So you say have senioritis?

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

Students make up a lot excuses to get out of, postpone, or apologize for their school work. In the last 15 and a half years, I’ve heard and made my fair share of them.

Senioritis very much sounds like one of those made-up excuses, because you certainly can’t account for it with a doctor’s note, or, honestly, any other form of evidence save for an Urban Dictionary definition that, in my opinion, is right on the nose: laziness, lack of studying, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude. “The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation,” it states.

Some highly motivated students will deny the reality of this condition. But to the rest of you, who, like me, are looking toward graduation this spring, I am here to say: I see your senioritis, and I know you can stop the Netflix playback and power through.

Finishing up degree requirements, writing a thesis or completing a capstone, and trying to make plans for life after a diploma can leave a student feeling serious burnout. Denying that burnout is not going to help anyone make it down the homestretch. But if you recognize that your needs as a student change from freshman to senior year, you can create a plan to stay on track wherever you might be in that journey.

There are innumerable tips one could follow to be a successful student – drink lots of water, sleep, use a planner, prioritize both study time and time for health and wellness – but the bottom line is to figure out what works for you and give yourself a break every once in a while! Senioritis is real.

Getting Used to MyPSU and the New PSU App

me-1 By Kimberly Nakayama

Sometimes, I feel that my experience in college is just me using my laptop in a variety of different settings. However I always wish that doing “important” PSU stuff online, like paying bills or updating my major, would be much simpler so that I could spend more time focusing on other things. So, when someone told me about the myPSU update, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that PSU had actually been working to fix this exact problem.

As a senior, I usually just go between the web pages that I am already familiar with like D2L and Banweb. I’ve found that in between classes, work, and everything else I’m supposed to be doing, it hasn’t really been a priority for me to improve my usage of university technology. I think that, like most students at PSU, I am definitely not using PSU technology for “fun.” So I was a little skeptical at how “different” another PSU web page would actually be and how much it could actually improve my experience as a student.

After using MyPSU, however, I saw that this negative perception was out-of-date. It took a little adjusting, to be sure, but I quickly found that it was much more efficient in accessing all kinds of information about PSU. One problem that I’ve faced as a PSU student is that there are so many departments and events and staff that it can be hard to hear about specific news. MyPSU, however, has compiled a live news source that shows social media announcements from a number of different departments which makes this process so much simpler. They also offer an interactive list of active resources on campus, so if you are looking for support or to get involved on campus it is so much simpler to connect with these organizations.

In general, I think that MyPSU is a much simpler way to access information that all students need. I’ve found that I now spend much less time scrambling around online for specific web pages. The organized homepage has labelled certain sections that contain a ton of information about specific topics like registration, financial aid, and classes. This means that I can see the entirety of PSU web pages regarding a particular topic, rather than to wonder if I had managed to find every bit of information out there myself.

The best part, a MyPSU app is also available, which allows you to access different web pages from a smartphone rather than always having to use a computer. So definitely be sure to check out the new MyPSU update! I hope that it can help other students so that they can spend more time on the things that really matter.

Go Homemade For Heartfelt Gifts

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Years ago, my mom started a tradition where everyone our family has to make a homemade Christmas gift for someone. At Thanksgiving, we draw names to see who has who. I didn’t think much of the tradition when I was younger; it was just something extra I had to do. I eventually saw the value in exchanging something homemade, but moving away from home and starting college made me really appreciate it.

Like any student, I always feel short on time. Making gifts can be so time consuming—yet I’ve found I’m always more excited to gift something I made than something I just went out and bought. Plus, knowing how difficult it can be for me to find the time to sit down and make a gift makes me appreciate receiving one all that much more. Money is replaceable, but time isn’t.

When it comes to homemade gifts, there’s no competition. It’s simply the fact that someone is willing to spend their time on making a gift that makes the receiver feel special. On top of that, homemade gifts don’t have to look or be perfect because regardless, you’re giving something away that’s absolutely unique.

Natural Hair Journey

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 3.26.49 PM By Danielle Emeka

I started my natural hair transition about three years ago. I put the straightener and blow dryer in storage and embarked on my own personal hair journey. Maybe it wasn’t the best time being a student taking 12-16 credits a term, working part time, and still trying to find time to eat and sleep, but there never is a perfect time.  

A black woman’s hair is her crown and I wanted to grow mine. Learning about my hair’s texture, porosity and what it loves and hates was a big challenge. But I’ve learned more about myself in the process.

