Taking a Vacation From Vacation

Untitled design-3  by Claire Golden

When spring term started, the question of the week was, “What did you do for spring break?” All my classmates were busy exchanging spring break stories to find out where everyone had traveled. “What did you do, Claire?” my friend asked. 

“Well,” I said, “I slept for 15 hours straight and read a lot of books.”

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I used to think I would travel the world when I was grown up. But the older I get, the more I appreciate a quiet afternoon. I still dream of visiting Europe to test out my French major in the real world, and I fantasize about the Caribbean islands just as much as the next person. There’s so much to learn and see in the world, and traveling is absolutely awesome.

The thing is, vacations are tiring! Packing, traveling, and sightseeing take a lot of energy, and I find myself drained mentally and physically at the end of a trip. By the time I get back, classes are starting and I’m more tired than I was before. 

So I’ve learned to appreciate my time at home just as much as my time on vacation. I love the feeling of waking up without an alarm clock and having a completely lazy day. “Staycations” are the perfect opportunity to relax with family and friends and take a break from the chaos of everyday life. Or to binge-watch Bob Ross while curled up with your puppy.

The Perks of Summer School

by Claire Golden

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If you’re reading this, you made it through finals week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sleep for about three weeks and then eat a lot of cake – not think about summer classes. But this will be the third summer I’ve taken classes, and though my post-finals brain may protest, I’ll be happy to have something to keep me busy once summer boredom sets in.

What’s so great about more homework during the summer? I’m a former homeschooler, so I don’t think in terms of the “school year.” There’s no time limit for learning! It can be rough going from being a full-time student to having no classes at all, so taking a few credits can help keep your brain occupied. Plus, it means you can take a lighter course load during the year.

What I like best about summer classes is that many of them are online. Being homeschooled means I’m used to this format, and I love it. You can read the lectures at your own pace rather than frantically taking notes in person. Online discussions mean I sound way more eloquent than I do in real life (thank you, backspace key). If you’re going on vacation, you can work ahead in the syllabus so you don’t have to do homework on the beach.

Most importantly, you can go to college in your pajamas. Thank you, online classes, for helping me earn my degree in style.

Life Lessons From Cow Pigeon

by Claire Golden

I was hurrying to class last week when a flash of black-and-white caught my eye. Instantly all thoughts of looming finals vanished, and I grabbed my phone and ran across the Urban Plaza to snap a picture of Cow Pigeon. You may have read about Cow Pigeon in the Pacific Sentinel. This extraordinary bird has captured the love of PSU students, one of whom anonymously chronicles CP’s adventures on Instagram @littlecowpigeon.

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Why do people love this bird so much? Because he’s adorable, hilarious, and he makes people smile. He brings together the PSU community by giving people something to bond over.

He helps me remember that amazing things are everywhere if you keep your eyes open. I started looking, Cow Pigeon was everywhere – last week marks my 17th sighting of him. When I put my phone away and spend time in nature, I end up feeling so much better, and this bird helps me remember that.

Cow Pigeon reminds me not to take myself so seriously. On Valentine’s Day, I wrote an entry for PSULoveStory about my friendship with Cow Pigeon…and it got fourth place!

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The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this little pigeon is that it’s OK to be different. I get weird looks sometimes for getting so excited over a pigeon, but life is more fun when you get excited over the little things. Cow Pigeon is unlike any other bird in Portland, and that’s what makes him so special.