Love from Afar

If my past self was able to peer into a scrying mirror like some sort of five-foot-two orange-haired Albus Dumbledore, I don’t think I would have ever foreseen being in a long-distance relationship. At least I can be confident about that, I would say, so assuredly. Nope, went my entire molecular structure a couple months later.

I can honestly say my partner, riding shotgun in the vehicle of life, is the only one I’d ever be able to do this with. My Ohio counterpart and I have been dating for almost a year and four months, and been friends for longer. We are so alike, but have our differences where it counts, and we balance each other out. One of the biggest things that brought us together is Portland State. About a couple months into our friendship, it was time for my college quest and I had my eyes set on only PSU. As I told Jakob more and more about the school, he grew as fascinated as I was—we share a lot of the same values about sustainability, nature, and giving back. PSU was like the answer to everything we’d been searching for. It became part of the dream of being together—I was set to move to Portland in September 2016, and he’d follow a year after. It’s been hard finding students that can relate to my situation, especially since I’m only going part time this year.

Once Jakob is at PSU I know we will both find things to get involved in together and activities we can wholeheartedly support the other in. I’m so happy our shared love for this amazing university has brought us even closer together in anticipation for our future. Watch out, world, we’re ready to gross you out with our sappy love.

Need some tips on maintaining a great and healthy LDR? Hit me up!


Holding on to summer’s downward facing dog

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

The fall leaves have officially fallen, and my summer tan-lines have slowly faded, but I am still determined to cling on to what’s left of my summer break activities. Gone are the days of karaoke Sundays, watching movie marathons, or attending an outdoor yoga class with my adorable French Bulldog (pictured on the right). Now, the majority of my days are yoga-dieselfilled with study sessions and research papers, with no chance of catching up on the latest paranormal romance novel.  Nonetheless, I am steadfast in my resolve to find a way to integrate at least one of my summer activities into my hectic fall term schedule.

Say hello to hot yoga – a style of yoga performed in hot and humid conditions, typically referred to as Bikram yoga. Hot yoga seemed like the perfect solution to my fleeting summer fun, since I can practice it early mornings at 5:30 a.m. without schedule conflicts. Over the last month, yoga has created a space for my body and mind to take a break from social and academic pressures. This healthy new-found habit of mine has not only alleviated stress, but more importantly it has improved my overall concentration.

An interesting study by The International Journal of Yoga showed that students who devoted seven weeks of regular practice doing poses, breathing, and meditation significantly reduced their stress levels. As a result, their academic performance increased. Amazing!

I highly recommend to all of you, my fellow PSU colleagues, to consider adding yoga into your fall schedule. Note, as students we receive free yoga classes through the Campus Rec Center! Check out the calendar  for more details.


’80s Night at the Rec

Being the photographer and designer for the Rec Center means a couple things. I get to know about a bunch of great events happening here early, and I get to be included in most of them. My job includes everything from photographing the events to designing most of the materials used in them and to promote them. Before my job here I would only come to work out — I would never consider taking part in the events here, until now.


One that is always fun to shoot each year is the Sound Waves Pool Party. This year’s theme was the ‘80s.


Our aquatics team converted the pool into a huge party venue with strobe lights, fog machines, live DJing and even free pizza. I am just working at these events and am not there as a participant. But what other job pays me to go capture the fun memories going on at the Rec Center? I definitely recommend that every PSU student check out one of these at least once during their time here. You’re bound to make new connections and have a good time!


You can click here to go to the Rec Center homepage and see the next few events coming up.



Torn Between Now and Then

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

I’m a conservative liberal.

I’m a feminist who hates the word ‘feminism.’

I’m a traditionalist who believes in change.

Three years ago, I was none of these things, for the chief reason that I never thought about myself in any of these terms. But then I graduated high school, and I flew the nest. I moved from a rural town, where I graduated with the same 90 kids whom I’d gone to kindergarten with. And I, like most other children, was a product of my environment. My “beliefs,” though I hesitate to even call them that given they were rather inactive, were the product of never having left the comfort of home.

Then, becoming a student and resident of Portland State where residents and opinions are so diverse, all of my beliefs were challenged. And you know what? Many of my preconceived notions about the world have changed in the last two years. Sometimes, that fact terrifies me. I’m torn between the ideals of my hometown and the ideals I’ve come to have as a college student at PSU. Even though I’m aware that change is very much a part of becoming an adult, I worry that my Portland community won’t accept my small-town values, and I worry that my hometown will think I’ve become a “flaming liberal” (actual quote).

