Coronavirus Courtesy

by Julien-Pierre Campbell

 

“You know,” my friend said, “we really don’t need to be worried about the coronavirus. Old people are really the only ones dying, and —” She paused. “Oh, well, I guess people with no immune systems too, or cancer, or something I read that online.” 

I knew, rationally, that my friend meant these as words of comfort. As an immunocompromised person, however, it felt like a nail in my coffin. Not only did it feel as if she was telling me I’d be the first to go, but it also felt as if I was supposed to celebrate this fact. 

It’s a very scary time right now. Colleges are closing and friends are abruptly returning to their home states. Concerts and plays are getting cancelled. People are buying enough cleaning supplies and toilet paper to fill a bunker. Friends refuse to hug or shake hands. Day-to-day life changes rapidly as more warnings are put in place. Even something simple as grocery shopping feels like an epic journey. It’s all the more stressful when you’re a target demographic for this pandemic. 

I’m immunocompromised. Though I deal with various physical limitations (such as chronic pain and a limp), this is what affects my lifestyle the most. I catch every cold, flu, and stomach bug that goes around. Strep throat, ear infections, chills, dizziness — these are familiar to me. I’m allergic to everything I touch, from grass and plants to dust to pet hair. I’m constantly covered in painful, itchy hives. I have a cough more often than I don’t. My nose is always stuffed up or running. I’ve had bad fevers three times this year, and it is only March. 

This makes life difficult. What makes it even more difficult is person after person repeating the narrative that only the eldery and the immunocompromised are at serious risk for death by coronavirus. It’s insulting. I hear, “Don’t worry! You might die, but everyone else will be fine! Your life is of less value to me, because I have a strong immune system!” 

As much as I try to be thick-skinned, this hurts. Your immunocompromised friends’ lives are of equal value to those who do not deal with this. Please be kind, and practice sensitivity. Silly as it may sound, put yourself in the shoes of those who are scared in the face of this threat. It’s not only a threat to our schooling and jobs, it is a threat to our lives.

Changing the Way you Study

By: Ragan Love

In my recital class, I get to hear many speakers talk about different aspects of music that will help in our practice routine and professional careers. One topic that has really stuck with me was about ‘mindful practicing’. This is when you think and plan out what your goals are, instead of going to a practice room and setting a timer for two hours. 

What the professor said next surprised me: if you don’t feel like practicing at all, go into a practice room and set a timer for five or ten minutes. In that time, play something very simple. If the timer goes off and you are still unmotivated, you should put away the instrument and try again later. If you push yourself farther than your body wants, it will stop being productive and will actually hurt your progress for the next few days.

There were two big takeaways that I saw in this lesson. I have not only applied them to my music school work but also my academic work. Mindful practicing taught me how to be productive on my non-productive days. 

Another key aspect that I took away from this lesson is how to rethink your practice routine. Before this, every music teacher told me that I need to practice for 60 minutes a day but didn’t tell me how to efficiently practice my material. When you put a timer on, you think about what you can do to fill that time instead of what you need to work on. This is why you should go into your practice routine with few set goals, like working on a certain section or one specific piece. Sometimes with your specific goals you won’t hit that standard two hours a day but it’s ok because you benefited more by focusing on goals rather than time.

I think that it is important to acknowledge that there comes a time when we all run out of motivation and energy to push through some assignments, and if you try to push through an assignment, you burn out. So when you have a day where you can’t focus, try to study for ten minutes then when the timer goes off and you aren’t motivated, its best to step away in order to be more productive later on. 

Translating mindful practicing to mindful studying is a bit more abstract. Before applying mindful studying, I would get a writing assignment and plan on getting in completely done at one time. But when you spend hours on a paper, your brain can get fried. You should plan on getting certain sections done over a couple of days. Yes, this does mean that you need to stay on top of your work, but it allows you to replenish your thoughts and look over with a productive brain. 

Mindful practicing has not only aided my musician skills and practice time, but has also helped me when it comes to my academic life.

The Zoo

by Julien-Pierre Campbell


“Theodore, stop! Bad dog.
Stop! Oh, my goodness — ahh! Babe, can you just grab the cat? No, the other cat. No, the other cat!”

 

I was ready to tear my hair out. See, I had just moved in with my fiance, and we were experiencing some growing pains, particularly in the pet department. The house was a zoo. I took a step, yowling cat in my arms, and tripped over the pit bull. He was whining, the cat was hissing at him, and from the living room, another cat was caterwauling for dinner. 

