College life, freshman to senior.
by Caroline Lai, DeAnna Gayomali, Enid Spitz, and PJ Marcello
University of Portland’s Career Services office is optimistic: “No matter where you are in the career development process, we are happy to help you take the next step towards your goals and dreams.”
Freshman Taylor Tobin is taking it one step at a time, literally. Like all freshman at UP, Tobin lives on campus and spends most of her time within its few mile radius, studying, relaxing and socialising nearby.
By senior year, that’s almost guaranteed to change. College is intended as an incubator where students discover themselves and develop their futures, progressing through the collegiate life span of: work, play, go to school, live, repeat. From dorms to diploma, the development of undergraduate life is a study in change.
Sammy van den Berg, Organizational Communications Major, Business minor. Freshman.
For most freshmen being involved means wandering the Activities Fair. Freshman Sammy van den Berg jumped right into roles in Senate, RHA, CPB, Hall Council, and KDUP, on top of 18 credits to “round out her social life a little better.” The Organizational Communications Major, Business minor has no problem juggling so many activities: “I still have a fair amount of free time; I feel like I waste a lot of time now as busy as I am. I procrastinate alot, but I’m proactive at organizing my life. I have a very scheduled schedule.” van den Berg has her four-year plan solidified, and she said she is “definitely interested in getting a little more involved.”
Andriana Alexis can speak to that. Where will you not find her? The senior Organizational Communications Major has more scheduled in a day than many students can say they have done in a month. Like van den Berg, she participates on campus as Campus Volunteer Coordinator (CVC) and student advisor for the Moreau Center, a tutor in the Learning Resource Center, Hall Intern for Tyson/Haggerty Hall, president for TOLCS, Vice President of Black Student Union. Like many seniors, her activities now extend off campus too: tutoring and advising the Black Student Union at Roosevelt High School, and she represents UP on Oregon’s Student Advisory Board.
With work, volunteering, and school, it is a wonder Alexis gets through the day. But she has a few strategies to keep her going. “If I’ve learned anything in my time here at UP, it’s that un-productivity (if that is even a word) is critical for my mental health, because let’s be honest, sometimes stopping to smell the flowers, or in my case getting a drink (or 3) with some friends, is as productive for the state of my sanity as it is unproductive for my professional and academic life.”
“I’m just really comfortable here,” freshman Taylor Tobin said of UP. Tobin, who is from Bothell, Washington feels that she truly has found her new home at the University. “I really like it here, it’s just a great environment and the perfect fit for me, and I love my dorm, Shipstad,” Tobin said. She even plans on staying on campus next Spring after her semester abroad in London. While Tobin spends the bulk of her time hanging out on campus and working for the Beacon as a sports reporter, she still finds time to see the city. “I try to travel off campus at least every other day,” Tobin said, “I have my car here and so do some of my friends, so we go off campus to grocery shop or go downtown.”
Favorite part of UP: “I feel like when I’m walking to class I always see people I know and when I’m in the Commons I am constantly surrounded by familiar faces. I knew how small the school was but I wasn’t expecting to see so many of the same people, but I think that’s my favorite part about campus.”
“I wasn’t a citizen of Portland,” senior Jeff Makjavich said of his freshman self. Now Makjavich works at popular Portland restaurant Kenny & Zuke’s, heads up vocals for The Harm, and is finishing his Philosophy degree at University of Portland. An average day, he says, involves class on campus, working, rehearsals with the band, frequenting East Side Deli and catching a show at Bar Bar/Mississippi Studios. “Freshman year, I only hung around campus, doing homework and getting to know my classmates,” Makjavich said. “Now that I’m 21, I can go to shows and bars. I like exploring new neighborhoods, discovering cafés with good feng shui and finding hot brunch spots.”
The Harm plays Rock the Bluff
Freshmen intro classes cover many topics. For many, it’s the first time discussing and writing at a higher level, and class silences mean they’re unsure how to approach a topic. Professors establish expectations, but they also acknowledge students’ newness to college standards.
“I need to be merciful,” Philosophy professor Jessica Logue said.
Growth in academic ability and self-confidence mark the transition from freshmen to upper-classmen according to English professor Herman Asarnow.
“That’s exciting to see,” he said.
Upper-division classes focus on thoroughly understanding specific topics. Seniors are more open to in-depth, sophisticated discussion. Senior class silences mean they are thinking about how they will answer. On the rare occasions when seniors are in freshmen dominated classes, their participation encourages younger classmates.
Seniors’ largest challenges are contradictory: “senioritis,” restlessness about being close to starting a new life, and anxieties about transitioning into the ‘real world.’
“[They should] embrace that freedom,” said Logue. “It’s not some sentence!”
One of the most exciting aspects about campus life for freshmen is dorm living, especially for Jackson Redline, Nick Ramsey, Killian Mustain, and Ben Paul. The four share one room in the all-male Villa Maria Hall; closets, dressers, desks, beds, couch and all. Whether debating the messiness of their room or putting holes in the ceiling watching a Fifa game, room 119 proves life in the dorms is nothing less than entertaining.
But living off campus has its clear advantages over being shacked up in a dorm room with strangers. You get a mattress more than four inches thick, you can burn your toast without creating an entire dorm fire drill, and most importantly, you choose your roommates. For Talley Carlston, Alex Dickinson, Nick Duble, and Reed Homan there was no question they were meant to be housemates. Their house is not the stereotypical all male college house. A globe artfully sits atop the piano in the corner and jazz-funk background music compliments the warm vibe of this cozy bachelor pad.
“It’s nice being able to work with your styles to create what you want your home to look like,” Dickinson said. “We all have different things we like but we appreciate those differences and its fun making those work together in the way our house looks.”
That stylistic approach also defines their living dynamic:
“Well, we all really like Vela’s, a taco truck we go to daily, and online shopping…” Duble said just before Homan added, “and Four Loko’s, we’re getting into those too.”“No! You’re the only one who drinks those,” Carlston quickly replied amongst a roar of laughter.
“Yeah! we’re all about boxed wine now; Vella, Franzia, Corbett Canyon, all that shit,” Duble contributed, “We’re going to have all those at our lawn party this weekend.”
“That’s one of the biggest differences about living off campus, having a lawn,” Dickinson said as the others jumped in, “and having parties!”
Not all is lost from dorm life: “To this day, a lot of the people I talk to are people I met in Kenna freshman year,” Dickinson said.
“I totally agree, things like Sauna Social’s are still some of my favorite memories while being at U of P,” Carlston added.