FRESHMAN FOCUS: Adam Ketchum, ’16, ‘keeps Portland weird’ by joining inner tube water polo at UP

(Photo used by permission of Ketchum)
Adam Ketchum, ’16, holds a few boxes of doughnuts outside of Voodoo Doughnut.

Adam Ketchum, ’16, attends University of Portland. He is majoring in biology and minoring in business.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: Basic biology, general chemistry, theology, philosophy and economics.

Q: How big are your classes?

A: They range from 40-50 people.

Q: Do you like the sizes of your classes?

A: Yeah, I would say so. You can’t just zone out, and it’s easier to stay engaged.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: I don’t really like any of my classes because they are pre-requirement classes that I have to take to get to other classes that I’m interested in. But if I had to choose one, it would be biology.

Q: Least favorite?

A: Definitely chemistry. My professor gives us a lot of work. I probably get around 18-24 hours of chemistry homework a week because I have four homework assignments, pre-lab and post-lab work. In general, I get around 30 hours (of homework) per week, so the majority definitely comes from chemistry.

Q: What are your professors like?

A: My Modern Western Civilization teacher was a real ass. He graded everything extremely hard for no reason, and his lectures had nothing to do with the papers that were due. It was a lot of extra reading that didn’t correspond with lecture. Most students got a C in the class.

Q: Have you participated in any traditions?

A: I don’t know if we really have any traditions, but every year, at the first soccer game, my dorm always goes shirtless. I’m not really sure how it was started, but it’s lots of fun. My dorm does it for pretty much all of our home games. I  participated in that this year.

Q: Have you participated in clubs or extracurriculars?

(Photo used by permission of Ketchum)
Adam Ketchum, ’16, (front row, third from the left) participates in his dorm’s tradition of attending the university’s first soccer game shirtless.

A: I participated in water polo this year. It is actually inner tube water polo, so we play water polo in inner tubes. It’s lots of fun, and I am just starting my second season of it this quarter. I never played real water polo, so I assume it’s a lot less work, but the inner tubes make it a lot more challenging to block goals and move around. It is less aggressive because of the tubes, and the refs don’t allow much contact. I’m not as good as the other kids on my team who played water polo, so I’d say I’m average, except I’m a really fast inner tuber. We play other teams that students make up at UP (University of Portland).

Q: Did you transition well?

A: There is definitely a big difference, but freshman year, most professors make it easier on you and are more understanding, at least at my college. It’s not too big of a jump for me, so I would say that I transitioned pretty well.

Q: What is the overall attitude of the student body?

A: Generally pretty studious. There are partiers, as there are at every school, but we are generally academic people.

Q: How do you get around?

A: On campus I just walk, but if I go to the city or something, I use public transportation.

Q: What is Portland like?

A: The whole city is very accessible to us. It’s pretty much normal city life. I go to the city as often as I can, which is about one-to- three times a week.

(Photo used by permission of Ketchum)
Adam Ketchum, ’16, (front row, right) with his inner tube water polo team after a game.

As for the people, it’s an extremely liberal and friendly atmosphere and definitely gives off an independent vibe. Portland is as weird as it’s portrayed in “Portlandia” to an extent. Most of the crazy people are homeless or street vendors or performers. I’ve had homeless people ask me and my friends to “smoke meth and make out,” “join an orgy” or “cool wild mushrooms” in Forest Park, which is a big park on the outskirts of Portland that is really just a forest they call a park.

As for events, I have been to a couple plays, some concerts, joined an underwear run in the snow for a couple of blocks and just other events that appear in Pioneer Square. We also have a thing called Saturday Market, which is a place to get food almost every weekend. Portland is a huge foodie place, so I don’t really repeat places I eat at much, but my favorite place to eat is on a block where the whole lot is surrounded by food carts. It’s down the street from the nation’s largest male underwear store, which is also where I get my hair cut, so I frequent that area a lot.

Q: What is your dorm like?

A: It is a pretty big all-male dorm. I live in a triple, and it’s pretty spacious. They are very nice dorms compared to others on campus. It’s the oldest dorm on campus and was originally for priest housing, making it one of the biggest. It was also just redone, so the dorm feels newer than the others.

Q: How are your roommates?

A: I have two roommates, and I’d say we work pretty well together. I like my roomates a lot, but I wouldn’t say we’re good friends. I’ve gone downtown and hung out with them, but we mostly do our own thing and only see each other in the dorm.

Q: What’s the weather like?

A: It has actually been sunny for the past few days, which is pretty rare. Other than that it has been snowing and raining. It’s not particularly enjoyable, but it’s something I’ve adapted to.

Q: Has the college lived up to your expectations so far?

A: It has. I was expecting more free time and freedom in college, and I have definitely received that.

Q: What is your favorite thing about University of Portland?

A: They have an event every Wednesday called Espresso UP, where they hand out free coffee and espressos.  

(Photo used by permission of Ketchum)
Adam Ketchum, ’16, (front row, second from right) attends the carnival Riverboat on Sept. 2. The carnival featured food carts, games, live music, photo booths and henna tattoos.

Q: What don’t you like about UP?

A: To me, it is kind of irrelevant that we are a Catholic college. I’m required to take theology, but other than that, I don’t involve myself with anything else related to the school’s Catholic religion. I wouldn’t say that I don’t like the Catholic religion at my school; it’s kind of irrelevant to me. Mostly, I just don’t like the theology requirement.

Q: What makes your school unique?

A: We are a smaller, Catholic college located in a more liberal city, which allows for a unique mix of character. They balance each other out.

Q: Do you have any funny stories from college so far?

A: Most of the funny stories I can think of revolve around parties, which probably isn’t the best for this interview, but the one PG story I can think of was when me and my friends stole about 13 bananas and ended up on our school banana fan Instagram account (@up bananas).

Q: What is your advice for the class of 2017?

A: Get to know your campus if you can. I spent the night at two colleges that I was seriously considering, St. Mary’s and UP, and after staying at each college, there was clearly a better fit for me. They looked the same on paper, but when I visited St. Mary’s, I saw so many raccoons and got hissed at by some that were blocking the staircase I wanted to use. So I chose the campus with less raccoons. This helped make my decision much easier.

By Bri Davies

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