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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 33 min 43 sec ago

How to rent a $160 textbook for $47

August 11, 2014 - 2:37pm

By: Marilynn Sandoval

At last, summer term classes are almost wrapping up. One thing that has always bothered me, and I’m sure other students as well, is the price of college textbooks,  especially when summer classes are extremely short and we use these books for only a few weeks.

This summer I have a required textbook that costs about $160 to buy new and about $87 to rent. As you can see, this is quite an expensive book. Looking through Amazon, Chegg, and other miscellaneous websites can sometimes be helpful in finding a cheaper book, but that requires waiting for the textbook to arrive to your home.

Here’s a neat money-saving trick I found: Portland State Bookstore, owned by Neebo Inc., has a best price promise guarantee. In other words, if we show the bookstore a lower price from either a local bookstore or online accredited retailer, they pledge to beat the price by 10 percent. I did this and was able to rent  my $160 book for $47, and I didn’t have to wait for my copy in the mail.

I completely suggest this method if you want to save some cash! Do you guys have any other ways to save money on books that you would like to share?


Permanent change from temporary work

August 6, 2014 - 11:23pm

By: Sharon Jackson

Anxiously awaiting to embark on my grand excursion to England in a few weeks, I have taken up a few temp jobs this summer. What I absolutely love about temp work is that you could call it a “paid internship.” Temp jobs are a fantastic opportunity to work, gain valuable skills, and begin potentially beneficial relationships at various businesses, non-profits, etc. in the Portland metro area – and believe me, they pay decently too. Nonetheless, there are the occasional experiences that can change your perspective of the world.

I recently spent a week at Neighborhood House, a non-profit that helps families facing hunger and homelessness by providing food, shelter, distributing grants toward rent or energy bills, and school programs for underprivileged children. It is nothing less than despairing to be enduring times like these. I know as I once lived out of my car for eight months with little work and hardly enough money for food. The people seeking assistance at the Neighborhood House should be frustrated, and rightly so. However, most people had their electricity shut off and others were there for food, but everyone held onto their hope and had a sense of humanity. These people were giving up their chairs for one another, listening for others numbers to be called for their appointments, and when they were given food or enough money to turn their electricity back on, they were extremely grateful and thanked us profusely.

What I love about temp jobs such as this one is the joy I feel for helping people in need, and the joy I feel seeing hope alive in humanity. The money is a delightful bonus, as any college student can comprehend, but it is the experiences that weigh-in the most.


A bloody good summer

June 5, 2014 - 1:31pm

More power to those who are on the fearless fast track towards graduation by taking accelerated courses over the summer! But for me, I am in much need of some relaxed summer time off and re-energizing before another rewarding school year at PSU. Not all of us who are taking off these few months when the sun shines its best over the world, will be motionless. I, for instance, will be obtaining a summer “education” through my experience traveling to unseen [for me] parts of the world.

The last two weeks of August, my boyfriend and I are spending our time bouncing back and forth between the coasts of England. On my first trip across the pond, we will be visiting my boyfriend’s grandfather near London for his 80th birthday [merely conversing with him will be an English history lesson in itself]. In the seaside village of Churston Ferrers, we will explore the Churston Court Inn, a proper English pub that Sir Walter Raleigh would frequent, and we will visit the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where the nineteenth-century literary family, the Brontës, resided. Nevertheless, England has a special significance for me, as it is where my father and mother met and married. I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to know something of their England.

So tell me, what sort of “educational” experience are you going to have this summer?


Eat like a caveman, become lean like caveman?

June 4, 2014 - 9:36am

By Mario Quintana

The definition of a diet, according to Merriam-Webster, means food and drink regularly provided or consumed, habitual nourishment, or the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason. And for many, that special reason is to lose weight for a specific occasion or for their health. Some will try numerous diets and various exercise regimens to accomplish said goal. A few months ago, I jumped on the bandwagon and started the paleo diet in order to lean out.

Simply described, the paleo diet uses the logic that our ancestors only had access to meat, eggs, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fats from some of these these sources. Therefore, it excludes agricultural productions such as grains, dairy, legumes, refined salt, refined sugar, potatoes, and processed oils from one’s diet. At first glance, the paleo diet makes sense and even more so here in Portland. One month into the diet, I noticed a change in weight. However, I soon began to continuously feel lethargic, exhausted, and weak.

The paleo diet reasons that by consuming little to no carbohydrates, the body will naturally use up all the stored fat one has for energy. You lose weight and become lean like our ancestors were. However, there is no substantial evidence to support that our ancestors followed this diet. Up to 60% of the paleo diet heavily focuses on eating meat and fats. That percentage is simply too high for the average sedentary person, even for those who exercise, and even for world-class athletes. As for the weight that I lost, and much to my dismay, most of it turned out to be mostly muscle.

