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One Last Blog…

Hey folks, it’s crunch time for me. Finals week is right around the corner, but I am taking a moment away from studying to write this last entry for you all. What can I say about finals that I’m sure you all do not already know? Not much is my guess. They are not fun. I am not going to sugarcoat anything about it all. I will be spending the next few days as a recluse until I have finished every paper and every exam to my satisfaction. Hopefully it is another semester of good grades, but I will not know until it is all over with. Luckily for me, my professors provide clear grading guidelines so I know where I stand in each of my classes. That does not mean that I will be slacking off at all. Nope. That will not happen. Wish me luck as I try to successfully close out yet another school year.

Recently, one of my professors brought their dog to class. I will not name names here, but it was quite a different environment in the classroom. Going between holding the dog and letting it run loose was enjoyable to watch although a little distracting when it came to learning. It’s not the first time I have had a professor bring a pet to class. I have seen another dog in class as well as a pet tarantula (yikes!). I suppose one could say that every now and then a little change of pace is a good thing.

On to the wide world of sports. Recently the men’s soccer team played a little exhibition game against the Portland Timbers Reserve team here on campus. Of course, I went to watch. Unfortunately our guys lost 3-2 in the end, but hey! only losing by one point and putting two into the back of the net against professional soccer players is quite the accomplishment. Also, it’s sunny and warm which means that baseball season is fully upon us. It has actually been going on for a long time now, but now it is quite enjoyable to watch. Lots of students here go to their games on sunny days and enjoy nine innings of baseball.

Well, that’s a wrap folks. It’s been a great year filled with fun activities, lots of learning, good times with friends, memorable experiences, and wonderful blog entries. I can say with certainty that this year has been my best year in college thus far. But, I know that my senior year will be even better! This summer I will be doing some original research with a professor on campus and I am very excited to begin that project. So, unfortunately there is no time off for me. I hope to see you all around next year and if not good luck wherever you go.


Easter Break to Founder's Day

Hey y'all,

When I was growing up I had always gone to public schools. So, when I arrived at UP and learned that we were granted not just a fall break, not just a Thanksgiving break, not just a winter break, and not just a spring break, but also an Easter break, I thought that it was awesome. Easter break consists of getting Good Friday and Easter Monday off from class – essentially an extended weekend. I spent this time catching up on school work, relaxing, and hiking Silver Creek Falls with my girlfriend, Meme, and my parents. It was an amazing place to see since it consists of 10 waterfalls that one can hike around to in one day (see photo). I love the outdoors and this experience was much needed for me. I would recommend trying to hike and see the Oregon wilderness around Portland in your time at UP.


The other neat thing that happened during Easter Break was that our very own women’s soccer team took the field against Portland’s newest women’s professional soccer team, the Portland Thorns, for a friendly exhibition. The Thorns actually have three former UP athletes on their team! Merlo Field was packed and the people were given quite the game to watch (see photo). Unfortunately, our Pilots lost to the Thorns 2-1 (although it could have easily been 2-2). However, that is very respectable considering the fact that the Thorns are predicted to be the best team in the League. Our girls really held their own against much older and more experienced players. Everyone was proud of their performance and I personally got very excited about the potential of these girls next year. UP is women’s soccer crazy and this shows why. It also helps that we have led the nation in average attendance at women’s soccer games every year since 2005 (wow!).

Much more recently, on a random weekend, I decided to take Meme out on a date to something I enjoy that I would like for her to enjoy too: hockey. I managed to get us seats at the glass (front row) right behind the team bench (see photo). It was an important one too as the Winterhawks were in the playoffs against the best teams in their league. It was quite the experience and I had never sat so close to a hockey game before either. We were able to see every detail: every goal, trip, drop of sweat, and emotion. Unfortunately, we were not able to bang on the glass since we were right behind the team bench. We also enjoyed some wonderful “non-organic and gluten-filled” donuts from the Rose Garden. Luckily, the Winterhawks won 3-0 and we both enjoyed ourselves immensely.

Last big thing, Founder’s Day is coming up here at UP. For some, it is a random Tuesday that they have off from class. But, for others it is the culmination of their academic career. To elaborate, we get this Tuesday off and dozens of presentations are held on campus of students’ capstones, research, and other academic pursuits. All students are encouraged to attend (sometimes required to attend) the presentations to support our peers and celebrate all that they have accomplished.  Founder’s Day is something that I have always looked forward to.

Last time I talked about the election on campus. Unfortunately, I was not the winner and will no longer be able to return to politics. But, that does not mean that I would not encourage you all to get as involved as you can. For me, it is on to bigger and better things now.

Now we are coming down the home stretch and are almost done with the school year. Summer… is… just… so… close. But, between summer and myself is: a quiz, a midterm, four papers, a group project, and two final exams. I hope that I can make it.

