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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

Queen of My Life

February 11, 2016 - 1:31pm

Written by: Jasmin Landa

A combination of words can inspire not one’s life, but the life of others. And in such, the combination of words that have inspired my steps forward are:

Jasmin Landa

“One day she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life. And with that, she realized the only control she had was how she choose to handle them.

So, she made the decision to survive using courage, humor, and grace. She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers.” ~ Queenism
The choice to move forward amongst the obstacles in life has empowered me. As cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. A reason for today’s experiences-the days to come, and the months proceeding- I am unintentionally choosing to wake up and push past the emotions, feelings, and aching heart that life may bring. But simply, I am choosing to be happy.

I choose. And as the statement is possessive, it simply speaks to the control I have for my emotions and life. Because I am a person worth someone’s time. I am a woman who has built herself up from the bottom after being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually destroyed from the many pitfalls that life has brought. And as I choose to be happy, that also comes with choosing “to be”. To be what “I” want to be: happy, sad, angry, etc., but all in my decision, and not left up to the actions of another. I simply choose to be the Queen of my life.


I’m Search Engine Optimized

February 10, 2016 - 9:28pm

 By: Sara Kirkpatrick

It’s a no-brainer that having a sense for digital media is becoming more and more of a necessity for the job market today. Companies expect students to have the ability to connect their brands on a wide variety of digital platforms. As students, we are faced with the challenge of developing an additional skill-set that may not be included in our required curriculum, but it could give us an edge over others when seeking employment.

I recently completed the Search Engine Optimization course offered through the Portland State Center for Executives and Professionals (CEPE); this course is one of six courses offered in the Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate Program. The course was taught by an Anvil Media integrated marketing expert Kent Lewis. His industry experience inspired the course material with real-life examples and up-to-date information.

I learned how to perform a basic SEO website audit, using the following check-list: Site Navigation Elements, Site Functionality, and eMarketing Components.

After completing this module, I ran the SEO audit on my current e-portfolio. The main purpose for the audit was to understand my lack of traffic to my external blog. The SEO audit led me to discover that my current links to my social media profiles were the cause behind the low traffic to my external blog. As a solution, I implemented an internal blog within the same platform as my e-portfolio and deleted my external blog. The audit has not only made my current blog is easier to access ,but also has highlighted my need for the usage of ‘Social Sharing Buttons’. According to Google Analytics, my site activity has increased traffic by 20%, and I have had positive responses to these very basic, but extremely effective site updates.

I am hoping that the implementation of these features will aid me in establishing a successful digital presence and capture the attention of potential employers.

I feel that this course is an essential tool for anyone interested in marketing/advertising/business sectors of any industry. More information about this program and other certificates offered through CEPE can be found here: http://www.pdx.edu/cepe/certificate-programs


My Major Networking Opportunity

February 5, 2016 - 8:47am

  By Kellie Doherty

The Write to Publish 2016 conference is over. Write to Publish is an annual writing conference, and it’s a great place to find some interesting contacts and meet some influential people. (I also organized it this year, so I may be a tad biased.)

One of the great things about my graduate program (MS in Book Publishing) is the hands-on learning we have and the networking opportunities that arise from that dynamic environment. To say I made a few contacts working on Write to Publish would be an understatement, and last Saturday, I finally got to meet the people I’ve been communicating with for the last six months. I got to shake their hands, introduce myself, and put faces to all those emails.

One of the great things about this year’s conference, though, is half of our attendees were college students! I was pleasantly surprised by this, because it means they got to meet all those speakers and vendors, too! It was the perfect networking opportunity for students interested in going into publishing, one that showcased many publishing professionals and gave the students a chance to connect with them. I know it will help me, and hopefully many others, find a job in the future. So, if you didn’t get the chance to make it to this year, mark it on your calendar for 2017! It’ll be a great place to sharpen your networking skills.

And if you were there, how did it go?


First Impressions: A Look Inside “Baby Jail”

January 28, 2016 - 9:23pm

By Jesse Turner

They live behind a 20-foot fence and locked doors. They must ask permission to go to the bathroom, use nail clippers, and even get up from their chairs. They get transported in handcuffs. And yet all of them are legally classified as youth.

I am completing an internship at the Hillcrest Juvenile Correctional Facility on a unit with 14 males, ages 14 to 18. It is labeled the “Special Needs Unit,” which includes a wide array of developmental, emotional, and learning disabilities. Some are sex offenders. Some are gang members. One has taken two lives.

