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When the going gets tough, the tough get organized!

Author Brooke HornBy: Brooke Horn

As a graduate student, I’ve learned the hard way that time management and organization can be your best friends when used properly — and your bitterest enemies when not. The modern student isn’t JUST a student anymore: most of us juggle jobs, internships, volunteering, creative projects, and relationships too. As the term really gets underway, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. On the bright side, there are a lot of useful tools and tricks out there to help you stay on top of things. Here are a few that have really made a difference for me:

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    Photo credit: Brooke Horn

    Trello. This is my go-to app whenever I work on a collaborative project. You can create virtual assignment cards, which are organized within themed boards. You can also assign tasks, add due dates, create checklists, upload files, and color-code to your heart’s content.

  2. Wunderlist. This app is your standard to-do list on steroids. Similar to Trello, you can share task lists with others as well as set up due dates and reminders. I use this app for my personal lists because of its simplicity. I keep one for homework assignments, one for events I want to go to, and one for groceries.
  3. Labeling in Gmail. Seriously, this is a game-changer if you receive a high volume of mail. I use labels such as “reply,” “education,” and “finances.” You can even create sub-labels, assign colors, and adjust your settings so that your mail is automatically labeled and sorted.

What tools and tricks help you stay organized?

Nine Things I’ve Already Learned This Fall

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By Grace Carroll

1. Living in a single can be scary. I almost choked on a corn nut.

2. Shared restrooms are not so bad. Despite living on a floor with roughly 25 girls, I rarely run into other people in the bathroom.

3. Volunteering is a good way to get involved with PSU. Volunteering at the Women’s Resource Center gives me the chance to help do important work in a friendly environment.

4. Yes, I CAN put off all the homework for my 400-level Honors seminar until the night before it is due.

5. College sports can be super fun. On a whim, I joined rugby, and you could say I’m having a BALL.

6. If while studying in the library, someone irritates you by loudly talking on the phone, DO NOT passive-aggressively write “SHHHH, IT’S A LIBRARY” on their notebook while they’re at the water fountain. Go to the fourth, fifth floors or the basement, they are designated for silent study!

7. You can have small class sizes even at Oregon’s biggest university. Last year, my classes had 30 students. This fall, I’m in a class of ten 10 (and the rest aren’t much bigger).

8. Unlike the “cool kids” in my building, I still love my meal plan.

9. Nothing is more beautiful than the Park Blocks in autumn.

Moving at the Lightspeed of Education

Over summer term I took the first year of Latin courses. It was my first experience with summer term, so I wasn’t used to being in school during the three months I’d usually be at home doing nothing. PSU’s campus was sunny and quiet, void of the bustle seen during fall through spring, and it seemed so much more relaxed. I learned quickly, however, that summer term isn’t to be taken lightly.

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One year of Latin was compacted and smashed into a rigorous and intense nine weeks. That’s right, Latin 101 through 103 in just nine weeks, that’s less than a third of the normal school year. We covered a week’s worth of material per day, and class was held Monday through Thursday – each class was three hours and fifteen minutes long. The baristas at Starbucks started knowing me by name. I devoted hours to studying every day. I had well over 200 notecards, three filled up notebooks, more than a few dead pens, and my quivering sanity that I was struggling to keep together – it didn’t help that I was working almost forty hours a week at that time.

That being said, if you’re considering taking summer courses, you should do it. Yeah, it’s probably going to be tough and you might want to cry sometimes – especially if it’s a foreign language – but you’ll pull through and you’ll feel very good about yourself, I promise. Plus you get to meet awesome people who are just as crazy as you for taking such an intense course!

By: Shezad Khan

SWING, SWING, SWING

By: Sharon Jackson

Every time I hear drums beat and saxes blow and trumpets wail of classy jazzzzz – I cannot help but to tie up my worn Oxfords and pin up my hair circa 1940’s style for my heart sings ‘in the mood’ to SWING.

East Coast Swing has finally come to PSU. Swing Out is one of the newest additions to Portland State Rec clubs. [We meet every Thursday in the Rec Center room 440, 8:30 - 10PM].

I SWING dance to live in the moment and throw my cares to the wind – I will always have time to write that 10 page essay on British Romanticism later………

We SWING to lose ourselves in rhythm. We SWING to smile. We SWING together.

