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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 49 min 38 sec ago

Four Ways to Fund Your PSU Education

October 24, 2014 - 3:00am

Focusing on your studies is a full-time job in itself. When you add finances and funding to the mix, it can quickly become very stressful for any student. Good news is that Portland State University has many funding opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students.

 

Here are four opportunities worth investigating:

  1. Graduate Assistantships: GA-ships are listed on the website as they become available. I recommend checking for updates on a weekly basis. The assistantships are targeted toward graduate students, and typically include tuition remission and compensation depending on the appointment. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page where all the assistantships are listed.
  2. Scholarships: Every year PSU offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to apply for a wide range of scholarships. Funding is dependent on many different variables, including academic achievement, financial need, diversity, disabilities and more. Be sure to check the website for upcoming deadlines. Create an account to begin the process.
  3. Student Employment: If you’re looking to earn extra cash while gaining skills in a certain area, finding employment through PSU may be the avenue to explore. Go to the “if you’re a current student” section, click the CareerConnect link and sign in with your Odin account. Thereafter, fill out your profile and gain access to available student jobs.
  1. University Studies: The University Studies Program at PSU is a great resource to develop your mentoring and teaching skills. If you have teaching experience, or are looking to enhance your competencies as an instructor, applying to be a peer mentor is an ideal option to funding your studies. Alternatively, explore opportunities to teach within the SINQ or Senior Capstone

What are you waiting for? Go get funded!


When the going gets tough, the tough get organized!

October 22, 2014 - 1:37am

By: Brooke Horn

As a graduate student, I’ve learned the hard way that time management and organization can be your best friends when used properly — and your bitterest enemies when not. The modern student isn’t JUST a student anymore: most of us juggle jobs, internships, volunteering, creative projects, and relationships too. As the term really gets underway, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. On the bright side, there are a lot of useful tools and tricks out there to help you stay on top of things. Here are a few that have really made a difference for me:

  1. Photo credit: Brooke Horn

    Trello. This is my go-to app whenever I work on a collaborative project. You can create virtual assignment cards, which are organized within themed boards. You can also assign tasks, add due dates, create checklists, upload files, and color-code to your heart’s content.

  2. Wunderlist. This app is your standard to-do list on steroids. Similar to Trello, you can share task lists with others as well as set up due dates and reminders. I use this app for my personal lists because of its simplicity. I keep one for homework assignments, one for events I want to go to, and one for groceries.
  3. Labeling in Gmail. Seriously, this is a game-changer if you receive a high volume of mail. I use labels such as “reply,” “education,” and “finances.” You can even create sub-labels, assign colors, and adjust your settings so that your mail is automatically labeled and sorted.

What tools and tricks help you stay organized?


Nine Things I’ve Already Learned This Fall

October 19, 2014 - 10:32pm

By Grace Carroll

1. Living in a single can be scary. I almost choked on a corn nut.

2. Shared restrooms are not so bad. Despite living on a floor with roughly 25 girls, I rarely run into other people in the bathroom.

3. Volunteering is a good way to get involved with PSU. Volunteering at the Women’s Resource Center gives me the chance to help do important work in a friendly environment.

4. Yes, I CAN put off all the homework for my 400-level Honors seminar until the night before it is due.

5. College sports can be super fun. On a whim, I joined rugby, and you could say I’m having a BALL.

6. If while studying in the library, someone irritates you by loudly talking on the phone, DO NOT passive-aggressively write “SHHHH, IT’S A LIBRARY” on their notebook while they’re at the water fountain. Go to the fourth, fifth floors or the basement, they are designated for silent study!

7. You can have small class sizes even at Oregon’s biggest university. Last year, my classes had 30 students. This fall, I’m in a class of ten 10 (and the rest aren’t much bigger).

8. Unlike the “cool kids” in my building, I still love my meal plan.

9. Nothing is more beautiful than the Park Blocks in autumn.


Moving at the Lightspeed of Education

October 19, 2014 - 10:27pm

Over summer term I took the first year of Latin courses. It was my first experience with summer term, so I wasn’t used to being in school during the three months I’d usually be at home doing nothing. PSU’s campus was sunny and quiet, void of the bustle seen during fall through spring, and it seemed so much more relaxed. I learned quickly, however, that summer term isn’t to be taken lightly.

