Internship Blues

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

My journey of internship applications began fall term. I never kept track of how many I applied for, but it was an absurd amount. I ended up interviewing for 10 positions, and it was absolutely exhausting. 

Time after time, I was not selected and my confidence really took a hit. The worst case was when I got a call from an employer explaining it had come down to the wire between me and another candidate, and I just barely got edged out by this other person. My entire interpretation of the conversation was, “You were great, but there was just someone better.” Essentially, they called to make sure I could be the back-up plan if the chosen intern backed out down the road. The feeling that there would always be someone better persisted to eat  away at me despite the validation I’d received of being a strong candidate.

From then on, my motivation plummeted even though I kept interviewing. My heart never felt in it because I’d stopped believing in my own potential. Eventually—probably because a person can only be turned down so many times—I was offered positions from two different internships. Finally, it felt like the long slog of applications and interviews had paid off. However, I went from feeling extremely hopeful and excited to completely out of luck; I was forced to decline both due to start date issues and inadequate pay.

Now, it’s spring term and I’m still internship-less. I never believed the stories of how hard it is to land an internship, but I understand now having gone through the process myself. It required so much time, energy, optimism, and commitment. But in the famous words of Wayne Gretzky, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take,” and so my search for an internship continues.

Matching Tattoos

me!   By Julien-Pierre Campbell

A brisk Saturday, sunny but cool, and we stumble into the tattoo parlor. My usual artist, the stern Igor, sees me and grins. I’m with my newly-minted best friend Ali, and it’s time for a milestone in our friendship: matching tattoos. It was a rushed, giggling decision. I have no regrets.

 

XXX

“I’m getting a tattoo on Saturday,” I had told her.

 

“What? Me too!” Ali said. We grinned at one another across the table in the Queer Resource Center. “At least I’d like to. I don’t wanna be that person who gets Hozier lyrics tattooed on them, but…”

 

“What?!” I yelled. “I’m getting Hozier lyrics tattooed!” What were the odds?

 

“From what song?”

 

“‘Nina Cried Power.’ You know those lyrics, ‘The heaven of the human spirit ringing?’ Those are the ones I want.” I felt that certainty down to my bones. The first time I ever head it, I was moved to tears. I knew I needed it on my body, which is a map of my favorite quotes.

 

Ali’s eyes were saucers. “I want lyrics from that song too! ‘It’s not the waking, it’s the rising.’ What the hell?!”

 

Our individual lyrics mean so much to us for so many different reasons. Mine remind me that I am stronger than my depression. My human spirit rings out with all the force of heaven. It does not end.

 

“I know a tattoo guy,” I said, and with that, our plan was set.

XXX

Saturday arrives. Igor draws up our designs using my favorite font, and Ali and I discuss what led us to this moment. We talk about our childhoods, and the trauma we’ve endured. We talk of our paramours and friends. I chug a bottle of water followed by a liter of Coke. We’re buzzing with excitement.

 

Finally, Igor calls us back.

 

We go together, grinning, and I sit down across from my artist. Igor is a funny guy, accented and unsmiling, but he’s always got a chuckle for my terrible jokes.

 

“Are you ready?” he asks.

 

I nod. As the tattoo gun pierces my wrist, I smile through the pain.

 

The heaven of the human spirit is ringing.

Academic Burnout

 

   By: Adair Bingham

The world of academia is almost entirely composed of never-ending stress, purposeful procrastination, and the always present fear of failure. Grades have, for many years of my life, been a huge indicator self-worth. For me, and most likely many others, grades are a means to measure not only self-worth, but also intelligence and one’s ability to succeed in the real world.

Only recently, especially since being in college, have I realized that there is a extremely unhealthy push for students to earn grades over 90 percent, particularly among those who were raised believing they were special or gifted. Among my peers, I have often heard complaints and lengthy rants about how Bs are considered to be subpar and signify that the student didn’t try hard enough. Not only is this an deleterious mindset, but it is especially harmful to one’s sense of motivation and ability to feel as if they can succeed.

If one feels as if they cannot properly succeed in school with class assignments and tests, and is then made to feel as if a B of all things is something to be upset about, then it really showcases the issues with modern academia.

The term “academic burnout” is thrown around quite a bit and often goes hand-in-hand with the feeling of grades determining self-worth. From all of my years in school, I can confidently report that academic burnout is a serious and often neglected problem. It’s important to be honest and upfront about this issue when it comes to freshman students, returning students, and even school faculty.

With Spring Term just beginning, I believe it’s important to acknowledge that college is supposed to be a place of learning. Students are going to make mistakes and that’s not only perfectly acceptable, but also expected, and should always be used as a learning opportunity, not as a setback.

As clichéd as it may sound, I believe it’s important for students to realize that, in the long run, it truly isn’t going to matter what grade you received, only that you graduated. One thing that has helped me overcome the hurdles associated with “good” and “bad” grades has been thinking more about the situation in the future, rather than the present. For example, in four short months, just how much is one grade you got on an assignment actually going to matter? Often-times, you’ll discover that answer is very little or none at all, and that, overall, your grades do not dictate your future happiness or success in the real world.

Think engineering students are smart, awkward nerds? Think again

By Wiwin Hartini

I still remember my first day at PSU as an electrical engineering transfer student from Clark Community College. I was excited and shocked. I was used to classes of about 20 and suddenly there were 100 students. I remember asking myself, “am I ready for this?” or “Is this how the program was set up?”

The truth is, as you take higher level courses, the class size gets smaller. But I didn’t think about that at the time. Also, as I have taken more engineering classes, I have learned more than just the subject. I’ve learned some “realities” of studying engineering. Here are a few:

You are more than smart.

