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Why I’m Annoyed by the Alumni Countdown

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

There is a sign on the alumni building on campus that went up on March 5 declaring “100 Days Until You Are An Alumni.” It’s been steadily counting down since then. I get it. It’s supposed to portray the happiness and excitement of graduation. It’s supposed to get the students pumped about being alumni of this fabulous university. It’s supposed to be encouraging.

Well, guess what?

For me—a graduate student in Book Publishing planning on graduating this spring—this countdown annoys the heck out of me. And quite frankly, it stresses me out. Why? It’s a constant reminder that I have 100 days, or 85 days, or 52 days to get all my crap in order. To find a job. To (maybe) find a new apartment. To (maybe) move to a new city. It’s a constant reminder that I have less and less time to get my final grad projects in. A constant reminder that May 20—my thesis defense date, the one that decides whether I pass or fail this program—is getting closer.

And that’s freaking stressful! With all the other ToDo lists in my life, all the other deadlines (self-imposed or otherwise), all the other stresses, I don’t need this one.

But…maybe I need to look at it differently. Maybe this looming countdown can be…a count-up to my new life instead. My next adventure. That’s a better way of thinking about it. For now, anyway. Don’t ask me on June 12.

What do you think of the countdown?

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I Got Fired, Now What?

edit 12By Jesse Turner

For the first time in my life, I got “fired.” I put “fired” in quotation marks because it wasn’t an official firing. It was a volunteer practicum position and I was offered a different, more restricted position for this term but was told that I could no longer continue in the position I had been doing for the last ten weeks. I was told I was causing too many disruptions, enough that the practicum had to end immediately.

I don’t want to go into the details of the firing (maybe dismissal is a better word) but I will tell you that I cried on my drive home, barely restraining myself from crying in front of my supervisor. I felt as though I had lost part of myself in losing that position. I tie my work ethic so centrally to who I am. I take pride in the fact that I work two jobs while going to school full time. I take pride in my exhaustion. I brag about my transformation from a lazy, self-pitying person to someone who has tried her best to take control of my future. Getting fired does not fit into my personal narrative.

This was my first placement in the specific field of study I want to work in. What do I do now? This is the field I want to spend the rest of my life in. Sure, I can study it in a classroom, but maybe I’m truly not good enough. My supervisor told me that he understood my behavior did not come from a place of malicious intent and that with more experience, I would do much better. I cling to his statement because it feels like all I have. This position was so draining, it consumed my waking hours and still I loved it. I miss it.

Now I am in a new practicum position, in a different youth correctional facility. I had my period of mourning but then was forced to take my love for my previous position and work to get a new one. In this position I have met young, incarcerated men who face rejection every day, rejection that is often worse than my own, and yet they continue to persevere. One young man earned his high school diploma, associate’s degree, and two bachelor’s degrees in five years under incarceration. There is no better kick in the pants than seeing people accomplishing more in lockup than you are on the outs. So getting fired is not all bad. It was a hard experience and one I will feel the sting of for a while. But I have to take it as a bump in the road, a learning experience, and not the end. I love this field too much to be done with it now.

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“Please Hire Me.”

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Summer internship application deadlines for 2016 are rapidly coming to a close, and I still haven’t scheduled a single interview. However, I believe that I’ve dotted my i’s and crossed my t’s where necessary. I’ve updated my resume, wrote several personalized company cover letters, and I have even gone through great lengths to create a consistent presence for myself using an online portfolio. Although the stressed student in me is convinced all hope is lost, this is not the case!

I’ve decided to beat my internship frustrations by incorporating the following proactive tools:

  1. Conduct several informational interviews.
  2. Research internship opportunities on CareerConnect.
  3. Attend campus workshops and events.
  4. Meet with an internship advisor on campus.

Screen Shot 2016-04-13 at 9.16.59 PMIf you’re like me and determined to snag a last minute summer internship, don’t forget to follow Portland State University on Twitter and Facebook! Our university social sites are an important place to check for updates on upcoming career fairs happening on campus. Plus, be sure to save the date and register for our next “All Major Job Fair” on May 10th, 2016.

What are your tips and tricks for landing last minute internships? I would love to read them in the comments below.

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How Technology Has Improved My Fitness Habits

Self Photos and Post by: James Wilson

Being a full-time student on top of working and maintaining a connection with family and friends is already hard enough. Adding the right time to get any bit of a workout or any form of physical activity adds just another layer.

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Technology for me has already made that first part way easier. We all are connected to devices nearly 24/7. We work on the go. We also are maintaining that social connection — maybe while even waiting for the Max — when we check our phones to message close friends or family members. But what about working out? How can technology help with recreation?

