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

 

Let’s be friends

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

Have you ever met someone and thought, “I would just love to be friends with this person?” However, before you could articulate “hello,” the fear of awkwardness and rejection stopped you.

Even extroverts, such as myself, from time to time find it uncomfortable when having to initiate conversations with fellow classmates, and fall victim to the above line of thinking.  This is particularly true when approaching classmates that I would like to get to know better.

For instance, last winter term, I met a fellow PSU student through SBA’s Fearless Friday workshops. She was knowledgeable, funny, outgoing and double majoring in my same fields. I immediately wanted to befriend her, but my fear of being awkward preventing me from introducing myself, and I said nothing.

sara-and-susieFortunately, in the next term, I found myself sitting next to this same SBA student in a PSU workshop.  This time, I decided to take the advice of a recent blog post I had read, 11 ways to turn strangers into friends, and pushed myself to use one of the blog’s suggestions: Imagine that the other person is already your friend.

In doing so, I stepped out of my comfort zone and was not only rewarded by a friendship with this classmate, we eventually became freelance partners, offering our collaborative talents and creativity to clients. None of this would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the risk to put myself out there to meet someone new.

I encourage each and every one of my PSU colleagues to take a chance today and talk to a classmate who you’d like to become friends with. You never know where that friendship might take you.  Who knows; you could be sitting next to your future business partner!

Portland Snowpocalypse 2017

By Emma Eberhart

As we all know this Winter Term is off to quite an interesting start; well “start” may not be the best term to use. This winter storm hit, and it hit hard. Below are some photos from, what I am calling, “The Portland Snowpocalypse of 2017.”

 

screen-shot-2017-01-16-at-4-11-58-pmTuesday night I had the bright idea of going to Ikea for some apartment necessities. The snow started as we headed home, and I’m fairly confident we spent more time driving back to downtown than we spent at the store.

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In between snowfalls Tuesday night, I went for a walk. It seemed as if every tree branch in downtown was covered with a blanket of snow. The entire city was eerily quiet, most definitely an unnerving calm.

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At one point on Wednesday a couple of pals and myself attempted to clear the path for our car with pots and pans, but were not successful with our endeavors.

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All in all – I was not impressed with the white flurry and do not recommend attempting to do anything other than cozy up indoors.

Hats off to pampering

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

As students, we tend to wear an assortment of hats, each representing the variety of responsibilities we shoulder daily.  This includes student, leader, networker, teammate, organizer, employee, freelancer, etc.  Our list of responsibilities is ever increasing, as employer demands are constantly changing and the need for additional skills outside of traditional coursework is highly desired. In the midst of this evolving set of commitments, we often forget to take time out of our busy lives to care of ourselves.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to even imagine prioritizing something as simple as taking a bubblebath when there are so many other demands in life. Despite my busy lifestyle, I am slowly attempting to rearrange my priorities to incorporate self-care (pampering) activities, since it is an important aspect of stress management, which in turn is essential for academic success.

It is amazing how beneficial a massage, soak in the tub, and other forms of pampering can be to revitalize us inside and out. Here are some pampering suggestions:

  • Take a scented bubble bath
  • Schedule a manicure and pedicure
  • Cleanse facial pores with a clay mask
  • Get a massage

Wearing lots of hats is definitely a balancing act, which is why prioritizing and scheduling at least some pampering activities is crucial. Self-care allows us the time we need to de-stress and revitalize so we can feel our best, physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Alternatively, students are encouraged to visit PSU’s Mind Spa , a space on campus for students to relax and rejuvenate, and where some of these services are available for free.

ORGANIZE! And I’m not talking about clutter.

img_4878 By Emma Eberhart

In the wake of last week’s presidential election, now is the time to organize for social justice. Organize, in this context, means coordinating with others to take action or plan events for a better and more just America.

Below are links to some local Portland groups that have been around awhile, or are just starting up, and anyone can join. Click on their name and it will take you to their Facebook page!

  1. Portland Rising Tide
  2. Rose City Antifa
  3. Marilyn Buck Abolitionist Collective
  4. Portland Tenants United
  5. Socialist Alternative Portland
  6. Portland State International Socialist Organization
  7. Don’t Shoot Portland
  8. Anyone’s Resistance

A united front is the only way that we will successfully stand against Trump and stand for an inclusive America – one that does not allow for racism, misogyny, and homophobia to exist without resistance.

Check out these local groups and how they are taking steps to combat bigotry here in Portland.

*Featured Image is from Anyone’s Resistance Facebook*