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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 58 min 12 sec ago

Vikings in the Super Bowl

January 30, 2014 - 12:30pm

Email walls and voice phone calls

January 24, 2014 - 3:32pm

“Hey, I didn’t know it could TALK.”

Not long ago, while working on a PSU Vanguard story, I received a return phone call, within 24 hours, from Scott Gallagher of the University Communications office. I nearly fell down from shock.

I had not received a live phone call in months from anyone other than my mother. And it seemed as though an ever-increasing amount of important people in my life had barricaded themselves behind “email walls.”

When I recently asked to meet with an editor at one of the three student media outlets I worked for, she simply refused to do it. Her supervisor had established a policy, she said, that editors could limit communications with writers to email. No meetings, live conversations, or body language required.

A professor supervising me on a huge term paper could only be reached by email and was only on campus two days per week. She had not even set up the voice mail on her office phone. But this makes her no different from most PSU profs —not a single professor in my three years here has used the office phone.

Mr. Gallagher reminded me what humans are capable of. Follow up.  Consideration. Professionalism. Simple human respect and kindness. And he understands that the old standards of professionalism still matter to do your job.

I submit to you all that we will not be able to live without live voice communication and nonverbal body language over the long run. We will not be able to abandon those and hold onto the jobs that we like, as well.

No amount of quiet, feverish tapping on our devices will replace our voices and ourselves.

This is no Fantasy Factory

January 23, 2014 - 11:19am

By: Grace Carroll

As I settle into 2014, I face an unsettling reality: I am an adult. Well, sort of. It’s a work in progress. But nonetheless, the new year brings with it a new set of uncertainties raining down from its silver-confetti wings. Even my dorm, the place I have come to feel most comfortable, is rife with reminders that the concrete ground I stand on is by no means stable. With neighbors moving out, and the walls of my building plastered with posters that remind me to settle my 2014-15 Housing Contract, every direction I go reminds me that I have a lot to think about.

I am thrust forward, as though stuck on a moving walkway at the airport, into a realm where it is quite easy to feel that every mundane decision I make is just another step along the conveyor belt of my future. What machine will I make? I am now assembling its base. Whose idea was it, anyway—to leave me in charge of the rest of my life, without so much as a blueprint, when I just spent my first paycheck on a Nintendo 64? By many standards I am still young, and encouraged to retain my youth. However, at what point does continuing your childhood become irresponsible? I am certain that this year will bring me closer to answering this question—even if it is just another stop along the assembly line.

Did you spend your MLK day on or off?

January 23, 2014 - 9:53am

Martin Luther King Jr. has been and will remain to be a heroic and influential figure in our country. He preached equality for everyone, no matter what race, ethnicity, class, or any other social, political, or economic status. Every year, the PSU Student Leaders for Services helps to coordinate the MLK Day of Service, when when about 1,000 college students from across the metro area gather to better our city in some form of service in memory of Dr. King.

This year, the theme was education, and we were assembled at David Douglas High School in outer NE Portland. From there, we met the other students from other colleges and universities and were assigned projects. My group was assigned to clean Parkrose High School, an ethnically diverse, heavily low-income school. We cleaned their gym and helped with other janitorial services to make the learning environment cleaner and encourage the students to have more respect for their school. 

It was a rewarding experience to help a community in need of a little boost. I highly recommend to all PSU students to get involved in even one small volunteering event, whether that be packaging at the Oregon Food Bank, delivering food through Meals on Wheels, or participating in beautification efforts around the city. Even a couple of hours can make all the difference.

To eat spider, or not to eat spider?

January 22, 2014 - 3:19pm

By: Kadie Kobielusz

I am a huge fan of If you aren’t a fan of them on Facebook, you need to be, because their videos are insanely inspirational and informative. I just finished learning about entomophagy: the diet of eating…BUGS!

I was in cahoots when the video described lobsters as large bugs with legs, antennas and claws. True, but you don’t #$%@* eat those parts now do you? And they don’t go crunch in your mouth, either.

Yes, the video was compelling with the fact that bugs have about 80 percent protein as compared to beef. They also have an insanely high level of iron—which is great, because iron deficiency is currently the most common nutritional problem in the world.

So what do you think? Would you bring a bag of crunchy bugs with you to keep up great levels of nutrition?

Check out the video here:

Flu Got Ya Down? Stay Down!

January 18, 2014 - 4:09pm

Jenna Rae Tucker

This is my last term of classes and I am so excited. However, I seem to have this terrible curse of getting really sick the first week of classes. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

My mom would never let me do anything during the day if I didn’t go to school and that philosophy is still engrained in me. So, I usually suffer through school and work and cry on the inside (and sometimes outside).


In my old age (27 whole years) I have learned that if you are sick, get rest. It’ll help you get better. People don’t want to be around your sneezy, dripping, sweating, puking, coughing self. Get in touch with your professors and let them know you won’t make it to class, but turn in your assignment if one is due and make arrangements to get notes. Call your boss and tell her your 102 degree temperature is going to make it impossible to come in. Now here is the key component of this advice: STAY IN AND GET REST! I just stayed in my bed for 48 hours and it worked wonders.

