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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 13 min 20 sec ago

Three Management Tools to Help Students Succeed

March 12, 2015 - 12:59pm

Many students get overwhelmed with the amount of readings required in each course. If you’re a graduate student putting together your literature review and/or dissertation proposal, organization is crucial. As a doctoral student, I have mounds of journal articles to sort through each week, and without the help of certain technological tools I would definitely find myself drowning in an abyss of academic articles.

I use several tools that support my process that I think could be useful for students at all levels.

Google Docs: I primarily use Google Drive Docs to jot down notes, research ideas and organize my projects. One idea that I recently started to implement is sharing a Google Excel Doc with my advisor, so that I can easily update him on my research process and findings. Try it!

Mendeley: This nifty tool is a reference manager, and it’s a lifesaver! You can access it from anywhere in the world, and you can also download it onto your desktop. Basically, you upload your PDFs, read and annotate (very useful – think of digital post-its all in one place), create groups and collaborate with others. And, last but not least, you can file your PDF articles in appropriate folders.

Zotero: Similar to Mendeley, it stores your articles and readings. You can also add images, audio and video files, and snapshots of web pages. A unique differentiation from Mendeley is that Zotero is the only research tool that identifies content in your web browser, allowing you to easily add the content to your library.

If you want to learn more about citation management tools, visit the PSU library for more information.

 


Why I Left the Vanguard

March 11, 2015 - 2:43pm

By Shezad Khan

  • I didn’t get paid the first three months I worked for the Vanguard. The director lost my paperwork which included some sensitive information. It was later found after I was asked to fill all the forms out a second time.
  • One of my articles was attributed to someone else. This one really upset me. How can you take the time, work, and effort of a writer and put someone else’s name on it? I only heard from the chief editor once via a short email. Nothing was done to correct the problem. I was told the following issue would offer clarification. It didn’t. It was a stupid error for the Vanguard to make, and the way they handled the problem was nothing but a slap in the face.
  • They cut our pay by 33% (the least of my worries). For months I was making $45 per article if my articles were over a certain word count. After a new managing editor and a new editor for my section arrived, however, our pay was dropped to $30 dollars. Why? Because apparently the last managing editor had been mistaken about our pay. So it didn’t matter how long of an article we wrote, the pay would be the same. Did they bother to tell me that before I wrote articles nearing or reaching a thousand words? Of course not.
  • They changed the title of my article – twice. When this happened with the new editor, I was told that these things happen all the time. This would be the deciding factor in my choice to leave the Vanguard. I wrote an email asking why they would change the title without telling the writer, or why they wouldn’t give the writer the chance to come up with a new title if they didn’t think the original title was sufficient. The answer I received was that it would simply be a waste of time for the Vanguard to consider the writer’s thoughts. It doesn’t matter to me if publications feel they “have the right” to do this, I still think it’s wrong.

Tuition increases, this is really happening right now…

March 11, 2015 - 2:02pm

By: Sharon Nellist

The PSU Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow, March 12, to vote on the proposed tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year.

The potential 5% increase will leave resident undergraduate and graduate students paying around $330 more each year. Non-resident students will have to pick up the tab with $500 more each year.

Students are affected by tuition increases: fewer enroll, they graduate later based on the course load they can afford, work longer hours at demanding jobs that interfere with academic performance, and drop out because they do not have enough money and cannot get more!

PSU’s Board of Trustees claims that the potential increase is due to flat enrollment, decreased state support, increase in costs, and the previously negotiated salary increases.

Higher education is an important part of the country’s economic advancement. Free higher education, as in other developed countries, would ultimately save money with a $15-$30 billion investment. The 30% of Americans who start college and actually graduate is evidence to the billions of dollars currently wasted. The more people there are in college, because they can actually afford it, the less unemployed people there would be seeking government assistance. College graduates without debt would stimulate the economy with the money they do have. An educated society reports a higher level of health and happiness. (Bob Samuels Huffington Post)

I kept my tuition loans low by attending a community college before transferring to Portland State; however, with the consistent increases, I am seriously worried that I will be unable to get the funding for graduate school.

Our Student Body President Eric Noll is raising a rallying cry against the increase to put pressure on the board. Students are encouraged to gather in front of the Millar Library from noon to 1 p.m. this Thursday.

What do you say? Hope to see you there!

