For Nervous Incoming Freshman

Would you say your feelings towards leaving home and heading to college look something like the picture below?

This is a good characterization of how I felt leading up to my freshman orientation.

This is a good characterization of how I felt leading up to my freshman orientation.

Don’t worry, I felt that way too. The day before I left for college I was so spaced out I almost got hit by a cab. I was also so spastic I accidentally collided into a store mannequin which I subsequently was not able to return to its original standing position. The weeks leading up to my departure were full of such occurrences, and even more full of to-do lists in my attempt to feel as prepared as possible.

Of course that attempt at preparation was futile, as no amount of preparation will be enough to fully comprehend a new stage of life. So, to all incoming freshman and to past me I have one thing to say: DON’T WORRY. Enjoy summer, and relax. You certainly will have more than enough to do come September. Like all transitions, acclimating to college takes time, and I was not exempt from that rule. You won’t be either. Speaking as a rising senior, though, I can tell you that everything will be okay.

More than okay, it will be wonderful. You’ll be at Reed.

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The mystery of the Portland summer


Pictured: Me, enjoying the sun on the front lawn at Reed

Pictured: Me, Kai, enjoying the sun on the front lawn at Reed

Summers in Portland are infamous. The myth of the warm weather and the ability to actually see the sun is one of the most alluring mysteries of the summer season. Those who stay on campus over the summer come to Fall semester full of wondrous stories of how magical their summer was, and how they actually managed to get sunburned (and sometimes more than once!).

So far, summer in Portland has been living up to its reputation (with a few off days here and there). I’m so grateful to finally get to experience the awe-inspiring summer season myself.

In shorts, t-shirts and with a trusty pair of sunglasses on my head, I vow to take advantage of the hot sun, the warm weather and the long days. I vow take great pictures, get a great tan, and to enjoy the sights and sounds that Portland has to offer.

And perhaps more importantly, I will remember to recount the stories of my great summer adventures and the wonderful weather dutifully to those who did not get the great joy of staying in Portland over the summer.

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Messages from Olde Reed

Recently, while cleaning out the office, a large number of old (we’re talking a decade — as far back as 2004) publications were found. This came at an auspicious moment, as our bowl of buttons had been running low for a while.

.PIles of publications!

Fun fact: The later incarnation of this mailer is what first put Reed on my radar.

Fun fact: A later incarnation of this mailer is what first put Reed on my radar.

Old guide book

10 years old!

10 years old!

As some of you may know, herein the Admission Office we have a bowl of buttons that interns make from recycled publications. It’s a fun task that we often do during slow parts of our work day. This latest batch of buttons comes complete with cheesy early 2000′s graphics, big desktop computers, and segments of a cute watercolor map of the Portland area.

Finished product!

If you ever find yourself in our office, be sure to check out the bowl of pins on the coffee table and pick yourself out a winner!

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Rain? What Rain?

Today, I had my lunch outside in the sun.

While the drizzle and damp of the late fall and early spring is ever-so-conducive to studying and paper-writing, all of that dissipates in the summer. Portland is blessed with warm, sunshiney summers, and Reed College’s wide open greens really shine this time of year.


Many Reedies spend their summers in Portland; some do chemistry research with a team of other students, some work one-on-one with professors on literary projects, some (like me!) work on campus and off, and some just hang out. While my parents would have liked to have me home in Boston for the maximum amount of time possible, its hard to feel homesick when the campus is just that darn gorgeous.

It’s days like this when I remember, you can’t have spaces this beautifully green without the sky watering the plants September through May.

(But who knows if I’ll be able to remember this the next time I step directly into a puddle.)

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Summer Paradox

The Paradox is a student run coffee shop on campus, and this is the first time in several years that it is open all summer. During the school year, the Paradox can be pretty crowded, but the summer crowd is sparse, making it a great time to get acquainted with the Paradox.

The Paradox photo 2 (4)

The Paradox is a pretty cool place to have on campus. Beyond the good prices (I have yet to find anywhere else in town where you can get a cup of Stumptown Coffee for $1.50), it is also a nice space to hang out and pass the time. I’ve found the Paradox to be a pretty relaxed place throughout the year, but the summer has a special kind of slow pace. You may find a small group of students holding a meeting, or some staff members taking a break and enjoying their caffeinated beverages. You can also find copies of many student publications, like the Reed College Creative Review, Homers Roamers, or The Quest.

If you’re ever on campus, drop in and check out this great spot!


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Going to the Coast: Beaches are different

A couple of weeks ago, I finally had the pleasure of going to the Oregon Coast. Packed into a small five-seater car, some friends and I made the two hour journey to Cannon Beach. I’d only been to the Oregon coast once before, and that was during a very stormy fall break- not ideal beach weather.

A picture of the beach, taken by a much better photographer than I

This time, the shore was pleasantly warm, and eerily foggy. Coming from a beach town-the town of Port Townsend, WA is located on a northern peninsula in the Puget Sound- I’m pretty well acclimated to the sights and sounds of the beach (or so I thought). At first I was surprised by the size of the shore, the waves, and the total lack of shells, beach glass and drift wood that I’ve come to closely associate with beaches in the past. This beach seemed large, empty, and intimidating.

