Thursday, May 31, 2012

Four Facts that Could Save Your Life

By Rachael Burbank '09

Burbank before she stopped tanning
Tanning Fact #1:
People who use tanning beds once a month before the age of 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75%
I stood in line at a tanning salon for over an hour once because it was busy. It was three weeks before junior year prom. I sat in a white wicker love seat looking at Hawaiian Tropic and Banana Boat posters waiting for the sounds of popping door locks knowing my time was closer to get into a tanning bed. Everything inside Sunsational Tan was white: the wicker love seat, the counter girls’ hair, the hallway leading down to the rooms of tanning beds. It reminded me how pale I was, just like the color of the prom dress I begged my mom to get me. As I sat waiting, twenty or so girls gossiped about their prom dates and how their backless dresses couldn’t have tan lines. Then, silence as the counter girls announced the next victim. Lucky girl.

Tanning Fact #2:
Using a tanning bed for 20 minutes is equivalent to spending 1 – 3 hours at the beach with no sun protection at all. Tanning beds put out 3 – 6 times the amount of radiation given off by the sun.

Growing up on the shore of Cape Cod, I spent summers at the beach. I used baby oil like sunscreen, lathing up every other hour waiting to feel my skin tense up to a crisp. My girlfriends and I would set up on the beach sometimes as early as 9 a.m. and position our chairs like a sundial but moving every hour to keep facing the sun's UV rays straight on. I never wanted to be the first one to leave the beach. So when I grew restless, I’d play volleyball or bocce ball making sure each patch of my skin was being caught by the sun while the rest of the girls proudly wore completely different shades from their front to their backs.

Tanning Fact #3:
Melanoma kills one person every hour. It is the second most common cancer for women aged 25-29. Rates for melanoma are increasing faster than nearly all other cancers.

Kohl receiving treatment
There was an hour on November 20, 2008 dedicated to Glenna Kohl; she was 26. Glenna was a vegetarian, she did yoga, hiked, jogged, and rowed regularly. She was just 5-foot-3 and 105 pounds, yet she was strong enough to work as a beach lifeguard five summers in a row only protecting her skin with SPF 4. To maintain her copper glow, Glenna booked time at tanning salons, baking under a sunlamp as often as once a week. As health-conscious as Glenna was, she didn't connect tanning with skin cancer, let alone it’s most deadly form, melanoma. Let alone at 22 years old.

Tanning Fact #4:
For most people, 5 – 10 minutes of unprotected sun 2 – 3 times a week is enough to help your skin make Vitamin D, which is essential for your health. Getting more sun won’t increase your Vitamin D level, but it will increase your risk of skin cancer. Vitamin D also comes from orange juice, milk, fish and supplements.

I bought a sunhat. No, not just celebrities wear them. My tanned friends probably get anxious when we go to the beach now because I pass around SPF 30 and make sure each of them applies it. Then I do it again 2-3 hours later, like their mom. I’m not taking the risk. I have a lot of moles on my skin and it’s difficult to watch them all and see if they change size, shape and color. I may have put my skin in danger when I was younger, but I wasn’t aware when I was 16 years old. Now at 25, I’m not ashamed of saving myself and my friends from sunburns or skin damage. I’m proud. Now my friends send me messages excited to tell me they wore sunscreen and when they don't, they warn me of their sunburns because they know I'll lecture them. And I'm proud my friends are as aware as I am of sun safety practices.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month but throughout the entire year, The Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope raising awareness to the dangers of melanoma and the importance of early detection and prevention of this deadly disease. 

Burbank '09 volunteers as the social media manger for The Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope. Follow her at @GlennasFund or She is also the Alumni Relations Coordinator at Pacific University.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Commencing Adulthood

By Stephanie Haugen '12

Haugen '12
Four years have passed quickly and tomorrow I graduate from Pacific. The day I never thought would get here has arrived and this dream still doesn’t seem like a reality.