Proposed agenda for the PSU Board of Trustees Meeting March 12, 2015


Real Talk About Internships

March 10, 2015 - 3:42am

Photo credit to Internships.com

By Brooke Horn

We’ve heard it before: Internships are a key part of your education. They provide valuable experience, they present networking opportunities, they look good on your resume, they help you transition from academia to the workplace, etc. We get it already. They’re important. What’s lacking in the conversation about internships (at least the ones I’m hearing) is how to really make them work for you. I’ve had three so far, and I’ll be the first to admit I made a few mistakes along the way. Here’s what I learned from them.

Like any relationship, it’s important to know what you want going into one so that both parties are on the same page. I’ve seen internships range from one to six months in length and require anywhere between one and 25-plus hours per week. Before you do anything else, figure out how much time you can realistically devote to interning. I made the mistake of overestimating how much time I had to give, and as a result, I’m writing this blog post at 4am. Sleep is important too, as is scheduling time for things that help you relax and genuinely make you happy.

When you interview, remember that it goes both ways. You should be asking questions and making sure that this internship will be mutually beneficial. Some things to consider: Will this internship provide you with new skills, or do they expect you to already be competent? Do you need to generate work samples for a portfolio, and if so, will this internship help you do that? Are you going to be exposed to networking opportunities? Will you be working on your own or as part of a team? Telecommuting? Not only will you impress your potential employer, but your internship experience will be that much more rewarding because you know what you want out of it.

Finally, no internship discussion is complete without acknowledging the elephant in the room: compensation. The ethics surrounding paid vs. unpaid internships deserve a blog post – or even a book – all their own, but I’ll say this: I’ve had one paid and two unpaid internships, and they ALL were irreplaceable parts of my education. It may seem incredibly unfair to have to pay tuition and fees for seemingly free labor, but you aren’t really working for free. You are gaining otherwise unattainable experience, academic credit, and networking connections. In many cases, you are also helping small businesses stay afloat in a difficult economy. My internship with local independent publisher Hawthorne Books taught me not only about publishing, but how small businesses interact with their communities.

In short, don’t just sign up for an internship to fill a requirement or a line on your resume. Be selective, know what you want and what you have time for, and do your research. Seriously… internships quite literally changed the course of my education. If you’d like to know more, feel free to ask in the comments. I’m out of room here, but I’m always happy to help a fellow student.

If you’re on the hunt, the following resources are super helpful:

  1. PSU’s Career Center
  2. PSU’s Jobs & Internships Database
  3. Career Workshops, Classes, & Events
  4. 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship
  5. Pinterest’s surprisingly good internship advice

For the Sake of My Sanity, Please Change the PSU Payment Plan!

March 4, 2015 - 9:27am

By: Chelsea Ware

I am an out of state student and PSU has offered me many opportunities and experiences that I wouldn’t have if I went to school back home. I have fallen in love with Oregon and don’t plan on leaving when I graduate. That being said, being an out of state student has also been expensive. While loans and help from family make my education possible, it’s hard not to cringe every time my quarterly bill is posted.

The PSU payment plan has given me even more reason to cringe. Implemented fall quarter of 2014, the payment plan allows students to pay their tuition in three installments due on the 6th of each month. If a payment is missed, we are charged a $100 late fee. However, all students, not just those on the payment plan, must have a zero balance on their Banweb account on the 6th of each month. If they do not, they are automatically enrolled in the plan and charged the $100 fee. While I paid my tuition in full at the beginning of the term, I was charged the late fee because I didn’t know that I had a small bill from the student health clinic that had been posted the day before.

College is a privilege, and many students struggle to afford an education so that they can better their future. There are many international, out of state, low income and minority students who have unique funding structures that don’t mesh with PSU’s new plan. Some students I know didn’t get their financial aid before the 6th of the month, which happened to be only a few days into the term this winter. As a result they now have late fees to add to their already growing student debt.

PSU used to structure their payment system like many universities in Oregon do today. A 1-2% interest is added to outstanding payments each billing cycle. Therefore, the late fee is a reasonable amount compared to the student’s outstanding balance. I personally would like to see PSU go back to this system, what do you guys think?


It’s that feeling…

March 2, 2015 - 2:46pm

By: Jasmin Landa

It’s that feeling when you put all your effort into a goal and the result comes back as both a surprise and a disappointment. It’s a feeling that brings you down and saddens you with all its might. It tells you your efforts weren’t good enough and makes it hard to keep moving forward with your head held high and a smile on your face.

