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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Discover PSU’s Resource Centers

November 26, 2014 - 1:04pm

PSU Queer Resource Center

By: Andreea N.

Are you familiar with Portland State University’s resource centers? They provide students with the tools, resources and support networks to better integrate into the community. They also help students excel in their studies and increase social, cultural and global awareness.

Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (DMSS)
DMSS works with students from ethnically-diverse backgrounds to guide their academic success through a student-centered inclusive environment. It offers many programs and resources, including Latino Student Services, Native American Student Services, the Diversity Scholarship Program and much more.

Disability Resource Center
PSU recognizes and respects students’ abilities, skills and talents. If you have a disability or you’re teaching a course in which a student has a disability, the resource center is here to help. Adopting a confidential and sensitive approach, the center empowers all university students through accessibility and assistance. If you’re interested in helping out, sign up to be a note taker!

Women’s Resource Center
The WRC has an interesting “her-story.” The center started out as a Women’s Faculty Club open to female faculty members and wives of professors. Now, WRC sponsors quite a few programs focused on students’ wellbeing and community development. The four programs offered include the Interpersonal Violence Program, Leadership in Action, Empowerment Project and Community Events. Click here for details on becoming a volunteer.

Queer Resource Center
QRC provides students along the sexuality and gender spectrum with a community that supports and empowers intersecting identities of LGBTQQIAAP to succeed and integrate within PSU. Through the collaboration of students, faculty and staff, the center offers Trans Resources, Gender Neutral Bathrooms, Queer Students of Color Resources and many more services. Check out the QRC community calendar for awesome PSU and local events.


Would you be willing to protest at the PSU campus?

November 24, 2014 - 10:09am

By: Zaira Carranza

What kind of rights would you fight for? Would you be willing to protest at the PSU campus? Today as I was walking to class, and I stumbled upon a protest. My immediate reaction was confusion. I then realized it was for a good cause. The protesters were trying to send a message about the political problems going on in their home country. It impressed me because they have so many places to go in Portland and they came here. Everyone came together for one common cause. The diversity on campus made the protest fun and interesting.


Under(grad) Pressure

November 21, 2014 - 3:17pm

Portland State University Graduation Ceremony 2012

The last year of your undergraduate career can be kind of scary and overwhelming. If you’re planning on going to grad school and you haven’t even started to prepare, it’s time to step on it.

I, like many others, am a severe procrastinator when it comes to things that stress me out. A lot of times I need that sense of pressure as a push for me to get things going. I finally got up the nerve to email some professors about getting letters of recommendation at the beginning of this month. Although this isn’t a severely late start to the process, it is a lot later than it should be. I still have to take my GRE and put together my writing samples. This is one of those things that you won’t want to save until the last minute. Honestly, it’s just going to get worse the longer you put it aside.

Start planning early. Look for schools that have grad programs you’re interested in. Research the programs instead of just checking for your field of study. Start the application – make sure you know exactly what they’re looking for in the application. Send your requests for letters of recommendation ASAP. You want to give your professors enough time – they’re probably a lot busier than you are – and if they write you a letter, you owe them a lot of gratitude.

Trust me, folks. You’re going to be glad if you start sooner rather than later. It’ll make ending your last undergraduate year a lot smoother.


A purr-fect match: Tips for student pet-owners

November 19, 2014 - 5:34pm

Brooke’s cat Ulysses

By: Brooke Horn

When I moved here, I couldn’t bring Bandit with me.

I knew that a 400sqft studio in the city is no place for an energetic Black Lab, and that I would be able to adopt after the move. Bandit was more than happy to stay home with family and escape the traumatic experience of flying. After settling into Portland, I did a lot of research into pet adoption. For my fellow students who own pets, or are interested in owning pets, here are some of the best tips I’ve come across:

 

  1. Know the pet rules for where you live. According to PSU’s Housing & Residence Life FAQs, “The only animals allowed in on-campus housing are fish in a small tank (up to 10 gallons), cats, and service animals that are pre-approved by the Disability Resource Center (DRC).” For those of you who live off-campus, it’s important to know that most management companies will require you to have renter’s insurance (I decided to go with State Farm for $10/month), and most have a policies regarding weight and breed restrictions.
  1. The Oregon Humane Society is wonderful. Not only do they have great pets that desperately need good homes, they have a phenomenal list of resources for pet-owners. This list covers everything from which apartments are pet-friendly to sample pet references/resumes.
  2. Buy all of your pet supplies in advance, and make sure you really have the room in your home AND your schedule to devote to a pet. Pinterest has some great student-friendly ideas for DIY pet furniture that saves space!
  3. Spend some time researching your local veterinarians. Although they’re a little far from campus, the folks at Powell Veterinary Center have been kind to me, my pet, AND my wallet.