With a week full of activities for seniors, I’ve met a lot of people I haven’t interacted with my entire time here and heard about a lot of things I never got the chance to do. Through it all, I’ve felt a little regretful I didn’t take advantage of every opportunity and satisfied with what I’ve accomplished at the same time. One day I feel sad it’s all coming to an end and the next I feel so incredibly light with happiness I can’t wait until it’s all wrapped up.

Although sometimes I wish I had done more, most of the time I’m satisfied with how much I have grown and how many new things I tried during my time at Pacific. The academics are rigorous and it keeps you busy. Especially living off campus, I don’t know if I could have done any more than I did.

One thing is for sure, though. I needed this experience at Pacific to develop into a person ready to leave here and try more new things and keep growing. Pacific pushed me. It pushed my limits and forced me to discover my potential both as a student and a person.

I thought the day I graduated from college I would officially be an adult, with a plan and without fears. Well, neither of these things turned out to be true, but I am ready for the next step. I’m not completely sure what I am meant to do with my life, but I’ve definitely ruled out a few possibilities, which is a start. I am excited to do everything I never had the chance to because I’ve been in school my whole life.

I’m going to paint, craft, draw, make jewelry, read for fun, write for fun, learn to wood work, cook, bake, sew, make soap, garden, get a job doing something completely different just to try it out, buy a bunny and maybe a llama. I am going to spend every spare minute outdoors and with the people I care about the most, many of whom I’ve put largely on hold these last four years.

It’s fairly terrifying graduating with your future wide open, but it’s also really exciting.

You can do anything you want.

There’s nothing holding you back or tying you down now.

You can do anything.

You can try anything.

You don’t have to stick around this area and you don’t have to worry about finishing your classes to get your degree and you don’t have to worry about setting your weekends aside for homework.

These were important things for four years, but that time has passed.

It’s easy to fall into something safe—something that will merely pay the bills or advance you along in a career path you think you’re stuck on because that’s what your degree is in or that’s what all your previous experience is in. But it’s never too late to entertain thoughts of a new life. Pacific has prepared you to be dynamic. Pacific has prepared you to be wide-scoping in your thoughts about yourself and the world, to be adventurous in your decisions, and to make the most out of the times in life that are short-lived but possibly the most influential.

The time has come to explore, to make those dreams you’ve been coming up with your whole life a reality. Don’t worry; Pacific has prepared you.

I’ve learned a lot of things at Pacific, but mostly I’ve learned that every stage before you should be better than the last. I should be growing and getting better at every stage of life.

I loved my time at Pacific, but I hope I never wish I was back in college.

I hope I never wish I could go back to these years.

I hope I never long for a time in my life that has already passed.

I hope I never feel like I’ve already peaked.

I hope whatever I do next and whatever I am at that moment will be better than the one before, and that I’m always moving forward to reach my potential and grow as a person. 

Haugen '12 was the Communications Assistant for the Office of Alumni Relations. You can follow her journey at Pacific through previous blog postings. Haugen is graduating with a degree in journalism and minor in English literature and was a member of the Phi Lambda Omicron sorority. She is keeping her next step open for anything and everything.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Dirty Word

By Devin Higgins '10 

I don’t like to admit it, but I used to be one of those people.

One of those people who thought depression was a dirty word. A word too often used as an excuse by those who just couldn’t cope with how hard life gets sometimes. I thought antidepressants were just something to make a person feel happy, and in our present hyper-medicated society, they were being dished out in favor of doing what was necessary to “get over it.”

Higgins '10
I may have been a little late in coming to the Pacific campus as a non-traditional student in my early 30’s, and by the time I got there, I’d lived quite a unique life.

My parents divorced when I was young.
I survived physical, emotional, and sexual abuse before I was a teenager
I spent time after high school homeless
I was in prison for over a year as a 19-year-old and have dealt with the stigma of being an ex-felon ever since.

I don’t say offer those things to gain sympathy or to portray myself as a victim. Rather, they are simply the facts of my life, and I wouldn’t be a good journalist if I didn’t work with facts, no matter how unpleasant they may seem.

