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Posts by Jeanie Pham

Relationships drifting away

Life changes quite a bit when you go through college. It is exhilarating to experience new things, but along with these new things, you have to let go of what used to be.

I have realized I’m no longer friends or connected with most of my high school friends. I will always remember hearing at my high school graduation that you will stay acquainted with only 15 percent or less of your friends after you enter college, or “real-life.” I just remember how ridiculous that sounded. Was I really going to lose 85 percent of the friends I grew up with? I could not wrap my mind around that.
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PDX Summer Bucket List

Summer will soon be in the air! Classes are winding down, and I am getting near to checking out. The next two weeks will be the longest two weeks, but they will be worth it. Here are some local places I will go this summer:

• Do you want to go swimming and enjoy a kickback environment with family and friends? Then I recommend going to Marine Drive or Sauvie Island out in North Portland. It is a great place to lie out a towel, hang out, and BBQ some hot dogs.

• The local Saturday Market (www.portlandsaturdaymarket.com), where there is an immense amount of delicious food booths, great local artists, and people just enjoying their time outside. I advise to carry cash, some booths will able to take debit/credit cards.

• The Waterfront holds several festivals during the year. The Rose Festival (every weekend starting May 24th until June 9th, http://www.rosefestival.org) is a fair with games, booths, rides, and…of course, lots of greasy eats. The Blues Festival (July 4-7, http://www.waterfrontbluesfest.com) is also fun and packed with stage artist performances throughout the day. The neat thing about the festival is that 100% of proceeds and donations will go to the Oregon Food Bank. Come make an impact on the community, while enjoying the blues!

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Taking the Initiative

Green Bracelets. Green T-shirts. Cancer banner.

I never thought I would be coordinating a cancer walk with three of my best friends and colleagues. I truly believe it when people say college opens many doors. It all started with an email two months ago from my Student Leaders of Service advisor. I have helped many times with on-campus, volunteer events, but I knew this one was different because it was outside my comfort zone. But right then and there, I snatched the opportunity to become one of the outreach coordinators. Two months later, I am sitting at an information table for the cancer walk as I post this blog.

The CureSearch Walk for Children’s Cancer will be taking place at Sellwood Riverfront Park on August 10, 2013. Our goal is not only raise the awareness for pediatric cancer, but to raise the number in attendance and support. My Community development manager, Mallory Zarate, has been advising and giving us the resources needed to reach the target markets of PSU students and the Portland community.

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Why WE Love PSU

They say, Portland is one of the best metropolitan cities to live with one of the highest happiness index. What is better than living in a happy, sustainable city while obtaining your education? I can honestly say I love PSU, from the authentic culture, to the community development program, to the great people I have met.

I know I’m not the only one with Viking pride, so I decided to ask some of my peers what they thought about PSU!

“I love that PSU is so diverse. It gave me the opportunity to learn and grow through various individuals and their different cultural beliefs as well as share my own cultural knowledge of being Hawaiian.”

- Ka’ila See, Health Studies/Health Science Major

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My Fashion Secret: Thrifting

Portland is known for the “hipster” look; our clothes are either outrageous or we have no fashion sense at all. I don’t know if it’s the weather or my limited student budget, but I will fully admit I never really put too much thought into my outfits. But I have become more enthusiastic about a particular type of shopping, known as thrifting.

It is almost like a hobby, a simple thrill to find clothes cheaper than at a typical department store. The items could be new or secondhand. Sometimes I’m able to find deals for brand name clothing (not that it really matters) — as long as it’s catchy, vintage-y, different, it is worth it for a third or even a fourth of its original price.
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Do SINQs stink?

As a second-year, non-transfer student, I am required to take the sophomore inquiry courses here at PSU. I have heard both the positives and negatives of the University Studies requirements. Students in the program are required to take a year-long freshman inquiry (FRINQ) on themes ranging from Race and Social Justice to Design & Society (pdx.edu/unst/freshman-inquiry-course-themes). Then, as a sophomore, you have to take three separately-themed inquiry classes (SINQ) and choose one theme for your junior cluster courses.

SINQ

Personally, I have enjoyed both the freshman and sophomore inquiries. It has let me take classes outside of my realm and major/minor. As a freshman, I enrolled into the Sustainability FRINQ Read more

Confessions of an Insomniac

I turn my head to glance at the clock on the bright screen of my smart phone. It is a little past midnight. I think, “Okay, I’ll get exactly 7 hours, if I fall asleep. Right now.” Exhausted, I roll over again and attempt to find the most comfortable position. I even flip my pillow to the “cold side.”

insomnia

I’ve found myself going through this episode throughout my life, but it has hit me especially hard during my college years. I’ve come to realize my thoughts are like a black hole at night: never-ending with no solutions.

