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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 54 min 41 sec ago

My Epic Snowboarding Experience [for Beginners]

February 15, 2016 - 11:40am

  By: Xylia Lydgate

This past weekend, I went snowboarding for the second time in my life and had a blast, thanks to Campus Rec’s Ski Shuttle.

I was more than ready to make a comeback from my first snowboarding experience, which involved me not having snow pants and falling down the mountain every five feet. This time I was equipped with Gore-Tex snow pants and “ButtSaver” pads, including a tailbone protector— I felt pretty invincible.

Each year the Outdoor Program at Campus Rec has a Ski Shuttle to Mt. Hood Meadows that students and anyone in the community can ride. Jake and Scarlett were our trip leaders, and they did an awesome job keeping us well informed and making sure we received our equipment and passes before hitting the slopes. Additionally, our group got to skip the long lines at the rental center and get right to picking up our gear.

It was a beautiful day at Meadows. The sun was out, it was snowing, and the mountain was covered in fresh powder. As I skated towards the lift, I already felt a greater sense of confidence on my board. I set a goal that day to focus on learning how to turn on both my front and back edges, and how to properly break, rather than intentionally falling every time I wanted to stop.

After a few practice runs on the Bunny and Buttercup Hills, I was ready to progress to the Daisy Hill. The hills on this run are steeper and longer. I felt a rush of exhilaration down each slope. As I began to pick up speed, adrenaline surged through my veins. But the fear of taking a hard hit stuck a pin in the back of my mind.

Suddenly, I lost control.

My momentum launched me forward, sending me into a complete 360 flip, first taking impact from my knees to chest then chucking me straight onto my back. I had of course opened my mouth in shock, inviting a chunk of snow to the back of my throat. I laid on the mountain, motionless, until I regained my senses. Once I realized that had just happened, I started laughing to myself at how incredible of a fall that was yet my body was still in one piece! I was also surprised at how little it hurt— luckily the snow was extra powdery, and the ButtSaver might have helped a bit too.

If you’re a beginner like me, falling is only part of the experience and half the fun. I hope this will serve as some motivation for you to make a trip to the mountain and to never give up when learning a new skill gets frustrating. Don’t forget that the Outdoor Program Ski Shuttle is always a great option if you’re considering your next snowboarding or ski trip.


Queen of My Life

February 11, 2016 - 1:31pm

Written by: Jasmin Landa

A combination of words can inspire not one’s life, but the life of others. And in such, the combination of words that have inspired my steps forward are:

Jasmin Landa

“One day she finally grasped that unexpected things were always going to happen in life. And with that, she realized the only control she had was how she choose to handle them.

So, she made the decision to survive using courage, humor, and grace. She was the Queen of her own life and the choice was hers.” ~ Queenism
The choice to move forward amongst the obstacles in life has empowered me. As cliche as it sounds, everything happens for a reason. A reason for today’s experiences-the days to come, and the months proceeding- I am unintentionally choosing to wake up and push past the emotions, feelings, and aching heart that life may bring. But simply, I am choosing to be happy.

I choose. And as the statement is possessive, it simply speaks to the control I have for my emotions and life. Because I am a person worth someone’s time. I am a woman who has built herself up from the bottom after being emotionally, mentally, and spiritually destroyed from the many pitfalls that life has brought. And as I choose to be happy, that also comes with choosing “to be”. To be what “I” want to be: happy, sad, angry, etc., but all in my decision, and not left up to the actions of another. I simply choose to be the Queen of my life.


I’m Search Engine Optimized

February 10, 2016 - 9:28pm

 By: Sara Kirkpatrick

It’s a no-brainer that having a sense for digital media is becoming more and more of a necessity for the job market today. Companies expect students to have the ability to connect their brands on a wide variety of digital platforms. As students, we are faced with the challenge of developing an additional skill-set that may not be included in our required curriculum, but it could give us an edge over others when seeking employment.

