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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 42 min 51 sec ago

You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

April 15, 2014 - 4:28pm

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.


| Spring |

April 15, 2014 - 10:52am

by Sierra Pruitt

Spring time always make people giddy and it’s one of the best things I get to witness during this season. Being in Portland, I absolutely love the days of sunshine because people are outside enjoying what we don’t get enough of.

But I have also came to the conclusion that we need to love the season we are in and not dwell because “summer isn’t here yet” or “school hasn’t ended.”

We all need to make the most of each day and become content with the present.

Here’s to spring, the blossoming flowers, and living in the present!


Countdown to graduation

April 10, 2014 - 4:13pm

by  Jenna Rae Tucker

…or as I have been lovingly referring to it, countdown to nothing. Here I am, a 27-year-old grad student getting ready to finish a thesis and get thrown back out into the real world. I will have more credentials and experience under my belt, but that doesn’t really make me feel any more prepared. I am getting flashbacks of being in the same position at 18 and 22. After high school I had this grand illusion that college would somehow know what I was interested in and guide me to the perfect career immediately after releasing me. This was sort of the case, but I had to work the front desk part time at a radio station, then work in promotions, before finally making it on the air, which I assumed is what I wanted to do since that is what I spent all my time doing in school.

Then I got bored and figured my grad school would help me decide what I wanted to do. And here I am, three months to go and still no dice. Maybe I will stay in media. Maybe in radio. Maybe I can get that farm with 100 dogs that I have always dreamed about. I have had five internships, been active in radio for seven years, and will shortly be acquiring a master’s degree.

Yet I am still clueless.

The countdown to nothing continues.

Are you graduating soon? Under grad, grad school, I don’t care. Give me advice!


Who would want to take summer classes?

April 10, 2014 - 1:51am

By: Mario Quintana

The majority of people wait all year for summer to arrive and perhaps even more so students.After months of class, hours of studying, and weeks of cloudy days, summer is ever so calming.For those who work and go to school, it is a relief to have less stress and responsibilities to deal with. So it may come as a surprise to many students to see other students taking summer classes. Yet, there are lots of reasons for taking summer classes.

I’m considering taking summer classes this year to graduate sooner rather than later. Fortunately I have the finances to take the classes if things work out. In doing so, I can save time and money by graduating earlier. Yet, there are uncertainties that come about by rushing things. What are my options after graduating? Am I considering grad school or will I join the workforce? Do I have a plan for both options?

In the end, I suppose I’m ready to finish my undergraduate degree and to move on. This is my  fifth year at PSU and taking another year is not appealing to me. It almost seems that my path to adulthood has been stagnated for numerous and personal reasons. While summer is a great time for the majority of people, it does not exempt them from their work and responsibilities. So would you take summer classes if you could?


Opera singer by day, karaoke star by night

April 2, 2014 - 3:54pm

As a vocal performance major, karaoke is something I experience quite a lot. You might think that after a full day of studying opera and proper singing technique the last thing my friends and I want to do is go sing some more, but we do. It might be the attention, or the alcohol, or how fun it is to sing whatever we want without being told that we’re closing to the diphthong on the french word “les”, I’m really not sure. But whatever it is that draws us to karaoke over and over again, we find our purposes are best served by Suki’s and KJ Chris Green.

KJ Chris doing his thing at Suki’s

KJ Chris comes from a theater background, has a sweet beard, his own entertainment company, a winning attitude, and always happily agrees to sing Phantom of the Opera duets with me. And while Scandals has an equally adequate musical theater song selection, and Boiler Room is better for dancing, no other locale has quite the same crowd, a lack of cover charge, the perfect dive quality, wonderfully low prices, the aforementioned KJ, and appropriately strong drinks like Suki’s does. It may not be a contest in real life, but in my mind Suki’s is the clear winner.


| A Technology Relationship |

March 17, 2014 - 4:40pm

We are people of love and relationship.

We are not made for technology. We are made for building relationships with one another. Technology is just a tool.

