ways I never thought possible. I’ve made lifelong friends and had experiences I’ll never forget.

I present my honors thesis on May 16th. I’m NOT NEARLY done with my thesis, but I’m close enough to present. It’s nerve-wracking and gratifying all at once. So far, I’ve hit 60 pages out of our 50 page minimum, with more to add (like a conclusion) and edit. I never thought I’d be able to write this much, or even have so much to say about any one topic! I think that my ability to articulate so much has a lot to say about the quality of our English Department. I would never be able to write and think as critically as I do now, as a senior in college, without their tireless effort and support. It really is a special department. I’ve enjoyed working with all of the professors so much–it feels like a small family here at Linfield.

Working one on one with my thesis advisor, Dr. Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, while TA-ing for his Shakespeare class, has really opened my eyes to the possibilities that academia offers. I’ve always been adamant about not teaching, yet as I’ve worked with this class over the past semester, planned lessons/activities and run events, I’ve found myself really enjoying the challenge. I know that graduate school (and a Ph.d) are some of my goals in life, but now I can actually see myself as a professor, and importantly, see myself enjoying being a professor.

However, before any of that can happen–I have to finish my degree! I’m really excited to see how my honors thesis turns out. I have the rest of the project mapped out in my head. Though I may be nervous about presenting, I’m really excited that I was able to accomplish so much. School has always been really important to me, so graduating with honors, from a department that I know cares about me, not just academically, but as a person, really means a lot. It makes all of the hard work, the sweat and the tears I’ve put into writing this paper, worth it. Now, I just need to figure out how to title it–my greatest weakness! One would assume that after writing 60 pages of applying critical theory to Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and its adaptions, coming up with a simple title would be easy. It’s not! It’s the worst! I have a difficult time titling my poetry, not to mention the largest and most complex work of my entire college career….(not to be dramatic…though if you’ve been reading my blog posts for this long, you should know by now that I’m a fairly dramatic person).

Despite this, it’s difficult not to be optimistic. The sun is FINALLY coming out (though we’ll see how long it lasts), and I love the color and spirit of May. I may have a hard time with change, but really, who doesn’t? It’s nice to welcome a little bit of upheaval now and then–it makes things interesting. Right now, I’m just going to enjoy the process of writing (even if it is exhausting) and take advantage of the time I have left here with my friends.

After graduating high school, there’s always the fear that you’ll lose your friends–some of that is true, people grow and change dramatically while they’re at college. But, I know that the friends I’ve made here on campus are lifelong friends. You go through SO MUCH change while you’re here, and the people who stick with you and experience those changes as you grow and evolve during these four years are the people that will stay in your life for a very long time. I’m incredibly grateful for that.

 

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Summer and I doing…God knows what…it’s absolutely true that you make your best friends at college.

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I really enjoy going on long drives throughout the nearby country–it’s really nice to see all the open space after spending hours studying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Annual Linfield Burn! This year we honored Professor Nils Luo, who passed away earlier this year. It was a really special event, and so nice to see so many people turn out to commemorate him.

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Robin and I at a new restaurant/tap station in town–it’s amazing!

Kyra: RAC, NUCL and sundry acronyms

I really enjoy being busy–I know, that’s a strange thing to say, but it’s nice to always be doing something (even if it is homework). What’s nice about college, and senior year, is that all of your friends are equally busy, so it makes getting the chance to see them all the better. Also, it makes all those hours of homework and paper writing fly by. Personally, I prefer working with people around, so I like organizing study groups to grab some food, head to the library and get work done, all while getting the chance to hang out and enjoy some time with my friends. The pace with my honors thesis is picking up, so I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the library–thank god for coffee! However, I’m incredibly grateful that I don’t have to do it alone. One of my good friends, Summer, is also doing an honors thesis (on Sylvia Plath) so we’ve been logging a lot of time working together, eating ice cream, making fish sticks–it’s a ton of fun. I’m really looking forward to seeing the end result–I’m 34 pages in with about 20 t0 g0, minimum. Once you’ve invested that much time and effort (not to mention blood, sweat, and tears) it’s incredibly rewarding to see things come together.

Even with all of the work I’m doing for my thesis, I still try to take some time to do some fun extracurriculars. This weekend, Summer and I attended NUCL (Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature) to support our friend, Moniqa, who presented a paper on Junot Diaz’s “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”. Having attended the Sigma Tau conference in Georgia earlier this year, I really liked the opportunity to hear papers from students around our area. We had some absolutely fantastic discussions and I loved being able to discuss gender, post-colonial studies, Shakespeare and more with my peers from other NW colleges. Sadly, it was only a day long–I could have spent much longer talking with my fellow students and listening to their papers.

