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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 4 min 29 sec ago

A Major Change

August 26, 2015 - 2:06pm

By Shezad Khan

The fact that I’ll be a graduate student in about a month has me thinking about my undergrad years and how I struggled with deciding on a major. As a new college student, I firmly I believed that I was going to major in biology. Being a bio major was something I had “figured out” in high school. But as time went on, I changed my mind. I came to the realization that I wanted to major in English – a subject that I truly loved.

I recently listened to a couple of younger college students discuss their indecision about what they wanted to do. This seems universal; I hear it from friends, family members and other students. Now that I’ve finished my undergrad, it always seems interesting how much people stress about their major.

It’s a clichéd piece of advice to tell people they have time to figure out what they want to do – but it’s true. I guess my main piece of advice for new students, or continuing students who are still undecided, is to not stress about it. I changed my major sophomore year, and I know people who have changed their majors three or four times before finding what they truly wanted. I think the key to deciding your major is your happiness. If what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy, then don’t do it.

Find a subject that you love, and go for it. No matter what anyone else says or thinks about it, stick to it. You’re going to be in college for quite some time, you may as well have a passion for it.


The Museum of Trees

August 26, 2015 - 1:49pm

 By: James Wilson

As much as I love the Rec Center for all the services it offers, it isn’t the only place to have fun. We are lucky not only because our Rec Center is the best gym in the downtown area, but also because we live in the Pacific Northwest. What is great about Portland is all the options that surround our campus.

This week I decided to take a trip with my partner to Hoyt Arboretum, which is just a quick Blue Line ride from The Galleria to the Oregon Zoo. The arboretum, an amazing tree-filled park, is right next door. It’s a great and local option for hiking since it’s right near the PSU campus.


What a Wonderful Year

August 19, 2015 - 4:15pm

By: Sharon Nellist

This upcoming year at Portland State is the one I have been waiting for.

Not only is it my last undergraduate year (hoping to stay for graduate studies!), but I am comfortably involved in various ways to ensure that quintessential college experience that I have been pining for all of my young adult life – and I am elated!

I WRITE – for the PSU Chronicles, and I love it. This is my voice and I intend to use it. I hope to flourish my opinion on controversial issues not only on campus but within my community. This is the only option for change.

I PLAY – or rather dabble in various Rec clubs from swing dancing, to Dragon Boat racing, and rowing. I am taking advantage of all that our unique urban campus has to offer like the week-long community celebration Portland State of Mind, FREE movies at the student-run 5th Avenue Cinema, and the privilege of listening to generous amounts of brilliant minds at PSU hosted events.

I SERVE – as a Student Leader for Service through the Student Community Engagement Center. Stepping a bit out my box and yearning for growth as a leader, I am a liaison between PSU and Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ Healthy Food Access Program. I also am tending community gardens at low-income properties, working with residents and hosting workshops on garden eating, helping organize community service projects and getting PSU students involved! It cannot get any more GREEN or PORTLAND than this.

My only advice to all of the new students – live these years to the fullest, PSU is simply handing it to you.


The Hidden Power in Saying No

August 19, 2015 - 9:10am

By: Chelsea Ware

This upcoming fall quarter will mark my last year at Portland State. The combination of summer classes ending and receiving graduation notices from PSU in my mailbox have been making me reflect on what I have learned during my time here.

The multitude of classes I have taken have allowed me to expand and develop in ways I didn’t expect. One of the biggest skills that I have gathered is how to say “no” to certain people and requests. I think that society, and women in particular, are to taught to please and say “yes” even when that little voice in our head is screaming for us not to. We put ourselves in situations that cause anxiety and stress just so we can try to avoid looking bad and disappointing other people.

However, you can never be productive if you take on a burdensome amount of commitments and responsibilities. You end up spreading yourself too thin and unable to get anything done well or on time. It’s simply not good for either party when one agrees to requests that they can’t or shouldn’t do.

It takes guts to say it, but when used wisely, “no” can be an instrument of honesty and autonomy while also acting as a shield against burnout and angst. The power and beauty of “no” lies in its ability to set limits that define how we respect and see ourselves. “No” keeps us true to our values and allows us to devote time to things that we sincerely care about.