I finally met my purr-fect match through The Delicious Mickey Grrrl Fund – a small group of dedicated, friendly locals who match neglected pets with forever homes. They went above and beyond to make my adoption experience wonderful, and now I’m the proud pet-mama of Ulysses (pictured above).

Have an inspiring adoption story, a cute pet photo, or know of a good pet resource? Share it with us!


Join •Participate•Be Fearless

November 19, 2014 - 3:53pm

By: Jasmin Landa

PSU’s annual Party in the Park commenced on Oct. 7, bringing together all campus organizations that can offer students avenues to particiapte in something they love, whether its something, whther its something pertaining to their educational major or an extracurricular activity.

Student organizations are a great way to get involved, an to find other students on campus with similar attributes, interests and excitement for activities.

During the Party in the Park, I was able to learn about, sign uo for and connect with various student organizations, one being the Entrepreneurship Club (E-Club). This club and thos who are part of i inspire my dreams and entrepreneurial desires to start my own company one day. I am learning a lot while also discvering more about myself.

So as we approach winter term, have you joined any student orgaanizations? I encourage you to get involved: Join, Participate and be fearless.

Here is a link for a current list of student groups/programs and their contact infromation:

http://www.pdx.edu/student-leadership/sites/www.pdx.edu.student-leadership/files/Group%20Info%20and%20Contacts.pdf


It is a wonderful life

November 18, 2014 - 6:01pm

By: Sharon Jackson

I absolutely adore this time of year! See expression below.

Bulky sweaters. Knitted socks. Hot holiday beverages. “I could go on forever baby!”

My dad and I used to pull out several boxes of tangled strings of large light bulbs from the attic and attempt to wrestle them into a straight line.

After many hours and a few curse words, we would finally attach them ever so precisely to the outline of our home. I am certain we had the best looking house in the neighborhood.

For this reason I get a bit nostalgic on Peacock Lane: a block in Southeast Portland where each vintage Tudor home has been entirely decorated since 1920.

My mother and I would watch A Christmas Story every year [I seriously believe the movie is an accurate representation of her childhood holidays] and laugh hysterically at the leg lamp catastrophe and terrible gifts from distant relatives until we would cry.

My first holiday in Portland, I started to feel a bit homesick.

For this reason I am always present at Portland’s Annual Tree Lighting ceremony in Pioneer Square : the official start to the holiday season with the lighting of the 75-foot Douglas fir and a sing-along of all the favorite holiday carols by a family of random strangers, even in the pouring rain!


My Insight into CLSB

November 18, 2014 - 10:11am

By: Marilynn Sandoval

I’ve become a huge fan of the new Collaborative Life Sciences Building on the South Waterfront. Sure, the transportation there might not be ideal for some folks. But the new labs, lecture halls, research space and restaurants are really nice.

Photo provided by: Portland State University

I’m a science major, and I started at PSU the same year they began construction in 2011. I didn’t know if they’d be done on time for me to experience having classes in the new building, but they must have had amazing people working on it, because it opened this fall. I’m sure we have broken in this building quite fast. Almost every seat in the 400-student lecture hall is filled from class to class.

The most exciting part about this building is that we get to interact with students from OSU and OHSU. As my chemistry professor put it, “You never know who you can run into in this building.” I hope to experience the new labs and research space and meet more students from other schools next term.

I also enjoy taking the streetcar there for free. You just have to play a game of puzzle trying to fit everyone after class has ended. I’m there around lunchtime, so I’m grateful when my stomach is growling and there is a Starbucks located just right in front of the classroom. Oh, and there is an Elephants Delicatessen, too!

However, one thing the building is missing is a spot to print papers quickly. If anyone does know about a printing spot in there, please share your knowledge! I’m still trying to figure out the building myself.

Has anyone else been able to explore the new building? If so, what did you think about it?