Eating healthy and exercising daily may be hard to start for many, but perhaps what’s even worse is doing both based on fads or what’s popular. In other words, one needs to research scientifically peer reviewed information on nutrition and kinesiology to understand the human body to successfully change it and maintain it. For those interested, I suggest reading Dr. T. Colin Campbell ‘s research.


Grand Master Jenna: From graduation to job applications

June 3, 2014 - 5:47pm

by Jenna Rae Tucker

Well here we go again, graduation time. This time it is with a master’s degree.

You know what that means? JOB APPLICATIONS! Hooray. That was sarcasm. If you didn’t read it snarkily in your head, go back and read it again. Filling out applications is the worst. How awesome should I say I am? How do I appear super confident but moldable at the same time? Is there a way to convey that I know everything but also need, and am open to, learning new skills? Filling out applications is on par with networking. If you need a refresher on why networking is evil, please click here:

Now, I have a whole application process. First, I think about the time I just spent getting a degree and only apply for jobs that I REALLY want. I am about to be a Master, people should be elated to even RECEIVE my application. Then, when I don’t hear back from anyone, I start applying for anything that is full time and could be considered related to communication. When that also fails, I get super anxious and apply for anything that will throw money at me in exchange for a service…okay, not ANYTHING and also not throwing, but you get the point.

What makes this whole thing even worse is that I am applying for jobs in LA since my dumb boyfriend lives there. EVERYONE WANTS TO WORK IN LA! Not only that, but applying out of state is the pits. Grrr. I hope this whole getting-a-master’s thing wasn’t a mistake. Come on future, go ahead and get brighter.


The PSU Mobile App – A Must Have!

May 28, 2014 - 11:45am

The PSU mobile app (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akLmhal0n-c)  is a one-stop shop for your PSU needs and a must have. The free app has extensive features, including a campus directory, event and listing calendars, library services and various other useful information for students, faculty, staff, alumni and visitors.

The features that I use the most are news, photos and the library services. They are cool and here’s why.

News: I get to know the latest happenings at PSU via the news feature. Updated almost on a daily basis, the news feature highlights some of the cool events that are due in the coming days.

Photos: The photo feature enables me to breathe PSU because it sources information from “PSU on Instagram” and categorizes photos under “This year at PSU”, “Best of Portland State” and “Campus Life.” I get the sense of belonging to PSU as I see the happy faces featured every day in the photo gallery, making me happy to be a part of the university.

Library services: The library feature, although not completely integrated into the PSU mobile app, is another cool feature. It lets you book a study room directly from the app—a must for dead week— and also enables catalog searches for information.

PSU is big and I do get lost at times. Thanks to the maps feature in the mobile app, I am able to locate the building that I am looking for fairly easily. The feature tracks your location and helps navigate through the university.

The D2L integration is the next thing due for the mobile app, but it does have enough cool features to make it worth it for your mobile. Have you downloaded the mobile app?

-Guru

 


Summer vacation? No, not really.

May 15, 2014 - 6:50pm

If you haven’t noticed by now I am the girl on the summer session posters being plastered around campus and the streetcars. I feel lucky to have been chosen as the face of summer session, but I probably won’t be smiling as much during the summer as I am in those posters.

I have mixed emotions about taking summer courses, mostly because I haven’t before. It’s the first time I’m not going home for the summer, and there will be more stress in taking a shorter class that consists of only a couple of weeks rather than 10.

However, summer registration has already begun, and I got all the classes I wanted. I am excited for the empty chairs in the library that will be available once most of the students go off on vacation. And luckily, my husband will be by my side taking classes as well.

Why am I taking summer courses? I’m trying to fulfill my minor requirements, so I can finish that part of my education and focus on my major, the real reason I am here. Crossing my fingers that it will help me graduate earlier than I thought.

So, classmates, what kind of advice do you have for a first-time summer student?

 

Link for more information on summer session: http://www.pdx.edu/summer/


Adult Size Peer Pressure

May 15, 2014 - 4:24pm

By: Sharon Jackson

With the dawn of warmer weather and foliage, comes exceptionally friendly people and their clipboards. I cannot count on one hand how many times I have been asked, “Are you registered to vote?” on the way to Portland State. In fact, while waiting for the Max train at Pioneer Square the other morning, I heard that very question faintly in my ear; I then turned to see a petite woman with a mellow demeanor smiling and holding a sign that said – “H.E.M.P 2014, Help End Marijuana Prohibition.”

Since I am registered to vote in the state of Oregon, I replied “Yes,” and then she asked me if I “have signed to Legalize?” “Legalize what,” I said. “Legalize cannabis in Oregon,” she proudly proclaimed. I smiled and politely declined telling her I don’t know where I stand just yet.

