How to Find Music at Portland State

img_4865by Andrew D. Jankowski

When I realized I was (finally!!!!) old and irrelevant to youth culture, I thought I didn’t know how to find new music anymore. The last time I tried to go back to MySpace, the login process was a jumbled mess, like an outdated HTML fantasy layout. What do straight people listen to, and why? How do you say FKA twigs? Why do people make fun of Grimes? My tastes have grown from riot grrrl offshoot projects to black and queer vogue ball music, and things between. Aaron Osborn, the Portland State Vanguard’s current creative director, has good taste in music, as do my other friends and coworkers, but I don’t necessarily have time to pilfer all their libraries.

I can pick my way through press releases and Facebook event invites. But there are more ways than downloading albums off Limewire (RIP) to find new music, and even support your classmates and alumni on and off campus. Here are a few ways to find new music:

Parkway North: The northwest lounge on Smith Memorial Student Union’s first floor has daily programming, hosting everything from community events to free concerts by some of Portland’s best emerging and established musical artists. Check out their website to stay updated on their programming.

Lincoln Performance & Recital Hall: Host to concerts, plays, musicals, recitals, lectures, film screenings and more. Every floor of Lincoln Hall has poster boards, which are popular locations for poster hangers promoting events on and off campus.

Event Calendars: Sure, I bet some of you hate “the liberal media.” That’s okay**, I’m not a fan of their music either. But you can’t deny that Portland’s event calendars are consistently packed with some of the city’s best culture & entertainment, and I’m not just saying that because I curate the Vanguard’s event calendar. Willamette Week and Portland Mercury’s event calendars are what inspired me as a deeply confused heterosexual Christian teen from Vancouver (which is totally its own town and “not” the New Jersey of Portland) to get into arts and culture journalism. They were how I learned about what are now Portland institutions like Sinferno Cabaret, Blow Pony and STRFKR.

The internet / apps: Venues across town also have event calendars. Subscribe to your favorite venues’ social media pages & mailing lists, and if you aren’t -actually- financially struggling, then please stop complaining about cover fees because that’s how bands and venues make their living. Also, sometimes I forget that stuff like Pandora, Spotify Radio, Soundcloud, and Bandcamp exist because I’m secretly a techphobe who needs an intern to do stuff like make Snapchat make sense as a time investment.
**Disclaimer: It is okay to critique media and press workers’ work, but it is not okay to bully us or defame our profession, especially when we are acting within ethical guidelines.

Reject Your Way to a Better You

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by Andrew D. Jankowski

Life is competitive, and the distinction between a child and an adult is how one handles the rejections that are routine in life. Who will hire, love, publish, award someone who takes rejection as an insult to their personal identity?

You are not going to date every person you are attracted to.
You are not going to get hired for every job you apply for.
You are not going to be awarded every grant you apply for.
You are not going to get displayed at every gallery you apply for.
You are not going to get published in every journal you submit to.
You are not going to get published in every anthology you apply for.
You are not going to get published by every publisher you submit to.

You are going to date someone you are attracted to.
You are going to get hired for a job you will make money at.
You are going to get awarded the grant you’re the best fit for.
You are going to get displayed in the gallery you’re the best fit at.
You are going to get published in the journal you’re the best fit for.
You are going to get published in the anthology you are the best fit for.
You are going to get published by the publisher you are the best fit for.

For more information on how to cope and evolve from rejection, check out some internet articles or visit SHAC’s counseling page to learn how to find the right therapist for you.

How to Make Friends (When You Don’t Live on Campus)

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

Coming back to school at age 27 was weird beyond the on-paper age difference. Even though I no longer live in what some of us, to varying degrees of affection, call “the PSU fishbowl,” I still enjoy meeting people, making connections, and growing friendships. It was easy when I lived in a dorm (ahem, residence hall). My best friend from high school was my roommate, and I made friends with my neighbors on my floor, then later other floors. (I’ll cry if and when Ondine Hall ever goes on to meet the Great Real Estate Development Firm in the Sky.)

But how do you make friends when your classmates live in other neighborhoods, towns, or even states? (I see you, Vancouver commuters!)

Talk (Effectively) with Your Classmates

Effective communication is vital to the success of any major. I’ve found small class settings are more amenable to group discussions, where it’s easier to get to know students and the instructor(s) on a personal level. In lecture settings, I’ve usually tried to sit somewhere regularly and speak to the people around me, or get to know people with unique insight who can also Let the Professor Teach – rare birds indeed. Group projects are good for forced interaction, but can be a pain. As the meme goes: “When I die, I want to be buried by my group project partners so I can be let down one more time.”