Later that evening, we celebrated my roommate, Annika’s, birthday. We’ve been friends for almost four years now! It’s crazy to think that we met at our first job on campus–Phonathon. She’s twenty-two now, so naturally we treated her to a rendition of T-Swift’s “22″. It was a lot of fun!

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Summer, Annika and I (R to L) before Annika’s party!

Then on Sunday, I got the chance to head up to Portland to go to another concert–RAC (Remix Artist Collective). This was one of the most energetic and fun shows I’ve ever been to! Joywave and Ghost Beach opened for RAC, I’d never heard of the two opening groups before this, but I enjoyed their music so much, I’m going to download their albums/EPs.

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RAC

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I haven’t danced this much in way too long!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As this semester is winding down, I’m also looking forward to graduation and having all of my family in one place. I’m really close to my family, and it’s been way too long since we’ve all been together.

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At my Dad’s Surprise Sixties Sixtieth Soiree!

 

Kyra: Spring Break and Sentimentality

I remember my very first spring break at Linfield–I took my friend, Annika, home with me, and we spent the day in Portland before heading off to see our families. Now, we’re roommates, share an apartment, and we’re graduating in what seems like just a few short weeks. It’s amazing look to look at myself then and see how far we’ve all come! College really changes you in unexpected ways–you expect the rigor, the newness of starting out on your own, the strange process of figuring out who you are etc. What I didn’t realize then, and am beginning to realize now, as I approach the conclusion of my undergraduate studies, is just how much these things are constantly in flux–and that’s what makes the college experience so valuable.

For my very last spring break here at Linfield, I split my week in two. I spent the majority of the week back home with my family, whom I haven’t been able to see in a while, and the second half with Robin, traveling up and down the coast. It was the perfect way to take a break from the chaos of my thesis and just enjoy March.

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My little sister and I! She’s a sophomore in college now, and just landed a lead in her school’s new play!

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My mom and I :)

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I went over to my Aunty Pam’s house and made malasadas! It’s a fried Portugese donut….so good!

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View from a veteran memorial park in Astoria, it turned out to be a beautiful day on the coast

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Robin and I at Seaside :)

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Being Indiana Jones is harder than it looks

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The long drive home!

 

Kyra: Spring, Sigma Tau Delta and a dash of Senioritis

My posts are few and far between! I haven’t written for a while, my semester has been so full it’s been hard to get away to blog! Spring is off to an incredibly busy start and I’m amazed at my schedule, my last semester and taking in just how wonderful my time at Linfield has been. It’s hard to recount everything that’s happened, just in this month alone, so I’ll give you the very latest. Earlier in the fall, I wrote a paper based off my research and submitted it to the International Sigma Tau Delta¬† conference, which Linfield’s English Honor Society. I was accepted and got the chance to travel with another student, Austin, to present at the conference in Savannah, Georgia! To make it even better, Linfield paid for all our of traveling expenses completely! I’m just so grateful to have had this opportunity to share and present my research professionally. It’s difficult to recount everything that happened, so I’ve included a lot of pictures to show you my trip. We were in Georgia from Wednesday, Feburary 26th to Sunday, March 2nd, so I’m still a little jet lagged and adjusting to the time differences.

 

The view from our flight to Atlanta, somewhere over the midwest.

The view from our flight to Atlanta, somewhere over the midwest.

On my first full day, I got a chance to check out the downtown area and found an amazing coffee shop--The Coffee Fox!

On my first full day, I got a chance to check out the downtown area and found an amazing coffee shop–The Coffee Fox!

The scenery was just amazing! Everyone complained of the cold, but after rainy Oregon, 60 and sunny seemed nice to me!

The scenery was just amazing! Everyone complained of the cold, but after rainy Oregon, 60 and sunny seemed nice to me!

There were so many beautiful trees and walkways!

There were so many beautiful trees and walkways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The conference was right on the waterfront, there were some surprising warning signs posted around.

The conference was right on the waterfront, there were some surprising warning signs posted around.

My official presentation face, I spoke on a panel about Renaissance Drama: Gender and Sexuality.

My “official presentation” face, I spoke on a panel about Renaissance Drama: Gender and Sexuality.

I love traveling, but planes are a pain unless you're dressed comfortably--so why not colorfully?