Three Tips for Picking Classes

November 12, 2014 - 11:51am

By Grace Carroll

So you’ve just gotten a message to your .pdx e­mail that it’s time to register for classes.  Maybe you have a list of subjects you’ve always wanted to study, or maybe you just know the next Spanish class you need to take. Where ever you are in the process, here are some things to think about when registering:

● How often is the course offered? Keep in mind that some classes are not offered every term at PSU, while some are. For instance, most TOP: (topic) classes change each term, and if you find one specific to your interest, that should perhaps take priority over the Intro to Queer Studies class (a UNST Cluster course) that you’ve always wanted to take.

● What are your most productive times of the day? Sure, you’re sick of getting up with an early schedule, but maybe you’re just burnt out by evening classes. If you’re falling asleep in class, you may need to rearrange your day. Consider when you are most motivated during the day, and when you be best able to do your homework.

● Who is the professor? It’s true, you don’t always get much of a choice. But when you do, looking into your professors’ backgrounds can be a deciding factor in which classes you take. Portland State’s website has profiles for many of its faculty, so check the department pages for your courses. If you don’t find anything there, RateMyProfessors.com is your next step!

Still have questions? TALK TO YOUR ADVISER!


Please Silence Your Cell Phone and Enjoy the Show!

October 31, 2014 - 6:33am

By: Chelsea Ware

For a college student like me who is on a tight budget, going to a mainstream movie theater can be tough. $11 for a ticket? $6 for popcorn? All for a movie that’s a remake or just full of plot holes and lousy acting… However, there is still a way for students to enjoy movies without breaking the bank right here on campus. 5th Avenue Cinema, Portland State University’s student run movie theater, is free with your student I.D. You also get a complimentary bag of popcorn.  One to two movies are featured every weekend at 7:30 and 9. It is a great place to check out vintage titles such as “Gremlins” and “Return to Oz” while supporting your fellow students.

If you are new to campus, it is a wonderful way to meet other people because it is definitely not your conventional movie theater. One of the coolest things about 5th Avenue Cinema is that the patrons know how to have an exciting time. When I was last there a few weeks ago to watch the Japanese horror flick Pulse,   people gathered in the lobby before the show to talk and munch on their popcorn.  During the movie, the audience was cracking witty jokes and strangers were laughing together about the characters’ poor decisions.  The small theater size and enthusiasm from the crowd made the amusement palpable, and it was hard not to be infected from the humor that buzzed around.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you check out some of their screenings. All upcoming titles and show times can be found at http://5thavenuecinema.org/.


A bike?

October 29, 2014 - 10:14am

By: Zaira Carranza

Portland State University is located in one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the world. Recently, I have been thinking of commuting by bike because I have learned how much it can benefit not only me but also the environment. You gain money on your wallet, but lose inches off your waistline. If I’m willing to ride a bike instead of taking a car, it would mean that  there is one less car on the road, less carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, and we all end up healthier. Would you do the same to save your planet and your wallet?


Grass is really always greener

October 27, 2014 - 4:49pm

Since moving back to my hometown of Portland as a transfer student from UC San Diego, I’ve repeatedly asked myself where I was/am happier. Happiness cannot be measured quantifiably, but I try anyway. Usually it turns into a series of points and categories.

The city? I have a different answer depending on the weather, and on where I’m asking myself this question. I’m not thrilled about rain, but I like having a holiday season that actually feels like a holiday season. Plus, nothing beats the realization that I could spend my lunch break at Powell’s – the bookseller haven. I’ve switched out palm trees and an ocean view for high(er) levels of caffeine and a compulsive book buying problem.

The school? To be honest, I’ve cursed both schools’ names, and for pretty much the same reasons: I just do not want to do school sometimes.

Then come the harder questions.

The people? I spent so much of my time at UCSD missing my friends back home, and now I do the same thing about my southern California friends.

My job? The only question that gives UCSD a resounding POINT in its column. My job at the UCSD Bookstore came into my life at a most crucial time and I miss it like crazy. Technically I do the same thing at my new job, but it’s awkward because I don’t have the same base of support at my new job that I did at UCSD.

Yes I miss UCSD, and no PSU isn’t solving all my problems – which, of course, I believed it would at my height of homesickness. But I understand that different things don’t mean bad things, and simply replacing old things with comparable things does not mean it’s as good or better. But that’s okay. Some days it truly, in my bones, bothers me that I’m not 100 percent thrilled with the way my life is going, but if I was ecstatic all the time would it not get boring? On the flip side, when the bad days do come, is my discontent only amplified by the fact that a “normal” day is only a lesser level of discontent?