 

“Oh my goodness!” I released the cat I was holding. She hissed and spat, then turned tail for the closet. The dog continued to whine. Finally, somehow, we fed all the pets dinner. The hysteria settled down. I locked eyes with the person I was spending the rest of my life with. A thought crossed my mind: You’re also spending the rest of your life with all these animals!

 

I live in a two-bedroom apartment. It’s a really lovely place. My roommates, a married couple, are the sweetest ladies in the world. Our location is great! And of course I live with the love of my life! Always a positive. The only problem: in our small square footage, there are five cats and two dogs. Four of those cats are bonded pairs who hate the others. The fifth is lovingly referred to as “the bastard” for his propensity for biting. Two of the cats hate dogs. One of them — mine — had never met a dog before and doesn’t know what to think of them. Most of the pets cannot co-exist in the same room. All this to say: it’s been an adjustment period.

 

Part of being 20 is, I think, figuring out how to exist in the world with other people. What I hadn’t anticipated was learning to exist with their pets. Dinnertime at my house is never dull. Homework may feature a 55-pound pit bull sitting on your lap. Taking a shower generally includes a blind chihuahua licking your toes. There is much breaking-up of catfights and rescuing the dog when the cats gang up on him.

 

For all the chaos, though, it’s wonderful. This is what it means to be young. A little mess, a little negotiating, and some craziness are all part of life. Our pets are so, so loved. Many of them have come from abusive homes or were strays. Now they live in a house with four parents who adore them and totally spoil them. 

 

I have never lived with this many animals, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it. Of course it’s hard and chaotic, but it’s fun. We pride ourselves on how well taken care of our little monsters are! And if they’re happy, I’m happy. 

Jeremy Cruz Cruises Toward a Professional Career in Graphic Design

By University Career Center Contributor

Meet Graphic Designer and Portland State Student Jeremy Cruz! During Jeremy’s time at PSU, he was able to land an internship position with Under Armour working on a customization platform for their products. Jeremy left a huge impact on the Under Armour team and even the Principal Design Ambassador, John Acevedo remarked, “His ability to create fearlessly and always connect; values we hold dearly, was always reflected in his demeanor and work ethic. We were honored to have Jeremy be part of our internship program and his impact has lasted beyond his time with us. It’s what we aspire to for all the students that come to be a part of our family.” Jeremy kindly sat down with us for an interview to tell us more about his experience at Portland State and the internship he had with Under Armour. 

Jeremy graduated from PCC with his associate’s degree in applied science and graphic design, then he transferred to PSU to pursue his bachelor’s degree in graphic design. 

We asked Jeremy why he chose graphic design as his major and he explained,  “when I was looking for classes, I thought graphic design was going to be based a lot on fine art and illustrator type of things that focus on communication. Back then I was really shy so I thought that this would be something that would challenge me to express myself in a different way, not just by talking, but like on a canvas or a magazine or newspaper.” 

While getting his degree at Portland State, Jeremy wanted to find a graphic design internship to build his experience as well. He was actively looking online at different opportunities and came across an internship posting for Under Armour, and also one for a local publishing company called Tin House. He decided he wanted to go after both! 

During the interview process, Jeremy was asked about his prior experience, and since he was still a student and didn’t have much real world experience, he described what he had learned in classes so far and the projects he had completed that related. Jeremy skillfully used his knowledge of past projects and things he had learned in class to craft detailed responses to practical questions they asked him about design, which he felt like, “won them over!” After getting offers from both Tin House Publishing company, and Under Armour, Jeremy decided he wanted to take on both internships, while still working his part-time job at Best Buy and continuing to take classes. Talk about a full plate!

Company culture can definitely help determine the quality of experience you have in a job or internship. We wanted to know what that culture felt like at Under Armour during his time there. Jeremy said the whole experience there was incredible, and everyone seemed very laid back and friendly. “It’s not scary at all to go up to the head of a department and talk to them about ideas or projects,” he remarked. He worked most of his projects and tasks by himself, but would have frequent meetings with different departments and video conferences often with his higher-ups in other parts of the United States. 

During his time at Under Armour, Jeremy probably worked on over 30 projects, but his most favorite one he said was his final project to wrap up the internship he had. He focused on what the future of customization was going to look like for the consumer and he was able to present to many of the top managers at the company. 

Jeremy told us that not only is this experience going to be amazing for his resume and expanding his network, but “it elevated my own design and me as a person, it allowed me to focus on communication in addition to creating a lot of collateral for the marketing team and overall help Under Armour with their customization efforts.” His favorite part of his experience there was all of the wonderful people he was able to work with and seeing his stuff online was “pretty awesome too!” 

