Autumn (’20) is one of our Student Office Assistants in the College’s Advising office. She is entering her junior year, studying Organizational Communications and Political Science. Autumn hails from a small town in Idaho and just returned about a month ago from a year-long study abroad opportunity through UP’s Salzburg program.
Q. What was studying abroad like?
One exciting highlight of my time at UP was studying abroad in Salzburg, Austria last year. I now consider Salzburg one of my homes away from home and am so grateful for all the relationships I created with my fellow “Salzburgers” throughout my time abroad. I was able to travel all over Europe, swim in the Mediterranean, eat way too much gelato in Italy, ski in the alps, explore ruins in Greece, watch Flamenco in Spain, drink tea in London, and hike in Croatia, among other travel bucket list items.
Having been gone from Portland all of last year, I am back on campus with an even greater appreciation for UP and our beautiful spot here on the bluff.
Q. What is something you didn’t know as an incoming student at UP that you wish you would have known?
Heading off to college is commonly seen as one of the biggest transitions in one’s young adult life, and I’d say this was the case for me. I’m not going to lie and say it was all easy. But I will say that everything will be okay! It may take a bit of time, and it may be difficult at points, but it will all be okay. That is the main message I wish I could go back and tell myself a few years ago during my first few days living on campus, and that is the message I hope to leave you with as you prepare to begin your time at University of Portland as a part of our UP family.
Was it difficult transitioning from high school to college?
As you start at UP you may be confronted with a bit of a self-confusion. Not only your living accommodations have changed, but you may become confused about who you are in this new setting. And I’ll reiterate my message: it is okay! That is what growing up is all about. A big piece of advice is to remember that almost everyone in your class is in the same position and that everyone is likely feeling a similar way. There is something comforting about solidarity huh? I also suggest involving yourself in the UP community: join clubs, attend events, etc. This will help you meet people, settle in and feel more at home here.
What on-campus activity or service do you recommend new students utilize?
Some more advice for you as an incoming students: utilize your resources! Everyone at University of Portland wants you to succeed. UP provides you with many services to help with your success, but a lesson you will learn while at college is that you often have to be the one to reach out for these services yourself and to self-advocate. One example: a huge draw of UP is the small class sizes which allows the opportunity to get to know your professors. If you are ever struggling, have concerns about a recent grade you received, or simply want to chat more about a class discussion, go to office hours! Office hours are meant for those reasons exactly.
What was your favorite memory from your freshman year?
Looking back on highlights of my Freshman year an image pops to mind of the academic quad on sunny afternoons. It is true that it rains a lot in Portland, but one thing I’ve learned is that this forces you to appreciate the sunny days even more! On these special days everyone seems to be in a better-that-usual mood and campus feels so alive. During my freshman year I loved to meet my friends on the steps by Franz, with a container of berries from Mack’s Market in hand, and lounge in the sun for a bit between classes, soaking up some much needed vitamin D.
Where’s the best place to study on campus?
This is obvious, but from my experience, the best place to study on campus is our library. Our library offers lots of different settings for each type of studier: whether you need silence, want to work with groups at a big table, or need a spot by yourself, the library has got it all.
What is your favorite spot on campus?
If I had to choose, the benches on the bluff may be my favorite spot on campus. There is something special about looking out at the Portland city skyline and at Mt. Hood’s outline on an early evening, that brings me peace and a nice respite from stress that classes can cause. It is a great spot to call your parents, relax with a friend, or just have a few moments to yourself.
Q. What is your favorite off-campus spot nearby?
If you’re looking for an escape that is a bit further away, I would recommend a visit to Cathedral Park in St. Johns. The park is named after the cathedral-like arches of the iconic St. Johns Bridge under which the park is located and is about a 15 minute bike ride or 45 minute walk away (2.5 miles). The route takes you through our charming neighborhood and past a great coffee shop with a shared name, Cathedral Coffee, where you can make a pit-stop for a yummy baked good and latte. Cathedral Park accommodates all park-goers; there are shady areas under big trees, sunny areas in large patches of green grass, picnic tables, benches, and even a dock. Bring your study materials (or don’t, that’s fine too) and relax here on one of Portland’s well-appreciated sunny afternoons.
Q. Any closing thoughts?
Now that I’ve got you excited about your move to UP and all your future office hour chats, views from the bluff, and Cathedral Park hangs, I want to once again remind you of my key message: it will all be okay! For now, enjoy your summer and savor your time at home. Also, spend time with your family, if possible. They may not admit it, but your transition to college will likely be a big change for them, too. We here in the College of Arts and Sciences are so excited for your arrival, UP class of 2022! And remember, if you ever need a break, and the bluff is too rainy, come hang with us in Buckley 216.
Thanks, Autumn!! If you have any questions for Autumn, feel free to send her an email at firstname.lastname@example.org