Winter Wonderland

I’ve slipped in snow and plummeted headfirst into an icy road with cars coming, but I still can’t quite bring myself to adopt the same dread regarding snow that a lot of my friends have.

Growing up in California, snow was always a special treat requiring a several-hour drive up the closest mountain. It was magical and also one of the few times I was permitted to eat instant ramen, clustered around steaming cups with my cousins, our cheeks red from chill. I was already looking forward to Portland’s actual seasons instead of 365 straight days of heat, but I was gently warned not to have high hopes of snow. I moved here in September 2016, and that winter was one of the biggest snowfalls Portland had experienced in a while. I was nothing short of elated being able to walk out my front door and jump into a snowbank.

Snow also meant stress: being stuck downtown during rush hour after a shift at the restaurant I worked at, realizing it would cost several hundred dollars and take several hours to get an Uber, because the buses had stopped running. I eventually went home with a coworker for the night and the next morning one of her saint-like roommates volunteered to drive me home from North Portland to West Linn, cheerfully chatting with me as we skidded on ice and I feared for my life. It can mean missing work, which seems fun until you remember you’re a self-supporting student and your paycheck is kind of important, but I don’t think I’ll ever truly gripe about it.

When the first few flakes start to drift down, even if they don’t stick, snow holds a timeless kind of magic for me. I secretly hope for another absolute coating, but we’ll have to see.

Portland on Foot

By Erika Nelson

When I chose to attend PSU, I knew I wanted to live on (or close to) campus.  Proximity to classes and university resources aside, living in the midst of a major metropolitan city famed for its public transportation would mean I could forgo the expenses that come with having a car.

Now that I live in student housing, I walk 95% of the time. Before last year, I’d lived in suburbs my whole life, and was lucky enough to have a car (or access to someone who did) for my daily transportation. The first few weeks I lived in Portland required a huge adjustment to my lifestyle and habits. For example, walking home in the rain carrying bulging Safeway bags taught me to pare down my weekly grocery list to the essentials so I would only need one reusable bag, allowing my other hand free for an umbrella.

There are times I wish I still had a car, like when I want to go somewhere more than a few miles away, or when the weather is extreme. However, there are definite benefits to relying on my own two legs. Walking allows me to experience parts of Portland that would be hard to do from a car, like when I pass quirky shops or snap pictures of public art. My health has improved from being more active. I’ve been able to save money on gas, maintenance, and parking passes. Road rage and driving-related stress is nonexistent. Best of all: on any given day, I see a minimum of a half-dozen dogs being walked, and sometimes their owners let me interact with them! It’s times like these when I’m glad I got rid of my car and can focus on the simple things going on around me.

Making international friends at PSU

By Wiwin Hartini

When I came to the United States in 2016  for college, I thought I’d be making friends with Americans and be able to speak English on a daily basis like what I’ve seen in the movies when I grew up. Although that part is true, living here has broadened my perspective about international boundaries. I’ve never met as many international students as I’ve met at PSU. And the opportunity to study here opened another opportunity to make new friends with students from other countries. 

I think I’ve met and worked with students from Venezuela, Germany, Vietnam, China, Nigeria, Congo, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Japan, and other countries. I did not expect this before I came here. It’s easy to take it for granted and not think about it until I realized how rare it was to meet a person from another country when I was attending schools in Indonesia. 

Recently, I joined a program at PSU called ICSP (International Cultural Service Program) where selected international students are given scholarships and opportunities to share their cultures to requestors (educational institutions, organizations, groups, etc). The program also offers training to develop the students’ skills. It has allowed me to meet with students from 16 countries and learn about their cultures. I would have never thought that I would be learning about Vietnamese New Year’s tradition or learning about stereotypes about Ukraine. 

As people are more globally connected through the internet, I think understanding other cultures is more important than ever. The application can be as simple as working for a company that would transfer you to Japan to work, for example. Having exposure to Japanese culture from a student while going to school can be a valuable experience in the long run. Working with people from different backgrounds can enrich the way we think and the way we can solve problems. 

Looking for an internship is daunting, but why not make it fun?

By Wiwin Hartini

It scares me to think about the fact that I only have a few terms left at PSU until I graduate. My mind keeps reminding me of how critical it is to lay out my plans A, B, E, etc. I remember looking for an internship last year and applying for 20-something opportunities online. It was not surprising not hearing back from 90% of them. I ended up with one internship at the end. The feeling of being rejected is never fun,  but I thought, why not make the whole process fun and adventurous? Why not change my perspective on job/internship hunting?

I then started doing my homework by having a conversation with a career advisor and learned that the process of finding an internship is a two-way process: Students are looking for opportunities and companies are looking for talents. The tricky part is to find the match. This totally changed my perspective on the process.

Instead of applying to every opportunity I see online, I started focusing on the companies and their values instead, asking myself  questions; 

“Which companies would I want to work for, for a long period of time?” 