One year of Latin was compacted and smashed into a rigorous and intense nine weeks. That’s right, Latin 101 through 103 in just nine weeks, that’s less than a third of the normal school year. We covered a week’s worth of material per day, and class was held Monday through Thursday – each class was three hours and fifteen minutes long. The baristas at Starbucks started knowing me by name. I devoted hours to studying every day. I had well over 200 notecards, three filled up notebooks, more than a few dead pens, and my quivering sanity that I was struggling to keep together – it didn’t help that I was working almost forty hours a week at that time.

That being said, if you’re considering taking summer courses, you should do it. Yeah, it’s probably going to be tough and you might want to cry sometimes – especially if it’s a foreign language – but you’ll pull through and you’ll feel very good about yourself, I promise. Plus you get to meet awesome people who are just as crazy as you for taking such an intense course!

By: Shezad Khan


SWING, SWING, SWING

October 16, 2014 - 4:26pm

By: Sharon Jackson

Every time I hear drums beat and saxes blow and trumpets wail of classy jazzzzz – I cannot help but to tie up my worn Oxfords and pin up my hair circa 1940’s style for my heart sings ‘in the mood’ to SWING.

East Coast Swing has finally come to PSU. Swing Out is one of the newest additions to Portland State Rec clubs. [We meet every Thursday in the Rec Center room 440, 8:30 - 10PM].

I SWING dance to live in the moment and throw my cares to the wind – I will always have time to write that 10 page essay on British Romanticism later………

We SWING to lose ourselves in rhythm. We SWING to smile. We SWING together.

We also frequent swing socials on Sundays and  Wednesdays that offer a complimentary beginner’s lesson and more than 2 hours of hopping dance.

What do you get ‘in the mood’ for?


Wisconsin, don’tcha knooo?

October 13, 2014 - 5:20pm

By: Kadie Kobielusz

Over the summer, I was able to live in lands distant and exotic – ahem – in Wisconsin. Yeah big deal, right? Well, actually, I had one of my most eye-opening experiences when I lived there.

It’s an amazing thing when you are no longer looking at the world around you through the lens of a traveler. Instead, you’re a resident, somewhat forced to live and think and act like the people there do. You’re trying not to be the obvious outsider. I don’t know how to describe it very well, but Wisconsin was a lot more lowbrow than I was envisioning it. Especially coming from the leanest state, Colorado, to one of the most obese states.

Yes, I realize that’s not very polite, but it was culture shock. I found myself thinking: “That’s funny?” “We’re eating that for dinner?” “That’s entertainment?” Halfway through the summer though, words of wisdom came a guy at a bicycle shop. After discussing the area and such, he said: “In the end, it doesn’t matter where you’re living or what you’re out doing. What matters is who you’re with to make the adventure worthwhile.”

 It’s true. Sure, I may not have enjoyed what we were doing, or liked the area that much. However, I did thoroughly enjoy my company, and I should have been appreciating them all the while. They made me laugh, they were always up for doing new things and they were the friendliest and kindest people I think I have ever met.

And now that I’ve been away, guess who’s looking to move to Wisconsin after graduation?


#New2PSU

October 13, 2014 - 3:37pm

Photo Credit: Jasmin Landa

By: Jasmin Landa

Every ending is merely a new beginning. But I confess that as I stood in line in freshman orientation, I was scared about what this new beginning would bring.

I grew up in a small city in Nevada, and have been used to a dry desert atmosphere with mountains that don’t have all the luxurious trees that one sees in Oregon. So as I began to contemplate more and more about my move to Portland, with my mom and my little sister by my side, I began to cry and felt like I wasn’t where I was meant to be. Was I a future Viking? Is this where I am supposed to be? I cried for what felt like hours, but my mom looked at me and assured me that everything will be OK. Things happen for their destined reason, although you may not know today what those reasons are.

She was correct. My freshman orientation was much more than what I expected. I looked around and saw so much diversity, culture and excitement; all the students waiting were anxious to begin their new chapter as Portland State University freshmen. I felt welcomed, informed and enthused by all those around me.

I had been scared at the thought of leaving my home in Nevada along with all my family and all my supporters. But what I didn’t realize before, and what I know now, is that I am gaining a whole student body, staff and friends as supporters who will encourage, support and believe in my dreams and successes.

I cannot wait to be a Viking with the rest of my classmates, community and alumni.