We also frequent swing socials on Sundays and  Wednesdays that offer a complimentary beginner’s lesson and more than 2 hours of hopping dance.

What do you get ‘in the mood’ for?

Wisconsin, don’tcha knooo?

By: Kadie Kobielusz

Over the summer, I was able to live in lands distant and exotic – ahem – in Wisconsin. Yeah big deal, right? Well, actually, I had one of my most eye-opening experiences when I lived there.

It’s an amazing thing when you are no longer looking at the world around you through the lens of a traveler. Instead, you’re a resident, somewhat forced to live and think and act like the people there do. You’re trying not to be the obvious outsider. I don’t know how to describe it very well, but Wisconsin was a lot more lowbrow than I was envisioning it. Especially coming from the leanest state, Colorado, to one of the most obese states.

Yes, I realize that’s not very polite, but it was culture shock. I found myself thinking: “That’s funny?” “We’re eating that for dinner?” “That’s entertainment?” Halfway through the summer though, words of wisdom came a guy at a bicycle shop. After discussing the area and such, he said: “In the end, it doesn’t matter where you’re living or what you’re out doing. What matters is who you’re with to make the adventure worthwhile.”

 It’s true. Sure, I may not have enjoyed what we were doing, or liked the area that much. However, I did thoroughly enjoy my company, and I should have been appreciating them all the while. They made me laugh, they were always up for doing new things and they were the friendliest and kindest people I think I have ever met.

And now that I’ve been away, guess who’s looking to move to Wisconsin after graduation?

#New2PSU

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Photo Credit: Jasmin Landa

By: Jasmin Landa

Every ending is merely a new beginning. But I confess that as I stood in line in freshman orientation, I was scared about what this new beginning would bring.

I grew up in a small city in Nevada, and have been used to a dry desert atmosphere with mountains that don’t have all the luxurious trees that one sees in Oregon. So as I began to contemplate more and more about my move to Portland, with my mom and my little sister by my side, I began to cry and felt like I wasn’t where I was meant to be. Was I a future Viking? Is this where I am supposed to be? I cried for what felt like hours, but my mom looked at me and assured me that everything will be OK. Things happen for their destined reason, although you may not know today what those reasons are.

She was correct. My freshman orientation was much more than what I expected. I looked around and saw so much diversity, culture and excitement; all the students waiting were anxious to begin their new chapter as Portland State University freshmen. I felt welcomed, informed and enthused by all those around me.

I had been scared at the thought of leaving my home in Nevada along with all my family and all my supporters. But what I didn’t realize before, and what I know now, is that I am gaining a whole student body, staff and friends as supporters who will encourage, support and believe in my dreams and successes.

I cannot wait to be a Viking with the rest of my classmates, community and alumni.

Here’s looking at you PSU

By: Sharon Jackson

A year ago today I made my way to the streetcar on a very Portland rainy morning. It was packed and muggy – full of people’s breath and their steaming hot coffees. There was a tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach, that my breakfast lay precariously on. We pulled to the Market Street stop, and I stepped down cautiously in my worn brown oxford shoes and brand new dark jeans. I gently placed my hand on my head to check if my recently curled hair was still in place. I was ready, and excessively nervous, as I proceeded up the Park Blocks for the very first time. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – at Portland State University.

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Tomorrow, I will be venturing out on the same route. Streetcar to Park Blocks and to begin with old-fashioned Cramer Hall. I am still nervous, but this time I am comforted with familiarity and wisdom. I will hold on dearly to the most important things I learned last year that made me a successful Viking:

Know PSU – and the various resources available that are usually FREE such as Buddy Up and the PSU Library.

Stay organized – keep your head above water, use Google Calendar or the inexpensive PSU Handbook to stay on top of your work.

Get involved – be a part of a group; Student Organizations and REC Clubs are easy to join and keep your mind from temporary insanity.

Be bold – and open minded; expose yourself to new Events, Performances, Lectures, etc. and be outspoken in your classes – it is the only way to be well-rounded.

Take care of yourself – you only do your best when you are at your best; we are lucky to have Portland Farmer’s Market at our doorstep and a state-of-the-art Campus Rec free with tuition.

What are some other ways that make You a successful Viking?

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