On my first day, before I met any of the youth, my supervisor warned me that this unit was notoriously bad with interns. She said they would say crude, sexist, disturbing things to me. She even made a point of showing me one teenager’s mugshot and warned me that he had gotten obsessed with female staff members before. I was terrified.

Soon after these sinister warnings, the youth got back from class and had free time on the unit. I sat back, observed, and waited for my first terrible encounter. But that never happened. Most of them ignored me, but those who spoke to me asked my name, introduced themselves, and shook my hand. They were perfectly polite. A few of them invited me to play cards with them. On my first shift, I played blackjack for four hours, getting to know the youth and asking them questions about their lives.

They each have had seemingly insurmountable difficulties, whether with their families, their communities, or their own mental health. They have been in and out of treatment and detention centers. Many have been homeless and runaways. A lot of the youth have no dependable guardian in their life, having been abandoned or abused by their parents. It makes a lot of sense that some of them have responded with crime and violence. They are some of the most resilient people I have ever met.

I understand that the staff’s warnings were for my own safety, but none of the youth have lived up to these terrifying impressions, for which I am shocked and grateful.


Summer Internship: Here I Come

January 21, 2016 - 1:08pm

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Did you know a career fair is one of the best resources a career-seeker has for finding employment and internship opportunities? Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most unattended events among university students. Why you ask? The answer is simple; students today aren’t motivated to attend.

This morning I RSVP’d for our upcoming Business Career and Internship Fair next Thursday, Jan. 28. This event will be my first on-campus networking opportunity, giving me access to professionals in the industry. Inspired by my passion for finding a summer internship for 2016, I decided to prepare myself for the event by completing the following:

  • Resume updates
  • Creating a website portfolio
  • Designing student business cards

Resumes should be tailored and designed to target your specific companies. In order to follow this advice given by so many instructors, I created two separate resumes: one that demonstrated my professionalism- and another to demonstrate my creativity. In addition, I launched a personal student website hosted on www.wix.com, in order to give future employers a glimpse of my coursework projects. I added both of these on a business card, which I ordered from www.vistaprint.com. Take a look at my personal examples to get motivated.

I also encourage each of you to consider these preparations, as well as attend these upcoming campus workshops.

  • Resume Reviews, Monday, January 251:00-5:00 pm in SBA 240
  • Professional Image, Tuesday, January 26, 4:30-5:30 pm in SBA 130
  • Mock Interviews, Wednesday, January 27, 9:00 am-4:00 pm in SBA 260 

Living the Dream

January 21, 2016 - 8:12am

By: Sharon Nellist

One of my favorite things about Portland State University is how we are incredibly diverse. I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people from all sorts of backgrounds. I have been exposed to various cultures by those interactions right in my PSU backyard.

January 18 was no different than my past experience with diversity, except in one major way. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), Oregon Campus Compact, hosted over 400 students from PSU and six other local colleges and universities to come together in unity and love. Our goal was to serve and prove that we are not just dreamers, but if we believe then the DREAM will become a reality.

Coffee’d up and ready to serve!

We served 14 community sites throughout East Portland and Gresham, logged 1,428 hours of service, and made an economic impact of $32,944.

I was privileged to lead a small group of students and AmeriCorps volunteers to serve the Dharma Rain Zen Center on their 14-acre former landfill site in Northeast Portland. In those four short hours it did not matter what school we came from, or what homework we needed to do when we returned; we put ourselves aside and focused on them. We were weeding around bare fruit trees, towing wheelbarrows of mulch downhill, and trying to avoid being poked by blackberry bushes while removing them. And even though we may not see a huge impact from our service at that moment, like the bare trees, we know that the fruits of our labor will be noticed with time and more love.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

At the Dharma Rain Zen Center

 


Avoiding My Public Speaking Freak Out

January 15, 2016 - 9:03am

 By: Kellie Doherty

The Write to Publish 2016 conference is two weeks away, and I’m starting to freak out for many reasons. One reason is, as a co-manager, I get to give the closing remarks. Yes, public speaking makes me tense. I’m in good company; public speaking is feared even more than death. It’s also something nearly every class has made me do, so you’d think I’d be used to it.

Nope.

Whenever I get up in front of a group of people, I tend to get nervous. And not the cute, blushing kind of way (though my ears do turn bright pink). I get freakishly nervous, the dry mouth, trembling, can’t-see-straight kind of nervous, where the room pitches and everything blurs.

