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“Nothing” Time

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

The more dependent our generation becomes on technology and the more we expect everything to be instantaneous, the more I see and read about the need to maintain a healthy lifestyle by unplugging and even meditating every day. In health articles, this advice usually follows statements acknowledging the hefty responsibilities we all seem to have added to our plates. Said articles then go on to say that the more time we’ve committed to productivity of whatever kind, the more we need to carve out time to do nothing. And while I’m not here to say that advice is wrong – I certainly agree with the logic of it – I am here to say What time?

I’ve tried to do this, I really have. But I’ve found that stopping everything – pushing aside other activities in an attempt to be calmer – only gives me time to think about all the things I could be doing, and it leads to even more anxiety. But the big point, I think, is that we’re supposed to give our brains a break; we’re on hyper-drive all the time, because our brains don’t count after-work/school iPhone scrolling and Netflix watching as relaxing.

Yet as someone who really cannot sit and do nothing, I’ve still managed to find my meditation. I honestly believe that consistent exercise keeps me sane despite my insane schedule. Whether it’s hiking, or going for a run, or hitting one of my favorite Group X classes at Campus Rec, I always feel decompressed afterwards, and the prospect of making it to the gym always makes a tough day go a little better. So, I’ll be an advocate for those of us who want to live a healthy lifestyle but for whom nothing just isn’t in the cards. I think it’s okay to say “that’s not for me.” Just as long as you find your meditation.

Picture above: My own meditation, Saint Mary’s Lookout, Stevensville, MT; hike to 9,300 feet.

chronicles street harrassment 2

Is it OK to Randomly Hit On Women On Campus?

By Jesse Turner

A few weeks ago, I was walking to my car from class. It was 6p.m. and still light outside. I was walking by the science building when a man who seemed to be in his mid 30s came up and asked me if he could walk and talk with me. I hesitated, thinking he was one of the many canvassers I see on campus. I asked him why he wanted to walk with me. He said that he had time, he was lonely, wanted to make new friends, etc. I did not believe him and I was afraid to say no outright, so instead I tried to discourage him by saying I was in a hurry and just walking to my car. He started walking with me anyway. Another woman saw this interaction and how uncomfortable I was, and she spoke up: “I’ve seen you approaching a lot of people around here.” Appreciative of her actions, I tried to walk away quickly while he was distracted. But he caught up to me.

I told him I was sorry he felt lonely but that approaching random women on the street was not the best way to make friends. “I don’t know who you are or anything about you, it’s kind of a scary situation to be randomly approached,” I insisted. He insisted back that he was not a dangerous guy and that he totally understands women and their fears (here’s a tip; saying “I’m not dangerous” while following a woman to her car is not reassuring). He had an argument for every reason I gave him that this was a terrible idea, which just made me more defensive. Finally, I told him outright: “You do not understand my fears, if you did, you would not be following me. You would have taken the hint.”

We finally got to my parking garage, and I told him to stop following me, not wanting him to see my car. Just like I expected, he asked for my number so he could take me out.

This blog is not about bragging that I got hit on. And no, this situation would not have been different if I was attracted to this guy. This blog is about the fact that this guy’s desire to follow me, talk to me, and ask for my number does not trump my desire to feel safe and be left alone. His arguments that humans should be able to talk to one another and be able to meet people this way, are BS. You have never made a best friend by approaching a random person on the street, so don’t put your fake burden on me.

So, when should you randomly hit on someone on the street who does not want to talk to you? Never. It’s scary and unnerving. Do not do it.

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Thoughts From the Walk-Out

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

“We want real diversity, not a police state university.” This was the first of many chants taken up by the group of walk-out participants stationed on the Millar Library steps last Tuesday afternoon. Members of PSUSU sported shirts reading #DisarmPSU because Black Lives Matter. One speaker announced, “We are here fighting oppression.” Another claimed that “the police are a tool of capitalism used to oppress people.” Roughly 150 students joined in the cheering and chanting, and a few dozen stood on the outskirts observing but not participating.

After learning that I don’t support the Disarm PSU movement, a member of PSUSU asked if I supported protesting the way the administration instated armed campus safety officers. Like most of the other students I have spoken to, I am frustrated by the way the administration seems to ignore student opinion. However, I think it’s easy to overlook the fact that arming CPSO was not a light decision. Some things to consider:

  1. Portland State University is a completely open, public university in the heart of downtown, which experiences the daily movement of 30,000 students. For all of the unique and completely rad aspects about this environment that we students love, it carries very real safety concerns.
  2. Our armed CPSO are fully trained and sworn police officers who have a sworn obligation to keep the public and their fellow officers safe. They carry guns only for the defense of themselves and others. Using weapons is considered only in the face of a lethal threat. No officer wants to pull the trigger.
  3. Arming CPSO does not impact student diversity. Fighting institutionalized racism is a necessity, but I believe the way to do this in our own community is to create bonds of mutual respect and trust between the student body and CPSO. CPSO was not established, and does not operate, for the purpose of discrimination.

