Puppies for Pronouns

Untitled design-3 by Claire Golden

I was strolling through downtown Portland last week when I saw a cute dog. Naturally, I squealed and darted over to say hello. “She’s adorable!” I told the owner. “May I please pet her?” She nodded, and as I crouched down to lavish attention on the dog, said, “His name is Chewy.” Realizing the dog was not female like I had initially thought, I corrected myself and said, “He’s the cutest thing ever!” Although I could have cuddled with Chewy all day, all good things must end, and he and I parted ways.

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This encounter reminded me of a Tumblr post I once saw about how people are quick to correct themselves when they mistake an animal’s gender, but not so much when it’s a person. My brain decided that “fluffy dog” meant “girl.” When I discovered I was wrong, I quickly switched to calling the dog “he” instead. 

This happens all the time with people’s pets and babies, and nobody makes a big deal out of it. But when it comes to people’s pronouns, suddenly it becomes a big deal to society. That’s a lot of fuss for a little word like he, she, or they

Dogs don’t care about pronouns, but people do. So why do we apologize when we misgender someone’s dog, but not when we misgender a person? My intention is not to compare people with pets. My encounter with Chewy simply made me think about how important gender identity is for people, and how important it is to respect people’s pronouns. 

Taking a Vacation From Vacation

Untitled design-3  by Claire Golden

When spring term started, the question of the week was, “What did you do for spring break?” All my classmates were busy exchanging spring break stories to find out where everyone had traveled. “What did you do, Claire?” my friend asked. 

“Well,” I said, “I slept for 15 hours straight and read a lot of books.”

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I used to think I would travel the world when I was grown up. But the older I get, the more I appreciate a quiet afternoon. I still dream of visiting Europe to test out my French major in the real world, and I fantasize about the Caribbean islands just as much as the next person. There’s so much to learn and see in the world, and traveling is absolutely awesome.

The thing is, vacations are tiring! Packing, traveling, and sightseeing take a lot of energy, and I find myself drained mentally and physically at the end of a trip. By the time I get back, classes are starting and I’m more tired than I was before. 

So I’ve learned to appreciate my time at home just as much as my time on vacation. I love the feeling of waking up without an alarm clock and having a completely lazy day. “Staycations” are the perfect opportunity to relax with family and friends and take a break from the chaos of everyday life. Or to binge-watch Bob Ross while curled up with your puppy.

The Perks of Summer School

by Claire Golden

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If you’re reading this, you made it through finals week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sleep for about three weeks and then eat a lot of cake – not think about summer classes. But this will be the third summer I’ve taken classes, and though my post-finals brain may protest, I’ll be happy to have something to keep me busy once summer boredom sets in.

What’s so great about more homework during the summer? I’m a former homeschooler, so I don’t think in terms of the “school year.” There’s no time limit for learning! It can be rough going from being a full-time student to having no classes at all, so taking a few credits can help keep your brain occupied. Plus, it means you can take a lighter course load during the year.

What I like best about summer classes is that many of them are online. Being homeschooled means I’m used to this format, and I love it. You can read the lectures at your own pace rather than frantically taking notes in person. Online discussions mean I sound way more eloquent than I do in real life (thank you, backspace key). If you’re going on vacation, you can work ahead in the syllabus so you don’t have to do homework on the beach.

Most importantly, you can go to college in your pajamas. Thank you, online classes, for helping me earn my degree in style.

Life Lessons From Cow Pigeon

by Claire Golden

I was hurrying to class last week when a flash of black-and-white caught my eye. Instantly all thoughts of looming finals vanished, and I grabbed my phone and ran across the Urban Plaza to snap a picture of Cow Pigeon. You may have read about Cow Pigeon in the Pacific Sentinel. This extraordinary bird has captured the love of PSU students, one of whom anonymously chronicles CP’s adventures on Instagram @littlecowpigeon.

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Why do people love this bird so much? Because he’s adorable, hilarious, and he makes people smile. He brings together the PSU community by giving people something to bond over.

He helps me remember that amazing things are everywhere if you keep your eyes open. I started looking, Cow Pigeon was everywhere – last week marks my 17th sighting of him. When I put my phone away and spend time in nature, I end up feeling so much better, and this bird helps me remember that.

Cow Pigeon reminds me not to take myself so seriously. On Valentine’s Day, I wrote an entry for PSULoveStory about my friendship with Cow Pigeon…and it got fourth place!

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The biggest lesson I’ve learned from this little pigeon is that it’s OK to be different. I get weird looks sometimes for getting so excited over a pigeon, but life is more fun when you get excited over the little things. Cow Pigeon is unlike any other bird in Portland, and that’s what makes him so special.

A Healing Hiatus

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

Exercise is my catharsis, and it takes something major to throw me off my routine. A year ago, that unexpected “something major” happened. I developed sesamoiditis, the inflammation around two tiny bones in the ball of the foot, and it caused severe pain when I ran. I stupidly kept running on it because I refused to accept the fact that pain resulting from overuse counted as an actual injury. I thought since nothing was physically broken or fractured, it would just gradually disappear. When I reached the point where I could no longer walk to and from class without pain, I knew I had to quit running.