I recently completed the Search Engine Optimization course offered through the Portland State Center for Executives and Professionals (CEPE); this course is one of six courses offered in the Digital Marketing Strategies Certificate Program. The course was taught by an Anvil Media integrated marketing expert Kent Lewis. His industry experience inspired the course material with real-life examples and up-to-date information.

I learned how to perform a basic SEO website audit, using the following check-list: Site Navigation Elements, Site Functionality, and eMarketing Components.

After completing this module, I ran the SEO audit on my current e-portfolio. The main purpose for the audit was to understand my lack of traffic to my external blog. The SEO audit led me to discover that my current links to my social media profiles were the cause behind the low traffic to my external blog. As a solution, I implemented an internal blog within the same platform as my e-portfolio and deleted my external blog. The audit has not only made my current blog is easier to access ,but also has highlighted my need for the usage of ‘Social Sharing Buttons’. According to Google Analytics, my site activity has increased traffic by 20%, and I have had positive responses to these very basic, but extremely effective site updates.

I am hoping that the implementation of these features will aid me in establishing a successful digital presence and capture the attention of potential employers.

I feel that this course is an essential tool for anyone interested in marketing/advertising/business sectors of any industry. More information about this program and other certificates offered through CEPE can be found here: http://www.pdx.edu/cepe/certificate-programs


My Major Networking Opportunity

February 5, 2016 - 8:47am

  By Kellie Doherty

The Write to Publish 2016 conference is over. Write to Publish is an annual writing conference, and it’s a great place to find some interesting contacts and meet some influential people. (I also organized it this year, so I may be a tad biased.)

One of the great things about my graduate program (MS in Book Publishing) is the hands-on learning we have and the networking opportunities that arise from that dynamic environment. To say I made a few contacts working on Write to Publish would be an understatement, and last Saturday, I finally got to meet the people I’ve been communicating with for the last six months. I got to shake their hands, introduce myself, and put faces to all those emails.

One of the great things about this year’s conference, though, is half of our attendees were college students! I was pleasantly surprised by this, because it means they got to meet all those speakers and vendors, too! It was the perfect networking opportunity for students interested in going into publishing, one that showcased many publishing professionals and gave the students a chance to connect with them. I know it will help me, and hopefully many others, find a job in the future. So, if you didn’t get the chance to make it to this year, mark it on your calendar for 2017! It’ll be a great place to sharpen your networking skills.

And if you were there, how did it go?


First Impressions: A Look Inside “Baby Jail”

January 28, 2016 - 9:23pm

By Jesse Turner

They live behind a 20-foot fence and locked doors. They must ask permission to go to the bathroom, use nail clippers, and even get up from their chairs. They get transported in handcuffs. And yet all of them are legally classified as youth.

I am completing an internship at the Hillcrest Juvenile Correctional Facility on a unit with 14 males, ages 14 to 18. It is labeled the “Special Needs Unit,” which includes a wide array of developmental, emotional, and learning disabilities. Some are sex offenders. Some are gang members. One has taken two lives.

On my first day, before I met any of the youth, my supervisor warned me that this unit was notoriously bad with interns. She said they would say crude, sexist, disturbing things to me. She even made a point of showing me one teenager’s mugshot and warned me that he had gotten obsessed with female staff members before. I was terrified.

Soon after these sinister warnings, the youth got back from class and had free time on the unit. I sat back, observed, and waited for my first terrible encounter. But that never happened. Most of them ignored me, but those who spoke to me asked my name, introduced themselves, and shook my hand. They were perfectly polite. A few of them invited me to play cards with them. On my first shift, I played blackjack for four hours, getting to know the youth and asking them questions about their lives.

They each have had seemingly insurmountable difficulties, whether with their families, their communities, or their own mental health. They have been in and out of treatment and detention centers. Many have been homeless and runaways. A lot of the youth have no dependable guardian in their life, having been abandoned or abused by their parents. It makes a lot of sense that some of them have responded with crime and violence. They are some of the most resilient people I have ever met.

I understand that the staff’s warnings were for my own safety, but none of the youth have lived up to these terrifying impressions, for which I am shocked and grateful.