I know, sometimes you have to work. You have to go to class. It’s the way of the world. But if you can avoid it, do it. Don’t feel bad. If you rarely call in sick, if you never abuse the power, people will understand. Don’t feel guilty.

| Visual Culture |

January 17, 2014 - 10:51am

It’s so easy to be insecure and jealous when you live in a visual culture — being jealous of where people are, what they are doing, why they are so beautiful, and why they are popular. I am surrounded by a community of people who express themselves creatively through visual means such as photography. The culture we live in today thrives on visual stimulation.

I have fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other artists and to my friends. Because we are in a visual society, we start looking at ourselves in terms of: Am I worth being in the picture? Am I worth talking to if I don’t take good photos? Am I worth someone’s time? These are the negative thoughts that sometimes run through my mind. They’re destructive, but they’re also worth pondering.

Why should I be worried when all that matters is being who I was made to be? This has really been on my heart because it reminds me of what I should really be refocusing on and that my friend, is God. He doesn’t want me to be jealous or insecure. He wants my heart.

What are your concerns about the visual world we live in today and the effects it has on us?

The taste of a Guinness

January 16, 2014 - 2:41pm

Portland is home to more than 60 breweries, more breweries than any other city in the nation. It should then come to no surprise the high number types of beers that are offered across the city. There are pubs and bars all around to provide a taste of the variety of beers available. Purchasing beer at the local supermarket while cheap can deprive the consumer of the full taste of beer from a tap.

It was in Portland where I first began to get a taste of what beer was. Beforehand I lived in Portland, I only conceived beer as light and dark. I couldn’t have imagined the vast types of beers that existed. From Indian pale ales, to porters and stouts, the range of beer types is larger than most people know. I was used to drinking mainly lager beers with family and friends. However, I soon came to find my preferred type of beer.

It was at an Irish pub where I had my first stout beer, a Guinness. It’s dark and heavy but it has a refreshing taste to it. Most beers tend to be too carbonated for myself, something I realized only after having a stout beer. I’ve introduced this beer type to my family back in Hood River and have had a pint with friends as well. And every once in a while, I enjoy a pint of Guinness as a sort of delicacy.

Books, Books, BOOKS.

January 14, 2014 - 4:51pm

This term, upon logging into banweb and searching for the link to my “booklist and materials,” I discovered the number 22.
22 books this term.
Powell’s might be an obvious choice. Might as well take a dip into the city of books. I found a few at Powell’s, but surprisingly much of my booklist—mostly novels, not standard textbooks, mind you—could not be found. Though the books I did find were cheap and included the kind of hand-writing that tells a story.
Next, I went to Barnes & Noble. The only reason I went there, to tell the truth, was that I had a gift card. I got lot’s of help, but paid too much for just a few books.
In the end, I bought more than half of them at the PSU Book Store. I probably could have finagled something cheaper via this thing called the internet, but buying most of these obscure titles in one place was pretty convenient.
Where do you get your books?

Resolutions… why wait?

January 14, 2014 - 4:40pm

It’s a new year and everyone has their resolution chosen, what’s mine? My resolution is to never have a resolution but create changes throughout the year. We all seem to think that having a New Year’s resolution is finally going to get us to change those things we’ve been trying to change, but why wait until a new year? Let’s change these things as soon as possible. Create a better you, without all the wait of a new year.

If it’s the awkward “I don’t want to start on an odd day such as Wednesday” excuse, wait until a Monday rolls around or even the first day of the month but not a whole year. Changing something or pursuing something takes time and commitment. Although it may be hard to find that time, we need to realize that in the end this will have a positive impact in our life. I’ll admit that I am one who chooses to start on a Monday or first day of the month. It’s only because if I don’t, I feel all out of sorts.

Some common resolutions are to be healthier, work out more, lose weight and travel more. To complete these resolutions, start with a piggy bank. Save your change to buy organic foods and buy that gym membership you’ve been wanting. Having more money also leads to living that travel lifestyle you want.

So hurry up and get on it, and don’t wait for next year. Rome is waiting for you!


The Happiness Project

January 14, 2014 - 4:04pm

I think people are missing the point with New Year’s Resolutions. They’re always the same: lose weight, spend less money, stay organized, etc. Though, aren’t those full of negativity in a sense? We’re telling, well, commanding ourselves to be and do certain things in an instant. No wonder we can never stick with them.

Instead, why not give yourself time to discover new habits? Why not find things that will help promote accomplishing those goals? Why not start with happiness? I mean really what you’re saying when you start a resolution is, “by completing this task, I will be happier,” right? It’s about self-improvement. Perhaps by making happiness a priority, those things will come naturally, because you see that they inevitably bring you happiness.

This is why my New Year’s Resolution was to start “The Happiness Project.” It’s a five-year journal in which you write one sentence about each day. Not only does it help you to remember the little things in life, but it’s also extremely rewarding to see them add up. For instance, you may think you did absolutely nothing today, but you actually cooked a new meal, or rode your bike to the grocery store, or helped a friend with homework.

So my resolution is to discover a little more happiness in the little things in life.