And yet, despite all that and more, I’d somehow found the strength of character to think I could achieve my dream of a college degree. So In 2007, I went back and earned not just one, but two degrees by the time I was done.

It took a complete nervous breakdown a year ago to discover I had severe depression, along with elements of social anxiety and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it made it all seem pointless. Like I’d wasted my time and that I was one of those people who just couldn’t “get over it.”

I felt terribly alone.

According to the World Health Organization statistics from 2011, over 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression and its component ailments. By 2020, the WHO projects depression to be the second leading contributor to the global burden of disease and productivity lost to total disability.

Right now, it’s fourth.

What’s potentially more frightening is the WHO estimates fewer than 25% of those affected have access to the care which makes depression manageable, and much of that comes as a result of the social stigma surrounding it.

According to recent statistics, suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults ages 14-24, and the second leading cause of death among college students ages 20-24.

Depression is not an isolated illness. It doesn’t care how old you are, your gender, or where you come from. And not dealing with it and refusing to accept help to treat it is probably the worst thing a person can do.

If you, or someone you know is showing signs of depression, they need your help. They need you to listen to them and have someone to talk to and be non-judgmental. It’s far from easy for everyone involved, but it’s necessary to know they’re going to be okay.

Since my diagnoses and I can tell you some days are easier than others. I take medication every day to help my brain heal, but have struggled to find counseling or therapy because access is limited by health care providers. Yet, I’ve soldiered on on my own, hoping to find some peace of mind.

There are days where I want to give up and stop thinking I still need to go through all this, but I also know that it’s part of a very long process that requires patience and a willingness to accept change.

People with depression often feel alone. The best thing we can do is make sure they know they’re not.

Higgins '10 was a journalism major with an emphasis on writing and broadcasting at Pacific. He was the Sports Editor for The Pacific Index. He is now the play-by-play voice for Linfield Men's and Women's Basketball, but asks you to not hold that against him. He is also a Staff Reporter for The Reflector in Battle Ground, Wash., covering news and sports in Northern Clark County and  a Producer/Field Reporter for KFXX/ESPN Sports Radio 1080AM "The FAN" in Portland. He lives in Vancouver, where he enjoys writing, reading, movies, photography, travel, and spending time with his infant son, Daniel.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

A Lifetime of Connections

By Steve Dustrude '73
When I graduated from Pacific in 1973, I never imagined reconnecting nearly 30 years later. Other than maintaining relationships with a few college friends, following Boxer Athletic programs, and keeping up with events and people through the Pacific magazine, I really made no effort to stay “in touch.” In fact, honestly, I was rather angry with Pacific for cutting my program – Speech Pathology. 

Dustrude '73 with his Pacific family
In 1969, having graduated from a small high school in Marcola, Ore. with a graduating class of 26, Pacific’s small size seemed just right to me. I grew up on a farm where my father raised cattle, sheep and pigs, and my mother was an accounting assistant for the City of Springfield. My father didn’t finish high school and my mother did not go to college. I never could have attended Pacific if it weren’t for generous scholarships, grants, loans and work-study.

My four years, living in Mac Hall, later Clark Hall, then in a duplex near McMenamins Grand Lodge, were incredible years. I met amazing friends and had truly caring professors, participated in baseball, track and intramurals, and with my roommate, Jim Remensperger ’75, ran the football and basketball ticketing and concession stands for two years. Yes, there was football in the 70s, and at one point Pacific actually beat Linfield!

Most importantly, at Pacific I met my wife, Cyndy Schlueter ’74 and we married in June 1974.  Cyndy’s brother Jon Schlueter ‘78 and his wife, Pam (Young) ’77. Our youngest daughter, Erin Dustrude ’05, PT ‘08 spent seven years studying at Pacific. Erin recently married Joel Lampert ’05, Psy.D. ’10. The way I figure it, any grandchildren who attend Pacific ought to get a substantial tuition discount!

