By: Anna Sobczyk
Get involved is a phrase every college student has heard. As an incoming freshman, I didn’t put much thought into getting involved because I wasn’t entirely sure of the benefits. On top of my doubts, the sheer number of student organizations to choose from was overwhelming. But as I settled into Portland, I realized I lacked the competitive outlet I’d had back home with running track and knew I needed something to fill that void.
That something soon became Ultimate Frisbee (also called Ulitmate Disc). I’m not sure what drew me over to the Ultimate info table during a Viking Week event—outside of PE class, I barely touched a Frisbee—but I’m forever grateful I made the stop. Joining Ultimate has proved to be one of the best decisions I made this year.
In an Ultimate Frisbee game, seven players from each team take the field. On offense, there are typically three handlers (the players primarily responsible for throwing the disc) and four cutters (the players running around to get open for a throw from a handler). The handlers and cutters work the disc downfield against the defenders to hopefully score a point in the end-zone. Overall, it’s sort of like soccer, except you’re throwing and catching a disc instead of kicking a ball. From my first practice where I learned these Ultimate basics, I was hooked on the sport’s fast pace and intensity.
The practices and tournaments give me something to look forward to outside of classes and homework. Best of all, I gained an entire team’s worth of friends who made the transition into college easier simply by being there. My time on the PSU Women’s Ultimate Frisbee team has been a tremendous growing and learning experience. The memories I have of team dinners, sideline cheers, and coming out victorious against tough opponents are irreplaceable.
Now I have a new understanding and respect for what being involved does for a person. Especially as a freshman, becoming involved was a critical step for me to take to make new friends, find a support group, and establish Portland as my home away from home. Ultimate Frisbee filled my need for a competitive outlet, and also something I didn’t even realize I’d been looking for—a sense of belonging.
by Steph Holton
“It’s the time of the season
When love runs high”
-The Zombies, 1968
Just like The Zombies sang back in ’68, it’s the time of the season. More specifically, it’s the time for heart-shaped candies, heart-shaped balloons, heart-shaped cards… well, the pattern presents itself. If you’re anything like me, at least once in your life you’ve expressed disdain for the oh-so-Hallmark nature of the day and all the lovey-doveyness it’s meant to build.
No matter where your opinions lie on Valentine’s Day, I think we can at least agree that it’s supposed to be about love. Whether or not you plan to celebrate the day this year, I have a proposition for you. There’s been so much hate and divisiveness in our country recently that maybe we need a day all about love – even if it’s cheesy and sentimental and sugar-laden. Hell, we need more than a day. For starters, though, I’m proposing that we all focus on who and what we love this February, and make a commitment to being vocal about it! (Perfect way to start – Leslie Knope—inspired Galentine’s Day brunch with your ladies!)
Unfortunately, hate can be extremely (and effortlessly) loud. But I think love can drown it out. At the Jan. 21 Women’s March I saw signs over and over again reading “Love Trumps Hate.” The sentiment rings true, we just can’t be passive about it anymore.
Image above: the crowd assembled in love and solidarity on Portland’s west waterfront for the Jan. 21 Women’s March.
By: Xylia Lydgate
With a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to fall prey to a sedentary lifestyle. While there are countless factors that contribute to the increased risk of health-related issues, one factor that is often overlooked is cardiorespiratory fitness. This is something I notice in myself when I go weeks or even months with minimal physical activity.
I’ve observed that when I try to get back into an exercise regime after a long absence, I will have a more difficult time catching my breath, my muscles will feel more fatigued, I will feel less mentally motivated—and I’m only 21 years old! Although I’d like to blame this on my full school and work schedule, I know it is inexcusable to not exercise.
One of my favorite videos on the benefits of exercise is called “23 ½ hours: What is the best thing we can do for our health?” by Dr. Mike Evans. He presents a unique case backed with scientific research of how just 30 minutes of physical activity a day can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure and increase longevity. In fact, he shares several studies indicating “low fitness” to be the strongest predictor of death.
