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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 11 min 20 sec ago

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.