Friday, November 30, 2012

From Happy Thanksgiving to Miserable Final Days

Belated Happy Turkey's Day! Well, maybe it's not so true for those vegetarians. Turkeys sacrificed themselves for our happiness...a little tragic. But tradition is tradition. Let's deal with it:)

To begin with, I decided to go back to my American host family, so I had to bail on the Thanksgiving dinner with the President's family. PLU President Thomas  Krise had invited international students and domestic students who lived far away from home to his house to celebrate Thanksgiving. That was very kind of him. Later when I saw the pictures posted on PLU's Facebook page, I sort of regretted my decision. OH WELL, I had fun too! Check out the link at the end.

The bus and ferry ride was SUPER long. I left the campus at 9:45am Thursday morning but didn't get home until 1:10pm. At least the weather was nice to me, so that I didn't have to "dance" in the rain. Then I arrived home and got to play the roles of a long-lost daughter and auntie for about two days. And then I went on to visit another little "family" (my grandparents-like friends) who lived near by and spent another two days with them. While having so much fun relaxing at homes, I deeply realized that I had been a bad student who tended to ignore her homework. Can't do any homework when I''m NOT in the mood:)

A break is always nice, though I hope my life is a long break. IMPOSSIBLE. I know, but I just never got over it. So I, reluctantly, came back to school and studied, and studied, and studied. My second resident hall is called the library haha. 
Photographed by: Helene Sunde Johansen

There are two more weeks left for fall semester, which  makes a torture: papers go into piles and piles. Plus final exams. Even better! Though we ONLY have two more weeks left! So here is the motivation! Happy Final Days!!!!

*Here is the link for the photos:

Saturday, November 24, 2012

A Very Vietnamese/American Thanksgiving

Hello all

I haven't talked to you guys for like 3 weeks already. Hope you guys didn't forget about me yet.

I guess I want to take a break from all the Nursing  related subjects and focus on "life" once in a while :)

How was everyone's Thanksgiving? Did you eat a lot? Study? Did you score big on Black Friday?

Well, for my part I got invited to my friend's family's Thanksgiving because I don't have my family here .

It's a Vietnamese / American Thanksgiving because they we had both cultures mixed together. My friend's family came to the U.S about 15 years ago and so they are very familiar with the American culture but yet, they still have their own culture.

Therefore, instead of just Turkey, Ham, Mashed potatoes and gravy, and pies, we had tons of Vietnamese foods as well.

It is very interesting for me to see because I had never been to a Vietnamese family's Thanksgiving dinner before since I used to stay with American host families.

Hope you all had a good Thanksgiving and were able to use this break to relax and to do some stuff outside of school.


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Portland Trip

Hi again, this is Loana! So last time, I talked about some ways that students can hang out with friends over the weekend. Well, on the Friday of midsemester break International Student Services hosted a trip to Portland. Since I've only been to a total of two states in the U.S. (California and Washington), this was quite exciting for me to visit Oregon State!
First, we stopped for lunch in an area filled with food carts. There were all kinds of food available: Chinese, Greek, Thai, Japanese, German, American, ect. After walking around the food carts for 15 or so minutes and being completely at loss, I decided to get some Japanese food, just because I missed it so much; it was really nice to have good tasting rice!
Next, we went to the Powell's Bookstore. This was really exciting for me, since I really love books and the Powell's Books in downtown Portland is really big, I had a really good time. I bought two books: It by Stephen King and Atonement by Ian McEwan. I'm really looking forward to reading both books.
Our third destination was Vodoo Donuts. I have two words to describe that store; Donut Heaven. I don't think I've ever saw that many donuts in my life, and they were all really unique looking. The concept of the store was really interesting, and I enjoyed stuffing myself with good donuts and good coffee (there was an espresso cart near the donut shop).

And our last stop was the mall. One thing to know about shopping in Portland: it's tax-free. That's why it's a really good idea to buy things that you need there. So I bough a pair of formal boots, some food items like hot chocolate at the Dollar Tree, and an art piece for my room. All in all, it was a really fun day, and I enjoyed getting to know some of the other international students!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Visit from Norway!

For the past 10 days, I've had two of my friends from Norway visiting me, which has been great!
I've given them a tour of PLU, showed them around Parkland, taken them to Seattle and just introduced them to what Western Washington has to offer!

