Don’t Press Snooze on Summer

By Emma Eberhart

Last summer, I voluntarily chose to give up the ability to press snooze on my alarm, so I could instead spend my mornings in a classroom, and to be honest I would do it again.

The summer quarter at Portland State generally offers both the usual 10-week course and the occasional accelerated four-week course that condenses the curriculum to a shorter amount of time but meets more than the common two times a week. Courses are worth the same amount of credit hours regardless of whether they last 10 weeks or four, so you can pick a class that works best with your schedule, which is really great. The class I took was an accelerated course—a length I would choose again since it left a majority of my summer with no looming school deadlines.

Another positive aspect of taking summer courses, I found, is that the professors are teaching fewer classes, which means that they have fewer students to focus on. This is not to say that during the other quarters, professors care less, but they have given me more constructive help and have been more engaged during summer term.

The only downside is there are fewer courses offered because fewer students sign up.

If you can find a class that is offered in the summer that works with your schedule and is necessary for you to graduate, I would advise you to take it. Any and all opportunities that get you closer to graduating are worth it.

Thank You for Not Breeding

img_4856 by Steph Holton

On Friday, April 21, Portland State hosted its annual Earth Day Festival, which featured booths from dozens of environmentally-minded student and community organizations with a passion for educating and engaging the public in sustainability efforts. I passed through the festival several times that day but only stopped by one booth, simply because I could not resist knowing what was meant by the words on its canopy: Thank You for Not Breeding. It turned out, this was a booth promoting the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, which supports the complete cessation of human procreation to allow the earth to reset itself from the damage caused by the human race.

When I asked whether the movement had considered promoting limited procreation, the person manning the booth told me that while the goals of the movement are essentially impossible, even the birth of a single human being beyond the current population is unjustifiable because of the damage inflicted on the earth and the loss of life due to starvation every day.

I agree, the goals of the Voluntary Human Extinction Movement are impossible. However, overpopulation is becoming a greater issue every day; the human population doubled in the years between 1960 and 2000 alone, while more than 10,000 species go extinct each year. A global increase in life expectancy is partially responsible for the population bubble we see now, but there has also been a dramatic increase in birth rates in modern times. That points to the necessity of nationally and globally supported resources for family planning. There are myriad facts on this topic, which of course are too numerous to list here; however, for those who are interested, some great resources to look into are:

https://www.populationmatters.org/

http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/topics/family_planning/en/

and http://wwf.panda.org/

Let It Move You

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

Four simple words. Four words that can make a lasting impact.

When I hear the phrase “dance like nobody’s watching,” it makes me nervous because what if someone IS watching. It is the fear of being criticized, made fun of, looked down upon, that causes me to tighten up and not want to just “let loose” in public settings. But at the end of the day I try to remind myself, who cares? Who cares if you’re having a great time and someone else thinks you look funny. What really matters if that you’re having fun and you’re enjoying your life.

The reason I am writing about this is because there is always another side to the story. The fear of being “laughed at” or made fun of is a minuscule concern compared to some of the day-to-day fears others may be facing. Not everyone is fortunate enough to be attending school with a stable living condition, steady job and same amount of emotional and financial support from family and friends.

Across the nation, thousands of women are fleeing from domestic violence and seeking safe shelter. Each year Campus Rec partners with the Women’s Resource Center to host their annual Zumbathon. All proceeds from participants go towards funding to provide shelter to victims of domestic violence.

Don’t be afraid to dance your heart out, let loose and let the music move you. I encourage you to participate in community events that stand for a good cause. Portland State offers hundreds of events that connect you with volunteering and relief efforts.

It is a simple task to drop your worries, be brave and dance for those who can’t.

 

Scheduling Spring

By Emma Eberhart

Through and through I am a planner. I live for organization and tidiness. Arranging objects via color, alphabetically, by size or shape gets me ridiculously excited. I view my love for organization as a strength; however, it is definitely also a weakness because I allow little room for sudden changes.

This spring term I may or may not have committed myself to one too many things. And by one too many things, I definitely mean like five or six. Despite spreading myself far too thin, I am determined to fulfill all of my commitments and do so with grace, ease, and the aid of caffeine. I am determined to schedule all of my time down to the minute and stick to it.

In order to manage 20 credit hours for school, two part-time jobs, and my personal life I am heavily relying on the amazing trifecta of: bullet journaling, to-do lists, and calendar apps. Bullet journaling and organizing your time and efforts can definitely be overwhelming, but I have found it is very much worth the stress.

If you’re looking for any organization inspiration, I recommend a Google or Tumblr search for “studyblr,” which is full of beautiful photos of color coded notes and schedules and charts and a whole lot of other stuff artistically organized.

