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Why I Went to LA Last Weekend

Kellie Doherty By Kellie Doherty

Last February I wrote about Write to Publish 2016 and how it was an awesome networking opportunity. Let me tell you a secret: Write to Publish is a tiny conference. Adorably small, actually. How do I know this? Because last weekend I went to the conference connected to the Association of Writers & Writing Programs, widely known as AWP.

AWP is the largest literary conference in North America. Last year, they had over 800 vendors, 12,000 attendees, and 2,000 presenters. This year, they had the same, if not more. Write to Publish (while amazing) was a mere whisper to all this literary noise.

Plus, AWP was in Los Angeles this year, and I’d never been before. A new city, thousands of writers and publishers, and tons of books? Yes, please! Additionally, I was given a Marie Brown Graduate Student Travel Award to help pay for it. And while I was going as an attendee, I was also there to represent my graduate program in book publishing and Ooligan Press.

I went to panels, readings, and chatted with fellow writers; I tabled, gushing about Ooligan and Portland State University; I visited vendors, doing much of the same; and I even tried Korean waffle pizza. It was three long days, but it was also an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. It was an opportunity PSU helped to pay for, and I wouldn’t have had the same experience without such lovely support.

What kinds of conferences have you been to?

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!

 

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The generation to end smoking?

IMG_2069 by Steph Holton

Spring has (finally) hit Portland. The sun is shining and I’m taking full advantage: I’ve got my Nikes on and my feet hit the pavement in rhythm to Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.” I think how nice it is to run in the fresh air after a winter spent doing treadmill workouts. Grinning to myself, I turn a corner onto the park blocks and, mid-breath, run through a cloud of second-hand smoke.

This is infuriating on multiple accounts, but the two that are most easily articulated are: 1) the smoker is no more than twenty years old, and 2) the Park Blocks are a part of PSU’s smoke-free campus.

As a non-smoker who has lost family members to cancer and emphysema, it’s easy for me to get angry, and sometimes it’s all too tempting to hit cigarettes right out of my peers’ hands. But I know that even though anger is often the catalyst for change, an end to smoking is going to require patience and open conversation. The campaign known as Truth (thetruth.com) is committed to making ours the generation that ends smoking, and it’s doing so by spreading, well, truth. Truth is continually exposing big tobacco and giving us the facts about the effects of smoking on the environment and society. For instance, did you know that a cat or dog whose owner smokes (around the pet or not) is twice as likely to get cancer?

We’re the products of the Information Age. And as such I believe that, armed with information, smokers and non-smokers can join together in the campaign to eradicate smoking. PSU has recently made the commitment to creating a healthier campus by banning smoking on all campus property, and the first contribution we can all make as Portland State students is to respect these tobacco-free zones (map below).

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SPring Break

Dreading Spring Term

Marilynn  By Marilynn Sandoval

Finally, spring break is ending and the last term of school is upon us. That’s the term all graduating seniors look forward to and all freshmen can’t believe is here already. So as we are enjoying our last few days at the beach, eating our last home cooked meals with our parents, getting our last full nights of sleep or binging on Netflix for the last time, here’ s a reminder of what you have to look forward to on the first days of spring term.

  1. Getting to school and searching for parking on the first week, when students are actually making an effort to show up to class to ensure their spot in class.
  1. Syllabus week = the best week you will have all term, because let’s face it we will all be lacking sleep by the third week in.
  1. Washing those sweatpants you wore all winter term to get them ready for spring. Or perhaps buying a new pair to show that you sort of care about the way you look.
  1. Saying goodbye to your money when it goes to food, coffee and those sugary energy drinks we can’t seem to function without.
  1. Most importantly, the week you will tell yourself that you will be on top of your stuff and that procrastination isn’t going to happen. However, this will be thrown out the window by the end of week two.

Well, that is all I have for you now. So go enjoy the rest of your break. I hope you made it a memorable one, because summer isn’t for another two and a half months

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What I Learned from Lockup

By Jesse Turner

For the final project for my Youth Work class, I made a board game. I called it, “The Game of Life in Juvie.” This term I have been interning at an all-male juvenile correctional facility. One of the ways the youth and I pass the time is by playing card games and board games. “The Game of Life” is one of the games we have played several times, and because going to prison is not an option in that game, I find it a sadly ironic one to play. I watch each youth choose to go to college, start a family, and pick a career with the highest salary.