In college, multitasking is a way of life, and my natural hair journey forced me to become better organized in that I had to schedule my wash days. Nothing is worse than having to decide between washing a two week old twist out and finishing that essay! After many discussions with myself over the bathroom mirror, detangling my hair with a wide-tooth comb. Tangles are all too very real. The longer one goes between washes, the longer it takes to get all the tangles out. I will never again wait too long to wash my hair. Learn to be more patient. It’s called wash day for a reason. You can’t expect perfect curls and healthy hair if you aren’t willing to put the work in. I love myself and my uniqueness. Yes, my hair is different than most. I couldn’t love it any more.

College is all about self exploration and discovery. We’re all here not just to get a degree but to learn about what kind of person we are. For the black students who are  pondering starting their journey, do it! If you’ve already taken the plunge, congrats! Don’t give up. It will get easier. I promise.

Changing Seasons

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 3.22.40 PM By Philip Hartman

Autumn is slowly changing into winter. The leaves that once shone brightly in the trees on those clear crisp fall days have long since faded into the ground. Walking across the Park Blocks to class and seeing those vivid colors become muck reminds me of the change of the seasons.

As I start my senior year at Portland State I become uneasy with what the future holds. Can I actually succeed in the career path that I worked so hard for? My insecurities slowly fade as I realize I’m not the only one who has these thoughts. I’m not alone. The seasons do change, but I’ve made a variety of friends on campus who lessened my fears and insecurities for the future.

It’s not selfish to think about these thoughts, but to keep moving forward without holding back.

With each passing season let’s not hold back from our dreams. Every day is a new day in which we can succeed.

One Stretch At A Time

nc1By: Naela Cabrera

When you have constant terrible pain in your leg, walking through an urban campus with hills and long distances between places is not fun! That was my struggle this past year until I finally decided to help myself.

At the start of the year, small leg and hip discomfort lead to unimaginable pain, which led to numbness all the way down to my toes and the inability to even get out of bed. By the summer I was on crutches! After a long time with pain, I learned I was a victim of sciatica, a pinching of spinal nerves that affects the back, hips and outer part of the legs. A lot of damage to our spine and nerves are caused by bad habits such as poor posture or excessive sitting, or a lack of good habits, such as walking, stretching and exercising. This experience taught me that the pain was there only because I wasn’t doing enough to help myself. I could have stopped the pain myself with small habit changes.

A physical therapist helped me learn more about things I could change in my daily routine. Water sessions taught me how a simple back and forth walk from one end of the pool to the other could really make a difference. Land sessions taught me about powerful workout machines that only take 10 minutes of my day to really help the pain. Five simple stretches a day also keeps the pain away!

The pain has slowly lessened over time, but when I feel it coming back I quickly hit up Campus Rec to follow the therapy routines on my own. My access to Campus Rec has been a game changer. The facility has a ton of equipment that I used during my PT sessions, and the pool couldn’t be better. I realized a lot of the free aquatic fitness drop-in classes are very similar to my pool PT sessions, so I’ll definitely be taking advantage of those to help myself! It’s amazing to know how much you can do for yourself to overcome pain and keep yourself healthy.

 

Scared but not alone

WechatIMG12  By Qin Xia

I don’t know if you have the same feeling as me, but if I am scared of something, I will force myself to face my fear until I am not scared anymore.

When I was a kid, I forced myself to get used to hearing the iron scratching sound outside my window, but it left a lump in my throat. I have checked under the bed three times before going to sleep to make sure no monsters were hiding there. And I stared outside to make sure my place was free of ghosts.

But not this time.

On November 7, it was almost 1 o’clock in the morning when I woke up to two “bang, bang” sounds. I was not sure if the sounds came from my dream or from outside my Park Blocks apartment. But when it was followed by screaming, I knew something was wrong. I was too scared to move. I just lay in my bed. I felt like even a slight movement would cause the attention from the shooter, even though I was in an upstairs apartment. This time, I didn’t force myself to open the curtain, because I was so scared something bad would happen.

The next day, I had to get up and continue my daily life. But I felt safer when I saw the yellow cordon tape. And I felt warmer seeing the memorial candles when I got back home. I felt even better when people around me kept checking with me to see if I was ok.

I know, I will be scared of something now and for the rest of my life. Danger is never very far away, and I will have to deal with it and not always know how. But also, I know fear might be a good thing when it keeps us together.