Questioning the System


by Shezad Khan

Now that I’ve officially begun my career as a graduate student, I’ve been delving into some pretty interesting conversations with my cohort. A topic that was the focus of a lively discussion that took place recently was that of the “banking concept” in education. This concept essentially places teachers and professors as holders of knowledge who deposit said knowledge into students. It’s a controversial method of teaching to say the least, but sometimes education adopts iffy frameworks.

I bring this up because we should all be well aware that the education system in this country, to put it gently, isn’t the best. I’m sure that the amount of reasons for the failure of our education system is vast, but that does not mean we shouldn’t try to figure it out. Some of the problems that come from the banking concept include elitist educators, lack of student/teacher interaction, and even the fact that students are meant to be docile in terms of doing and thinking what they’re told to.

I’m interested in discussions like this because I want to become a college professor. As we go through school, day by day and week by week, it’s easy to get stuck in this cycle of doing what’s on our syllabi and getting assignments in on time. Seldom do we stop and think about what it is we’re actually doing. But I think it’s very important for us to rebel a little. By that, I don’t mean you should flip your desks and tables in a frenzy during your class. I just mean that, sometimes, it’s healthy to criticize institutions.


What a Wonderful Year

meBy: Sharon Nellist

This upcoming year at Portland State is the one I have been waiting for.

Not only is it my last undergraduate year (hoping to stay for graduate studies!), but I am comfortably involved in various ways to ensure that quintessential college experience that I have been pining for all of my young adult life – and I am elated!

I WRITE – for the PSU Chronicles, and I love it. This is my voice and I intend to use it. I hope to flourish my opinion on controversial issues not only on campus but within my community. This is the only option for change.

I PLAY – or rather dabble in various Rec clubs from swing dancing, to Dragon Boat racing, and rowing. I am taking advantage of all that our unique urban campus has to offer like the week-long community celebration Portland State of Mind, FREE movies at the student-run 5th Avenue Cinema, and the privilege of listening to generous amounts of brilliant minds at PSU hosted events.

I SERVE – as a Student Leader for Service through the Student Community Engagement Center. Stepping a bit out my box and yearning for growth as a leader, I am a liaison between PSU and Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives’ Healthy Food Access Program. I also am tending community gardens at low-income properties, working with residents and hosting workshops on garden eating, helping organize community service projects and getting PSU students involved! It cannot get any more GREEN or PORTLAND than this.

My only advice to all of the new students – live these years to the fullest, PSU is simply handing it to you.


New tuition rates help only in-state students


By Marilynn Sandoval

As I was reading the news, I came upon an article saying Portland State is lowering the planned fall tuition increase from 4.2 percent to 3.1 percent. I instantly started to read the article, because it obviously concerned me as a student. As I read, my happiness quickly faded.

Although reducing the increase is amazing and will end up being a huge help for some PSU students, it won’t help me.

Full-time, in-state students  will save $90 each term. That isn’t a lot, but it is something still to be grateful for. Other universities such as the University of Oregon and Oregon State University didn’t lower their increases at all..

However, as an out-of-state student, I won’t benefit. I will pay $180 more next year than last year. The tuition for non-residents will still be $4,236 more per term than an in-state student pays — a total of $12,708 more for the year. That doesn’t include any other fees I will encounter.

PSU also is using the state funding to hire more advisors, faculty and other services. Although it seems like nothing, more support will ultimately help students stay on track. This will actually benefit all students, resident or non-resident.

To learn more about how Oregon university presidents are advocating for higher education funding, read this article


STUMPED in Stumptown…


By: 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!

Photo credit to

Real Talk About Internships


Photo credit to

Brooke HornBy Brooke Horn

We’ve heard it before: Internships are a key part of your education. They provide valuable experience, they present networking opportunities, they look good on your resume, they help you transition from academia to the workplace, etc. We get it already. They’re important. What’s lacking in the conversation about internships (at least the ones I’m hearing) is how to really make them work for you. I’ve had three so far, and I’ll be the first to admit I made a few mistakes along the way. Here’s what I learned from them.

Like any relationship, it’s important to know what you want going into one so that both parties are on the same page. I’ve seen internships range from one to six months in length and require anywhere between one and 25-plus hours per week. Before you do anything else, figure out how much time you can realistically devote to interning. I made the mistake of overestimating how much time I had to give, and as a result, I’m writing this blog post at 4am. Sleep is important too, as is scheduling time for things that help you relax and genuinely make you happy.

