By: Katie Quick
Martin Luther King Jr. has been and will remain to be a heroic and influential figure in our country. He preached equality for everyone, no matter what race, ethnicity, class, or any other social, political, or economic status. Every year, the PSU Student Leaders for Services helps to coordinate the MLK Day of Service, when when about 1,000 college students from across the metro area gather to better our city in some form of service in memory of Dr. King.
This year, the theme was education, and we were assembled at David Douglas High School in outer NE Portland. From there, we met the other students from other colleges and universities and were assigned projects. My group was assigned to clean Parkrose High School, an ethnically diverse, heavily low-income school. We cleaned their gym and helped with other janitorial services to make the learning environment cleaner and encourage the students to have more respect for their school.
It was a rewarding experience to help a community in need of a little boost. I highly recommend to all PSU students to get involved in even one small volunteering event, whether that be packaging at the Oregon Food Bank, delivering food through Meals on Wheels, or participating in beautification efforts around the city. Even a couple of hours can make all the difference.
WWOOF, which stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is just one option beyond studying abroad to get out and explore the world. I spent my entire junior year last year preparing for study abroad my senior year. My heart was absolutely set on it, and I was ready to follow through with everything. I’d attended orientation in Eugene, sent in my host family preferences, signed up for classes, and had even already checked out the tango dance scene. The only part that didn’t follow through? My finances.
Upon realizing a tad too late that there was no way I could afford the ridiculous fifteen grand to study in Lyon, I looked elsewhere for a way to 1) travel 2) ameliorate my French 3) have some fun. A few classmates and coworkers had done WWOOFing before, and they were the ones to put the bug in my ear. In exchange for approximately 5-6 hours of work per day, 5 days a week, a farm will host you, house you, and feed you. So essentially, you can go stay and work for a host family for the price of a plane ticket and whatever else you’d want to spend your money on for fun.
I chose to come to Velaux, France, just outside of Marseille on the Mediteranean, to work on a horse farm. My hosts have been incredibly gracious and welcoming, and I’ve learned a lot while being here. I still have two weeks left, but time seems to be flying. I’ve learned how to ride horses, how to care for them, the pain of getting stepped on by one and what the electrical fence feels like, and that horses get super cranky if you don’t feed them on time.
It’s been a great experience so far. I plan to do this again, but in Germany or Sweden next time. I’ve had the same advantages of studying abroad in that I’ve gotten much better at my comprehension of French, I’ve met a bunch of new people, and I’ve even been able to take my days off to explore Marseille, Montpellier, and Nice. And not to mention the food and wine… So if you’re strapped for cash but have a desire to go abroad, let me recommend you to WWOOF! If you’re interested in following my adventures as I’m currently working as a WWOOFer, here’s my personal blog: katiegoestofrance.wordpress.com. And if you want to check out what WWOOF is and how to get involved, go here.
Summer: the season of warm weather, tanning, outside sports, travel, beach trips, pool parties, BBQs… and sucky summer jobs. This summer I decided to “take it easy” and not have any obligations except for my two part-time summer jobs. As finals week neared the end and my regular responsibilities came to a close, I began to imagine in dream-like visions long sunny summer days with a constant stream of friends and fresh homemade dinners. I saw concerts, BLTs and popsicles, tango dancing every night, bike rides, and hiking in the gorge. I guess I also saw a glimpse of a few hours working here and there, but my ideal summer vision did not include more than a few hours of work a week; just enough to keep a steady flow of cash to fund my daily grind. In retrospect, I should have realized that you can’t make a ton of money and work hardly any hours at all at a seasonal minimum wage job.
I currently work upwards of 45-50 hours a week, sometimes working 14 hours a day. I’ve started to think: is this what working as an adult is like? –cause this is not fun. It feels like I’m busier now than I was during the school year with more responsibilities, and the stress level is equally high. But how can this be? Where is the summer?! There is at least some light in that I know I won’t have to do this forever, if only I can get through college…
The other night I had a sort-of epiphany: If I hadn’t have chosen to go to PSU, my life would be so different. I realized how much life has changed since the moment I stepped into my new dorm room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my roommate whom I’d had yet to meet. Read more
Last week, I had the experience of being on the other end of the table for several interviews. As part of my job as a resident assistant, I am required to interview people for the positions that will be open for next year.
I found it interesting to see the process through the eyes of the person conducting the interview. There were so many things that I had in my head as a personal checklist: dress, eye contact, sincerity, understanding of the job, and a drive and willingness to be there. I was thoroughly surprised with how little confidence I saw in several of the candidates. I’ve been involved with Residence Life for two years, so many of the things that I took for granted, things that I naturally expected from those I was interviewing, apparently did not seem to be so obvious to the candidates. I guess it goes to show you what experience can do to change your attitude, view, and expectations.
Overall, what I took away from this process is that presentation is everything. That doesn’t mean you have to be obnoxious and speak over others at every given point, or digress onto points that are unnecessary. Rather, be clear and concise with your ideas and don’t be afraid to speak up when prompted. Also, there’s a lot to be said with the phrase “dress for success”: your clothes reflect that you’re collected, professional, and ready for business. Even if you aren’t the most confident person in the world, just fake it ‘til you make it.