Don’t ask me what’s next

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

Last summer at a large family gathering, I heard my recently-graduated cousin get asked the same two questions over and over again—what’s next? And do you have a job? And over and over again, I heard him give the increasingly uncomfortable answers—I’m still figuring it out, and no. I, however, had no desire to ask him either of these questions, mostly because the thought of them being directed at me filled me with an almost existential dread, and at the time I was still an entire year from graduation.

Now though, I’m only one term away from graduation, and the terror of interrogation is ever mounting.

I envy my classmates who have it all figured out—jobs they can keep after graduation, apartments they don’t have to move out of. But the reason I envy them is probably different than the ones you’d imagine. It’s not the stability factor. It’s that they’ll have an answer to give their families when they’re ask what’s next?

I’m at least a little bit okay with not knowing what’s next. As much as I’d like knowing I’ll have a stable income once those student loan payments kick in, I’m also kind of excited by the fact that I could be anywhere six months from now. But I still don’t want to be asked what’s next? I’m not going to have a satisfactory answer, and it’s only going to make us both feel bad. You can definitely ask what I’m excited for post-graduation, though.

A Queer Complaint Against Valentine’s Day

ec08db75f9ef95c1180ca428f5ecf0e1 By Naomi Kolb

It’s been hard to miss the fact that Valentine’s Day is this week with the bake sales, posters, and sex-themed events that have been seemingly taking over our campus lately. I’ve been actively trying not to be bitter about Valentine’s Day because this is the first year in awhile that Cupid forgot to fire the magical arrow that would land me a cutie to spend it with. Rather than being bitter about “not having anyone” to spend this holiday with though, I’m making genuine efforts to appreciate the love that I already have in my life. Just because I don’t have a romantic partner this year doesn’t mean that I don’t have anyone at all.

One of the legitimate complaints that I’d like to lodge against Valentine’s Day is the fact that it totally overemphasizes romantic and sexual love as the be-all-end-all, and specifically straight romantic and sexual love. None of that represents what my or my friend’s lives look like in college. For the most part, we’re a bunch of queers stumbling through loving each other in the best ways that we know how. The love that I have in my life right now might not consist of Netflix and Chill or romantic dinner dates, and I’m OK with that. The love that I’ve got in my life right now is singing at the top of my lungs while making dinner, calling my friend two time zones away to read her a passage from a book that I love, listening to previously unspoken poetry over Saturday morning brunch, and is certainly more than enough to fill my heart with even if I don’t have a romantic partner this Valentine’s Day.

I’m not ready to write off Valentine’s Day altogether – I’m not saying screw romantic love, screw relationships, or screw straight people. However, I am definitely saying screw the idea that you need a romantic partner to be happy and fulfilled. I’ve never been happier than I am right now, and I’m doing it without a traditional romantic partner by my side. This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be busy loving myself and loving my friends more than ever before. Maybe Cupid didn’t miss me this year after all – maybe he just aimed his arrows towards unexpected places that still landed exactly where I needed them to be.

Object Impermanence

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

I took his shirt out of my dresser and layed it against the carpet. I checked my lines with a steady hand full of assurance, guided the scissors as they cut through all that I had hidden away. A year of memories, longing, love and tears were held within the fabric. I viewed my work. “Cute,” I thought as a examined the new crop top I’d just created. I had held onto his shirt for nearly two years. In the drawer it had stayed. I had never put it on. Away from the light and, out of my sight, and unable to force me to think about him. It still smelled like him after all this time. Cocoa butter and castor oil woven with his natural scent.

Then one day I saw it for what it was. Just a shirt an ex had left behind. The hold it had on me was gone and I had to do something with it. I knew I couldn’t throw it away, for  that would be denying the experiences I had with him. Perhaps I make new memories with it. Better ones.

I’m taking the same approach to this new year.  Aside from school, work, dating and general day-to day-things. I’m working on parts of my past and not letting them take control of me. Some are still sitting in a drawer in my mind, hidden away from the light. One day I’ll have the courage to open that drawer, find what’s inside and see what I can transform it into.  

Introversion Conversion: I’m Social Now

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

One of the lessons I’ve come across being an RA is that you really have to invest time into growing and maintaining relationships. In order to build community amongst my residents, it tookprogramming and being intentionally present in the halls to support them. At the same time, being an RA would be incredibly lonely and hard without the trust and camaraderie of my staff team. While there’s always our weekly staff meeting to look forward to, it’s the time we spend with one another outside of the “job” that really brings us together. With so many new people in my life, I feared that I was letting my old friends slide to the back burner. It would be easy to let the RA role consume my life, but making time for the friends who have supported me since the beginning keeps me grounded.