To combat this freak out, I’ll prepare. Actually, I’ll memorize. I’ll recite my speech many times, in front of the mirror, in front of my friends, in front of my cats. To anyone who will listen.

It might be a catch from my drama days when I actually had to memorize my lines. It might be something from my toastmasters group that had a “no notes” policy. Or it could just be a weird little quirk of mine.

Regardless, it helps. I know I’ll be nervous that day for myriad reasons. I know I’ll have that freak-out moment right before I have to speak. But I also know my process works, and, after a few deep breaths, I’ll do a great job.

What’s your public speaking process like?

 


Working Out With the Boys

January 12, 2016 - 2:16pm

  By: Xylia Lydgate

Stepping foot into a weight room for the first time is often intimidating, but imagine being one of several women in a weight room predominantly occupied by men.

You see racks of daunting weights in every size, machines with strange handles and nooks; then of course, you glance over and see a large heavy-lifter grunting with every breath, sweat dripping and veins pulsing through his neck. You think to yourself, are there even instructions anywhere?  Then you realize you probably should’ve come up with a game plan.

As a freshman, I avoided the Campus Rec weight room altogether. In fact, it took me an entire term before I built the courage to step foot onto the second floor of the gym. My first time walking into the weight room, I scanned the area and realized I had no idea what to do. Any machine that I couldn’t figure out from afar, I didn’t touch. The only exercise I knew how to do with free weights was bicep curls, which I didn’t dare attempt since the free weight space was crowded by big college guys. It wasn’t until a friend introduced me to the weight room that I began to feel more comfortable using weights. I started to follow fitness videos on Instagram and became inspired to make weight training a critical part of my workout routine.

Although there are still more men, I’ve been noticing more and more women in the weight room. In fact, the Rec Center offers a free program called Women on Weights that is designed to introduce women to a variety of weight training equipment, proper form and technique, and more.

I don’t mind being outnumbered by “the guys” anymore. In fact, there’s something empowering about being a woman in the weight room and performing the same exercises as men.

While the “fight or flight” response may naturally kick in during intimidating situations, instead of finding the nearest exit, continue on to do what you set out to do. Embrace it. Challenge yourself to do the unexpected. Lift weights!


It’s not just for college, but for life

January 11, 2016 - 2:37pm

Joining a student group can be a great way to enrich your college experience. One prominent organization that thousands have joined is Greek Life, an umbrella group for sororities and fraternities. There are 10 Greek organizations at PSU: sororities Delta Sigma Theta, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha and Kappa Delta Chi; and fraternities Kappa Sigma, Omega Psi Phi, Omega Delta Phi, Alpha Kappa Psi and Alpha Phi Alpha.

Personally, I have grown to appreciate Greek Life and my sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. I have found a group of women who support me in my endeavors, are there to hang out with me, cry with me, laugh with me and make memories with me — all while building lifelong connections.

Now, Greek Life may not be for everyone, but being a part of a student organization is definitely something I hope every college student incorporates into his or her college experience.

College, which starts out confusing but gradually makes more sense, is a time to find who you truly are. Find the people and student organizations that can assist you in finding your true identity.


Invasion of the Smartphones

January 11, 2016 - 2:17pm

 by Steph Holton

My day starts and ends with my cellphone. In the morning it acts as an alarm, dutifully blaring out “Urgent” by Foreigner, and in the evening, much as I hate to admit it, scrolling through Pinterest is the lullaby that puts me to sleep. Now, I know these two smartphone-enabled acts are not uncommon, and neither are they excessive uses of the technology. But what about the hours of use in between?

I’ve found that, increasingly often, people are less hesitant to admit how completely dependent they are on their phones. This is the information age, after all, and what is a Google search here and a minute to check Facebook there really hurting? Well, our individual and collective productivity. You know what I mean: You block out two hours for homework, sit down at your desk, then fast forward a hundred and twenty minutes – you’ve watched a half dozen YouTube videos and done maybe half an hour of actual work. Even as I type this, I’m desperately attempting to abstain from going to the open browser window to look up every little whim that pops into my head.

Is this a problem for me? Yes, absolutely.

Is it becoming a societal problem? I don’t know – what do you think?

What I do know is that if I could quantify the amount of extra work I’d be getting done every day without my phone as a productivity-roadblock, I think I’d be at least a tad horrified. So I’m making a New Year’s resolution to power-down more often.