I have felt disappointment numerous times, and it feels like there is a barrier that I can’t quite figure out how to break through. I have pushed, pulled and plotted ways to demolish this impediment, but solutions have remained a mystery.

I am definitely not perfect, but I have grown and have not forgotten the people and experiences that have formed my identity. I learn from my leaps in life and I cherish my triumphs. Yet, even with a real identity and the knowledge and wisdom I practice, I endure a lot of disappointment. It’s like a roller coaster: I get thrills, but sometimes it seems I am perpetually falling, and it constantly tests my faith.

When I get that feeling I try to see my life’s journey elevating to another triumph. I begin to realize how much faith can carry me up to my next point in life. Faith is a powerful weapon that gives strength to my internal and external being to keep proceeding forward. Without it, I would be a destitute soul who has given up and settled for what is.

So yes, disappointment is a part of my daily life, but only a small percentage of what influences me. My life is not a sweet symphony of perfection, but one in which I’ve learned, tripped and excelled. Disappointment is vital to my identity because without it, there is no need to find a way to succeed at another level or desire. I want to be the change I want to see in the world, and one day the world will change with me. For now, I will take every outcome or state of mind I’m in as an opportunity to be grateful that I can take this day and turn it into an opportunity.


Let’s Talk Trash

February 24, 2015 - 1:33am

By Brooke Horn

Lauren Singer’s green philosophy is pretty simple: produce as little waste as possible by making smart, sustainable lifestyle choices. As a whole, our society subscribes to the disposable model. We have disposable plastic ware, drink cups, water bottles, napkins, food wrappers, product packaging… the list is seemingly endless. Generating no trash might seem like an impossibility but, as Lauren shows us, we can get pretty darn close.

Lauren Singer can fit two year’s worth of trash into a single mason jar. Photo credit to Trash is for Tossers.

I discovered Lauren through this EcoWatch article last week and became really intrigued by the concept of zero-waste living. Amazingly, almost all of the trash she’s collected over two years fits in a single mason jar. Her blog, Trash is for Tossers, provides tons of useful information on how she pulls her zero-waste lifestyle off. After doing a lot of research and taking a good, hard look at my own habits, I’ve decided to follow Lauren’s lead and implement some changes in my own lifestyle.

While I don’t think that I’m ready to transition to zero-waste, I DO want to transition to zero-plastic (or as close as I can get). Plastics have been shown to leach toxins into food, and while they can be reused, they don’t decompose like other materials. Does this mean immediately disposing of all plastics in my household? No, and it shouldn’t. Throwing away these items would only ADD to the problem.

My dreaded Tupperware shelf… I plan on replacing all of that plastic with more sustainable containers.

Instead, I plan on gradually replacing my plastic items with glass, wood, or stainless steel equivalents (which you can find here, or even at your local thrift shop). The plastic items can either be donated or recycled as I exchange them. And while I’m generally pretty good about bringing a reusable water bottle and canvas shopping bags with me wherever I go, I’d like to go one step further. By using linen bags like these when I purchase produce and bulk items, I eliminate most plastics from my shopping routine. BAM. No more plastic bags, no more plastic Tupperware. One step closer to zero-plastic and zero-waste.

For tips on how you can live a more sustainable lifestyle on campus, check out PSU’s own Green Campus Living. The blogs Project Green Dorm, Zero Waste Home, and, of course, Trash is for Tossers are also really great resources. Wish me luck on my journey to zero-plastic! Feel free to share your own tips, recipes, resources, and ideas in the comments below.


“A Living Room On Campus”

February 23, 2015 - 9:24am

By: Zaira Carranza

Some of my favorite places at Portland State University are the cultural centers: La Casa Latina, Multicultural Center (MCC), and the Native American Student Center. There are many events held at all these centers, but the most exciting ones for me are those that teach me about the different cultural celebrations. But let’s be honest, it is also the ones with free food. I enjoy being there because I get a welcoming feeling. I can go to the MCC and lay on one of the couches and take a nap right after my biology exams. I also use the microwave whenever I bring my fancy Ramen from home. There is a social area with many tables where I meet people from all sorts of backgrounds. It is like a living room on campus. It is where I spend time with my friends as well as create new friendships. I enjoy it so much that I decided to apply for a job there. I currently work in the front desk at the Casa Latina and MCC, so if you ever want to come, you are more than welcome. Did you know that the more people who visit the cultural centers, the more funding it gets? That funding means that there could be even more events throughout the year.


