About rtanoue

Hey! I'm Rachel Tanoue, a biology major neuroscience and bioethics emphasis in my sophomore year here at Puget Sound! I come from Aiea Heights, Hawaii (island: Oahu) & am super excited to live in the NorthWest! I'm a coxswain on the UPS men's varsity crew team, Hui O Hawaii member, Secretary on ASUPS Senate, a Theta & a Cellar-ite! Puget Sound offers so many opportunities in Tacoma, the surrounding areas, the academic community and in everyone else who calls themself a logger, I'm so excited to share all my thoughts and adventures with you! #oncealogger #alwaysalogger

How to do Homework

You’d think after four years of college and four years of high school I’d learn the best way to do homework but you’d be wrong. I think every student ever can tell you we know procrastination all too well. I may not be the BEST study/homework doing person but I think most of my friends can say it too, we’re still learning how to do homework.

In high school,  I don’t remember much about homework except them telling us “in college there is very little homework, heavy on the exams and papers with NO make-ups”. Well, from personal experience I can confidently say it differs everywhere. The different departments and professors all have their own philosophies about how much homework, review sessions, group work, presentations, paper drafts and dropped homework/exams or revisions to work you can make. The profs at UPS are great at communicating these expectations but be warned you shouldn’t EXPECT for the homework to be easy, for the professors to give you the answers when you ask for help or for revisions and opportunities to “bump up your grade”. The professors are willing to work WITH you to make sure YOU understand, really encouraging you to put in the work.

As a senior I have a better grasp of hwo to read between the lines and write out all my assignments to see what times are going to be busy but even when I do that I’m still in a dilemma about  how and when to do my work. As a science major a majority of my classes are lecture-based with note-taking and problems to solve and understand the connectiosn to be evaluated on the exams and actual lab work. I’m completely used to this style of learning, however this year with more freedom I’m taking courses leaning towards social sciences and upper level biology with discussions, readings and papers. It’s in these situations I’m unsure: should I keep doing work when I have free time and plan ahead on the weekend or a day or two before and potentially not fully remember everything recently in class or bunch up my work after my long days of class, work and meetings? I don’t have an answer for you, and I don’t know what answer you would give but I think it differs for everyone. A P&G or psychology major might be more comfortable with the readings heavy workload and know how to better balance it (And their print green) but I’m still getting used to it.

I think the lesson learned and lesson to stick to is: do your homework, however you feel most comfortable and prepared for class and learning the material.



SAT, ACT, MCAT, GRE, LSAT, EE, and other confusing acronyms that determine our future.

Foreword: In reflection of finals, the real world, grades, achievements and moving through life

The word assessments, its synonyms and examples often strike dread, nerves and other not so happy or bright thoughts. Yet it doesn’t occur to use to question the methods of assessments. “Why must we be given assessments?” “To assess your learning and understanding” Ah okay that makes sense. But then the next question we should ask is “How well do the assessments accurately reflect our learning?” And that is a question that can vary from person to person. Especially in today’s society we understand everyone if unique, and conforming standards can affect our personality and emotions.


T-town at Night

It’s pretty crazy to me to think my third year at Puget Sound is coming to a close and that I turned 21 last week! I’ve definitely learned and explored more of Tacoma the longer I’ve been here and I know the student hotspots: Silk Thai, Trappers, the Met, and Rosewood Cafe to name a few close by, but I didn’t realize how much more there was to explore until I turned 21!

I think it’s pretty safe to say Tacoma is a 21 & up town, there are so many restaurants with bars, regular bars, wine bars, and beer tasting around to go out too. And everyone knows happy hour is the best! It’s not about drinking alcohol but seeing what dinner and late night options are aailable out there. Many alums will fondly remember Masa but since it’s closed down there are new places to go on 6th such as Marrow, the always classic DOA (Dirty Oscars’ Annex), Red Hot or the rowdy O’Malley’s to name a few. There’s even the boozy shakes at Shake Shake Shake that can be given a try! Or the 50% off EVERYTHING happy hour at the Ram down Ruston Way, good puu’puus (appetizers\snacks) at the Hub or the Rock with their buckets!