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Luckily, Android and Apple’s iPhone already have this problem solved. With their built-in pedometers you can see just how active you are in a normal daily routine. Walking 20 minutes to class is now an integrated part of my fitness regimen. Pairing a phone with a wearable device such as the Apple Watch or the Fitbit makes this even better. I’m able to link my smartwatch with my phone and keep tabs on my physical activity at all times. It gets me moving more. I have apps that notify me when I’ve been stationary for too long, and that motivates me to get up and move around. I also have the 7 Minute Workout app on my Pebble watch and phone, so I can optimize my free time when I can’t make it to the gym. For the busy student it really is a habit changer and motivates me when I need it most. 

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Why I Went to LA Last Weekend

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

Last February I wrote about Write to Publish 2016 and how it was an awesome networking opportunity. Let me tell you a secret: Write to Publish is a tiny conference. Adorably small, actually. How do I know this? Because last weekend I went to the conference connected to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, widely known as AWP.

AWP is the largest literary conference in North America. Last year, they had over 800 vendors, 12,000 attendees, and 2,000 presenters. This year, they had the same, if not more. Write to Publish (while amazing) was a mere whisper to all this literary noise.

Plus, AWP was in Los Angeles this year, and I’d never been before. A new city, thousands of writers and publishers, and tons of books? Yes, please! Additionally, I was given a Marie Brown Graduate Student Travel Award to help pay for it. And while I was going as an attendee, I was also there to represent my graduate program in book publishing and Ooligan Press.

I went to panels, readings, and chatted with fellow writers; I tabled, gushing about Ooligan and Portland State University; I visited vendors, doing much of the same; and I even tried Korean waffle pizza. It was three long days, but it was also an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It was an opportunity PSU helped to pay for, and I wouldn’t have had the same experience without such lovely support.

What kinds of conferences have you been to?

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I AM A CREATURE OF HABIT

By: Sharon Nellist

This is it. Ten more days until… FINALS WEEK. I am usually of mixed emotions during this 10258891_10101685513754293_6293913161816303566_otime: glad that the workload will be placed on a brief hold, and sentimental over the ending of classes that I truly enjoyed.

I had the privilege of taking a course in which the grade is solely up to me. It is a beautiful array of assignments catered to different learning styles that I can a-la-carte my way to a guaranteed ‘A’. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yes, you guessed it, I never cease to amaze myself with my proficient ability to procrastinate. You would think that I would have this worked out now that I am in my senior year. Honestly, I had good intentions at the beginning to use this grading process to do away with procrastination, so I wouldn’t be stressed with a heavy workload at the end of the term. But alas, here I am, and I have roughly 20 pages of writing to do just for this class. And every time I do it well, it gets harder to change habits. “I also work best under pressure.”

The question is, is procrastination a bad thing?

vkuEJZCLets take a psychological perspective; hence, the course with this grading system is Abnormal Psychology.

Is procrastination DISTRESSFUL? Most of the term is distress free with this method as I absorb information like a sea sponge. It is only distressful the last few weeks of the term when I basically live in my own caffeinated-induced bubble.

Is there DEVIANCE? Probably not out of the ordinary. We are all human. I am sure that a copious amount of students at Portland State procrastinate too –  you know, since the library is open 24 hours from March 7-17.

Is it DYSFUNCTIONAL? It can be, if I fail to eat, sleep and hydrate. And, it may not be, if I manage to maintain grades above the GPA that I intend to graduate with.

What is your opinion on procrastination?

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Where do you study best on campus?

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

For me, studying on campus consists of finding a cozy table in Smith Union, where I can set up my Mac and enjoy my favorite liquid inspiration: Chai Tea Latte. I have always positioned myself near a window in a somewhat noisy space. I am a visual learner, and now realize that I had been unconsciously exposing myself to unnecessary stresses and frustrations.

Are you a Visual, Auditory, or Tactile/Kinesthetic learner? As students, knowing this can not only help us to expand study strategies but also help us  determine the best study environments conducive to our own unique learning style.

I’ve done a little research and mapped out a few of the best spots on campus to study based on your learning style. If you’re not sure what your learning style is, no problem. Take the free Learning Style Assessment quiz: https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/.


Visual Learning Style
Visual learners study best in a quiet, clutter-free environment away from windows and movement.  I suggest the:

PSU Study RoomAuditory Learning Style: Auditory Learners study best in a place that is free from noisy distractions. If you cannot eliminate background noise, conceal it by quietly playing classical music or an environmental sound track. I suggest the same campus spots as I’ve listed above for visual learners.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style: Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners study best in a place where you can use as many of your senses as possible: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. Study environments should allow movement, and bPSU Study Park Blockse large enough for you to get up and walk around. I suggest the:

Knowing your learning style is not meant to constrain, but to enhance – by helping you to work, learn and live more efficiently.