So try it sometime! I’m sure you will feel your backbone and confidence get stronger.


A COLLEGE STUDENT’S PLAYGROUND

August 18, 2015 - 12:04pm

By: Xylia Lydgate

I have been coming to Campus Rec for a little over two years now but only recently watched (and rewatched) this video— gives me goosebumps every time! What strikes me most about it is how it really accentuates the inclusivity at Campus Rec. It is more than just a building or a gym; it’s a community that welcomes all students and community members with open arms.

As a Campus Rec employee, I find myself here all the time; partly because I work here but also because it’s a place where I can relax and unwind after a long day. When I’m done with school and work, I stay and hit the Fitness Center. I’ve never been much of the athletic or “sporty” type— and for the record, I’m probably the most uncoordinated person when it comes to hitting, throwing or dodging balls— but I simply enjoy working out on my own. Moving from the cardio floor to the weight room, I become easily lost in the tempo of my workout routine, the catchy tunes of my playlist, the rhythm of counting my reps, and the constant beating of basketballs hitting wooden courts fade into the soundscape.

There’s a place for everyone here, even if you’re not a “gym junkie.” Hit the courts and play a youthful game of H-O-R-S-E, challenge your friends to a match of table tennis or grab a couple swim noodles and hose down a friend in the pool (yes, they do serve as multi-functional water guns). Of course ya can’t forget about our TV lounge and those comfy couches in the locker rooms! So the next time you’re waiting between classes or need a place to “hang out,” drop by the Rec and make yourself at home.

How do you like to play?


New tuition rates help only in-state students

August 10, 2015 - 9:15am

By Marilynn Sandoval

As I was reading the news, I came upon an article saying Portland State is lowering the planned fall tuition increase from 4.2 percent to 3.1 percent. I instantly started to read the article, because it obviously concerned me as a student. As I read, my happiness quickly faded.

Although reducing the increase is amazing and will end up being a huge help for some PSU students, it won’t help me.

Full-time, in-state students  will save $90 each term. That isn’t a lot, but it is something still to be grateful for. Other universities such as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University didn’t lower their increases at all..

However, as an out-of-state student, I won’t benefit. I will pay $180 more next year than last year. The tuition for non-residents will still be $4,236 more per term than an in-state student pays — a total of $12,708 more for the year. That doesn’t include any other fees I will encounter

PSU also is using the state funding to hire more advisors, faculty and other services. Although it seems like nothing, more support will ultimately help students stay on track. This will actually benefit all students, resident or non-resident.

To learn more about how Oregon university presidents are advocating for higher education funding, read this article http://bit.ly/1M5FkyY.


Fight and have faith

July 28, 2015 - 9:09am

Written by: Jasmin Landa

I have no words, but I am still typing. I have failed, but I still have my strength to lift me back up.

Time and time again I have so much to be grateful for, but at times of weakness I find myself complaining or crying for something that might have been, was just right or was all that I ever wanted. But then I sit back and think, am I willing to fight for what I want? Yes. Will I fail again? Of course! And finally, how much am I willing to work for what I want?

Life isn’t easy, nor are the decision that we make. But just as time heals, repairs and builds a stronger self-portrait, it can only do that when you fight and have faith that all things meant to be will be. You cannot resist it, force it, nor make it be, but rather let it be.

So I am ready to fight, love and be a part of this journey we call life, because I have been given another day to appreciate the little things and love all those who enter my life just as they are. Are you ready for what this day will hold for you, your future and the dreams you strive for? Because I am!


To bite my tongue

July 24, 2015 - 10:31am

Ross barked up the wrong tree

In one of those eye-opening 101 classes here at PSU, I learned that the most successful dating sites ask about principles instead of interests – e.g. gay rights vs. likes to read. As someone who is dating a man on the other side of the political spectrum – partywise – I immediately had to ask him, “Why do you vote that way?” His response: “I’m not falling for that one.” To him, politics isn’t that important, which is fine. 

In contrast, I was told to bite my tongue in any political conversation that may occur when my family visits from out of town. Well naturally I ruffled my feathers, and found it bizarre I would even be asked such a favor. 

At a campus, in a city, in a country even that tends to be politically charged, can we just ignore politics – especially when family and partners are involved? 

