Late night creative self

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 3.26.49 PM By Danielle Emeka

We’ve all done it. Put things off till the last minute. It’s called procrastination. That sudden realization that it’s 10:00 pm, something is due tomorrow morning and not one word has been written.

Procrastination is happening even as I write this. The sun is asleep, my eyes are tired from staring constantly at a screen and my fingers are shuffling along the keyboard searching for the right letters. My bed taunts me, callingdaring me to sink into its covers.  

But in these moments my mind makes connections unlike any other time. Some of my best writing and art has come from late night studying. Sometimes it feels like structured sabotage, setting myself up for failure and fighting against it with everything I have. Like it’s all or nothing, using all my mental focus and creative energy combined with the pressures of time. Nothing beats the thrill of finishing the work just before it’s due. Knowing that all I have to offer is in that work.

I don’t know if lack of sleep creates a break in my natural inhibitions, allowing me to develop what comes to me. Maybe it’s just a race to see how soon I can embrace the relief of sleep. But I can’t deny my fascination with my late night creative self.

Going Beyond Self-care

Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 3.22.40 PM By: Philip Hartman

What is self-care, anyway? I hear that word floating around a lot these days, coming from the internet and from friends. Yet I am still perplexed by the concept of “self-care”. I’m a senior at Portland State University who works part time and rarely has time to himself. Yet with the pressures of school and personal life, I feel a bit overwhelmed—as if the world is on my shoulders. Those feelings slowly creep into my life in different ways, from depression to anxiety. It can affect my grades as the term progresses, and it can impact relationships too. I try to work on getting better, but it does not seem to work.

After a few weeks of working on my self-care I decided to get up the nerve and go to PSU’S Center For Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) to get some help. I felt uneasy having to discuss what is going on in my life and that things weren’t getting any better. Yet the staff were very helpful and showed me the steps to get an appointment and talk to one of the counselors. After waiting for a few minutes I met a counselor and it wasn’t as bad like, as I had imagined it. It really helped to talk to someone. I kept going to SHAC to get help and slowly but surely I was able to ease a bit and relax more.

Life doesn’t pause for depression or anxiety, but that does not mean you have to suffer through it alone.

Remember to Watch Your Back

IMG_0830 By: Anna Sobczyk

One of the most detrimental things to our personal safety is having a complacent attitude. It’s very easy to believe that if something hasn’t happened to you that you have some sort of immunity. For instance, my six-foot-tall stature gave me a false sense of security because I thought it would make any creeper think twice about coming after me. I quickly learned this isn’t true, and luckily, I didn’t learn it through something awful actually happening to me.

I was walking to Safeway over the weekend when I passed a man who I’d seen at the PSU library a couple days earlier. I didn’t think anything of it until he began running at me and yelling, asking if I wanted to be friends and that he “saw me hanging in the library the other night.” The fact that he recognized me was definitely unnerving. Another day, I was walking home from class when a man acted like he was going to attack me. He very intentionally and aggressively lunged at me. Instantly, some of my old self-defense lessons seemed to emerge from deep within. I put my arms up to block his lunge, and I was in a fighting stance when he just scampered off.

Both of these events happened in broad daylight with other people around me. These oddballs probably didn’t even mean me any “real” harm—but it was weird. Of course, these instances aren’t unique to me or Portland, and I strongly believe everyone should know some self-defense. PSU offers a one credit self-defense class, and I’m excited to be taking it next term. I think I’ll also start lifting again—if being tall isn’t intimidating anymore, maybe some bulging biceps will do the trick.

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.

 

Why celebrate?

WechatIMG12  By Qin Xia

February 16 is the start of the traditional New Year, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. That means millions of Chinese are celebrating the same thing at the same time. The festival atmosphere lasts for several weeks as we welcome the Year of the Dog.