Too many of us look down at our phones to ignore human interaction when we should be engaged with one another and nature. I have recently seen commercials about new technology that makes us look at the world in a different way — a world with less engagement and more of a relationship with the material things that surround us. Devices like Google Glass move us further away from interacting with one another and more to the screens we look at everyday. We then create a sense of what the world is through our technologic advances instead of looking around and seeing the beauty that is already here.

Let’s remember that technology is not in control of our lives. Let’s not use the technology we own to isolate ourselves, but to create ways to meet people around us. Our most memorable moments do not come from our technology, but from people. We are designed to love, care, and create relationships with one another.


Finals are coming. Have you pet a dog yet?

March 13, 2014 - 1:19pm

by Jenna Rae Tucker

I consider my dog, Tim, to be my best friend, I would almost always rather snuggle up with him and stare into his adorable little face than go out and party. Sometimes he is annoying, especially when it is time for a walk (or what I like to call a “pull”) but he is always stoked to see me when I come home and he is such a goober it always makes me laugh. Maybe it is because I have never had a dog of my own, or because I am Tim’s lifeline, but I just love the little sucker so much. He makes me feel less stressed, less sad, and less lonely.

Timbers

But it is not just me! Hanging out with a pup can do this for you too! According to a report from CNN “canine interaction increases a human’s level of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety and blood pressure.” Studies also show that lots of stress/anxiety impairs memory, which you need for those tests. Some workplaces and universities actually have therapy dogs on site during stressful periods to calm people down.

So, find a dog and get to pettin’ (but make sure you ask its owner for permission first, apparently people frown upon random petting sometimes). Tim is available, but he will charge you one baby carrot per petting session.


Internship Glory

March 11, 2014 - 11:25am

By: Kadie Kobielusz

Yay! I finally landed an internship! I feel on top of the world (like my picture).

It took a lot of hard work and searching, but it obviously paid off. I found my internship through Internships.com, which is a great site where you can upload your resume, and just apply, apply, apply. Plus, I feel like the legitimacy of the jobs and workplaces there are far higher than people posting to Craigslist (though I suppose it depends on your career field).

My tips for you are:

  1. Even if you want to do an internship later on in the summer or fall, apply now! If they accept you, you can negotiate the start date. Or, you can be like me and find a way for it to work now, because it’s an INTERNSHIP!
  2. Make a list of all the places you’ve applied to, so down the line you can follow up, reapply and show your dedication if you haven’t scored a place yet.
  3. Talk to people. Mention to your friends and professors that you’re looking for one. There could be that friend of a friend who needs an intern.
  4. Don’t give up. If you’re not finding your dream internship, look at the whole spectrum of internships in your field and related fields. For example, being a graphic design student, I was also looking for internships in photography since that’s a highly useful skill in design.

Do you all have any more tips? Best of luck!


You know you’re an irresponsible hot mess when…

March 10, 2014 - 5:22pm

You know you’re an irresponsible hot mess when…your student loans total $40,000 and you just spent $5 of the money you’re supposed to use to pay your rent, trying to beat level 30 of Candy Crush. Yes, this is a true story of my very sad, very first world addiction to a game where the sole objective is to match up brightly colored candies.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), defines addiction based on the following criteria:

1. Inability to consistently abstain
I have not gone a full 24 hours without playing Candy Crush since my mom introduced me to it 2 months ago. Darn you mom!

2. Impairment in behavioral control
Remember the $5 I spent even though I have all that debt?

3. Craving or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences
I want to play. All. The. Time. I will crush the candy, I will bring that last damn cherry to the bottom, I will clear all the jelly!

4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships
My girlfriend: Babe, can you put that game down for a second I need to tell you something important
Me: What? Sorry, I accidently switched the stripey candy the wrong direction and now the last acorn is not where it needs to be.

5. A dysfunctional emotional response

Seriously

Now, while I do acknowledge that there are more severe addictions, this does not mean that I don’t have a problem. And judging by the plethora of memes available to describe my plight, I would hazard a guess that I’m not the only one earning irresponsible-hot-mess status because of my Candy Crush addiction.