But what do you think? One could debate this matter endlessly. Gun safety is a very real issue, but it is also very complex, and it’s entirely separate from our dissatisfaction as students with the procedures of the administration.

Photo May 09, 8 48 43 AM

Senior Capstone: 1 step closer to saying peace out, PSU

portfolio2 By Amanda Katz

Hey there!

Long time, no blog!

I had taken a break from blogging for a while to focus on my major, but now I’m back and better than ever.

This summer is looking to be a good one. I’m in the middle of applying for summer internships, I’m getting some really cool opportunities at work, and I’m taking my senior capstone. I’m going to be doing the GirlPower! Capstone with Sally Eck, it seems like a great way to give back and I get to work with some awesome young ladies in the process!

It’ll be so nice to take the time to get my capstone done. You see, I’m at the end of my fourth year with only 21 credits left: six for my capstone, three for an internship, and the other 12 will finish out my degree. PSU has such a wide variety of summer capstones available over the summer, making it easy to pick something you’re interested in. Also, it is extremely convenient that courses are available at a range of times and days. If it wasn’t for the option to take summer classes like my capstone, either my last term at Portland State would be extremely stressful, or I’d have to wait till winter term to graduate.

I’m ready to be done with school and start working, and being able to take summer classes is allowing me to achieve my goals at my rate and on my timeline. What are your plans for summer?


Education Abroad

10373989_844446705612551_3373063601715068845_nIn a few short weeks, I will be embarking on my very first international educational experience at the University of Salamanca, Spain. I am all too excited for this wonderful opportunity, and one of the key tasks to accomplish before I leave is study about the area in which I will spend a little over a month in.

Let’s take moment to appreciate Salamanca, Spain and its fun facts. Did you know:

  • Salamanca is best known as being a University city; more than 36.000 people, which is nearly 20 percent of the population, are students and a great part of the inhabitants are either directly or indirectly related to the university.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the most important universities in Spain, dating back to 1218 which makes it the third oldest university in Europe.
  • Spain is home to the world´s largest tomato fight: La Tomatina, celebrated every year in the city of Valencia.
  • The University of Salamanca is one of the important architectural feats in the city. The university building was built by the Emperor Alfonso IX in the year 1218. It is also Spain’s oldest university and has about 36,000 students.

This will be a life changing experience that will affect my perspective and outlook on life. Take the trip with me through each blog post, and explore this beautiful country with me!


Dirty Words

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

The Oregon primary is fast approaching (May 17, to be exact), and the presidential candidates have thrown around a lot of political terminology that can be confusing or misleading. These words seem so obvious that they never get explicitly defined, leading to misconceptions across party lines and the actual stigmatization of certain descriptors that shape entire campaigns. I believe that this lack of clarification is a major roadblock in our quest to become informed voters, and the stigmatization of such important terms creates a chasm that halts discourse between parties. So, for myself, for my fellow student voters and for good pub conversation, I have decided to provide here a definition (each compiled and simplified from multiple web sources including and Encyclopedia Britannica) of two of the most talked-about terms in the 2016 presidential race, which in different social circles have reached profanity-level reproach.

Capitalism is an economic system in which private ownership drives production for profit. Capitalism has several manifestations – free market, welfare, or state, to name a few – all of which exhibit different goals.

Socialism is likewise seen in many forms. Democratic socialism, being the focus of the current presidential race, is an economic and governing principle that supports production in terms of social ownership, alongside governing through political democracy.

The terms and ideologies of capitalism and socialism are both awash with nuances and possible secondary implications, all of which are dependent on the specific politician in question. “Capitalism” is not synonymous with “fascism,” and “socialism” cannot be simplified into “communism.” What I’m really trying to get at, though, is that nothing in this presidential race is as straightforward as “this vs. that,” and knowing where our candidates stand on the issues and even within their own ideologies is a crucial step in feeling confident about our votes come Election Day.

Get out and #ExplORE

School is fun, and so are the daily distractions we undertake to take a break from courses. Some of this distractions include, but are not limited to: social media, video games, working out, and….the outdoors!

Yes, there is such a beautiful place right outside that door frame!

I am not from Oregon, so every time I explore the state’s beautiful hiking trails and waterfalls, it’s an adventure. I encourage you to do the same!

Here are a few photos from my adventures! It’s out there, waiting for you!