During the day, I am stacked with classes from the morning till late afternoon, then a night class once a week. In between all this, I have an internship, student activities, and study time in the library. I even go to the gym at least a couple times a week, not just to get exercise, but to purposely drain myself.

My mind, which is annoyingly active, sprints through the usual topics before I fall asleep—family, friends, relationships, school. The topics that haunt me are the “what ifs” of life, the unpredictable future. Ugh, now my anxiety levels are going up.

I visualize myself planted in the middle of a Hawaiian beach, relaxed by the waves. Failed attempt. All right, time to count sheep.

Exasperated, I wake up to write in my personal blog.

Now, it’s 3 a.m.

My ultimate remedy for this problem?
Go to the kitchen to fix myself a 4th meal.

Social Networking or Social Awkwardness?

“It’s not official until it’s on Facebook.” That statement is somewhat, semi-, kinda true.

Social networking has been the “grapevine” of this generation. Information is so visible—we know whose birthday it is, who’s in a “complicated” relationship, and where everyone is by simply logging into our social network accounts.

socialnetwork

But is it social networking or social awkwardness? It’s both. Evidently, the Internet can be used as an efficient tool to communicate. But what are we exactly communicating? Our Internet alter egos or personas? I find myself hanging out with friends and at least one has to take a photo or “check-in” to show the world we are having the time of our lives.

This past year I have run into a few friends whom I talk to or follow on several social networks at school. They usually completely avoid me in person and when I eagerly went over to them to strike up a conversation, I was shot down with one of those conversation stoppers: “Hi.” “Yeah.” “Gotta go.” Is this what conversations have come to? I mean, it is always convenient to converse and even argue behind a computer screen. But social networks never convey facial expressions and body language.

I’m old-fashioned and would rather have a genuine conversation in person than none at all.

Keep Portland Weird

“That’s so Portland,” “Keep Portland Weird,” and “Portland is so hipster” are several phrases I hear from my peers, especially friends who do not reside in Portland. But I feel like to really experience Portland life, you have to live here and see it for yourself.

There are atypical scenes you will come across on the PSU campus and in Portland in general. I do not regard them as “weird” but merely a pleasant surprise that can make one’s day.

monkeyIt was last year when I witnessed an unusual scene after leaving my Statistics final during Spring term. It was two fellows, one wearing a monkey mask, dancing by the streetcar stop near Subway. Their flamboyant van was blasting absurd beats and music—it immediately attracted students who were passing by. They danced the Macarena and used a street pole explicitly. People stopped, stared, laughed, and snapped photos. After a solid five minutes of spontaneous dancing, they got back into their van, waved, and then sped away.

At first, I was curious to see what their intent was, but I soon realized it was spontaneous and had no purpose. It reminded me of flash mobs, where groups of people come together to do something out of the ordinary simultaneously for a few minutes.

This particular scene conveys how the culture of Portland cannot be duplicated elsewhere. I’m proud to say that PSU embraces and welcomes an environment filled with various, cultural backgrounds, passions, opinions, and personalities all in one large, mixing pot. Whether it may be blatantly expressing yourself through your voice, or the random dancing act I witnessed, it is the epitome of what makes Portland, Portland.

What is your “weird” Portland story?

Volunteer Opportunities on First Fridays

I was introduced to the student group Student Leaders for Service (SLS) through an Alternative Spring Break trip last year. SLS offers three Alternative Spring Break (ASB) trips and any PSU student can apply for to be a part of one. I chose to serve the homeless population as well as other non-profit organizations in San Francisco. This remarkable experience has broadened my perspective and motivated me to stay connected to my community.

This year I am one of 25 members of SLS. The student-run group’s main objective is to be the liaison between students and community partners/organizations. I am currently interning at a local organization called SMART – Start Making a Reader Today.  As a program intern, I am learning how to navigate the non-profits’ database, assist with volunteer applications, and compile research for grant writing. In the future, I will be more acquainted and equipped to work, “behind the scenes” with the logistics and administration of non-profits.

WIth my internship, SLS weekly meetings, and leadership training, I am understanding the importance of service-learning and social justice. I have this relentless urge to not only take action, but to spread the word and connect others as well.

To participate, you do not have to be a member or have any prior volunteering experience. SLS has started “First Fridays”: volunteer opportunities in community organizations on the first Friday of every month. Nov. 7th was our first successful day at the non-profit SCRAP. http://psuvanguard.com/news/students-pitch-in-for-afternoon-of-service/

Visit the SLS office in Smith Memorial Student Union Room 124 or connect to our sites to learn more:

http://www.pdx.edu/cae/student-leaders-for-service

http://www.facebook.com/PSU.SLS

Alternative Spring Break 2012 video clip: http://vimeo.com/41207825

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