By Emma Eberhart
Last summer, I voluntarily chose to give up the ability to press snooze on my alarm, so I could instead spend my mornings in a classroom, and to be honest I would do it again.
The summer quarter at Portland State generally offers both the usual 10-week course and the occasional accelerated four-week course that condenses the curriculum to a shorter amount of time but meets more than the common two times a week. Courses are worth the same amount of credit hours regardless of whether they last 10 weeks or four, so you can pick a class that works best with your schedule, which is really great. The class I took was an accelerated course—a length I would choose again since it left a majority of my summer with no looming school deadlines.
Another positive aspect of taking summer courses, I found, is that the professors are teaching fewer classes, which means that they have fewer students to focus on. This is not to say that during the other quarters, professors care less, but they have given me more constructive help and have been more engaged during summer term.
The only downside is there are fewer courses offered because fewer students sign up.
If you can find a class that is offered in the summer that works with your schedule and is necessary for you to graduate, I would advise you to take it. Any and all opportunities that get you closer to graduating are worth it.
by Steph Holton
On Friday, April 21, Portland State hosted its annual Earth Day Festival, which featured booths from dozens of environmentally-minded student and community organizations with a passion for educating and engaging the public in sustainability efforts. I passed through the festival several times that day but only stopped by one booth, simply because I could not resist knowing what was meant by the words on its canopy: Thank You for Not Breeding. It turned out, this was a booth promoting the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which supports the complete cessation of human procreation to allow the earth to reset itself from the damage caused by the human race.
When I asked whether the movement had considered promoting limited procreation, the person manning the booth told me that while the goals of the movement are essentially impossible, even the birth of a single human being beyond the current population is unjustifiable because of the damage inflicted on the earth and the loss of life due to starvation every day.
I agree, the goals of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement are impossible. However, overpopulation is becoming a greater issue every day; the human population doubled in the years between 1960 and 2000 alone, while more than 10,000 species go extinct each year. A global increase in life expectancy is partially responsible for the population bubble we see now, but there has also been a dramatic increase in birth rates in modern times. That points to the necessity of nationally and globally supported resources for family planning. There are myriad facts on this topic, which of course are too numerous to list here; however, for those who are interested, some great resources to look into are:
By: Xylia Lydgate
Four simple words. Four words that can make a lasting impact.
When I hear the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching,” it makes me nervous because what if someone IS watching. It is the fear of being criticized, made fun of, looked down upon, that causes me to tighten up and not want to just “let loose” in public settings. But at the end of the day I try to remind myself, who cares? Who cares if you’re having a great time and someone else thinks you look funny. What really matters if that you’re having fun and you’re enjoying your life.
The reason I am writing about this is because there is always another side to the story. The fear of being “laughed at” or made fun of is a minuscule concern compared to some of the day-to-day fears others may be facing. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be attending school with a stable living condition, steady job and same amount of emotional and financial support from family and friends.
Across the nation, thousands of women are fleeing from domestic violence and seeking safe shelter. Each year Campus Rec partners with the Women’s Resource Center to host their annual Zumbathon. All proceeds from participants go towards funding to provide shelter to victims of domestic violence.
Don’t be afraid to dance your heart out, let loose and let the music move you. I encourage you to participate in community events that stand for a good cause. Portland State offers hundreds of events that connect you with volunteering and relief efforts.
It is a simple task to drop your worries, be brave and dance for those who can’t.
By Emma Eberhart
Through and through I am a planner. I live for organization and tidiness. Arranging objects via color, alphabetically, by size or shape gets me ridiculously excited. I view my love for organization as a strength; however, it is definitely also a weakness because I allow little room for sudden changes.
This spring term I may or may not have committed myself to one too many things. And by one too many things, I definitely mean like five or six. Despite spreading myself far too thin, I am determined to fulfill all of my commitments and do so with grace, ease, and the aid of caffeine. I am determined to schedule all of my time down to the minute and stick to it.
