Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Motivation Mojo

By Shannon (Janes) Hess ’06

Everybody talks about motivation but not many people have it. 

It’s that energy that gets you up and moving an hour earlier each morning to work out or that resolve to drive to the gym before we head home. We call it motivation, but it answers to many other names – desire, ambition, need.

Hess '06 before and after a kick of motivation mojo.

Motivation is tricky thing. It smacks you in the face on January 1 when we make our New Year’s resolution; when we no longer fit into our favorite pair of jeans; when we get winded from keeping up with the kids at the park; when we think about that upcoming spring vacation in a swimsuit. We all get motivated – for a while. The question is how to stay motivated. I think the key to understanding motivation is to understand habits. A habit is the status quo, the comfortable, the ordinary, the rut. It’s the place we all inhabit and most of the time it serves us well.

We make a habit of brushing our teeth before bed, where we grocery shop, of working to a schedule, driving the same way home from work, or putting the left leg into my pants before the right one. Habit is unconscious behavior. It requires no thought, uses little energy; it is our automatic pilot through life.

To see how a habit works move a trashcan from one side of your desk to the other. It will probably be several days of catching yourself before the waste basket’s new location becomes the norm again.

Habit is the path of least resistance. That is why it is so hard to change – our minds or our bodies. In fact, the only thing that can change a habit is conscious energy, conscious thought and choice. When we are ‘breaking’ a habit we feel resistance. The comfortable ‘old way’ calls to us. It is so much easier not to change, to go with the flow of the past.

We all know our motivation to workout will falter. We all know our initial desire will fade away. Knowing this, what can we do to keep our motivation mojo energized? 

Here are some suggestions:

Set realistic goals: Nothing is more discouraging than setting goals that are too hard or too high. Break that big goal down into smaller steps that are easier to meet. Feel proud each time you reach one.

Focus on the process: View your workout as an end in itself. Yes, you have a larger goal in mind but be present in this moment, in this day’s program and enjoy that first. Pat yourself on the back every single time you complete your workout.

Prepare for temptation: Admit that you may sometimes be tempted to skip your workout and be ready with good answers.

Schedule your workout: This means actually scheduling your workout times on your calendar, cell phone, whatever. Make a commitment to your workout time with the same seriousness as you schedule a business appointment.

Work out with a partner: This works because it helps keep you accountable. If you don’t show up for your workout you not only disappoint yourself but your partner.

Finally, don’t be so hard on yourself. Yes, you want to lose weight, get fit or perform better, but don’t put yourself down with a lot of negative self-talk when you occasionally slip up. After all, we’re only human. When you do miss a session, examine why it happened, look at the temptation and be ready for that resistance the next time it rears its head.

Hess '06 played basketball and softball while studying at Pacific. Since her time at Pacific, she married Jordan Hess and is now a mother to two daughters. She is a Certified Health Coach from Take Shape for Life. Learn more here: www.GetFitAndLiveHealthy.tsfl.com

Monday, July 16, 2012

Discovering the Bonfire and Noise Parade

By Jessica Giles

71 foot bonfire from Homecoming '67
“The falling leaves, the crisp night air, the cheering from the grandstand and the blazing fire - these things tell us - fall is here.” This quote was taken from the Class of 1954’s yearbook. What intrigued me about this quote was “the blazing fire” as that is what my search was all about.

In planning for Homecoming 2012, we wanted to showcase a few of the traditional events as segments in our monthly alumni eNews, particularly the Noise Parade and Bonfire. So here I am, only five months in to my employment at Pacific, and I am writing about a tradition I have never experienced.

This is where my search begins.

Of course I’ve already been told the essentials of the Noise Parade and Bonfire, but to just write about that is not much of an article. I wanted to dig deep, get to the roots, and find where, when and how this tradition began.

I started my search by talking to a few members of the University community. Steve Klein, Director of University Center and Student Activities, took me a little bit deeper with his stories of outhouses being at the top of the bonfire which was created by the freshman and ownership of the Noise Parade belonging to the Greeks. Jeri Dobbs ’58 shared his memories of the multiple days spent “engineering” the bonfire, how it blazed two to three stories high, and when it was lit, it was “the most spectacular thing seen.”

These conversations fed my desire to know more about the traditions. I spent days researching yearbooks and archived copies of The Index in hope to find the answers to my questions. What I found was inspiring, but what I didn’t find was a little disappointing.