Here’s looking at you PSU

September 29, 2014 - 12:49pm

By: Sharon Jackson

A year ago today I made my way to the streetcar on a very Portland rainy morning. It was packed and muggy – full of people’s breath and their steaming hot coffees. There was a tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach, that my breakfast lay precariously on. We pulled to the Market Street stop, and I stepped down cautiously in my worn brown oxford shoes and brand new dark jeans. I gently placed my hand on my head to check if my recently curled hair was still in place. I was ready, and excessively nervous, as I proceeded up the Park Blocks for the very first time. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – at Portland State University.

Tomorrow, I will be venturing out on the same route. Streetcar to Park Blocks and to begin with old-fashioned Cramer Hall. I am still nervous, but this time I am comforted with familiarity and wisdom. I will hold on dearly to the most important things I learned last year that made me a successful Viking:

Know PSU – and the various resources available that are usually FREE such as Buddy Up and the PSU Library.

Stay organized – keep your head above water, use Google Calendar or the inexpensive PSU Handbook to stay on top of your work.

Get involved – be a part of a group; Student Organizations and REC Clubs are easy to join and keep your mind from temporary insanity.

Be bold – and open minded; expose yourself to new Events, Performances, Lectures, etc. and be outspoken in your classes – it is the only way to be well-rounded.

Take care of yourself – you only do your best when you are at your best; we are lucky to have Portland Farmer’s Market at our doorstep and a state-of-the-art Campus Rec free with tuition.

What are some other ways that make You a successful Viking?


English 101: A sentimental summer lesson

September 5, 2014 - 6:25pm

By: Sharon Jackson

England was absolutely more than I could ever ask for. I have been to London, to the south in Devon, to the north in Chester, and to the phenomenal countryside in Yorkshire. I have seen old churches, ancient Roman remains, and pubs that date back to the Domesday Book of 1086. I have eaten Devonshire cream teas, Cornish pasties, and full English breakfasts complete even with a bit of black pudding, and I liked it. My two week venture felt like an accelerated Summer term at Portland State University!

Considering all the splendid things that are England, the memories that I smile at most are the ones that involve spending time with my new family thanks to my boyfriend. From watching a movie around a cozy fire at Grandma’s house, spaghetti bolognese at Uncle Graham’s, a blast to the past in Huyton [the town where my boyfriend grew up] to the 90th birthday party for the man who is responsible for most of this very large and very loving family [seriously, all are not pictured].

Nevertheless, I am glad to be home and anticipating and preparing for another rigorous year at PSU. The most important thing that I gained from this trip is a reminder that in the coming endless hours of studying, gallons of caffeine and white nights that any college student will undoubtedly endure, I will always remember to make time for family and friends. At the end of the day, all we truly have are the people in our lives.

How will you make time for your family and friends this school year?


Tips for Living in the Dorms

September 5, 2014 - 11:12am

By: Amanda Katz and Marilynn Sandoval

Ahh at last, the time when every incoming freshman student counts the days until they move out of their parents’ home and into a college dorm. Keeping in touch with their future roommates, who may be from other states and countries. Trying to figure out who will bring what and what their taste and preferences are.

Well, we have some tips for you incoming freshman. Having lived in the dorms for a combined three years at PSU, we have learned a few things.

1. Keep your doors open during Viking Days so you can meet new people!

2. Walk through each floor saying “hi” to others with their doors open. Hey, you could meet your new best friend!

3. Bring these essentials: cleaning supplies, laundry hamper, power strips and a side table.

4. Get involved with activities during Viking Days and throughout the school year. They are fun and there is free food at almost every single one! Here’s the schedule: http://bit.ly/ZaXCdy

5. Invite students you don’t know from your floor to hang out with you.

6. Be nice to your Resident Assistant; they are there to help you, not hurt you.

7. Don’t bring: toaster ovens (not allowed), extra clothes (if you don’t wear it often don’t bring it), gigantic stereos (leave them at home unless you’re a DJ), things that hang off a ceiling (not allowed).

8. Ondine students: Bring bed risers, so you can lift your bed off the floor. You can find these at your local stores such as Target, Walmart and TJMaxx

Broadway students: Save space by lifting your bed up from the lowest setting to the highest setting (ask your RA if you have questions on how) and putting drawers and other storage underneath.

9. Roll up t-shirts in your drawer to space save.

10. Lastly, bring posters, photos, and wall art to liven up your walls.

Hopefully these few quick tips will help all you freshman looking forward to the moment you have “freedom.”

So, our fellow dorm-life students, are there any other tips you would give to first-time students living in a dorm? Would you recommend living in a dorm or not?


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.