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Posts tagged ‘college’

You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

P1010269As 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!

Who would want to take summer classes?

sunset_wakeboarding-columbia-river-087_mg_9556

By: Mario Quintana

The majority of people wait all year for summer to arrive and perhaps even more so students.After months of class, hours of studying, and weeks of cloudy days, summer is ever so calming.For those who work and go to school, it is a relief to have less stress and responsibilities to deal with. So it may come as a surprise to many students to see other students taking summer classes. Yet, there are lots of reasons for taking summer classes.

I’m considering taking summer classes this year to graduate sooner rather than later. Fortunately I have the finances to take the classes if things work out. In doing so, I can save time and money by graduating earlier. Yet, there are uncertainties that come about by rushing things. What are my options after graduating? Am I considering grad school or will I join the workforce? Do I have a plan for both options?

In the end, I suppose I’m ready to finish my undergraduate degree and to move on. This is my  fifth year at PSU and taking another year is not appealing to me. It almost seems that my path to adulthood has been stagnated for numerous and personal reasons. While summer is a great time for the majority of people, it does not exempt them from their work and responsibilities. So would you take summer classes if you could?

| 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.

Finals are coming. Have you pet a dog yet?

by Jenna Rae Tucker

 

I consider my dog, Tim, to be my best friend, I would almost always rather snuggle up with him and stare into his adorable little face than go out and party. Sometimes he is annoying, especially when it is time for a walk (or what I like to call a “pull”) but he is always stoked to see me when I come home and he is such a goober it always makes me laugh. Maybe it is because I have never had a dog of my own, or because I am Tim’s lifeline, but I just love the little sucker so much. He makes me feel less stressed, less sad, and less lonely.

Timbers

Timbers

But it is not just me! Hanging out with a pup can do this for you too! According to a report from CNN “canine interaction increases a human’s level of oxytocin, a hormone that reduces anxiety and blood pressure.” Studies also show that lots of stress/anxiety impairs memory, which you need for those tests. Some workplaces and universities actually have therapy dogs on site during stressful periods to calm people down.

DOGTHERAPY

So, find a dog and get to pettin’ (but make sure you ask its owner for permission first, apparently people frown upon random petting sometimes). Tim is available, but he will charge you one baby carrot per petting session.

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.

Hey little girl, what do you want to be when you grow up?

By Emily Skeen

In the immortal words of Jason Robert Brown, “I stand on a precipice, I struggle to keep my balance.” The dictionary defines a precipice as “a very steep rock face or cliff, typically a tall one”. This seems fitting to me because the metaphorical precipice in question is my transition between college and ‘the real word’, and what lies on the other side is a large, terrifying open space, full of student loans I seriously hope I’ll be able to pay off.

There was a time when the thought of this precipice didn’t seem so terrifying. In fact it seemed exciting. Beyond it, to quote another musical, was “the unexamined life” that I couldn’t wait to live, because I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. But now, after 4+ years as an undergrad exploring my interests, the only things I do know are: I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up, and I’m not a little girl anymore. The terrifying and exciting nature of that dark pit beyond this precipice is that I get to make the decisions, and all I can do is act on opportunity and hope I don’t screw it all up. Because in reality, it’s still that same exciting “unexamined life”, it’s just a little more unexamined than I had hoped for. But in way, even when you have plans, the future is always unknown, so in that sense, am I really any different from anyone else?

A live phone call — someone loves me

By: Theo Burke

"Hey, I didn't know it could TALK!"

“Hey, I didn’t know it could TALK!”

Not long ago, while working on a PSU Vanguard story, I received a return phone call, within 24 hours, from Scott Gallagher of the University Communications office. I nearly fell down from shock.

I had not received a live phone call in months from anyone other than my mother. And it seemed as though an ever-increasing amount of important people in my life had barricaded themselves behind “email walls.”

When I recently asked to meet with an editor at one of the three student media outlets I worked for, she simply refused to do it. Her supervisor had established a policy, she said, that editors could limit communications with writers to email. No meetings, live conversations, or body language required.

A professor supervising me on a huge term paper could only be reached by email and was only on campus two days per week. She had not even set up the voice mail on her office phone. But this makes her no different from most PSU profs —not a single professor in my three years here has used the office phone.

Mr. Gallagher reminded me what humans are capable of. Follow up.  Consideration. Professionalism. Simple human respect and kindness. And he understands that the old standards of professionalism still matter to do your job.

I submit to you all that we will not be able to live without live voice communication and nonverbal body language over the long run. We will not be able to abandon those and hold onto the jobs that we like, as well.

No amount of quiet, feverish tapping on our devices will replace our voices and ourselves.

Resolutions… why wait?

By: Marilynn Sandoval

It’s a new year and everyone has their resolution chosen, what’s mine? My resolution is to never have a resolution but create changes throughout the year. We all seem to think that having a New Year’s resolution is finally going to get us to change those things we’ve been trying to change, but why wait until a new year? Let’s change these things as soon as possible. Create a better you, without all the wait of a new year.

If it’s the awkward “I don’t want to start on an odd day such as Wednesday” excuse, wait until a Monday rolls around or even the first day of the month but not a whole year. Changing something or pursuing something takes time and commitment. Although it may be hard to find that time, we need to realize that in the end this will have a positive impact in our life. I’ll admit that I am one who chooses to start on a Monday or first day of the month. It’s only because if I don’t, I feel all out of sorts.

Some common resolutions are to be healthier, work out more, lose weight and travel more. To complete these resolutions, start with a piggy bank. Save your change to buy organic foods and buy that gym membership you’ve been wanting. Having more money also leads to living that travel lifestyle you want.

So hurry up and get on it, and don’t wait for next year. Rome is waiting for you!

newyears

A relentless secret at PSU . . .

P1010269

There is a secret held by many a Portland State student, closely guarded, but not really secret; not shameful, but not boasted of. We keep it from others, and ourselves as well.

It is the grinding, relentless poverty of the college student. Students push poverty out of their minds, taking loan after loan each term without dwelling on the ramifications, trying to hang on until graduation, concentrating on academics.

wolf howling-md

Our university community may not fully realize how deeply many students live in the quiet perseverance of being broke and being a student. And the weird ways that poverty can manifest.

A busy student I know led a prestigious student group last year while racking up $1800 in parking fines and impoundment fees on her car. She gave up on recovering the car, and eventually purchased a different vehicle. Some students can’t afford their textbooks. I’ve visited ASPSU’s food pantry myself several times this term and in past terms.

The wolves just catch up with you. You feed the ones that must be fed, and try to ignore the howling of the others as you bear down your latest term paper. Eventually, the checkbook gets empty, the next pittance of income too far away.

That is when I have been grateful for the existence of several things:  ASPSU’s food pantry in Smith. The endless help of the Financial Aid office. Emergency loans from the Bursar’s Office. A little help from my friends in my personal life.

I would not have made it through without them.

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