What I can tell you about the tradition of the Bonfire and Noise Parade is this:
    Queen Virginia lights the bonfire during Homecoming '69
  • The first yearbook to mention the Bonfire was in 1912 and the first index reference to a Parade and Bonfire was in 1909.
  • The Noise Parade and Bonfire was held the night before football games.
  • The football team and coaches gave speeches around the fire getting the crowd amped for the game the next day.
  • The freshman did indeed build the fires, back then they were referred to as “frosh” or “rooks” and the Bonfire was sometimes called the “Rook Bonfire.”
  • In the beginning, the Noise Parade was led by the marching band with crowds following behind them through the town singing and chanting Pacific spirit.
  • There was some sort of “serpentine” or “serpent” involved in the Noise Parade for some of the years. It led the parade in some way.
  • Competition between opposing teams often meant for a prematurely lit bonfire which often led students to burning a creation of the opposing team’s mascot in the bonfire.
  • The Homecoming queen would often light the bonfire.
  • The first reference to Greeks in the Noise Parade was in 1926; however it was referenced as a separate parade from the actual Noise Parade.
  • The first year to recognize an award for best entry in the Noise Parade was in 1934 and was given to the Gamma Sigma Fraternity.
  • Each year the bonfire was reportedly bigger than the year before, however in 1967 the bonfire reached a height of 71 feet, which was the tallest one I found record of.
The Alpha Zeta fraternity at Noise Parade in '46
What I can’t tell you about the tradition is this:
  • When the first Noise Parade and Bonfire was.
  • Why the responsibility of building the bonfire was left to the freshman.
  • When the Noise Parade was taken over as a Greek event.
  • What exactly the serpentine was and when that tradition started and ended.
  • If the 1967 bonfire was truly the tallest in history.
  • Plus a whole bunch more…
When I sat down to write my article for the Alumni eNews, I realized I don’t really have an article to write. With so many holes still in my story, what I would have written would have been from imagination rather than facts. Not to say that wouldn’t have been interesting. What I don’t know is what wasn’t documented on paper, but instead stored in the memories of Pacific’s alumni. 

So what do you remember about this tradition? Can you help fill in any of my blanks? I would love to hear more about this long lived tradition and hopefully fill in some of the gaps. We can add your memories to the Memory Books given out during the weekend. To fill out a memory book form visit www.pacificu.edu/events/homecoming/memories.cfm

I hope to hear these stories and more at Homecoming 2012, September 28-30. Join us in celebration. Registration will be available soon at pacificu.edu/homecoming.

Giles is the Associate Director of Alumni Relations at Pacific University. Originally from St. Pete, Florida, Giles moved to Oregon to pursue a degree in Marketing and Advertising Management from Portland State University where she graduated in 2009. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, home projects and planning her wedding in spring of 2013.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Small School to the Big World

By Adam Daniels '06
Daniels '06

I live in a world now surrounded by freeways.

Even though I now live about 16 hours from Forest Grove, Ore., I feel like it’s a foreign planet. I live in a world where the problem isn’t “Where is there a Target?” but rather “Which Target do you want to go to?” It’s a world where you see thousands of people in a day but no stranger will talk to you.

Welcome to Southern California. I currently live and work in Riverside, Calif., about an hour east of Los Angeles. It’s a very different life here than what I experienced growing up in Shady Cove, Ore. (pop. ~3,000) and going to Pacific University. But now I’ve had some time to reflect, there are many essential lessons I learned from Pacific that have helped me to flourish and adapt to this world. When I tell people that my undergrad school has just over 3,000 students (and it felt much smaller back in ’06), they give me a look of shock. But I wouldn’t change a thing.

Pacific taught me “No” shouldn’t be in our vocabulary. The staff and faculty at Pacific were in the mindset of “Here’s how…” and taught me that life is about solutions, not problems. When I wanted to start a club that was a little unusual, Steve Klein could have said, “This is ridiculous. No.” But instead, he said, “Here’s how…” And that willingness opened up an experience that I’ll never forget (and ultimately led to my current career).

Pacific taught me that you should be excited about whatever you’re doing. For such a small school, I felt I was still getting the experience of a giant state university. Going to basketball games was a rush (we didn’t have football… womp womp). When we’d get a band to play at the volleyball pit, it didn’t matter that no one knew who the band was, we’d still show up in force and rock out like our lives depended on it. I think it’s easy to forget that lesson when you grow up. We need to be passionate about our job, we need to create adventures when we see the chance and we need to be excited for what comes next.