To be honest, I am not a huge fan of celebrations. I pretend that “I am cool” when others are excited. But I ask myself, why celebrate? It’s just another normal day. I usually don’t participate, but neither do I refuse. I am just an observer, who uses different excuses to escape, but I do enjoy the additional feast.

But not this year.

At PSU, as a diverse university, there were several New Year galas that all students are encouraged to attend. So why celebrate? Because as a part of the community, if you don’t cheer for your own culture, who else will?

I still have a lot of papers to write and lots of passages to read. But I prepared some traditional Chinese red envelopes for my classmates a half month ago. I hosted some celebration parties with my friends, even though I was too exhausted to talk. I posted the red couplet on my door, and I made dumplings with different people the whole week. I also wore all my red clothes, and I said lucky words to all my friends. I did what my parents would be doing in their own time zone.

One might call it an inherited tradition. And the reason why we celebrate? To mark the time and pass it on.

Happy New Year!

 

Don’t ask me what’s next

1IMG_4856 by Steph Holton

Last summer at a large family gathering, I heard my recently-graduated cousin get asked the same two questions over and over again—what’s next? And do you have a job? And over and over again, I heard him give the increasingly uncomfortable answers—I’m still figuring it out, and no. I, however, had no desire to ask him either of these questions, mostly because the thought of them being directed at me filled me with an almost existential dread, and at the time I was still an entire year from graduation.

Now though, I’m only one term away from graduation, and the terror of interrogation is ever mounting.

I envy my classmates who have it all figured out—jobs they can keep after graduation, apartments they don’t have to move out of. But the reason I envy them is probably different than the ones you’d imagine. It’s not the stability factor. It’s that they’ll have an answer to give their families when they’re ask what’s next?

I’m at least a little bit okay with not knowing what’s next. As much as I’d like knowing I’ll have a stable income once those student loan payments kick in, I’m also kind of excited by the fact that I could be anywhere six months from now. But I still don’t want to be asked what’s next? I’m not going to have a satisfactory answer, and it’s only going to make us both feel bad. You can definitely ask what I’m excited for post-graduation, though.

A Queer Complaint Against Valentine’s Day

ec08db75f9ef95c1180ca428f5ecf0e1 By Naomi Kolb

It’s been hard to miss the fact that Valentine’s Day is this week with the bake sales, posters, and sex-themed events that have been seemingly taking over our campus lately. I’ve been actively trying not to be bitter about Valentine’s Day because this is the first year in awhile that Cupid forgot to fire the magical arrow that would land me a cutie to spend it with. Rather than being bitter about “not having anyone” to spend this holiday with though, I’m making genuine efforts to appreciate the love that I already have in my life. Just because I don’t have a romantic partner this year doesn’t mean that I don’t have anyone at all.

One of the legitimate complaints that I’d like to lodge against Valentine’s Day is the fact that it totally overemphasizes romantic and sexual love as the be-all-end-all, and specifically straight romantic and sexual love. None of that represents what my or my friend’s lives look like in college. For the most part, we’re a bunch of queers stumbling through loving each other in the best ways that we know how. The love that I have in my life right now might not consist of Netflix and Chill or romantic dinner dates, and I’m OK with that. The love that I’ve got in my life right now is singing at the top of my lungs while making dinner, calling my friend two time zones away to read her a passage from a book that I love, listening to previously unspoken poetry over Saturday morning brunch, and is certainly more than enough to fill my heart with even if I don’t have a romantic partner this Valentine’s Day.

I’m not ready to write off Valentine’s Day altogether – I’m not saying screw romantic love, screw relationships, or screw straight people. However, I am definitely saying screw the idea that you need a romantic partner to be happy and fulfilled. I’ve never been happier than I am right now, and I’m doing it without a traditional romantic partner by my side. This Valentine’s Day, I’m going to be busy loving myself and loving my friends more than ever before. Maybe Cupid didn’t miss me this year after all – maybe he just aimed his arrows towards unexpected places that still landed exactly where I needed them to be.