I know many of you are receiving college acceptance letters now. Good luck with your decision (hint: UP is the best choice that I have ever made).


Spring Break and Springtime and Walker Is Running for Office?

Hello to all of you readers!

My Spring Break came and went with little to no excitement. Unfortunately for me, I got sick the first day of Spring Break and was not healthy until the last day of Spring Break. That’s life for you. Luckily for me, I did not plan anything extravagant this year. Last year I went to Los Angeles to spend time with my brother and do LA things (which I realize to you people from LA is probably not that exciting, but for me it was). This year, the original plan was Las Vegas, then it was San Diego, and then the final plan was to stay here in Portland and go skiing and visit the coast. As you can gather from my sickness, none of that happened. Like I said, I was lucky to have not been sick somewhere else that I am unfamiliar with. Note that sickness over breaks is not the norm for us young, active, and sleep-deprived college students. I say sleep deprived because studies show that we need at least 9 hours of sleep at our age, while most students probably average considerably lower than that. I would say that I average 7 hours, which I consider alright but not best, and 7 hours is seen as an incredible amount of sleep amongst my peers. That was one long tangent on sleep in a paragraph about Spring Break. Wow! Anyway, thanks to my sickness, I was able to catch up on some of that missed sleep from the first half of the semester. It felt good.

***Warning: Sounders fans might get a bad taste in their mouth reading this next paragraph. But, I promise that it is nothing bad – just a mention of the Portland Timbers, which I know leads to many different discussions about which team’s fans smell worse, which city is the scum of the planet, yadda yadda yadda… I am NOT here to debate those important topics. Let’s move on.***

I will say that I did spend my first night of Spring Break at a Timbers game here in Portland. I sat second row from the field right behind the Timbers bench! I was able to watch the players as they were warming up on the sideline and Timber Joey revved up his chainsaw right in front of me (note: the video in this link is note from the game I attended and is not my property)! I had a great time at the game.


Also of note about Spring Break was that I worked at an event at a Winterhawks (minor league hockey in Portland) and I had the privilege of seeing the, as I call it, “underside” of the Rose Garden Arena. It was pretty neat. I saw the Trail Blazers locker room and the tunnel they walk out of when they take the court (You might notice in the photo posted above of the tunnel that there are seats in the way, this is because the Rose Garden was set up for hockey, not basketball). As well, I saw where they keep all of the extra stuff they have when they change the seating arrangement for different events. It was a completely different experience to see how these big time sporting events are put on from a worker’s perspective instead of as a fan in the stands. This opportunity to learn and connect with people in the professional world was thanks to my work in UP’s athletics department. Thanks UP!

Another sports related note. UP’s women’s soccer team will be playing the Canadian Under-20 National Team and the Portland Thorns (Portland’s new women’s professional soccer team featuring several former UP players and current national team members) right here on campus. And, I get to watch FOR FREE as a student. Wow! This is high quality soccer. I am really excited.

Now it is springtime here at UP, which means that the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. It’s really pretty and nice; especially when the sun comes out. Everyone is out and about enjoying the nicer weather. But, do you know what springtime means? MARCH MADNESS. I filled out my bracket (of course I did) and I picked Indiana to win. We will see how I fair over the next few weeks. I will say that my ability to be productive has decreased exponentially and will not recover until after the Final Four is over.

Last thing, I am currently running to be the ASUP (student government) Vice-President next year. It is taking a lot out of me energy-wise. Hopefully I can engineer a successful campaign with my running mate Gilbert. I would love the opportunity to serve not only the current students here, but YOU future students as well. Wish me luck.

Until next time, get some sleep.


Can We Have Class Outside?


Our weather has been quite fickle lately. But, it is Oregon, so I would not expect any less. We go in between periods of cool drizzle (but not cold) and warm, sunny days. The later of which prompts the obligatory question by students to their professors, “can we have class outside today?” I will say that in my time here at UP I have had my fair share of professors say “no” to this and several who surprised the whole class by saying “yes.” It really depends on what the subject is and what the professor planned on doing that day. If they wanted to use a chalkboard and computer, then you can guarantee that they will want to stay inside. I feel that since it is almost March it is safe for me to say that we didn’t get the usual 1 or 2 days of snow on campus this year that everyone enjoys. That being said, it will probably happen next week just because I mentioned that. Oregon weather can be that way.

Spring Break is coming up soon (thank goodness!) and the only things in the way of me and a week of freedom are midterm exams (no thank you). Being me, I have already freaked out that I will not finish each class at the end of the semester with the grade that I want. It happens every time and I always seem to end up with good grades anyway. A little anxiety is only natural. It’s easy to get worked up about one bad grade on a quiz or something similar, but you have to put it behind you and work through it.

