Getting Tatted at 21, Regretting it at 22

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

When I turned 21, I got three tattoos within two days. I got a huge flower along my collar bone, my name spelled in Vietnamese on my chest, and an arrow on my arm. This was a time where I was rebellious and wild. I got a lot of piercings done, too. I wanted to have a “bad-ass” reputation and be covered in tattoos to look cool and hardcore. I was living my life recklessly and didn’t think about the consequences that may come from my actions. But now I want to rip all my tattoos off.

I have become more serious about my studies and career goals. Unlike the person that I was when I was 21 (even though that was only a year ago), I’ve matured a lot and take my life seriously now. I’ve come to realize that having huge tattoos on my body could potentially get in the way of my career path, and that’s part of the reason why I want to take them off. The other reason is that I don’t find tattoos aesthetically pleasing anymore. I no longer like the look of having drawings and symbols on my body.

My nose piercing, which my parents hated and served as a symbol of my rebellion, was easily taken off. Only in my dreams would it be that easy to take my tattoos off. I guess it’s OK to be young and make mistakes, but I wish my mistake wasn’t so permanent. I do plan to have all four of my tattoos removed in the future, but from my research, it would cost a lot and be very painful.

Until I am financially stable enough to go under a laser, I will just have to suck it up and live with the consequences of my irresponsible actions. The person that I am now would never get any tattoos. She is goal driven and only cares about graduating and building a successful career. But when I’m old and wrinkly, I will (hopefully) be tattoo-free and will look back and laugh at how dumb I was when I was 21.

Portland area winter hikes. Part 1

11050714_10153261569423675_1855416915072077955_n-3 By Josh McCarroll

One of the many things that make hiking in the forest such a beautiful experience is the knowledge that it is far older than us and the perception that it will be around long after we die. This perceived permanence always allows us the space to appreciate Oregon’s forests some other day. However, any of them could burn away by next summer.

I was born and raised in Oregon but since I started school I have used it as an excuse to be less adventurous. In light of the Eagle Creek and subsequent fires, I have made an effort to explore more and appreciate the beauty Oregon has to offer before it disappears.  

This post is the first in a series of three winter hikes. Many hikes become inaccessible or too dangerous in the winter time, so I will focus on hikes that are not only safely accessible and trekkable, but still beautiful during the cold months.  

Macleay Park

On a snowy Tuesday morning, I opted to go on a hike that requires no driving for Portlanders or park fees whatsoever, and I found Macleay Park.

From campus you can take the NS streetcar line to the NW 23rd and Marshall stop. From there you can make your way through a cute neighborhood by foot until you reach NW Upshur Street. The west end of this street dead ends at the park. After walking under the Balch Gulch Bridge, you will find the entrance to the trail, which has very clear instructions on possible routes depending on how deep into Forest Park you want to explore.

The great part about this hike is you can easily add it to the beginning or end of a busy day with not much preparation or planning. The trail is wide, easy to walk and is in excellent condition. I was able to hike the entire 2-mile loop comfortably in everyday tennis shoes. Same goes for the 6-mile loop: no hiking poles or fancy boots needed.

The small 2-mile loop brings you back to the top of the historic Balch Gulch bridge which is the route I enjoyed on my quick excursion before class. One of the things I found lovely about this hike was the structures. The beauty of this hike doesn’t necessarily rely on the lush greenery that comes about it in summer. The Lower Macleay trail runs along Balch Creek, and hikers encounter several wood bridges across the creek before they reach the Stone House.

The Stone House, known by some as the witch’s castle, is about fifteen minutes in. It is the point where the Lower Macleay trail intersects Forest Park’s Wildwood trail.

This trail is popular for Portlanders that want to get out of the city for a quick escape. However, this may make it a bit crowded on weekends. I would recommend visiting it on a weekday before the locals from the surrounding neighborhood get off work. I only encountered a handful of hikers during my visit on a Tuesday morning.

So Long Social Media?

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

I don’t keep up-to-date on Apple’s software, but I kept hearing about its new Screen Time feature. It lets you know how much time you spend on apps and social media and will set limits if you want it to. I personally did not turn it on or give it a try, but I increasingly found my friends talking about it and social media’s effect on a person’s outlook on life.

With books like The Happiness Effect: How Social Media is Driving a Generation to Appear Perfect at Any Cost by Donna Freitas and similar studies and articles in circulation online, it’s no secret that social media is linked to feeling dissatisfied and unhappy with one’s own life. Even weirder, they say receiving “likes” triggers a dopamine high equivalent to hugging. Reading things like this make me want to delete everything but my contacts from my phone—but it’s always a fleeting feeling because I’ll end up distracting myself on Instagram.

Only one of my friends goes sans social media. She has accounts, but long ago deleted the apps from her phone and nearly never chooses to check social media elsewhere. For me, social media is a platform that allows me to stay connected with distant friends and family. I look at my friend though, and she has no trouble keeping in contact with the people that matter to her. Another friend of mine recently deleted all social media from her phone and is going on a two week purge. The goal is that after two weeks, she won’t have any desire to re-download those apps. I’m genuinely curious to see what changes she sees in herself, if any. 

Meanwhile, I actually turned on Screen Time to satisfy my curiosity on my own app usage. In the past seven hours, I’ve spent 40 minutes on my phone and 28 of those were on social networks. Not even 24 hours have passed, and I’m disgustingly well on my way to wasting hours of time on my phone. 

Midterm pressure? Use the 5-minute rule

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By Wiwin Hartini

I just realized it’s week five already and midterms are coming up and lab reports are due the same week. It seems as if a 24-hour day is not enough.

I used to panic more as midterms got closer even though I tried not to. I felt as if everything was coming at me all at once, and I didn’t know what exactly I was worrying about.

