RIP, The NE Portland Where I Grew Up

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

I’ve lived in NE Portland for my entire 22 years of life. I remember when I was little, my neighborhood consisted of mostly African Americans and Latino families. The entire apartment complex that’s right next to my house mainly consisted of African Americans whom my siblings and I made friends with and invited over to our house. My entire neighborhood was filled with black-owned businesses like barber shops, bars, and little convenient shops. But as of today, all of that is gone.   

It wasn’t until recently that my siblings and I became old enough to fully grasp the concept of gentrification, especially because we watched it unfold right before our eyes. We had a conversation about how our neighborhood quietly transformed so much throughout the years but we didn’t notice it until now. The apartments next to my house are now   inhabited by mostly white people, the only black neighbors I have are the people right across from my house, who have a huge, colorful mural of Prince painted on their garage. The convenience store that was once owned by a black family has turned into a “hipster” brunch restaurant.

It’s very sad to see the community of people that I grew up with slowly disappear. I honestly don’t feel like this is my neighborhood anymore. It’s not the NE Portland that I know. On a positive note, I’ve done research and found that there has been lots of work being done to try to de-gentrify my neighborhood. But I hope the issue of gentrification in Portland gets brought up more in conversations because it’s moving our city in the wrong direction and needs to be addressed.

 

Stress My New BFF

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As college students, we struggle with stress on a daily basis, from weekly assignments, to midterms to final exams. Stress has become the annoying classmate sitting next to us in lectures, constantly demanding recognition and by default, holding us accountable for everything we could have done differently or better.
I have always been submissive to stress’s ability to not only overpower me physically, but to also drain me emotionally. With winter term finals just around the corner, I have decided to redirect my attitude about stress, and instead of avoiding it, I am embracing and befriending it.

Identifying stress as my new BFF not only gives me complete control over my stress reactions, but research has shown that stress actually works in our favor by strengthening our relationships with oxytocin also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or Body Image 2.pngbond socially. Even playing with a pet, such as my cat Miko can cause an oxytocin surge. This concept of befriending stress was introduced to me through my SBA Organizational Behavior course, which highlighted an inspirational TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.

As students, I think we have a deeper responsibility to find ways to manage stress, which is why learning how to befriend stress not only teaches us to stop and listen to the messages our bodies and mind are sending, but gives us the skills needed to become smart, decision-making professionals. These are the soft skills future employers will be looking for!

Want to make stress your BFF? Check out the TED talk here.

A NEW LINK TO THE JOB MARKET

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Just like you, I am one of 28,076 students currently enrolled at Portland State University. All of us are followed, liked, shared, and/or linked by millennial-driven platforms; each of which are working hard to promote our professional self image.

As a career driven student, I allocate a majority of my time to the top business networking platform, LinkedIn. I am excited to start using its new standalone, “LinkedIn Students” app, which is currently available for download. The LinkedIn Students app is solely equipped for helping soon-to-be college graduates search for future employment by providing an easy and convenient way to explore jobs anywhere in the world.

According to Forbes, “The tool offers personalized job recommendations and postings based on the career paths of LinkedIn’s more than 400 million users. The app’s algorithm iLINKEDIN STUDENT IMAGE1s guided in part by the career paths of professionals who graduated from the same college and with the same major as a particular student.”
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I like that the free app also offers career-
related content and videos, which consist LINKEDIN BLOG IMAGE3
of articles about interviewing and negotiating a salary – to name a few. Student-friendly features include a ‘star button’ that gives students a way to indicate preferences and transform LinkedIn Students into our own digitalized career consultant.

Have you tried the new LinkedIn Students App? If not, download the app using the link: https://students.linkedin.com/

The generation to end smoking?

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

Spring has (finally) hit Portland. The sun is shining and I’m taking full advantage: I’ve got my Nikes on and my feet hit the pavement in rhythm to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” I think how nice it is to run in the fresh air after a winter spent doing treadmill workouts. Grinning to myself, I turn a corner onto the park blocks and, mid-breath, run through a cloud of second-hand smoke.

This is infuriating on multiple accounts, but the two that are most easily articulated are: 1) the smoker is no more than twenty years old, and 2) the Park Blocks are a part of PSU’s smoke-free campus.

As a non-smoker who has lost family members to cancer and emphysema, it’s easy for me to get angry, and sometimes it’s all too tempting to hit cigarettes right out of my peers’ hands. But I know that even though anger is often the catalyst for change, an end to smoking is going to require patience and open conversation. The campaign known as Truth (thetruth.com) is committed to making ours the generation that ends smoking, and it’s doing so by spreading, well, truth. Truth is continually exposing big tobacco and giving us the facts about the effects of smoking on the environment and society. For instance, did you know that a cat or dog whose owner smokes (around the pet or not) is twice as likely to get cancer?

We’re the products of the Information Age. And as such I believe that, armed with information, smokers and non-smokers can join together in the campaign to eradicate smoking. PSU has recently made the commitment to creating a healthier campus by banning smoking on all campus property, and the first contribution we can all make as Portland State students is to respect these tobacco-free zones (map below).

PSU - Smoke Free Map

Invasion of the Smartphones

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

My day starts and ends with my cellphone. In the morning it acts as an alarm, dutifully blaring out “Urgent” by Foreigner, and in the evening, much as I hate to admit it, scrolling through Pinterest is the lullaby that puts me to sleep. Now, I know these two smartphone-enabled acts are not uncommon, and neither are they excessive uses of the technology. But what about the hours of use in between?

I’ve found that, increasingly often, people are less hesitant to admit how completely dependent they are on their phones. This is the information age, after all, and what is a Google search here and a minute to check Facebook there really hurting? Well, our individual and collective productivity. You know what I mean: You block out two hours for homework, sit down at your desk, then fast forward a hundred and twenty minutes – you’ve watched a half dozen YouTube videos and done maybe half an hour of actual work. Even as I type this, I’m desperately attempting to abstain from going to the open browser window to look up every little whim that pops into my head.

Is this a problem for me? Yes, absolutely.

Is it becoming a societal problem? I don’t know – what do you think?

What I do know is that if I could quantify the amount of extra work I’d be getting done every day without my phone as a productivity-roadblock, I think I’d be at least a tad horrified. So I’m making a New Year’s resolution to power-down more often.