Chirp, Chirp, Squawk: Rediscovering Nature in the City

February 23, 2015 - 12:14am

By Olivia Clarke

“Look!” my classmate said excitedly, pointing up into a tree in the Montgomery courtyard. “A crow!”

We were on a bird-watching field trip for our urban ecology class, led by a member of the Audubon Society. Our guide had arrived in our classroom thirty minutes earlier to give us an overview of Portland’s bird species. Then he led us outside to observe the ornithology of the campus. Our inner birders awakened, we announced each sighting with greater enthusiasm. We gleefully identified “Rock Pigeons” and “Glaucous-winged Gulls” as if they were rare and exotic specimens.

After a steep hike into the hills south of campus, we reached a clearing where we could look out over the entire city to glimpse Hood, Adams, and St. Helens in the distance. Our guide called us over to a tree to train our binoculars on a little black bird with bright red eyes and wings to match. “Ooh,” we all crooned.

We tend to think of ourselves as separate from nature, especially here in the city – “urban” and “wildlife” seem like contradictory terms. But if that disconnect were real, I don’t think my classmates and I would have found ourselves huddled together to admire a Spotted Towhee against a mingled backdrop of buildings and mountains.

Nature is persistent. We forget that it sings songs around us constantly, even in the middle of Portland. I hear these songs chirped and squawked around campus all the time, now that I’ve adjusted my ears.


“Hate Cannot Drive Out Hate; Only Love Can Do That.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

February 19, 2015 - 5:18pm

by Shezad Khan

As an atheist, one of my main goals is to make sure that my outlook on life revolves around peace and love. For this reason, I feel that it’s a shame that several atheist “scholars” have turned to using animosity to preach against those who they disagree with. It seems counterintuitive for these big names in atheism to be using the same tool that religious fanatics use to preach against their enemies – that tool being hate.

This is also an odd situation for me because my family comes from a Muslim background. That means that every time a fanatical Islamic group – ISIL, Boko Haram, etc. – decides to spread their hatred via killing and destruction (the recent tragedy of Charlie Hebdo, for instance), it shines an incredibly bad light on Muslims in general. It has become more and more visible to me that a lot of people in this country generalize Muslims. Yes, it is racist to say that everyone in or from the Middle East is a terrorist, and yes, it is very prejudiced to say that that every Muslim is a terrorist. I may be an atheist, but I don’t ever want to see my family suffer through that. After the attacks made on September 11th, my mom wouldn’t let me go to the park after school – try explaining why to a nine-year-old kid.

So how am I supposed to feel now, that three young Muslim-American adults were killed in North Carolina and no one really seems to care? Three young Muslim-Americans killed “execution style” and the media has chalked it up to a “parking dispute.” It’s just something that doesn’t sit well with me.

Even though it seems like Muslim people are in a bad spot right now, I’m not without hope that there are people out there who understand the difference between religious people and religious fanatics as I do. Luckily, I find myself surrounded by intellectual and intelligent people – especially the friends I’ve made at Portland State. And to those who do want to use hate as their primary tool, I guess I’ll just have to chalk them up as being incredibly ignorant.


Slow ride, Take it easy

February 19, 2015 - 2:03pm

By: Sharon Nellist

I admire and sympathize at the same time with those who take more than the recommended full-time classes and are involved in every other school organization and club in hopes to save a bit of money and graduate sooner than expected. Because I once was that student – and it is certainly not for everyone.

Perhaps it is that I am a returning full-time student, in my late twenties, married, making a car payment, working several outside jobs in order to pay rent, and I’m not opposed to starting a family while trying to have the most quintessential young college experience – a campus job, events, clubs, etc. I want this experience to be great and memorable.

What I have realized is that it is possible for everyone to have this experience, even me, but you need to know how to balance these things and maintain your sanity.

  • For me I know I need 12 credit hours, no more or less, for optimal learning
  • That suggests that I have 24 hours total of study time
  • I save money by bringing my food instead of delicious food carts – allows for some creativity, or lack thereof
  • My job as a nanny gives me the flexibility around my school schedule, as it is my priority
  • I budget using a spreadsheet, they are not just for old people – I can cut back on my student loans this year!
  • I am involved in rowing, yes at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and I work for the student blog – only 2 allows me to focus on my involvement
  • And there is a whole day allotted for spending time with my husband or friends – we frequent the Saturday Market on campus

My degree may take an extra term or two to complete, but I most likely will not have a mental breakdown, my personal life will be unharmed, and I will succeed well enough to go on to Grad school and still have my perfect college experience.