In order to manage 20 credit hours for school, two part-time jobs, and my personal life I am heavily relying on the amazing trifecta of: bullet journaling, to-do lists, and calendar apps. Bullet journaling and organizing your time and efforts can definitely be overwhelming, but I have found it is very much worth the stress.
If you’re looking for any organization inspiration, I recommend a Google or Tumblr search for “studyblr,” which is full of beautiful photos of color coded notes and schedules and charts and a whole lot of other stuff artistically organized.
By: Anna Sobczyk
Recently, I have found myself falling away from some of the hobbies I love in order to study and do homework. Even though college is definitely a time to figure yourself out and find your identity, I started to miss parts of myself I’d accidentally left behind.
For years I sang, played guitar, and enjoyed performing the songs I’ve written at open mic nights. In fact, Portland’s flourishing music scene is a key reason I chose PSU—and yet I still have not been to an open mic. For the entirety of winter term, I only picked up my guitar once and never wrote a new song.
I also haven’t been running as much. I loved having a goal to train for that culminated in a competitive race where I really tested my limits. Moving to Portland from Idaho, I was excited to participate in the races it had to offer. As in the case with my singing and songwriting, fall and winter term passed by and my runs grew few and far between.
Despite entering spring quarter of my freshman year with two academically successful terms behind me, I felt rather unaccomplished and disappointed. On a whim, I signed up for the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon with only a month to train. After my first long training run, I immediately felt like part of my old self was back—and in a good way. I have also queued up possible open mics to go to and ended my creative drought by writing a song.
Looking back, I see that I took the “fresh start” of college too literally and ended up sidelining the things I love to do. It’s very easy to get swept away in the idealized college life of self-discovery. Despite the transformations I’ve undergone, the biggest learning curve was realizing that not everything about me has to change.
by Andrew D. Jankowski
When I realized I was (finally!!!!) old and irrelevant to youth culture, I thought I didn’t know how to find new music anymore. The last time I tried to go back to MySpace, the login process was a jumbled mess, like an outdated HTML fantasy layout. What do straight people listen to, and why? How do you say FKA twigs? Why do people make fun of Grimes? My tastes have grown from riot grrrl offshoot projects to black and queer vogue ball music, and things between. Aaron Osborn, the Portland State Vanguard’s current creative director, has good taste in music, as do my other friends and coworkers, but I don’t necessarily have time to pilfer all their libraries.
I can pick my way through press releases and Facebook event invites. But there are more ways than downloading albums off Limewire (RIP) to find new music, and even support your classmates and alumni on and off campus. Here are a few ways to find new music:
Parkway North: The northwest lounge on Smith Memorial Student Union’s first floor has daily programming, hosting everything from community events to free concerts by some of Portland’s best emerging and established musical artists. Check out their website to stay updated on their programming.
Lincoln Performance & Recital Hall: Host to concerts, plays, musicals, recitals, lectures, film screenings and more. Every floor of Lincoln Hall has poster boards, which are popular locations for poster hangers promoting events on and off campus.
Event Calendars: Sure, I bet some of you hate “the liberal media.” That’s okay**, I’m not a fan of their music either. But you can’t deny that Portland’s event calendars are consistently packed with some of the city’s best culture & entertainment, and I’m not just saying that because I curate the Vanguard’s event calendar. Willamette Week and Portland Mercury’s event calendars are what inspired me as a deeply confused heterosexual Christian teen from Vancouver (which is totally its own town and “not” the New Jersey of Portland) to get into arts and culture journalism. They were how I learned about what are now Portland institutions like Sinferno Cabaret, Blow Pony and STRFKR.
The internet / apps: Venues across town also have event calendars. Subscribe to your favorite venues’ social media pages & mailing lists, and if you aren’t -actually- financially struggling, then please stop complaining about cover fees because that’s how bands and venues make their living. Also, sometimes I forget that stuff like Pandora, Spotify Radio, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp exist because I’m secretly a techphobe who needs an intern to do stuff like make Snapchat make sense as a time investment.
