I moved from Bangkok, Thailand to the United States roughly six years ago. I left my friends and family behind to get a higher education, and to follow my dream of pursuing film as a career. 15 Hours Behind is an experimental film based on my personal experience of homesickness.
by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen
This summer has been the most stressful summer I’ve ever had. I was balancing two jobs and an internship all at once and it was quite chaotic to say the least. I remember asking myself, “How do people actually deal with stress in a healthy way?” I know there are people out there who deal with way worse than what I was dealing it, but I was genuinely curious about how people handle this type of mental frustration. I wanted to know what healthy coping mechanisms people use when they’re stressed, so I did research and found that these are the methods that worked the best for me:
1) Go on walks or long drives:
I preferably like driving for a long period of time with no destination with the music blasted. This helps me a lot and gives me a time to think and clear my mind. However, the most energy and cost efficient method is to go on a long walk. It not only gives me my workout for the day, but it gives me a time to just breathe in the air and think.
2) Watch a funny movie or videos
I love a good laugh every now and then but I especially love it when I’m feeling stressed out and need my mood brightened up a little. I would go on either YouTube or Netflix and find the stupidest thing I could watch that will give me a laugh.
3) Get a manicure, facial, massage or any type of beauty and health service
For me, getting a manicure not only makes me feel better because my nails will look good, but it’s also relaxing. Same with getting a facial. It cleanses your skin and it feels so good when your face is getting massaged. And of course, getting a full body massage feels heavenly and actually may improve your sleep quality and mood.
4) Talk it out
One of the methods that I find most effective is simply talking it out with someone. I have a few people who I can always depend on when I need some advice or feedback on my problems. This way, I don’t bottle things up and suffer silently.
I saved the best for last. Sleeping is my favorite method to feel better from stress. Sleeping in general is one of my favorite activities to do, actually. For a short amount of time, you forget about your problems and the world stops for a few hours.
By: Anna Sobczyk
Ableism is a term that didn’t pop until the 1980s and is a term I had never heard of until I moved to Portland. A quick Google search defines ableism as “discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary). I recently sat in on a presentation on ableism given by PSU’s Disability Resource Center (DRC), and learned there’s a lot to unpack on the topic. The part that struck me the most was when the DRC presenter said we should be eliminating certain words from our vocabulary. Specifically, “crazy” was bad to say. Quite honestly, I still can’t wrap my head around it.
Another part of the conversation that made me check my perceptions was the notion that our society doesn’t inherently know the history of disabled persons or mental health. Everyone I know has learned about slavery, voting rights, and the Holocaust—including the derogatory terms that arose from these time periods and events. During the DRC’s presentation, it was evident neither my peers nor myself knew anything substantial about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or the general history of disabilities and mental health. Perhaps this lack of education early on is to blame for why words like crazy are normalized and why it’s so difficult to recognize their harmful impact.
Although to me, using the word crazy is equivalent to using the word stupid. Both are adjectives to describe something or someone. If I called a person stupid, that’s simply a hurtful way to use the word. Crazy can be used in the same capacity. However, just because a word has the potential to be hurtful or mean doesn’t justify eliminating it from our vocabulary. Of course, slurs do exist that are implicitly hurtful, degrading, and derogatory—but is “crazy” really one of them?
By: Anna Sobczyk
When it comes to summer jobs, there’s nothing quite as notorious as working in customer service. Coworkers and friends complain amongst each other, and entire memes exist based around the lamentations of the job. I work harvest during the summer, and so my job is a unique form of customer service. I see the same customers (the drivers and farmers) over, and over, and over again—and I’ve been seeing these same people for five years now. Each year I inevitably have to deal with cranky farmers and drivers who are upset about waiting in lines that are completely out of my control. In the past, I tolerated inappropriate and rude behavior. I also believed I deserved it, and that I was somehow bringing it upon myself.
One particularly negative experience this year reset my thought processes. A farmer chewed me out for something I had no control over. Everyone working was following a specific system for moving trucks along, and the farmer didn’t agree with it. The system set in place was done so by someone higher up than me, and yet this farmer decided to come unhinged on me. He cussed, pointed his finger in my face, and raised his voice. This, by far, was the nastiest experience I’ve had at work. I stood my ground and explained the reasons behind the system, but only once he’d left did I realize a few things:
- I did not owe him any explanation. He was upset over a decision, but that did not give him the right to yell at me.