“Which companies whose values match mine?”

“Which companies make me excited?”

I understand that as a student graduating from college, sometimes all we want is that first job that at least can provide some cash to get by. But I also realize how important it is to be excited and passionate about what we do to accomplish great things.

Now, I prioritize the companies values and culture, so during my interviews, I used the opportunity to also interview the interviewers and ask myself if I want to be like them in the next few years. I recently submitted eight applications and was interviewed by three companies and offered two internship opportunities. It is still scary for me, but I also gained valuable experiences by going through the process. At the end of the day, it costs students time and effort into applying and cost companies money to find the right candidate. So, why not make it more enjoyable? 

One thing to keep in mind is that I’m not an expert on this matter, but I would love to share how changing my perspective about job hunting has helped me during the process. And as long as we don’t give up, we’ll get somewhere. 

How to Survive the Winter Academic Blues

By Maya Young

Winter is arguably one of the toughest terms of the academic year. Why? Inclement weather, little-to-no sunshine, shorter days, and few breaks with no holidays to break up the time. Essentially, winter term is a dark and fast-paced 11-weeks of school with little time off to rest. To combat these issues and continue powering through the year, here are some tips that have worked for me in my years at PSU:

  1. Find new places to study and do homework.

The bad weather makes it tempting to just stay indoors and do homework at home. Instead, branch out and add some more structure and change to your schedule. Do homework in the numerous cafes and coffee shops around campus, study in the school library, or even in some of the awesome buildings such as Karl Miller Center. 

  1. Exercise.

Although the trek to the campus gym may be daunting in this weather, exercising rewards you with higher levels of energy which can be essential for staying motivated! Pair this with a healthy diet, good amounts of sleep, and you will feel good enough to conquer this term.

  1. Reward yourself.

Studying for long periods of time can be difficult. For me, I am easily distracted and have trouble maintaining focus. Give yourself incentives so that you can maintain focus, complete your schoolwork, and do something for yourself when it is all over with.

Five Online Resources to Help You Sail Through PSU

Untitled design-3 by Claire Golden

College homework is no joke. When you get hit with your first five-page essay with an annotated bibliography, you may feel like curling up in a blanket and imitating a burrito for the next four years. But I’m here to tell you that not only are college assignments survivable, they don’t have to take forever! These are five sources I wish I had known about when I started college.

turned-on-silver-imac-with-might-mouse-and-keyboard-930530

  1. Canva.com is an amazing resource for creating infographics, resumés, cover letters, and many more graphic design elements. It’s easy to use and looks fantastic.

  2. To pair with the above website, Pexels.com is a great place to find public domain stock images. (It’s what I used for the image in this post.)

  3. Gutenberg.com is perfect for the English majors out there. It houses thousands of public domain ebooks that you can download for free to read either on your computer or ereader.

  4. And if you prefer audiobooks, then LibriVox.com is perfect for you, because you can find free audiobooks of thousands of classic novels, all read by volunteers. Great to play during your commute or while exercising.

  5. If citing sources is the bane of your existence, you might like EasyBib.com as much as I do. It’s a great resource to help you avoid plagiarism and cite correctly.

Like it or not, being a human blanket burrito will not earn you a degree. But hopefully these resources will prove as helpful to you as they were to me. Now if only I could go back in time and tell my younger self about them.

No Time Like The Present

By: Adair Bingham

Every year, people find themselves trying to implement egotistic New Year’s resolutions and self-betterment plans to try and work on themselves and encourage their loved ones to attempt to do the same. Many of these half-baked resolutions fall through during the first few months of the New Year, often earlier, and then quickly become the elephant in the room. Nobody likes admitting failure, and thus they simply move on with their lives and find it better to ignore their half-hearted attempts at what could’ve been a fulfilling resolution.

With a new decade upon us, I think that it’d be best for us (especially those caught in awkward, transitional periods of life) to commit to at least one resolution: self-care. We can ease off of those often strict and overly harsh regulations that we put onto ourselves and focus on improving ourselves at our own pace. By acknowledging the importance of accepting life’s challenges at your own pace, the world suddenly becomes a lot easier to navigate.

Everywhere I look, both in the real world and online, I find hordes of people preaching about the importance of self-care and self-acceptance, but no one ever actually seems to follow through with what they wax poetic about. If you’re going to rhapsodize about the inherent beauty of performing self-care and practicing self-acceptance, then, at the very least, acknowledge that it is not a simple one-step process to self-love. It’s a long, conflicting, and often confusing journey that will take an extraordinary amount of time, energy, and effort to achieve. To put it bluntly; it’s a horrifically ugly and often lonely undertaking, but in doing so, an entirely new world can be discovered.

So, as we all welcome a decade into our lives, let’s all try our best to prioritize our mental health and well-being, and understand that that there is no wrong way to lead your life. By simply doing things at your very own pace, you are succeeding and advancing, and that’s all there is to it.