**Disclaimer: It is okay to critique media and press workers’ work, but it is not okay to bully us or defame our profession, especially when we are acting within ethical guidelines.
By, Melissa Pyle
One of the reasons I was drawn to Portland State University as my alma mater was the city’s unofficial motto to, “Keep Portland Weird.” I felt if a city could embrace this sentiment it would complement my own life experiences. In short, it has been a long and weird journey to get to where I am today. I am a non-traditional student, I did not come to PSU straight out of high school. In fact, I am a twenty-seven-year-old adult trying to navigate academia, and it has come with quite a learning curve of its own. The most difficult and rewarding aspect of college for me is finding comfort in exploring my identity and challenging my experiences and beliefs. Life is a journey of self-discovery and education is the hallmark of transformation. I know I’m not the same person as I was when I started this long weird journey which is both scary and exciting.
I challenge you to explore your identity, in whatever way that may mean to you. Perhaps, just look more closely at why you do something a certain way and change it or even simply try a new activity. The change doesn’t have to be tangible or indefinite, it’s an opportunity to approach life from a new perspective.
by Steph Holton
In October, I fell down a flight of stairs in Lincoln Hall. It was not the way I’d planned on leaving film class that day, but then again, my attention was mostly on my phone at the time. Other than several days of a limp, I was lucky enough not to sustain any major injuries, thus my friends and family felt the luxury of laughing at my clumsiness. I’m glad it turned out that way instead of what could easily have been broken bones.
I’m telling you this story to show that I’m guilty of being a petextrian. That is, a person walking while distracted by their handheld device. According to CBS News, at least 10 percent of pedestrians ending up in emergency rooms are injured from distracted walking, and in a recent survey, more than three-quarters of Americans said distracted walking is a “serious issue.”
If the recognition is there, why are people still falling off cliff edges while looking through a lens and walking onto train tracks while checking email?
Last year, I wrote a blog declaring my New Year’s resolution to lessen my cell phone use in order to more fully engage in the moment. I realize what a challenge that is in the Digital Age that we live in, but the statistics on distracted walking are clear, and so my appeal to you now is more urgent: Don’t be another YouTube video of a pedestrian jumping out of the way of the Max at the last moment.
By: Xylia Lydgate
When was the last time you actually did something fun at school? This week the Rec Center brought a life-size game of Battleship to the swimming pool, and it was one of the most thrilling activities I have done all year. Our rendition of pool Battleship stems from a classic board game that involves strategy and guessing. The object of the game is to “sink” your opponent’s ships that they have strategically placed on a 10×10 square grid. With each correct guess, your opponent’s ship takes a “hit” and slowly begins to sink until each part of their ship has been hit.
The life-size version of Battleship that we play mimics a similar concept to the board game. We have players team up into large, canoe-like boats where we’re given paddle boards and buckets as “weapons.” On the blow of the whistle, we paddle hastily towards other teams and fling buckets of water into their boat to sink their “ship.” As fun as it sounds, it’s certainly an upper body workout in disguise and a team effort.
Believe it or not, after nearly three years of working at the Rec Center, this was my first time stepping foot into our swimming pool. The game not only gave me a reason to try something new, but it reminded me that it’s moments like this that contribute to the overall value and experience we attribute to our time spent at a university. I think everyone deserves to have some enjoyable memories of their college experience, whether it be social outings with classmates or participating in a crazy, untraditional event like Battleship. We shouldn’t be leaving school with nightmares of the rough nights studying until 2 a.m. or that one test we scored terribly on.
Sometimes, we take school a little too seriously. While grades are important, they are not the only defining factors of success. I challenge you to purposely find ways to enrich your university experience not just through classroom learning but experiential learning. College is a constant battle of finding balance. How do you plan to enrich your experience?