Four Ways to Keep Your Sanity

January 9, 2016 - 8:05pm

Like most students at PSU, I know how rigorous the academic term can be. With 10 weeks of non-stop work, class, and other demands, it is difficult to keep a happy and healthy attitude. While it is difficult, it is not impossible to keep your health, both mental and physical, in tip-top shape. Following these four easy tips will have you remembering to appreciate your mind and body:

  1. Drink water!

This tip should go unmentioned, but a lot of times, lack of water can be the leading cause for fatigue and lack of motivation. Mayo Clinic suggests that a woman should drink close to nine cups of water a day, while men should commit to roughly 13 cups per day. However, and you should follow your body’s messages. I like to make “cleansing” water, using cucumber slices, lemon slices, and orange slices. Having a fun routine could jazz up your odorless, tasteless, colorless beverage.

  1. Give yourself breaks.

I cannot stress this one enough. I am a go-getter from the moment I wake up, to the moment I rest my head. I run on roughly two cups of black coffee a day. And while my routine guarantees completion of assignments in school and work, I do not always feel 100%. Giving yourself 15-20 minute breaks every hour makes your brain happy.

  1. If you’re sleepy and you know it, take a walk!

Portland is such a walk-friendly city, and I think a lot of us forget this fact when we are stuck in a dim classroom learning about Shakespeare’s motives or how bacteria are formed. Sitting can make you sleepy. If it is not possible (or appropriate) to get up and walk during your class, you may stand up and sit down for a refreshing boost.

  1. E-A-T!

I know, I know. We are COLLEGE STUDENTS. Often times, we treat food like an option, when it is actually a necessity. When your body is hungry, it will try to feed itself with sleep (hence you find yourself being sleepy in a morning class if you have not eaten breakfast). Packing small snacks, such as baby carrots, hummus and pita, or even potato chips can give your body the temporary energy it needs. However, keeping your meals consistent throughout the day is the key to your physical health.
It is true that no one is perfect when it comes to healthy habits. However, if we do everything we can to keep our brains and bodies happy, we will be thankful in the long run. Happy Winter Term.


Find Your Why

December 1, 2015 - 1:46pm

By: Sam Bakkila

Now that the crunch time of the semester is upon us, I find myself repeating a piece of advice from PSU alum and motivational speaker Lou Radja.

He told Campus Rec employees, when we were starting our staff training at the beginning of the year: “When the why is strong, the how becomes easy.”

Keynote Speaker Lou Radja

This piece of advice is simple yet profound. Our level of motivation, and how effectively we keep connected with that which inspires us, ultimately determines so much of our success. Now that the end of the term is here, and many of us are bogged down with exams and papers and projects that could have a substantial impact on our future, it’s time to take a step back, forget about the day-to-day frustrations, and reconnect with our ‘why’.

For me, I am a graduate student in English literature because I love reading and writing, and because I believe that a careful reading of texts will reveal the social and political stakes of writing. I exercise at Campus Rec, because I am happiest and healthiest when I have a chance to push myself to the limits. I work at Campus Rec because I want to help other students along in their path towards wellness. I teach in the Writing Department because I believe that helping students find their voice is among the most important things that a university can do.

I know that in ten years, I’m going to remember the days that I pushed myself and stayed connected with my ‘why’, the nights when I squeezed out two more pages of writing instead of putting on netflix, and the mornings when I woke up for a run in the freezing rain, not as the hardest days of graduate school, but as the best.


The Collegiate Christmas Conversation

November 30, 2015 - 3:14pm

 

by Steph Holton

 

It’s that time of year again – the time of flights, finals, family, and food. And whether winter break includes a flight for you (as it does for me) or just a trip down the street, you are bound to be at the mercy of your questioning elders. I’ve come to find that most of these “real adults,” while well-meaning, will ask the same two questions, which you should be prepared to receive as a college student going home for the holidays:

  1. “How’s school – what is it you’re doing again?”
  2. “Are there any special guys/girls in your life?” (Usually asked with a double eyebrow raise.)

The first may just be me – I don’t know. But it seemed to take even my immediate family most of my freshman year to remember what I was majoring in. This question might feel like an affront, since as college students we live and breathe a certain subject for at least nine months out of the year, but at least it has an easy answer to give!

I haven’t the slightest idea why, but I get asked the second question so much when I go home. And if there’s ever a time you’re without a significant other, you may not necessarily want to go into why with your dad’s best friend’s wife or whoever. The great thing about this question is that anyone removed from your school social scene won’t know if you’re ‘stretching the truth’ – so have fun with the answer. This may not be the most ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ advice I could give, but hey – it could certainly help you test your creativity beyond tree-trimming and gingerbread decorating!