I love traveling, but planes are a pain unless you’re dressed comfortably–so why not colorfully?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This experience definitely solidified many of my aspirations for post-grad life. As I’m getting ready to graduate, working on my honors thesis, TA-ing, looking for jobs after school and preparing for graduate school, this helped prepare me for a greater sense of independence and that I can actually do it all, and do well at it. Of course, like any other senior, I have my struggles with senioritis and procrastination (as I’m sure many of you are dealing with now) but it’s so rewarding to see all of the hard work I’ve been doing pay off. Going to conferences like these are a great encouragement to keep working at what I’m doing. I’m so glad to have chosen English as a major–it’s not only something I’m passionate about, but I’m starting to see how a career might develop from the work I’ve done as a student. It’s definitely comforting–senior year and graduation can be a scary, weird time, who knows what will happen once we get out into the “real world”? So, I’m beyond glad to have experiences that not only prepare me, but assure me that everything will be okay.

Kyra: My Final Fall Semester…Wait, What?

It’s been so long since I last wrote! It’s been such a hectic semester–between work, classes, friends, and family–my last fall semester here at Linfield went by so quickly. It hardly feels like the last day of classes. In a week, I’ll be on my way to my final semester as a student here at Linfield. It’s difficult to recount just how much went on this semester, how wonderful my classes were, just how fantastic my friends have been etc. I’ll just try to show you in pictures and little stories throughout this post. Being a senior is a whirlwind experience and it’s nice to go back through to see how far you’ve come.

 

I’ve done a lot of various trips around the local Oregon area this past semester. One thing that’s super important, just for mental health alone when things are so stressful, is to remember to take a break, take a trip with friends, check out a place you’ve never been before, or would like to visit again.

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I love exploring new places–this is Airport Park, just off of the Evergreen Aviation Center!

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One thing I really like doing is heading up to Portland for the day. It’s nice to get off campus, explore the downtown area, and find new places to hang out or do some studying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another thing that’s really important during your senior year, or just throughout college, is finding time to appreciate the wonderful things Linfield offers us. One thing that I just love about Linfield is the beauty of our campus! My favorite season is the fall, but I love winter nights walking around at Linfield. The air is just so crisp and the skies are so clear! It’s also great to take advantage of the opportunities to get to know people and sign up for trips through the CIC–these are specially designed for Linfield students, so why not? I love seeing what trips or events are going on throughout the week. Lectures, off campus activities, club events are all here for us and we only have four years here!

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I took this in late October, on my way to a Peer Advising meeting in the evening.

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I was able to go on a “Taste of” event to Bamboo Sushi in Portland! It was so delicious!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, keeping up with school and classes is incredibly important. Getting an education is what we’re here for! I’m so appreciative that I can attend a school where I get to do what I love, get paid over the summer to do what I love, and translate that into my work as a student. It’s a special opportunity. This semester, I’ve been working on my Thesis for our Senior Seminar Capstone class in the English department. I completed my Thesis presentation on Tuesday, which was such a relief! I’ve been working hard, reading, writing and researching–the results are beginning to show! While I don’t turn my completed Thesis in until next week, it’s still so nice to see my progress over the past few years in terms of how I approach my major, literary theory and the quality of work I turn in.

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I purchased a new notebook to keep track of my thoughts/notes/research throughout the thesis process! I find having a fresh notebook really helps motivate me to fill it up with everything I’m discovering!

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The focus of our capstone this year is Charles Dickens’s “Our Mutual Friend”–these are a few of the books I’ve checked out to help in my research!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

However, throughout all of this, working well, staying sane and producing work I’m proud of would be impossible without an incredible support system. My friends and family are the backbone of this experience. Although I’ve got a lot of motivation, these are the people I turn to when college is difficult, when I need a break, someone to talk to, someone to discuss my writing, classes, exciting new things I’m learning and so much more. Making close connections at college is one of the most important things you will ever do at school–whether it be a professor you really connect with, your roommate Freshman year, the girl sitting next to you in an LC class, or someone you met during one of the incoming student receptions–these people will help make your next four years so very memorable. I really don’t know where I’d be without the support, encouragement, and love of these special people.

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College is so exciting! It’s a whirlwind of great experiences, a lot of stress, amazing opportunities, wonderful people, up/downs/in-betweens–I’ll try not to get too Hallmark or cheesy. I’m so looking forward to seeing how my experience will evolve over my last Jan Term and last Spring Semester here.