While this all sounds like common sense, we may find it awkward to fit in as little as 30 minutes of activity each day. Although level of intensity and length of time contribute to additional benefits, your 30 minutes of activity doesn’t need to be anything strenuous to reap significant health benefits. Exercise can also be done in three sessions of 10 minutes for equal benefit. At Campus Rec, we offer over twenty different 30-minute workout ideas including weights, agility, TRX, cardio, rock climbing and swimming. These can be accessed online or in-person throughout each floor of the gym.
In a society where there is a strong presence of advertisements for over-the-counter medications and where literature on health is often funded and influenced by large drug companies, it is easy to see why many Americans turn to medicine as a quick remedy for all their health issues. However, research shows that exercise is one of the best medicines. As Dr. Evans put it, do your best to limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23 ½ hours a day.
Today is the day to commit to an active lifestyle.
by Andrew D. Jankowski
Life is competitive, and the distinction between a child and an adult is how one handles the rejections that are routine in life. Who will hire, love, publish, award someone who takes rejection as an insult to their personal identity?
You are not going to date every person you are attracted to.
You are not going to get hired for every job you apply for.
You are not going to be awarded every grant you apply for.
You are not going to get displayed at every gallery you apply for.
You are not going to get published in every journal you submit to.
You are not going to get published in every anthology you apply for.
You are not going to get published by every publisher you submit to.
You are going to date someone you are attracted to.
You are going to get hired for a job you will make money at.
You are going to get awarded the grant you’re the best fit for.
You are going to get displayed in the gallery you’re the best fit at.
You are going to get published in the journal you’re the best fit for.
You are going to get published in the anthology you are the best fit for.
You are going to get published by the publisher you are the best fit for.
By Emma Eberhart
One of my favorite pastimes is photography — specifically film photography — and lucky for me Portland, Oregon is absolutely stunning in film. Below are some of my favorite shots that I have taken of buildings here in Portland. All of the photos are taken with a Canon AE-1 Program in 35 mm colored film.
Montgomery Court, Portland State campus in the fall
Apartment complex downtown, featuring the rare sight of sunshine and blue skies
Apartment building on NW 23rd Ave
Apartment building on NW 23rd Ave
“No Fun” Bar on SE Hawthorne Blvd
By: Anna Sobczyk
Liberalism is a disease—a shirt design that wouldn’t turn heads in my small hometown in Idaho. I was raised in a conservative community of 950 people and my graduating class was 15. When I decided to go to college in Portland, I effectively jumped from one political bubble to another. This division between urban and rural ideologies hit home during an Honors class discussion on LGBTQ rights. A fellow student spoke up and said that conservatives didn’t understand the reason behind these rights because they “came from a place of privilege.”
For a moment, I struggled to process this statement. Immediately, the farmers back home who work relentlessly from sunup to sundown during harvest came to my mind. They are, hands down, some of the hardest workers in a thankless job, and far from privileged. In addition, rural areas just don’t boast the amount of high-income jobs that a city does. These people may be conservative, but it isn’t coming from a place of financial privilege.
Ironically, I distinctly remember political discussions back home where people thought of Democrats and liberals as privileged. These conservatives looked at how Democrats wanted to raise taxes through the roof, how liberals “wanted everything for free,” and figured they had the money to pay into the system. All they had to do was look at the wide variety of Hollywood A-listers who have voiced support of the Democratic party—think Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Katy Perry, Madonna—and see people worth millions of dollars supporting candidates that want to hike taxes up on the majority of people making less than six figures.
This political “bubble” effect is dangerously blinding and makes it easy to lose perspective. As someone who has lived in the two extremes, I find it odd that both sides seem to think their opposite opinions stem from thinking the other has had life handed to them in one form or another with money or opportunity. Liberals and conservatives—rich and poor—can be found in every nook and cranny of this country. Therefore, the reason for such contention between them isn’t a matter of privilege; it is the misunderstandings that arise from either side thinking they are undeniably right that cause most attempts at communication to fall on deaf ears.