With summer upon us, which you couldn’t tell today since it started at low 50’s, the days are getting longer with the sun out later leaving the afternoon and evening wonderful to explore Tacoma and see what’s out there! There’s probably many great places to try out there!

Food Independence

This past Martin Luther King Jr’s Day at the beginning of the semester I volunteered at HUG-Hilltop Urban Gardens Food Soverignty project with my Theta sisters. We got to hear the vision of Dean, who wanted to create a community-based and independent system of creating a space to grow food, tend to the plants and share food ideas with everyone pitching in what they can: recipes, gardening time, land plots in front of their houses, etc.

That was especially meaningful for me as a student worker in our Dining & Conference Services on campus and for the fact I do not have a meal plan and have been shopping, planning and cooking my own meals (mostly!).

The Traveling Bug

Are bugs good? Well I think there’s a whole lot of agree to disagree about it, and I’d say the same goes for the traveling bug. This weekend I went to the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference in Cleveland, OH and allow me to share with you, it’s not a popular travel option and involves multiple stops and layovers. There are no direct flights from SEA-TAC to CLE so we had our pick of Chicago, Indianapolis, Phoenix, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Atlanta, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas. Now for those of you with a pretty good idea about American geography, you’ll know that some of these layover locations are nowhere near Cleveland, in the wrong direction or completely past Cleveland, yes but those were the options available. This also opened up a variety of airlines to fly because none was superior and all flew all over the place.

Luckily, or unuluckily  so for us a desire to attend the Friday evening keynote speaker meant leaving Tacoma at 4AM to get to our 6:30AM flight and we would arrive in Cleveland at 3:30PM. We decided to fly through Chicago Midway (not O’Hare) and quickly discovered there was more to learn! From Seattle to Chicago we switched time zones and from Chicago to Cleveland we switched another again! We were now in Eastern time, 3 hours ahead of the Pacific Time we were familiar with. Flying messes with your brain, honestly I didn’t know how long we were in the air, how far we were traveling, where we were, what was personal space and how do you occupy oneself squeezed into a prone uncomfortable chair for multiple hours? It made for an interesting day of flying, enhanced more so by it was my first time flying Southwest and across the midwest!

As a Hawaii gal, I’ve only ever really flown Hawaiian Airlines and been in a flying culture very similar to hawaii with welcome smiles, guava juice to drink and meals during mealtimes, but other airlines are not like Hawaiian Air. We flew Southwest this time. First, southwest- you’d think then that this airline would fly to the southern and western-most state of America aka hawaii, but it doesn’t. That doesn’t make that much sense to me. Anyway what surprised me is that Southwest’s fight costs INCLUDE two free checked bags (which we didn’t need only going away for the weekend but that’s a major perk I think!) and no fees to change flights! Beyond that Southwest doesn’t assign seats or charge you for where and what kind of seat you want, instead you buy your ticket and the time you check in determines where you are in line to boarding the plane to select your seat! That was novel to me! And there are no guarantees maybe everyone wants a middle seat, or there’s a big group that wants to sit together in the back or so many babies, or that you may even be able to sit with your group if you checked in at different times.

Overall it was an interesting travel experience, even more so flying back to the PNW and feeling three hours ahead but today’s a Monday so no rest for me, it’s another school day!


The Motivation Struggle (also known as spring\summer at the Puge)

IT’S HERE! THE SUN! The long forgotten and hidden huge orb of energy in the sky! And despite being an enourmously (1.41×1018 km) large star and source of energy, here at Puget Sound the awareness and shining of the Sun often saps the energy of college students! As far as I can remember March is pretty awesome because it has spring break (but alternately awful because midterms) and April is a pretty gloomy month for students, I mean “April showers bring may flowers” but so far we haven’t got any of that! The sun and summer and warmth of May has already emerged in the last week of March! What is this?