Getting an “A” in Self Care

November 24, 2015 - 11:05pm

By Jesse Turner

As the end of the term nears, stress levels rise. Time spent studying, writing, and reading goes up while time for ourselves and our health tends to diminish. This is why I was so happy when one of my professors took time out of her lecture to remind us that self-care is just as important as schoolwork. She asked us to share different ways that we destress and I thought I would share my classmates’ ideas with you. In response to, “What do you guys do when you’re stressed?”

We answered:

-Drink!

-Eat junk food. (These first two, however well they work, should be done in moderation)

-Sleep.

-Exercise.

-Dance.

-Cry while doing something fun/weird. You get to vent your frustration without getting sucked into a hole of despair. Her example was, “I cry while eating pudding.”

-Watch “trash TV” (ex. Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Dance Moms, Toddlers & Tiaras)

-Try to laugh without smiling/keeping a straight face. It looks and feels ridiculous and you’ll end up making yourself laugh.

-Read or watch something from your childhood. Recently I’ve been rereading “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and watching “Hey Arnold!”

-Connect with your friends and community. One classmate said she does Israeli dance twice a week, not just for the exercise but to also feel like a part of the community.

 

This is just a short list of things my classmates and I do to take our minds off of our stress. Please share any tips you have to lower your stress levels as finals week approaches!

 


Is your reliance on Digital Technology Costing you Career Opportunities?

November 24, 2015 - 9:28pm

  By: Sara Kirkpatrick

This past week I’ve attended a number of free campus workshops, all of which promoted face-to-face networking as a prime source to land jobs and internships.  As students, it is important to understand how to use digital media to accomplish these goals, it is equally important not to lose our basic face-to-face communication skills.

Practice your face-to-face communication:

  1. Treat your cellphone like an addiction- When spending time with peer(s), treat your cellphone like a cigarette; it’s a shameful addiction that we all have, and it is not socially accepted everywhere.
  1. Check your phone at the door- When hosting a dinner party, ask your guests to check their cellphones at the door, by placing them into a basket upon entry.
  1. No tech devices allowed- Host a “Y2K” event where no technology devices are permitted. Ask everyone to leave their cellphones and other mobile devices at home or in their car, prior to attending.
  1. First phone gets the check- When out to dinner, make a rule that whoever pulls out their phone first pays the check for everyone at the table.

As upcoming graduates in a competitive job market, we cannot afford to lack the knowledge on how to communicate without the use of technological devices.  Attend a campus workshop, and practice your face-to-face communication skills!

Upcoming free campus workshops: PSU Campus Events


Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

November 23, 2015 - 9:06am

 By Kellie Doherty

This week is Thanksgiving. A time for laughter and cheer, for friends and family, for great food and even better company. A lovely little holiday leading up to The Big One.

But honestly? It’s some pretty terrible timing. Next week is Dead Week here on campus and finals are literally just around the corner. (T-minus 14 days, in fact.) And I know I’m not the only one freaking out about the projects due. It’s stressful. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders tighten, and my stomach curl into a knot.

So, is this the best time to stop working on (or thinking about) those hugely important final projects? Probably not. My suggestion, though? Make the most of the holiday as you possibly can anyway.

Try to parcel the homework assignments out so you can spend time with the family (or friends or whomever you’re spending the holiday with). Take Thanksgiving dinnertime off, or better yet, take all of Thanksgiving Day off. If you’re traveling—like me!—try to do some assignments on the journey. (I know I’ll be writing a paper on my plane ride to the East Coast.)

Make some time for your loved ones. Heck, make some time for yourself.

You deserve the time off before the final push to finals week. Treat yourself, and your friends and family, to some quality time together this Thanksgiving. Trust me, your spirit will thank you later.


Rec for a Cause

November 18, 2015 - 12:31pm

By James Wilson

An awesome thing about the Rec Center is that it’s more than just that place to work out. The Rec Center staff organizes a lot of events, including things that give back to the community. One of those is the Campus Rec for a Cause initiative.

One thing they recently did, and do every month, was a community cleanup walk. On Nov. 5 they specifically focused on cleaning up our campus of all the cigarette butts everywhere. This was in partnership with SHAC to spread awareness of our new Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy. Feel free to join us once a month to give back and enjoy a cleaner campus!

You can find more info on the Rec for a Cause Initiative here and the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy here.


