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Posts from the ‘Campus Life’ Category

Adventure Just Outside Your Door

Portland is a city surrounded by natural beauties, and now that the sunny weather is finally upon us, students may find themselves itching to reconnect with the great outdoors. No car? No problem! Here are six destinations guaranteed to ease your spring fever, no road trip required.

  • Mt. Tabor: Great for hiking, biking, and (my favorite) picnicking, Mt. Tabor is the crowned beauty of SE Portland, located at the top of the Hawthorne district.
  • Hoyt Arboretum: If you’re looking for a cool walk through the budding trees, the Arboretum is the place to go. It has tons of different trails to explore, including a walk to the Rose Garden.
  • Oaks Bottom: Take a walk on the wild side along the Crystal Springs Corridor and immerse yourself in the swamp-life of the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.
  • Bishop’s Close, whose wonderful gardens are a must-see this time of year, is a gorgeous and historic property situated above Elk Rock and looking out to the majestic Cascade Mountains. Take a stroll through the labyrinth of shrubbery or along the stream. Watch out for newts!
  • Tryon Creek State Park: Oregon’s only state park within a major metropolitan area, Tryon spans 645 acres of hiking, biking and horse riding trails that stretch through Multnomah and Clackamas counties.
  • Forest Park in the Tualatin Mountains is one of the largest urban forest reserves in the country. I would recommend the Balch Creek Canyon trail and a visit to the Audubon Society. The park encompasses the best of Portland’s natural areas, so there’s really no wrong way to go.

An open letter to the Registrar’s Office, or rather what it represents

By: Emily Skeen

Dear Registrar’s Office,

I’m not graduating yet. Now, I’ve never met you, so I’d like to begin this by saying I’m sure you are probably a lovely group of people. Please know that none of this is actually directed at the specific individuals sending these emails to possibly-soon-to-be-graduates, but rather the university they are writing on behalf of, the society who says I should be in a different place than I am, and all the things that these emails represent. You get the gist, right? Anyways, where was I? Oh yeah, graduating. I’m not graduating yet! And while I appreciate the 5, yes 5, emails I have received from you letting me know that I should probably be getting up and out of here and on with my life, I’m not. I will, I don’t plan to stay at PSU forever, $40,000 of debt is enough for me, I’m just not done yet. And that doesn’t mean I’ve been fooling around, or going part time, or anything else, it just means that my degree doesn’t really fit in with that fancy new “4 year guarantee” the university seems to be rolling out now. And not just because I transferred, it just isn’t possible for a student to come take classes full time, be involved in all the things you need to be involved in to have any shot at getting in to a good grad school, work 20 hours a week, be in a relationship, have a social life, and sometimes even eat, sleep, and if I’m really lucky, shower. So thank you for the reminders, I’m sure I will appreciate them when that happy time of my graduation does happen upon me, but until then kindly take your emails away and stop reminding me that I’m a little bit behind the “average student”. I’ve never been average, why would I start now?

Sincerely

A slightly hectic super-senior

You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

Student Insurance . . . plus SHAC is available, too.

By: Theo Burke

As I graduate, besides memories and friends, I am leaving behind the awesome Portland State student health insurance. I’ve written about this before, now I’m experiencing the difference.

Since I don’t know what job is coming down the pike or what kind of health insurance it might carry, I’ve applied for individual insurance through Cover Oregon, the state exchange that sells private health plans (with federal subsidies to help pay the premiums) under the Affordable Care Act, or “ObamaCare.” The state exchange will alternatively sign you up automatically for the state’s Medicaid program (the Oregon Health Plan) if you qualify.

In the real world, I will have to think more about the deductible. A deductible is an amount you pay each year (usually $250 – $1000 or higher) before any benefits are paid by your health insurer.

At PSU, the deductible was $0.00.

My present doctors might not be covered by a new insurance company. At PSU, the Aetna provider network was vast.

I will have to worry more about whether alternative care is covered. At PSU, naturopathic doctors are treated the same as primary care doctors, and chiropractors are covered up to twelve visits per year.

Weirdly enough, when I heard from Cover Oregon recently, they put me in the Oregon Health Plan, even though I reported enough income to disqualify me from that program. Now I will have to figure out the Medicaid ”world,” which works much differently than the private insurers’ system, or else contest my placement in that program with Cover Oregon.

Students, the PSU plan won’t throw you such curve balls. You have an awesome, generous health plan, and you should take advantage of it before you graduate. As I’ve said before, you don’t know what you’ve got, until you lose it.

| Spring |

| Spring |

by Sierra Pruitt

Spring time always make people giddy and it’s one of the best things I get to witness during this season. Being in Portland, I absolutely love the days of sunshine because people are outside enjoying what we don’t get enough of.

But I have also came to the conclusion that we need to love the season we are in and not dwell because “summer isn’t here yet” or “school hasn’t ended.”

We all need to make the most of each day and become content with the present.

Here’s to spring, the blossoming flowers, and living in the present!

Opera singer by day, karaoke star by night

By: Emily Skeen

As a vocal performance major, karaoke is something I experience quite a lot. You might think that after a full day of studying opera and proper singing technique the last thing my friends and I want to do is go sing some more, but we do. It might be the attention, or the alcohol, or how fun it is to sing whatever we want without being told that we’re closing to the diphthong on the french word “les”, I’m really not sure. But whatever it is that draws us to karaoke over and over again, we find our purposes are best served by Suki’s and KJ Chris Green.