It’s taken me awhile to accept that I’m an individual with a view of the world shaped by my unique experience, and my opinions and values are more valid than my fears of not being accepted. I’ve even found that the more I show both sides of me, the more I connect with the people around me and the more interesting my conversations become. We all share an experience as students of PSU, but we also all have a unique background that has helped shape who we are, and that’s definitely something to be proud of and own as an individual


Back to School at 19 vs 27

img_4865  By: Andrew D. Jankowski

When I started college at 19, I thought I knew exactly how the next decade of my life would pan out. I knew in four breezy years I’d have my English degree, and I’d learn the perfect balance between being a fiction writer and being an art photographer. I knew it.

As a kindergartener, I would stare across the water from my Vancouver, Washington bedroom window at what was probably Airport Way in Portland. I am legally blind, though I didn’t know it at the time, but when I looked out at night, those warm industrial lights shone like glittering yellow diamonds under murky violet water.

Higher education is one of the easiest ways to enter a new city. I moved to Portland in September 2008, days before the government took control of my bank, Washington Mutual. That sure made making my student payments awkward, let me tell ya. But as I spent the next four years riding out Great Recessional angst, I learned about Portland, Portland State University, and myself.

I’ve had a lot of Portland adventures. I’ve learned a lot about Portland State University’s criminally under-utilized resources. I’ve changed everything about the plan I made for myself at 19. I never imagined being a college dropout for four years. I never imagined giving up on, and falling back in love with, writing or photography. I never knew I’d carve out a mildly successful freelance career between my time in school. The only thing consistent about my plan is that I’m still at Portland State University and I’m still pursuing an English degree.

Now in the second year of what I call “college, part 2,” I still can’t believe I found the courage to return to college at 27. It’s still jarring to be in class with teenagers, who were probably in junior high-or-younger when I started and ended “college, part 1,” yet I find myself more at peace in school than I did as a late teenager. But I can probably trick one of them into helping me learn SnapChat, right?

Let Selfies Serve the City.


girls go 2 college 2 get more knowledge

with Allie Clark of NW Noggin at PSU’s Party in the Park Blocks 2016



The 5 C’s of Portland

img_4878  By: Emma Eberhart

I grew up in the Southwestern portion of the United States – Arizona to be exact. As with most places, there are some quick facts and general knowledge that natives, such as myself, have come to know, and they all happen to start with the letter “c.” The 48th state is all about mining copper, producing cotton, farming cattle, growing citrus, and enjoying its hot climate. Over the past year living in Oregon, I have come up with Portland’s own 5 C’s – my own sort of way of bringing home with me but still letting Portland shine.

  1. Cycling – This is a city built for bicyclists. There are bridges, roads, and programs created for and with bicyclists in mind.
  2. Cannabis – As of this month recreational weed has been legal in Oregon for 15 months, and shops have popped up all over the city as well as advertisements for said shops.
  3. Cigarettes –In September 2015 Portland State became a smoke-free campus, but take a quick detour to the surrounding downtown areas and you’ll find a majority of people taking smoke breaks.
  4. Carts of food – This one doesn’t flow as nicely, but it has been said that you can eat at a different food cart every day for an entire year and still have options left over.
  5. Coffee – Prior to moving here I was under the impression that it rained coffee as opposed to water in Portland, and I was not all that wrong. Coffee seems to be everywhere, all the time. There are 24-hour coffee shops, artisan shops, coffee carts, and any type of combination thereof.

I’m Real, But I’m Not Sure You Are

img_4875  By: Beth Manney

A couple years ago, during one of my late-night Internet quests to find a video of a flying lawnmower that suited my needs, I stumbled upon the theory of solipsism, the philosophical idea that “only one’s own mind is sure to exist.” In an existential nutshell, how can you be sure anything else other than you is real?

I’ve been pondering what I’ve dreamt up in the past six years while writing fiction, and what I have the capacity to create. I think if you keep an open mind, solipsism theory is plausible. Thinking about all that’s happened in human history, I wonder, could I think up such cruel and beautiful things? If you look at it in the right way, which I would define as being able to keep an open mind without developing a narcissistic god complex, it’s fascinating to wonder what could be and what is.

I think my generation is in existential crisis. Spend any time on most forms of social media, and you’ll find an endless stream of nihilist memes that embody our need to plant our feet firmly on the grounds of actual existence. This angst also circulates around the intrinsic human need to belong. I think that Portland State does an excellent job catering to students’ wish to fit in by offering a multitude of various resource centers and events. There are so many opportunities to get involved with things you’ve never tried before and things that are familiar. In this vast, frightening world, find a buddy to scream into the void with you.

I’d love to hear your perspective! Do you think solipsism is narcissistic? Give the ol’ noodle a whirl.