Forty days of restraint

February 18, 2015 - 1:57pm

It is that time of year again when the Christians and the semi-Christians come out of the woodwork to discuss what it is they are giving up for Lent. I find myself debating between the two things I care about most – coffee and shopping. However, fortunately for my wallet, I physically cannot afford to give up coffee, and financially cannot afford to not give up shopping.

When I was in high school, shopping was not a problem, basically because I didn’t have any money to spend. But when I moved out of state to California for college, shopping became a very easy distraction. Uprooting to California by myself, accompanied by the stress of student loans, new people, and needing to find a job, was the most trying experience of my life. Throw in a dysfunctional relationship and you have my freshman year nightmare. In order to get away from it all, as far as I could with reasonable transit time, I would go to the mall. It wasn’t until Lent came up that I realized I had an actual problem.

Whether you’re religious or not, it’s never a bad idea to reflect on your behaviors and habits – and particularly why you engage in them. The idea of Lent is to tackle a particularly bad habit that interferes with your relationship to God. However, I think the idea behind Lent would do everyone a little good because it allows people to look at what actions interfere with their relationships to themselves or to their loved ones.

Is it easier to run a credit card than talk about the actual reason you’re upset? Absolutely. But does it solve any problems? Not really, and it creates a newer problem of credit card debt.

I believe anyone can benefit from 40 days of restraint, especially when control seems like the only thing you don’t have on your plate. Plus, you get to celebrate at the end so why not?


On Ditching Cinnamon Toast Crunch for Organic Spinach

February 11, 2015 - 3:07pm

By Chelsea Ware

My first quarter at PSU taught me just how much of an impact healthy eating has on overall well-being. Like many students away from home for the first time, I considered frozen pizzas the base of the food pyramid. When I wasn’t at Victor’s in Ondine eating cake and burgers for lunch, I was at Starbucks setting a record for the most iced coffees consumed in 24 hours. While I didn’t gain the notorious “freshman 15,” I did notice other changes. I was constantly catching a cold, my skin looked dull and I was tired during my classes. I decided to make a change and embarked on a journey to find healthy, nutritious food items that are college budget friendly.

My favorite place to shop is Whole Foods Market. With the nickname “whole paycheck” many don’t see them as being economical. However, I disagree. While they do have some pretty expensive items, they also have a wide array of name brand products that are comparable or less expensive than the same items at other grocery stores. For instance, their 365 roasted red pepper pasta sauce for $2 is amazing. In addition, the knowledgeable and friendly staff is great when it comes to finding low priced items. Whenever I go in, the employees at the butcher counter tell me what is on sale and give me recipes on how to use it. As a result, I’ve never had a problem eating right and staying within my financial plan at Whole Foods.

The Safeway near campus has made many recent improvements to offer healthy eating options. They have expanded their organic produce section and added a larger assortment of nutritious staple items such as brown rice, organic granola, and whole grain bread. With a club card, Safeway makes it convenient and affordable for students to make healthier choices.

The Farmers Market is also a great resource for wholesome eating. For those like me who live on campus, the one in the park blocks on Saturday mornings is a fantastic place to purchasing fresh produce. Strolling by the various booths trying samples and socializing is a fun way to spend the morning, and I love knowing that my purchases benefit the local community.

Learning to cook in bulk with quality ingredients has had a huge positive impact on my health. I have a stronger immune system and I feel much more energetic during the day, and I’m sure that if you try it, you will see a difference too. For quick nutritious recipes, I recommend checking out http://greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-recipe-collection. Feel free to post your tips for overcoming bad eating habits below!


Memoir Writing at PSU

February 9, 2015 - 4:23pm

When I tell people I’m writing a memoir, they usually appear surprised and ask: “Aren’t you too young?”

In 2013, I began writing “Freeligious,” a memoir and narrative nonfiction about my detachment from a charismatic religious sect and community. As a former evangelical, my gradual transition from the Pentecostal community spanned 10 years. The book focuses on identity, power and society with the aim of empowering those who have left — or who want to leave — their religious systems. Since then, I’ve taken a memoir writing course in Seattle, joined a writing group and received attention from media outlets such as Fox News Radio. Around 200 pages later, I realized I still needed help organizing my book.