The easy answer is yes. My boyfriend is smart and just lets me rant about politics if I need to and nods along. Obviously if something is truly important to you, then you should discuss it on a stance-by-stance basis. But I think we can – and should – all agree that party lines are never drawn clearly. 

And when it comes to disagreeing with family, it may be best to just never talk about politics. The older we get the harder it is to shift our positions. And honestly, you cannot change another’s position – as much as I’ve tried – just as much as they cannot change yours. 

The age-old dictum to never talk about money, religion, or politics still rings true. But now with social media it is easier to display your political opinions in an open way, while allowing friends, family, and followers to choose whether they wish to engage or politely ignore it. 


Vacation, all I ever wanted…

July 17, 2015 - 3:17pm

By: Sharon Nellist

I was under the impression that summer break would imply some rest and relaxation.

Certainly not this summer…..

Even though my last undergraduate year at Portland State does not arrive for another 72 days, I already feel slightly overwhelmed with all the work I have this summer in preparation. As well as being on-call for temp work to save enough money to make it through the next year, interviewing for internships, constantly reviewing my schedule choice, and considering graduate school programs.

So when I have a brief moment or a spontaneous weekend of freedom, I look for nearby areas that will assimilate that all so glorious feeling of paradise.

 

A great little refuge is just a short 30-minute drive across the Washington border – a place called Lewisville Park. It has a clear river swimming hole nested in between towering pines and several wildlife hiking trails.

 

Moulton Falls is another place that I have my eye keenly on. Just another few miles east of Lewisville Park, it also has several hiking trails with a billowing white falls, an old wooden bridge, and 15-foot cliff just waiting for a brave soul to jump into the icy cool waters below.

 

Tell me about your paradise?


Weather the Weather

July 17, 2015 - 2:10pm

by Shezad Khan

It’s been an insanely hot summer for Oregon so far. We had a couple of weeks with temperatures sitting steady in the mid-to-high-90s. Thankfully, weather forecasts are finally showing our daily highs sitting between the mid-70s and low-80s. This is a great relief for those of us who aren’t so keen on hot temperatures and the blistering sun. However, aside from the hot weather, we have another big problem: drought.

I can’t remember the last time we had any measurable rain. I feel like it’s been at least a month, if not longer. Sure, we may have had some sprinkling, but that’s not enough. The last time I checked, 20 of our 36 counties had officially claimed to be in drought. We desperately need some rain!

A topic like drought can be scary to think about, but there are ways to help out during these conditions. With Portland State being a sustainability-minded school, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any word from them on this issue. Visiting the campus facilities page results in no mention of Oregon’s water shortage.

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Water has put up some helpful links on how to conserve water. They have put up PDFs on how to save water inside the home, outside the home, on farms and ranches, and within municipal systems. Check these links out to see how you can help!


No Car? No Problem

July 2, 2015 - 8:08pm

By: Chelsea Ware

Who wants to pay for campus parking and gas on top of high tuition prices and overpriced textbooks? I know that I sure don’t! Before I moved to Portland I would drive almost every day, but here I have realized that I no longer need my car. In fact, I enjoy not having my car with me. There are so many other options when it comes to getting around!

Portland State offers discounted three-month TriMet passes that allow students to ride the MAX, bus, and streetcar with ease. Additionally, the streetcar is free downtown for students even without the paid pass; all you need is your student ID.

On September 12th of this year, the Tilikum Crossing, also called the Bridge of the People, will open for use. At more than 1,700 feet in length, it is the longest car-free transit bridge in the U.S. The bridge will allow MAX trains, buses, streetcars, cyclists and pedestrians to efficiently cross the Willamette without congestion from cars. Additionally, MAX will soon have a new orange line that crosses the bridge and allows for access to more stops.

Car sharing services like Car2Go and Zipcar also make it easy for students who don’t have a car but want to go further than the city limit for a day trip or just for errands. A low one-time startup fee and no monthly payments make it a breeze to use the plethora of smart cars that Car2Go has parked around campus and the general Portland area. You are only charged for what you drive and you can park the car anywhere in Car2Go’s home territory when you are finished. Zipcar has a monthly fee (price depends on the plan you pick) but allows users more flexibility when it comes to choosing different sizes and models of cars. It’s great if you need a larger car for the day. The Zipcar parking lot next to Safeway by campus makes it easy to pick up and return the car, too.

