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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 31 min 16 sec ago

Is it OK to Randomly Hit On Women On Campus?

June 2, 2016 - 10:23am

By Jesse Turner

A few weeks ago, I was walking to my car from class. It was 6p.m. and still light outside. I was walking by the science building when a man who seemed to be in his mid 30s came up and asked me if he could walk and talk with me. I hesitated, thinking he was one of the many canvassers I see on campus. I asked him why he wanted to walk with me. He said that he had time, he was lonely, wanted to make new friends, etc. I did not believe him and I was afraid to say no outright, so instead I tried to discourage him by saying I was in a hurry and just walking to my car. He started walking with me anyway. Another woman saw this interaction and how uncomfortable I was, and she spoke up: “I’ve seen you approaching a lot of people around here.” Appreciative of her actions, I tried to walk away quickly while he was distracted. But he caught up to me.

I told him I was sorry he felt lonely but that approaching random women on the street was not the best way to make friends. “I don’t know who you are or anything about you, it’s kind of a scary situation to be randomly approached,” I insisted. He insisted back that he was not a dangerous guy and that he totally understands women and their fears (here’s a tip; saying “I’m not dangerous” while following a woman to her car is not reassuring). He had an argument for every reason I gave him that this was a terrible idea, which just made me more defensive. Finally, I told him outright: “You do not understand my fears, if you did, you would not be following me. You would have taken the hint.”

We finally got to my parking garage, and I told him to stop following me, not wanting him to see my car. Just like I expected, he asked for my number so he could take me out.

This blog is not about bragging that I got hit on. And no, this situation would not have been different if I was attracted to this guy. This blog is about the fact that this guy’s desire to follow me, talk to me, and ask for my number does not trump my desire to feel safe and be left alone. His arguments that humans should be able to talk to one another and be able to meet people this way, are BS. You have never made a best friend by approaching a random person on the street, so don’t put your fake burden on me.

So, when should you randomly hit on someone on the street who does not want to talk to you? Never. It’s scary and unnerving. Do not do it.


A NEW LINK TO THE JOB MARKET

May 27, 2016 - 1:57pm

 

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Just like you, I am one of 28,076 students currently enrolled at Portland State University. All of us are followed, liked, shared, and/or linked by millennial-driven platforms; each of which are working hard to promote our professional self image.

As a career driven student, I allocate a majority of my time to the top business networking platform, LinkedIn. I am excited to start using its new standalone, “LinkedIn Students” app, which is currently available for download. The LinkedIn Students app is solely equipped for helping soon-to-be college graduates search for future employment by providing an easy and convenient way to explore jobs anywhere in the world.

According to Forbes, “The tool offers personalized job recommendations and postings based on the career paths of LinkedIn’s more than 400 million users. The app’s algorithm is guided in part by the career paths of professionals who graduated from the same college and with the same major as a particular student.”

I like that the free app also offers career-
related content and videos, which consist 
of articles about interviewing and negotiating a salary – to name a few. Student-friendly features include a ‘star button’ that gives students a way to indicate preferences and transform LinkedIn Students into our own digitalized career consultant.

Have you tried the new LinkedIn Students App? If not, download the app using the link: https://students.linkedin.com/


Wim for the Win!

May 23, 2016 - 11:25am

 By: Xylia Lydgate

For those of you who don’t know, Wim Wiewel is the president of Portland State University. He took a break from the office on May 6 and walked over to the Urban Plaza to play a round of kickball at Campus Rec’s Pride Kickball event.

I’d had the opportunity to meet with Wim before at a fancy lunch in the president’s office with my fellow Pacific Islanders Club. Turns out he’s a very mellow, down-to-earth guy with a kind sense of humor.

While a bunch of us were standing around outside, soaking up some sun and enjoying the festivities of Pride Week, I noticed the president appear, walking towards our makeshift “field.”