I decided to take a memoir writing class with instructor and author Paul Collins in PSU’s English Department this winter term. The course has been extremely helpful in not only focusing on creating new content, but organizing my existing work. While the workshops (each student and the instructor reviews the student’s work and provides open feedback) initially can be an uneasy experience, they have certainly been most useful. As a Ph.D. Sociology student, being the only non-MFA student in the course has also helped me learn from others’ writing skills and expertise.

Although some find it unexpected that I’m writing a memoir at a “young age” or while pursuing a doctoral degree in the social sciences, I believe following more than one passion or goal can be most satisfying in life.

If you’re interested in taking a course in PSU’s English Department, visit: http://www.pdx.edu/english/


Out-of-state student on paper, in-state by heart

February 9, 2015 - 3:29pm

By: Jasmin Landa

Being an out-of-state student has truly been an adventure thus far. You see, I previously resided in Reno, Nevada, and loved the dry desert mountain land as my home and a place that describes what has raised me, But I felt that life always needs continuous change.

I wanted to make a drastic change that would require me to challenge myself. So I decided to do so during college — a change that would challenge my limits, perspectives and tolerances — all while expanding my cultural competency.

The journey began in the fall of 2014. I packed my bags, said goodbye to those who had helped me become the person I am and embarked on the road ahead to what was going to aid the dreams and aspirations that I so desired to accomplish. From day one, I acknowledged that the journey was not going to be easy by any means, but one in which I would find myself right where I needed to be.

It is now the winter term of 2015, and I have fallen in love with my decision to physically detach myself from what had made me, and attach myself to what would help me “become.”

I have already met wonderful people along this journey, both in and out of class: professors who always find ways to make me laugh and educate me, and the Portland State community at large. Being an out-of-state student brings a fresh perspective in my personal life that will carry me through my tribulations and triumphs.

I am excited, nervous and exasperated about the steps forward in my journey. As I take it day-by-day and opportunity-by-opportunity, I find myself learning and growing in all aspects of my life. I am an out-of-state student on paper, and in-state by heart.


Dating like a grown-up

February 4, 2015 - 11:23pm

Charlotte gets it /via taniayasmin.tumblr.com

I have this girlfriend, we’ll call her Katie, who was seeing someone. They would meet up regularly, like every other night at least, and one day, nothing. The guy, we’ll call him Mitchell, said all the right things – the sweet stuff, things about the future. But the morning after? He completely pulled the rug out from under her and back-tracked. No more calls, no more texts, nothing.

What happened? Two kids with the ideas of high school relationships floating in the back of their heads got caught up in the freedoms and naivities of college dating.

Think about how much easier it is to be around your honey 24/7 when you’re an adult especially if you live on campus. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to completely evade someone you do not want to see.

Instead of being forced to see each other in the hallways of Suburbia High, we’re able to drop off the face of the earth without so much as an, “I’m just not that into you.” But why do we do it? Why do we go from bright-eyed, bushy-tailed dating in high school, to dropping off when we cannot handle the seriousness anymore?

Obviously curing emotional unavailability comes from within, but what about simply making a rule of open communication? That’s what we lack. It’s harder to be a complete jerk to someone when, chances are, you’re going to see them in homeroom or at lunch. In college, we can hide.

Now, high school relationships have their own downfalls. College dating took those downfalls and exacerbated them. Were we too invested in high school relationships sometimes? Probably. Then put those overzealous emotions and inject them into the college world – stress about money, grades, the ever frightening future.

The fears we had when we were 16 – read: this is too serious – blow up in our faces. When you’re 16 it’s a bit easier to say, “well it’s only high school;” but when you’re an adult, the future – particularly the romantic future – feels much more tangible.

I believe that the best advice – and the infuriating – is to be completely honest. If you really like someone, you should tell them. If you want to be serious with that person, you should tell them. If you do not want to be serious with that person, you should definitely tell them.

Our futures are right in our faces, let’s not waste anyone’s time with games.


On Courage and the Humble Compost Pail

January 30, 2015 - 4:00pm

By Olivia Clarke

If I stick my head out of my apartment window, I can see that the ground is littered with discarded food: two whole onions, yellow peppers, decomposing noodles. Someone above me has been tossing this stuff out of the window all year. Each time we notice new scraps, my roommate and I look vaguely upward and shake our fists: “How irresponsible!”

