How to Talk to the Adults in Your Life About Tough Topics

edit 12  By Jesse Turner

I recently celebrated my sister’s birthday with much of my immediate and extended family. I have a very conservative family and given the current election, conservative political and social ideas are often a topic of conversation. It took roughly twenty minutes before Colin Kaepernick was brought up, and not in a positive way. As someone who is well-versed in ideological family conflicts, I am here to give you advice on talking to the older adults in your life about frightening new ideas like gender roles, feminism, and protesting.

I know you care about the adults in your life and you want to protect them from harmful, scary new ideas. But as the times change, so must the people. If you don’t talk to your parents about tough topics, they’ll seek the information elsewhere. Who do you want your parents talking to? Glenn Beck? Bill O’Reilly? I didn’t think so.

Always start by giving your parents the facts. Asking someone for their preferred gender pronouns when you meet them won’t hurt you. The United States will not burst into flames just because Colin Kaepernick exercised his constitutional right to kneel.  And no, Grandfather, the downfall of the American family did not begin because women were given the right to vote.

Next, address the many startling images the adults in your life may be seeing on television or on the internet. Tell them it’s really not OK to share that racist meme. Be sure to remain attentive and make sure they know you’re listening to their concerns. You may hear some of the following questions: “I don’t mind people being gay, but why do I have to see it all the time?” or “Why doesn’t Christopher Columbus get any respect anymore?” and the classic, “This is my country, why do I have to press 1 for English?” Now, you may want to respond to these questions with anger, but remember, they’re learning and you’re there to help them learn.

Do your part, and make talking with the conservative adults in your life a regular part of your day.


’80s Night at the Rec

Being the photographer and designer for the Rec Center means a couple things. I get to know about a bunch of great events happening here early, and I get to be included in most of them. My job includes everything from photographing the events to designing most of the materials used in them and to promote them. Before my job here I would only come to work out — I would never consider taking part in the events here, until now.


One that is always fun to shoot each year is the Sound Waves Pool Party. This year’s theme was the ‘80s.


Our aquatics team converted the pool into a huge party venue with strobe lights, fog machines, live DJing and even free pizza. I am just working at these events and am not there as a participant. But what other job pays me to go capture the fun memories going on at the Rec Center? I definitely recommend that every PSU student check out one of these at least once during their time here. You’re bound to make new connections and have a good time!


You can click here to go to the Rec Center homepage and see the next few events coming up.



Torn Between Now and Then

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

I’m a conservative liberal.

I’m a feminist who hates the word ‘feminism.’

I’m a traditionalist who believes in change.

Three years ago, I was none of these things, for the chief reason that I never thought about myself in any of these terms. But then I graduated high school, and I flew the nest. I moved from a rural town, where I graduated with the same 90 kids whom I’d gone to kindergarten with. And I, like most other children, was a product of my environment. My “beliefs,” though I hesitate to even call them that given they were rather inactive, were the product of never having left the comfort of home.

Then, becoming a student and resident of Portland State where residents and opinions are so diverse, all of my beliefs were challenged. And you know what? Many of my preconceived notions about the world have changed in the last two years. Sometimes, that fact terrifies me. I’m torn between the ideals of my hometown and the ideals I’ve come to have as a college student at PSU. Even though I’m aware that change is very much a part of becoming an adult, I worry that my Portland community won’t accept my small-town values, and I worry that my hometown will think I’ve become a “flaming liberal” (actual quote).

It’s taken me awhile to accept that I’m an individual with a view of the world shaped by my unique experience, and my opinions and values are more valid than my fears of not being accepted. I’ve even found that the more I show both sides of me, the more I connect with the people around me and the more interesting my conversations become. We all share an experience as students of PSU, but we also all have a unique background that has helped shape who we are, and that’s definitely something to be proud of and own as an individual


Back to School at 19 vs 27

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

When I started college at 19, I thought I knew exactly how the next decade of my life would pan out. I knew in four breezy years I’d have my English degree, and I’d learn the perfect balance between being a fiction writer and being an art photographer. I knew it.

As a kindergartener, I would stare across the water from my Vancouver, Washington bedroom window at what was probably Airport Way in Portland. I am legally blind, though I didn’t know it at the time, but when I looked out at night, those warm industrial lights shone like glittering yellow diamonds under murky violet water.

Higher education is one of the easiest ways to enter a new city. I moved to Portland in September 2008, days before the government took control of my bank, Washington Mutual. That sure made making my student payments awkward, let me tell ya. But as I spent the next four years riding out Great Recessional angst, I learned about Portland, Portland State University, and myself.

I’ve had a lot of Portland adventures. I’ve learned a lot about Portland State University’s criminally under-utilized resources. I’ve changed everything about the plan I made for myself at 19. I never imagined being a college dropout for four years. I never imagined giving up on, and falling back in love with, writing or photography. I never knew I’d carve out a mildly successful freelance career between my time in school. The only thing consistent about my plan is that I’m still at Portland State University and I’m still pursuing an English degree.