“Is that the president?” someone exclaimed. I glanced over and knew it was him. “Look, it’s Wim!” I could see all of the Campus Rec staff and students pulling out their smartphones, “snapchatting” photos of our PSU celebrity guest.

The faces of our players lit up as they watched the president join in for a game of kickball in his suit and tie and make a run for home base.

The greatest part about Campus Rec and Portland State is the sense of pride we have in our community and the fun we have together regardless of status or self-identity. It’s moments like this that remind me why I play. When the stress of college and being an “adult” catch up to me, I remember to play, have fun and unleash my inner child

 

 


Why I ‘Sailed through the Stars’

May 19, 2016 - 9:14am

  By Kellie Doherty

Graduate school is busy and stressful. But don’t get me wrong, I love my book publishing program. I’ll be sad to leave next month, but sometimes I just have to do something else. PSU has no shortage of cool events for students, and last Saturday was no exception.

I decided to go to the Pacific Islander’s Club 14th Annual Lu’au called “Sailing through the Stars.” It was held at the Stott Center a block from my apartment and the entrance was free for students, so I thought, “What the heck, a lu’au sounds fun.” I’m so happy I went.

First off, the place was packed—students, kids, elderly folk—it seemed like every age range wanted to participate. The dinner had traditional food, including Kalua pork, a lovely guava juice, and even wide range of desserts. (I chose poi for my dessert, a purple paste made of taro root but tasted a little like pineapple.)

The entertainment was quite fun. They had a show with traditional music and dances all from different islands, like Hawaii, New Zealand, and Fiji, among others. (Plus there were fire dancers, and they’re just plain hot. Pun intended.)

Overall it was a great night. It made me forget my stresses for a while, and we all know that forgetting your stress, even for a moment, is important. If you’re still here next year, make sure to add this event to your ToDo. It’s one you won’t want to miss.


Here’s How Little I Know about Portland

May 17, 2016 - 10:15am

By Jesse Turner

We all know Portland is white. Very white. I am white. I grew up in a very white neighborhood and went to some of, if not the, whitest public schools in Portland. And for years I was told that Portland was “politely racist.” None of us are openly racist, because different races live in different worlds. There’s no opportunity to be “openly racist” as a white person because you rarely ever encounter a non-white person. I didn’t learn until I was in college that black people were not legally allowed in Oregon under the state constitution until 1926 when the clause was finally repealed.

I now work in the juvenile correctional system, which means I work with a lot of young men who claim gang affiliation. I will now tell you just how white I am and admit that the other day I googled, “gangs in Portland” because although I had heard of several gangs in conversation with the youth I work with, I knew nothing of their history, nor could I keep them all straight. I grew up in Portland, I have lived here for 21 years, and a few days ago was the first time I had ever heard of Lil’ Smurf or Kerby Blocc or vice nights. Because I live in a completely different world. Gangs have only recently become a part of my reality, and only because I work with people who are a part of them.

I also work at a residential home for formerly incarcerated young men. One of the housemates, one who is gang affiliated, was recently arrested for armed robbery and because he is 19, he will go to prison. This person is Latino and so is the man he was arrested with. Their mugshots are featured on the Oregon Live article about their arrest. And I am not exaggerating when I say that every public comment on the article is race-related, the vast majority of which are negative. The top comment is “Jeez, Maybe Trump is right….” Another person says “this is why we need Trump to build the wall.” Scroll a little further down and you read “Dreamers. They’re just here to work.” A couple people call out these racist comments and they are bombarded with comments of being too “sensitive” and needing a “safe-space,” the argument of people with no empathy.

These are internet trolls and likely not an accurate representation of the whole of Portland. But I would encourage you to question the nature of “Portland Polite” when it comes to race. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.


Thoughts From the Walk-Out

May 16, 2016 - 4:42pm

 by Steph Holton

“We want real diversity, not a police state university.” This was the first of many chants taken up by the group of walk-out participants stationed on the Millar Library steps last Tuesday afternoon. Members of PSUSU sported shirts reading #DisarmPSU because Black Lives Matter. One speaker announced, “We are here fighting oppression.” Another claimed that “the police are a tool of capitalism used to oppress people.” Roughly 150 students joined in the cheering and chanting, and a few dozen stood on the outskirts observing but not participating.