The Flags We Don’t See

November 18, 2015 - 8:48am

By Olivia Clarke

 

The first I heard about the Paris attacks was Friday evening, on Facebook. At that time, the death count was much lower than it is now, and I didn’t absorb the gravity of the situation. The next morning, however, I woke up to a number of messages from friends and family members – they knew I was in France, and they wanted to make sure I was okay. I started to realize at that point that this was a big deal, and I assured everyone that I was safe, seven hours from Paris.

On Monday, my classmates and I joined the rest of the university in observing the national moment of silence at noon. The professor led an emotional class discussion about the tragedy and showed us photos of buildings around the world that were lit up in blue, white, and red as a gesture of solidarity. We watched video clips of New Yorkers and Londoners singing the “Marseillaise” in the street.

I was moved by the sentiment expressed in these photos and videos, but I was also troubled. I thought to myself, “Where’s the Syrian flag, or the Lebanese flag? Who’s singing the Iraqi national anthem?” People in other parts of the world experience these horrific events every day – terror, bombings, executions, war. It’s a constant reality, not an isolated incident. Yet we don’t show this kind of solidarity with them – likely because they aren’t white or rich like France. To us Westerners, tragedies like the one in Paris seem unbelievable; but in fact, they just give us a tiny glimpse into the horrors that so much of the world experiences so frequently. Maybe it’s time to start seeing past our own privilege, and to start being horrified by the atrocities committed against human beings who live outside of our comfortable Western sphere.


Rained Out of Homecoming

November 9, 2015 - 5:08pm

 By Steph Holton

Did you get to see the amazing Vikings homecoming victory over the Grizzlies this year? No? Neither did I – not in person at least.

On the day of Homecoming, my friends and I were soaked from the downpour by the time we reached the stadium. But our school spirit endured. This is Portland after all; what’s a little rain going to hurt? The student section, we then discovered, is the only section in the entire stadium not protected from the rain. Most of the students there greeted this as a minor inconvenience in the beginning. However, the number of student fans dwindled with each timeout despite the fact that an entire section of the covered stadium was left empty. At about halftime, the wind came up and made persevering even more difficult. By the end of the game (which my friends and I saw only thanks to livestreaming) the student section was a sad shell of stadium seats, while the rest of the fans – perhaps a little chilly, but dry at any rate – sat and watched the Vikings rake in another great victory.

Now, I’m thrilled that we won – especially because it was homecoming, and especially because it was against the Montana Grizzlies. But my question is this: aren’t the students an invaluable part of the football team’s fan base? It’s been a fight to get students out to the games in recent years and now, when they’re finally excited to go, they’re allowed to be rained out. Could more effort be put in to better encourage a full student section at PSU sporting events?


Lose the R Word

November 5, 2015 - 8:57pm

By Jesse Turner

For what seemed like the hundredth time in the last year, I got into an argument with someone over the use of the R word. And for the hundredth time I got the excuse, “Well, I would never call a retarded person retarded.” This person was also using gay as an insult, again remarking, “I would never call a gay person a faggot.” I then told the person that I am not straight, and things got very awkward very quickly. I asked them, “Would you ever use bisexual as an insult?”

“Of course not,” he replied. Of course not. You would never use those words in the presence of the people they are meant to describe. Because that way, you don’t have to face the consequences of your hurtful words. I work with a young woman with a developmental disability who is brought to tears almost every day from bullying. She has heard the R word too many times.

But I’m sick of it. I’m sick of having to tell my life story to try to persuade people to stop using hurtful language. It should not matter the company you’re in and the ties they have to vulnerable and underrepresented populations. You should not use those words as insults because people are people and you’re not awful. Your desire to use certain words should not trump people’s feelings. Your vocabulary should be abundant enough that you do not need to reduce an entire population of people down to an insult. And if you need help, here are some alternatives:

Instead of retard/retarded, use:

-Chowderhead

-Boob

-Blockhead

-Fool

-Oaf

-Yokel

-Amateur Hour

-Cornball

-Farcical

-Plebeian

-Tomfoolery

Get even more terms from Terri Mauro’s “225 Substitutes for the R-Word”

http://specialchildren.about.com/od/disabilityrights/ss/225-Subsitutes-For-The-R-Word.htm#step4

Instead of gay, use:

-Heinous

-Preposterous

-Ridiculous

-Banal

-Pedestrian

-Platitudinous

-Old Hat

-Hackneyed


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