Have you ever met someone and thought, “I would just love to be friends with this person?” However, before you could articulate “hello,” the fear of awkwardness and rejection stopped you.
Even extroverts, such as myself, from time to time find it uncomfortable when having to initiate conversations with fellow classmates, and fall victim to the above line of thinking. This is particularly true when approaching classmates that I would like to get to know better.
For instance, last winter term, I met a fellow PSU student through SBA’s Fearless Friday workshops. She was knowledgeable, funny, outgoing and double majoring in my same fields. I immediately wanted to befriend her, but my fear of being awkward preventing me from introducing myself, and I said nothing.
Fortunately, in the next term, I found myself sitting next to this same SBA student in a PSU workshop. This time, I decided to take the advice of a recent blog post I had read, 11 ways to turn strangers into friends, and pushed myself to use one of the blog’s suggestions: Imagine that the other person is already your friend.
In doing so, I stepped out of my comfort zone and was not only rewarded by a friendship with this classmate, we eventually became freelance partners, offering our collaborative talents and creativity to clients. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the risk to put myself out there to meet someone new.
I encourage each and every one of my PSU colleagues to take a chance today and talk to a classmate who you’d like to become friends with. You never know where that friendship might take you. Who knows; you could be sitting next to your future business partner!
By: Xylia Lydgate
As I continue to push through my senior year, there are three things that can’t seem to escape my mind. First, graduating: walking down the stage and receiving my diploma. Second, my future career: where I’ll be applying post graduation and how I’ll get there. And third, traveling the world: having the ability to enjoy the cultures and cuisines and new sights of other countries before settling into a stable career.
My utmost desire is to travel. It is an energy that’s been burning inside of me since I took my first Spanish class in high school. Not only did I learn a new language, but it exposed me to a different way of life and a different way of thinking about the world.
Now that I have 44 weeks left of school, I feel that I’m in a now-or-never situation. I have one summer remaining before graduating; that means one step closer to transitioning into a career. I know most jobs don’t provide you with much paid time off or vacation days, especially for recent college grads. And I don’t want to be that adult who looks back and says, “Traveling is the one thing I wish I did.”
The clock it ticking, and I am proud to say that I have officially started planning for my first international trip projected for summer 2017. I plan to travel throughout Southeast Asia for two months, exploring Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
If you’re reading this right now, I encourage you to get outside of your comfort zone and see what else the world has to offer. In fact, PSU has a ton of resources to support you with international travel. In a rush like me? Campus Rec’s Outdoor Program is leading a week long, backpacking trip through Colombia this June!
Colombia Lost City Trekking: https://www.pdx.edu/recreation/international-trip
PSU Education Abroad Program: https://www.pdx.edu/ed-abroad/
Don’t allow yourself to become complacent to your day-to-day routine…travel!
By Emma Eberhart
As we all know this Winter Term is off to quite an interesting start; well “start” may not be the best term to use. This winter storm hit, and it hit hard. Below are some photos from, what I am calling, “The Portland Snowpocalypse of 2017.”
Tuesday night I had the bright idea of going to Ikea for some apartment necessities. The snow started as we headed home, and I’m fairly confident we spent more time driving back to downtown than we spent at the store.
In between snowfalls Tuesday night, I went for a walk. It seemed as if every tree branch in downtown was covered with a blanket of snow. The entire city was eerily quiet, most definitely an unnerving calm.
At one point on Wednesday a couple of pals and myself attempted to clear the path for our car with pots and pans, but were not successful with our endeavors.
All in all – I was not impressed with the white flurry and do not recommend attempting to do anything other than cozy up indoors.