It was last quarter when I learned to change my perspective from the professor who taught my Microprocessor class. It was the most difficult class I had ever taken. I worried all the time, wondering if I could understand the class or not and if I would have to retake it.

Apparently, I was not the only student who felt that way. One day, the professor told a story about his grandchild who would panic every time she was assigned homework. To solve this problem, he told her that she could panic or freak out, but only for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, she had to face her homework and start doing the problems she recognized.

He introduced this rule to the students who were taking his class. It even came up as a question on our finals. There was a day in the lab when I heard my classmates remind each other about this rule because a project was taking a long long time. We had to remember to focus on doing what we recognized.  

The rule now applies to almost everything I do. I can really see the difference between what I was like a year ago in dealing with exams, and what I do now when faced with challenges.

Also, If I want to do something fun before a midterm, I know that PSU offers an event called “Midterm stress relief,” where students can try Thai massage, eat food, and play with Corgis for free. It’s Feb. 6 and next term it is May 1.

[link: https://www.facebook.com/pg/PortlandStateU/events/?ref=page_internal%5D

[Unconventional] Social Butterfly

      By: Adair Bingham

Ever since I was young, the idea of being a social butterfly frightened me. As a child, I was far from the type to be invited to parties and I was never first pick for sports teams. I was that socially awkward stereotype all throughout my primary academic years, and sometimes I still fall back on it. As I got older, I realized that I need to implement a change in life. It didn’t matter how small it was, what I needed was something new, something that I never would have dreamed of partaking in.

That change was social media. Many of my formative years were spent fearing social media, how it warped people’s sense of reality and how it was nothing but garbage content produced by outlandish, awful people. At least, that’s what I was told.

But as someone who wants to work in the creative industry, I knew that I needed to have an online presence.

At nineteen and after some heckling from friends, I hesitantly made my first-ever social media account: Instagram. I let it sit alone and unoccupied for one month before I even had an icon. A month after that, after riding out some strange wave of confidence, I posted my first drawing. I used the amount of likes as a means to measure my worth as an artist. Sometimes it would make me feel horribly self-conscious. At other times, I’d feel like the very definition of narcissist. It was like some kind of game, you could play to either make yourself feel special or just outright awful. I’m well aware the amount of likes and followers one has are all superficial, but it gives you some kind of elevated importance. After consistently posting my work, and during a particularly rough spot of self-depreciation, something that I never dreamed of happened.

I posted a piece of artwork inspired by one of my favorite games and it was noticed by the developers themselves. As small as it may seem, the fact that they saw it and acknowledged it greatly inspired me, and that was truly something special. It gave me the confidence that I so desperately needed to keep creating. So, I started posting on different platforms, and the day after doing so came floods of requests to buy artwork from me.

I am living out one of my longtime dreams: to be a freelance artist and to sell artwork. After harboring an irrational fear of social media for years, I am finally glad to call it a friend. Ideally, the takeaway from this is to unlearn your fear, to unlearn what you may have been told from others. Great things can come from it, and the only way to know is to take the first step into the unknown.Be bold, be brave, and be unashamedly weird in your creative endeavors. Most importantly, always create from what inspires you. Life is too short to not dabble in something new, even if it may be as small as social media.

 

How was your break?

By Wiwin Hartini

I would normally say, “It was great” like most of us do. But there are more details to it.

I used to think that holidays are holidays, no school and that’s all. But a month of no school in college is something I am really grateful for, because this last holiday was different: I learned new things.

I read a book called Factfulness by Hans Rosling, which changed my perspective about the world. I got to make video blogs with a friend of mine, and I worked on my online business in Indonesia. Unlike school, my time was unstructured, and there was no grade other than personal enjoyment.

From all of the things I did during the holiday, the best decision I made was to check my school email every day. Since I transferred to PSU last year, I’ve been using Handshake, where job and internship opportunities are posted for students. I had emails from it and from the Electrical & Computer Engineering Department. I told myself that I’d read the opportunities and apply for some.

During the first week of winter quarter I received one job offer, was acceptance into a Hydro Power Career Workshop, and had one internship offer from TriMet. I learned from the one-month break that the world does not stop, opportunities are always out there, email is a tool, and that I just had to pull myself together and take action. Therefore, thanks PSU for a great beginning to 2019.

New Year, Same Resolutions

IMG_0830By: Anna Sobczyk

I am not a fan of New Year’s resolutions for a simple reason: I have made the same resolution for about five years in a row without ever completing it. For years, my goal was to complete an unassisted pull-up from a dead-hang. Every year, I continued with my usual patterns of running, swimming, and outright avoiding any weightlifting.  So, each December when I tried to do a pull-up, I really shouldn’t be surprised when I fail. Nonetheless, I continued to be disappointed. 

Last spring, I injured my foot and I couldn’t run. I still don’t know what’s wrong with my foot exactly, but running results in a pain that feels like ice picks being hammered into the ball of my foot. Needing something to fill the void running had left, I started weightlifting with a couple friends just once a week.

The PSU gym has a machine that assists you in pull-ups, and it was definitely my favorite. I started the term being able to lift 65% of my bodyweight and ended the term maxed out at lifting 93% of my bodyweight. I could do a chin-up from full extension, but the pull-up still eluded me. 

Then, one miraculous day over winter break, I finally did a pull-up and it left me in a state of shock. It didn’t seem real to have finally completed this goal—which started out as a New Year’s resolution—years later on a very un-noteworthy day in December. Now I know I could have accomplished it years earlier had I just devoted one hour a week towards it. For all my future New Year’s resolutions, I’ll just remember the history behind my pull-up and know there’s a process and a way to help me achieve my goals.