The Collegiate Christmas Conversation



by Steph Holton


It’s that time of year again – the time of flights, finals, family, and food. And whether winter break includes a flight for you (as it does for me) or just a trip down the street, you are bound to be at the mercy of your questioning elders. I’ve come to find that most of these “real adults,” while well-meaning, will ask the same two questions, which you should be prepared to receive as a college student going home for the holidays:

  1. “How’s school – what is it you’re doing again?”
  2. “Are there any special guys/girls in your life?” (Usually asked with a double eyebrow raise.)

The first may just be me – I don’t know. But it seemed to take even my immediate family most of my freshman year to remember what I was majoring in. This question might feel like an affront, since as college students we live and breathe a certain subject for at least nine months out of the year, but at least it has an easy answer to give!

I haven’t the slightest idea why, but I get asked the second question so much when I go home. And if there’s ever a time you’re without a significant other, you may not necessarily want to go into why with your dad’s best friend’s wife or whoever. The great thing about this question is that anyone removed from your school social scene won’t know if you’re ‘stretching the truth’ – so have fun with the answer. This may not be the most ‘peace’ and ‘goodwill’ advice I could give, but hey – it could certainly help you test your creativity beyond tree-trimming and gingerbread decorating!

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Is your reliance on Digital Technology Costing you Career Opportunities?

Blogger Profile Picture  By: Sara Kirkpatrick

This past week I’ve attended a number of free campus workshops, all of which promoted face-to-face networking as a prime source to land jobs and internships.  As students, it is important to understand how to use digital media to accomplish these goals, it is equally important not to lose our basic face-to-face communication skills.

Practice your face-to-face communication:

  1. Treat your cellphone like an addiction- When spending time with peer(s), treat your cellphone like a cigarette; it’s a shameful addiction that we all have, and it is not socially accepted everywhere.
  1. Check your phone at the door- When hosting a dinner party, ask your guests to check their cellphones at the door, by placing them into a basket upon entry.
  1. No tech devices allowed- Host a “Y2K” event where no technology devices are permitted. Ask everyone to leave their cellphones and other mobile devices at home or in their car, prior to attending.
  1. First phone gets the check- When out to dinner, make a rule that whoever pulls out their phone first pays the check for everyone at the table.

As upcoming graduates in a competitive job market, we cannot afford to lack the knowledge on how to communicate without the use of technological devices.  Attend a campus workshop, and practice your face-to-face communication skills!

Upcoming free campus workshops: PSU Campus Events


Give Thanks for Thanksgiving

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

This week is Thanksgiving. A time for laughter and cheer, for friends and family, for great food and even better company. A lovely little holiday leading up to The Big One.

But honestly? It’s some pretty terrible timing. Next week is Dead Week here on campus and finals are literally just around the corner. (T-minus 14 days, in fact.) And I know I’m not the only one freaking out about the projects due. It’s stressful. Just thinking about it makes my shoulders tighten, and my stomach curl into a knot.

So, is this the best time to stop working on (or thinking about) those hugely important final projects? Probably not. My suggestion, though? Make the most of the holiday as you possibly can anyway.

Try to parcel the homework assignments out so you can spend time with the family (or friends or whomever you’re spending the holiday with). Take Thanksgiving dinnertime off, or better yet, take all of Thanksgiving Day off. If you’re traveling—like me!—try to do some assignments on the journey. (I know I’ll be writing a paper on my plane ride to the East Coast.)

Make some time for your loved ones. Heck, make some time for yourself.

You deserve the time off before the final push to finals week. Treat yourself, and your friends and family, to some quality time together this Thanksgiving. Trust me, your spirit will thank you later.

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Rec for a Cause

selfieBy James Wilson

An awesome thing about the Rec Center is that it’s more than just that place to work out. The Rec Center staff organizes a lot of events, including things that give back to the community. One of those is the Campus Rec for a Cause initiative.

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One thing they recently did, and do every month, was a community cleanup walk. On Nov. 5 they specifically focused on cleaning up our campus of all the cigarette butts everywhere. This was in partnership with SHAC to spread awareness of our new Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy. Feel free to join us once a month to give back and enjoy a cleaner campus!

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You can find more info on the Rec for a Cause Initiative here and the Smoke and Tobacco Free Policy here.

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What are your social media profiles saying about you?

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick

As I scroll through my social profiles, I see a Portland State University student, a dog lover, a movie buff, the love of pink, and so much more; I am bombarded with images of my favorite memes, and timelines of life events. As I look upon these profiles, I am reminded of my exterior presence – an image expressed through my daily interactions with the digital world around me – it is my voice when no sounds or words are spoken.

In this day and age of social media, the saying “a picture is worth 1,000 words,” has never held more truth. Our exterior image is spread virally through the universe of social platforms. Each day there are 1.3 billion active Facebook users, 500 million tweets, 60 million Instagram photos uploaded and 4 billion videos viewed on YouTube – which translates to 46,296 per second, according to Mary Catherine Wellons of CNBC.

Gone are the days of highly anticipated interviews to make an outstanding first impression. Leaving graduates today are faced with employers who are able to summarize their entire lifespans before they even meet.

As students we are the upcoming professionals, and it is our right and responsibility to project and control our representations within these social platforms.

Google yourself and see what the rest of the world sees.

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PAMLA 2015 – A Conference You Don’t Want To Miss


by Shezad Khan

If you haven’t heard yet, Portland State is hosting PAMLA this year. If you don’t know what PAMLA is, it’s the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association. The association puts on conferences on languages and literatures, and luckily for us, the conferences are going to be taking place in our home of Portland! The PAMLA conference is going to be held at the Hilton and Marriott downtown between November 6th and November 8th.

At the moment, there is a tentative schedule set which lists what topics are going to be discussed. This way, you can check to see if there’s something that interests you and you can drop in and out as you please. I should mention, however, that there are fees for attending unless you are a student at Portland State University.

Attending the PAMLA conference is a really good opportunity to learn more about the discourses of subjects you enjoy. I have never been to a conference like this, but I’m excited for the opportunity. There are even members of PSU faculty who will be presenting. And as info for the future, PAMLA also offers grants to grad students who present at the conference. I really encourage you all to attend if you can make it. It’s not often that conferences like these are free, take advantage of the opportunity!

Note: There is also an opportunity to volunteer at the event. You can volunteer for one 3-hour shift. If this interests you, contact Hildy Miller at milleh@pdx.edu. This may even be helpful for your CV.


Putting the Pub Back in Publishing

Kellie Doherty

By Kellie Doherty

Every year the second-year graduate students of the book publishing program join the new students (we call them “little fish”) at a local bar. Last year it was at Cheerful Tortoise and this year, Rogue. Not all the little fish go, of course, but the ones who do get to meet the second years and mingle with their incoming class. It’s a fun process, and one I was glad to be a part of two years in a row. I have to say, though, the way I felt about this informal meeting couldn’t be more different.

Last year, I was part of the incoming class. I was the little fish. It was seriously overwhelming, meeting all these new people and hearing about the jobs the second years had, but it felt good to be part of a group, too. Knowing I could learn from these awesome people diminished some of the fear of starting the program.

I’m a second year now. I know things! I’ve been through the gauntlet, survived, and had a blast! So when I walked into the bar and saw all the cheerful (yet apprehensive) faces of the little fish, I felt pretty good about easing their worries. At the very least, I made them feel welcomed, feel part of a group like the second years in my term did for me. And hopefully, when it’s these little fishes’ turn, they’ll do the same, too.

Do any of your programs have an informal meeting like this?