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Find Your Why


By: Sam Bakkila

Now that the crunch time of the semester is upon us, I find myself repeating a piece of advice from PSU alum and motivational speaker Lou Radja.

He told Campus Rec employees, when we were starting our staff training at the beginning of the year: “When the why is strong, the how becomes easy.”

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Keynote Speaker Lou Radja

This piece of advice is simple yet profound. Our level of motivation, and how effectively we keep connected with that which inspires us, ultimately determines so much of our success. Now that the end of the term is here, and many of us are bogged down with exams and papers and projects that could have a substantial impact on our future, it’s time to take a step back, forget about the day-to-day frustrations, and reconnect with our ‘why’.

For me, I am a graduate student in English literature because I love reading and writing, and because I believe that a careful reading of texts will reveal the social and political stakes of writing. I exercise at Campus Rec, because I am happiest and healthiest when I have a chance to push myself to the limits. I work at Campus Rec because I want to help other students along in their path towards wellness. I teach in the Writing Department because I believe that helping students find their voice is among the most important things that a university can do.

I know that in ten years, I’m going to remember the days that I pushed myself and stayed connected with my ‘why’, the nights when I squeezed out two more pages of writing instead of putting on netflix, and the mornings when I woke up for a run in the freezing rain, not as the hardest days of graduate school, but as the best.


The Collegiate Christmas Conversation



by Steph Holton


It’s that time of year again – the time of flights, finals, family, and food. And whether winter break includes a flight for you (as it does for me) or just a trip down the street, you are bound to be at the mercy of your questioning elders. I’ve come to find that most of these “real adults,” while well-meaning, will ask the same two questions, which you should be prepared to receive as a college student going home for the holidays:

  1. “How’s school – what is it you’re doing again?”
  2. “Are there any special guys/girls in your life?” (Usually asked with a double eyebrow raise.)

The first may just be me – I don’t know. But it seemed to take even my immediate family most of my freshman year to remember what I was majoring in. This question might feel like an affront, since as college students we live and breathe a certain subject for at least nine months out of the year, but at least it has an easy answer to give!

I haven’t the slightest idea why, but I get asked the second question so much when I go home. And if there’s ever a time you’re without a significant other, you may not necessarily want to go into why with your dad’s best friend’s wife or whoever. The great thing about this question is that anyone removed from your school social scene won’t know if you’re ‘stretching the truth’ – so have fun with the answer. This may not be the most ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ advice I could give, but hey – it could certainly help you test your creativity beyond tree-trimming and gingerbread decorating!

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Getting an “A” in Self Care

By Jesse Turner

As the end of the term nears, stress levels rise. Time spent studying, writing, and reading goes up while time for ourselves and our health tends to diminish. This is why I was so happy when one of my professors took time out of her lecture to remind us that self-care is just as important as schoolwork. She asked us to share different ways that we destress and I thought I would share my classmates’ ideas with you. In response to, “What do you guys do when you’re stressed?”

We answered:


-Eat junk food. (These first two, however well they work, should be done in moderation)




-Cry while doing something fun/weird. You get to vent your frustration without getting sucked into a hole of despair. Her example was, “I cry while eating pudding.”

-Watch “trash TV” (ex. Keeping Up With the Kardashians, Dance Moms, Toddlers & Tiaras)

-Try to laugh without smiling/keeping a straight face. It looks and feels ridiculous and you’ll end up making yourself laugh.

-Read or watch something from your childhood. Recently I’ve been rereading “A Series of Unfortunate Events” and watching “Hey Arnold!”

-Connect with your friends and community. One classmate said she does Israeli dance twice a week, not just for the exercise but to also feel like a part of the community.


This is just a short list of things my classmates and I do to take our minds off of our stress. Please share any tips you have to lower your stress levels as finals week approaches!


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Is your reliance on Digital Technology Costing you Career Opportunities?

Blogger Profile Picture  By: Sara Kirkpatrick

This past week I’ve attended a number of free campus workshops, all of which promoted face-to-face networking as a prime source to land jobs and internships.  As students, it is important to understand how to use digital media to accomplish these goals, it is equally important not to lose our basic face-to-face communication skills.