So many bathing suits come out, sunbathing on Todd Field, couches, blankets and picnics appear, the academic buildings are hauntingly empty and stifling (that heat yo)

Learning to Ace Rejection

So, rejection. It’s something everyone has to deal with at some point, your experiences probably include not getting picked first for teams at PE (unless you always were then wow) or not receiving an award at the end of your baseball\soccer\basketball\volleyball team banquet. And let’s not forget college “you had an amazing application but there were so many and we had to make some tough decisions to narrow down the pool” letters! But you’ve gone through life seemingly well and all those rejections from your youth seem like little things of the past, those temper tantrums afterwards small in your mind. And no one talks about or seems to think about how rejection is not a thing of the past, and it never will be.

In college, I feel like any type of rejection is more harsh, more real and more sad. Maybe it’s just me but how do you really deal with rejection? Our society has taught us that to succeed is everything, it’s the American Dream. What are you if you’re not succeeding? But the flipside to that is you can never succeed if you never try and along the way there will be rejection and failures and that will make you stronger, better and a humble person. There are so many things that you won’t know about rejection: maybe the other person had the perfect credentials to get the position, opportunity, job, or career. It’s probably nothing personal against you, and its a step in your path to figuring out your life and will allow another opportunity to come. At the same time, you need to be honest with yourself, did you give everything possible to put the best of yourself out there?

What’s your team?

Loggers are from all over the nation, and world actually. And sometimes we forget where our friends are from, EXCEPT during sports seasons, and there’s always a sport in season, and that can identify where someone is from as well! In the fall, baseball is all abuzz, with many sweatshirts flashing SF Giants especially. And I know based on my Facebook feed and the plethora of students from the Bay Area, that 2016 is an EVEN YEAR, that black and orange are great colors and this year could be the year again. The Giants fans are most definitely the loudest and proudest on our campus. Basketball has a small but tight loyal following, guys mostly watch in their dorm lounges on weeknights instead of wearing jerseys or team swag out, but I know they’re out there especially Golden State fans.

Hockey is a lesser recognized sport, but popular anyway with the proud Chicagoans showing up with their jerseys and Blackhawks knowledge, especially with last year’s Stanley Cup in hand. There’s one guy in particular who always comes into the Cellar durin season to watch the games on our TV! Another less popular sport is football, I mean soccer. While soccer is not that big in the States, men and women; the international draw is definitely there. I’ve seen many Real Madrid fans sporting Ronaldo jerseys, or Brazil fans with Neymar jerseys, and I know of one friend who’s a die-hard Mexico and FC Barcelona fan. And as a huge soccer fan myself (alas I don’t own any jerseys but ask any of my friends or I about USWNT we’ll talk your ear off!) I know soccer fans are some of the craziest in the world and I am constantly amazed by the game, I can’t wait until the rest of America is just as captivated (which let me tell you, we’re just about. More people watching our US Women’s National Team win the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup than any other televised soccer or national sporting competition!)

By far, and I mean by far, football of course has the loudest fans, and these fans really know their stuff! Of course being in Washington the Seahawks fans are everywhere in the staff, faculty, and students too! #BlueFriday is definitely a thing with Seahawks jerseys abounding everywhere in season. And I’m definitely sure there were a few bandwagoners when the Seahawks won their first SuperBowl and were stoked about the second, but f anything these Washingtonians are die-hards and the 12s are still loud and proud. Broncos fans are the next most popular and visible with orange and blue jerseys were out and about every game day. Despite the pounding they received two years, they were always positive going into this year, and with the win were overjoyed (I saw many happy crying snapchats, that I wish I had saved but alas I don’t). And there are a few daring Patriots fans who dared show their faces and swag around campus last year after they won!

The professional teams people tells me a lot about where that person is from, or about their family to be raised as a fan. And how your friends without teams (like myself) can still get sucked into the fandoms and watching sports.

The Puget Sound Bubble

It’s a thing. Students can be caught in the Puget Sound bubble, and it’s definitely where I’ve been, it’s already WEEK SEVEN OF THIS SEMESTER, like that’s crazy! Spring break starts next Friday! Midterms! Half a semester gone! I would say I don’t know where it went but when I look back, I totally do.

