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Posts tagged ‘University’

You Don’t Know What You Got . . .

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.

Who would want to take summer classes?

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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?

Call Campus Security? Maybe not.

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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.

Isn’t there an easy button for life?

By: Mario Quintana

The-Feel-Of-Everybody-Graduating-College-Is-Husky-RelatbleIt’s only been recently that I have given much thought on what may follow after I graduate. I find it hard to believe that four years ago I stepped onto this campus and thought it would seem forever before I found myself at commencement. I like many students, had my share of difficulties along the way, times of procrastination, and uncertainties about my major.

Every time I head over to the Diversity and Multicultural Student Services, I see new and young faces. Gone are the students I met when we were freshmen. I reminisce with my adviser on how not long ago I was one of the new, young, and few first generation students. Now, I am at a crossroads in my life.

Many questions and scenarios come to my mind. Should I, upon graduating, immediately seek a job? Or should I pursue my master’s or hope to create something for myself? It is often said that graduates should seek a job that they love to do or that has meaning to them. However, while it is a comforting idea I don’t believe it to be realistic. Yet, the idea of simply working to make money is dull itself.

But I ask myself, how many people have the privilege to work? How many others have meaning to their jobs or let alone their life? These questions may seem naive and repetitive, but it is often through contemplation that we can find ourselves. Perhaps then I should find work for the sake of working and on my free time create meaning to my life and myself.

Vikings in the Super Bowl

By: DeLon R. Lewis

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Julius Thomas

This Sunday, Feb. 2, will mark the first time in which two players from Portland State – DeShawn Shead and Julius Thomas – face off in the Super Bowl.

Shead is a member of the Seattle Seahawks’ infamous “Legion of Boom” defensive backfield, which includes NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidates Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman. At PSU, Shead was named Most Outstanding Defensive Back three years in a row, 2008 through 2010.

Thomas, tight end for the Denver Broncos, I actually wrote a blog about Julius Thomas after the first game of the season: http://psuchronicles.com/2013/10/11/from-psu-to-the-nfl/

Whether or not you are a football fan, you should check out Super Bowl XLVIII on Sunday to witness two Portland State football legends compete for the pinnacle of their careers. I am looking forward to this game to see my hometown Seattle Seahawks bring home our first Super Bowl trophy. Who do you think is going to win the Super Bowl, Shead’s Seahwaks, or Thomas’ Broncos?

Congratulations and good luck to Deshawn Shead, and Julius Thomas on their accomplishments! As always, GO VIKS!

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DeShawn Shead (right)

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.

2014 What’s the Resolution?

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By: DeLon Lewis

Since you all won’t hear from me until 2014 I thought it would only be right to share my New Year’s resolution here on PSU Chronicles. For 2014, I want to improve my time management skills.  More specifically, I want to be places and turn in assignments early rather than late or on time.

I did pretty well with my resolution for 2013, which was to follow through and do the things I say I will do. The only thing that stopped me from being more effective on that goal was poor time management. Waiting until the last minute to do something is probably my one Achilles heel. That is going to change in 2014.

In order to be successful with my resolution, I must become a better planner. As soon as I receive a task, I plan to begin working on it sooner than later. If you know anything about me, I suck at being punctual. I find it hard to get out of bed and I also take a long time getting ready to leave. If I can ease off the snooze button and leave the house sooner, I should be in good shape.

Now I am curious to know, PSU Chronicles followers, what is your New Year’s resolution going to be? As always GO VIKS!!!!

A relentless secret at PSU . . .

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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.

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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.

Read Your @#$%&*! E-Mails

By: Emily Skeen

For a little over two years now, I’ve been working as a student leader on campus. I also ran a SALP group for two years. In that time I learned many things including leadership techniques, networking skills, communication and so on. But the one that sticks out the most is this basic principle about students: They don’t check their emails. Which leads to conversations like this:

Student: “Hey Emily, I didn’t hear about that awesome event Campus Rec just did, why didn’t you tell anyone? That’s your job and you’re not doing it”.

Me: “Well, student, as a matter of fact, I sent three e-mails about that event in the last month, do you check your e-mail?”

Student: “Yeah”

Me: “Do you read your e-mails?

Student: “Uhhh…”

Me: “That’s what I thought”

Student shuffles off without accepting fault.

If I had a quarter, or even a nickel, for every conversation of this type that I have had over the last two years, I wouldn’t be $40,000 in debt. Moral of the story: Read your $#%@&** e-mails. You might just find that all your questions have already been answered.

Portland State Football Interview

I got a chance to catch up with two of my very good friends on the Portland State football team after one of their practices before they defeated University of North Dakota. These two gentlemen, junior Vincent Johnson (left) and senior Bryant Long (right), took time out to answer some questions from me. In this interview we go over everything from their respective recruiting trips to their brotherhood in Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. See these guys on the field for our last home game of the season against Sacramento State University at 1:05 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, at Jeld-Wen Field. Are there any other athletes or student leaders you would like to see in a future interview? GO VIKS!

-Way2Cold

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