Summer Internship: Here I Come

January 21, 2016 - 1:08pm

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Did you know a career fair is one of the best resources a career-seeker has for finding employment and internship opportunities? Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most unattended events among university students. Why you ask? The answer is simple; students today aren’t motivated to attend.

This morning I RSVP’d for our upcoming Business Career and Internship Fair next Thursday, Jan. 28. This event will be my first on-campus networking opportunity, giving me access to professionals in the industry. Inspired by my passion for finding a summer internship for 2016, I decided to prepare myself for the event by completing the following:

  • Resume updates
  • Creating a website portfolio
  • Designing student business cards

Resumes should be tailored and designed to target your specific companies. In order to follow this advice given by so many instructors, I created two separate resumes: one that demonstrated my professionalism- and another to demonstrate my creativity. In addition, I launched a personal student website hosted on www.wix.com, in order to give future employers a glimpse of my coursework projects. I added both of these on a business card, which I ordered from www.vistaprint.com. Take a look at my personal examples to get motivated.

I also encourage each of you to consider these preparations, as well as attend these upcoming campus workshops.

  • Resume Reviews, Monday, January 251:00-5:00 pm in SBA 240
  • Professional Image, Tuesday, January 26, 4:30-5:30 pm in SBA 130
  • Mock Interviews, Wednesday, January 27, 9:00 am-4:00 pm in SBA 260 

Living the Dream

January 21, 2016 - 8:12am

By: Sharon Nellist

One of my favorite things about Portland State University is how we are incredibly diverse. I have had the opportunity to meet so many new people from all sorts of backgrounds. I have been exposed to various cultures by those interactions right in my PSU backyard.

January 18 was no different than my past experience with diversity, except in one major way. In honor of Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK), Oregon Campus Compact, hosted over 400 students from PSU and six other local colleges and universities to come together in unity and love. Our goal was to serve and prove that we are not just dreamers, but if we believe then the DREAM will become a reality.

Coffee’d up and ready to serve!

We served 14 community sites throughout East Portland and Gresham, logged 1,428 hours of service, and made an economic impact of $32,944.

I was privileged to lead a small group of students and AmeriCorps volunteers to serve the Dharma Rain Zen Center on their 14-acre former landfill site in Northeast Portland. In those four short hours it did not matter what school we came from, or what homework we needed to do when we returned; we put ourselves aside and focused on them. We were weeding around bare fruit trees, towing wheelbarrows of mulch downhill, and trying to avoid being poked by blackberry bushes while removing them. And even though we may not see a huge impact from our service at that moment, like the bare trees, we know that the fruits of our labor will be noticed with time and more love.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: “What are you doing for others?”

-Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

At the Dharma Rain Zen Center

 


Avoiding My Public Speaking Freak Out

January 15, 2016 - 9:03am

 By: Kellie Doherty

The Write to Publish 2016 conference is two weeks away, and I’m starting to freak out for many reasons. One reason is, as a co-manager, I get to give the closing remarks. Yes, public speaking makes me tense. I’m in good company; public speaking is feared even more than death. It’s also something nearly every class has made me do, so you’d think I’d be used to it.

Nope.

Whenever I get up in front of a group of people, I tend to get nervous. And not the cute, blushing kind of way (though my ears do turn bright pink). I get freakishly nervous, the dry mouth, trembling, can’t-see-straight kind of nervous, where the room pitches and everything blurs.

To combat this freak out, I’ll prepare. Actually, I’ll memorize. I’ll recite my speech many times, in front of the mirror, in front of my friends, in front of my cats. To anyone who will listen.

It might be a catch from my drama days when I actually had to memorize my lines. It might be something from my toastmasters group that had a “no notes” policy. Or it could just be a weird little quirk of mine.

Regardless, it helps. I know I’ll be nervous that day for myriad reasons. I know I’ll have that freak-out moment right before I have to speak. But I also know my process works, and, after a few deep breaths, I’ll do a great job.

What’s your public speaking process like?

 


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