Why celebrate?

WechatIMG12  By Qin Xia

February 16 is the start of the traditional New Year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. That means millions of Chinese are celebrating the same thing at the same time. The festival atmosphere lasts for several weeks as we welcome the Year of the Dog.

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of celebrations. I pretend that “I am cool” when others are excited. But I ask myself, why celebrate? It’s just another normal day. I usually don’t participate, but neither do I refuse. I am just an observer, who uses different excuses to escape, but I do enjoy the additional feast.

But not this year.

At PSU, as a diverse university, there were several New Year galas that all students are encouraged to attend. So why celebrate? Because as a part of the community, if you don’t cheer for your own culture, who else will?

I still have a lot of papers to write and lots of passages to read. But I prepared some traditional Chinese red envelopes for my classmates a half month ago. I hosted some celebration parties with my friends, even though I was too exhausted to talk. I posted the red couplet on my door, and I made dumplings with different people the whole week. I also wore all my red clothes, and I said lucky words to all my friends. I did what my parents would be doing in their own time zone.

One might call it an inherited tradition. And the reason why we celebrate? To mark the time and pass it on.

Happy New Year!

 

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.

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.

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.

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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.

So you say have senioritis?

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

Students make up a lot excuses to get out of, postpone, or apologize for their school work. In the last 15 and a half years, I’ve heard and made my fair share of them.

Senioritis very much sounds like one of those made-up excuses, because you certainly can’t account for it with a doctor’s note, or, honestly, any other form of evidence save for an Urban Dictionary definition that, in my opinion, is right on the nose: laziness, lack of studying, repeated absences and a generally dismissive attitude. “The only known cure is a phenomenon known as graduation,” it states.

Some highly motivated students will deny the reality of this condition. But to the rest of you, who, like me, are looking toward graduation this spring, I am here to say: I see your senioritis, and I know you can stop the Netflix playback and power through.

Finishing up degree requirements, writing a thesis or completing a capstone, and trying to make plans for life after a diploma can leave a student feeling serious burnout. Denying that burnout is not going to help anyone make it down the homestretch. But if you recognize that your needs as a student change from freshman to senior year, you can create a plan to stay on track wherever you might be in that journey.

There are innumerable tips one could follow to be a successful student – drink lots of water, sleep, use a planner, prioritize both study time and time for health and wellness – but the bottom line is to figure out what works for you and give yourself a break every once in a while! Senioritis is real.

Getting Used to MyPSU and the New PSU App

me-1 By Kimberly Nakayama

Sometimes, I feel that my experience in college is just me using my laptop in a variety of different settings. However I always wish that doing “important” PSU stuff online, like paying bills or updating my major, would be much simpler so that I could spend more time focusing on other things. So, when someone told me about the myPSU update, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that PSU had actually been working to fix this exact problem.

As a senior, I usually just go between the web pages that I am already familiar with like D2L and Banweb. I’ve found that in between classes, work, and everything else I’m supposed to be doing, it hasn’t really been a priority for me to improve my usage of university technology. I think that, like most students at PSU, I am definitely not using PSU technology for “fun.” So I was a little skeptical at how “different” another PSU web page would actually be and how much it could actually improve my experience as a student.

After using MyPSU, however, I saw that this negative perception was out-of-date. It took a little adjusting, to be sure, but I quickly found that it was much more efficient in accessing all kinds of information about PSU. One problem that I’ve faced as a PSU student is that there are so many departments and events and staff that it can be hard to hear about specific news. MyPSU, however, has compiled a live news source that shows social media announcements from a number of different departments which makes this process so much simpler. They also offer an interactive list of active resources on campus, so if you are looking for support or to get involved on campus it is so much simpler to connect with these organizations.

In general, I think that MyPSU is a much simpler way to access information that all students need. I’ve found that I now spend much less time scrambling around online for specific web pages. The organized homepage has labelled certain sections that contain a ton of information about specific topics like registration, financial aid, and classes. This means that I can see the entirety of PSU web pages regarding a particular topic, rather than to wonder if I had managed to find every bit of information out there myself.

The best part, a MyPSU app is also available, which allows you to access different web pages from a smartphone rather than always having to use a computer. So definitely be sure to check out the new MyPSU update! I hope that it can help other students so that they can spend more time on the things that really matter.