Daniels (middle) and others from '06 with Boxer.
Pacific was a place where I could walk into the UC and always see someone I knew. And I relished those moments to share stories and find out what made people unique. In the big world of Los Angeles, it’s easy to become lost in the daily bustle but Pacific taught me the importance of spending time to get to know people and how valuable those relationships can become. I want to emulate that experience in the bigger world. We should all find places where conversation is key, where friendships can be forged, and where you don’t feel so alone in the world.

And lastly, Pacific taught me that every subject had something to offer me. Every class opened up a new world and made me more excited to learn about it. I work at a research university now, where students may not get the chance to take a watercolor painting class just for kicks. I remember waking up for my 8 a.m. Abnormal Psychology class with Todd Schultz and I was just so excited to learn about a foreign topic. I still keep my copy of the DSM-IV close by. I remember taking a photography class with Jim Flory and learning how to develop film and learning the basics of composition. I spent a week taking pictures of trash I found scattered around campus, finding beauty even in those moments. The world is a fascinating place and there are so many fields we know nothing about, so try to expand your mind a little bit. I’ve found my outlet with TED Talks and the occasional History Channel or Discovery Channel special. But don’t forget that the world is vast and there are a thousand things you could be learning each day. Don’t stop learning.

When people ask me where I went to school, I say Pacific University. They look stumped. I say, “Not Azusa Pacific University. Not University of the Pacific. Not Pacific Lutheran. Not Warner Pacific. Not Seattle Pacific. THE Pacific University.” The place that taught me well and prepared me for the world and didn’t stop teaching me after four years, but still continues to impact me every day.
That Pacific University.

Daniels ’06 was a Creative Writing major and heavily involved with the theatre department. Daniels graduated from Azusa Pacific University in ’08 with a Master’s in College Student Affairs and currently works at the University of California, Riverside, advising student organizations and working with new student orientation. He currently keeps a blog focused on entertainment at http://iamyourtargetdemographic.wordpress.com.  

Monday, July 02, 2012

Memories of Dorm Life

By Jim Silkensen '67

I lived in "Mac" Hall during the 1963/64 school year and the beginning of the 1964/65 school year before moving to the Gamma Sigma house (then on Elm Street).  Things I remember particularly about Mac Hall:
  • The cafeteria was in the basement of Mac Hall (at the base of the main stairway into Mac Hall), as that was before the student center was built - very handy for those of us living there, but without the wider selection of food that was available in the student center once completed.
  • Looking out my window on arrival day as my parents drove away for our home in Denver and feeling very lonely.
  • Having a three person dorm room and one of my roommates frequently coming in with his friends after the other two of us were asleep, putting the lights on and waking us up, making it difficult to get back to sleep.
  • The infirmary was in another section of Mac Hall's basement.  I came down with the flu and was confined in the infirmary when it was announced that President Kennedy had been assassinated.
  • We went through a period when there were a number of middle of the night false alarms (bomb threats I think) - not a lot of fun standing out in rain in pajamas.
  • One afternoon after classes I returned to my room and found my bed covered in shaving cream.  Angry, I asked who had done it and then went to their room and covered the person's bed with toothpaste.  Then found out he was the quarterback of the football team.  Had I known in advance I would have had second thoughts on how I responded.  Fortunately he laughed it off.

 My wife, Candy Silkensen '69, was in Walter Hall.  Some remembrances about Walter Hall:
  •  Walter Hall had very strict rules on when women must be back in the dorm.  We visited Candy's Aunt & Uncle in the hills west of Portland and when we left their home to return to Pacific the road on their hill was slick with snow and we slid into the ditch.  By the time Candy's Uncle pulled us out of the ditch with his Jeep, we were late in getting back to Walter Hall.  As there was no snow at all in Forest Grove, Candy's explanation apparently sounded pretty lame - they had to call Candy's Uncle and get confirmation about what happened.
  • I was pretty shy around girls, but somehow got talked into serenading Walter Hall with two or three Gamma brothers one night.
  • After "pinning" Candy, the Gammas had a very nice evening celebration outside the entrance to Walter Hall for Candy & me, plus two or three other Gammas who had pinned girls who lived in Walter Hall.

    What memories do you have of dorm life at Pacific university? Send your memories as a guest blog post of 400 words to alumni@pacificu.edu along with photos of you living in the dorms!