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PSU Chronicles

The inside story of life at Portland State University from student bloggers
Updated: 48 min 9 sec ago

Mountains, Forests, or Shores: Just Explore

July 19, 2017 - 8:00am

 By: Anna Sobczyk

Recently, a friend from high school invited me on short notice to camp at Glacier National Park in Montana. Despite the anxiety I felt just thinking about how much I had to get ready in only a couple days, I said yes. That decision turned into a highlight of my summer.

Since it was short notice, it was too late to reserve a campsite, so we left Idaho early in the morning to try and snag a first-come site for our stay. Amazingly, and on the Fourth of July no less, we managed to claim a spot. From there, we did several day hikes around the park to Avalanche Lake, Hidden Lake, the Highline Trail, and Logan Pass. The views were unbeatable, but my favorite part was when we saw arguably the most elusive creature other than Bigfoot—a wolverine.

My trip to Glacier National Park made me crave more adventures. As a freshman, I was still figuring out how much time I needed to devote to my classes and was always worrying about falling behind. There were several places I wanted to visit during my first year at PSU that I never did, like Crater Lake, Mount Hood, and Tamolitch Blue Pool. Now I know I could easily spare a couple weekends to explore Oregon. After all, there’s no time like when you’re young with good knees to go adventuring. If I could see a wolverine on my first trip to Glacier National Park, who knows what (or who…(Bigfoot)) I’ll see next.


Women & Apologies

July 10, 2017 - 11:01am

By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Did you know women have more connectability between the left and right brain? This biological skill has naturally armed women with the ultimate advantage of engaging both sides of the brain: the analytical left and the creative right brain — amazing!

However, as this skill offers many social advantages, it also increases sensitivity to emotions and in turn creates an increased need to apologize, sometimes in situations where an apology is not necessary. This has been notably detrimental for women professionals in today’s workforce.

After viewing a YouTube video on this phenomenon in my summer Business Ethics (BA385) course, I found myself constantly falling victim to the phrase, “I’m sorry.” However, most of my alleged “infractions” for which I apologized were not infractions at all, they were merely apologies for simply going about my business in ways that were absolutely necessary. Whether it is taking a seat in class a few seconds before someone else was hoping to sit down, asking a necessary question of a colleague or peer who had the answer or carrying out other similar tasks and functions that allow me to successfully get through the day, I had subconsciously equipped myself with a canned apology waiting breathlessly to be delivered.

As women and young professionals who will soon be entering, or who are already in the workplace, we need to acknowledge this issue and eliminate our impulsive need to apologize. If we do not eliminate this subconscious affliction, it may impact our future employment opportunities. We could place ourselves at risk by not being taken seriously, or even worse, we could become overlooked by employers for an opening in a company or for a promotion to a managerial role.

Rather than falling victim to this rising issue, let’s embrace it! I encourage all of my PSU female peers to insert the #SorryNotSorry trend into their daily thoughts, interactions, and lifestyle. Let’s use it as a way to empower and solidify our future roles within the workplace of today!


Tuition Cash for Clothes

July 5, 2017 - 5:02pm

By Emma Eberhart

Portland State students are facing a 5% or more increase in tution, and this is at least the third year in a row that we’ve seen tuition raised at the university. Most students already have a hard enough time paying tuition as it is and are likely to struggle further with this most recent increase.

In order to help pay for school in the fall, I’ve been trying every which way to earn money – my most successful venture has been cleaning out my closet. Since the majority of my work experience has been in retail and thrifting is a favorite pastime, I have accumulated quite the wardrobe. Keeping only the pieces I absolutely love and wear frequently and parting with the rest, I have been able to cut down on clutter and earn some extra cash.

By making accounts on apps like Depop and Mercari and just posting my clothes on social media, I have had pretty good luck getting the most for my clothes! Both Depop
and Mercari let you upload pictures of your stuff, describe them, price them, and then let the other members all over the world shop from your closet! The picture to the right is what my page on Depop looks

 

like – super straightforward and easy to setup. It’s really simple and all are protected for safe selling and buying. These apps take only 10% of what you sell your items for. There are, of course, other options that are near campus where you can sell your gently used clothes. Stores like Crossroads and Buffalo Exchange will pay you for your things. However, they take a much larger percentage – close to 70%.