Jeremy learned so much from Under Armour and one of the most important things he said was, not being afraid to go and talk to people whose work you admire or who’s position you aspire to be in. “Learning from them is super important,” so ask all the questions you have and never be scared to approach someone! 

Thanks so much to Jeremy for sharing his highly impactful experience with us. If you’re struggling to find the right internship for you or need anymore advice on this topic, please feel free to reach out to the University Career Center to schedule an appointment or come in during walk-in hours for additional advice!

You can check out Jeremy’s online portfolio at https://www.jeremycruz.work/

Bullet Journal for the Win

By: Ragan Love

During my senior year of high school, my puppy got into my backpack and chewed up my planner. I was about to leave the house for an important audition, and I saw all of my important events scattered across the ground. My dad helped salvage the pieces so we could record the events and homework I had. 

The next week I went to the store to find a planner, and I realized I hated all of the ones in stock. I tried thinking of the positives, and I couldn’t do it. I went home that day and did some research on making a DIY planner for the rest of the semester. This is when I came across the Bullet Journal. 

A bullet journal is a planning style created by New York designer Ryder Carroll. He describes this as a way to “track the past, organize the present, and plan for the future.” A bullet journal goes farther than the basic planner because every individual can create what they want to log. You can create your own weekly school lists, an exercise or practice log, or a month, term, or yearly goals.

At first, I was anxious looking at everything that these people put in their planners; it was every aspect of their life! My planner has always been strictly for school, and this was the first time that I thought about expanding. What I first included was a practice planner, where I wrote down every piece I wanted to practice that day. This got too tedious for me because I have a 90-minute practice routine. Once summer hit it was hard to keep up with it because I didn’t know what to write. I ended up turning each page into a daily to-do list.

When the fall quarter started I decided to create an efficient bullet journal. Before school started, I watched a few different videos on YouTube, trying to get some ideas of formats that would work for me. I spit my planner into 9 different sections with a week running from Monday to Sunday. Then I added an overall weekly to-do and practice list. I didn’t try the mood trackers or meal plans at first because I wanted to focus on finding something I really liked and slowly expanding. I did like this layout. The only aspect that I changed was I took out my weekly practice and started a music notebook where I included all of my musical work. I drew out the entire quarter and then put my quarter goals at the end. I liked this because I couldn’t see my goals until after the term ended.

I have just completed my spread for the winter term. I am pleased with how it looks, and it has helped me stay organized so far this term. I have added some new spreads that I am excited to try out. One is a February mood tracker (I picked the shortest month for a reason). The other spreads are for overall 2020, like books to read this year and other things I would like to check out. My main goal with my bullet journal is to keep up with it all year, even when I have a week where I am off my game. 

I am happy that my dog ate my planner because it allowed me to find new ways to organize my life.

PSU Athletics Director Valerie Cleary on the power of women in sports

1988 Vikings volleyball national championship team
BY VALERIE CLEARY
Director of Athletics

It’s been a few days since the Super Bowl. Typically, on this hallowed day, two teams of men battle it out on the football field, while millions gather to cheer on their favorite team and cast their votes for the best commercial. This year felt a little different. There was a subtle, yet powerful message being sent to millions of women and girls.

  • Katie Sowers, with the San Francisco 49er’s, made history as the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl.
  • Numerous commercials prominently included women and advocated for inclusion.
  • The half-time show headlined two powerful Latina performers — Jennifer Lopez and Shakira — and numerous young girls.
Then-freshman Desirae Hansen celebrates after her shot with 20 seconds left gave the Viks the Big Sky title win in 2019.

The message was clear: Women and girls are important contributors to our world — including sports.

This week marks the 34th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, a week in which we celebrate and inspire “girls and women to play and be active, to realize their full power.” In my role as the Director of Athletics at Portland State University, I have the opportunity to witness firsthand the impact sport has on women. I see the leadership, communication and teamwork skills our student-athletes develop through their sport, I see the impact that strong female mentors have on our young men and women, and I see the future in the eyes of young girls who come to cheer our teams on each week.

The power of sport is undeniable. The impacts of participation will last a lifetime. I encourage you to advocate and support the girls and women in your life in all they do — it might just change the world.

GO VIKS!

PSU Black Studies professor reflects on MLK’s legacy

BY SHIRLEY JACKSON
FACULTY GUEST CONTRIBUTOR

This marks the 20th year that all U.S. states recognized the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday. 