Next to that kitchen window sits my new compost pail. Like many students who live on campus, I returned from a final exam last term to find it sitting on my counter, shiny and expectant. It has a convenient handle, and an eye-catching label with instructions that read, “In: coffee grounds, soiled napkins, veggie scraps. Out: liquids, Styrofoam, all plastics.” The pail is straightforward and easy to use. And the thing is, I know that Food Tosser above me has one too. Yet he or she continues to chuck food into the dirt.

But maybe that’s what makes the compost pail so special. The folks at the Campus Sustainability Office know what they’re up against when they try to encourage change: old habits, laziness, lack of understanding. They know plenty of students think composting is gross, and would much sooner throw their scraps in the garbage – or out the window – and forget about them. Nonetheless, here are these compost pails. Stationed in each housing unit on West Campus, they remind me of brave little soldiers, perpetuating Portland’s relentless environmental spirit in the face of all obstacles.


Is it awkward when all the foodcart people know you?

January 29, 2015 - 10:51am

By: Zaira Carranza

On the PSU campus there is a food cart for every kind of food you can think of: Thai, Mexican, Mediterranean, Arabic, American and the list goes on. When I am sad I can just go to the nearest food cart and my frown will be turned upside down. When I walk out of the library, I can smell food. The hardest decision is deciding where to eat, because everything is delicious. Needless to say, I have gained 10 pounds my first term of college.

Some of the foodcart owners know my name. Even when they are not working they recognize me on the street. Like many students, I have two jobs and am a full-time student. Basically I’m always hungry and don’t have time to cook. Don’t you think there should be a section in the FAFSA for estimating how much money you will spend on food? It’s where my money goes.


QUIT!

January 27, 2015 - 9:47am

By: Shezad Khan

A lot of us have had jobs we don’t like, and a lot of you currently have a job that you don’t like. My only advice is for you to quit.

It may sound a bit irrational, but quitting my previous job was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Unlike most people, I quit my job before I found a new one. But honestly, it was still worth it. I was in a position where I would absolutely dread going to work every day. I couldn’t stand it. I was fed up with having an unrewarding job. I did more work than most of my coworkers and received no recognition, I was sick of the drama caused by people twice my age, and dealing with some of the worst customers.

I worked for my previous employer for just over three years and my only regret about quitting is that I didn’t do it sooner. I found a new job just a few weeks after I left my old one and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I now work in a place where a huge focus is teamwork. My coworkers and my managers are all awesome, and we’re always recognized for doing good work – I’ve even received three Starbucks gift cards!

Initially, it was my counselor who pushed me to quit my job. She made me realize how unhappy I was there, how much I hated getting off at midnight and having to be up early for school, and how much I hated dealing with the people I had to deal with. If you find yourself in a similar situation where you can’t stand your clientele, your coworkers, or your manager anymore, consider quitting. The thought might be a bit nerve-wracking, but there’s a good chance you’ll be happier somewhere else.

Trust me when I say it’s just not worth it when your job makes you miserable and makes you feel drained physically, mentally, and even emotionally. There’s a better opportunity for you out there. Go for it.


Relating to a ’60s radical

January 23, 2015 - 4:16pm

By: Sharon Nellist

I was merely ONE among a sold-out crowd listening to the lovely Angela Davis speak her words of great wisdom in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Jan. 21, 2015 at Portland State University.

A year ago when I came to PSU, I never would have thought to attend such an event, simply because I never have before. I also have never thought of myself as a very accurate representative of diversity – I am a white female, how would I make a difference?

Angela Davis told me otherwise.

She spoke about changing the way we see the world by thinking beyond our assumptions – having a broader consciousness because what happens to an individual has worldly reverberations.

She helped me to realize that diversity is not the separation of identity but the coming together of every unique individual.

We are privileged at Portland State University to have an abundance of diverse resources and events to expose ourselves to in our campus community.

Lives matter. And the only way to ensure that they matter is to educate yourself, to have a passion and a voice, and people will hear you. As Angela Davis spoke these words, she reminded me that it is my responsibility, our responsibility, simply because we are a member of humanity.

We have to act as if it were possible to change the world – Angela Davis

#PSUdiversity  – to see what people said about Angela Davis’ keynote address at PSU


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