I guess my only options to solve this “problem” are a) smile and fake it, or b) get over it.


Four Ways to Fund Your PSU Education

October 24, 2014 - 3:00am

Focusing on your studies is a full-time job in itself. When you add finances and funding to the mix, it can quickly become very stressful for any student. Good news is that Portland State University has many funding opportunities available to undergraduate and graduate students.

 

Here are four opportunities worth investigating:

  1. Graduate Assistantships: GA-ships are listed on the website as they become available. I recommend checking for updates on a weekly basis. The assistantships are targeted toward graduate students, and typically include tuition remission and compensation depending on the appointment. Make sure you scroll to the bottom of the page where all the assistantships are listed.
  2. Scholarships: Every year PSU offers undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to apply for a wide range of scholarships. Funding is dependent on many different variables, including academic achievement, financial need, diversity, disabilities and more. Be sure to check the website for upcoming deadlines. Create an account to begin the process.
  3. Student Employment: If you’re looking to earn extra cash while gaining skills in a certain area, finding employment through PSU may be the avenue to explore. Go to the “if you’re a current student” section, click the CareerConnect link and sign in with your Odin account. Thereafter, fill out your profile and gain access to available student jobs.
  1. University Studies: The University Studies Program at PSU is a great resource to develop your mentoring and teaching skills. If you have teaching experience, or are looking to enhance your competencies as an instructor, applying to be a peer mentor is an ideal option to funding your studies. Alternatively, explore opportunities to teach within the SINQ or Senior Capstone

What are you waiting for? Go get funded!


When the going gets tough, the tough get organized!

October 22, 2014 - 1:37am

By: Brooke Horn

As a graduate student, I’ve learned the hard way that time management and organization can be your best friends when used properly — and your bitterest enemies when not. The modern student isn’t JUST a student anymore: most of us juggle jobs, internships, volunteering, creative projects, and relationships too. As the term really gets underway, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. On the bright side, there are a lot of useful tools and tricks out there to help you stay on top of things. Here are a few that have really made a difference for me:

  1. Photo credit: Brooke Horn

    Trello. This is my go-to app whenever I work on a collaborative project. You can create virtual assignment cards, which are organized within themed boards. You can also assign tasks, add due dates, create checklists, upload files, and color-code to your heart’s content.

  2. Wunderlist. This app is your standard to-do list on steroids. Similar to Trello, you can share task lists with others as well as set up due dates and reminders. I use this app for my personal lists because of its simplicity. I keep one for homework assignments, one for events I want to go to, and one for groceries.
  3. Labeling in Gmail. Seriously, this is a game-changer if you receive a high volume of mail. I use labels such as “reply,” “education,” and “finances.” You can even create sub-labels, assign colors, and adjust your settings so that your mail is automatically labeled and sorted.

What tools and tricks help you stay organized?


Nine Things I’ve Already Learned This Fall

October 19, 2014 - 10:32pm

By Grace Carroll

1. Living in a single can be scary. I almost choked on a corn nut.

2. Shared restrooms are not so bad. Despite living on a floor with roughly 25 girls, I rarely run into other people in the bathroom.

3. Volunteering is a good way to get involved with PSU. Volunteering at the Women’s Resource Center gives me the chance to help do important work in a friendly environment.

4. Yes, I CAN put off all the homework for my 400-level Honors seminar until the night before it is due.

5. College sports can be super fun. On a whim, I joined rugby, and you could say I’m having a BALL.

6. If while studying in the library, someone irritates you by loudly talking on the phone, DO NOT passive-aggressively write “SHHHH, IT’S A LIBRARY” on their notebook while they’re at the water fountain. Go to the fourth, fifth floors or the basement, they are designated for silent study!

7. You can have small class sizes even at Oregon’s biggest university. Last year, my classes had 30 students. This fall, I’m in a class of ten 10 (and the rest aren’t much bigger).

8. Unlike the “cool kids” in my building, I still love my meal plan.

9. Nothing is more beautiful than the Park Blocks in autumn.


Moving at the Lightspeed of Education

October 19, 2014 - 10:27pm

Over summer term I took the first year of Latin courses. It was my first experience with summer term, so I wasn’t used to being in school during the three months I’d usually be at home doing nothing. PSU’s campus was sunny and quiet, void of the bustle seen during fall through spring, and it seemed so much more relaxed. I learned quickly, however, that summer term isn’t to be taken lightly.

