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Posts from the ‘Blogs’ Category

Forty days of restraint

lentblogIt is that time of year again when the Christians and the semi-Christians come out of the woodwork to discuss what it is they are giving up for Lent. I find myself debating between the two things I care about most – coffee and shopping. However, fortunately for my wallet, I physically cannot afford to give up coffee, and financially cannot afford to not give up shopping.

When I was in high school, shopping was not a problem, basically because I didn’t have any money to spend. But when I moved out of state to California for college, shopping became a very easy distraction. Uprooting to California by myself, accompanied by the stress of student loans, new people, and needing to find a job, was the most trying experience of my life. Throw in a dysfunctional relationship and you have my freshman year nightmare. In order to get away from it all, as far as I could with reasonable transit time, I would go to the mall. It wasn’t until Lent came up that I realized I had an actual problem.

Whether you’re religious or not, it’s never a bad idea to reflect on your behaviors and habits – and particularly why you engage in them. The idea of Lent is to tackle a particularly bad habit that interferes with your relationship to God. However, I think the idea behind Lent would do everyone a little good because it allows people to look at what actions interfere with their relationships to themselves or to their loved ones.

Is it easier to run a credit card than talk about the actual reason you’re upset? Absolutely. But does it solve any problems? Not really, and it creates a newer problem of credit card debt.

I believe anyone can benefit from 40 days of restraint, especially when control seems like the only thing you don’t have on your plate. Plus, you get to celebrate at the end so why not?

Memoir Writing at PSU

Power of WordsWhen I tell people I’m writing a memoir, they usually appear surprised and ask: “Aren’t you too young?”

In 2013, I began writing “Freeligious,” a memoir and narrative nonfiction about my detachment from a charismatic religious sect and community. As a former evangelical, my gradual transition from the Pentecostal community spanned 10 years. The book focuses on identity, power and society with the aim of empowering those who have left — or who want to leave — their religious systems. Since then, I’ve taken a memoir writing course in Seattle, joined a writing group and received attention from media outlets such as Fox News Radio. Around 200 pages later, I realized I still needed help organizing my book.

I decided to take a memoir writing class with instructor and author Paul Collins in PSU’s English Department this winter term. The course has been extremely helpful in not only focusing on creating new content, but organizing my existing work. While the workshops (each student and the instructor reviews the student’s work and provides open feedback) initially can be an uneasy experience, they have certainly been most useful. As a Ph.D. Sociology student, being the only non-MFA student in the course has also helped me learn from others’ writing skills and expertise.

Although some find it unexpected that I’m writing a memoir at a “young age” or while pursuing a doctoral degree in the social sciences, I believe following more than one passion or goal can be most satisfying in life.

If you’re interested in taking a course in PSU’s English Department, visit: http://www.pdx.edu/english/

Dating like a grown-up

Charlotte gets it /via taniayasmin.tumblr.com

Charlotte gets it /via taniayasmin.tumblr.com

I have this girlfriend, we’ll call her Katie, who was seeing someone. They would meet up regularly, like every other night at least, and one day, nothing. The guy, we’ll call him Mitchell, said all the right things – the sweet stuff, things about the future. But the morning after? He completely pulled the rug out from under her and back-tracked. No more calls, no more texts, nothing.

What happened? Two kids with the ideas of high school relationships floating in the back of their heads got caught up in the freedoms and naivities of college dating.

Think about how much easier it is to be around your honey 24/7 when you’re an adult especially if you live on campus. Unfortunately, it’s just as easy to completely evade someone you do not want to see.

Instead of being forced to see each other in the hallways of Suburbia High, we’re able to drop off the face of the earth without so much as an, “I’m just not that into you.” But why do we do it? Why do we go from bright-eyed, bushy-tailed dating in high school, to dropping off when we cannot handle the seriousness anymore?

Obviously curing emotional unavailability comes from within, but what about simply making a rule of open communication? That’s what we lack. It’s harder to be a complete jerk to someone when, chances are, you’re going to see them in homeroom or at lunch. In college, we can hide.

Now, high school relationships have their own downfalls. College dating took those downfalls and exacerbated them. Were we too invested in high school relationships sometimes? Probably. Then put those overzealous emotions and inject them into the college world – stress about money, grades, the ever frightening future.

The fears we had when we were 16 – read: this is too serious – blow up in our faces. When you’re 16 it’s a bit easier to say, “well it’s only high school;” but when you’re an adult, the future – particularly the romantic future – feels much more tangible.

I believe that the best advice – and the infuriating – is to be completely honest. If you really like someone, you should tell them. If you want to be serious with that person, you should tell them. If you do not want to be serious with that person, you should definitely tell them.

Our futures are right in our faces, let’s not waste anyone’s time with games.

QUIT!

By: Shezad Khan

A lot of us have had jobs we don’t like, and a lot of you currently have a job that you don’t like. My only advice is for you to quit.