The idea of the MLK or King holiday, as it is referred to be many, started with Coretta Scott King, Dr. King’s widow. After her husband’s assassination in April 1968, Coretta wanted to find a way to honor his memory and the work he was doing. The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta was the result. 

Coretta continued to work diligently to have King’s birthday recognized as a holiday.

In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the bill that recognized King’s birthday as a national holiday. Some states began celebrating King’s birthday in the mid-1980s, a few southern states celebrated it along with the birthday of Civil War Confederate Army General Robert E. Lee, but it took until 1990 for all states to observe the King holiday.

King’s birthday gives us the opportunity to remember the things that he did in his lifetime and spurs us to continue this work. 

His legacy includes the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the many speeches and marches he gave, and his writings such as his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” which was a response to white religious leaders who warned him against embarking upon his nonviolent activities. 

In this letter, King vocalized the importance of his actions, writing, “Oppressed people cannot remain oppressed forever.” King’s statement makes clear that while things look as though they will not change, with time, they will — and not because we are loud or quiet, riotous or righteous, but because we are sound and right. The key is understanding that there are different ways of going about it and some may be quick, and some may be slower than others.  

“Make it a day on, instead of a day off,”
by engaging in service activities. Let us remember why we celebrate this day.

Following the passage of the Civil Rights Bill in 1964 and the Voting Rights Bill in 1965, King moved to other issues such as employment, housing, and opposition to the Vietnam War. 

His assassination at the age of 39 did not end the work he set out to do. 

As we celebrate his birthday, many opt to “Make it a day on, instead of a day off,” by engaging in service activities in their communities. Let us remember why we celebrate this day. 

Happy Birthday Dr. King!

Shirley A. Jackson, Portland State University Professor,
PSU Black Studies Department

Coming Back Home

By: Ragan Love

I moved away from Colorado for the first time in September. I talk to my family pretty often, so I  didn’t think it would be that hard to adjust to home life when I went back for the holidays. It was actually more difficult than I expected. 

I come from a family of three: my dad, my little brother and me. When high school ended, I started working full time at a restaurant and came home to clean and cook dinner for my family. This became the norm for my family, and when I left for school in September, they didn’t realize how much they depended on me. When I talked to them after the first month, they hadn’t eaten  a home-cooked meal, checked the mail, or vacuumed the living room. It got to the point where the mailman actually put a box on the porch filled with all the mail. This is when it really hit all three of us life had changed. I began to jokingly text them reminders to do their chores, and by November, they were actually doing them.

When I got home after the fall quarter I felt like I was a guest in my own house. All of my old tasks now belonged to my brother or dad. If I wanted to clean anything my father would stop me because he didn’t want me having to clean where I wasn’t living anymore. When I wanted to cook dinner, my dad told me that he already had a plan for our dinner. One moment that really stuck out to me is my second night home when we were planning to have ramen for dinner. I came into the kitchen to help but my dad and brother had everything covered; there was nothing for me to do. That was the first time that I hadn’t helped with our family dinner, and it made me feel like a stranger.

I was warned how different it would be coming home for the first time after starting college, but I didn’t expect that I would feel like my family didn’t need me anymore. I thought that this is how my dad would feel, not me. It wasn’t all negative. I had moments that made me happy to be back home. I am pretty close to my little brother and during break he was constantly asking for help on college applications and told me how he was happy that I was home. We got to chill out and talk about everything that’s been happening without one of us cutting out on FaceTime.

I think I shouldn’t have expected my household to be the same after leaving for four months. It wasn’t just hard for me. My brother and dad also had to adjust to my absence. My brother is heading off to school in the fall, and our family dynamic will change again once we are both out of the house. Instead of feeling a sense of loss, I now view this transition as a chance for all three of us to grow and be our own people.

5 Portland State year-end highlights

As 2019 draws to a close, we look back at 5 ways Portland State University is making a difference in the lives of our students and region.

1.

PSU launched a campus-wide effort to help students graduate by using data to spot signs of trouble and intervening quickly, as well as opened a new advising center for transfer students.


2.

PSU renovated Fariborz Maseeh Hall and opened the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, bringing art and opportunity to all.


3.

PSU has been recognized by U.S. News & World Report as the best institution in Oregon and the Northwest region for social mobility.


4.

PSU marked a record year for research, with recent grants of over 25 million and overall research funding up 10 percent.


5.

PSU poured $1.5 billion into Oregon’s economy.


And now … bring on 2020!

Social Media Contributor