Looking back on a year of fitness

selfieBy: Sam Bakkila

In the corner of my room, right in front of my over-crammed bookcase, I keep my black Nike tennis shoes. These shoes have followed me a long way: they’ve cushioned me on ten mile runs, supported me when I put 300 pounds on my shoulders in the gym, and even splashed into the Willamette with me during crew practice on one of the most scorching days of this unusually hot summer.

When I started as a graduate student at Portland State last fall, I knew that I would need to be proactive about finding time for recreation and fitness. I’m getting my master’s degree in English literature, and I am also teaching writing courses to undergraduates. Trying to be a student and an instructor at the same time can be demanding and I knew that there would be no time for play in my schedule unless I made it a priority.

When I was in college, I didn’t have the healthiest habits. I rarely got seven hours of sleep, and though I liked to exercise, I didn’t make time for it regularly enough to reap its benefits. I was always tired and stressed-out and relying on coffee to give me the energy to power through my day.

I decided that graduate school would be different. My first step was that I signed up to have a personal trainer at Campus Rec. I had never felt very comfortable lifting weights—at other gyms, it always seemed like everyone else there had been lifting for years and they were silently judging my rookie mistakes. Having access to very affordable personal training led by other PSU students in such a welcoming environment was a great opportunity for me.

Before I started, I had lower back pain from sitting with bad posture at my computer, and I didn’t have enough flexibility to even perform some of the most basic lifts. Now, I lace up my Nike’s practically everyday, and as I perform my favorite lifts I feel my new-found strength radiating from my muscles throughout my whole body.

My shoes are now worn and ready to be replaced, and I find myself feeling surprisingly sentimental about letting them go. In buying these shoes, which were a little bit of a splurge on my student budget, I decided that I deserved good support in pursuing my fitness endeavors. In using these shoes, I remembered how much I like to challenge myself to get a little bit stronger everyday. Today, these shoes and their wear and tear represent goals made and goals achieved.


A Major Change

Chronicles Grav

By Shezad Khan

The fact that I’ll be a graduate student in about a month has me thinking about my undergrad years and how I struggled with deciding on a major. As a new college student, I firmly believed that I was going to major in biology. Being a bio major was something I had “figured out” in high school. But as time went on, I changed my mind. I came to the realization that I wanted to major in English – a subject that I truly loved.

I recently listened to a couple of younger college students discuss their indecision about what they wanted to do. This seems universal; I hear it from friends, family members, and other students. Now that I’ve finished my undergrad, it always seems interesting how much people stress about their major.

It’s a clichéd piece of advice to tell people they have time to figure out what they want to do – but it’s true. I guess my main piece of advice for new students, or continuing students who are still undecided, is to not stress about it. I changed my major sophomore year, and I know people who have changed their majors three or four times before finding what they truly wanted. I think the key to deciding your major is your happiness. If what you’re doing doesn’t make you happy, then don’t do it.

Find a subject that you love, and go for it. No matter what anyone else says or thinks about it, stick to it. You’re going to be in college for quite some time, you may as well have a passion for it.


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.

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By: Xylia Lydgate

I have been coming to Campus Rec for a little over two years now but only recently watched (and rewatched) this video— gives me goosebumps every time! What strikes me most about it is how it really accentuates the inclusivity at Campus Rec. It is more than just a building or a gym; it’s a community that welcomes all students and community members with open arms.

As a Campus Rec employee, I find myself here all the time; partly because I work here but also because it’s a place where I can relax and unwind after a long day. When I’m done with school and work, I stay and hit the Fitness Center. I’ve never been much of the athletic or “sporty” type— and for the record, I’m probably the most uncoordinated person when it comes to hitting, throwing or dodging balls— but I simply enjoy working out on my own. Moving from the cardio floor to the weight room, I become easily lost in the tempo of my workout routine, the catchy tunes of my playlist, the rhythm of counting my reps, and the constant beating of basketballs hitting wooden courts fade into the soundscape.

There’s a place for everyone here, even if you’re not a “gym junkie.” Hit the courts and play a youthful game of H-O-R-S-E, challenge your friends to a match of table tennis or grab a couple swim noodles and hose down a friend in the pool (yes, they do serve as multi-functional water guns). Of course ya can’t forget about our TV lounge and those comfy couches in the locker rooms! So the next time you’re waiting between classes or need a place to “hang out,” drop by the Rec and make yourself at home.

How do you like to play?


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


Vacation, all I ever wanted…


By: Sharon Nellist

I was under the impression that summer break would imply some rest and relaxation.

Certainly not this summer…..

Even though my last undergraduate year at Portland State does not arrive for another 72 days, I already feel slightly overwhelmed with all the work I have this summer in preparation. As well as being on-call for temp work to save enough money to make it through the next year, interviewing for internships, constantly reviewing my schedule choice, and considering graduate school programs.

So when I have a brief moment or a spontaneous weekend of freedom, I look for nearby areas that will assimilate that all so glorious feeling of paradise.



A great little refuge is just a short 30-minute drive across the Washington border – a place called Lewisville Park. It has a clear river swimming hole nested in between towering pines and several wildlife hiking trails.



Moulton Falls is another place that I have my eye keenly on. Just another few miles east of Lewisville Park, it also has several hiking trails with a billowing white falls, an old wooden bridge, and 15-foot cliff just waiting for a brave soul to jump into the icy cool waters below.


Tell me about your paradise?


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!