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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 18 min 11 sec ago

More Space to Play

October 6, 2015 - 1:37pm


By: James Wilson

With fall term starting, it’s time to get back into the habit of hitting the gym. Over the summer, the Rec Center underwent some construction to expand the third floor.


It was rough trying to work out around this, especially with everything being moved into the courts. But now with everything moved back into our awesome updated space, it really is time to take advantage of everything it has to offer. 

For more information on the expansion click here.

Scheduling to Find Balance

September 23, 2015 - 3:45pm

The first day of school is right around the corner, and I have yet to figure out my fall schedule —­ and I don’t mean registering for classes. Upon the start of each term, I create a “master schedule” allocating designated times for everything I need (and want) to do that day. Before the big day, I like to kick things back the old-fashioned way; I gather all my Crayola markers and create a colorful calendar masterpiece. Although I may not always look at this calendar throughout the term, having planned my schedule in advance ingrains these responsibilities into my memory and most importantly, it helps me find balance between school, work, extracurriculars and, of course, some “me” time!

It’s inevitable that I will become preoccupied with my responsibilities, but claiming that I “don’t have time” to eat, sleep or exercise is never a legitimate excuse. Making sure that I care for myself both physically and mentally is just as important as succeeding at school and work. In my schedule, I create blocks of time for eating meals and exercising. Frequent visits to the Rec Center throughout the school year has helped me to stay physically and mentally strong; it sharpens my ability to focus when returning to school and allows me to clear my mind and maintain my stamina. Keeping a specific, goal-oriented schedule handy, motivates me to stay committed to the physical and mental responsibilities that I owe to myself.

If you don’t already create a hand-drawn schedule, I suggest you give it a try! Take a little break from the screen and resort to some good ol’ pen and paper.

How do you like to stay organized?

Get off Your Ass and Vote

September 16, 2015 - 1:53pm

By: Chelsea Ware

Every morning when I read the news while drinking tea I am bombarded with articles about the candidates running in the upcoming elections. What’s even more surprising than the latest candidate scandals is that not only do many millennials not actively follow elections, but they don’t vote either. I would probably be able to pay off my student debt in a month if I had a dollar for every time I heard a young person say that they don’t plan on voting because it doesn’t even count or matter. Worse yet, I hear people say that they don’t vote because they don’t know enough about the candidates.

But it does count and it does matter. Student debt, health care, gun control — these important factors are all influenced by whoever is elected into office. Our votes help make that possible. While the Electoral College does have a large role in the presidential election, so do we.

The majority of the time, electors in the Electoral College vote for the candidate who has received the most votes in their particular state. Additionally, some states even have laws requiring electors to vote for the candidate who won the popular vote in the state they represent and other electors are mandated by pledges to a specific political party. While there have been times when electors have voted contrary to the popular vote in their state, it is not as common as electors voting in favor of the popular vote.

In the time it takes you to find something on Netflix you can run a google search on the presidential candidates and what they stand for. In an age when many citizens in other countries are still fighting to voice their opinions, it is important that we appreciate the fact that we have the constitutional right to exercise ours. So please inform yourself and vote. I promise Netflix will still be there when you are finished.

Looking back on a year of fitness

September 4, 2015 - 3:50pm

By: Sam Bakkila

In the corner of my room, right in front of my over-crammed bookcase, I keep my black Nike tennis shoes. These shoes have followed me a long way: they’ve cushioned me on ten mile runs, supported me when I put 300 pounds on my shoulders in the gym, and even splashed into the Willamette with me during crew practice on one of the most scorching days of this unusually hot summer.

When I started as a graduate student at Portland State last fall, I knew that I would need to be proactive about finding time for recreation and fitness. I’m getting my master’s degree in English literature, and I am also teaching writing courses to undergraduates. Trying to be a student and an instructor at the same time can be demanding and I knew that there would be no time for play in my schedule unless I made it a priority.

When I was in college, I didn’t have the healthiest habits. I rarely got seven hours of sleep, and though I liked to exercise, I didn’t make time for it regularly enough to reap its benefits. I was always tired and stressed-out and relying on coffee to give me the energy to power through my day.

I decided that graduate school would be different. My first step was that I signed up to have a personal trainer at Campus Rec. I had never felt very comfortable lifting weights—at other gyms, it always seemed like everyone else there had been lifting for years and they were silently judging my rookie mistakes. Having access to very affordable personal training led by other PSU students in such a welcoming environment was a great opportunity for me.

Before I started, I had lower back pain from sitting with bad posture at my computer, and I didn’t have enough flexibility to even perform some of the most basic lifts. Now, I lace up my Nike’s practically everyday, and as I perform my favorite lifts I feel my new-found strength radiating from my muscles throughout my whole body.

My shoes are now worn and ready to be replaced, and I find myself feeling surprisingly sentimental about letting them go. In buying these shoes, which were a little bit of a splurge on my student budget, I decided that I deserved good support in pursuing my fitness endeavors. In using these shoes, I remembered how much I like to challenge myself to get a little bit stronger everyday. Today, these shoes and their wear and tear represent goals made and goals achieved.

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.


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

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?