After learning that I don’t support the Disarm PSU movement, a member of PSUSU asked if I supported protesting the way the administration instated armed campus safety officers. Like most of the other students I have spoken to, I am frustrated by the way the administration seems to ignore student opinion. However, I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that arming CPSO was not a light decision. Some things to consider:

  1. Portland State University is a completely open, public university in the heart of downtown, which experiences the daily movement of 30,000 students. For all of the unique and completely rad aspects about this environment that we students love, it carries very real safety concerns.
  2. Our armed CPSO are fully trained and sworn police officers who have a sworn obligation to keep the public and their fellow officers safe. They carry guns only for the defense of themselves and others. Using weapons is considered only in the face of a lethal threat. No officer wants to pull the trigger.
  3. Arming CPSO does not impact student diversity. Fighting institutionalized racism is a necessity, but I believe the way to do this in our own community is to create bonds of mutual respect and trust between the student body and CPSO. CPSO was not established, and does not operate, for the purpose of discrimination.

But what do you think? One could debate this matter endlessly. Gun safety is a very real issue, but it is also very complex, and it’s entirely separate from our dissatisfaction as students with the procedures of the administration.


Senior Capstone: 1 step closer to saying peace out, PSU

May 10, 2016 - 2:25pm

 By Amanda Katz

Hey there!

Long time, no blog!

I had taken a break from blogging for a while to focus on my major, but now I’m back and better than ever.

This summer is looking to be a good one. I’m in the middle of applying for summer internships, I’m getting some really cool opportunities at work, and I’m taking my senior capstone. I’m going to be doing the GirlPower! Capstone with Sally Eck, it seems like a great way to give back and I get to work with some awesome young ladies in the process!

It’ll be so nice to take the time to get my capstone done. You see, I’m at the end of my fourth year with only 21 credits left: six for my capstone, three for an internship, and the other 12 will finish out my degree. PSU has such a wide variety of summer capstones available over the summer, making it easy to pick something you’re interested in. Also, it is extremely convenient that courses are available at a range of times and days. If it wasn’t for the option to take summer classes like my capstone, either my last term at Portland State would be extremely stressful, or I’d have to wait till winter term to graduate.

I’m ready to be done with school and start working, and being able to take summer classes is allowing me to achieve my goals at my rate and on my timeline. What are your plans for summer?


Coffee is to students, as textbooks are to classes.

May 4, 2016 - 9:27pm

 

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Our lives as college students are widely known for take-out meals, 10-page papers, all-nighters, epic parties, alcohol and, without a doubt, coffee — which must be served in mammoth-sized coffee cups!

Here are Three reasons why every Portland State University college student must supplement their current academic curriculum with a coffee regiment:

1. As the saying might go, “when in Portland, brew as the portlanders brew.”  As a #PSUStudent we are now identifiable as #Portlanders. According to a Men’s Health study, Portland, Oregon is ranked within the top four cities in the U.S. known for its coffee obsession.

2. When the dreaded college “dead-week apocalypse” strikes, students survive by just the smell of coffee alone. This survival strategy has been proven effective by a research study at Seoul National University, which examined the brains of sleep deprived rats who were diagnosed with high stress; it was discovered that those that were exposed to coffee aromas experienced changes in brain proteins tied to that stress.

PSU COFFEE ENTHUSIAST SINCE 2013

3. There is just NO time to go to the gym when you’re a full-time student. So what if we skipped zumba and instead binged-watched all seasons of Grimm. Did you know coffee is the number one source of antioxidants in the American diet?  Those antioxidants keep our bodies healthy and decrease visits to the PSU SHAC.

From one coffee enthusiast to another, I believe that whoever said, “there are not enough hours in a day,” wasn’t roasting the right blend. What are your reasons for being an avid college coffee drinker? Post them in the comments below!