Things I Learned in Canada:

March 5, 2014 - 1:53pm

By Amanda Katz

• Beanies are called toques.
• Beanie babies are called beanies.
• Poutine is actually really good.
• Canadians don’t use pennies.
• One dollar coins are called loonies.
• Two dollar coins are called toonies.
• The drinking age is 19.
• Sales tax is horrible.
• 100 kmph is 60 mph.
• Buses flash “Sorry” when they aren’t in service but still on the road.
• When you bump into a Canadian they say sorry, too.
• You can’t bring Kinder Eggs back into the U.S.

All silliness aside, I had a great time in New Westminster, Canada at a conference for student leaders in higher education. I networked with other students from the Pacific North West Region and brought back a lot of new skills and information that I plan on utilizing in this upcoming year.

Have you ever been to Canada or another country? What fun things did you learn?


Call Campus Security? Maybe not.

March 2, 2014 - 1:20pm

Over Christmas, as I returned to my car at 2 a.m., I was approached by four muscular campus security officers, in three patrol cars. It was a little scary.

Someone had called in a complaint about a man “trying to break into the library, wearing a hoody.”  I had returned some books to the Millar Library dropbox, and then carried the library’s delivered New York Times closer to the revolving doors as a courtesy, pausing to read some headlines first. I’m geeky like that.

After a check with dispatch that I was a bona fide student, the four officers let me on my way. I’ve since noticed this “phalanx of four” routine is common with Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) responses:

  • Last week, I saw a solo CPSO officer patrolling the Broadway. Around the corner, I spotted three more campus security responding to an incident.
  • Later in the week, a young man was panhandling all of us in line for coffee in Smith. Someone apparently reported him, as later I spied one officer stationed by the coffee joint, two more interviewing him by the Information Desk, and a fourth officer by the front door on Broadway.

Clearly, CPSO is prepared for any escape in any direction! Their “I-formation” is as impressive as any our football Vikings might run.

I refrained from calling CPSO on the panhandler, as I also did last week when I saw an unstable young man kicking all of the gravel out of the tree beds in front of the Broadway. I imagined an overreaction from CPSO similar to my experience.

Is all this manpower necessary to keep us safe? A greater risk is created, I suggest, if some students avoid calling security in the first place, concerned about overkill. Money would also be saved if CPSO responded with two-man teams.

What do you think?  In April, the university will have a security discussion that will include the question of arming these officers with guns. Tell the university what you think here, or add a comment to this blogpost. You can bone up on the recent task force report on campus safety here.


Get rid of the Football team, pshhh please.

February 23, 2014 - 10:47pm

By: Marilynn Sandoval

“We need to get rid of the football team to put money elsewhere in our school.” This is the Facebook comment I see on almost every post about budget issues.

When someone says we should eliminate football, it gets me really mad. Not only because some of my great friends at this University are on the football team. But because I don’t think people realize that getting rid of the football team would probably mean a drop in the number of African-American students. Portland State after all prides itself in being diverse.

When I asked my African-American friend on the football team if he would have gone to college without a football scholarship, he immediately answered “no.” If it wasn’t for football, getting a higher education would have been extremely hard financially on his family. He said that his mother was blessed that a football team picked him up and helped pay for his education.

My friend now has the chance to continue his studies and play the sport that he loves. By going to college, he also has a shot at an NFL spot in the future. These are the kind of stories that should be considered when someone says they want to get rid of a sport here at Portland State University. Think about the athletes, rather than your own personal dislike of sports.

 

What are your thoughts on this?


| Let it Snow |

February 18, 2014 - 7:43am

By: Sierra Pruitt

The snow was such a great surprise in here in Portland. I mean, snow rarely happens here, and the joy that comes from people when it does snow makes me so happy. The whole city practically shut down. Stores weren’t open, transportation stopped running, and schools were closed. There is something about when a city shuts down and all you see when you’re walking are children playing in the snow, numerous pictures being shot, and people cross-country skiing on in the streets.
People got excited.
People got enthusiastic.
Most importantly, people just got to relax and play.
It was a wonderful treat to experience snow here in Portland. Now, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to the snow and hello to the next seasons ahead.