I’ve been an introvert my entire life. Any time I spent socializing meant I needed an equal amount of time alone—if not more—in order to recharge. Balancing so many social groups started off as overwhelming and exhausting. Now, I’ve noticed that being around my friends and peers energizes me—even if I go days without snagging some alone time. Even though being an RA can be stressful, there’s no denying that I’m much more openly appreciative of the people I have in my life because of it. Still, I’m an introvert at heart. I have those days where I don’t want to see another human soul, but those days are now few and far between.

Life is too short, Let’s go on a walk

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

I woke up the sound of heavy rain drops hitting the window. What did I see? It’s another wet day in Portland, Oregon. It’s hard to wake up to a gloomy winter’s day without wanting to fall back to bed. Yet we all get up and start the day going to classes and work, but sometimes we miss out on what the season has to offer. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean you can can’t find great ways to stay active and engaged all winter.

The rainy season can be filled with adventures from PSU Campus Rec to the outdoors. Each has a place for students like to me to explore and try new things. As one who experiences seasonal depression, I appreciate being able to utilize the Campus Rec. PSU’s fitness and wellness center. It helps me stay active and boost endorphins that make me feel better through the gloomy season. Whenever I choose to work out I feel a sense of accomplishment because I set goals, from short term one of doing a different reps to long term one of building up muscles.

While Campus Rec is great space to be active indoors the outdoors also can be a fun adventure, despite the wet. The landscape of the rainy season brings vibrant green to the Pacific Northwest, from the moss that lays on the trees; to the ferns that enjoy the rains of winter. Hiking can be a bit difficult in the wet season, but with good rain gear anything is achievable.

Even though the wet rainy season of Portland add challenges to stay active, there is much to do outside of that comfy bed. Try and get out! You never know what fun adventures you’ll have!

Pushing past my fears, I got my degree!

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 By: Sara Kirkpatrick

When I first applied to Portland State University, I remember the feeling of excitement I felt standing in line at the registrar.  Looking back, it was this excitement that masked the hard academic realities that awaited me.

I quickly learned that academia is definitely not for the weak-minded or faint-hearted. I found myself continuously challenged in all aspects of my coursework, each new obstacle seemingly more impossible than the last. I pushed past my fears of failure and let my passion for my major fuel the success needed to apply to the PSU School of Business.

My determination, passion, and unstoppable desire for an education has transformed me into someone I never thought I would become. I have learned that being a student is a privilege, and it may mean giving up things you love for things you love more. PSU has shown me the importance of finding your inner strength to chase your dreams and the courage needed to hold onto hope when all seems lost.

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Graduation Cap Decor ’17

 

After 2 1/2 years studying in the School of Business program, I am graduating with a bachelor’s degree in two fields that I am extremely passionate about: marketing and advertising.

My education from PSU has become an essential part of who I am and reinforced my belief that I can achieve anything I put my mind to. I cannot wait to embrace the journey of job hunting, as I seek a position within digital marketing in hopes to leverage my degree and passions to inspire change in the world.

PSUGraduation2017

Winter Term Graduate ’17

I have very much enjoyed my time as a blogger, and from the bottom of my heart I want to thank you all for allowing me to share my academic journey with you. I am truly honored to become a PSU alumna, and I wish all my colleagues the utmost success in their future careers!

My voice counts

WechatIMG12 by Qin “Summer” Xia

What’s SHAB?

It’s the abbreviation of Student Health Advisory Board, where students are able to work directly with and advise Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) staff on policies, student issues, budgeting, insurance, and outreach.

Why do I bring this up?

For most international students in a new environment, our priorities to survive include figuring out where to buy food, where to live and, most importantly, where to seek help when we are sick —one of the weakest moments in anyone’s life, right? So, a good health center or clinic is of great concern. As a student do you know what health resources are available to you?

I didn’t.

So, when I saw that SHAB was seeking 2018 members, I applied. The best way to know something is to let yourself in, isn’t it? But before I got in, I worried over the job description: policies, budgeting. These are such huge serious stuff. Will they really consider student advice, even a foreigner’s?

Yes, they do.

After fall term, I spent a great deal of time with SHAC. Every time I had a question, they explained the answer with patience. During the process, I learned that all students at PSU have the right and the duty to let their voice be heard.

One day, I said to a classmate, who is also an international student, “Do you know that every year SHAC pays a large percentage to PSU for management? And those of us on SHAB are concerned and fighting to cut it down a little bit.”

“Really?” My classmate said. “Sounds like you are doing something big!”

“Yes, I am.” I answered.