Liberal or conservative, opposite signs. Two blank opposite signs against blue sky background.

Bursting The Political Bubble

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Liberalism is a disease—a shirt design that wouldn’t turn heads in my small hometown in Idaho. I was raised in a conservative community of 950 people and my graduating class was 15. When I decided to go to college in Portland, I effectively jumped from one political bubble to another. This division between urban and rural ideologies hit home during an Honors class discussion on LGBTQ rights. A fellow student spoke up and said that conservatives didn’t understand the reason behind these rights because they “came from a place of privilege.”

For a moment, I struggled to process this statement. Immediately, the farmers back home who work relentlessly from sunup to sundown during harvest came to my mind. They are, hands down, some of the hardest workers in a thankless job, and far from privileged. In addition, rural areas just don’t boast the amount of high-income jobs that a city does. These people may be conservative, but it isn’t coming from a place of financial privilege.

Ironically, I distinctly remember political discussions back home where people thought of Democrats and liberals as privileged. These conservatives looked at how Democrats wanted to raise taxes through the roof, how liberals “wanted everything for free,” and figured they had the money to pay into the system. All they had to do was look at the wide variety of Hollywood A-listers who have voiced support of the Democratic party—think Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Katy Perry, Madonna—and see people worth millions of dollars supporting candidates that want to hike taxes up on the majority of people making less than six figures.

This political “bubble” effect is dangerously blinding and makes it easy to lose perspective. As someone who has lived in the two extremes, I find it odd that both sides seem to think their opposite opinions stem from thinking the other has had life handed to them in one form or another with money or opportunity. Liberals and conservatives—rich and poor—can be found in every nook and cranny of this country. Therefore, the reason for such contention between them isn’t a matter of privilege; it is the misunderstandings that arise from either side thinking they are undeniably right that cause most attempts at communication to fall on deaf ears.

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Let’s be friends

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Have you ever met someone and thought, “I would just love to be friends with this person?” However, before you could articulate “hello,” the fear of awkwardness and rejection stopped you.

Even extroverts, such as myself, from time to time find it uncomfortable when having to initiate conversations with fellow classmates, and fall victim to the above line of thinking.  This is particularly true when approaching classmates that I would like to get to know better.

For instance, last winter term, I met a fellow PSU student through SBA’s Fearless Friday workshops. She was knowledgeable, funny, outgoing and double majoring in my same fields. I immediately wanted to befriend her, but my fear of being awkward preventing me from introducing myself, and I said nothing.

sara-and-susieFortunately, in the next term, I found myself sitting next to this same SBA student in a PSU workshop.  This time, I decided to take the advice of a recent blog post I had read, 11 ways to turn strangers into friends, and pushed myself to use one of the blog’s suggestions: Imagine that the other person is already your friend.

In doing so, I stepped out of my comfort zone and was not only rewarded by a friendship with this classmate, we eventually became freelance partners, offering our collaborative talents and creativity to clients. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the risk to put myself out there to meet someone new.

I encourage each and every one of my PSU colleagues to take a chance today and talk to a classmate who you’d like to become friends with. You never know where that friendship might take you.  Who knows; you could be sitting next to your future business partner!

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It’s Not All About Getting A Job

 

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

I had a lot of illusions about starting college. Having grown up in a small town, I figured my move to Portland would initiate everything “falling into place.” To me, living in a big city meant an endless supply of opportunities and experiences. Six weeks after moving to Portland, nothing had fallen into place for me. I’d had no life-changing revelations, and I really started to question why I was here.

Then, of all things, a Business 101 lecture led me out of my rut. We watched a TedTalk of Simon Sinek, who developed the “Golden Circle” concept. It’s used to explain how companies communicate to consumers through three layers: what, how, and why. Most companies communicate from the outside in, starting with what and ending with why. Exceptional companies, however, will communicate the exact opposite way. Sinek demonstrates the difference this can make with Apple Inc, who begins its marketing message with answering why ”With everything we do, we aim to challenge the status quo. We aim to think differently. Our products are user friendly, beautifully designed, and easy to use. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” The way Apple communicates with the consumer market has separated it from its competitors. People are inexplicably drawn to Apple, simply because by starting their message with why, Apple is appealing to the emotional impulse. They recognize that profit is not a reason why to do something, but a result of a deeper reason.

Afterwards, I began to draw parallels between the lecture and myself in college. I figured the reason I came to college was to earn a degree strictly so I could get a good paying job. However, getting a job after college wasn’t the reason why I was attending, it was merely the result I expected. Even though this a result I still want, my perception of attaining it has changed. For me, college isn’t just a pathway towards a career, but also a way to cultivate and explore my interests. Until that lecture, I hadn’t realized how overwhelmed I’d become from trying to force that result. Now, I’ve stopped trying to connect my major to job titles with fat salaries in favor of choosing classes that pique my curiosity.

