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Tuition increases, this is really happening right now…

By: Sharon Nellist

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The PSU Board of Trustees will meet tomorrow, March 12, to vote on the proposed tuition increase for the 2015-16 academic year.

The potential 5% increase will leave resident undergraduate and graduate students paying around $330 more each year. Non-resident students will have to pick up the tab with $500 more each year.*

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Students are affected by tuition increases: fewer enroll, they graduate later based on the course load they can afford, work longer hours at demanding jobs that interfere with academic performance, and drop out because they do not have enough money and cannot get more!

PSU’s Board of Trustees claims that the potential increase is due to flat enrollment, decreased state support, increase in costs, and the previously negotiated salary increases.*

Higher education is an important part of our country’s economic advancement. Free higher education, as in other developed countries, would ultimately save money with a $15-$30 billion investment. The staggering 70% of Americans who start college and do not graduate is evidence to the billions of dollars currently wasted. The more people there are in college, because they can actually afford it, the less unemployed people there would be seeking government assistance. College graduates without debt would stimulate the economy with the money they do have. Also, an educated society reports a higher level of health and happiness. (Bob Samuels Huffington Post)

I kept my tuition loans low by attending a community college before transferring to Portland State; however, with the consistent increases, I am seriously worried that I will be unable to get the funding for graduate school.

Our Student Body President Eric Noll is raising a rallying cry against the increase to put pressure on the board. Students are encouraged to gather in front of the Millar Library from noon to 1 p.m. this Thursday. #NOSTUDENTVOICEPDX

What do you say? Hope to see you there!

*Proposed agenda for the PSU Board of Trustees Meeting March 12, 2015

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Slow ride, Take it easy

By: Sharon Nellist

I admire and sympathize at the same time with those who take more than the recommended full-time classes and are involved in every other school organization and club in hopes to save a bit of money and graduate sooner than expected. Because I once was that student – and it is certainly not for everyone.

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Perhaps it is that I am a returning full-time student, in my late twenties, married, making a car payment, working several outside jobs in order to pay rent, and I’m not opposed to starting a family while trying to have the most quintessential young college experience.

What I have realized is that it is possible for everyone to have this experience, even me, but you need to know how to balance these things and maintain your sanity.

  • For me I know I need 12 credit hours, no more or less, for optimal learning
  • That suggests that I have 24 hours total of study time
  • I save money by bringing food instead of eating at delicious food carts – allows for some creativity, or lack thereof
  • My job as a nanny gives me the flexibility around my school schedule, as it is my priority
  • I budget using a spreadsheet, they are not just for old people – I can cut back on my student loans this year!
  • I am part of PSU Crew (campus rowing team), yes at 5:30 a.m. every morning, and I work for the student blog – minimal commitment allows me to focus on my involvement
  • And then, there is a whole day allotted for spending time with my husband or friends – we frequent the Saturday Market on campus

My degree may take an extra term or two to complete, but I most likely will not have a mental breakdown, my personal life will be unharmed, and I will succeed well enough to go on to Grad school and still have my perfect college experience.

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Here’s looking at you PSU

By: Sharon Jackson

A year ago today I made my way to the streetcar on a very Portland rainy morning. It was packed and muggy – full of people’s breath and their steaming hot coffees. There was a tightening knot in the bottom of my stomach, that my breakfast lay precariously on. We pulled to the Market Street stop, and I stepped down cautiously in my worn brown oxford shoes and brand new dark jeans. I gently placed my hand on my head to check if my recently curled hair was still in place. I was ready, and excessively nervous, as I proceeded up the Park Blocks for the very first time. It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship – at Portland State University.

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Tomorrow, I will be venturing out on the same route. Streetcar to Park Blocks and to begin with old-fashioned Cramer Hall. I am still nervous, but this time I am comforted with familiarity and wisdom. I will hold on dearly to the most important things I learned last year that made me a successful Viking:

Know PSU – and the various resources available that are usually FREE such as Buddy Up and the PSU Library.

Stay organized – keep your head above water, use Google Calendar or the inexpensive PSU Handbook to stay on top of your work.

Get involved – be a part of a group; Student Organizations and REC Clubs are easy to join and keep your mind from temporary insanity.

Be bold – and open minded; expose yourself to new Events, Performances, Lectures, etc. and be outspoken in your classes – it is the only way to be well-rounded.

Take care of yourself – you only do your best when you are at your best; we are lucky to have Portland Farmer’s Market at our doorstep and a state-of-the-art Campus Rec free with tuition.

