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Vacation, all I ever wanted…

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By: Sharon Nellist

I was under the impression that summer break would imply some rest and relaxation.

Certainly not this summer…..

Even though my last undergraduate year at Portland State does not arrive for another 72 days, I already feel slightly overwhelmed with all the work I have this summer in preparation. As well as being on-call for temp work to save enough money to make it through the next year, interviewing for internships, constantly reviewing my schedule choice, and considering graduate school programs.

So when I have a brief moment or a spontaneous weekend of freedom, I look for nearby areas that will assimilate that all so glorious feeling of paradise.

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A great little refuge is just a short 30-minute drive across the Washington border – a place called Lewisville Park. It has a clear river swimming hole nested in between towering pines and several wildlife hiking trails.

 

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Moulton Falls is another place that I have my eye keenly on. Just another few miles east of Lewisville Park, it also has several hiking trails with a billowing white falls, an old wooden bridge, and 15-foot cliff just waiting for a brave soul to jump into the icy cool waters below.

 

Tell me about your paradise?

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Weather the Weather

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by Shezad Khan

It’s been an insanely hot summer for Oregon so far. We had a couple of weeks with temperatures sitting steady in the mid-to-high-90s. Thankfully, weather forecasts are finally showing our daily highs sitting between the mid-70s and low-80s. This is a great relief for those of us who aren’t so keen on hot temperatures and the blistering sun. However, aside from the hot weather, we have another big problem: drought.

I can’t remember the last time we had any measurable rain. I feel like it’s been at least a month, if not longer. Sure, we may have had some sprinkling, but that’s not enough. The last time I checked, 20 of our 36 counties had officially claimed to be in drought. We desperately need some rain!

A topic like drought can be scary to think about, but there are ways to help out during these conditions. With Portland State being a sustainability-minded school, I’m surprised there hasn’t been any word from them on this issue. Visiting the campus facilities page results in no mention of Oregon’s water shortage.

Fortunately, the Oregon Department of Water has put up some helpful links on how to conserve water. They have put up PDFs on how to save water inside the home, outside the home, on farms and ranches, and within municipal systems. Check these links out to see how you can help!

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STUMPED in Stumptown…

11055292_10101430514504833_7194000140912956751_nBy: Sharon Nellist

Can you imagine going into your senior year and doubt the major that you have so painstakingly been working toward the last few years? Well, I certainly can. HELP!

My most recent thoughts: I am certain of the type of job I am looking for…. But will my current major get me there? Will my major hurt my chances of getting this job? Is it worth switching majors at this point? How much longer will it take? Ahh! I have to study more for that last final exam…

My mind is full.

Thankfully! I have the summer to figure this out.

And I know that I am not the only one…

Nearly 80% of new students heading for college are undeclared. About 50% of college students that have declared a major change their major, even two or three times!

Also, Portland State has great resources to help through this “traumatic” time…

What can I do with a degree in….?
Career Workshops, Classes & Events
Exploring PSU Majors Fair

What did or would you do in this situation?

Wish me luck!

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Summer Goals for Summer Blues

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by Shezad Khan

It’s already week nine of spring term, which means summer break is very, very close. I’m incredibly relieved and excited for the three month escape from schoolwork. Since I took classes last summer, I’ve been craving an extended amount of down time. If you’re anything like me, however, that down time can lead to some extreme boredom and sluggishness.

For me, it’s important to stay active during summer break – both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have a drink or ten to celebrate the end of the school year and/or your graduation or sit on the couch and binge watch five different shows on Netflix – go ahead, you’ve earned it – but it does mean making sure that kind of behavior doesn’t become cyclical and negative. This is especially important for those of us who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Something that I’m going to do to make sure my summer break is productive is keep a list of goals. I know, super cliché, right? But it will definitely help. Here are some of the goals that I’m setting for myself:

  • Read: I want to finish at least ten books over the course of this summer break. I don’t have enough time to read for pleasure during the school year, so I want to make my time off count.
  • Play Soccer: Playing soccer a few times a week is not only fun, but very healthy as well.
  • Look for internships/apply for scholarships: Yes, unfortunately, some work does have to be down over summer break. Grad school is coming up, and it’s not cheap. Looking for internships that apply to my field will help me find a career down the line. And with scholarships, well, who doesn’t need extra money?
  • Work, work, work: Summer break is a great time to try and boost your hours at work. Work may be stressful sometimes, but it’s a lot less stressful when you don’t have to worry about schoolwork on top of it.