Actively Listen to Your Instructors

Actively listening to professors is a great way to learn about career opportunities and subjects relevant to your field that aren’t 100 percent related to the course. It’s not going to happen with each and every class, but there will be professors or instructors who will be formative to your career and life. I’ve found some amazing writers, artists and filmmakers, and their work, as a result of my instructors’ recommendations.

Socialize Outside the Classroom

Finally, going to campus events is a great way to learn about outside events. Musicians that you hear in the cafe in the Smith Union, for example, might be playing a venue near your home later in the week, or an artist you see on campus might be showing in a professional gallery or even the Portland Art Museum.

Make friends, or don’t. I went back to school thinking I didn’t need to make friends. But networking is where much of your college education gets its value. You have a limited time to interact with 20,000+ people. Make the most of it.

(photo: Andrew D. Jankowski)

The Revolution Will Not Stream Live

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

What can I say, team. It’s been a devastating week.

Devastating as an American to see the bar of presidential excellence lowered by Donald J. Trump, who holds zero qualifications to hold the office less than a quarter of the nation handed him and whose wife is the embodiment of academic dishonesty and where it gets you in life.

Devastating to know that roughly one in two Americans did not even bother to throw their vote away for professional attention seekers Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

Devastating as a queer person to have family members and friends disregard your wellbeing under what will likely be the most homophobic American administration of the 21st century.

Devastating to realize straight people still think that marriage equality is the only LGBTQ issue. (It’s not.)

Devastating to know that five-plus years of town halls on bullying and race relations somehow did not stop the election a white nationalist bully to the highest office in the nation.

Devastating to know our president will do more to denounce critical media coverage of him than denounce ideological violence carried out by his disciples.

Devastating to see cable news bungle time and time again when it comes to covering anything more important than a 3 a.m. warehouse fire.

What is not devastating is a week of civil unrest.

PSU’s campus has not returned to peace and complacency following Alyssa Pagan-Pariah’s powerful forum takeover last year, nor should it. Portland State University needs to do more in 2016-2020 and 2020-3020 than offer lip service toward the populations which give the student body the diversity it sorely needs. It starts with we the students, we the faculty, we the employees who blur the line between students and professionals.

Because one rainbow-colored banner hung during the least populated academic quarter-
and-no-further does nothing.

Because safety pins do nothing.

8 PSU Resources All Students Should Use Before Graduating

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

1. SLS
Student Legal Services is an amazing service that puts students in need of legal help –for whatever reason: roommate/landlord, employer, personal safety, business advice –in touch with a legal expert. There is a 95% chance you will leave learning something about your legal rights, even in day-to-day life. 

2. The Cultural Resource Centers & Clubs
PSU’s cultural centers host a wide range of programming that’s both accessible to people wanting to expand their diversity experience, and engaging for their target audiences. La Casa Latina Student Center, the Multicultural Student Center, the Native American Student & Community Center, the Queer Resource Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Pan-African Commons, and the Pacific Islander, Asian & Asian American Student Center are among our most visible centers for cultural exchange (with the last two opening this academic year!).

3. The Art Galleries
Full disclosure: I am the publicity coordinator for the Littman + White Galleries, two contemporary art galleries in the Smith Memorial Student Union exhibiting rising and established artists. In addition to the Littman + White Galleries, there’s also the Autzen Gallery in Neuberger Hall, the Broadway Gallery in Lincoln Hall, the Garage Projects at Station Place Garage on NW Lovejoy Court, and the Art Building’s MK Gallery, AB Lobby Gallery, and Sugar Cube Gallery.

4. University Success
University Success is a pair of study centers in the PSU on-campus housing, in the Ondine and King Albert Residence Halls. Open on Sunday and late nights, University Success offers additional help if you are struggling in a particular class.

5. The Writing Center
You can get PROFESSIONAL WRITERS to look at your papers, your resumes, your class projects, your cover letter, whatever you need!

6. The Gym
The gym/rec center has relatively new equipment, a pool and hot tub, and numerous athletic courts, along with athletic and fitness programs and classes.

7. 5th Ave Cinema
Free classic and contemporary cinema every week?! They’ve got something for the film buff and the blockbuster lover. And I heard that the seats might be new, or something? I like popcorn.

8. Victor’s
It’s magical, and my most fondly reminisced about college memory. The food’s whatever, but it’s the dining experience that you remember forever.

Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments!
P.S.: Happy Halloween! 

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.

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girls go 2 college 2 get more knowledge

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