Learning to grow slowly

 

 

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

As a transfer student to PSU from Portland Community College, I knew there might be some overlap of courses to meet degree requirements but I wasn’t expecting they’d be outside my major. As it turns out I had to take a few upper division cluster courses in Portland State’s University Studies Program. This program is required for all PSU undergrads and moves students to study topics outside their major as a means to expand their perspectives in their chosen field of study.

 

As a sociology major I decided to pick the Global Perspectives cluster which gave me insights into an array of cultures and, economic systems. Of all the cluster class classes I took, the one that stood out was Caribbean Spirituality offered by the Black Studies Program. In this class I learned about the history of the Caribbean and the the rich influences that language and food have on their culture. After taking all of the classes in the Global Perspectives cluster I was hooked on Black studies classes, especially those exploring the Caribbean. I also began to meet more people here in Portland from the Caribbean and hear their powerful stories.

 

To be honest when I first heard that i’d have to take Upper Division Cluster classes I wasn’t happy about it. But now I realize just how important gaining these other perspectives is to my learning. Taking the courses offered in my upper division cluster and learning about additional perspectives from another culture helped enrich and broaden my studies in Sociology, giving me valuable insights into a world outside of my own.

 

Introvert Adventure into Portland

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

Spring in Portland, Oregon can be a bit confusing because the weather never stays consistent. As a senior at Portland State who is taking 18 credits and working part time, sometimes it’s hard to take break. However when I have the time I like to explore Portland.

As someone who uses the Portland State Student FlexPass, I’m able to use public transportation from the Portland Streetcar to the MAX that picks me up near campus. It’s fun to explore the city around you within a budget!

One of the places that I enjoy is The Lan Su Chinese Garden. It’s a hidden gem in the hustle and bustle of downtown. It has lots of thing to look at, from koi fish to a lovely teahouse that looks across the garden.

The Gardens are also close to the downtown waterfront where, if you’re lucky, you can catch the cherry blossoms and the crisp air. It’s a perfect time to take pictures for social media. It’s not super far from campus, so it doesn’t have to take your entire day.

Spring is here, so let’s enjoy the weather.

 

 

Going Beyond Self-care

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

What is self-care, anyway? I hear that word floating around a lot these days, coming from the internet and from friends. Yet I am still perplexed by the concept of “self-care”. I’m a senior at Portland State University who works part time and rarely has time to himself. Yet with the pressures of school and personal life, I feel a bit overwhelmed—as if the world is on my shoulders. Those feelings slowly creep into my life in different ways, from depression to anxiety. It can affect my grades as the term progresses, and it can impact relationships too. I try to work on getting better, but it does not seem to work.

After a few weeks of working on my self-care I decided to get up the nerve and go to PSU’S Center For Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) to get some help. I felt uneasy having to discuss what is going on in my life and that things weren’t getting any better. Yet the staff were very helpful and showed me the steps to get an appointment and talk to one of the counselors. After waiting for a few minutes I met a counselor and it wasn’t as bad like, as I had imagined it. It really helped to talk to someone. I kept going to SHAC to get help and slowly but surely I was able to ease a bit and relax more.

Life doesn’t pause for depression or anxiety, but that does not mean you have to suffer through it alone.

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!

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.