Coming back to school at age 27 was weird beyond the on-paper age difference. Even though I no longer live in what some of us, to varying degrees of affection, call “the PSU fishbowl,” I still enjoy meeting people, making connections, and growing friendships. It was easy when I lived in a dorm (ahem, residence hall). My best friend from high school was my roommate, and I made friends with my neighbors on my floor, then later other floors. (I’ll cry if and when Ondine Hall ever goes on to meet the Great Real Estate Development Firm in the Sky.)
But how do you make friends when your classmates live in other neighborhoods, towns, or even states? (I see you, Vancouver commuters!)Talk (Effectively) with Your Classmantes
Effective communication is vital to the success of any major. I’ve found small class settings are more amenable to group discussions, where it’s easier to get to know students and the instructor(s) on a personal level. In lecture settings, I’ve usually tried to sit somewhere regularly and speak to the people around me, or get to know people with unique insight who can also Let the Professor Teach – rare birds indeed. Group projects are good for forced interaction, but can be a pain. As the meme goes: “When I die, I want to be buried by my group project partners so I can be let down one more time.”Actively Listen to Your Instructors
Actively listening to professors is a great way to learn about career opportunities and subjects relevant to your field that aren’t 100 percent related to the course. It’s not going to happen with each and every class, but there will be professors or instructors who will be formative to your career and life. I’ve found some amazing writers, artists and filmmakers, and their work, as a result of my instructors’ recommendations.Socialize Outside the Classroom
Finally, going to campus events is a great way to learn about outside events. Musicians that you hear in the cafe in the Smith Union, for example, might be playing a venue near your home later in the week, or an artist you see on campus might be showing in a professional gallery or even the Portland Art Museum.
Make friends, or don’t. I went back to school thinking I didn’t need to make friends. But networking is where much of your college education gets its value. You have a limited time to interact with 20,000+ people. Make the most of it.
(photo: Andrew D. Jankowski)
By: Anna Sobczyk
I had a lot of illusions about starting college. Having grown up in a small town, I figured my move to Portland would initiate everything “falling into place.” To me, living in a big city meant an endless supply of opportunities and experiences. Six weeks after moving to Portland, nothing had fallen into place for me. I’d had no life-changing revelations, and I really started to question why I was here.
Then, of all things, a Business 101 lecture led me out of my rut. We watched a TedTalk of Simon Sinek, who developed the “Golden Circle” concept. It’s used to explain how companies communicate to consumers through three layers: what, how, and why. Most companies communicate from the outside in, starting with what and ending with why. Exceptional companies, however, will communicate the exact opposite way. Sinek demonstrates the difference this can make with Apple Inc, who begins its marketing message with answering why, ”With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The way Apple communicates with the consumer market has separated it from its competitors. People are inexplicably drawn to Apple, simply because by starting their message with why, Apple is appealing to the emotional impulse. They recognize that profit is not a reason why to do something, but a result of a deeper reason.
Afterwards, I began to draw parallels between the lecture and myself in college. I figured the reason I came to college was to earn a degree strictly so I could get a good paying job. However, getting a job after college wasn’t the reason why I was attending, it was merely the result I expected. Even though this a result I still want, my perception of attaining it has changed. For me, college isn’t just a pathway towards a career, but also a way to cultivate and explore my interests. Until that lecture, I hadn’t realized how overwhelmed I’d become from trying to force that result. Now, I’ve stopped trying to connect my major to job titles with fat salaries in favor of choosing classes that pique my curiosity.
As students, we tend to wear an assortment of hats, each representing the variety of responsibilities we shoulder daily. This includes student, leader, networker, teammate, organizer, employee, freelancer, etc. Our list of responsibilities is ever increasing, as employer demands are constantly changing and the need for additional skills outside of traditional coursework is highly desired. In the midst of this evolving set of commitments, we often forget to take time out of our busy lives to care of ourselves.
If you’re like me, it’s hard to even imagine prioritizing something as simple as taking a bubblebath when there are so many other demands in life. Despite my busy lifestyle, I am slowly attempting to rearrange my priorities to incorporate self-care (pampering) activities, since it is an important aspect of stress management, which in turn is essential for academic success.
