An abundantly read copy off Tuesdays With Morrie rests on the end table in her colorful and eccentric apartment. A pair of hiking boots and bike sit by the door. Paintings hang on the wall, accompanied by photographs of places she’d like to visit.
She wears a green apron and makes a chai latte. She shouts orders through an animated grin. She laughs behind the counter with a co-worker.
She also must find time to read. And to take pictures. And to paint and draw. And to be outside.
Her love for the outdoors is why it might surprise some that MacDonald chose to come to the U of O after growing up in central and southern California. Born in Clovis, MacDonald and family made their way through the sunny state, moving to Fresno, and then to Temecula.
She remembers a particularly special memory from her time in Fresno:
“During the summer after third grade, all of our parents let us do a ‘sleepover week,’” MacDonald says. “There were seven of us that lived on the same street, and we got to have a sleepover every night for one week at a different house. After one sleepover, we’d pack up our little bags and move to the next house. It was great.”
In addition to spending time with friends, MacDonald enjoyed school and extracurricular activities.
“Growing up, I was the type of kid who liked going to school,” MacDonald says. “I was always really involved with things like school fundraisers, carnivals, playing on different sports teams, and being on Honor Roll.”
And she’s kept up this enthusiasm and desire to keep busy throughout high school and college.
In high school, MacDonald played softball, was a Peer Leader, and the school newspaper editor.
Now, she works 20 hours a week in addition to her schoolwork.
“Working as much as I do actually helps me stay balanced with my schoolwork,” MacDonald says. “It forces me to have time constraints, which ends up forcing me to get stuff done.”
“Heather is one of my favorite people at work,” Jessica Cope, MacDonald’s co-worker, says. “She’s always willing to help you out, whether it’s work-related or not.”
MacDonald says her main motivation to stay focused is “to remember what is being sacrificed for me so that I can go to school here.” Between MacDonald and her mother, they make up the sole sources of money for her out-of-state tuition.
Then, why leave California for Eugene, Oregon?
“I knew I didn’t want to go to school in California,” MacDonald says. “I spent my whole life there, and as much as I loved it, I wanted to try something new. U of O had everything I wanted—a beautiful campus, lots of school spirit, a good football team, a good art
department, great weather, and it was close to one of my favorite cities: Portland.”
She eventually would like to use her love for art and travel to become a photographer for National Geographic, which explains her desire to also major in Anthropology.
“I want to travel to as many countries as I can and document the lives of different cultures,” MacDonald says.
She’s working toward that goal now with a predominately art-based schedule. With such a hectic agenda, MacDonald tries to keep a pretty consistent routine.
“On a typical day,” MacDonald says, “I wake up, get ready, make a quick breakfast, bike to campus”—She doesn’t mind the ride from her home in Jefferson Westside Neighbors to campus, biking being a passion of hers—“go to class, work, bike home, do my homework, make dinner, hang out with my roommate, my boyfriend or some friends, and go to sleep. Repeat.”
Take a breath.
“I’ve never met someone so concentrated on her goals for the day, yet so driven in her goals for the future,” Jeff Richen, another of MacDonald’s co-workers, says.
MacDonald focuses on her daily routine now, but bigger ambitions await her.
“My biggest goal has always been never to settle,” MacDonald says. “I don’t want to have a job that I hate, but stay with just because it pays the bills. I would rather do what I love and live minimally than waste my time with something that doesn’t fulfill me.”
“I don’t plan on having any children, so I would like to give back to the world in other ways like doing something significant in community service or maybe joining the Peace Corps.”
“I want to always be thought of as a loyal friend and someone who puts others before herself.”
“It is one of my biggest goals to travel to as many places as possible,” MacDonald says. “There is so much in the world that I want to see.”
It looks like her future agenda will be quite full, too.