Located on Cannon Beach is a huge rock- which I’ve now totally forgotten the name of. When we first got there, the tide was low enough to walk out, so we attempted a short hike down the beach to see it. Unfortunately, our meandering took too long, and so by the time we got there the tide had encroached and surrounded the big rock.


Once we had made it out to the nameless Rock, we had a small picnic, and played some

I've gotten pretty good at making these over the years

The rock towers (my masterpieces)

games involving the creation of fantastic rock towers- which cover the beaches back home. We also attempted to climb a log someone had buried upright in the ground. (Unfortunately, I was too short to give it a good go).

Although this beach was quite different from the beaches back home, I ended up having a lovely time at the beach, and can’t wait until I get a chance to go to the coast again!

Me and the very tall log

Me and the very tall log

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Wildflower Hikes

One of the best parts about living in Portland is the incredible nature that surrounds (and sometimes inhabits) the city. One perfect example of this is the Columbia River Gorge, the conservation area around it, and the historic highway that runs alongside it. Beginning 20 minutes away from Portland, the area includes waterfalls (such as Multnomah Falls, the third largest waterfall in the United States) and breathtaking vista points.

Last Saturday, however, I did not go to the gorge area for its breathtaking views of the Columbia River. I drove an hour and a half east for a little known hike called the Hood River Mountain Trail. It was amazing, and  a perfect example of the kind of treasures the Pacific North West holds.

Mt. Hood and Wildflowers

Mt. Hood and Wildflowers

Once the forest cleared the path my friends and I were hiking upon opened up onto fields of wildflowers. There were views of Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens, as well as dandelions to make wishes on the size of jawbreakers. It was absolutely remarkable. And the entire time it made me think, wow I am so grateful I get to go to college in such a beautiful corner of the world.



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Pride PDX

I snapped this photo when the parade passed by the Portland Oregon sign right by the Burnside Bridge.

I snapped this photo when the parade passed by the Portland Oregon sign right by the Burnside Bridge.

June is Pride month, and this was the first year in recent memory that Reed had a contingency at the parade. We had a pretty good turn out, roughly 40 students and staff members showed up, as well as Professor of History and Humanities David Garrett and a number of Reed dogs. The Doyle Owl even made an appearance and was dressed for the occasion!

Doyle Owl!

Overall, Pride was a fun weekend. Even though we caught a bout of Junuary weather and a little bit of rain on the parade, spirits were still high. This was the first time I had been to a Pride event anywhere, so I definitely enjoyed myself. Just one of the many events Portland has to offer over the summer!

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Reunions: ReedFayre

Just a short while ago, Reed hosted Reunions– it’s a little unlike a reunion at any other college, if only because any and every Reedie is invited. Alumni from classes ranging from the 2010′s to the 1960′s came to campus for a weekend to celebrate the Reed community. Even current students were invited– so myself and a whole bunch of friends came to campus one night to check it out.

photo 3We showed up just in time for a spectacular fireworks display (excuse the blurry photo), which took place over the Great Lawn. Then, a giant glowing statue of the Griffin led a procession to a barbecue spot with free food.

photo 5

Afterwards, we checked out a performance by a student band, and popped into the alumni talent show. But the real fun came when we all went to Stop Making Sense– it’s a dance that happens annually for current Reedies, where the Talking Heads concert film of the same title gets projected on the Student Union walls. It’s always fun during the year, but was particularly awesome to see Reedies of all generations getting down to the Talking Heads. It certainly makes you feel less goofy for shouting the lyrics to Psycho Killer when someone next to you, thirty years your senior, is doing it too.


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I’ll be a Monkey’s Puzzle!

Monkey puzzle tree on the front lawn

Monkey puzzle tree on the front lawn

Reed College, like much of Portland, is filled with evergreen trees. But one tree in particular stands out among the firs: The Monkey Puzzle tree! These trees, native to the central and southern Andean regions of Chile and Argentina, are an ancient species of tree and considered a “living fossil.” The national tree of Chile, Monkey Puzzles have long swooping branches and a trunk covered with hard, spiky leaves and which give the tree its name (it was noted that “It would puzzle a monkey to climb that”).

Branch of the monkey puzzle on campus

Branch of the monkey puzzle on campus

Spiky trunk of the monkey puzzle

Spiky trunk of the monkey puzzle

The Pacific Northwest has a fairly similar climate to central Chile, making Portland a great place for Monkey Puzzles to thrive. The majority of Monkey Puzzles in Portland are around the same age and size, thanks to the Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition held in Portland in 1905. At the Expo, many seedlings were given away and planted in yards all around the city, a handful of which have been named heritage trees by the city of Portland.

If you are planning on visiting campus, I highly suggest looking for our Monkey Puzzle. (Hint: It’s on the front lawn just past the softball field)

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