KJ Chris doing his thing at Suki's

KJ Chris doing his thing at Suki’s

KJ Chris comes from a theater background, has a sweet beard, his own entertainment company, a winning attitude, and always happily agrees to sing Phantom of the Opera duets with me. And while Scandals has an equally adequate musical theater song selection, and Boiler Room is better for dancing, no other locale has quite the same crowd, a lack of cover charge, the perfect dive quality, wonderfully low prices, the aforementioned KJ, and appropriately strong drinks like Suki’s does. It may not be a contest in real life, but in my mind Suki’s is the clear winner.

| A Technology Relationship |

| A Technology Relationship |

by Sierra Pruitt

We are people of love and relationship.

We are not made for technology. We are made for building relationships with one another. Technology is just a tool.

Too many of us look down at our phones to ignore human interaction when we should be engaged with one another and nature. I have recently seen commercials about new technology that makes us look at the world in a different way — a world with less engagement and more of a relationship with the material things that surround us. Devices like Google Glass move us further away from interacting with one another and more to the screens we look at everyday. We then create a sense of what the world is through our technologic advances instead of looking around and seeing the beauty that is already here.

Let’s remember that technology is not in control of our lives. Let’s not use the technology we own to isolate ourselves, but to create ways to meet people around us. Our most memorable moments do not come from our technology, but from people. We are designed to love, care, and create relationships with one another.

You know you’re an irresponsible hot mess when…

By: Emily Skeen

You know you’re an irresponsible hot mess when…your student loans total $40,000 and you just spent $5 of the money you’re supposed to use to pay your rent, trying to beat level 30 of Candy Crush. Yes, this is a true story of my very sad, very first world addiction to a game where the sole objective is to match up brightly colored candies.

The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), defines addiction based on the following criteria:

1. Inability to consistently abstain
I have not gone a full 24 hours without playing Candy Crush since my mom introduced me to it 2 months ago. Darn you mom!

2. Impairment in behavioral control
Remember the $5 I spent even though I have all that debt?

3. Craving or increased “hunger” for drugs or rewarding experiences
I want to play. All. The. Time. I will crush the candy, I will bring that last damn cherry to the bottom, I will clear all the jelly!

4. Diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships
My girlfriend: Babe, can you put that game down for a second I need to tell you something important
Me: What? Sorry, I accidently switched the stripey candy the wrong direction and now the last acorn is not where it needs to be.

5. A dysfunctional emotional response

cc-one-jelly-left
Seriously

Now, while I do acknowledge that there are more severe addictions, this does not mean that I don’t have a problem. And judging by the plethora of memes available to describe my plight, I would hazard a guess that I’m not the only one earning irresponsible-hot-mess status because of my Candy Crush addiction.

Call Campus Security? Maybe not.

HPIM2422

Another “phalanx response”, on Sunday, March 2, in Smith.

Over Christmas, as I returned to my car at 2 a.m., I was approached by four muscular campus security officers, in three patrol cars. It was a little scary.

Someone had called in a complaint about a man “trying to break into the library, wearing a hoody.”  I had returned some books to the Millar Library dropbox, and then carried the library’s delivered New York Times closer to the revolving doors as a courtesy, pausing to read some headlines first. I’m geeky like that.

After a check with dispatch that I was a bona fide student, the four officers let me on my way. I’ve since noticed this “phalanx of four” routine is common with Campus Public Safety Office (CPSO) responses:

  • HPIM2423Last week, I saw a solo CPSO officer patrolling the Broadway. Around the corner, I spotted three more campus security responding to an incident.
  • Later in the week, a young man was panhandling all of us in line for coffee in Smith. Someone apparently reported him, as later I spied one officer stationed by the coffee joint, two more interviewing him by the Information Desk, and a fourth officer by the front door on Broadway.

Clearly, CPSO is prepared for any escape in any direction! Their “I-formation” is as impressive as any our football Vikings might run.

I refrained from calling CPSO on the panhandler, as I also did last week when I saw an unstable young man kicking all of the gravel out of the tree beds in front of the Broadway. I imagined an overreaction from CPSO similar to my experience.

Is all this manpower necessary to keep us safe? A greater risk is created, I suggest, if some students avoid calling security in the first place, concerned about overkill. Money would also be saved if CPSO responded with two-man teams.

What do you think?  In April, the university will have a security discussion that will include the question of arming these officers with guns. Tell the university what you think here, or add a comment to this blogpost. You can bone up on the recent task force report on campus safety here.

Get rid of the Football team, pshhh please.

By: Marilynn Sandoval

“We need to get rid of the football team to put money elsewhere in our school.” This is the Facebook comment I see on almost every post about budget issues.

When someone says we should eliminate football, it gets me really mad. Not only because some of my great friends at this University are on the football team. But because I don’t think people realize that getting rid of the football team would probably mean a drop in the number of African-American students. Portland State after all prides itself in being diverse.

When I asked my African-American friend on the football team if he would have gone to college without a football scholarship, he immediately answered “no.” If it wasn’t for football, getting a higher education would have been extremely hard financially on his family. He said that his mother was blessed that a football team picked him up and helped pay for his education.

My friend now has the chance to continue his studies and play the sport that he loves. By going to college, he also has a shot at an NFL spot in the future. These are the kind of stories that should be considered when someone says they want to get rid of a sport here at Portland State University. Think about the athletes, rather than your own personal dislike of sports.

 

What are your thoughts on this?

| Let it Snow |

| Let it Snow |

By: Sierra Pruitt

The snow was such a great surprise here in Portland. I mean, snow rarely happens here, and the joy that comes from people when it does snow makes me so happy. The whole city practically shut down. Stores weren’t open, transportation stopped running, and schools were closed. There is something about when a city shuts down and all you see when you’re walking are children playing in the snow, numerous pictures being shot, and people cross-country skiing on the streets.
People got excited.
People got enthusiastic.
Most importantly, people just got to relax and play.
It was a wonderful treat to experience snow here in Portland. Now, sadly, it’s time to say goodbye to the snow and hello to the next seasons ahead.

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