Why I’m Annoyed by the Alumni Countdown

April 28, 2016 - 10:17am

 By Kellie Doherty

There is a sign on the alumni building on campus that went up on March 5 declaring “100 Days Until You Are An Alumni.” It’s been steadily counting down since then. I get it. It’s supposed to portray the happiness and excitement of graduation. It’s supposed to get the students pumped about being alumni of this fabulous university. It’s supposed to be encouraging.

Well, guess what?

For me—a graduate student in Book Publishing planning on graduating this spring—this countdown annoys the heck out of me. And quite frankly, it stresses me out. Why? It’s a constant reminder that I have 100 days, or 85 days, or 52 days to get all my crap in order. To find a job. To (maybe) find a new apartment. To (maybe) move to a new city. It’s a constant reminder that I have less and less time to get my final grad projects in. A constant reminder that May 20—my thesis defense date, the one that decides whether I pass or fail this program—is getting closer.

And that’s freaking stressful! With all the other ToDo lists in my life, all the other deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise), all the other stresses, I don’t need this one.

But…maybe I need to look at it differently. Maybe this looming countdown can be…a count-up to my new life instead. My next adventure. That’s a better way of thinking about it. For now, anyway. Don’t ask me on June 12.

What do you think of the countdown?


Education Abroad

April 26, 2016 - 9:14am

In a few short weeks, I will be embarking on my very first international educational experience at the University of Salamanca, Spain. I am all too excited for this wonderful opportunity, and one of the key tasks to accomplish before I leave is study about the area in which I will send a little over a month in.

Let’s take moment to appreciate Salamanca, Spain and its fun facts. Did you know:

  • Salamanca is best known as being a University city; more than 36.000 people, which is nearly 20 percent of the population, are students and a great part of the inhabitants are either directly or indirectly related to the university.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the most important universities in Spain, dating back to 1218 which makes it the third oldest university in Europe.
  • Spain is home to the world´s largest tomato fight: La Tomatina, celebrated every year in the city of Valencia.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the important architectural feats in the city. The university building was built by the Emperor Alfonso IX in the year 1218. It is also Spain’s oldest university and has about 36,000 students.

This will be a life changing experience that will affect my perspective and outlook on life. Take the trip with me through each blog post, and explore this beautiful country with me!


50 Years of Adventure

April 26, 2016 - 9:07am

 By: Xylia Lydgate

How do you like to spend your free time outside? I just hit the slopes of Mt.Hood Meadows with the Outdoor Program a couple months ago, which is now celebrating its 50 years of student-led adventure and services. That marks the longest enduring, university-led outdoor program nationwide!

Rumor has it that the University of Oregon was the first school to officially start an Outdoor Program. However, PSU’s Outdoor Program was established the year before in 1966 by a man named Sam McKinney and second PSU president, Branford Price Millar.

The program is rich with history and stories that have been shared from generation to generation. It has compelled students to get outside and explore, and to extend their university experience beyond campus.

Last week, I sat down with Todd Bauch, Campus Rec’s associate director of operations, and the Outdoor Program’s coordinator in 2002. Reflecting on how it has changed over the years, Todd recalls that it was once lacking in diversity. The office was primarily a “white guy’s place to hang out,” he says. Nowadays, students and community members, young and old, male and female, native-born Oregonians and international students alike share a similar passion for outdoor program activities. More structure has also been added to the program over time, ensuring a wide variety of trips, quality service and leadership opportunities such as the new WiLD program.

So, what does the “Outdoor Program” do exactly? At Campus Rec, the Outdoor Program offers guided trips throughout the Pacific Northwest, including service trips and seminars, discounted equipment rental services, free trip planning and resources, kayak roll sessions, a rock climbing center and more.

Stay up-to-date with the Outdoor Program’s 50 year celebration by visiting our microsite (under construction) and following the hashtag #ODP50 on social media.

