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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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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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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.


Rained Out of Homecoming

IMG_2069 By Steph Holton

Did you get to see the amazing Vikings homecoming victory over the Grizzlies this year? No? Neither did I – not in person at least.

On the day of Homecoming, my friends and I were soaked from the downpour by the time we reached the stadium. But our school spirit endured. This is Portland after all; what’s a little rain going to hurt? The student section, we then discovered, is the only section in the entire stadium not protected from the rain. Most of the students there greeted this as a minor inconvenience in the beginning. However, the number of student fans dwindled with each timeout despite the fact that an entire section of the covered stadium was left empty. At about halftime, the wind came up and made persevering even more difficult. By the end of the game (which my friends and I saw only thanks to livestreaming) the student section was a sad shell of stadium seats, while the rest of the fans – perhaps a little chilly, but dry at any rate – sat and watched the Vikings rake in another great victory.

Now, I’m thrilled that we won – especially because it was homecoming, and especially because it was against the Montana Grizzlies. But my question is this: aren’t the students an invaluable part of the football team’s fan base? It’s been a fight to get students out to the games in recent years and now, when they’re finally excited to go, they’re allowed to be rained out. Could more effort be put in to better encourage a full student section at PSU sporting events?

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Tabling: It’s Awkward for Everyone

Kellie Doherty

By Kellie Doherty

We all know that tabling is an awkward college life experience. People standing behind a highly decorated table, silently willing students over by expression alone. Passersby quickening their pace or looking the opposite direction just so they don’t have to deal with it. Let’s face it, it’s awkward for everyone involved. And, having recently finished a tabling session myself, I’d like to change that.

Here are some tips to deal with tabling.

For The Ones Doing the Tabling

  • Have candy (seriously, everyone loves candy)
  • Make interesting signs
  • Have easy-to-pick-up trinkets (buttons, stickers, bookmarks, pens)
  • Have a conversation instead of just a script
  • Be Warned: People will use your table as an actual table, be cool with it.

For The Ones Passing By

  • Smile if you make eye contact with a tabling person (it’s just nice)
  • If the subject matter looks interesting, stop by and chat
  • Take a bookmark, pen, or whatever trinket they have (it’ll make their day)
  • Take only one piece of candy, two at most
  • Be Warned: If you stop by a table you’re not actually interested in, it’ll probably be boring. (There I said it!) If it’s not interesting to you or to someone you know who you could pass the information along to, move along.

Following these simple tabling tricks will make it less awkward for everybody. And, seriously, everyone loves candy. Remember that, and it’ll be a success for us all.