It is amazing how beneficial a massage, soak in the tub, and other forms of pampering can be to revitalize us inside and out. Here are some pampering suggestions:
- Take a scented bubble bath
- Schedule a manicure and pedicure
- Cleanse facial pores with a clay mask
- Get a massage
Wearing lots of hats is definitely a balancing act, which is why prioritizing and scheduling at least some pampering activities is crucial. Self-care allows us the time we need to de-stress and revitalize so we can feel our best, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Alternatively, students are encouraged to visit PSU’s Mind Spa , a space on campus for students to relax and rejuvenate, and where some of these services are available for free.
By Emma Eberhart
In the wake of last week’s presidential election, now is the time to organize for social justice. Organize, in this context, means coordinating with others to take action or plan events for a better and more just America.
Below are links to some local Portland groups that have been around awhile, or are just starting up, and anyone can join. Click on their name and it will take you to their Facebook page!
- Portland Rising Tide
- Rose City Antifa
- Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective
- Portland Tenants United
- Socialist Alternative Portland
- Portland State International Socialist Organization
- Don’t Shoot Portland
- Anyone’s Resistance
A united front is the only way that we will successfully stand against Trump and stand for an inclusive America – one that does not allow for racism, misogyny, and homophobia to exist without resistance.
Check out these local groups and how they are taking steps to combat bigotry here in Portland.
In fall term I had the pleasure of being part of Emerging Leaders PSU. Our group met almost every Friday in October-November and was focused on delivering lessons on leadership skills to a talented group of students. I admit the program was not what I expected. I did a lot of leadership activities in high school: running a club centered on coping with stress and mental illness; managing/coaching our school’s Mock Trial team; leading a rebellion against the blatant disgustingness of the cafeteria food. Well, not so much that last one. Where were you, Michelle Obama?! I’d been thirsting for more leadership opportunities like a hound, so I’d thought the program would be about flexing those already-existing skills and getting funneled into a position at PSU.
Not quite. We participated in presentations and demonstrations that taught us about conflict and time management and how to improve your work environment. Honestly I had learned most of the material on my own already in a more learn-it-the-hard-way fashion. However, I did indeed learn skills that I now apply to my current workplaces, such as different ways to understand others’ strategies of communicating and performing.
There are two more levels, at least, of the Emerging Leaders program at PSU. Each level must be completed to proceed to the next. I’m sure PSU offers more opportunities for leadership-seekers to quench their thirst. If you’re interested in learning more about how to be a great leader, definitely sign up. The mentors in the program are seriously amazing, and some of them are students, too. I do believe that Emerging Leaders will help me succeed. I never cease to be awed at the fabulous programs PSU offers. Check out what’s waiting for you. Try something you haven’t as of yet. Put those feelers out there like an overcaffeinated octopus.
By: Andrew D. Jankowski
What can I say, team. It’s been a devastating week.
Devastating as an American to see the bar of presidential excellence lowered by Donald J. Trump, who holds zero qualifications to hold the office less than a quarter of the nation handed him and whose wife is the embodiment of academic dishonesty and where it gets you in life.
Devastating to know that roughly one in two Americans did not even bother to throw their vote away for professional attention seekers Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.
Devastating as a queer person to have family members and friends disregard your wellbeing under what will likely be the most homophobic American administration of the 21st century.
Devastating to realize straight people still think that marriage equality is the only LGBTQ issue. (It’s not.)
Devastating to know that five-plus years of town halls on bullying and race relations somehow did not stop the election a white nationalist bully to the highest office in the nation.
Devastating to know our president will do more to denounce critical media coverage of him than denounce ideological violence carried out by his disciples.
What is not devastating is a week civil unrest.
PSU’s campus has not returned to peace and complacency following Alyssa Pagan-Pariah’s powerful forum takeover last year, nor should it. Portland State University needs to do more in 2016-2020 and 2020-3020 than offer lip service toward the populations which give the student body the diversity it sorely needs. It starts with we the students, we the faculty, we the employees who blur the line between students and professionals.