I made my board game as similar as I could to the original. Instead of a job, each player picks the crime which sent them to juvie. Instead of advancing through the life stages, players must advance through the point-and-level system that the facility uses so they can gain more privileges and eventually get out. I tried to make the game as unwinnable as possible. When asked if I would share this game with the youth on my unit, I said, “Absolutely not.” For one, I wouldn’t be allowed to bring in contraband. But really I would never show it to them because the youth already know how horrible life in juvie is. I wouldn’t want them to think I was reducing their situation to something trivial. That’s not how I meant for this game to be taken. I wanted it to express how often many of the hardships that happen to the youth on my unit are out of their control and simply left to chance.

Many youth on my unit have shared with me their goals for when they get out. Most of them express desires to continue school, get jobs, and start families in front of staff. But around other youth, they are much more honest. The two biggest plans I hear about are to get as high as possible and to get tattoos for the gangs they affiliate with. I come from a place of incredible privilege, and many of the youth react to what I say as empty rhetoric. But I keep telling them I want them to do better on the outs. I don’t know who will listen, but I do know that the Oregon Youth Authority has a 65% recidivism rate. This is not the first time in juvie for most of these youth. And the sad truth is it probably will not be the last.

 

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I AM A CREATURE OF HABIT

By: Sharon Nellist

This is it. Ten more days until… FINALS WEEK. I am usually of mixed emotions during this 10258891_10101685513754293_6293913161816303566_otime: glad that the workload will be placed on a brief hold, and sentimental over the ending of classes that I truly enjoyed.

I had the privilege of taking a course in which the grade is solely up to me. It is a beautiful array of assignments catered to different learning styles that I can a-la-carte my way to a guaranteed ‘A’. What could possibly go wrong?

Oh yes, you guessed it, I never cease to amaze myself with my proficient ability to procrastinate. You would think that I would have this worked out now that I am in my senior year. Honestly, I had good intentions at the beginning to use this grading process to do away with procrastination, so I wouldn’t be stressed with a heavy workload at the end of the term. But alas, here I am, and I have roughly 20 pages of writing to do just for this class. And every time I do it well, it gets harder to change habits. “I also work best under pressure.”

The question is, is procrastination a bad thing?

vkuEJZCLets take a psychological perspective; hence, the course with this grading system is Abnormal Psychology.

Is procrastination DISTRESSFUL? Most of the term is distress free with this method as I absorb information like a sea sponge. It is only distressful the last few weeks of the term when I basically live in my own caffeinated-induced bubble.

Is there DEVIANCE? Probably not out of the ordinary. We are all human. I am sure that a copious amount of students at Portland State procrastinate too –  you know, since the library is open 24 hours from March 7-17.

Is it DYSFUNCTIONAL? It can be, if I fail to eat, sleep and hydrate. And, it may not be, if I manage to maintain grades above the GPA that I intend to graduate with.

What is your opinion on procrastination?

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Where do you study best on campus?

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By: Sara Kirkpatrick 

For me, studying on campus consists of finding a cozy table in Smith Union, where I can set up my Mac and enjoy my favorite liquid inspiration: Chai Tea Latte. I have always positioned myself near a window in a somewhat noisy space. I am a visual learner, and now realize that I had been unconsciously exposing myself to unnecessary stresses and frustrations.

Are you a Visual, Auditory, or Tactile/Kinesthetic learner? As students, knowing this can not only help us to expand study strategies but also help us  determine the best study environments conducive to our own unique learning style.

I’ve done a little research and mapped out a few of the best spots on campus to study based on your learning style. If you’re not sure what your learning style is, no problem. Take the free Learning Style Assessment quiz: https://www.how-to-study.com/learning-style-assessment/.


Visual Learning Style
Visual learners study best in a quiet, clutter-free environment away from windows and movement.  I suggest the:

PSU Study RoomAuditory Learning Style: Auditory Learners study best in a place that is free from noisy distractions. If you cannot eliminate background noise, conceal it by quietly playing classical music or an environmental sound track. I suggest the same campus spots as I’ve listed above for visual learners.

Tactile/Kinesthetic Learning Style: Tactile/Kinesthetic Learners study best in a place where you can use as many of your senses as possible: sight, hearing, touch, taste, smell. Study environments should allow movement, and bPSU Study Park Blockse large enough for you to get up and walk around. I suggest the:

Knowing your learning style is not meant to constrain, but to enhance – by helping you to work, learn and live more efficiently.