I’m definitely not looking forward to paying more for college, but if the tuition hike has done anything for me it’s decluttered my apartment.


#WalkToTheBeat

May 24, 2017 - 1:28pm

 By: Xylia Lydgate

It feels good to be a part of a cause that is greater than yourself. On Saturday, May 20, I joined with hundreds of Portlanders as we walked together to raise awareness for heart disease and stroke. Although I do not personally have any close relatives who have battled with heart related illness, it was empowering to walk for such a large cause with millions of supporters nationwide. Participants wore signs honoring those who have passed as they marched around the Portland International Raceway.

At the beginning of the race, our team gathered before the start line where we could explore the vendors, win free swag, make signs, and more. As soon as 9 a.m. rolled around, the first wave of walkers began the course; our team followed shortly afterwards. Volunteers near every mile marker cheered us on. Even a rap DJ boosted our energy as we approached the finish line.

Overall, I believe the positive energy and spirit of the cause was transferred to the hearts of the walkers and their loved ones. This walk reminded me that we are all in this together. We are only born with one heart. As living and breathing human beings, any one of us could be susceptible to heart disease or sudden stroke. Events like these speak to the value of life.

Completing this walk has allowed me to take a step back and remember that there are other vital events happening around us aside from school and work. Especially as a busy student, it is easy to lose sight of our surroundings and other crucial life events. If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend searching for a local walk for charity near your city.

http://www.active.com/charitable

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/workout/running/tips/get-fit-for-a-cause/

https://www.verywell.com/walk-finder-events-by-state-3435354


Race: An Open Letter to American Elementary Schools

May 24, 2017 - 8:00am

 by Steph Holton

Almost everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten, to paraphrase Robert Fulghum. Kindergarten was when I learned to share, play fair, and to wonder unapologetically. But there was one lesson I didn’t learn until I was 18 years old and starting a degree in anthropology here at Portland State – a lesson that, three years later, I’m still upset I didn’t learn earlier.

The lesson was this: Race is not a biological reality.

Today, we’re lucky enough to not only have an impressive archaeological record containing fossils of our ancestors reaching back millions of years, but also to have the capability to sequence entire human genomes. These databases of knowledge support the model of human evolution beginning with humans in Africa 200,000 years ago and migrating into Europe around 60,000 years ago. Change in skin pigmentation was a result of the increasingly limited UV radiation those migrants were exposed to, and was merely a surface-level change – both phenotypically and genotypically. Because it was an adaptation to different environments, loss of pigmentation occurred at varying levels.

This history of early man means two big things for modern man: 1) The range in human skin color we see today only started evolving in the last fourth of our history! 2) There’s no biological way to validate racial categories, because human variation exists on a spectrum, with no places to draw distinct divisions between populations.

Race is very much a social reality. In no way do I intend to take away from its cultural significance. But it is a much too common misconception that there is more than a social justification for dividing humanity into discrete units. We need to celebrate the remarkable phenotypic and cultural diversity among us. But, now more than ever, we should also be taking Robert Fulghum’s advice to “hold hands and stick together” – by recognizing and teaching that we’re more alike than different.

A couple of great TED Talks on this topic are Nina Jablonski’s “Skin color is an illusion” and Spencer Wells’ “A family tree for humanity.”


Long Distance Friends

May 16, 2017 - 4:30pm

By Emma Eberhart

When I chose to go out of state for college, I realized I would be pretty far from home – specifically 1,355.6 miles away. I was excited for the adventure of a new city, for finding my niche, and most of all for it not being in 115 degrees Fahrenheit on any given summer day. However, one aspect that I did not fully think through was just how far I would be from my best friend. Vivian and I went to the same high school in Gilbert, Arizona, and our similar interests and love for Mac Demarco and Ezra Koenig brought us together. The rest is essentially history. Vivian stayed in Arizona after graduating while I moved to the great Pacific Northwest.

My first year away consisted of a lot of facetime calls complaining about my rain-soaked sneakers, texts about current happenings in our lives, and lengthy phone calls discussing details, no matter how small, of our everyday lives. The facetimes, texts, and phone calls made possible by modern technology definitely helped our friendship stay close despite the distance that keeps us apart.