I’m No Different than Other Women

February 17, 2014 - 12:47pm

By: Kadie Kobielusz

It takes just one guy…to ruin everything.

I know this is a bold statement, but this is how I’ve been feeling. You wonder why you don’t see much PDA with bi or lesbian women. Well, this is why.

It was Valentine’s Day, and I took this girl I really care about out to the movies. We decided tonight would be the night to make a statement and have some fun. Going to the movies, we casually linked arms, and we got unwelcoming, longer-than-appreciated stares. Things were going well, relatively speaking. Then walking back, we decided to hold hands. Instantly, a guy mumbled something sexual, and looked up and down my body like I was a picture in a “Playboy” magazine. From that point on, with every group of guys we passed, we hesitated more and more to hold hands.

So I would just like to say:

Just because I’m bi and like other women, does NOT mean that you get two trophies. If you keep this up, all you’ll get is one dishonest woman.


Isn’t there an easy button for life?

February 14, 2014 - 10:47am

By: Mario Quintana

It’s only been recently that I have given much thought on what may follow after I graduate. I find it hard to believe that four years ago I stepped onto this campus and thought it would seem forever before I found myself at commencement. I like many students, had my share of difficulties along the way, times of procrastination, and uncertainties about my major.

Every time I head over to the Diversity and Multicultural Student Services, I see new and young faces. Gone are the students I met when we were freshmen. I reminisce with my adviser on how not long ago I was one of the new, young, and few first generation students. Now, I am at a crossroads in my life.

Many questions and scenarios come to my mind. Should I, upon graduating, immediately seek a job? Or should I pursue my master’s or hope to create something for myself? It is often said that graduates should seek a job that they love to do or that has meaning to them. However, while it is a comforting idea I don’t believe it to be realistic. Yet, the idea of simply working to make money is dull itself.

But I ask myself, how many people have the privilege to work? How many others have meaning to their jobs or let alone their life? These questions may seem naive and repetitive, but it is often through contemplation that we can find ourselves. Perhaps then I should find work for the sake of working and on my free time create meaning to my life and myself.


One Boyfriend + 16 hours between us = Valentine’s Day Alone

February 13, 2014 - 9:00am

by Jenna Tucker

So, being in a long distance relationship is rough. I used to think a two-hour drive was bad, but it’s cake compared to the 16-hour fiasco I am dealing with now. The distance definitely blows when holidays or your birthday comes around and it’s just not feasible to travel that far. Even though I have never been a celebrator of Hallmark’s favorite card selling day, Valentine’s Day, (I made this fact up), it is yet another reminder of how far away my dumb boyfriend is.

But never fear! There are some positives here, like:

  1. You can totally get all of your homework done and only be distracted by food, the TV, your dog, rain, or whatever else is around that seems more fun than homework.
  2. You can talk to your dog all day without someone else thinking you’re weird.
  3. Shaving your legs…pshhhh
  4. Wearing real pants. Yeah…right.
  5. No one to judge seven-day-a-week pizza habit.
  6. “Law and Order SVU” marathon again. Watch me.
  7. Ice cream social for one.
  8. 8. And if your bf sends you candy, you can eat it all in one sitting without having to share

But seriously, I probably wouldn’t be able to do everything I need to do for my thesis if zee man was here, so I guess that’s the upside even though it doesn’t feel that way.

You have to find that silver lining, right Jennifer Lawrence?


Hey little girl, what do you want to be when you grow up?

February 5, 2014 - 12:38pm

By Emily Skeen

 

In the immortal words of Jason Robert Brown, “I stand on a precipice, I struggle to keep my balance.” The dictionary defines a precipice as “a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one”. This seems fitting to me because the metaphorical precipice in question is my transition between college and ‘the real word’, and what lies on the other side is a large, terrifying open space, full of student loans I seriously hope I’ll be able to pay off.

