The Last Word

IMG_7864  by Molly MacGilbert

I’m graduating next month. Just typing those words feels hard to believe. My college career did not follow a linear path; I attended four different colleges in three different time zones, with a year off in the middle during which I worked at a bagel shop and partied too much. I’ve learned so much in the past five years—and I didn’t learn all of it in textbooks or classrooms. As I prepare to leave PSU and enter the so-called real world, I will impart a few quick lessons I wish I could’ve told my freshman self:

  1. Sit in the front of the class. Simple but effective. By sitting near the front of the room, you’re up close and personal with the material. It’s harder to get away with smartphone distractions, side conversations, watching pigeons through classroom windows or daydreaming. The times I’ve habitually sat in the front have left me pleasantly surprised by my test grades.
  2. Get involved in the student community. This is something you’ve heard a million times and, like me, have maybe been reluctant to listen to. When I first transferred to PSU, I read the Vanguard every week and wanted to contribute. I included this goal in to-do lists, planner pages and new year’s resolutions. It wasn’t until my senior year that I finally wrote my first story— and I could not believe how exciting and rewarding it was to see it in newsprint. My only regret is not getting involved sooner.
  3. Use a planner. With Vanguard and student blog responsibilities, internships, a 6-credit capstone and homework, I could not have stayed afloat without my planner. Weekly and daily to-do lists and color-coding helped me manage my time confidently and efficiently. Once deadlines and due dates are on paper, they’re no longer building up in my head and stressing me out. Don’t think of yourself as a slave to your planner, though—just do things piece by piece, do the best you can and know that you will handle it all.

To those of you who are still powering through your education, you’ve got this! And congrats to my fellow soon-to-be graduates—we’re almost done, and it feels good. Feel free to comment your own tips for ruling your schooling!

An Ode to the Deviants

img_7471.jpg By Naomi Kolb

I posted a picture of my graduation from community college on Instagram almost exactly two years ago to the day. The caption for my photo read, “official graduate of @inverhills with my associate of arts in gender and women’s studies. @portlandstate I’m coming for you next!” It wasn’t particularly unusual that I transferred to PSU from a community college, but what makes my situation a bit different than most is the fact that I earned my associate’s degree before I’d even earned my high school diploma. This means that when I graduate from PSU next month, I’ll only be 20 years old.

My educational path has not been traditional and I’m rather proud of that. Most of my immediate family has also taken a nontraditional path to higher education. My mom went back to school to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees when she was a single parent in her 30’s. My brother switched his major twice and was a super, super, super senior by the time he graduated. They inspired me to pursue higher education and assured me that it was OK to take a path less traveled.

In part thanks to them, I’ll be the youngest person in my family to graduate from college with my bachelor’s degree. So to my mom, to my brother, to myself, and to anyone else who deviates from the four years that it’s “supposed” to take to graduate: this is an ode to you. There are plenty of ways to go about getting your degree, and as long as you do it in the way that makes the most sense for you, it shouldn’t matter if it takes you much less or much more time than the usual allotment of four years.

Doing it in four years, yes!

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

The fear of not graduating in four years is real. Going into my junior year, I frantically started assembling a “degree map” to chart out what classes I needed to take every term. I’d been following what courses I needed on my DARS report, but had never taken the time to sit down and map everything out. The biggest benefit of doing this was that it brought up questions I could address early and also made me conscious of term-specific classes.

Portland State has a lot of tools to help students plan accordingly. On Banweb, there’s the DARS report for detailing your major/minor requirements and the Schedule Planner, which has removed the hassle of avoiding class times overlapping when registering for class. Recently, PSU unveiled a cool new tool that helps a lot with planning out classes. Their Course Projection Guide extends three years out and lists what classes are projected for future terms. I started comparing my personal degree map against the Projection Guide and realized there were a couple of major schedule shifts I’d have to make. 

The greatest thing a degree map has done for me is alleviate the stress of not being sure if I’d graduate on time as a double major—I can! An added bonus is that when I go to speak with my advisors, I already have a plan laid out for them to work with and make suggestions. College is an expensive investment, and I think it’s great that Portland State has provided students with several different tools to plan their future accordingly.

Not qualified? Get an internship.

IMG_7864 by Molly MacGilbert

Here we are, students at Portland State, in the city of bridges and roses and sportswear companies. We’re all in a pretty good position for internships—being in college gives us an excuse to get some work experience in a field we’re not actually that qualified for (yet). When I was a junior at PSU, I interned with local nonprofit Literary Arts for seven months. My senior year started with a six-month marketing internship with TriMet and is now ending with a spring term internship with Overcup Press. These three internships have given me invaluable work (and life) experiences.

On paper—unless it’s resume paper—internships tend to seem undesirable. Interns may seem like doormats or Coffee Donkeys. This is a common misconception; in my own experience as an intern, I have not yet picked up anyone’s coffee or had anyone wipe their feet on me. Internships do require challenging (and often unpaid) work, but under the right circumstances, you’ll be too engrossed in your work to notice you’re doing it for free.