 

Don’t Forget What You Love

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Recently, I have found myself falling away from some of the hobbies I love in order to study and do homework. Even though college is definitely a time to figure yourself out and find your identity, I started to miss parts of myself I’d accidentally left behind.

For years I sang, played guitar, and enjoyed performing the songs I’ve written at open mic nights. In fact, Portland’s flourishing music scene is a key reason I chose PSU—and yet I still have not been to an open mic. For the entirety of winter term, I only picked up my guitar once and never wrote a new song.

I also haven’t been running as much. I loved having a goal to train for that culminated in a competitive race where I really tested my limits. Moving to Portland from Idaho, I was excited to participate in the races it had to offer. As in the case with my singing and songwriting, fall and winter term passed by and my runs grew few and far between.

Despite entering spring quarter of my freshman year with two academically successful terms behind me, I felt rather unaccomplished and disappointed. On a whim, I signed up for the Cinco de Mayo Half Marathon with only a month to train. After my first long training run, I immediately felt like part of my old self was back—and in a good way. I have also queued up possible open mics to go to and ended my creative drought by writing a song.

Looking back, I see that I took the “fresh start” of college too literally and ended up sidelining the things I love to do. It’s very easy to get swept away in the idealized college life of self-discovery. Despite the transformations I’ve undergone, the biggest learning curve was realizing that not everything about me has to change.

 

How to Find Music at Portland State

img_4865by Andrew D. Jankowski

When I realized I was (finally!!!!) old and irrelevant to youth culture, I thought I didn’t know how to find new music anymore. The last time I tried to go back to MySpace, the login process was a jumbled mess, like an outdated HTML fantasy layout. What do straight people listen to, and why? How do you say FKA twigs? Why do people make fun of Grimes? My tastes have grown from riot grrrl offshoot projects to black and queer vogue ball music, and things between. Aaron Osborn, the Portland State Vanguard’s current creative director, has good taste in music, as do my other friends and coworkers, but I don’t necessarily have time to pilfer all their libraries.

I can pick my way through press releases and Facebook event invites. But there are more ways than downloading albums off Limewire (RIP) to find new music, and even support your classmates and alumni on and off campus. Here are a few ways to find new music:

Parkway North: The northwest lounge on Smith Memorial Student Union’s first floor has daily programming, hosting everything from community events to free concerts by some of Portland’s best emerging and established musical artists. Check out their website to stay updated on their programming.

Lincoln Performance & Recital Hall: Host to concerts, plays, musicals, recitals, lectures, film screenings and more. Every floor of Lincoln Hall has poster boards, which are popular locations for poster hangers promoting events on and off campus.

Event Calendars: Sure, I bet some of you hate “the liberal media.” That’s okay**, I’m not a fan of their music either. But you can’t deny that Portland’s event calendars are consistently packed with some of the city’s best culture & entertainment, and I’m not just saying that because I curate the Vanguard’s event calendar. Willamette Week and Portland Mercury’s event calendars are what inspired me as a deeply confused heterosexual Christian teen from Vancouver (which is totally its own town and “not” the New Jersey of Portland) to get into arts and culture journalism. They were how I learned about what are now Portland institutions like Sinferno Cabaret, Blow Pony and STRFKR.

The internet / apps: Venues across town also have event calendars. Subscribe to your favorite venues’ social media pages & mailing lists, and if you aren’t -actually- financially struggling, then please stop complaining about cover fees because that’s how bands and venues make their living. Also, sometimes I forget that stuff like Pandora, Spotify Radio, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp exist because I’m secretly a techphobe who needs an intern to do stuff like make Snapchat make sense as a time investment.
**Disclaimer: It is okay to critique media and press workers’ work, but it is not okay to bully us or defame our profession, especially when we are acting within ethical guidelines.

Identity Exploration

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-6-11-12-pm By, Melissa Pyle

One of the reasons I was drawn to Portland State University as my alma mater was the city’s unofficial motto to, “Keep Portland Weird.” I felt if a city could embrace this sentiment it would complement my own life experiences. In short, it has been a long and weird journey to get to where I am today. I am a non-traditional student, I did not come to PSU straight out of high school. In fact, I am a twenty-seven-year-old adult trying to navigate academia, and it has come with quite a learning curve of its own. The most difficult and rewarding aspect of college for me is finding comfort in exploring my identity and challenging my experiences and beliefs. Life is a journey of self-discovery and education is the hallmark of transformation. I know I’m not the same person as I was when I startedsearching this long weird journey which is both scary and exciting.

I challenge you to explore your identity, in whatever way that may mean to you. Perhaps, just look more closely at why you do something a certain way and change it or even simply try a new activity. The change doesn’t have to be tangible or indefinite, it’s an opportunity to approach life from a new perspective.