Well, folks, we’re in the home stretch. I’m down to 2.5 weeks left in Oregon. For some reason that sounds like way less than last week’s 3.5 weeks. I have to admit I’m pretty pumped. But you pretty much know that already. I guess I just need to let someone know at least once a week that I’m ready to go back to the Lone Star State! Sorry if that sounds like I’m complaining… really I’m having fun here. I promise! It’s knowing that it’s only 17 more days here that makes in fun, though. Partly at least…
Work is wrapping up! I’m starting to finish projects or at least work on the back halves of projects. It’s exciting to know I’ll be able to come away from this summer with some great finished assessment projects in my student affairs portfolio. By the end, I will have written tons of learning outcomes, written several survey-style assessments, written a pre- and post-test, conducted a focus group from start to finish, and more. Overall: a productive summer.
Monday we had an office retreat during which we went through some StrengthsQuest facilitation. As you may know, I love StrengthsQuest, and think my five themes fit me perfectly (developer, strategic, responsibility, empathy, and connectedness). I participated in some facilitation of my strengths about 2.5 years ago, so it was good to have a refresher and think about how I use these strengths in my work again. It slapped me in the face that one reason this summer has been harder for me, work-wise, is because I haven’t gotten to use all of my strengths as much as I usually do! Three of my top five strengths are relationship-building strengths, and I have spent the majority of my summer building relationships with my computer and my assessment notebook. I miss students! I obviously knew I missed students before Monday, but the facilitation helped me understand why. I’m good at interacting with students. It’s what I enjoy most and am most talented at. This is something I definitely will take into consideration when I start job searching.
Speaking of job searching, here are some other things I have figured out this summer.
- I cannot live in Oregon.
- I would work at a small school, though I think I slightly prefer a large school.
- I need student interaction to be my primary job duty! Unless I’m doing design. Because I like that a lot, too.
This weekend I finally took the Amtrak and checked out downtown Portland with my intern friend Amy. As much as I keep saying I can’t live in Oregon, I could probably live in Powell’s Books in Portland. A bookstore that takes up an entire city block? A thousand times, yes. Besides finding my literary haven, we also checked out the famous Voodoo Doughnuts, walked through Portland’s Saturday Market, and ate at late lunch at one of Portland’s McMenamins. Overall a fun, but very tiring (so much walking!) day.
Around Salem, I have started riding my bike so much! I love the freedom it provides. I’m definitely considering getting one for CStat, but I’d definitely need to learn how to ride it on the streets there… The nice thing about Salem is I can stick to sidewalks or residential streets and get to a bunch of places.
My friend intern friend Katie has been instrumental in my getting over my fear of bikes. Shoutout to Katie! We’ve had some great adventures biking to downtown coffee shops, 7 a.m. breakfasts at Word of Mouth Bistro, accidental dinners at McDonald’s, and more. Katie is leaving tomorrow, which makes me very sad! I will surely miss my new friend. Thankfully Amy will still be here for another week and a half, which only leaves me with a week of intern-less loneliness.
Last week I finished up Firefly and watched the wrap-up movie Serenity this past weekend. I have since moved onto Friday Night Lights, which is a favorite of my grad school cohort. I can see why! I’m loving it so far. The weather has also been nice here finally, so I’ve been out a few times enjoying the sunshine and accidentally taking naps in my hammock in the park. Also many Skype/phone calls have been happening. So much, in fact, that I was reprimanded by my mother for using more than 800 of our family’s allotted 1000 minutes last month… oops. My punishment? She switched my plan to unlimited talk! Honestly I’m not usually a huge phone person, but when most of your friends live at least two time zones away… it just happens.
Overall, there’s still plenty to keep me busy and having fun for the last 17 days here. I think Amy and I are going to try to see a free showing of Mary Poppins in the park this weekend, plus there’s always the Salem farmer’s market, and the new Batman movie comes out this week! This afternoon the interns, some of my coworkers, and I are going to an orchard to try some delicious shortcake, and next week I will be trying an infamous Salem lunch hot spot for their open-faced Thanksgiving sandwich. I definitely want to make the most of my remaining time here!
Until next week, when I’ll only have 1.5 weeks left (HOLY COW), much love from Oregon!