There was a time when the thought of this precipice didn’t seem so terrifying. In fact it seemed exciting. Beyond it, to quote another musical, was “the unexamined life” that I couldn’t wait to live, because I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. But now, after 4+ years as an undergrad exploring my interests, the only things I do know are: I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m not a little girl anymore. The terrifying and exciting nature of that dark pit beyond this precipice is that I get to make the decisions, and all I can do is act on opportunity and hope I don’t screw it all up. Because in reality, it’s still that same exciting “unexamined life”, it’s just a little more unexamined than I had hoped for. But in way, even when you have plans, the future is always unknown, so in that sense, am I really any different from anyone else?


Career fair could equal internship. It did for me.

February 3, 2014 - 4:27pm

Time to get serious! This month’s career fairs at PSU provide a perfect opportunity, as I realized last year, to start the search for summer internships, full-time jobs and jobs at non-profits.

  • The Engineering & Technology Career Fair on Feb 12 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Smith Union Ballroom is for those of you who are tech-savvy like me. It brings employers from engineering, computer science, and other technology-related fields to campus. I got a good overview of the healthcare industry when I met representatives from Cambia Health Solutions at the last year’s fair. Although I did not land a summer internship at Cambia, it was a good opportunity to get to learn about the healthcare industry, the players and what are the challenges that employees at Cambia face. This year, I am looking forward to meeting representatives from ecova and HP who will be participating at the fair.
  • The All Major Career & Internship Fair is the following day on Feb. 13 in the Smith Union Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It plays host to representatives from more than 60 organizations, including those from private industry, government and non-profits. This was the place where I landed a summer internship last year at CBS Interactive. Speaking to the representative, I was able to find out about the culture of the company, the kind of work being done, the responsibilities and the organization structure. That 10-15 minute talk enabled me to get a good overview of the company. I found that CBS was a perfect place to leverage my technology and managerial skills and what started off as a professional conversation ended with me doing my summer internship at CBS.

And so I have my resume fine-tuned and have started to dedicate time to research the companies coming to the fair. Are you up and running for the event?

 For more details see http://www.pdx.edu/advising-career-services/career-fairs

-Guru


Sweat to be sexy? I don’t think so

February 3, 2014 - 9:06am

By Amanda Katz

“I think you look good already! You don’t even need to work out.”

This was the text message I received after telling my friend I was going to go the gym and I’d text him back later.

Let’s get some things straight.

I don’t work out to impress other people. I work out to be healthy and feel good about myself. The opinion of a male makes no difference in my pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

Too often girls are told to diet and work out to be “sexy” or “attractive.” What happened to working out and eating properly for health reasons? Why does my choice to be active have to be to gain a reaction from a male? Is that all I’m meant to do, strive to be attractive to gain suitors?

I don’t understand why so many guys feel entitled to think that I would work out to gain their attention. I don’t need the approval of any guy on my body, because at the end of the day the only opinion of my body that matters to me is my own.


Vikings in the Super Bowl

January 31, 2014 - 4:28pm

By: DeLon R. Lewis


Julius Thomas

This Sunday, Feb. 2, will mark the first time in which two players from Portland State – DeShawn Shead and Julius Thomas – face off in the Super Bowl.

Shead is a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ infamous “Legion of Boom” defensive backfield, which includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidates Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. At PSU, Shead was named Most Outstanding Defensive Back three years in a row, 2008 through 2010.

Thomas, tight end for the Denver Broncos, I actually wrote a blog about Julius Thomas after the first game of the season: http://psuchronicles.com/2013/10/11/from-psu-to-the-nfl/

Whether or not you are a football fan, you should check out Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday to witness two Portland State football legends compete for the pinnacle of their careers. I am looking forward to this game to see my hometown Seattle Seahawks bring home our first Super Bowl trophy. Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl, Shead’s Seahwaks, or Thomas’ Broncos?

Congratulations and good luck to Deshawn Shead, and Julius Thomas on their accomplishments! As always, GO VIKS!


DeShawn Shead (right)


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