They're leaving today, which kind of sucks, but it won't be too long until I see them again. :)

Of course I had to take them up to the Columbia Tower and Cheesecake Factory! :)

This picture was taken during a photo booth event
on campus where the money went to cancer research.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Tips for Success

Hello all

It's me, Henry, back with some more exciting college life stories...

In this post, I would like to share some tips for success, well, at least, it worked for me :)

I. Study your Syllabi

The syllabus is A-MUST-READ kinda document.
Back in high school I did not care about the syllabus. I looked at the syllabus to know my teacher's email address and I was done. However, there are way more important in college. You might have like 20 little assignments thorough the semester, but they might only take about 5% of your grades so why bother putting up with 3 hours for each assignment?

I guess what I mean is that study the syllabus and highlight what's important for you. Highlight due dates, important projects, and assignments/test that gives you a lot of points.

II. Organize your Calendar

I strongly recommend you to use some sort of calendar app to keep track of everything you do.
You might think that you don't need one but TRUST ME, you do.

Go over your syllabus one more time and PUT ALL THE DUE DATES TO YOUR CALENDAR. That way, you will know what's coming up next without looking at every single syllabus throughout the semester.

Some professor might change the due dates for some of the assignments throughout the semester, it's better for you to just go to your calendar and change it up there than go through the whole mess of looking up stuff in your binder.

If you are a PLU student, I strongly recommend the Google Calendar that is linked to your PLU email. Especially if you are involved with any club or if you work on campus, other people can see when you're free to make an appointment with you. You can also utilize this calendar to see when is a good time to meet up with your adviser.

III. Study group

You might not want to join a study group because you don't know a lot of people your first year but once you declare your major, you will take the same class with pretty much a lot of familiar faces.

It doesn't have to be anything formal. It can be just between you and another classmate.
Study group is awesome because you can quiz each others and help each other with ways to understand difficult concepts.

I always thought that I studied everything for the test so that's it, there's nothing else I can do. However, when I study with other people I usually find out tons of things I've never thought about. My friends usually come up with tons of creative ways to memorize some nursing definitions, or signs and symptoms of a certain disease that I would never thought of.

IV. Book or No Books?

This might sound weird but for some classes, I just don't need to read the book.

Of course you won't know which class you need to read for and which class you don't at first. I usually start the semester with reading everything and compare it to the powerpoint that my professors put on Sakai (sakai is a system we use at PLU). If they are exactly the same, I don't need to read the book because the book usually has way more information that my tiny brain can't handle.

You might wonder why do I waste my money on textbook then? Well, textbooks for sure will help since we don't know everything. For me as a nursing major, I need my book to provide evidence-based research. Although I don't need it everyday for the test, I might need it to learn other concepts.

V. Relax

You might say, oh man, I can't do anything fun. I can't go out. I can't watch a movie...I can't... i can't....I can't because I am a *insert major* and my life sucks.

Trust me, you life doesn't suck. Everyone feels the same when they are stressed out and overwhelmed.

But you can't study and be your best if you don't take some times off for yourself to relax and to do things you enjoy to do.

In order to do this right, you might need a well-organized calendar to see when is a good time to study and when is a good time to just put down the books and wish you would never have to see it again :) .

VI. My gift for you

Last but not least, here's something I've found in one of my nursing textbook and I hope you will remember this whenever you're stressed out.

Best regards,

Friday, November 2, 2012

Living In a Fairy Tale: Season Autumn

Toward the middle of the semester, it gradually becomes noticeable that on each tree, more leaves turned scarlet and warm orange . And if you watch Tinker Bell, you know that was because the little fairies had painted them, while we were snoring in our cozy bed. Autumn has f-i-n-a-l-l-y arrived!

As a foreigner coming from a land where all seasons look identical to one another, I enjoy seeing the changing of seasons in Washington. I love the colors of the leaves, and I love to stand beneath the trees waiting for the breezes to come so that the leaves can fall. I know this may sound strange, but if homework is some kind of disease, strolling through those dancing leaves is the treatment.

And all of this leads to the wonderful trip to Snoqualmie Falls Park I have been on with my dearest friends during the weekend. Unfortunately, I am lacking vocabulary to describe this beautiful place. Full of emotions, I should say. The nature looks alive, and it appears to me that it has many stories to tell if you listen to them. And they will continue whispering until the end of the Autumn...

Footnote: Photographed by Helene Sunde Johansen