When I first reconnected with Pacific, when Erin enrolled in 2001, visiting campus and attending events like Lu’au, felt very familiar. I also became involved with the College of Education Consortium via Pacific’s Eugene campus, and attended meetings over a couple years representing the Springfield School District.

In December of 2009, I attended a holiday event in Eugene, sponsored by the Pacific Alumni Association. I visited at length with Eugene/Springfield Pacific alumni, also very friendly and knowledgeable staff from Alumni Relations which ultimately lead to my joining the Alumni Association Board of Directors. My short tenure on the Alumni Board has been very rewarding. I have met many alumni, faculty and staff who are passionate about Pacific and attend alumni events and football games. 

Another connection occurred recently when Pacific brought back my program. Pacific now offers an undergraduate minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders and a Master of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. As a graduate of the previous speech pathology program, I was contacted and had an opportunity to visit with the School’s director, Dr. Martin Fischer.

With my career as a public school speech-language pathologist, I know there is a need for young professionals in this field, not only in our schools, but also in clinics, hospitals and a variety of settings. I’m glad Pacific decided to bring back this program.

My experiences at Pacific, both as a students and alumnus, have enriched my life. I encourage all alumni to stay in touch and check the university and alumni association websites to see what's happening on campus. I also encourage alumni to donate to Pacific, and choose your favorite program if you wish, attend events and contact the Office of Alumni Relations to see how you can be involved. Pacific continues to provide an amazing educational experience, enriching lives of students, alumni and the community. 

Dustrude '73 is the President Elect for the Alumni Association Board of Directors. He lives in Springfield, Ore. and has been busy over the last 33 years as a speech-language specialist in the Springfield School District.

Friday, May 04, 2012

The Twisty Turny Journey of the Interdisciplinary Student

Tiffany A. Christian ‘99

When I transferred to Pacific in 1997, I had one goal: complete my BA in English literature. It didn’t take long for me to realize, though, that I could do more. 

I took on a second major in creative writing as well as two minors in history and music. I never thought that I was reaching in so many directions because I wasn’t satisfied with the idea of thinking about life, the universe, and everything from only one angle. I just loved too many subjects.

After Pacific, I decided to tackle grad school, and here’s where things get funky. I applied to New York University’s creative writing program, and I was roundly, wonderfully rejected. So it goes. 

However, an interdisciplinary program at New York University invited me to join their ranks. This was my first taste of anything beyond English as a focus, so I jumped at the opportunity.

My experience at NYU opened my eyes to a whole world of possibilities that didn’t include studying literature. I think that scared me, so I switched to an MFA in creative writing at Chapman University, which I completed in 2005. Then I started teaching, figuring I was finished with my academic pursuits.

That’s just funny.

I felt like I was falling down the rabbit hole, so for three years I tried to wangle my way into PhD programs in English. Three years of being rejected makes a girl think about things, and I wondered whether I was headed in the right direction. On a whim, I decided to take a cultural anthropology class. And that, as they say, is that.

Skip ahead to 2008, and I found myself entering yet another master’s program, this time in folklore. I wondered, why on earth would I go for another master’s instead of continuing the pursuit of the PhD? But during my three years at the University of Oregon, I discovered the art of film making. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing. I’m a bit of a nerd like that. But film making fulfills something in me that I didn’t even know I was lacking. And I might not have discovered my love of the art had I not decided I needed to make a move sideways instead of trying to push myself forward.

Thirteen years after getting my BA in literature, I find myself doing crazy things such as attending anthropology conferences as a folklorist filmmaker. It just goes to show that the journey doesn’t have to end with the BA. Really, it’s just the beginning.

Christian '99 graduated with a degree in creative writing from Pacific. She continued her education and received an MFA in creative writing from Chapman University in 2005.  She also earned a master's degree in folklore from the University of Oregon in 2011. Currently, she has been admitted to the Ph.D. program in American Studies at Washington State University.