Biking to and from school is also a great option. PSU makes it simple by offering bike rentals and parking. The PSU Bike Hub is a phenomenal  resource for students who might need bike repairs or to rent other forms of biking equipment.

What do you guys think of these car sharing services? Do you think it’s easier to live downtown without owning a car?


STUMPED in Stumptown…

June 10, 2015 - 4:48pm

By: Sharon Nellist

Can you imagine going into your senior year and doubt the major that you have so painstakingly been working toward the last few years? Well, I certainly can. HELP!

My most recent thoughts: I am certain of the type of job I am looking for…. But will my current major get me there? Will my major hurt my chances of getting this job? Is it worth switching majors at this point? How much longer will it take? Ahh! I have to study more for that last final exam…

My mind is full.

Thankfully! I have the summer to figure this out.

And I know that I am not the only one…

Nearly 80% of new students heading for college are undeclared. About 50% of college students that have declared a major change their major, even two or three times!

Also, Portland State has great resources to help through this “traumatic” time…

What can I do with a degree in….?
Career Workshops, Classes & Events
Exploring PSU Majors Fair

What did or would you do in this situation?

Wish me luck!


Summer Goals for Summer Blues

May 26, 2015 - 9:11pm

by Shezad Khan

It’s already week nine of spring term, which means summer break is very, very close. I’m incredibly relieved and excited for the three month escape from schoolwork. Since I took classes last summer, I’ve been craving an extended amount of down time. If you’re anything like me, however, that down time can lead to some extreme boredom and sluggishness.

For me, it’s important to stay active during summer break – both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a drink or ten to celebrate the end of the school year and/or your graduation or sit on the couch and binge watch five different shows on Netflix – go ahead, you’ve earned it – but it does mean making sure that kind of behavior doesn’t become cyclical and negative. This is especially important for those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Something that I’m going to do to make sure my summer break is productive is keep a list of goals. I know, super cliché, right? But it will definitely help. Here are some of the goals that I’m setting for myself:

  • Read: I want to finish at least ten books over the course of this summer break. I don’t have enough time to read for pleasure during the school year, so I want to make my time off count.
  • Play Soccer: Playing soccer a few times a week is not only fun, but very healthy as well.
  • Look for internships/apply for scholarships: Yes, unfortunately, some work does have to be down over summer break. Grad school is coming up, and it’s not cheap. Looking for internships that apply to my field will help me find a career down the line. And with scholarships, well, who doesn’t need extra money?
  • Work, work, work: Summer break is a great time to try and boost your hours at work. Work may be stressful sometimes, but it’s a lot less stressful when you don’t have to worry about schoolwork on top of it.

These are just a few goals I have for myself to make sure my break is well-spent and productive. I would urge all of you to find your own goals. It really is good for you.


Awaiting the Looming Changes in Campus Security

May 20, 2015 - 9:22pm

By Chelsea Ware

June will bring many things: the end to an arduous spring quarter, warm weather, but most importantly it is when the PSU Board of Trustees will review and vote on an implementation plan for armed security on campus. In December of 2014, the PSU Board of Trustees voted 11 to 2 in favor of having an armed police force on campus and for the past 5 months they have been constructing the details of how the officers will operate.

Under the plan, PSU will hire 12 police officers to join campus security. The decision was also a result of Portland State University President Wim Weiwel’s Task Force on campus safety; a group composed of members of the PSU community who spent six months studying safety on campus. The President’s Task Force suggested that PSU should have armed officers due to PSU’s proximity to downtown, its steady growth of students, and lack of safety resources.

The deaths that have taken place in Baltimore, New York, and Ferguson have left many students feeling uneasy about PSU’s proposed security plan. However, board members have expressed their hope that PSU can work to cultivate a security department that reflects the Portland State values of diversity and accountability.

Do you think that having armed officers on campus will add to students’ safety? As someone who lives on campus, I know that I will be following the upcoming changes closely and I encourage you to also. Whether you are pro or against the upcoming changes, it is important that we all stay engaged during this process.


