Long Distance Friends

When I chose to go out of state for college, I realized I would be pretty far from home – specifically 1,355.6 miles away. I was excited for the adventure of a new city, for finding my niche, and most of all for it not being in 115 degrees Fahrenheit on any given summer day. However, one aspect that I did not fully think through was just how far I would be from my best friend.13327342_10204472701376747_137003542457597024_n Vivian and I went to the same high school in Gilbert, Arizona, and our similar interests and love for Mac Demarco and Ezra Koenig brought us together. The rest is essentially history. Vivian stayed in Arizona after graduating while I moved to the great Pacific Northwest.

My first year away consisted of a lot of facetime calls complaining about my rain-soaked sneakers, texts about current happenings in our lives, and lengthy phone calls discussing details, no matter how small, of our everyday lives. The facetimes, texts, and phone calls made possible by modern technology definitely helped our friendship stay close despite the distance that keeps us apart.

Our friendship is still going strong, but being long-distance BFFs is definitely challenging at times. Those 1,355.6 miles don’t seem to exist while texting, but the IMG_1162birthdays and special occasions that are missed suck, but it does make the ones where we are able to be there for each other that much more special.

It’s now my second, almost third, year in Portland and being so far away from family and friends has not gotten any easier, but it has made my time away from school that much more exciting. (Also who doesn’t need a reason for vacation?)

Do The Math: Get A Tutor

Version 2 By: Anna Sobczyk

Not too long ago, I thought I was good at math. For some reason, it just always clicked with me and because of this, I chose to minor in math. Then I started Calculus III—and nothing was clicking. During the lectures, I stared blankly at whatever new theorem the instructor was scribbling on the board, thinking, “I’ll get it later.” When I clearly wasn’t getting it, my inner narration changed to a constant, “What the hell is going on?”

After the first homework assignment, I realized if I wanted a great grade in the course, I’d need to put effort into it. At first, I was hesitant to try out the free tutoring services offered by PSU. I was embarrassed for needing help—especially in a subject I’ve provided tutoring for in the past

My determination to do well trumped the shame I felt at seeking help. I visited both the Learning Center located on the second floor of the PSU Library, and the Tutoring Table in the third floor atrium of Neuberger Hall. The Learning Center provides free drop-in tutoring for several different subjects. The tutoring table in Neuberger Hall is all about math.

After I’d put the time in to see a couple different tutors, math began to make sense again. I could sit through the lectures, and despite continuing to leave confused most of the time, I’d think, ‘It’s ok—you won’t fail this class!

Ultimately, Calculus III has taught me more about overcoming my fear of getting help than about infinite series. Below are the links to the resources I turned to and vouch for 100%. After all, it’s because of these tutors I was able to ace my first Calc III exam.

NH Math Tutor Schedule

Learning Center’s tutoring schedule

Don’t Press Snooze on Summer

By Emma Eberhart

Last summer, I voluntarily chose to give up the ability to press snooze on my alarm, so I could instead spend my mornings in a classroom, and to be honest I would do it again.

The summer quarter at Portland State generally offers both the usual 10-week course and the occasional accelerated four-week course that condenses the curriculum to a shorter amount of time but meets more than the common two times a week. Courses are worth the same amount of credit hours regardless of whether they last 10 weeks or four, so you can pick a class that works best with your schedule, which is really great. The class I took was an accelerated course—a length I would choose again since it left a majority of my summer with no looming school deadlines.

Another positive aspect of taking summer courses, I found, is that the professors are teaching fewer classes, which means that they have fewer students to focus on. This is not to say that during the other quarters, professors care less, but they have given me more constructive help and have been more engaged during summer term.

The only downside is there are fewer courses offered because fewer students sign up.

If you can find a class that is offered in the summer that works with your schedule and is necessary for you to graduate, I would advise you to take it. Any and all opportunities that get you closer to graduating are worth it.

Scheduling Spring

Through and through I am a planner. I live for organization and tidiness. Arranging objects via color, alphabetically, by size or shape gets me ridiculously excited. I view my love for organization as a strength; however, it is definitely also a weakness because I allow little room for sudden changes.