Practice your face-to-face communication:

  1. Treat your cellphone like an addiction- When spending time with peer(s), treat your cellphone like a cigarette; it’s a shameful addiction that we all have, and it is not socially accepted everywhere.
  1. Check your phone at the door- When hosting a dinner party, ask your guests to check their cellphones at the door, by placing them into a basket upon entry.
  1. No tech devices allowed- Host a “Y2K” event where no technology devices are permitted. Ask everyone to leave their cellphones and other mobile devices at home or in their car, prior to attending.
  1. First phone gets the check- When out to dinner, make a rule that whoever pulls out their phone first pays the check for everyone at the table.

As upcoming graduates in a competitive job market, we cannot afford to lack the knowledge on how to communicate without the use of technological devices.  Attend a campus workshop, and practice your face-to-face communication skills!

Upcoming free campus workshops: PSU Campus Events


Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

This week is Thanksgiving. A time for laughter and cheer, for friends and family, for great food and even better company. A lovely little holiday leading up to The Big One.

But honestly? It’s some pretty terrible timing. Next week is Dead Week here on campus and finals are literally just around the corner. (T-minus 14 days, in fact.) And I know I’m not the only one freaking out about the projects due. It’s stressful. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders tighten, and my stomach curl into a knot.

So, is this the best time to stop working on (or thinking about) those hugely important final projects? Probably not. My suggestion, though? Make the most of the holiday as you possibly can anyway.

Try to parcel the homework assignments out so you can spend time with the family (or friends or whomever you’re spending the holiday with). Take Thanksgiving dinnertime off, or better yet, take all of Thanksgiving Day off. If you’re traveling—like me!—try to do some assignments on the journey. (I know I’ll be writing a paper on my plane ride to the East Coast.)

Make some time for your loved ones. Heck, make some time for yourself.

You deserve the time off before the final push to finals week. Treat yourself, and your friends and family, to some quality time together this Thanksgiving. Trust me, your spirit will thank you later.

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Rec for a Cause

selfieBy James Wilson

An awesome thing about the Rec Center is that it’s more than just that place to work out. The Rec Center staff organizes a lot of events, including things that give back to the community. One of those is the Campus Rec for a Cause initiative.

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One thing they recently did, and do every month, was a community cleanup walk. On Nov. 5 they specifically focused on cleaning up our campus of all the cigarette butts everywhere. This was in partnership with SHAC to spread awareness of our new Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy. Feel free to join us once a month to give back and enjoy a cleaner campus!

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You can find more info on the Rec for a Cause Initiative here and the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy here.

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The Flags We Don’t See


By Olivia Clarke


The first I heard about the Paris attacks was Friday evening, on Facebook. At that time, the death count was much lower than it is now, and I didn’t absorb the gravity of the situation. The next morning, however, I woke up to a number of messages from friends and family members – they knew I was in France, and they wanted to make sure I was okay. I started to realize at that point that this was a big deal, and I assured everyone that I was safe, seven hours from Paris.

On Monday, my classmates and I joined the rest of the university in observing the national moment of silence at noon. The professor led an emotional class discussion about the tragedy and showed us photos of buildings around the world that were lit up in blue, white, and red as a gesture of solidarity. We watched video clips of New Yorkers and Londoners singing the “Marseillaise” in the street.

I was moved by the sentiment expressed in these photos and videos, but I was also troubled. I thought to myself, “Where’s the Syrian flag, or the Lebanese flag? Who’s singing the Iraqi national anthem?” People in other parts of the world experience these horrific events every day – terror, bombings, executions, war. It’s a constant reality, not an isolated incident. Yet we don’t show this kind of solidarity with them – likely because they aren’t white or rich like France. To us Westerners, tragedies like the one in Paris seem unbelievable; but in fact, they just give us a tiny glimpse into the horrors that so much of the world experiences so frequently. Maybe it’s time to start seeing past our own privilege, and to start being horrified by the atrocities committed against human beings who live outside of our comfortable Western sphere.