If Chivalry is Dead, We’re Stuck at the Wake

May 20, 2015 - 8:23am

The other day I read an article about “benevolent sexism”, which did a wonderful job of discussing the problems of chivalrous behavior by explaining rather than accusing – unlike this article celebrating its death, or this one blaming women for it.

Both men and women face incredible pressure to do things a certain way. Men pay for things, open doors, and have this expectation to protect their women. We accept this because that’s how we define “men”.

It’s easy for women to say we don’t care whether a guy always picks up the check, but I don’t think that women could ever understand why it bothers men so much; however, we can certainly be sympathetic.

These three common instances only help perpetuate everyday sexism, which hurts not only women but also men:

1. Men “have” to pay.
With more women in the workforce with equal qualifications and education, it’s becoming more likely that a woman could make more than her male partner. But this prevailing idea that the man must pay for everything hurts both parties – he can’t afford it, and she feels guilty because he won’t have her pay.

2. Men waiting on women.
The reasons men waiting on women can be borderline offensive – even though many women appreciate it – is better outlined in the first article mentioned than I could ever do.
     For men, however, this “chivalrous” behavior is and was created by extrinsic pressures from other men to treat their “ladies” as delicate. Men who do these things are considered “better” than others. Those who don’t get nitpicked by their families, friends, her friends, and potentially the gal herself. However, the creation of chivalry is also a way to differentiate between classes – is a guy less worthy because he wasn’t taught chivalry? No.

3. The “stupid” husband/boyfriend
This is the most problematic because there is nothing empowering about tearing someone down – particularly when it’s targeting an entire gender. How many times have commercials for household items portrayed a confused, sloppy husband? While I’m sure these couples exist – hence the stereotype – always showing men who don’t know how to pack their child’s lunch or change a diaper, normalizes and internalizes the idea that only – cisgendered heterosexual – women can raise a child.


The Power of Orange

May 19, 2015 - 11:25am

By Olivia Clarke

On my bedroom curtain, secured with a safety pin, is a little square of orange fabric. I got the square when I attended PSU’s Sustainability Celebration last spring – in return for my signature on a Divest PSU petition, I received this piece of fabric as a symbol of my support for rethinking the university’s investments.

Divestment aims to deny financial resources to governments and industries that are viewed as harmful or unjust. While the hot-button divestment issue for the previous generation was South African apartheid, the current topic of concern among universities across the nation is the environment: specifically, the fossil fuel companies that are hurting it (and that receive financial support from our school every year). The Divest PSU campaign began in 2014, and it seems to be gaining momentum. Divest PSU holds weekly meetings, and those orange squares are getting more recognition around campus.

As a sustainability-minded student, I have high hopes for this campaign: I know how hard some people work to lead sustainable lifestyles, but the environment can’t be saved by our personal choices alone. Even if I carpool and recycle, my impact pales in comparison to the financial influence of my school and other universities around the country. For this reason, I support the Divest PSU organizers who are using their power as students to speak up for a more ethical PSU that stays true to its environmental values. After all, our logo isn’t green for nothing.


Planning Ahead

May 15, 2015 - 10:19am

By: Andreea Nica

I like to plan. Planning provides me security, a comfort that I’m on the right track. Or, at least it gives me the feeling I’m getting there.

When I began the doctoral program at PSU, I knew there was much work ahead, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the work that had me bogged down. Rather, it was the organization and execution of my five-year plan in the program. I had some vague ideas like any aspiring academic, such as publishing, conferences, teaching and research. But I soon realized that these vague notions of developing oneself as a scholar needed some filling in.

When did I want to publish? And with whom? How many conferences should I attend? What should I teach? What about funding? How many small research projects should I conduct? I needed more direction, and once I gained it from discussions with colleagues and professors inside and outside the department, I began filling in the details of my five-year plan. Excel came to my rescue. I began to organize my goals (brief statements, really) into an Excel document with proposed dates of completion, deadlines for funding opportunities, outcome goals and people I should talk further with regarding the respective goal.

While I am aware that plans change, organizing my time and goals in the graduate program has boosted my confidence and provided a clearer direction on what I want to achieve. I would recommend starting out with one- to two-year plans as they are easier to manage than longer-term plans. After all, many things can change over the course of four to five years.

Good luck planning!