The spring semester is always more busy, harder classes (building upon material often learned in the fall), more life (because spring so people want to do more things), and looking forward to summer break (how can you not?). For Greeks, the semester starts off with a bang with formal recruitment which is a long but exciting process and then you get your new members and are thrilled to get to know them and go on coffee dates and then you get littles (or grand littles, or great grand littles, whereever you are in the familial line)! And while you’re caught up in all that excitement you still have your classes and extracurriculars! The first exams and papers due came and went and since all classes are on different schedules than there is likely no more free weeks, every week there’s some discussion, paper, lab write-up, proposal, draft, quiz, exam or something going on that you keep preparing for before moving on to the next one! Often you’re so busy trying to do those things and preparing for the next thing that you don’t have much time to yourself to think big picture-do I like my classes, should I explore this weekend, where I am I going with my major and life? It’s not to say that we as students don’t go out and party, or watch netflix or go out to eat because we do, but its often slipped in between everything else that we don’t notice the time passing by.

It’s crazy for me to look back on now, I’ve accomplished so much this semester and there’s still so much to go! April is literally the busiest month of the year for students, no one would refute that! And sometimes I wish I could go back and take a break, and think about how blessed I am to be able to have this busy life and a superb education that will hopefully guide me into the future. But for now, I have to get back to work on revising this proposal! xP

Happy Lunar New Year

As a Chinese-American I’ve celebrated the lunar new year, or in my personal case Chinese New Year every year in some manner. My family has our own ways of celebrating, by eating mooncake from Eastern Bakery (in San Francisco, which we always ship to Hawaii because it’s the best!), making and eating gau (chinese mochi, no dates for us those are nasty), other treats such as almond cookies (my dad’s fave!) and peanut sticky candy and a full chinese family dinner. Since this is my third year at the University of Puget Sound, it’s also my third year without many of these traditions my family has. And while that’s sad it’s also a reality check, when I graduate I probably won’t be moving home and continuing life as I did for the first 18 years of my life. I’ll be on my own, making friends and community, starting my own cultural traditions and life. But thats a thought to continue in one and a half years (when I graduate).

For now, the sub and DCS respect and support the lunar new year tradition along with other cultural signifigant events and dates with special dishes. For this year they prepared good luck rice cake soup, cucumber kimchee and fortune cookies. While these aren’t the traditions I’m famililar with they may be home-y and comforting to others who also celebrate the Lunar New Year such as Koreans, Vietnamese, Chinese and other east asian countries that follow the lunar calendar. It’s a reminder that people celebrate their culture differently everywhere and it’s adapted and grown over time beyond the countries they originated in, which is a really cool thing to think about.

chinese new year


For me, celebrating Chinese New Year away from home means awaiting goodies from my other Chinese (and from Hawaii) friends, some of whom made almond cookies, others who their grandma (or in cantonese, po-po) sent up homemade gau to enjoy. This year some friends and I decided to participate in the Tacoma tradition of hunting for monkeyshines. 13th years ago a group of local glass-blowing artists were feeling gloomy as the winter weather can make us feel and decided to spread some light and love in the spirit of the chinese new year and created glass baubles as cups, ornaments, balls, medallions and more all stamped with the zodiac (in that year the monkey) and hid them all over Tacoma. Flash-forward to the present, many people of Tacoma are out and about early (like 4am early) on Chinese New Year to find these hidden monkeyshines (named after the first zodiac year and the shine of the glass) all around Tacoma in front yards, Old Town, the waterfront (and actually in the water!), parks, bushes, anywhere you could think to spread the good spirit and excitement. When my friends and I ventured out we ran into other young 20-year old people, families with children, adults, elderly people and more all wandering Tacoma in the dark with flashlights looking for these magical treats. While we didn’t find anything yesterday morning, we definitely bonded over the excitement, searching, cold weather (mid-30s), and meeting other searchers. And although we only found a few trinkets and marbles, we are even more excited and determined to find monkeyshines next year!


Happy Lunar New Year! Gong Hey Fat Choi!