By Jesse Turner
On Tuesday the 28th, I joined Planned Parenthood, with whom I intern with their Teen Council program (a peer-to-peer sexual health education program) and five other organizations as a part of the Reproductive Health Equity Coalition to lobby state senators and representatives to pass House Bill 2232 which requires coverage for reproductive health services, procedures, medications, and devices for all Oregonians, insured and uninsured, documented or not. Planned Parenthood was a part of the Reproductive Health equity coalition so the Teen Council program got to join over 100 individuals who acted as citizen lobbyist for reproductive justice. We were split up by our districts and had pre-arranged meetings with our state senators and representatives. My senator was unavailable, but my representative, Janelle Bynum, was able to meet with us.
In preparation for Lobby Day, we had been told to think of why this bill is personally important to us. We would likely have five or six other individuals with us in the meeting so we would not have long to express to our representatives why we wanted their support. My district is fairly large, so I figured I would not have to speak much, if at all. That morning, I found my legislative captain, the person who had been trained for this event and was familiar with lobbying, and she asked me if I was ready to walk to the Capitol Building as our meeting time was coming up. I asked if we should wait for the rest of the group members. She said, “I think you’re the only one!” To my surprise, I was the only constituent from my district, and thus had the entire fifteen minutes to speak to Janelle Bynum, a woman I really admire and voted for.
I expressed to her why, as a young LGBTQ woman who works multiple jobs but still cannot afford all of the reproductive and health care services she would like, this bill is incredibly important to me. It wasn’t a particularly heart-wrenching narrative, but she listened to me and share her own support and concerns about the bill. I left her office feeling confident that she would support the bill, and excited that I was able to participate in my local government for something I cared about.
As college students, we struggle with stress on a daily basis, from weekly assignments, to midterms to final exams. Stress has become the annoying classmate sitting next to us in lectures, constantly demanding recognition and by default, holding us accountable for everything we could have done differently or better.
I have always been submissive to stress’s ability to not only overpower me physically, but to also drain me emotionally. With winter term finals just around the corner, I have decided to redirect my attitude about stress, and instead of avoiding it, I am embracing and befriending it.
Identifying stress as my new BFF not only gives me complete control over my stress reactions, but research has shown that stress actually works in our favor by strengthening our relationships with oxytocin also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or bond socially. Even playing with a pet, such as my cat Miko can cause an oxytocin surge. This concept of befriending stress was introduced to me through my SBA Organizational Behavior course, which highlighted an inspirational TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.
As students, I think we have a deeper responsibility to find ways to manage stress, which is why learning how to befriend stress not only teaches us to stop and listen to the messages our bodies and mind are sending, but gives us the skills needed to become smart, decision-making professionals. These are the soft skills future employers will be looking for!
Want to make stress your BFF? Check out the TED talk here.
By Emma Eberhart
The cliche college student is one who is constantly busy, caffeine fueled, and swimming in homework. However, it should also be added that college students are also hungry. Yes, they are hungry for knowledge, but also for food. A growing trend among college campuses is student hunger, and it is likely to continue as tuition increases with no end in site.
A lot of universities, all over this nation, have resources available for students who are in need, and Portland State is no exception. Here at PSU we have both a food pantry and a fresh fruit and vegetable program known as “Harvest Share” that is available to students, staff, and faculty in need. The food pantry is located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union, open from 12-2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Harvest Share is a program in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank that occurs the second Monday of every month at noon and generally goes until 1:30 p.m. It happens rain or shine, outside of Shattuck Hall on the PSU campus, and the line tends to start around an hour prior or so. Both programs are made possible by the Committee for Improving Student Food Security.
These resources exist for those in need, but continue because of those who volunteer their time and energy to make them happen. The Harvest Share is always in need of volunteers, and as a bonus you get first pick of the crop! Below I’ve put the link to their page where you can sign up for volunteering and learn more about the program.
Harvest Share Info and Volunteering: https://www.pdx.edu/student-access-center/harvest-share
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!