These are just a few goals I have for myself to make sure my break is well-spent and productive. I would urge all of you to find your own goals. It really is good for you.

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The Power of Orange

By Olivia Clarke

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On my bedroom curtain, secured with a safety pin, is a little square of orange fabric. I got the square when I attended PSU’s Sustainability Celebration last spring – in return for my signature on a Divest PSU petition, I received this piece of fabric as a symbol of my support for rethinking the university’s investments.

Divestment aims to deny financial resources to governments and industries that are viewed as harmful or unjust. While the hot-button divestment issue for the previous generation was South African apartheid, the current topic of concern among universities across the nation is the environment: specifically, the fossil fuel companies that are hurting it (and that receive financial support from our school every year). The Divest PSU campaign began in 2014, and it seems to be gaining momentum. Divest PSU holds weekly meetings, and those orange squares are getting more recognition around campus.

As a sustainability-minded student, I have high hopes for this campaign: I know how hard some people work to lead sustainable lifestyles, but the environment can’t be saved by our personal choices alone. Even if I carpool and recycle, my impact pales in comparison to the financial influence of my school and other universities around the country. For this reason, I support the Divest PSU organizers who are using their power as students to speak up for a more ethical PSU that stays true to its environmental values. After all, our logo isn’t green for nothing.

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Planning Ahead

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By: Andreea Nica

I like to plan. Planning provides me security, a comfort that I’m on the right track. Or, at least it gives me the feeling I’m getting there.

When I began the doctoral program at PSU, I knew there was much work ahead, but surprisingly, it wasn’t the work that had me bogged down. Rather, it was the organization and execution of my five-year plan in the program. I had some vague ideas like any aspiring academic, such as publishing, conferences, teaching and research. But I soon realized that these vague notions of developing oneself as a scholar needed some filling in.

When did I want to publish? And with whom? How many conferences should I attend? What should I teach? What about funding? How many small research projects should I conduct? I needed more direction, and once I gained it from discussions with colleagues and professors inside and outside the department, I began filling in the details of my five-year plan. Excel came to my rescue. I began to organize my goals (brief statements, really) into an Excel document with proposed dates of completion, deadlines for funding opportunities, outcome goals and people I should talk further with regarding the respective goal.

While I am aware that plans change, organizing my time and goals in the graduate program has boosted my confidence and provided a clearer direction on what I want to achieve. I would recommend starting out with one- to two-year plans as they are easier to manage than longer-term plans. After all, many things can change over the course of four to five years.

Good luck planning!

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The 51st Annual Nina Mae Kellogg Awards

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By Shezad Khan

If you’re looking to go to a PSU event this month, the Kellogg Awards Ceremony is just a couple of weeks away. I went to the Kellogg Awards for the first time last year when a writing professor insisted that we attend. Being an English major, I should have gone before. Not only was it a fun event to go to, three friends of mine won awards and I had no idea they were contestants.

So what are the Kellogg Awards? The awards recognize excellence in writing. There are 21 different awards for poetry, fiction, or non-fiction with prizes ranging from $100 to $2,000 – these awards are serious business! Plus winners get the recognition of winning such a great reward for their writing. The event provides a wonderful opportunity to see people from your community – from your college –achieve great things, and the event is completely free, so you should go show your support.

The ceremony is going to be held on Monday, May 18th, at 5:30 p.m. at the Native American Student and Community Center on campus, 710 SW Jackson Street. This year’s guest speaker is going to be Mike Davis who is the author of City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles.

Last year there was free food and beer! How much more motivation do you need?

(Although this event is free and open to the public, they ask that you RSVP.)