The train pulled up and we both got on board. She continued to ask other patrons, in the same faint voice and smile, holding her sign. Every single person that she asked nodded with delight and agreed to sign her clipboard. It reminded me of high school peer pressure to be one of the “cool kids.” A man even yelled to the entire train – “Hey! You all should sign this, it’s going to save the world!”

And this encounter is what prompted my continuous pondering of the matter – WHAT is all the hype and WHY is it that we should sign to “LEGALIZE?”

Where do you stand?

 


There’s always time for Game of Thrones!

May 8, 2014 - 12:19pm

by Jenna Tucker

For the majority of grad school the only time I got for the good ole’ boob tube was when I was eating dinner or being a terrible procrastinator. Now that my thesis is in the stage that requires large amounts of time in the hands of my advisor for editing and I am down to one part-time job, I have more time than I know what to do with. So, I used my HBO membership that my roommate made me have and started Game of Thrones…

And then finished Game of Thrones, or rather, I am up to date.

Let’s just think about that for a second. There are three whole seasons, and each episode is an hour long. So that’s a mere 30 hours. Season 4 is up to five episodes, so another five hours. And I did this in two weeks. So, in two weeks I have spent 35 hours watching GoT. That is 2,100 minutes or 126,000 seconds. Man, my life is exciting.

Arya is my favorite because let’s face it, she is a badass. Daenerys is pretty cool. (And she and Jon Snow are dating in real life…CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE THOSE BABIES?!) But, there is one character who I am probably EXACTLY like in real life, for better or worse:

Ygritte! Ah my sarcastic, yet vulnerable soul sister.

So, do I regret my recent marathon binge? Nah. I am always slow to get into shows that people rave about for some reason. I have spent so much time reading articles and getting smart that I didn’t want to everyone to be jealous, so I took a break. I enter the real world again soon, so who knows what my television binging abilities will be then?


Adventure Just Outside Your Door

May 7, 2014 - 5:53pm

Portland is a city surrounded by natural beauties, and now that the sunny weather is finally upon us, students may find themselves itching to reconnect with the great outdoors. No car? No problem! Here are six destinations guaranteed to ease your spring fever, no road trip required.

  • Mt. Tabor: Great for hiking, biking, and (my favorite) picnicking, Mt. Tabor is the crowned beauty of SE Portland, located at the top of the Hawthorne district.
  • Hoyt Arboretum: If you’re looking for a cool walk through the budding trees, the Arboretum is the place to go. It has tons of different trails to explore, including a walk to the Rose Garden.
  • Oaks Bottom: Take a walk on the wild side along the Crystal Springs Corridor and immerse yourself in the swamp-life of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
  • Bishop’s Close, whose wonderful gardens are a must-see this time of year, is a gorgeous and historic property situated above Elk Rock and looking out to the majestic Cascade Mountains. Take a stroll through the labyrinth of shrubbery or along the stream. Watch out for newts!
  • Tryon Creek State Park: Oregon’s only state park within a major metropolitan area, Tryon spans 645 acres of hiking, biking and horse riding trails that stretch through Multnomah and Clackamas counties.
  • Forest Park in the Tualatin Mountains is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country. I would recommend the Balch Creek Canyon trail and a visit to the Audubon Society. The park encompasses the best of Portland’s natural areas, so there’s really no wrong way to go.

An open letter to the Registrar’s Office, or rather what it represents

May 1, 2014 - 11:07am

Dear Registrar’s Office,

I’m not graduating yet. Now, I’ve never met you, so I’d like to begin this by saying I’m sure you are probably a lovely group of people. Please know that none of this is actually directed at the specific individuals sending these emails to possibly-soon-to-be-graduates, but rather the university they are writing on behalf of, the society who says I should be in a different place than I am, and all the things that these emails represent. You get the gist, right? Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, graduating. I’m not graduating yet! And while I appreciate the 5, yes 5, emails I have received from you letting me know that I should probably be getting up and out of here and on with my life, I’m not. I will, I don’t plan to stay at PSU forever, $40,000 of debt is enough for me, I’m just not done yet. And that doesn’t mean I’ve been fooling around, or going part time, or anything else, it just means that my degree doesn’t really fit in with that fancy new “4 year guarantee” the university seems to be rolling out now. And not just because I transferred, it just isn’t possible for a student to come take classes full time, be involved in all the things you need to be involved in to have any shot at getting in to a good grad school, work 20 hours a week, be in a relationship, have a social life, and sometimes even eat, sleep, and if I’m really lucky, shower. So thank you for the reminders, I’m sure I will appreciate them when that happy time of my graduation does happen upon me, but until then kindly take your emails away and stop reminding me that I’m a little bit behind the “average student”. I’ve never been average, why would I start now?

Sincerely

A slightly hectic super-senior