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It may sound a bit irrational, but quitting my previous job was one of the best decisions I’ve made. Unlike most people, I quit my job before I found a new one. But honestly, it was still worth it. I was in a position where I would absolutely dread going to work every day. I couldn’t stand it. I was fed up with having an unrewarding job. I did more work than most of my coworkers and received no recognition, I was sick of the drama caused by people twice my age, and dealing with some of the worst customers.

I worked for my previous employer for just over three years and my only regret about quitting is that I didn’t do it sooner. I found a new job just a few weeks after I left my old one and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I now work in a place where a huge focus is teamwork. My coworkers and my managers are all awesome, and we’re always recognized for doing good work – I’ve even received three Starbucks gift cards!

Initially, it was my counselor who pushed me to quit my job. She made me realize how unhappy I was there, how much I hated getting off at midnight and having to be up early for school, and how much I hated dealing with the people I had to deal with. If you find yourself in a similar situation where you can’t stand your clientele, your coworkers, or your manager anymore, consider quitting. The thought might be a bit nerve-wracking, but there’s a good chance you’ll be happier somewhere else.

Trust me when I say it’s just not worth it when your job makes you miserable and makes you feel drained physically, mentally, and even emotionally. There’s a better opportunity for you out there. Go for it.

Relating to a ’60s radical

By: Sharon Nellist

I was merely ONE among a sold-out crowd listening to the lovely Angela Davis speak her words of great wisdom in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Portland State University on Jan. 21, 2015.

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A year ago when I came to PSU, I never would have thought to attend such an event, simply because I never have before. I also have never thought of myself as a very accurate representative of diversity – I am a white female, how would I make a difference?

Angela Davis told me otherwise.

She spoke about changing the way we see the world by thinking beyond our assumptions – having a broader consciousness because what happens to an individual has worldly reverberations.

She helped me to realize that diversity is not the separation of identity but the coming together of every unique individual.

We are privileged at Portland State University to have an abundance of diverse resources and events to expose ourselves to in our campus community.

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Lives matter. And the only way to ensure that they matter is to educate yourself, to have a passion and a voice, and people will hear you. As Angela Davis spoke these words, she reminded me that it is my responsibility, our responsibility, simply because we are a member of humanity.

We have to act as if it were possible to change the world – Angela Davis

#PSUdiversity  – to see what people said about Angela Davis’ keynote address at PSU

Like Books? Visit Write to Publish!

There’s something about rain that makes me want to curl up with a piping hot mug of coffee and a good book. Granted, I’m rather bookish and it doesn’t take much, but Portland is a literary heaven of sorts. Not only does our city have THE perfect atmosphere, Portland is home to a phenomenal array of bookstores, publishers, and literary events where I can learn more about the industry I love and mingle with other bibliophiles.

I plan on doing just that at the end of this month at Write to Publish, a one-day conference for writers, artists, and other industry professionals that aims to demystify the publishing process. It’s happening right here on campus, and presents the perfect opportunity for me (and you!) to geek out over books with the amazing people who create them. Hosted by Ooligan Press, the conference’s six panels range in subject matter from funding your creative project to graphic novels. There’s an impressive lineup of panelists, and Shelf Awareness Editor-in-Chief John Mutter will be delivering the keynote speech.

The best part? Students can enjoy the benefit of highly discounted admission. College student tickets are only $35, while general admission is $100. Don’t have time to attend the full conference? You can purchase a ticket for a single panel, or just stop by and peruse the free book fair. So dust off that manuscript, purchase your ticket, and mark your calendar. I hope to see you there at #w2p15!


Write to Publish logoWhat: Write to Publish 2015

When: January 31, 2015, 9:00AM–5:30PM

Where: Smith Memorial Student Union

Beyond Starbucks: Cafés Around PSU

By: Andreea N.

cafeAs far as I’m concerned, students need two things in life: caffeine and convenient places to study. If you’re the studious type who can handle small doses of hustle and bustle, cafés can serve as ideal go-to study locations. There are numerous cafés around Portland State University that are sure to have your favorite caffeine, or for those who have transcended caffeine, herbal drink.

Here are my preferred three cafés in the PSU area:

Revolución Coffee House: Located close to campus on SW Columbia St. and 6th Ave., Revolución Coffee House is an absolute delight. It’s the first ever Mexican coffee house to be established in the Portland area. For those interested in local, sustainable fare this is the café for you. Their coffee is grown by fair trade cooperatives, and they use local ingredients when possible. Check out their delicious signature drinks and pastries. And yes, they even offer Mexican food!

Park Avenue Café: Known as a popular study spot for students, the café is located on the Park Blocks between SW Market and Clay. If you like fine Italian coffee, Park Avenue has you covered. The family-owned café also serves locally-prepared, fresh food. Yum! The veggie lox bagel is highly recommended.

Case Study Coffee: Situated in the heart of downtown at SW 10th and Yamhill, the coffee shop serves an eclectic array of signature drinks. How can you pass up a Bourbon-aged caramel latte? Students flock to this café for its later open hours, its convenient central location and excellent vibe.

If you happen to be on a coffee/study pilgrimage around PSU, let us know your favorite café spot!

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