I thought maybe I’d give it up for a couple weeks—a month at tops. Little did I know, it would be 10 months before I could run again. For someone who has run for years, it was like having a piece of me ripped away. In addition, I couldn’t play Ultimate Frisbee, and I drifted away from the team I’d been a part of since I was a freshmen.

On the bright side, not being able to run forced me to try things outside of my comfort zone since I wanted to stay active. I picked up weight lifting, which is something I used to vehemently hate but now love how much stronger it has made me feel. This term I dabbled in rock climbing, and I learned a lot from attending the Rec Center bouldering classes. I even joined the dodgeball club—a dangerous decision for someone with as little hand-eye coordination as myself, but it’s ended up being really fun.

I used to consider running my utmost prioritized form of exercise, but my injury and months of subsequent recovery forced me to commit myself to new things that are now just as important to me. Strangely enough, this injury gave me the time to discover I enjoy other activities and the confidence to pursue them.

Fasting, going to school, working, and enjoying it all

By Wiwin Hartini

It’s 3:30 a.m. and my alarm just went off. With my sleepy self, I try to gather all of my energy to eat suhoor (early breakfast). As Muslims, we fast for 30 days from sunrise to sunset during Ramadhan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. I normally have avocados with an omelet or toast and drink four glasses of water. It’s also important to be ready mentally because fasting is not just about not eating and drinking during the day, it’s about self-control.

After I finish my early breakfast, I normally stay up and start working on my homework before going to school. Coming from a country where the daylight is constant throughout the year, fasting in the U.S. in the spring is a new experience for me. It’s 16 hours of fasting: from 4 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. And it’s fasting by myself instead of with family.

At first, I thought it would be hard psychologically because it’s such a big celebration back in my home country but not as big in the U.S. Instead it has taught me to be more mindful about what I do, how I treat people, how I control my thoughts and emotions. It’s become a month of self-introspection.

There are many students at PSU who are fasting and going to school. For me, it’s never been this easy nor this hard before. Working 13 hours a week and going to school full time and commuting 3 hours every day keeps me very busy. As a slow eater, sometimes I’m grateful that I now have extra time to focus on things other than eating.

Two weeks have gone by, and believe me, it’s not always perfect. The reality is, I don’t always get up for the early breakfast even though I’d love to. I realized that I had to make a decision about whether to sleep or eat. And I chose to balance my schedule without breaking the main goal of fasting. I normally get home around 6:30 p.m. and take a nap to recharge. So, when I get to break my fast at 8:30 p.m., I can stay up until about 1 a.m. working on my schoolwork while snacking and hydrating.

What I learned is that fasting is not an excuse to do less, it’s a mental practice. When you have the mindset that you can handle challenges with a positive attitude, you’d be surprised by how much energy you have, even though you have to skip your favorite tacos.

What I learned from working at a news station

DSC04253 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

Last term, I had the exciting opportunity to intern at KOIN 6 News right in downtown Portland. I applied for this internship because working in the journalism field has always been something that interested me, and because PSU does not offer a journalism major, I figured that I should try to gain experience in this field outside of the classroom.

During my 10 weeks here, I learned so much about the world of broadcast journalism and television production. Here are some of the best things I learned from this internship:

1) How to run a teleprompter

 

First of all, I had no idea that at some news stations, the teleprompter, where the anchors read the script off from during live newscasts, is manually operated by hand. I had to run the teleprompter a lot of times and it was the most nerve-racking job I did during my time here. I had to listen closely to what the anchors were saying and if I stopped paying attention for like five seconds and stopped rolling the script, it would throw the anchors off track on live TV in front of thousands of people. 

2) How to operate a news camera 

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The camera that is pictured above costs $50,000, so you can imagine all the things it can do. The videographers were more than happy to teach me how to set up and operate these cameras. There were a lot of buttons and nozzles that I had to learn and memorize. 

3) How to conduct interviews

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Most of my time interning was spent shadowing reporters as they go out into the field and investigate. A lot of their work involved interviewing people such as politicians, witnesses to crime scenes, and police officers. The best advice I received was from the weekend anchor who told me that a good interviewer must be a good listener. Listening is a skill that a lot of people tend to overlook.

4) Asking questions is the best way to learnIMG_8279

If you ever apply to intern here, don’t expect anyone to sit you down and teach you everything  you need to know about the world of news. Everything I learned was from asking questions. If I was curious about how something worked or why things were done a certain way, I didn’t hesitate to ask whoever I was with. Everyone that I worked with were very helpful and were eager to answer my questions.  

If you are interested in learning more about broadcast news or television production, I highly recommend you apply to KOIN 6. This was a very memorable experience for me and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have! Good luck!