Our friendship is still going strong, but being long-distance BFFs is definitely challenging at times. Those 1,355.6 miles don’t seem to exist while texting, but the birthdays and special occasions that are missed suck, but it does make the ones where we are able to be there for each other that much more special.

It’s now my second, almost third, year in Portland and being so far away from family and friends has not gotten any easier, but it has made my time away from school that much more exciting. (Also who doesn’t need a reason for vacation?)


Do The Math: Get A Tutor

May 8, 2017 - 3:28pm

 By: Anna Sobczyk

Not too long ago, I thought I was good at math. For some reason, it just always clicked with me and because of this, I chose to minor in math. Then I started Calculus III—and nothing was clicking. During the lectures, I stared blankly at whatever new theorem the instructor was scribbling on the board, thinking, “I’ll get it later.” When I clearly wasn’t getting it, my inner narration changed to a constant, “What the hell is going on?”

After the first homework assignment, I realized if I wanted a great grade in the course, I’d need to put effort into it. At first, I was hesitant to try out the free tutoring services offered by PSU. I was embarrassed for needing help—especially in a subject I’ve provided tutoring for in the past

My determination to do well trumped the shame I felt at seeking help. I visited both the Learning Center located on the second floor of the PSU Library, and the Tutoring Table in the third floor atrium of Neuberger Hall. The Learning Center provides free drop-in tutoring for several different subjects. The tutoring table in Neuberger Hall is all about math.

After I’d put the time in to see a couple different tutors, math began to make sense again. I could sit through the lectures, and despite continuing to leave confused most of the time, I’d think, ‘It’s ok—you won’t fail this class!

Ultimately, Calculus III has taught me more about overcoming my fear of getting help than about infinite series. Below are the links to the resources I turned to and vouch for 100%. After all, it’s because of these tutors I was able to ace my first Calc III exam.

NH Math Tutor Schedule

Learning Center’s tutoring schedule


You Still Have to Vote

May 3, 2017 - 11:20am


by Andrew D. Jankowski

Like most Americans, I’m sure the word election induces visceral reaction, like remembering exactly what and how much you drank last night. Yet . . . did you know there is an election happening on the PSU campus right now?

The Associated Students of Portland State University (ASPSU) is basically the student council of college. The Portland State Vanguard (where I am currently the online & social media editor) has recently written about ASPSU’s functions and how they serve on and off campus students. Even though the president and vice president are running unopposed this year (as, basically, as the senators and Student Fee Committee candidates), your participation still matters.

For example, there are diverse, highly qualified Senator or Student Fee Committee candidates, only some of whom actively participated in the debate process. Maybe some of these candidates are your friends, maybe you have argued with some of these people on the internet, maybe you’ve never heard of any of them before, but the fact of the matter is they play a major role in how your student incidental fees are spent, which in turn affects what kind of programs, resources and clubs PSU can offer.

Whether you’re upset with how Donald Trump & Co. are running the country or not, it’s still important to make your voice heard and engage with everyone else who was on the ballot and won in 2016. Whether you’re an ASPSU cheerleader, a sharp critic of the outgoing/current administration, or are just now tuning into the workings of PSU student government, this kind of civic discourse is important, both for the candidates and you.

(There’s also an election going on in Multnomah County on May 16, and as I’m fortunate enough to live in walking distance of the voter’s office, I’ll probably walk my ballot down this year, weather permitting.)

For more information on ASPSU candidates, their platforms, and what has gone on this year, visit psuvanguard.com and feel free to leave comments on any stories that resonate.

To vote, visit http://elections.aspsu.pdx.edu/ by May 3 and use your ODIN to log in.


Don’t Press Snooze on Summer

April 27, 2017 - 4:58pm

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.


Thank You for Not Breeding

April 26, 2017 - 9:00am

 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:

https://www.populationmatters.org/

http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/family_planning/en/

and http://wwf.panda.org/


Let It Move You

April 24, 2017 - 3:08pm

 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.

 


Scheduling Spring

April 13, 2017 - 10:01am

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.

 


Don’t Forget What You Love

April 12, 2017 - 12:32pm

 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.