When you interview, remember that it goes both ways. You should be asking questions and making sure that this internship will be mutually beneficial. Some things to consider: Will this internship provide you with new skills, or do they expect you to already be competent? Do you need to generate work samples for a portfolio, and if so, will this internship help you do that? Are you going to be exposed to networking opportunities? Will you be working on your own or as part of a team? Telecommuting? Not only will you impress your potential employer, but your internship experience will be that much more rewarding because you know what you want out of it.

Finally, no internship discussion is complete without acknowledging the elephant in the room: compensation. The ethics surrounding paid vs. unpaid internships deserve a blog post – or even a book – all their own, but I’ll say this: I’ve had one paid and two unpaid internships, and they ALL were irreplaceable parts of my education. It may seem incredibly unfair to have to pay tuition and fees for seemingly free labor, but you aren’t really working for free. You are gaining otherwise unattainable experience, academic credit, and networking connections. In many cases, you are also helping small businesses stay afloat in a difficult economy. My internship with local independent publisher Hawthorne Books taught me not only about publishing, but how small businesses interact with their communities.

In short, don’t just sign up for an internship to fill a requirement or a line on your resume. Be selective, know what you want and what you have time for, and do your research. Seriously… internships quite literally changed the course of my education. If you’d like to know more, feel free to ask in the comments. I’m out of room here, but I’m always happy to help a fellow student.

If you’re on the hunt, the following resources are super helpful:

  1. PSU’s Career Center
  2. PSU’s Jobs & Internships Database
  3. Career Workshops, Classes, & Events
  4. 10 Tips to Get the Most Out of Your Internship
  5. Pinterest’s surprisingly good internship advice
Chelsea 2

How Rocks Taught Me about Happiness

Painted Hills By: Chelsea Ware

A little while ago I found out that I needed two more science credits to fulfill the requirements for that portion of my degree. My academic advisor told me about one-credit lab classes that consist of trips around Oregon where students learn about the natural environment. One of the one-credit classes I signed up for was a geology camping trip in central Oregon. As a business student, I didn’t expect this class to have a huge impact on my learning. I was very wrong.

During the day, a tour bus took us to different locations throughout rural Grant County, near John Day where we dug for fossils and hiked on scenic trails. At night, we cooked dinner by campfire and made s’mores. My favorite part of the trip was taking a two-mile hike through the Painted Hills. Listed as one of Oregon’s seven wonders, they get their name from the delicately colored yellow, gold, black and red stratifications in the soil.

As someone who grew up in the city, this trip had a vast influence on how I see the world. The residents of Grant County sometimes lived miles apart and many of the towns had populations under 200. There were no malls and no cell reception, yet the people were so content and happy. I think a lot of people base their happiness on material possessions, such as owning the latest IPhone. But maybe the reason we feel like we always need more is that once we’ve bought that thing, we quickly realize that it didn’t make us as happy after all. This leads people to get lost in an endless cycle of materialism that is difficult to escape. Through my trip, I learned that true happiness comes from the simple things, like a panoramic view of the mountains at dusk or cooking sausages over a fire with friends. True happiness comes from things that can’t be bought from a store.

The Seven Wonders of Oregon can be found at:

Affordable camping gear for PSU students is available through the PSU Outdoor Program:

Andreea Nica_bio photo

Discover PSU’s Resource Centers


PSU Queer Resource Center

By: Andreea N.

Are you familiar with Portland State University’s resource centers? They provide students with the tools, resources and support networks to better integrate into the community. They also help students excel in their studies and increase social, cultural and global awareness.

Diversity and Multicultural Student Services (DMSS)
DMSS works with students from ethnically-diverse backgrounds to guide their academic success through a student-centered inclusive environment. It offers many programs and resources, including Latino Student Services, Native American Student Services, the Diversity Scholarship Program and much more.

Disability Resource Center
PSU recognizes and respects students’ abilities, skills and talents. If you have a disability or you’re teaching a course in which a student has a disability, the resource center is here to help. Adopting a confidential and sensitive approach, the center empowers all university students through accessibility and assistance. If you’re interested in helping out, sign up to be a note taker!

Women’s Resource Center
The WRC has an interesting “her-story.” The center started out as a Women’s Faculty Club open to female faculty members and wives of professors. Now, WRC sponsors quite a few programs focused on students’ wellbeing and community development. The four programs offered include the Interpersonal Violence Program, Leadership in Action, Empowerment Project and Community Events. Click here for details on becoming a volunteer.

Queer Resource Center
QRC provides students along the sexuality and gender spectrum with a community that supports and empowers intersecting identities of LGBTQQIAAP to succeed and integrate within PSU. Through the collaboration of students, faculty and staff, the center offers Trans Resources, Gender Neutral Bathrooms, Queer Students of Color Resources and many more services. Check out the QRC community calendar for awesome PSU and local events.