Now in the second year of what I call “college, part 2,” I still can’t believe I found the courage to return to college at 27. It’s still jarring to be in class with teenagers, who were probably in junior high-or-younger when I started and ended “college, part 1,” yet I find myself more at peace in school than I did as a late teenager. But I can probably trick one of them into helping me learn SnapChat, right?

Let Selfies Serve the City.


girls go 2 college 2 get more knowledge

with Allie Clark of NW Noggin at PSU’s Party in the Park Blocks 2016



The 5 C’s of Portland

img_4878  By: Emma Eberhart

I grew up in the Southwestern portion of the United States – Arizona to be exact. As with most places, there are some quick facts and general knowledge that natives, such as myself, have come to know, and they all happen to start with the letter “c.” The 48th state is all about mining copper, producing cotton, farming cattle, growing citrus, and enjoying its hot climate. Over the past year living in Oregon, I have come up with Portland’s own 5 C’s – my own sort of way of bringing home with me but still letting Portland shine.

  1. Cycling – This is a city built for bicyclists. There are bridges, roads, and programs created for and with bicyclists in mind.
  2. Cannabis – As of this month recreational weed has been legal in Oregon for 15 months, and shops have popped up all over the city as well as advertisements for said shops.
  3. Cigarettes –In September 2015 Portland State became a smoke-free campus, but take a quick detour to the surrounding downtown areas and you’ll find a majority of people taking smoke breaks.
  4. Carts of food – This one doesn’t flow as nicely, but it has been said that you can eat at a different food cart every day for an entire year and still have options left over.
  5. Coffee – Prior to moving here I was under the impression that it rained coffee as opposed to water in Portland, and I was not all that wrong. Coffee seems to be everywhere, all the time. There are 24-hour coffee shops, artisan shops, coffee carts, and any type of combination thereof.

Fitness for Haters

blog1 (1) By: Xylia Lydgate

As the Marketing and Outreach student coordinator for Campus Rec, part of my job is encouraging students to use our facilities and programs. When talking with students at the Rec Center’s information table, I encounter many fitness haters. Oftentimes I notice it is because they have misconceptions about the programs we offer and how easy they are to join.

I’ll often highlight certain features we have such as an indoor track, an Olympic lifting platform, a swimming pool, etc. While I think these are valuable resources, I’ll encounter students who are quick to say, “I don’t like running,” “I don’t lift weights,” or “I don’t know how to swim.” In my mind, all I’m hearing is “I don’t” or “I can’t.” It blows my mind how some people can be so bitter towards recreational fitness. So how do I respond to this?

In these cases, I’ll stop myself and ask students probing questions such as, “What do you like to do for fun recreationally?” “Is there anything you’ve been wanting try?” “What aspect of fitness do you find most challenging?” I notice it’s these types of questions where they pause and take a moment to reflect on what it is that they actually enjoy doing to stay active. In most cases, they’ll be open to some of our programs such as Rock Climbing 101, SwimX, Dance-A-Thon, and many more.

Right now, I am encouraging everyone who wants to explore activities through the Rec Center to browse through our Schedule & Events page on the Campus Rec website, or view the current Fall 2016 Program Schedule.

Campus Rec is for everyone; all shapes, all sizes, all abilities. If you think you hate fitness, then you’ve come to the right place. We only have one body, so why not take care of it now?


I’m Real, But I’m Not Sure You Are

img_4875  By: Beth Manney

A couple years ago, during one of my late-night Internet quests to find a video of a flying lawnmower that suited my needs, I stumbled upon the theory of solipsism, the philosophical idea that “only one’s own mind is sure to exist.” In an existential nutshell, how can you be sure anything else other than you is real?

I’ve been pondering what I’ve dreamt up in the past six years while writing fiction, and what I have the capacity to create. I think if you keep an open mind, solipsism theory is plausible. Thinking about all that’s happened in human history, I wonder, could I think up such cruel and beautiful things? If you look at it in the right way, which I would define as being able to keep an open mind without developing a narcissistic god complex, it’s fascinating to wonder what could be and what is.

I think my generation is in existential crisis. Spend any time on most forms of social media, and you’ll find an endless stream of nihilist memes that embody our need to plant our feet firmly on the grounds of actual existence. This angst also circulates around the intrinsic human need to belong. I think that Portland State does an excellent job catering to students’ wish to fit in by offering a multitude of various resource centers and events. There are so many opportunities to get involved with things you’ve never tried before and things that are familiar. In this vast, frightening world, find a buddy to scream into the void with you.

I’d love to hear your perspective! Do you think solipsism is narcissistic? Give the ol’ noodle a whirl.