What are some other ways that make You a successful Viking?

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Permanent change from temporary work

By: Sharon Jackson

Anxiously awaiting to embark on my grand excursion to England in a few weeks, I have taken up a few temp jobs this summer. What I absolutely love about temp work is that you could call it a “paid internship.” Temp jobs are a fantastic opportunity to work, gain valuable skills, and begin potentially beneficial relationships at various businesses, non-profits, etc. in the Portland metro area – and believe me, they pay decently too. Nonetheless, there are the occasional experiences that can change your perspective of the world.

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I recently spent a week at Neighborhood House, a non-profit that helps families facing hunger and homelessness by providing food, shelter, distributing grants toward rent or energy bills, and school programs for underprivileged children. It is nothing less than despairing to be enduring times like these. I know as I once lived out of my car for eight months with little work and hardly enough money for food. The people seeking assistance at the Neighborhood House should be frustrated, and rightly so. However, most people had their electricity shut off and others were there for food, but everyone held onto their hope and had a sense of humanity. These people were giving up their chairs for one another, listening for others numbers to be called for their appointments, and when they were given food or enough money to turn their electricity back on, they were extremely grateful and thanked us profusely.

What I love about temp jobs such as this one is the joy I feel for helping people in need, and the joy I feel seeing hope alive in humanity. The money is a delightful bonus, as any college student can comprehend, but it is the experiences that weigh-in the most.

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A bloody good summer

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By: Sharon Jackson

More power to those who are on the fearless fast track towards graduation by taking accelerated courses over the summer! But for me, I am in much need of some relaxed summer time off and re-energizing before another rewarding school year at PSU. Not all of us who are taking off these few months when the sun shines its best over the world, will be motionless. I, for instance, will be obtaining a summer “education” through my experience traveling to unseen [for me] parts of the world.

The last two weeks of August, my boyfriend and I are spending our time bouncing back and forth between the coasts of England. On my first trip across the pond, we will be visiting my boyfriend’s grandfather near London for his 90th birthday [merely conversing with him will be an English history lesson in itself]. In the seaside village of Churston Ferrers, we will explore the Churston Court Inn, a proper English pub that Sir Walter Raleigh would frequent, and we will visit the village of Haworth in the West Riding of Yorkshire, where the nineteenth-century literary family, the Brontës, resided. Nevertheless, England has a special significance for me, as it is where my father and mother met and married. I am beyond thrilled to finally be able to know something of their England.

So tell me, what sort of “educational” experience are you going to have this summer?

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Adult Size Peer Pressure

By: Sharon Jackson

With the dawn of warmer weather and foliage, comes exceptionally friendly people and their clipboards. I cannot count on one hand how many times I have been asked, “Are you registered to vote?” on the way to Portland State. In fact, while waiting for the Max train at Pioneer Square the other morning, I heard that very question faintly in my ear; I then turned to see a petite woman with a mellow demeanor smiling and holding a sign that said – “H.E.M.P 2014, Help End Marijuana Prohibition.”

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Since I am registered to vote in the state of Oregon, I replied “Yes,” and then she asked me if I “have signed to Legalize?” “Legalize what,” I said. “Legalize cannabis in Oregon,” she proudly proclaimed. I smiled and politely declined telling her I don’t know where I stand just yet.

The train pulled up and we both got on board. She continued to ask other patrons, in the same faint voice and smile, holding her sign. Every single person that she asked nodded with delight and agreed to sign her clipboard. It reminded me of high school peer pressure to be one of the “cool kids.” A man even yelled to the entire train – “Hey! You all should sign this, it’s going to save the world!”

And this encounter is what prompted my continuous pondering of the matter – WHAT is all the hype and WHY is it that we should sign to “LEGALIZE?”

Where do you stand?

 

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One with the dragon

By: Sharon Jackson

In between lectures and essays, I will always have Dragon Boat. There is nothing like being on the open water with the wind in my face while gliding with focus through the Willamette on a warm spring day. Oh, and it is a full-body workout as well. It is the beginning of a new season and I feel like a full-body bruise, but that is all worth it for the experience in the end. It is an amazing feeling when 20 paddlers, on a more than 2,000-year-old boat with a Dragon head, synchronize to maintain a rhythmic power as if nothing in the world can stop us. An even better feeling is when we place first in a race – Rose Festival here we come! But most of all it is worth the relationships that are gained and the immediate trust that continues to grow among us. We row as ONE. And only then, I am able to continue to my class – Oui, parler en française.

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