For more career and internship-related information, attend one of PSU’s career fairs, like the All Majors Career + Internship Fair on May 1 in the Smith Memorial Student Union Ballroom!

Networking Nerves

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

 

For Spring Break this year, I did not go to Mexico or Miami or even out to the Oregon coast. Instead, I traveled farther inland  to attend a conference where I made better connections with students in my department and networked with professionals in my field across the Pacific Northwest.

I was extremely hesitant to commit to this trip; it meant that I would be doing very anti-Spring Break things like getting up early, wearing professional attire, and because I presented a paper at the conference, putting together slides and stressing over the finer points of my research right up through the end of the week. Honestly though, these were minor factors. My biggest mental roadblock in attending this conference was the dreaded idea of networking. Going up to professionals and introducing myself over and over again, especially in a fairly small community where everyone seems to already have connections, is not only hopelessly daunting, but seems exhausting.

I learned a few things once I arrived at the conference.

First, a lot of professionals are more than willing—excited even—to talk to students, so don’t feel like you’re a pest if you go up and introduce yourself. If that idea truly wigs you out, go to a talk or a panel by a professional you want to connect with and email them after the conference, mentioning that you’re interested in their research. We live in a world of digital networking, after all.

Second, don’t discount your student connections. In the not too distant future, we are going to be each other’s network, and the best thing I got from this Spring Break was better relationships with the other students in my department.

And third, put yourself out there. Like I said, I didn’t really want to go to this conference at first, but I knew it was a great opportunity. When I went the extra step and contributed to the conference as well, I gained not only connections but added to my own professional experience.

NWAC Table Rock 2 NWAC Table Rock 1

A few of my fellow Anthropology Student Association members and me at the top of Table Rock overlooking Boise, ID after the Northwest Anthropological Conference.

 

 

 

Portland State’s Best Near-Campus Movie Theaters

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 3.31.14 PM By Andrew D. Jankowski

Who doesn’t love movies, right? Whether what you prefer, movies offer a means for finding common ground and expressing bold ideas. Portland State University has numerous professional theaters within an easy walk from campus, but PSU also houses numerous spaces to see movies on campus. All the listed screening spaces are free for PSU students.

5th Avenue Cinema

The most well-known spot on campus to see movies, 5th Avenue Cinema is a student-operated theater that screens a different movie every weekend in the term, with each term having an overarching theme, like the term where they screened movies directed by women. 5th Avenue Cinema is on the north side of the Ondine building, which, in addition to students, houses numerous resource centers, classrooms and a dining hall. In addition to film classes, I’ve seen everything from Space Jam and Magic Mike XXL to Rabbit’s Moon and White Zombie at 5th Avenue Cinema.

Lincoln Hall

Lincoln Performance Hall occasionally screens movies, sometimes with live scores from orchestra students. These movies are often of historical significance, like Jewish Luck, Hungry Hearts and The Picture of Dorian Gray; or are festivals featuring student works.

Smith Memorial Student Union

SMSU’s basement holds a multi-use space sometimes used as a satellite screening space for PSU film festivals, and the ballroom, along with other rooms on the second and third floors, have been used to screen movies in the past. The first floor’s Parkway North space screens movies in addition to hosting concerts. The movies screened in SMSU range from mainstream movies like Spider-Man, Star Wars and Blade Runner 2049, along with documentaries, foreign films and club-centric movies; I swear I’ve seen the anime club have a viewing party at least once.

Campus Rec Center

PSU’s swimming club has screened movies for people as they swim or float. These are usually popular movies that one can follow along with as people splash and slosh. The Dive-In Movie series has screened movies like Wonder Woman and Finding Dory. Near the Rec Center, along 6th Avenue, is a set of four screens that project curated art films 24/7, and have been featured as part of PSU’s involvement in festivals like Portland Winter Light Festival and Portland State of Mind.

 

What’s your favorite movie you’ve seen at PSU, and where did you see it? Tell me in the comments.

Blazer Break

nc1 By: Naela Cabrera

Have you ever walked through the buzzing halls of the Moda Center during a Portland Trail Blazer game night? It’s madness, but it’s exhilarating! Over the last two terms, my friends and I have been taking advantage of the Blazers Student Pass, which gives college students access to last-minute Blazer tickets at prices as low as $10.

My partner and I spent Valentine’s Day watching the Blazers as they took on the Golden State Warriors. Coolest Valentine’s date ever — and no, it wasn’t because Steph Curry was there, but that was a bonus. The week prior, we also took advantage of $10 tickets through Campus Rec’s “Night at the Blazers” event, hosted by the Intramural Sports Program. Campus Rec hosts this event yearly, and it comes with the opportunity to meet other Blazer fans around campus. Plus they host a pre-game food party. What student doesn’t love free food — am I right?

To be honest, I know hardly anything about basketball but I still enjoy it. I’m a strong believer that you don’t have to be a full-on basketball know-it-all to enjoy a game. Just a couple of friends, a short streetcar ride, good food/drinks and some exciting rivalry between the teams is all you need.

Between the stressful long weeks of studying, exams, work, meetings, etc., we all need a little Blazer break sometimes.