Stop by PSU engineering building in the evening—7-8 p.m. is okay during weeks 8-10 of the term—and don’t be surprised to find a lot of other students. I’ve heard that some students stay overnight since most labs are available 24/7! And don’t worry, some of the food carts across from the engineering building are open in the evening, and if you need parts for your projects, there are vending machines! The point is, engineering students work very hard. It’s not just about being smart. It’s more about persistence.

Can you fix this?

I’d say that what we learn in an undergraduate engineering program is actually the fundamentals of applied physics. I took Electronics II, where we learned how to design a simple mini operational amplifier. We touch on many fields such as power, computers, signal processing, microelectronics, etc. It’s hard to be good at all of them, but engineering focuses on problem-solving methods. So, yes! Given reasonable time and resources, we can fix things.

Do we lack social and communication skills?

It’s a typical stereotype to say that engineers do not know how to start a conversation and prefer to work alone. I’ve learned that engineering requires a lot of “teamwork.” Can one person build a bridge? I spend my days in the basement of the Engineering Building working with students from many other countries, including U.S. students who’ve had work experience. We’ve had to learn to understand different perspectives and communicate creatively to get our projects done.

Gender Pay Gap: Myth or Reality?

Tuesday, April 2nd was Equal Pay Day in the United States. Equal Pay Day was launched by the National Committee on Pay Equity in 1996 to shine a light on pay disparity between men and women.

In honor of Equal Pay Day, I brought in 3 different women with 3 different backgrounds to share their stories. Is the gender pay gap fact or fiction?

Learn more about the gender wage gap:

http://www.equalpaytoday.org/need-equal-pay-today

https://www.aauw.org/article/pay-gap-will-not-close-until-2152/

https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2018/05/gender-pay-gap-in-finance-sales.html

 

 

 

Portland area winter hikes part 2: Angel’s Rest

By Josh McCarroll

For my second winter hike I wanted to make a day trip out of it and get out of the city. I also wanted a place that was easy to find, and safely accessible for PSU students in the case of snow. I tried out Angel’s rest.

Angel’s Rest was one of the many previously closed Columbia River Gorge hikes that reopened at the end of November. The scars from the eagle creek fire remain, but this hike still boasts a beautiful view of the gorge for much of the hike.

If you are equipped with only a pair of rugged tennis shoes as I was, I would suggest going on a cold, dry day rather than a rainy day to avoid the mud. I went on a rainy Sunday and found this hike to be surprisingly crowded. Slippery, muddy stretches are broken up by rocky stretches like in the photo above and many hikers I saw on the trail braved puddles and mud with waterproof boots and hiking poles.

A friend in a moment of mild frustration with the mud and crowds

That said, in the end the hike pays off. The top of Angel’s rest is a wide open space with plenty of flat rocky sitting areas. Even on a crowded Sunday, I felt there was enough space on top that I could zone out and appreciate the view of the Gorge without feeling cramped or in anyone’s way.

A view of Rooster Rock State Park and Sand Island near the top of the hike.

If you want a less crowded journey to the top, I would suggest going early on a weekday. There is no day pass or parking payment required. The hike is just a 30 minute drive east on the I-84. Take exit # 28/Bridal Veil. Follow Bridal Veil road until a stop sign where you will turn right onto the Historic Columbia River Hwy. The parking lot for the trailhead is immediately on the right.

Life’s a Cabaret

me!    By Julien-Pierre Campbell

The first time I saw “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” I was scandalized. I was 11 years old and convinced I’d been scarred for life. Fishnets and sex! Murder and cannibalism! Aliens with ray guns and pelvic thrusts! Not for me, the budding actor. I would stick with nice, clean shows like “Hairspray”, “Phantom of the Opera”, and “Les Mis”, thank you very much!

 

The next time I saw “Rocky,” I was entranced. I was 16 years old, dressed in little enough clothing to stun my mother, and so excited I could have burst. At the Clinton Street Theatre, I watched actors perform in front of a screen, a “shadow cast,” they called themselves. They were dressed in perfectly screen accurate costumes, performing the movie as it played along behind them. Every word the characters said, the actors would mouth. Every dance move was done in sync with the screen. Every minute finger twitch or foot shuffle was perfectly synced up. It was incredible.

 

The audience was lively and intense. They shouted vulgar callbacks at the screen. They screamed and hooted and hollered. It was irreverent and ridiculous, over the top and perfect.

 

I went to see the show again and again. I dragged all of my friends to see it with me. They enjoyed it, but didn’t have the same obsession I did.  One day, the director cornered me after a show. “I’ve seen you here a lot. How old are you?” he asked me.

 

“Eighteen,” I answered. By about two months. I was still skeptical of my alleged adulthood.

 

“You wanna audition? We’ve got open rolls.”

 

It was like the world had been handed to me on a silver platter.

 

The first time I performed in “Rocky,” it was one of the best nights of my life. I had no idea what I was doing. I’d never been so scantily dressed in front of so many people. I didn’t know half of my cues. I’d only just memorized my lines. I was so nervous, I almost threw up. It was beautiful. The audience cheered for me like they’d never seen a bigger star. My castmates welcomed me to the family. I crept along the stage, cringing as my hunchback handyman character. I smirked at Brad and Janet, I danced the Time Warp. I came sprinting onstage to kill half the characters at the end of the show!

 

I’ve been performing with my cast — my family — for a year now. My college friends associate me with “Rocky” now. They know where to find me on Saturday nights. I’ve never been happier, or fit in anywhere better. It’s a strange group of ragtag queer kids, theatre kid burn-outs, and those who have just wandered in. This is what makes life worth living. This is sheer joy. In the mire of work and college, this show has given me life.

 

I sometimes think back on the horrified 11-year-old who first watched the movie. If only he could see himself now…