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Hats off to pampering

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As students, we tend to wear an assortment of hats, each representing the variety of responsibilities we shoulder daily.  This includes student, leader, networker, teammate, organizer, employee, freelancer, etc.  Our list of responsibilities is ever increasing, as employer demands are constantly changing and the need for additional skills outside of traditional coursework is highly desired. In the midst of this evolving set of commitments, we often forget to take time out of our busy lives to care of ourselves.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to even imagine prioritizing something as simple as taking a bubblebath when there are so many other demands in life. Despite my busy lifestyle, I am slowly attempting to rearrange my priorities to incorporate self-care (pampering) activities, since it is an important aspect of stress management, which in turn is essential for academic success.

It is amazing how beneficial a massage, soak in the tub, and other forms of pampering can be to revitalize us inside and out. Here are some pampering suggestions:

  • Take a scented bubble bath
  • Schedule a manicure and pedicure
  • Cleanse facial pores with a clay mask
  • Get a massage

Wearing lots of hats is definitely a balancing act, which is why prioritizing and scheduling at least some pampering activities is crucial. Self-care allows us the time we need to de-stress and revitalize so we can feel our best, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Alternatively, students are encouraged to visit PSU’s Mind Spa , a space on campus for students to relax and rejuvenate, and where some of these services are available for free.

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ORGANIZE! And I’m not talking about clutter.

img_4878 By Emma Eberhart

In the wake of last week’s presidential election, now is the time to organize for social justice. Organize, in this context, means coordinating with others to take action or plan events for a better and more just America.

Below are links to some local Portland groups that have been around awhile, or are just starting up, and anyone can join. Click on their name and it will take you to their Facebook page!

  1. Portland Rising Tide
  2. Rose City Antifa
  3. Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective
  4. Portland Tenants United
  5. Socialist Alternative Portland
  6. Portland State International Socialist Organization
  7. Don’t Shoot Portland
  8. Anyone’s Resistance

A united front is the only way that we will successfully stand against Trump and stand for an inclusive America – one that does not allow for racism, misogyny, and homophobia to exist without resistance.

Check out these local groups and how they are taking steps to combat bigotry here in Portland.

*Featured Image is from Anyone’s Resistance Facebook*

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Quenching the Thirst for Leadership

img_4875 By: Beth Manney

In fall term I had the pleasure of being part of Emerging Leaders PSU. Our group met almost every Friday in October-November and was focused on delivering lessons on leadership skills to a talented group of students. I admit the program was not what I expected. I did a lot of leadership activities in high school: running a club centered on coping with stress and mental illness; managing/coaching our school’s Mock Trial team; leading a rebellion against the blatant disgustingness of the cafeteria food. Well, not so much that last one. Where were you, Michelle Obama?! I’d been thirsting for more leadership opportunities like a hound, so I’d thought the program would be about flexing those already-existing skills and getting funneled into a position at PSU.

Not quite. We participated in presentations and demonstrations that taught us about conflict and time management and how to improve your work environment. Honestly I had learned most of the material on my own already in a more learn-it-the-hard-way fashion. However, I did indeed learn skills that I now apply to my current workplaces, such as different ways to understand others’ strategies of communicating and performing.

There are two more levels, at least, of the Emerging Leaders program at PSU. Each level must be completed to proceed to the next. I’m sure PSU offers more opportunities for leadership-seekers to quench their thirst. If you’re interested in learning more about how to be a great leader, definitely sign up. The mentors in the program are seriously amazing, and some of them are students, too. I do believe that Emerging Leaders will help me succeed. I never cease to be awed at the fabulous programs PSU offers. Check out what’s waiting for you. Try something you haven’t as of yet. Put those feelers out there like an overcaffeinated octopus.

 

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The Revolution Will Not Stream Live

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

What can I say, team. It’s been a devastating week.

Devastating as an American to see the bar of presidential excellence lowered by Donald J. Trump, who holds zero qualifications to hold the office less than a quarter of the nation handed him and whose wife is the embodiment of academic dishonesty and where it gets you in life.

Devastating to know that roughly one in two Americans did not even bother to throw their vote away for professional attention seekers Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.

Devastating as a queer person to have family members and friends disregard your wellbeing under what will likely be the most homophobic American administration of the 21st century.

Devastating to realize straight people still think that marriage equality is the only LGBTQ issue. (It’s not.)

Devastating to know that five-plus years of town halls on bullying and race relations somehow did not stop the election a white nationalist bully to the highest office in the nation.

Devastating to know our president will do more to denounce critical media coverage of him than denounce ideological violence carried out by his disciples.

Devastating to see cable news bungle time and time again when it comes to covering anything more important than a 3 a.m. warehouse fire.

What is not devastating is a week of civil unrest.

PSU’s campus has not returned to peace and complacency following Alyssa Pagan-Pariah’s powerful forum takeover last year, nor should it. Portland State University needs to do more in 2016-2020 and 2020-3020 than offer lip service toward the populations which give the student body the diversity it sorely needs. It starts with we the students, we the faculty, we the employees who blur the line between students and professionals.

Because one rainbow-colored banner hung during the least populated academic quarter-
and-no-further does nothing.

Because safety pins do nothing.