Two extremely stressful things are happening right now on campus: 1) housing selection for next year and 2) registration for next semester’s classes. Housing selection is over and I got the house that I wanted to get. I even left class early to make sure that everything went smoothly. Make the most out of wherever you live on campus and whomever you live with because you have to go home there every day. Me? I am going to be living with the same guy that I lived with for my first two years here. I don’t know how all that roommate pairing business works, but we were paired perfectly. In terms of the registration, I’m not that worried, but I am worried to an appropriate extent. My primary purpose here is to go to school, so I will do whatever it takes to get the classes I need to get – even if it involves pulling the old “I need this to graduate” card (it works like a charm when you are an upperclassman).

Speaking of graduation, I am one year away from it. It’s time to start getting serious about my future after UP: graduate school. I have been spending an inordinate amount of time trying to research universities that have the program and research that I want. Let me tell you that it is not easy. Many grad schools have Ph.D. programs in economics, but very few are doing research in the area I would like to pursue. It’s like trying to find my dream school all over again. Will it be Duke? Cal-Berkeley? Penn? Michigan? Clemson? Vanderbilt? Oregon? Notre Dame? Princeton? Harvard? Brown? Michigan State?  The list goes on... Aside from choosing to come to UP, this will be the biggest decision of my life. It’s important that I take my time and put in the effort to do it right. Just in the same way that you all are tying to decide where to spend the next four years of your lives, I am trying to decide again where I will spend the next 4-6 of mine.

I also have not mentioned sports yet… I already bought tickets to my first Timbers game this year. I cannot wait. More on that in the next blog.


The Big 2-1 and the Occasional Boredom

Hey readers,

I would be a poor blogger if I were to turn 21 in the middle of my junior year of college (the biggest birthday you will have in college) and not write about it. A poor blogger I am not… I think. I guess that it is kind of a big deal. That is what people tell me. I have not been big on my birthday since elementary school and that was because it was essentially required for there to be a birthday party at school back then. Turning 18 was nice and all. Thanks for the ability to vote, be drafted, tried as an adult in a court of law, and all that. It’s real nice. But, turning 21 is certainly the next big step in ascension to the adult world.

What did I do? I started off my evening by going to Portland City Grill with my girlfriend, Meme. Tangent: go there sometime while you are a student at UP. Yes. It is nearly impossible to afford on a college student budget, but it is worth a try at least once. I mean, hey!, dinner on the 30th story of one of the tallest buildings in Portland with a window seat? Yes, please! Anyway, here is a picture of the view that we had from our table.

After that I had a get together with some friends at my place. Nothing big, but it was nice to have the company. Surprisingly, I have still not been to a bar. I am surprisingly not in a rush to either. When it happens, it will happen. I just now realized that I forgot to go to Dutch Bros. coffee because they give you free coffee on your birthday. Darn it! Next time.

On a completely unrelated note… I thought that I should mention that you occasionally have moments of boredom while in college. Maybe not enough time to engage in an activity but too much to sit around a do nothing moments. We have all been there and if you say otherwise then you are lying. The other day I was experiencing one of these moments in between my studies. Mind you, I have no clue where this came from, but I spontaneously decided to go to Fred Meyer, buy a coconut, and crack it perfectly in half. It is possible because 1) I found a YouTube video explaining how to do it and 2) I did it (see photo for evidence). I had never tried that before and lo and behold thanks to the glory of the supermarket I can by coconuts in winter in non-tropical climates. So, now I have done that. College is filled with these moments and that is what can make it fun sometimes.

I apologize for the instagram-ed-ness of the photo. I did not take it. I am not really a social media junkie if you cannot tell...

On a serious note… As you all finish submitting applications, begin to receive acceptance letters, and finally make decisions, understand this: college is what you make of it. You can have fun, make lasting friendships, and learn at any college. If you go enroll in a college with a negative attitude about it, then you will probably have a bad time. Open minds people. For example: don’t see the club you want at UP? Come here and start the club! Your attitude and actions makes all the difference.

Real talk.


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Hello! My name is Walker Ross and I went to South Medford High School down there in Medford, Oregon.  I am a junior here and am majoring in Environmental Ethics and Policy with minors in Spanish and Economics. In my free time (when I am not studying) I try to keep myself busy by staying involved in campus activities like the working for our Division I athletics department, Water Polo club, and blogging about my life here, among other things. My two favorite activities to do here at UP are to go to soccer and basketball games or to go exploring around Portland. But, by exploring Portland I mean that you would probably find me at a Trail Blazers or Timbers game. I am an unapologetic sports fan and will talk endlessly about it to anyone that will listen. My teams that I faithfully follow no matter how badly their seasons are going are the Portland Pilots, Timbers, and Trail Blazers and the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings. After I graduate, I would like to attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D.