A happy bunch celebrates victory after braving rapids on their Umpqua River trip (2000).

 


Dirty Words

April 25, 2016 - 5:12pm

 by Steph Holton

The Oregon primary is fast approaching (May 17, to be exact), and the presidential candidates have thrown around a lot of political terminology that can be confusing or misleading. These words seem so obvious that they never get explicitly defined, leading to misconceptions across party lines and the actual stigmatization of certain descriptors that shape entire campaigns. I believe that this lack of clarification is a major roadblock in our quest to become informed voters, and the stigmatization of such important terms creates a chasm that halts discourse between parties. So, for myself, for my fellow student voters and for good pub conversation, I have decided to provide here a definition (each compiled and simplified from multiple web sources including Dictionary.com and Encyclopedia Britannica) of two of the most talked-about terms in the 2016 presidential race, which in different social circles have reached profanity-level reproach.

Capitalism is an economic system in which private ownership drives production for profit. Capitalism has several manifestations – free market, welfare, or state, to name a few – all of which exhibit different goals.

Socialism is likewise seen in many forms. Democratic socialism, being the focus of the current presidential race, is an economic and governing principle that supports production in terms of social ownership, alongside governing through political democracy.

The terms and ideologies of capitalism and socialism are both awash with nuances and possible secondary implications, all of which are dependent on the specific politician in question. “Capitalism” is not synonymous with “fascism,” and “socialism” cannot be simplified into “communism.” What I’m really trying to get at, though, is that nothing in this presidential race is as straightforward as “this vs. that,” and knowing where our candidates stand on the issues and even within their own ideologies is a crucial step in feeling confident about our votes come Election Day.


I Got Fired, Now What?

April 18, 2016 - 5:53pm

By Jesse Turner

For the first time in my life, I got “fired.” I put “fired” in quotation marks because it wasn’t an official firing. It was a volunteer practicum position and I was offered a different, more restricted position for this term but was told that I could no longer continue in the position I had been doing for the last ten weeks. I was told I was causing too many disruptions, enough that the practicum had to end immediately.

I don’t want to go into the details of the firing (maybe dismissal is a better word) but I will tell you that I cried on my drive home, barely restraining myself from crying in front of my supervisor. I felt as though I had lost part of myself in losing that position. I tie my work ethic so centrally to who I am. I take pride in the fact that I work two jobs while going to school full time. I take pride in my exhaustion. I brag about my transformation from a lazy, self-pitying person to someone who has tried her best to take control of my future. Getting fired does not fit into my personal narrative.

This was my first placement in the specific field of study I want to work in. What do I do now? This is the field I want to spend the rest of my life in. Sure, I can study it in a classroom, but maybe I’m truly not good enough. My supervisor told me that he understood my behavior did not come from a place of malicious intent and that with more experience, I would do much better. I cling to his statement because it feels like all I have. This position was so draining, it consumed my waking hours and still I loved it. I miss it.

Now I am in a new practicum position, in a different youth correctional facility. I had my period of mourning but then was forced to take my love for my previous position and work to get a new one. In this position I have met young, incarcerated men who face rejection every day, rejection that is often worse than my own, and yet they continue to persevere. One young man earned his high school diploma, associate’s degree, and two bachelor’s degrees in five years under incarceration. There is no better kick in the pants than seeing people accomplishing more in lockup than you are on the outs. So getting fired is not all bad. It was a hard experience and one I will feel the sting of for a while. But I have to take it as a bump in the road, a learning experience, and not the end. I love this field too much to be done with it now.


“Please Hire Me.”

April 13, 2016 - 9:24pm

 

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Summer internship application deadlines for 2016 are rapidly coming to a close, and I still haven’t scheduled a single interview. However, I believe that I’ve dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s where necessary. I’ve updated my resume, wrote several personalized company cover letters, and I have even gone through great lengths to create a consistent presence for myself using an online portfolio. Although the stressed student in me is convinced all hope is lost, this is not the case!