One year of Latin was compacted and smashed into a rigorous and intense nine weeks. That’s right, Latin 101 through 103 in just nine weeks, that’s less than a third of the normal school year. We covered a week’s worth of material per day, and class was held Monday through Thursday – each class was three hours and fifteen minutes long. The baristas at Starbucks started knowing me by name. I devoted hours to studying every day. I had well over 200 notecards, three filled up notebooks, more than a few dead pens, and my quivering sanity that I was struggling to keep together – it didn’t help that I was working almost forty hours a week at that time.

That being said, if you’re considering taking summer courses, you should do it. Yeah, it’s probably going to be tough and you might want to cry sometimes – especially if it’s a foreign language – but you’ll pull through and you’ll feel very good about yourself, I promise. Plus you get to meet awesome people who are just as crazy as you for taking such an intense course!

By: Shezad Khan


SWING, SWING, SWING

October 16, 2014 - 4:26pm

By: Sharon Jackson

Every time I hear drums beat and saxes blow and trumpets wail of classy jazzzzz – I cannot help but to tie up my worn Oxfords and pin up my hair circa 1940’s style for my heart sings ‘in the mood’ to SWING.

East Coast Swing has finally come to PSU. Swing Out is one of the newest additions to Portland State Rec clubs. [We meet every Thursday in the Rec Center room 440, 8:30 - 10PM].

I SWING dance to live in the moment and throw my cares to the wind – I will always have time to write that 10 page essay on British Romanticism later………

We SWING to lose ourselves in rhythm. We SWING to smile. We SWING together.

We also frequent swing socials on Sundays and  Wednesdays that offer a complimentary beginner’s lesson and more than 2 hours of hopping dance.

What do you get ‘in the mood’ for?


Wisconsin, don’tcha knooo?

October 13, 2014 - 5:20pm

By: Kadie Kobielusz

Over the summer, I was able to live in lands distant and exotic – ahem – in Wisconsin. Yeah big deal, right? Well, actually, I had one of my most eye-opening experiences when I lived there.

It’s an amazing thing when you are no longer looking at the world around you through the lens of a traveler. Instead, you’re a resident, somewhat forced to live and think and act like the people there do. You’re trying not to be the obvious outsider. I don’t know how to describe it very well, but Wisconsin was a lot more lowbrow than I was envisioning it. Especially coming from the leanest state, Colorado, to one of the most obese states.

Yes, I realize that’s not very polite, but it was culture shock. I found myself thinking: “That’s funny?” “We’re eating that for dinner?” “That’s entertainment?” Halfway through the summer though, words of wisdom came a guy at a bicycle shop. After discussing the area and such, he said: “In the end, it doesn’t matter where you’re living or what you’re out doing. What matters is who you’re with to make the adventure worthwhile.”

 It’s true. Sure, I may not have enjoyed what we were doing, or liked the area that much. However, I did thoroughly enjoy my company, and I should have been appreciating them all the while. They made me laugh, they were always up for doing new things and they were the friendliest and kindest people I think I have ever met.

And now that I’ve been away, guess who’s looking to move to Wisconsin after graduation?


#New2PSU

October 13, 2014 - 3:37pm

Photo Credit: Jasmin Landa

By: Jasmin Landa

Every ending is merely a new beginning. But I confess that as I stood in line in freshman orientation, I was scared about what this new beginning would bring.

I grew up in a small city in Nevada, and have been used to a dry desert atmosphere with mountains that don’t have all the luxurious trees that one sees in Oregon. So as I began to contemplate more and more about my move to Portland, with my mom and my little sister by my side, I began to cry and felt like I wasn’t where I was meant to be. Was I a future Viking? Is this where I am supposed to be? I cried for what felt like hours, but my mom looked at me and assured me that everything will be OK. Things happen for their destined reason, although you may not know today what those reasons are.

She was correct. My freshman orientation was much more than what I expected. I looked around and saw so much diversity, culture and excitement; all the students waiting were anxious to begin their new chapter as Portland State University freshmen. I felt welcomed, informed and enthused by all those around me.

I had been scared at the thought of leaving my home in Nevada along with all my family and all my supporters. But what I didn’t realize before, and what I know now, is that I am gaining a whole student body, staff and friends as supporters who will encourage, support and believe in my dreams and successes.

I cannot wait to be a Viking with the rest of my classmates, community and alumni.


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?


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