This spring term I may or may not have committed myself to one too many things. And by one too many things, I definitely mean like five or six. Despite spreading myself far too thin, I am determined to fulfill all of my commitments and do so with grace, ease, and the aid of caffeine. I am determined to schedule all of my time down to the minute and stick to it.

In order to manage 20 credit hours for school, two part-time jobs, and my personal life I am heavily relying on the amazing trifecta of: bullet journaling, to-do lists, and calendar apps. Bullet journaling and organizing your time and efforts can definitely be overwhelming, but I have found it is very much worth the stress.

If you’re looking for any organization inspiration, I recommend a Google or Tumblr search for “studyblr,” which is full of beautiful photos of color coded notes and schedules and charts and a whole lot of other stuff artistically organized.

Identity Exploration

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-6-11-12-pm By, Melissa Pyle

One of the reasons I was drawn to Portland State University as my alma mater was the city’s unofficial motto to, “Keep Portland Weird.” I felt if a city could embrace this sentiment it would complement my own life experiences. In short, it has been a long and weird journey to get to where I am today. I am a non-traditional student, I did not come to PSU straight out of high school. In fact, I am a twenty-seven-year-old adult trying to navigate academia, and it has come with quite a learning curve of its own. The most difficult and rewarding aspect of college for me is finding comfort in exploring my identity and challenging my experiences and beliefs. Life is a journey of self-discovery and education is the hallmark of transformation. I know I’m not the same person as I was when I startedsearching this long weird journey which is both scary and exciting.

I challenge you to explore your identity, in whatever way that may mean to you. Perhaps, just look more closely at why you do something a certain way and change it or even simply try a new activity. The change doesn’t have to be tangible or indefinite, it’s an opportunity to approach life from a new perspective.

Stress My New BFF

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As college students, we struggle with stress on a daily basis, from weekly assignments, to midterms to final exams. Stress has become the annoying classmate sitting next to us in lectures, constantly demanding recognition and by default, holding us accountable for everything we could have done differently or better.

 
I have always been submissive to stress’s ability to not only overpower me physically, but to also drain me emotionally. With winter term finals just around the corner, I have decided to redirect my attitude about stress, and instead of avoiding it, I am embracing and befriending it.

Identifying stress as my new BFF not only gives me complete control over my stress reactions, but research has shown that stress actually works in our favor by strengthening our relationships with oxytocin also known as the “cuddle hormone” or the “love hormone,” because it is released when people snuggle up or Body Image 2.pngbond socially. Even playing with a pet, such as my cat Miko can cause an oxytocin surge. This concept of befriending stress was introduced to me through my SBA Organizational Behavior course, which highlighted an inspirational TED talk by Kelly McGonigal.

As students, I think we have a deeper responsibility to find ways to manage stress, which is why learning how to befriend stress not only teaches us to stop and listen to the messages our bodies and mind are sending, but gives us the skills needed to become smart, decision-making professionals. These are the soft skills future employers will be looking for!

Want to make stress your BFF? Check out the TED talk here.

Food for Thought

By Emma Eberhart

The cliche college student is one who is constantly busy, caffeine fueled, and swimming in homework. However, it should also be added that college students are also hungry. Yes, they are hungry for knowledge, but also for food. A growing trend among college campuses is student hunger, and it is likely to continue as tuition increases with no end in site.

A lot of universities, all over this nation, have resources available for students who are in need, and Portland State is no exception. Here at PSU we have both a food pantry and a fresh fruit and vegetable program known as “Harvest Share” that is available to students, staff, and faculty in need. The food pantry is located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union, open from 12-2 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Harvest Share is a program in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank that occurs the second Monday of every month at noon and generally goes until 1:30 p.m. It happens rain or shine, outside of Shattuck Hall on the PSU campus, and the line tends to start around an hour prior or so. Both programs are made possible by the Committee for Improving Student Food Security.

These resources exist for those in need, but continue because of those who volunteer their time and energy to make them happen. The Harvest Share is always in need of volunteers, and as a bonus you get first pick of the crop! Below I’ve put the link to their page where you can sign up for volunteering and learn more about the program.

Harvest Share Info and Volunteering: https://www.pdx.edu/student-access-center/harvest-share