I’ve decided to beat my internship frustrations by incorporating the following proactive tools:

  1. Conduct several informational interviews.
  2. Research internship opportunities on CareerConnect.
  3. Attend campus workshops and events.
  4. Meet with an internship advisor on campus.

If you’re like me and determined to snag a last minute summer internship, don’t forget to follow Portland State University on Twitter and Facebook! Our university social sites are an important place to check for updates on upcoming career fairs happening on campus. Plus, be sure to save the date and register for our next “All Major Job Fair” on May 10th, 2016.

What are your tips and tricks for landing last minute internships? I would love to read them in the comments below.


How Technology Has Improved My Fitness Habits

April 12, 2016 - 8:39pm

 Photos and Post by: James Wilson

Being a full-time student on top of working and maintaining a connection with family and friends is already hard enough. Adding the right time to get any bit of a workout or any form of physical activity adds just another layer.

Technology for me has already made that first part way easier. We all are connected to devices nearly 24/7. We work on the go. We also are maintaining that social connection — maybe while even waiting for the Max — when we check our phones to message close friends or family members. But what about working out? How can technology help with recreation?

Luckily, Android and Apple’s iPhone already have this problem solved. With their built-in pedometers you can see just how active you are in a normal daily routine. Walking 20 minutes to class is now an integrated part of my fitness regimen. Pairing a phone with a wearable device such as the Apple Watch or the Fitbit makes this even better. I’m able to link my smartwatch with my phone and keep tabs on my physical activity at all times. It gets me moving more. I have apps that notify me when I’ve been stationary for too long, and that motivates me to get up and move around. I also have the 7 Minute Workout app on my Pebble watch and phone, so I can optimize my free time when I can’t make it to the gym. For the busy student it really is a habit changer and motivates me when I need it most. 


Why I Went to LA Last Weekend

April 7, 2016 - 10:10am

 By Kellie Doherty

Last February I wrote about Write to Publish 2016 and how it was an awesome networking opportunity. Let me tell you a secret: Write to Publish is a tiny conference. Adorably small, actually. How do I know this? Because last weekend I went to the conference connected to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, widely known as AWP.

AWP is the largest literary conference in North America. Last year, they had over 800 vendors, 12,000 attendees, and 2,000 presenters. This year, they had the same, if not more. Write to Publish (while amazing) was a mere whisper to all this literary noise.

Plus, AWP was in Los Angeles this year, and I’d never been before. A new city, thousands of writers and publishers, and tons of books? Yes, please! Additionally, I was given a Marie Brown Graduate Student Travel Award to help pay for it. And while I was going as an attendee, I was also there to represent my graduate program in book publishing and Ooligan Press.

I went to panels, readings, and chatted with fellow writers; I tabled, gushing about Ooligan and Portland State University; I visited vendors, doing much of the same; and I even tried Korean waffle pizza. It was three long days, but it was also an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It was an opportunity PSU helped to pay for, and I wouldn’t have had the same experience without such lovely support.

What kinds of conferences have you been to?


Get out and #ExplORE

April 6, 2016 - 11:10am

School is fun, and so are the daily distractions we undertake to take a break from courses. Some of this distractions include, but are not limited to: social media, video games, working out, and….the outdoors!

Yes, there is such a beautiful place right outside that door frame!

I am not from Oregon, so every time I explore the state’s beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls, it’s an adventure. I encourage you to do the same!

Here are a few photos from my adventures! It’s out there, waiting for you!

 


The generation to end smoking?

April 4, 2016 - 4:20pm

 by Steph Holton

Spring has (finally) hit Portland. The sun is shining and I’m taking full advantage: I’ve got my Nikes on and my feet hit the pavement in rhythm to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” I think how nice it is to run in the fresh air after a winter spent doing treadmill workouts. Grinning to myself, I turn a corner onto the park blocks and, mid-breath, run through a cloud of second-hand smoke.