- In any case, I do not need to offer explanations of how I do my job in order to—first and foremost—be treated with respect.
- Since he was so angry, he should have taken it up with a higher ranking employee instead of berating someone who wasn’t involved in the decision making process.
- My instinct was to stand there and take it, because I felt like walking away was a sign of weakness. However, listening to that hot-headed tirade was a waste of my time, and I was under no obligation to stand there and take it.
- He will likely never apologize.
I regret my tolerance in years past and shake my head at ever believing I deserved to be treated poorly. However, I know these feelings are a reality for a lot of young, service industry workers. My only hope is that others will recognize their worth on day one of the job instead of five years down the road.
by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen
I have never been a traveler. I’ve actually never been outside of the country, but I know that even if I did, I wouldn’t like it. I don’t like leaving the comfort of my own bed and home, and I never understood why people want to travel so much.
It wasn’t until about a month ago, I took a road trip to Las Vegas. A few of my friends and I drove 16 hours to Vegas, and within this short amount of time, my opinion of traveling changed completely.
During the trip, my friends and I took turns driving with each of us at the wheel for four hours. This car ride from Oregon to Nevada was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Going 85 miles per hour through the lonely road, going past the sand dunes, passing by the mountains, and especially seeing the sun rise in the desert was a sight that I will forever hold in my heart. It may sound kind of cheesy, but it was during this time that I realized that there is so much beauty to explore in the world.
I am now looking into studying abroad during my last term of college next year. I don’t know where I want to go yet, but I know for sure that wherever I choose to go, I will make it a goal to explore the nature and beauty of that country even if it’s something as simple as a sunset. Like I said, there is so much beauty on this Earth and all of us should take some time to search for it.
By: Anna Sobczyk
A typical summer for me involves relaxing, adventuring, and working. In the moments between working or exploring, I love to fill my downtime with reading. I’ve always been a bookworm; the only thing that’s changed is the amount of time I have to sit down and read. During the school year that time is nonexistent. When it comes to building my summer reading list, I rely completely on Goodreads.
Goodreads is a website I discovered in high school and is a book-lover’s dream. You can build virtual bookshelves and mark books as “read” or “to-read.” Based on your reading history and preferences, Goodreads will also generate recommendations in several different genres. Since I live under a rock when it comes to any recent literature during the school year, Goodreads is great for catching up on books from my favorite authors or finding a new breakthrough series that I missed during the school year.
When it comes to obtaining the books, I always use the library. Most people are surprised to learn that you can find fiction, fantasy, and young adult novels at the PSU Library. The library’s online catalog is easy to use and shows a book’s location and availability. If the PSU Library doesn’t have the book, there’s the option to request it from a Summit library. This is nothing fancy—you just have to log-in and wait a few days for the book to arrive from a neighboring university. Between Goodreads and the library, finding books to keep me occupied during the summer is easy.
by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen
I have officially been vegetarian for a year and seven months. The decision to transition to this diet was random and spontaneous, but one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I chose to cut meat out of my diet because I simply wanted some sort of change. At the time, I was going through a lot of struggles and decided that I needed to make some sort of difference in the way I was living, so I started with my diet.
I know that changing what I eat wasn’t going to affect my personal problems in any way, but it was still a small step that would get the ball rolling for me to make bigger steps. Since then, I have not gone back to being a carnivore, and at this point, I feel like I would never go back.
I’m actually so grateful to be living in this hipster of a city because the vegetarian options for food are endless. Every restaurant that I’ve gone to in Portland has had at least one vegetarian and even vegan and gluten-free options, and it is such a blessing. The bad thing about this is that I got so comfortable and confident that wherever I go there will be vegetarian-friendly food that I forget that this is only a norm in Portland. When I took a trip to Vegas a month ago, I went to a restaurant and was shocked to find that there were absolutely no vegetarian options whatsoever. For vegetarians and vegan, we’re lucky to live in Portland.
I’m not a die-hard, vegan and animal rights activist or anything but I do encourage people to transition to this diet if they can. No, you won’t magically have clear skin or lose 10 pounds in a day but you may (keyword here is “may”) reduce your chances of getting diabetes, lower your cholesterol, and overall feel “cleaner.”
If you are hesitant about making this change, maybe you should try it out for week or maybe even a month and see how you like it. Who knows? Maybe you’ll end up sticking to it and like me, feel like you made one of the best decisions of your life.