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Oregon State University

Adjusting to Oregon Living

My friends Katie and Tyler Hurst recently relocated to Portland, Oregon. I’m excited for their new adventure but they will be definitely missed around here. To all my Portland friends, please leave comments with your suggestions of places they have to see and people they need to meet (including yourselves)!

Made in Oregon by Phillie Casablanca from Flickr

Tracking their journey from Phoenix to Portland reminded me of my first winter in Oregon. I lived in northern California for my entire life until I went to Oregon State University for college. I went through quite a culture shock. People there say “pop” instead of “soda” and they are way more accepting of other’s freakishness. And everyone’s super friendly – disturbingly so compared to California.

And it rains in Oregon – a lot. It rains from the end of October until the middle of April. In California, we don’t do much when it rained. If they did that in Oregon, the state would shut down for at least 6 months a year. Oregonians just pop their hoods up and keep walking. They don’t even carry umbrellas.  I tried carrying one for about a week and it was a pain to keep track of it.

The first winter in Oregon was the hardest. I had to adjust to the fact that it was not going to stop raining and that the sky was always gray. I became convinced that some children grow up not knowing that the sky is blue. I learned really fast to appreciate the cloud cover because if I woke up and I saw a blue sky in the winter, that meant it was bitter cold outside because there was no cloud cover to hold the heat in. (On the flip side, you get to wear really cute hat, glove, and scarf sets.)

I remember one October night during my freshman year, I was walking to dinner with my friends. It was dark and kind of drizzly. My friends were all native Oregonians. They all had their hoods down and their jackets slightly unzipped at the top. I, on the other hand, had my jacket zipped all the way up, my hood up, and I pulled my drawstrings to help keep the rain off my face. I looked like Kenny from Southpark. My friends laughed at me.

Fast-forward a few months to the beginning of spring. My parents came up from California to visit for a long weekend. They took my then-boyfriend and I on a day trip to the coast to visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport. They still had Keiko the whale at the time. The aquarium had wonderful outdoor exhibits and my boyfriend and I were running around looking at all the sea life. It was a bit drizzly but nothing bad. We didn’t even need our hoods up. At one point I looked back to see where my parents were and I saw my Mom – looking somewhat miserable – with her jacket zipped up, her hood up, and the drawstrings pulled. That’s when I knew I’d adjusted to Oregon living.

I loved living in Oregon – the people, the quirky independent businesses, and the general accepting culture. I don’t get back there as often as I’d like. I hope you love it there Tyler and Katie! (You may need a UV lamp to help you through your first winter when you won’t see a blue sky for weeks.)

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SALK Day 1 – What Am I Doing??

Welcome to  2011 and the beginning of Sponsor A Law Kid!

This is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school at Arizona State University.  People are sponsoring various days between January 1st and July 27th in exchange for having blogs written about them, their business, or the topic of their choice.  Today’s sponsor asked me to use my first day to give a little background information about myself.

I went to St. Vincent High School in Petaluma, California where I took every honors and advanced placement class in math and science.  By the time I graduated, I was convinced that I was destined to get a Ph.D. in chemistry and win the Nobel Prize.  I liked working on problems and being able to find a concrete conclusion at the end.  I had amazing teachers who nurtured me along the way.  After high school, I went to Oregon State University and majored in chemistry for two years.  There I learned that I didn’t like being trapped in a lab all day.  I was also a Resident Assistant I learned that I liked working with people in a problem solving role.  Much to the shock of my classmates and mentors, I changed my major to psychology.  After graduation, I went on to get a masters degree in counseling, moved to Phoenix, and became a therapist working with adults living with HIV.

Being a therapist was often rewarding, but at times it was frustrating because I was in a role where I was working at my clients’ pace, not mine.  I could diagnose clients with the best of them and I could make suggestions about what they might want to do to improve their lives, but there was nothing I could do to make them actually put these ideas into actions.  My hands were tied, and I often felt like I was trapped in my office.  I wanted a more active role in the problem solving process.

I came to law school hoping to find the best of two worlds – helping people with their problems and being an active member of the problem solving team.  I am glad I chose Arizona State for school because of its Center for Law, Science, and Innovation.  My plan is to practice intellectual property and internet law.

During law school, I have become involved in the social media and to a lesser degree, the podcasting communities.  These are the type of people I want to have as clients some day.  In November 2010, I was out for a run and catching up on my podcasts.  I heard an interview with Jason Sadler, founder of I Wear Your Shirt.  He makes a living producing content and advertising companies by wearing their shirts.  I thought he was a genius.  He inspired me to tweak his idea and instead of selling days in exchange for wearing people’s shirts, I could sell days in exchange for writing blogs for my sponsors.  I checked with one of my social media friends and he said to run with the idea.

To date, I’ve sold 33 days with other potential sponsors considering which days they want to buy.  This program has paid for ~20% of my tuition.  One potential sponsor opted to give me a $1000 scholarship in lieu of sponsoring a day.  I will be selling days until the program is over or until I run out of days.  I want to thank all my sponsors in advance for participating in this program and contributing to my education.

Sponsor A Law Kid is my endeavor to pay for my last semester of law school.  Today’s sponsors are Darvin and Jane DeShazer.  For more information about Sponsor A Law Kid or to see what days are still available for sponsorship, visit my Sponsor A Law Kid page.

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Everyone Should Vote By Mail

This past Saturday, I stood at my kitchen counter for two hours and worked on my ballot.  There was much to vote on:  governor, representatives, propositions, judges, and the State Mine Inspector just to name a few.   There were very few heated campaigns or hot button issues so I spent a lot of time reading through candidate statements, the pros and cons of the propositions, and the results of the judicial performance review.  I was very grateful to AZ Central for providing information about the candidates for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District.

A voter returns his vote-by-mail ballot in the...
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I have always voted by mail.  When I turned 18 and registered to vote, I lived in Oregon where everyone votes by mail.  They don’t have polling places.  They only have ballot drop boxes.  It’s very convenient.  When I moved to Arizona, I signed up to permanently get my ballot by mail.  I have voted in a polling place once in my life – it was overrated.

While I was working on my ballot, I wondered how many people don’t look at the candidates or the propositions until they go into the voting booth.  Do they just vote along party lines?  What do they do about votes to retain judges or non-partisan races like the water conservation district?  Do they just vote for the names that sound pretty?

One of my favorite voting memories was from the 2000 election.  I was a senior at Oregon State University and a resident assistant in McNary Hall.  I remember sitting on the floor in the hallway with some of my residents working on our ballots because they were due the next day.  Nothing spectacular happened that night but I remember really talking about the candidates and the propositions before making my final choices.

I think every state should be like Oregon and only have voting by mail.  It would force voters be more thoughtful about who and what they are voting for.  It would also give them the ability to do more research on the candidates.  I had some questions while I was working on my ballot and I sent emails to the candidates asking for their position on key issues.

It’s also more convenient to vote from home.  One of my fellow law students is from Oregon.  Like me, she’s a permanent voter by mail too.  We were discussing this issue today and she said that she’s too lazy to go to a polling place.  If she had to go farther than her mailbox to vote, it would be too far.  I don’t think she’s lazy, just efficient.

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