This is infuriating on multiple accounts, but the two that are most easily articulated are: 1) the smoker is no more than twenty years old, and 2) the Park Blocks are a part of PSU’s smoke-free campus.

As a non-smoker who has lost family members to cancer and emphysema, it’s easy for me to get angry, and sometimes it’s all too tempting to hit cigarettes right out of my peers’ hands. But I know that even though anger is often the catalyst for change, an end to smoking is going to require patience and open conversation. The campaign known as Truth (thetruth.com) is committed to making ours the generation that ends smoking, and it’s doing so by spreading, well, truth. Truth is continually exposing big tobacco and giving us the facts about the effects of smoking on the environment and society. For instance, did you know that a cat or dog whose owner smokes (around the pet or not) is twice as likely to get cancer?

We’re the products of the Information Age. And as such I believe that, armed with information, smokers and non-smokers can join together in the campaign to eradicate smoking. PSU has recently made the commitment to creating a healthier campus by banning smoking on all campus property, and the first contribution we can all make as Portland State students is to respect these tobacco-free zones (map below).


Dreading Spring Term

March 24, 2016 - 4:58pm

  By Marilynn Sandoval

Finally, spring break is ending and the last term of school is upon us. That’s the term all graduating seniors look forward to and all freshmen can’t believe is here already. So as we are enjoying our last few days at the beach, eating our last home cooked meals with our parents, getting our last full nights of sleep or binging on Netflix for the last time, here’ s a reminder of what you have to look forward to on the first days of spring term.

  1. Getting to school and searching for parking on the first week, when students are actually making an effort to show up to class to ensure their spot in class.
  1. Syllabus week = the best week you will have all term, because let’s face it we will all be lacking sleep by the third week in.
  1. Washing those sweatpants you wore all winter term to get them ready for spring. Or perhaps buying a new pair to show that you sort of care about the way you look.
  1. Saying goodbye to your money when it goes to food, coffee and those sugary energy drinks we can’t seem to function without.
  1. Most importantly, the week you will tell yourself that you will be on top of your stuff and that procrastination isn’t going to happen. However, this will be thrown out the window by the end of week two.

Well, that is all I have for you now. So go enjoy the rest of your break. I hope you made it a memorable one, because summer isn’t for another two and a half months


What I Learned from Lockup

March 14, 2016 - 7:45pm

By Jesse Turner

For the final project for my Youth Work class, I made a board game. I called it, “The Game of Life in Juvie.” This term I have been interning at an all-male juvenile correctional facility. One of the ways the youth and I pass the time is by playing card games and board games. “The Game of Life” is one of the games we have played several times, and because going to prison is not an option in that game, I find it a sadly ironic one to play. I watch each youth choose to go to college, start a family, and pick a career with the highest salary.

I made my board game as similar as I could to the original. Instead of a job, each player picks the crime which sent them to juvie. Instead of advancing through the life stages, players must advance through the point-and-level system that the facility uses so they can gain more privileges and eventually get out. I tried to make the game as unwinnable as possible. When asked if I would share this game with the youth on my unit, I said, “Absolutely not.” For one, I wouldn’t be allowed to bring in contraband. But really I would never show it to them because the youth already know how horrible life in juvie is. I wouldn’t want them to think I was reducing their situation to something trivial. That’s not how I meant for this game to be taken. I wanted it to express how often many of the hardships that happen to the youth on my unit are out of their control and simply left to chance.

Many youth on my unit have shared with me their goals for when they get out. Most of them express desires to continue school, get jobs, and start families in front of staff. But around other youth, they are much more honest. The two biggest plans I hear about are to get as high as possible and to get tattoos for the gangs they affiliate with. I come from a place of incredible privilege, and many of the youth react to what I say as empty rhetoric. But I keep telling them I want them to do better on the outs. I don’t know who will listen, but I do know that the Oregon Youth Authority has a 65% recidivism rate. This is not the first time in juvie for most of these youth. And the sad truth is it probably will not be the last.