Because one rainbow-colored banner hung during the least populated academic quarter-
and-no-further does nothing.
By: Melissa Pyle
After the results of our November 8th election I couldn’t help but ask myself, “Where do we go from here?” Immediately I was afraid; I was afraid that all the hateful things Donald Trump spoke about could become a reality. I wept at the reality that my country will be in the control of this man, someone who could so easily discriminated on so many people. I was afraid for the federal grants I receive that allow me to attend school and I got angry thinking about the possibility of them getting taken away or reduced which would not allow me to attend school. I was afraid for my rights over my own body as a woman and I got incredibly angry thinking about someone else making my reproductive choices for me. I went back and forth for a while getting angrier and more afraid until all I could do was sob. I was crying not only for myself but for all my brother’s and sister’s that felt like our lives changed that Tuesday and not for the better but for the worse. I felt helpless but then I realized, it’s going to take a lot more than one person to get me to lose sight of my values. My actions and beliefs are strongly rooted in equality, inclusion, and integrity and that will never change no matter the circumstances. As a white cis-woman I recognize my privilege and I will not hesitate to use it against hate and bigotry. I refuse to live divided and I will support those that feel the most vulnerable by our President-elect. Together we are unified and we are strengthened by our hope for a better country. In the great words of Ted Kennedy, “What divides us pales in comparison to what unites us.”
By: Xylia Lydgate
Get trampled or feel alive? I know what I’ll be doing on Black Friday this year, and it won’t be shopping. Read more to find out why.
On the day after Thanksgiving last year, REI closed all 143 of its retail locations, headquarters and distribution centers on the infamous American holiday, “Black Friday.” Instead of extending its hours and offering big discounts, the outdoor retailer encouraged its employees and customers to spend their day off enjoying the outdoors. REI sparked one of the most successful outdoor movements that year with over 1.4 million people choosing to opt outside.
In response to this, the Campus Rec Outdoor Program is launching its own outdoor photo contest from Monday, Nov. 14 through Friday, Nov. 25 (Black Friday). The purpose is to support the Opt Outside movement and encourage people to share their favorite outdoor moments on social media using the #optoutside and tagging @psu_odp.
Plus, there’s no better place to Opt Outside than in Oregon. With hundreds of hidden gems, waterfalls and mountainous views, I wouldn’t want to spend my Black Friday any other way. If you haven’t taken a moment to go outside and breathe, are you really living?
by Steph Holton
I’m a millennial and I don’t know how to date.
But I’m also a film minor who puts way too much stock in the “art imitates life” concept, and I want to know who the onscreen-dating-dynamic of the ‘80s was imitating! Because apparently dating now is in no way as simple as when John Hughes was directing Judd Nelson and Molly Ringwald.
Characters in “The Breakfast Club” didn’t have to navigate Tinder (or Match or Bumble or any of the numerous others), and dating in the movies almost always happens within the more or less reliable confines of high school where participants have considerably fewer responsibilities than college students. As students at PSU, most of us not only have school, but work and extra-curriculars, not to mention family and friends to fit into our schedules. And then to top that off with attempting to find someone to give you warm fuzzies – worrying about ‘the right way’ to go about doing so? Is anyone else floundering out there? We don’t ask each other to “go steady.” Hell, we can’t even change our Facebook relationship statuses because that’s so 2010.
So what are the rules?
What I’ve finally come to realize in this millennial world of ours is that even though we’re doing things differently (the trademark of our wonderfully weird, often frustrating, brilliantly innovative generation), there were never any rules. I’ve come to realize that even though we don’t swap letterman jackets anymore, there’s still no right way or perfect time to ‘become official,’ or meet the parents, or hit any other relationship milestone. Every relationship is unique, and no matter how you met or what the current culture may deem the right way to go about it, it ultimately comes down to the feelings of the individuals involved, and that’s something that transcends generations.